The Best of Wine Country-Vineyard Edition

It’s hard to believe it’s been a full month since I embarked on my first trip to Sonoma, aka wine country! I’ve been a wine enthusiast since my first wine knowledge class I took as an elective during college (I was a hospitality major –wine class was par for the course!). Prior to this introduction, my familiarity with wine went about as far as knowing what Franzia white zinfandel in a box was (oh, college…). By the time this class ended I had graduated to loving wines and my days of only sipping on Franzia quickly came to an end (No offense to all you Franzia lovers out there!)  In the years since that class, my interest in wine has continued to grow. I would not group myself into the category that considers all wines to be created equal however; I am a far cry from any type of wine expert. What I’ve come to realize is that I just love to learn about all things wine. I try not to get too hung up on the price point or even the popularity of the wine label. If I like the taste of the wine, it’s good enough for me; no matter the varietal, region, terroir etc.

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Indian Spiced Cauliflower Bisque

Cauliflower has become one of my new favorite ingredients. It’s so versatile and healthy. It has such a mild flavor that works perfectly as a canvas to add spices and mold into your own masterpiece meal. On one of the first cold nights of this season I whipped up this soup to bring up my temperature a bit! I also had received an immersion blender for my birthday and was dying to use it! (It’s a miracle worker by the way!).The bisque was deceivingly healthy because it tastes so creamy and comforting. But with little more than vegetables and spices composing the dish, this recipe is definitely a clean eating meal (It also happens to be gluten free, dairy free, and paleo for all you special dieters out there!). 

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Target Giftcard Giveaway October 2015

Hello Everyone,

I’m bringing you a fun little giveaway for your start to the weekends! Enter for a chance to win a $200 Target giftcard. This could mean getting a new gadget for your kitchen, getting a kickstart for Christmas shopping, and in my case walking in and buying a million things you didn’t even know you needed (Target gets me everytime!). 

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Flourless Mexican Chocolate Mini Muffins (Dairy Free)

A few months ago I attempted a Paleo challenge with my crossfit gym. While I successfully finished 30 days completely Paleo, I’ll admit that I didn’t continue the diet once our challenge ended. However; I do still try to eat a healthier lifestyle with fewer grains and dairy when I can. Recently I did some simple online searching for healthier dessert options and I started to see a trend of using bananas and nut butters to bake with. I tried several iterations of these mini muffins and even tried them out on my coworkers. I brought the muffins in and told a few of the unsuspecting recipients that they were double chocolate chip muffins, I left out that they were also flour and dairy free. Even the pickiest of eaters from our department admitted that they enjoyed these treats. A few people could hardly believe it when I told them both how healthy and easy they were.

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The Best of Sonoma and San Francisco-Restaurants Edition

I talked about writing this post throughout my whole trip in San Francisco and Sonoma.  After each new restaurant I would somehow try and add it in my mental rankings. You see, most vacations there are only one or two meals that are memorable or stay with you after your time there is over. We had quite a number of these during our latest travel adventure. I must admit there was some cheating involved. Typically, I do my own research ahead of time to scope out the widely acclaimed and even off the beaten path places to dine. While I still did my due diligence, we had a little extra help. Our reason for vacation in the first place was to go to our friends’ wedding. The now new Mrs. also happens to be a fellow food blogger, Elizabeth Palmer Kitchen ( if you don’t already follow her, now would be a great time to start!) Knowing what a big foodie I am, she provided us with a long list of her favorite restaurants. Many of the names were not new to me (as I said…I did do my own research) however; it provided the reassurance and firsthand seal approval that there were going to be some GREAT meals ahead. So here it goes, my list of the “Best of” restaurants along with some superlatives!

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Crisp Autumn Salad with Pumpkin Maple Vinaigrette

Helllllo My Lovely readers!

I’ve officially returned from my month long hiatus! It was a very busy month full of travel, weddings, and work. It was great to get some time away and come back with a fresh start! I’ll be bringing you quite a few California related posts that I’m excited about in the upcoming weeks. But first, a fun festive Fall salad to kick off the season. It even provides all you pumpkin lovers a little dose of your favorite autumn flavor.

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