Sometimes you just need to eat a pizza. Like, damn.
The crust for this pizza was made with Bella Gluten-Free Pizza Dough, Rolls and Focaccia Mix, which contains rice flour, potato starch, sorghum flour, tapioca flour and xanthan gum, so it’s not Paleo, but is a much healthier wheat crust alternative. It gives the crust such a close-to-the-real-thing texture, but you can omit the mix and just use cauliflower and cheese and eggs, but like… it just won’t be very close to real CRUSTY goodness.
But this will:
1/2 package Bella Gluten-Free Pizza Dough, Rolls and Focaccia Mix
1 head cauliflower
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
Line a pizza pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 385°F.
Follow Bella Gluten-Free Pizza Dough package directions for 1/2 the package. Steam cauliflower in the microwave until it is “falling apart” tender. Allow to cool. Pulse the cooled cauliflower in your food processor with the rest of the ingredients until they are well combined.
Spread onto lined pizza pan and place in oven to bake until raised and slightly browned. Meanwhile, prepare the BBQ sauce! When your crust does become slightly browned, you will want to remove from oven, but keep oven on, as you will be using it again to bake the pizza after you top the crust.
BBQ Sauce Ingredients (adapted from Mark’s Daily Apple BBQ Sauce Recipe):
1/3 cup (about 3 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 – 1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 – 2 tablespoons honey
2 – 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Colman’s mustard
2 tablespoons water
1⁄4 teaspoon ground allspice
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
In a small bowl mix together tomato paste, butter, hot sauce, honey, vinegar, mustard and water. In another small bowl mix together allspice, cinnamon, pepper, chili powder, paprika and onion powder. Mix the spices in with the wet ingredients. OK. There you go.
Spread on half baked pizza crust and then top with your favorite toppings. This time, I did mushrooms, onions, and chicken (tossed in a little of the BBQ sauce and whatnot).
Then bake until it’s all browned and bubbly like. Come on, I know you have enough common sense to figure it out! xoxo
Drink some fine Milan Ruz with the pizza! Cheers!
Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento will be holding their 3rd annual 5k race in Natomas on May 18, 2013 at 9:00am at North Natomas Regional Park. The spring run will benefit Girls on the Run of Greater Sacramento, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, which currently serves over 600 girls throughout Sacramento, Natomas, El Dorado Hills, Elk Grove, Folsom, Rocklin, Roseville and Yolo County. The mission of Girls on the Run is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.
The race is being emceed by KCRA’s Edie Lambert and her husband Lloyd Lavine. The race start and finish will take place on Via Ingoglia in front of Inderkum High School. The 5k is a designed to be a fun and supportive community event for families. Sponsor booths and kid-friendly activities will be on site, including a face painter and cheer sign booth where supporters can make signs to cheer on their runners. Walkers and runners of all ages, genders and abilities are welcome to register and attend! A pre-race group warm-up will be led by Fitness Rangers of East Sacramento, and prizes will be awarded to the top male and female finishers.
Girls on the Run of Greater is a curriculum based youth sports program for girls in grades 3-8. The program stresses the importance of equally developing the emotional, mental, social and physical aspects of each girl. The curriculum encourages independent thinking, healthy group dynamics and problem solving and emphasizes the importance of making healthy choices. The girls, led by trained coaches and volunteers, meet two times per week for 12 weeks every spring and fall. The goal of the program is to foster a respect for healthy living while celebrating each girl. Every practice focuses on fitness, character development, positive reinforcement of each individual child, and having fun, while training each girl to run a 5K. Each of GOTR’s 12-week seasons culminate in a 5K run where parents, coaches, teachers, families and friends gather to celebrate and support the girls who, for many, are running their first 5K.
Interested in running or volunteering? Registration is still open! Visit www.gotrsac.org site to learn more about the Girls on the Run organization and register! You can also click here to register! You can find Girls on the Run Sacramento on Facebook here.
Last Saturday was the annual Komen Race for the Cure at Cal Expo, and Andy won his division! (Race photo by Morinico Photography)
To celebrate the win, I made one of his favorite foods (pizza!) these Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Tots (the pizza was a primal-ized BBQ Chicken Pizza, which I will share with you later this week). I had made an earlier version of the tots last week for myself, but was not satisfied with the texture or really, the flavor. This time, I used a combination of cauliflower and sweet potatoes, and it was a success! I also coated the tots in almond meal for extra crunch. Here’s the recipe!
1/2 head caulflower
2 medium sweet potatoes
3 large eggs
1/4 cup So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/8 cup coconut flour or gluten free flour (to use as a binder)
cracked pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup olive oil or a can of olive oil spray
1 cup raw almonds
1 Tbs coconut flour
1-2 tsp your favorite spice mixture (you can be creative here: chili powder, curry, rosemary, cumin)
Peel and cut potatoes into cubes and microwave until soft. While the potatoes are microwaving, pulse the (raw) cauliflower in a food processor until it’s texture is finely “crummed”, do not purée. Set aside in a large mixing bowl. When the potatoes are tender, set aside and allow them to cool.
Rinse out and dry the food processor, then pulse the almonds until they are almost breadcrumb consistency, then pulse in the coconut flour. Then if you wish, add in your favorite spices or extra parmesan cheese to finish off the breading. Set mixture aside on a plate and rinse and dry the food processor again.
Preheat oven to 385°F
Then place the sweet potatoes in the food processor and pulse to mash them up. Then add the cheese, the coconut milk, the eggs and the coconut flour, and pulse until smooth. Then remove the potato mixture and add it to the cauliflower crumbs. Stir until well combined.
Coat a baking sheet with olive oil or olive oil spray. Form the cauliflower and sweet potato mixture into little cylinder shapes and then roll in the almond/coconut flour/spice mixture. Set each shape on the baking sheet. This recipe will probably yield about 24 tots. Lightly drizzle the tots with olive oil, or pulse them lightly with the spray. This will help them get extra crisp.
Bake in oven until golden brown. (30-40 mins) Salt to taste.
I was honored to be invited to yesterday’s media tasting of the America’a Classics Menu at Frank Fat’s. Of course, the menu at Frank Fat’s is not a perfect editorial fit for my Paleo/Primal website, but a James Beard award is not something you win everyday. I was happy and excited to attend and celebrate with members of the Fat family (who had just barely returned from the awards ceremony that took place Monday night in New York). It was like being a part of Sacramento history and a great excuse to take a little vacay day from being strict Paleo. Andy and I sat down with one of the most interesting amalgamations of Sacramento food writers and media personalities including Hank Shaw (also a winner of a James Beard award this year), Kitty O’Neal, Tina Macuha, Sarah Singleton, Chris Macias, and Chef Michael Tuohy (bonus)!
We were served family style at a large round table. As servers placed each course in the center, the plates spun around on a lazy susan, and smart phones hastily snapped pictures of each dish before they were
devoured sampled. Even Kitty O’Neal was live tweeting her lunch! It was great. Now, Andy is such a well behaved sidekick. He has been trained in the ways of food bloggery. He is well aware of the “wait, I have to take a picture of the food first before you dive in” rule.
So, without further delay, here’s a rundown on what we enjoyed.*
*Disclaimer: I did try almost everything we were served except for two dishes, a chow mein and the banana cream pie dessert, but only because I don’t react well to wheat or sugar.
The first course was a Char Siu Slider: Honey glazed pork with pickled vegetables served in a steamed “laughing” bun. These sliders could be a meal by themselves, and it would be fun to see variations of this dish with different fillings for the little pockets of dough.
Next was the ever popular Fat’s dish and an award-winning recipe: Honey Walnut Prawns–Crispy shrimp with glazed walnuts and a special sauce. Props to the chef for being light handed with the “mayernaise” (sic), as it is delightful to enjoy the crispiness of the fried shrimp, along with the creaminess of the sauce which includes mayonnaise (too much = soggy), and the sweetness and crunch of the walnuts. The trifecta of delectable was achieved.
Alert alert!! Bacon alarm sounding!! OK, so bacon in everything has come (and actually gone) as a “thing” (and as a food writer I feel like it’s rather silly), but not when it comes to the classic pairings. Bacon Wrapped Scallops were up next. And this dish puts bacon back where it belongs. Wrapped around seafood! The scallops were served with green beans and an oyster cream sauce. I handily gobbled 2 of these, as they were the closest thing to Paleo on the menu, and a combination of two of my favorite foods. What a classic dish, and Fat’s version has such a pretty presentation. The scallops reminded me of little snails on green grass.
The Gai Lan served as a tasty side to our meal. It’s a Chinese broccoli dish, drizzled with oyster sauce. Just love the emerald color on those greens!
The San Gai Shee Chow Mein is comprised of egg noodles with chicken, black mushrooms and snow peas. I passed on it only because I was filling up fast, and I heard there was steak coming. And, yes, I’m a wimp. Well, actually, I was trying to avoid gluten as much as possible. It looked and smelled delicious!
Then it was time for Frank’s Style New York Steak. It’s described on my menu as “smothered” in onions and oyster sauce, and from the picture you can see it’s true. That meat is getting no air at all! It’s practically choking in caramelized onion-y goodness! I was happy to see another gluten-free offering. Kevin Fat, (one of the family members, Director of Business Administration for Fat’s Restaurants, and the main host for the luncheon) remarked that it was one of the original dishes on the Frank Fat’s menu. It’s fascinating to think that “fusion” cuisine began ages before the term was actually coined.
For dessert, we were each presented with a slice of Fat’s Famous Banana Cream Pie which was apparently so good that Andy had 2 slices (one was mine) and even brought a third one home! Fat’s makes 15-25 pies twice per day. Now, that’s a lot of time on the treadmill. If you want to impress your friends, you can bring one of their pies to the next party you attend, as the pies can be ordered as a whole (with a 12 hour notice) if you simply call the restaurant. It’s up to you if you want to slip it in some tupperware and pass it off as your own. Not that you would ever do that!
The James Beard America’s Classics Award has been given every year since 1998 to recognize the most beloved regional restaurants. Characteristics of the nominees and winners include timeless appeal and quality food that reflects the character of their communities. Along with Frank Fat’s, this year’s other nominees included: Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville, TN, C.F. Folks in Washington D.C., Keen’s Steakhouse in New York City, Kramarczuk’s in Minneapolis, MN. The Fat Family was honored and quite taken aback by the nomination and the award win (they did not nominate themselves).
“This award recognizes everything my father believed in – outstanding food, generous portions, caring service and a simple, but deep-rooted desire to make people happy, ” says Frank Fat’s President and CEO, Jerry Fat. “He loved his customers, they all loved him, and I believe that his spirit is what has kept us so successful all these years.”
To celebrate the James Beard award, Frank Fat’s will be hosting America’s Classics Month May 13-31, featuring same menu served at the media lunch and showcased in today’s post. It is priced at $29.95 per person (2 person minimum) and is a dine-in only offer.
To read more about Frank Fat’s history and the Sacramento Bee review by Blair Anthony Robertson, click here. You can find Frank Fat’s on Facebook here and on twitter here.
At the media luncheon, we watched a video about the restaurant that was played at the awards ceremony. I am posting it below because it pretty much sums up the spirit and greatness of the Fat’s empire.
Formerly Stanford Home for Children, Stanford Youth Solutions presents its 8th annual signature event: Vintage 2013 on Thursday, April 25th, from 6-10pm at the North Ridge Country Club. The North Ridge Country Club is located at 7600 Madison Avenue, Fair Oaks, CA 95628,
There will be a wine and food tasting, a live & silent auction and live music.
The event will be filled with themed room experiences with special cocktails and tasty bites from Zocalo’s, Matteo’s, Bella Bru, and Mulvaney’s. Walk in the clouds in the Sky Bar, feel the serenity of the Rain Forest, get backstage access to our version of Red Rocks, and taste exquisite wines while perusing our silent auction packages in the Vintage room & patio.
Red Rocks: A Red Rocks Amphitheatre experience to you in this backstage access themed room.
Rain Forest: Let the soothing sounds of nature sweep over you in this tranquil oasis. Refresh your palette’s with Ella’s famous Gin & Tonics.
Sky Bar: Enjoy the cloud-top bar with martinis, ice sculptures and sushi.
Vintage: For true wine and food connoisseurs, enjoy local and regional wines and taste local restaurant offerings.
Special entertainment will feature Joe Castillo, sand artist and finalist on America’s Got Talent – be one of the first in Sacramento to see him LIVE!
A new addition this year in the Rain Forest room is Stanford’s version of a Giving Tree! They will have mystery bottles of wine placed in the custom made Giving Tree. You can choose 1 wine bottle for $20 OR 3 for $50. Values of the mystery wine range from $10 to $100!!! Take a chance, win some great wine, & GIVE back!
This year’s special honoree is Rob Lynch, President and CEO of VSP Global.
Vintage 2013 goes GREEN! The color green symbolizes healthy relationships, nature, balance, and sustainability. This year, a fun twist on the color green highlights Stanford’s new brand and the lasting evolution of the youth and families they serve.
Compliment your favorite outfit with a bit of green to show your support of Stanford’s mission and your commitment to well being, harmony and a healthy life. By participating in Vintage 2013, you will be giving the gift of healthy relationships to challenged youth and their families.Vintage 2012 was hailed the event of the year and this year’s Vintage promises to be even better.
Tickets are $100 per person and $125 at the door. To purchase tickets, click here.
You can find Stanford Youth Solutions on Facebook here. You can watch highlights of last year’s event below:
It was ironic to return home from shopping at Grocery Outlet (Woodland location) on Monday and find this basket of goodies on my doorstep from my friends at Grocery Outlet corporate! They sent me a variety of products to promote “a fresh face-lift during the spring season”. All the products in the basket cost at least 50% less than they would at a conventional grocery store.
I am currently trying to drop a few pounds (big race in a few weeks), so I wasn’t at Grocery Outlet panning for gold (wine deals) this time like I normally am… I was there looking for collagen supplements. I also picked up some cauliflower and organic lettuce, as well as a bag of kale and onions. I was happy to see some products in the gift basket I could put to good use.
The products included in my basket were:
Numi Blooming Tea (Grocery Outlet Price $2.99, Regular Price $8.99)
Tru Roots Brown Rice (Grocery Outlet Price $2.99, Regular Price $4.99)
MET-RX Big 100 Bar (Grocery Outlet Price $19.99–12 ct. box, Regular Price $27.00)
Maui & Sons 100% Pure Coconut Water (Grocery Outlet Price $1.29, Regular Price $2.49)
Natrol Acai Berry Diet Capsules (Grocery Outlet Price $6.99, Regular Price $9.99)
Laci Le Beau Super Dieters Natural Tea (Grocery Outlet Price $2.49, Regular Price $4.29)
Best of Burt’s Bees Gift Set (Grocery Outlet Price $8.99, Regular Price $14.99)
Epielle Green Tea Facial Mask (Grocery Outlet Price $0.69, Regular Price $1.49)
Organic Now Shampoo and Conditioner (Grocery Outlet Price $2.69, Regular Price $3.99)
Body Shop Macadamia Nut Body Butter (Grocery Outlet Price $3.99, Regular Price $19.00)
Total Grocery Outlet Price for Basket Items: $53.10
Total Regular Price for Basket Items: $97.22
I am loving the teas and the Natrol Acai Berry Diet Capsules (the Grocery Outlet Gods must have been reading my mind) and what girl doesn’t love Burt’s Bees? I’ll surely be using my facial mask and the body butter to keep my heels from looking frightful.
You can find most of these products at your local Grocery Outlet store (product selections and availability will vary by store).
A few weeks ago I was sent two varieties of Wonderful® Pistachios to sample and tell you about. Their new flavors are Salt & Pepper and Sweet Chili. I am pretty “nutty” about pistachios to begin with, but these new flavors piqued my interest even more!
Did you know that pistachios have only 160 calories per serving (30g), are an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper and manganese and a good source of protein, dietary fiber, thiamin, and phosphorus?
I prefer pistachios because they are about 3 calories less per nut than an almond. We used both varieties as an emergency salad topping a few nights ago when we were out of walnuts! They were so good. Other recipe uses: Coarsely grind the pistachios in a food processor and use them as a coating on lamb or turkey, grind them even further into a nut butter, or just enjoy them right out of the bag.
By themselves, the Salt and Pepper variety make a flavorful and satisfying snack. You can swap Wonderful® Pistachios Salt & Pepper for popular kettle-fried Salt & Pepper chips – pistachios give you 49 nuts per serving; compare that to just 15 potato chips per serving (who eats just 15 potato chips?)
I preferred the Sweet Chili. They had an exotic sweet and spicy flavor and a great crunch. A perfect substitute for flavored tortilla chips with three times the fiber and protein.
Looking forward to seeing 42nd Street this weekend! Here’s a press release from my friends at Runaway Stage Productions. -cg
SACRAMENTO – Come on along and listen to the lullaby of Broadway with Runaway Stage Productions as RSP presents the classic comedy musical 42nd Street, playing April 12 to May 5 at the 24th Street Theatre, located at the Sierra 2 Center.
Based on the classic 1933 movie musical of the same name, 42nd Street tells the story of naive young actress Peggy Sawyer who arrives to audition for the new Julian Marsh extravaganza, set to open on Broadway with aging leading lady Dorothy Brock. A classic backstage story, 42nd Street is a delightful throwback that the entire family will enjoy. The 1980 Broadway production won the Tony Award for Best Musical and became a long-running hit. The show was produced in London in 1984 (winning the Olivier Award for Best Musical), and its 2001 Broadway revival won the Tony for Best Revival.
RSP’s talented cast and crew include both well-known favorites and new talents. Award-winning Darryl Strohl (RSP’s Legally Blonde, Kiss Me Kate and Curtains) choreographs, Andrea St. Clair (Annie, Kiss Me Kate) plays Anytime Annie, Amy Jacques-Jones (White Christmas) is Peggy, and newcomer Timothy Stewart takes on the role of Billy.
“RSP has waited to do this show until the talent was ready, and boy is it ready,” RSP Producing Director Bob Baxter said. “The cast is unbelievable, the dancing (tap, ballet and jazz) is breathtaking. I am excited watching the rehearsals, and I know the audience will enjoy the show!”
Jeremy Bolt directs music, with vocal direction by Deann Golz. They lead the RSP resident orchestra with a score that is full of famous musical numbers, including “Young and Healthy,” “You’re Getting to be a Habit with Me,” “Dames,” “We’re in the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” and, of course, the iconic “Forty-Second Street.”
42nd Street performs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. 4/12-5/5, 2013. TICKETS – Opening Night – $19; Adults – $25; Seniors (60+) – $23; Students/SARTA – $21; Children (12 & under) – $18; Groups of 10+ – $19 each. Tickets can be purchased online at www.runawaystage.com (reservation convenience fees apply) or at the door. For further information or questions, please call the box office at (916) 207-1226. Free parking is available. The 24th Street Theatre is located at the Sierra 2 Center: 2791 24th Street in Sacramento.
You can find Runaway Stage Productions on Facebook here.
Sorry for the silence, but I have been busy! Andy and I just returned from San Diego (Carlsbad, to be exact). You could call it a business trip I suppose.
For years, this has been Andy’s big deal. The Carlsbad 5000, introduced to him by a friend who used to live there. The best 5K of the year. The past two years I have gone along with him. This trip has a pretty good system/schedule I am not inclined to mess with much (other than where we stay next time) It’s also a good system because it involves not having to get in your car the entire weekend once you are in Carlsbad. It goes like this: we fly down on Friday, have dinner at Pizza Port, get up and run the course as a mental review/practice on Saturday, register for the race, visit the expo, and have lunch at The Grand Deli, have our pre-race dinner at Caldo Pomodoro on Saturday night, race on Sunday, have lunch at Pollos Maria, and have dinner at Coyote Bar & Grill. Then we fly out on Monday morning. Sounds just awful, doesn’t it?
At last year’s Carlsbad 5000, we both ran the 5K races in our gender/age group. This year, I ran the all day 25K option.
As an All Day 25K participant (and finisher!), I competed in all five open races at Carlsbad 5000, which included: Masters Men, Masters Women, Men 30-39, Women 30-39 and Men and Women 29 & Under. Going in, I registered with the goal to just be able to finish all of the races in under ten minute per mile pace. This was the pace I needed to earn a finisher’s medal. Also at the Carlsbad 5000, if you are in the top 250 people to cross the finish line in your division (mine was the Women 30-39), you are awarded a finisher’s medal.
By the end of the 3rd race, I decided I would try to run hard and try to be in the top 250 in my division’s race. I came in 86th, so not too shabby for my 4th race of the day. The medal was mine!
Here is the breakdown of my races:
Race Miles Time / Pace O’All Sex /Div
Masters Men 40+ 3.1069 27:26 /8:50 184 44/44
Masters Women 40+ 3.1069 27:27/ 8:50 159 42/24
Men 30-39 3.1069 27:40/8:55 148 30/30
Women 30-39 3.1069 26:23/8:30 86 19/9
29 & Under (M/F) 3.1069 26:23/8:30 94 15/13
What is wacky is that I ran race 1 & 2, and 4 & 5 in almost the exact same times! But, it is a good thing. I was really looking for consistent 9:00 minute miles, and I ended up doing much better than that. I not only completed all five races, I placed 110th out of 260 All Day 25K participants. YAY
The All Day 25K participants really get the royal treatment the day of the race. There was a VIP tent set up for us with a gear check for our bags, massive amounts of bottled water and bananas, 3 or 4 different brands of energy bars, 2 different flavors of GU Energy Gel, Sports Blast energy drink, and an entire “brick wall” of a snack boxes with various food items (dried edamame, hummus, dark chocolate) in them. The best part was that only one item out of dozens being offered as refreshments contained gluten (bags of pretzels). There are tables and chairs set up in and outside of the tent so that we could sit and rest between races. I ended up going back to my hotel room to change clothes and rest between the fourth and fifth race because I was so sweaty! My other strategy (which worked well) was to eat about a 1/3 of a banana, and 2 bites of an energy bar between races. Not too much food, lots of water. My bar of choice was one Clif White Chocolate Macadamia Nut. Not Paleo, but organic, and better than bagels or donuts. So basically, 1 energy bar, 1 1/2 bananas, and about 64 ounces of water got me through 5 races.
Congrats to the All Day 25K winner, Gilbert Salazar. His times were 17:26, 17:37, 17:45, 18:19, & 18:27. Not a surprise, as he also won the event last year (all of his races were under 18 minutes last year!) You can check out this years results of the All Day 25K here.
What I loved most about the All Day 25K is that I was able to run with people of all ages. Each time I ran the course, I saw something different. It was amazing to see all the leaders fly past me on their way up the hill to the 2nd mile mark. On the day we left Carlsbad, I went out and ran the course again as a recovery day. I just can’t get over the view. It does not suck to run along the ocean, people! What a special place and I’m already looking forward to next year and our little traditions.
I loved running in Andy’s race (he ran a 20:07 this year), and he ran with me in mine (during mile 2) as a cool down. The only downside is that I didn’t get to watch him in his race… because I was in it! After all the races were over, we went to celebrate and have lunch at Pollos Maria. (That’s where the pics of me in my Carlsbad shirt were taken)
The All Day 25K is a great way to get your long run in if you are training for a spring or an early summer marathon. After you cross the finish line(s), you get 2 free beers from Pizza Port! No wonder they call it the Party By the Sea.
Last Wednesday, Andy and I participated in a virtual wine tasting organized by Thirsty Girl.com, a member-driven community that brings together women who are passionate about wine, food, travel, libations and fun. Now, just because it’s mainly women involved, it doesn’t mean that men get shut out of the fun. There were a few males that joined our group during the twitter tasting to give their opinions on the wines we tried.
Approximately once a month, Thirsty Girl (follow them on twitter here) chooses a featured winery and sends wine samples to members of the Thirsty Girl group (made up of wine writers and bloggers). Then we all sit down at a scheduled date and time to review the wines, give the winemaker valuable feedback, brainstorm and sometimes execute the perfect wine pairings, and almost have more fun than you would at a cocktail party. Which is a lot like twitter is anyway. One big virtual cocktail party.
This time around, the featured winery was Villa Maria Estate Wines, a family-owned estate in Auckland, New Zealand. The wines we sampled were a 2012 Villa Maria Estate Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc and a 2011 Villa Maria Estate Private Bin Pinot Noir. Some of the people who joined Andy and me for the tasting included @urbanblissmedia, @oakmonster, @alawine, @luscious_lashes, @dvinewinetime, @thienkim, @stilettowines, @keridwyn, @sonadora, @mywinespot, @dreamsofjamaica, @travelwinechick, @VillaMaria_Wine, and the winemaker himself, @AlastairMaling. I am sure I am leaving out a few people, sorry! Anyway, I took some of my favorite comments from the evening and posted them below. Enjoy!
The first comment is from the best wine drinking buddy I know. My boyfriend and partner in wine, Andy. Follow him on twitter here. Here’s his description of the Sauvignon Blanc.
The winemaker, Alastair Maling (on twitter here) commented on the Sauvignon Blanc’s uniqueness:
Then leave it to me to cause trouble! Thirsty Girl (@beathirstygirl) asked if any of us had paired the wines with food during the tasting and I responded like this:
The wine maker quickly shot me back with this (funny!)
A common observance on the Pinot Noir is that it improved quite a bit (as most wines do) the more it aired out in the glass or decanter. Then another pairing idea:
Another feature on both of the wines I liked (along with a few others) is that the wines are screw cap closure (key in portability)! As commented by @theeleanorprior:
You can also find Thirsty Girl on Facebook here and you can find Villa Maria Estate Wines on Facebook here. And if you’re on twitter, be sure to follow Head Thirsty Girl @lesliesbrocco and Thirsty Girl @beathirstygirl!
Many wines were flowing at my boyfriend Andy’s house last night as we sat in on a twitter tasting (more on that tomorrow), and unloaded the latest samples shipped to me just in time to show you before Easter arrives. One of the wines is the one you see above: Carpenè Malvolti Prosecco Brut ($19.99).
You can start your Easter dinner with the popping of the Carpene Malvolti Prosecco’s cork and sipping it with a light first course or appetizer. A soup or fish course would be perfect. This Cilantro Lime Shrimp dish from Skinnytaste.com would be a good fit as would my very own recipe for Hard Boiled Eggs with Avocado, Cumin, and Curry.
This Prosecco is full of juicy green apple fruit flavors and has gentle bubbles. It was more of a fruit forward sparkler even though classified as a brut. Adding peach puree or other juices to this Prosecco makes a delicious and very easy cocktail. Or, you can simply enjoy it alone with it’s light 11% alcohol content. Cheers!
Last weekend, Andy and I joined a group of other travel journalists on a media tour of the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa.
Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa (which underwent a $65-million renovation in 2009), features 550 guestrooms (32 suites), a President’s house, TusCA Ristorante, Knuckles Sports Bar, Lounge, fitness facility, tennis courts, fire pit, 2 swimming pools/whirlpools, Accista Spa, and a conference center (with 40,000 square feet of meeting and event space). It is located next to and overlooks the Pebble Beach Company’s Del Monte Golf Course. The beach and bay are just minutes away, as are prime attractions like Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Below is a rundown of all the amenities and services to be enjoyed during one’s stay at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa.
Rooms & Amenities: 550 renovated guest rooms, 32″ LCD flat-panel TVs, iHome stereo with iPod®docking station (love!), Hyatt Grand Bed™, In-room safes and refrigerators, bathrooms with walk-in rain showers, and raised sinks.
Guest Services: Complimentary shuttle from Monterey Airport, Hyatt Fast Board™, PDA Check-in, Self Check-in kiosks, the Regency Club, a 24-hour fully automated business center, a gift shop with wine tasting room, pet friendly, les clefs d’or concierge.
Dining & Entertainment: TusCA Ristorante, award-winning Knuckles Sports Bar, Fireplace Lounge with live entertainment, a coffee bar with barrister, in-room dining.
Meetings & Events: 40,000 square feet of flexible function space, unique indoor & outdoor settings for weddings and social gatherings, innovative catering for onsite and offsite events, expert planners and an AV company on-site.
Accista Spa with full service salon, Pebble Beach Company’s Championship Del Monte Golf Course, a full-service racquet club, corporate team-building events, 24 hour gym, pools, massage therapy, biking, jogging and walking trails, YogaAway™.
Local Attractions: Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Big Sur Coastline, Monterey County Wineries, Pebble Beach Golf Courses, and Fisherman’s Wharf.
Our stay at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa began with a check in and storing of our bags in our room. Upon arrival, we discovered this (pictured below) in our room. It was a cheese, nut and dried fruit plate with some sparkling waters (available on the room service menu) Thank you, and yes, please!
After settling in, it was time for our dinner at TusCA Ristorante inside the main lobby building. It was so nice to have dinner at the hotel because we had been traveling for quite a while, and I was a little too tired venture out for fun. TusCA features farm-fresh California cuisine with a Tuscan twist.
Our first glass of wine was the house Chardonnay: Canvas, by Michael Mondavi, which I am told he makes exclusively for the Hyatt. We studied the menu (lots of wonderful things from which to choose… entrées ranging from pizzas and pastas to main courses both with meat and vegetarian friendly). You can download their dinner menu here (the menu changes) to get an idea of the plates you might see at the restaurant.
Each table gets a basket of bread to begin (a bit laughable to us, being Paleo), but we LOVED the roasted garlic that it came with and shared it before our salads came.
I ordered an Argula, Bosc Pear, and Reggiano Salad with the Lemon Grape Seed Vinaigrette on the side.
Andy ordered the Roasted Beet Salad with Frisee, Tarragon, Hazelnut, and Grapefruit Vinaigrette:
Before we chose our main courses, Chef Mike came out to greet Andy and I at our table and to talk to us about this website and the Paleo diet. I thought it was admirable that the chef did a little homework and wanted to prepare a suitable Paleo meal for us! He was willing to swap out any noodles or rice with extra vegetables, even for the special that evening: Whole Wheat Pasta with Chorizo, Kale, and Mussels. Since the special could be “Paleo-ized”, that’s what Andy chose. I went with a Chicken Breast with Cauliflower, Cashew, Rainbow Chard and Maple Jus.
Chef Mike even treated us to a special Paleo dessert: Dried Cherry and Almond Dark Chocolate Bark garnished with a strawberry. We were thrilled. We are so used to just skipping dessert altogether, so it we were delighted by the gesture!
The meal at TusCA was wonderful, as was the service from our waiter, Josh. Thanks again to Chef Mike and staff for our warm welcome to Monterey.
On Sunday, May 12th, 2013, TusCA Ristorante will serve Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Live entertainment will be provided by the David Morwood Jazz Band. Reservations are strongly suggested. You can find TusCA on OpenTable here or call the restaurant at (831) 657-6675.
After dinner, Andy and I walked over to the Fireplace Lounge (steps away from the restaurant–in fact, you don’t even have to go outside since the lounge is situated between TusCA and the main lobby area). We sat down at a table and ordered a round of drinks while we listened to some live jazz. On weekends, Fireplace Lounge welcomes the local talent of jazz musicians Marshall Otwell and Dr. David Thomas Morwood. There is always entertainment on weekend evenings and Sunday mornings.
Across from Fireplace Lounge is Knuckles® Historical Sports Bar which has been voted by locals as the number-one sports bar on the Monterey Peninsula for ten years in a row. Recently, they launched a Cheese and Beer Pairing Menu, and have introduced California’s first Table Tender system which offers self-service draft beer with two taps at a table seating up to 12 people.
The next day, Andy, me, and the rest of the invited writers took a tour of the property. The Hyatt Regency Monterey has two heated, outdoor free-form pools (one of which Frank Sinatra once drove his car into). There are also two outdoor whirlpools, a new 12,000-square-foot full-service spa, featuring spa suites and a host of soothing treatments, the Hyatt Stay Fit gym available 24 hours (with men’s and women’s shower rooms), jogging paths; bicycle trails and bicycle rental, a racquet club with lighted tennis courts; tennis lessons available, and the on-property, 18-hole Pebble Beach Company’s Del Monte Golf Course with preferred tee times for hotel guests.
Below is a picture of the carpet in the conference center. I loved it! The unique thing about it is that it is non-repeating in its pattern!
There is also a President’s House on the property. A four-bedroom, five-bathroom stand-alone home with a complete kitchen, a private patio, a heated swimming pool, and an open-beam living room and den, both with fireplaces (which was occupied at the time of our tour).
After the outdoor tour, our group was given a tour of the Accista Spa facility. I was quite impressed with both the gym and the spa at the Hyatt Monterey. The gym had at least 4 treadmills as well as several ellipticals, stationary bikes, free weights, toning and strength training machines, resistance bands, exercise balls and stretching/yoga mats. Take it from me, this is the place to stay if you love working out! PS: It’s open 24 hours a day!
Each member of our tour group was treated to a spa treatment that morning: massage or pedicure, etc. Andy and I chose a 50 minute Signature Accista Couples Massage. Shout out to Elli (my masseuse) for her great work on my shoulders and legs. In the locker room there is water with fresh fruit in it and in the waiting room there is fresh fruit, water, dried cranberries and pecans. They must have known I was coming. To see all the ways to spoil yourself at Accista Spa click here for their menu.
We had the rest of the day to ourselves, so Andy and I went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and then had dinner at the Old Fisherman’s Grotto. I mention the restaurant because I think it’s important you go there if you visit Monterey. It’s so old school, but not outdated. There are great deals on wine and locals get discounts. I had my favorite meal (a Cobb Salad) only with halibut on it instead of chicken. Loved it!
A big thank you to the management and staff of the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa. Andy and I were honored to tour and stay at the property and give my readers a look at what your hotel has to offer their guests, as well as so many improvements you’ve made over the hotel’s development. You can find the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa on Facebook here and on twitter here.
As Rock ’n Restaurants approaches, organizers have secured robust support from several restaurants and industry partners that will be integral in making the event possible. The event is slated to kick off with a VIP reception at 5 p.m. April 9 at the the Crest Theatre in Sacramento, with the concert to begin at 7 p.m.
USA Today has called Allen Stone a “pitch-perfect powerhouse” and he’s performed on the Ellen Degeneres Show, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Last Call with Carson Daly and Live from Daryl’s House and was a featured artist on VH1’s You Oughta Know. But the 25-year-old performer from Chewelah, Wash. just sees himself as “a hippie with soul.”
Like many soul singers, Stone got his start in church. He is the son of a preacher, so whipping crowds into a call-and-response frenzy is second nature. Steeped in gospel music and shielded from secular songs, Allen didn’t discover soul music until he was a teenager and started collecting classic albums from the 1960s and ’70s.
“Soul music from that time wasn’t just about bumpin’ and grindin’ at the club – it was a huge part of a cultural movement,” Stone said. “That’s where my inspiration comes from.”
Rock ’n Restaurants will conclude the CRA’s 2013 Lobby Day event, which involves restaurant industry leaders from across the country convening in Sacramento to discuss legislative issues affecting restaurant with lawmakers at the Capitol.
Farm Fresh to You and UBER Cab are also in-kind sponsors.
Several CRA chapters also are lending support to the event, including Sacramento, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Diego County and Orange County.
Event tickets cost $50 and will be available to purchase on calrest.org soon. Proceeds from the event will benefit the CRA Issues Political Action Committee.
For more information about the event or sponsorship opportunities, contact governmentaffairs(nospace) atcalrest(dot)org. You can find the California Restaurant Association on Facebook here. You can register for the event here.
I have to say: I am the luckiest unlucky person I know. I just got the boot from my job, but that allowed me to go on a (pretty much) free trip to Anaheim to attend the Natural Products Expo West. So, I guess when one door slams in your face, another one opens and it leads to Disneyland!
The Natural Products Expo West showcased a record number of new natural and organic product launches, and provided the definitive community platform for brands, retailers and influencers in the natural, organic and healthy living sector.
Natural Products Expo West drew more than 63,000 industry members and 2,428 exhibiting companies at the Anaheim Convention Center, March 7-10, 2013 in Anaheim, CA. Engredea and Nutracon, the ingredient and supply chain’s most comprehensive trade show and conference were co-located with Natural Products Expo West.
Natural Products Expo West provided a unique view into the forces and product trends fueling the growth of the global natural products industry in every category, including food, beverage, supplements, beauty, household and pet products.
Trends prominent at Natural Products Expo West, with significantly more product options launching into the market, include gluten- and allergen-free products, sprouted foods, healthy snacks, non-dairy alternatives, vegan and paleo offerings, and healthier, cleaner kids’ products.
Natural Products Expo East 2013 will return to the Baltimore Convention Center, Sept. 25-28, 2013 in Baltimore, MD. Follow @NatProdExpo or #ExpoWest on Twitter for ongoing conversations or connect on their Facebook page to keep up with their latest developments.
My favorite products at Expo West? Well, I just love the Diestels and their line of deli meats. And I picked Sante Nuts Pistachios as Best of the West. Other favorites were True Bar (Hazelnut especially!!) and the Zing bar. I especially love it when the marketers give me a whole case of their product!! The aforementioned bars are not completely Paleo, but are gluten-free and non-GMO and totally appropriate for an occasional treat. Especially on heavy training days.
During my time in Anaheim, I stayed at Ayres Hotel Anaheim. The hotel is located close to everything! It is directly across the street from the Honda Center (where the Mighty Ducks play) and walking distance from Angels Stadium. It is a short shuttle ride (ART!!) from the Anaheim Convention Center, Disneyland and California Adventure.
I loved staying at Ayres I will stay there every time I visit Anaheim. I enjoyed the nightly wine and guacamole reception from 5:30-6:30pm. You’d think they’d planned this just for me as much as I love wine and guacamole! My room was spacious and was equipped with a refrigerator and microwave. Very useful for Paleo people and having to bring your own food along when traveling. There is free breakfast available daily with fresh fruit, oatmeal, cereals, eggs, sausage, bacon, coffee, tea, milk, juices, and more. I was able to enjoy the eggs because they don’t add any weird oils or butter to them.
One of the best things about Ayres was the staff. They were so nice and accommodating. They allowed me to leave my bags at the hotel during Expo West. I drive a Smart car with no trunk, and I didn’t want things in my car left visible to potential thieves (I had to park at Angels Stadium to shuttle to the convention center). Also, during my stay they explained to me how Anaheim Resort Transportation works to me (and a few other guests), so I was able to save $10 on parking at Disneyland.
I worked out in the gym two days of my stay and discovered a great bike path to run on directly beside the hotel. So, if you like to run outdoors or if you are a cyclist, take note. This is a great place to stay for you! I ran three miles out and back. It’s a semi-hilly and fun run that will definitely burn some calories. There’s also an outdoor pool and a spa.
So Ayres Hotel and staff… thanks. You guys are rad. Follow them on twitter here and like them on Facebook here. They run a lot of deals and do a lot of giveaways. It’s such a great place to stay and I will definitely be back!
Lastly, I want to thank Disneyland. I was able to be a kid again for a day with my press credential. I had so much fun. I rode so many rides! Space Mountain, The Matterhorn, It’s a Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Haunted Mansion and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. I was even able to find a Paleo friendly snack at Bengal Barbecue! They have meat and vegetable skewers!!
I think my favorite ride is at California Adventure. It’s called Radiator Springs Racers and based on the Cars movie. I also checked out Mickey’s Fun Wheel and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror while I was there. It was definitely the Happiest Place on Earth for me and my only regret is that Andy or my nieces were not there with me to enjoy it. Here are a few pictures I took while I was there. I got my picture with Donald Duck because we share the same birthday. Thank you so much, Disneyland! Catch them on twitter here and on Facebook here.
To be honest, I didn’t really think the meals Andy and I were sent from FITzee Foods were going to be that much to write home about. I have NEVER liked frozen food meals (Lean Cuisine, Weight Watchers, etc) because quite frankly, they all taste God-awful. Also, I believe in taking the time to cook something free of additives and preservatives that are in most frozen meals. Blech. However, since FITzee Foods meals seemed to be atypical of the aforementioned brands, I agreed to have some shipped to me for a review (even though I was a little concerned about their flavor, texture, etc).
After some trepidation, I thawed out our meals from FITzee Foods, heated them up, and tried to plate them the best I could for a picture. I will admit I even made a salad and parsnip chips as a back-up meal in case the meals were inedible–by the way, the salad and parsnips ended up being great side dishes. Apologies to FITzee Foods for my slight doubt of their product. Blind tasted, I would not have known the meals were pre-packaged or frozen.
FITzee Foods‘ meals are prepared daily with fresh, organic, and all-natural ingredients. All meals and snacks are available in a variety of specifically portioned sizes to fuel each individual’s unique lifestyle. All you need to do is heat and eat. They have a full menu with breakfast, lunch, and dinner that caters to special dietary needs, including meals that are Paleo-friendly. They also list the calorie content of different-sized portions for each item. The meals can be picked up in their store in San Diego, or shipped nationwide.
The two meals we tried were the BBQ Pulled Pork with Garlic Red Potatoes and Creamy Spinach (557 calories) and the Thai Coconut Curry Chicken (447 calories). I couldn’t believe how fresh the meals tasted after being frozen for at least a month. The Thai Curry still had vibrant flavors of cilantro and red curry paste with a coconut milk broth, and the BBQ Pulled Pork was sweet, spicy and tender, and the spinach was a fresh bright green. The medium-sized meals we sampled were the perfect dinner portion for a female about my size (5’1″, 120-125 pounds). Since our taste test, the company has added a few more Paleo options I am looking forward to trying.
Andy and I attended the Mikuni Ignite Party on Tuesday to celebrate the reopening and to get a peek of the David Garibaldi painting that was unveiled (a long mural of Michael Jackson, Elvis and Taro depicted in between the two icons).
It was interesting to hear Andy talk about visiting this location in the late 1980′s. He told me that he and a friend used to come here before there were any other Mikunis. At that time, I was living in Ohio and the only thing I knew about Sacramento was that it was the capital of California. What a difference a quarter of a century makes!
After a two-month aggressive reconstruction schedule, the interior of Mikuni Fair Oaks is completely restored with bright colors on the walls, beautiful flooring, and the sushi bar is full of fish ready to be rolled and served. The chefs and waitstaff are smiling and happy to return to work. The buffet that was put out for the Ignite Party guests to enjoy included gyoza, sashimi, tempura, sesame chicken, and numerous sushi rolls. There were even lamb chops. And you can bet those didn’t last long… especially around Andy. The food was so delicious and indicative of the great spirits of everyone in the kitchen. A cake was served at the end of the event, and Taro’s sense of humor was apparent. It said “Mikuni is on Fire!” I agree completely! Welcome back.
Mikuni Fair Oaks will offer 10% off to Koki Club members, 15% off to Mikuni Blue card holders and 20% off to Mikuni Black card holders from Wednesday, March 6th through Wednesday, March 13th at their Fair Oaks location only.*Please show your Koki Club card to take advantage of this offer. If you are not currently a member of the Mikuni Koki Club, you can join on-site.
PS: Taro Arai will be appearing at the Sacramento Food Film Festival next Friday, March 15th. Join my friend Catherine of Munchie Musings for sushi from Mikuni and Kru and then watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi after, sponsored by Mikuni .
I found Simple Squares at the Fancy Food Show last January, and they were also featured at the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo last month. The makers of Simple Squares were kind enough to send a sample package to me. I was really impressed with the quality of ingredients and the different/unique flavors. Each flavor is made with five ingredients, and they happen to be all natural and organic.
The flavor line-up includes Cinna-Clove, Coconut, Coffee, Rosemary (my favorite), and Sage. Coming soon will be Ginger. The bars are not overly sweet and actually a little bit savory. With those components, I could almost see them cut into small pieces on a cheese plate, and paired with wine as an appetizer or a dessert.
But the company’s founder Kimberly Crupi Dobbins (whom I met at the Fancy Food Show) says she developed Simple Squares after traveling extensively (42 straight days) and being advised to follow an elimination diet. Which I am sure if any of you have tried to cut wheat, sugar, and dairy from your diet and tried to have a snack at an airport or even on a plane, you know it’s pretty tough. Kimberly says, “Refusing to compromise yet recognizing the need to indulge, I set out on a mission to create great tasting and healthy snacks.”
Simple Squares are high in protein, low in sodium and sugars, contain no wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, or corn, and no refined sugar brown rice syrup, or agave nectar. Sounds perfectly Paleo to me.
Pretty Muddy is a 5k adventurous obstacle course mud run for any woman who wants to get outside, spend time with friends and have fun. It’s designed to be fun and empowering. It starts: 06/29/2013 08:00 am and lasts 8 hours. It will be held at 8181 Cucamonga Avenue, Sacramento, CA, 95826. Here’s some more details about the event:
- 5k Course (3.1 miles, run or walk)
- Women Only (sorry, guys)
- Mud (lots of it!)
- Architectural Obstacles (much better than shabby hay bales and shaky plywood)
- Pretty Epic Finish Line Party (Entertainment, music, drinks & celebration galore)
What to Wear
Wear whatever you feel comfortable exercising in, as long as you don’t mind it getting dirty.
What to Bring
- A valid ID and a signed copy of your waiver for check in.
- Change of clothes. Bring a fresh set of comfortable clothes (including shoes) to change into after your wave. Don’t forget to include a plastic bag (to stash your muddy gear), waterproof sunscreen (sunburn and mud are not a good look) and a towel to dry off. There will be plenty of bathrooms on site, showers to rinse off and private changing areas so you can get clean and enjoy the day.
- A camera. These are pretty awesome memories you’ll want to remember and share! We’ll also have professional photographers throughout the course capturing all the dirty details.
- Cash and credit cards. We’ll have a variety of food and beverages available for purchase throughout the day, along with some pretty awesome gear.
- Friends and family! We’ll have lots of places for them to cheer you on, take photos and add to the day’s excitement.
And here’s what to leave at home:
- Jewelry. We’d hate for your priceless family tiara to get lost in the mud!
- Pets. Really, who wants to drive home with a wet, muddy dog?
Got more questions? Check out our FAQs page for answers!
Runaway Stage Production’s Avenue Q Opens March 8 at New Venue
SACRAMENTO— The smash-hit Broadway musical and 2004 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Avenue Q comes to the Black Box Theatre at the West Sacramento Community Center March 8. Black Box is a new venue for Runaway Stage Productions, special to this production only. RSP has also added additional performances on Saturdays and Sundays for Avenue Q.
The Black Box Theatre offers a state of the art production venue which will improve the production values for this production: better lights, sound, restrooms, food and drink, heating & cooling, dressing rooms, etc,” RSP Producing Director and Avenue Q Director Bob Baxter said.
Avenue Q, the musical that Entertainment Weekly called “one of the funniest shows you’re likely to see,” revolves around life in New York City as told by a cast of puppets, and people, through a hilariously irreverent Tony-winning book and score.
Avenue Q tells the story of Princeton, a bright-eyed college grad who moves to NYC with big dreams and a tiny bank account. The only apartment he can afford is way out on Avenue Q, where everyone’s looking for the same things he is: a decent job, a stable relationship, and a “purpose.” Eventually, Princeton learns to embrace the ups and downs of city life and realizes that “the real world” isn’t so bad, after all!
“Avenue Q speaks to adult audiences on love, maturing, living life in the real world, and social issues in a hilarious way,” Baxter said. “The puppet characters can say and do things that humans can’t, and the audience will enjoy the puppets and listen and be open to the topics more readily. It is an innovative way to bring the ideas to the audience. Not to mention that is an extremely clever, fun and enjoyable show.”
The RSP Resident Orchestra moves with a talented cast to The West Sacramento Community Center Black Box Theatre, located at 1075 West Capitol Ave. in West Sacramento. The show runs two hours with a 15-minute intermission. Due to adult situations (like full-puppet nudity), Avenue Q may be inappropriate for kids under 13. Parental Advisory: 80% Tony-Winning Hilarity, 10% Adult Situations and 10% Foam Rubber. Avenue Q has not been authorized or approve in any manner by the Jim Henson Company or Sesame Workshop, which have no responsibility for its content.
Avenue Q performs Thursdays and Fridays at 8 .m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. 3/8-3/31, 2013. TICKETS — Opening Night – $19; Adults – $25; Seniors (60+) – $23; Students/SARTA – $21; Children (12 & under) – $18; Groups of 10+ – $19 each. Tickets can be purchased online at www.runawaystage.com (reservation convenience fees apply) or at the door. For further information or questions please call the box office at (916) 207-1226. Free parking is available.
You can find Runaway Stage Productions on Facebook here.
If you never make anything else from this website, make this recipe. It is a spin on an old recipe I used to make called “crack bread”. I call it that because it will turn you into an addict. If you don’t mind eating wheat or sugar, you can look up & make the old recipe here. If you’re ready to have an amazing Primal-friendly meal, (with way less calories) read on:
I came up with the old recipe after tasting an appetizer called Billy Blue Bread at The Owl Grill in Grass Valley. It’s still on the menu there, but since I have cut wheat and sugar from my diet, I wouldn’t dare indulge. Instead, I tweaked my old recipe to make it gluten free and so that no added sugar is necessary! I even ditched the butter in the new recipe and replaced with with an onion “jam” of sorts. There’s so much flavor in the onion “jam”, you won’t miss the butter.
Special products I used in this recipe include Extra Virgin Olive Oil (everyday variety) made by California Olive Ranch and Pamela’s Products Gluten Free Artisan Flour Blend. I’d like to thank both companies for sending me product samples. If you want to be truly primal, you can leave out the gluten-free flour blend (it contains rice), but I recommend leaving it in the recipe to help give your bread a better texture. It’s a really great product.
Primal-Friendly Gluten-Free Bleu Cheese Pecan Bread with Balsamic Reduction
Before you begin, you’ll want to line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and toast and chop your pecans so they are both ready to use. Also, if you don’t want to hassle with making a balsamic reduction, there are several you can buy to use instead.
For the Cauliflower Bread
2 heads of cauliflower
4 egg whites
1/3 cup almond meal
1/4 cup Pamela’s Products Gluten Free Artisan Flour Blend
1 Tbs California Olive Ranch Olive Oil
Prepare: Preheat oven to 375°. Cook cauliflower either by boiling it or microwaving until it is almost falling apart. Allow to cool and then place in a food processor. Pulse the cauliflower with the eggs until completely smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the almond meal, the flour blend, and salt. Stir until completely blended and spread on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in oven until golden brown and bread has set completely. (About 30 minutes). While bread is in the oven, you can prepare the onion jam.
For the Onion Jam
3 large red onions
1-2 Tbs olive oil (I used California Ranch Olive Oil)
1 tbs minced garlic
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
Slice onions and sauté in 1-2 Tbs olive oil. Add the salt. When the onions turn translucent, add the balsamic vinegar. Continue cooking slowly until onions caramelize, then add the garlic at the end. Incorporate fully until the onions are cooked. This should take about the same time the bread will take to bake. When the onions are finished, allow to cool a bit and then place them in a food processor. Pulse the mixture until it turns into a paste or “jam”. Set aside. At this point, the bread should be ready to remove from the oven. Now you’re ready to make the balsamic reduction.
For the Balsamic Reduction
2 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
In a saucepan, heat the vinegar until it is simmering and reduce it until it is the consistency of molasses. This will take about 20 minutes. You will be looking for something thick and viscous that will stick to the back of a spoon.
For the Finished Product
3/4 cup bleu cheese crumbles
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
Keep oven temperature at 375°.
Spread the onion jam over the bread, and top with 3/4 cup crumbled bleu cheese crumbles, then sprinkle the pecans over that.
Place bread back in oven, and bake for 10 minutes, allowing the cheese to melt. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Then, drizzle the reduction over the bread. Serve immediately with a big glass of merlot! Also, I really enjoy dipping the bread in the Arbequena variety of oil that California Olive Ranch makes.
OK, so I know soy and soy products are not considered paleo or primal, but I found a gluten-free, non-GMO soy sauce I love and want to tell you all about.
Little Soya meets all FDA standards for labeling as a gluten-free product. Each batch of soy sauce they produce is tested twice by separate labs to ensure our results are accurate. Also, Little Soya contains no MSG!
Little Soya also contains 45% less sodium than then leading brand on the market. Their lower sodium content makes a great salt substitute in many of your favorite recipes. Their fun, fish-shaped containers are re-sealable and recyclable!
I used Little Soya in a mixed vegetable stir fry recently and here’s how I seasoned the vegetables:
Little Soya Stir Fry:
4 cups mixed chopped vegetables
1/2 cup LIttle Soya Soy Suace
1 Tbs fresh crushed ginger
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp five spice powder
1 Tbs crushed garlic
1 Tbs honey
Combine the soy sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes, five spice powder, garlic and honey. Set aside. Heat 1-2 Tbs oil in a wok or large sauté pan and sauté vegetables until tender. Pour sauce over the vegetables and heat through. So simple and delicious!
Whole Foods Market and Cook Taste Eat, a website created by Michael Mina and fellow foodie friends dedicated to helping everyone cook and eat better, have teamed up to offer food bloggers across the Continental U.S. the opportunity to become a Cook Taste Eat TV star.
This is my entry for the contest. It’s a dessert to celebrate Cinco de Mayo using Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value™ Coconut Milk.
Chocolate & Cinnamon Pepita Butter Ice Cream with Chocolate Chunks
2 – 14 oz. cans Whole Foods Market 365 Everyday Value™ Coconut Milk (full fat, not light variety)
¼ cup + 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
3 Tbs agave nectar
2 Tbs Patron XO Cafe Dark Cocoa
For the cinnamon pepita butter:
1 1/2 cups toasted pepitas
2 Tbs coconut oil
2 Tbs agave nectar
1 Tbs cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
For the chocolate chunks:
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup coconut oil
For the ice cream: Combine all the ice cream ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse/blend until smooth and creamy. Place in a bowl and set in the freezer so that mixture will get extremely cold. Chill but do not freeze while you prepare the cinnamon pepitas butter.
For the cinnamon pepitas butter: Toast raw and unsalted pepitas in the oven on a cookie sheet until they are lightly browned. Then transfer them to a food processor and pulse until they become a grainy texture. Add the coconut oil and pulse until mixture becomes the texture of peanut butter or almond butter. Add the agave nectar, cinnamon, and salt, and blend until well combined. Set aside.
At this point you can remove the ice cream mixture from the freezer and pour it into your ice cream maker. Follow individual manufacturer’s instructions, but the mixture should start to resemble ice cream within about 20 minutes if you have an electric model. While the mixture is in the machine, you can prepare the chocolate chunks.
For the chocolate chunks: Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave and stir until fully incorporated. Chocolate will be a thin, syrupy texture. Spread on a wax paper lined baking pan and place in the freezer or refrigerator and allow to harden. Once the chocolate is firm, break it up into little chunks and set aside. Reserve a little to use as a topping when you serve the ice cream.
Once the ice cream is made, transfer it from the machine into a large bowl and set in the freezer for 10 minutes to allow it to firm a little more. After 10 minutes, remove the ice cream and stir in spoonfuls of the cinnamon pepitas butter and the chunks of chocolate. I love big chunks of ingredients in my ice cream, so a little stirring will do. Then place the ice cream back into the freezer one last time for 20-30 minutes and allow to harden. Serve with a little of the melted chocolate.
In exchange for writing this blog and tweeting a link to this blog, I received an entry into the Food Blogger to Media Star Promotion. For the Official Rules, click here.
PS: This recipe is paleo friendly and gluten free. You can use honey or stevia in place of the agave nectar. You can leave out the chocolate chunks to make it completely dairy free!
Please join me for the 25th Annual Winter Wine & Food Fest on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at the Sacramento Convention Center. Food, Wine Tasting and Silent Auction take place from 5:00 p.m.- 7:30 p.m, and the exclusive VIP Live Auction is from 7:30 p.m.- 10:00 p.m.
1,000+ people are expected to attend this exclusive event, featuring more than 100 of the best local restaurants and wineries. Guests will enjoy a live and silent auction, live entertainment and delicious food and drink from elite restaurants and wineries. Come hear the compelling stories of two Wish Ambassadors, Chris and Emily.
This year, Joe and Pat Harbison are being honored for greatly contributing to this event.
This elegant Make-A-Wish® event raises funds to grant wishes for children ages 2 and 1/2 to 18 with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich their human experience with hope, strength, and joy. All proceeds raised stay within Northeastern California and Northern Nevada chapter and make dreams a reality for our local wish children. Last year this fundraiser was able to grant 87 wishes to children.
This year, there will be more than 300 silent and super silent auction items and about 35 live auction items including the following:
Admission is $85 per person ($100 at the door) OR $185 per person ($200 at the door) for VIP tickets. No one under 21 permitted. For tickets contact Melissa Arnold at 916.692.3921 or email marnold(at)necannv.wish.org.
Hello, Sweethearts! I have compiled a few Valentine-themed events & gift ideas that l find lovely and delightful, and I would like to pass them on to you!
Casque Wines and Cupid have teamed up to create the perfect gift for your special someone. They teamed up with Chef Joe at the Flower Farm Cafe who is busy baking and decorating these delicious (and beautiful) Cake-Pops. They paired them with some of our favorite wines and added a couple of stemmed glasses for the perfect gift!This Friday, Saturday and Sunday (February 8-10), they will be offering the following special: 2 Cake-Pops, 2 Stemmed Casque Glasses, and Bottle of your Choice ~ Sauvignon Blanc, Calotte Blanc or Vermentino for only $28. The Cake-Pops will also be available individually for $1.50 each. Stop by this weekend for some Cake-Pops and Casque!
With the perfect mix of scrumptious, decadent flavor, SMIRNOFF Kissed Caramel Flavored Vodka possesses a seductive aroma to complement its smooth caramel flavor while its counterpart, SMIRNOFF Iced Cake Flavored Vodka, offers a light, sweet aroma met with a refreshing, smooth iced cake flavor.These luscious and tastefully satisfying new flavors from the world’s #1 premium vodka are sure to add a nice touch of sweet romance to anyone’s Valentine’s Day.
CUPID’S KISS: ½ oz. Smirnoff Iced Cake, ½ oz. Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, ½ oz. Chambord. Directions: Add ingredient in a shaker with ice, shake and pour into martini
glass. Add white chocolate to rim.
He loves me, he loves me not…It’s complicated. If your relationship is dark, yet spicy and complex with many layers, then Sobon Zinfandel Fiddletown is the wine for you! If you thought your relationship was complicated, this full-bodied red will have your palette changing its relationship status.
A stunning multi-faceted wine featuring intriguing aromas and flavors of spice, black currant, plum, smoky oak and a dusty-cherry component typical of the Fiddletown area. Massive and full-bodied, with an impressive, complex finish. Sustainably farmed. Thanks to Total Wine & More for the feature!
Nugget Market is pretty much a one-stop Valentine’s shop! You can pick up these truffles made my Truffle Gateau. Handmade locally, these chocolates are made with fresh ingredients and are designed to be paired with a variety of wines and cheeses.
Natural Vines are made from all natural ingredients and contain no artificial flavors or preservatives and no high fructose corn syrup — the licorice is naturally sweetened with cane sugar. Available in two flavors, Black and Strawberry. They were a big hit amongst my coworkers!
FOR THE COOK
I really dug this recipe for a Chocolate Almond Flour Beet Cake on my friend Julia’s site, The Roasted Root, so I am sharing the link with you. I encourage you to check it out here! If you need a taste tester, I’d be happy to help!
Happy Valentine’s Day to all and thanks to all the product sponsors and advertisers in this post!