Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

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Recipes from the 1st Annual Ladies Holiday Party and Gluten Free Cookie Exchange Sponsored by Challenge Butter and Bob’s Red Mill

cookie plate copy
Special thanks to the suppliers of our ingredients for the First Annual Ladies Holiday Party and Gluten Free Cookie Exchange: Challenge Butter and Bob’s Red Mill.  As you can see above, our ladies put together quite a spread with your line of products.

Challenge Butter sent all baking attendees coupons for their butter and new cream cheese products. Bob’s Red Mill sent 4 packages of coconut, almond and hazelnut flours our way as well. We used these products to make and share the following cookie recipes (I’ll also be sharing other treat and savory recipes using Challenge and Bob’s Red Mill products throughout 2015 as well!):

Grain Free “Oatmeal” Chocolate Chip Cookies

shiloh
Ingredients
1/4 cup Challenge Butter
1 large egg at room temperature
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill almond flour
2 Tbs Bob’s Red Mill coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp finely ground flax seeds
3/4 cup finely shredded coconut
1/2 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips

Procedure
Preheat oven to 350°F
Place the Challenge Butter and the egg in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream for 1 minute on high. If you don’t have a stand mixer you can use an electric hand mixer.
Add the honey and vanilla and mix for another minute.
Place the cinnamon, nutmeg, Bob’s Red Mill flours, baking soda, salt, and flax seeds in a small bowl and stir to combine.
Slowly add the dry ingredients


Gluten-Free Orange-Cinnamon Lace Cookies

susan

Ingredients
1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill almond flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoons grated orange rind (zest)
5 tablespoons unsalted Challenge Butter
1/3 cup Pyure Organic Stevia
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon orange extract, optional
melted dark chocolate for drizzling, optional

Procedure
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.

In a small bowl mix together the flours, salt, cinnamon, and orange zest until well blended.

Combine the Challenge Butter, Pyure Organic Stevia, and honey in a medium saucepan set over low heat. Stir until the butter melts and the stevia dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and bring just to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat.

Stir in the dry ingredients into the pan, followed by the orange extract.

Drop the batter onto the prepared baking sheet by teaspoonfuls, spacing the spoonfuls 4″ apart from one another. Bake no more than six cookies on a pan.

Bake the cookies for 7 to 9 minutes, until they’re an even golden brown. Transfer the cookies, on their parchment or foil, to a rack, and let them rest until they’re completely cool and crisp.

Bake succeeding batches while the first batch is cooling.

Once the cookies are completely cool, drizzle them with melted dark chocolate, if desired.


Caramel Date Thumbprints

kristy

cookies
Cookie Base
Ingredients
1 1/4 cups pecan halves
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill almond flour
1 1/3 cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped plump Medjool dates
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks unsalted Challenge butter, softened
¾ cup Pyure Organic Stevia
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Procedure
Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor. Remove dough from food processor and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour to firm up the dough. You can also place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to speed up the process.
Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Shape cookies into little balls and press your thumb into them to make a deep impression. Bake at 350°F until they are golden brown. Take out the cookies and carefully (as the cookies are still hot) press them back down in the center to make sure the impressions are deep enough to hold the caramel date filling.

Caramel Date Filling
Ingredients
20 medjool dates soaked in hot water and drained
2 Tbs Challenge Butter
sea salt to taste
2 tsp vanilla extract
Procedure
Pulse in a food processor until the filling becomes a caramel texture.
When cookies have cooled, use a pastry bag to fill them with the caramel.

Chocolate Drizzle
Ingredients
2 cups chocolate (chips or semisweet)
2 Tbs coconut oil
Procedure
Melt the chocolate and the coconut oil in the microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring in between. When chocolate is melted, drizzle it over the finished cookies and set aside to dry.


Thanks again to Challenge Butter and Bob’s Red Mill for their awesome product supplies. You can find them on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here. You can find Bob’s Red Mill on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.

If you would like to sponsor the 2015 Ladies Holiday Party and Gluten Free Cookie Exchange, you can contact me here. I am looking for wine sponsors, gluten free cookie ingredients, catered items for guests, and goodie bag items for attendees.


12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: Tickets to the Zinfandel Experience

If you’re reading this, it’s actually AFTER Christmas now and I am late in bringing you my twelfth Christmas pick. Oops. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. If you are still looking for gift ideas, you’ve come to the right place. Maybe the gift you chose was a big fail and you need something completely different. I am here to help!

But first, a special shout out to Esther Price Candy in Dayton, Ohio. I ordered a one pound box of assorted chocolates for Andy and an eight ounce sugar free box for myself a few weeks ago to arrive in time for Christmas. Esther Price is Andy’s favorite candy and I order it for him as a special treat every year just for Christmas. Unfortunately, the box from Esther Price turned up missing at the UPS store. (Even though someone had signed for them at the store on the 19th of December, they were gone by them time Andy came to pick them up.)

I contacted Esther Price and they took very good care of me. They immediately shipped out a replacement order next day air with no charge to me! It was around 1pm on Monday the 23rd when I called about my missing package). By the next day (the 24th) at around 1pm UPS arrived with the candy. So very awesome!! Thank you for your great service, Esther Price. We got the candy just in time for Christmas! :) You can find Esther Price on Facebook here.

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Now for day 12 of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: Tickets to the Zinfandel Experience.

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The Zinfandel Experience features four festive, celebratory events over three days and offers a diverse selection of Zinfandel wines and styles from renowned producers and emerging wineries. The events also showcase Zinfandel producers’ spirit of collaboration and community. Set at the historic Presidio overlooking the San Francisco Bay and the iconic Four Seasons Hotel, the Zinfandel Experience is the largest single varietal tasting of its kind, bringing together top producers and wine lovers to celebrate America’s grape.

Over 100 ZAP producer members will participate in the 2015 Zinfandel Experience. Thirty-four winemakers will participate in Epicuria on Thursday, January 29 at the Golden Gate Club, Presidio of San Francisco. Over 30 winemakers will host tables at the Zinfandel Experience Dinner and Live and Silent Auctions on Friday, January 30, 2015 at the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco. Over 100 winemakers will participate in The Tasting at the Golden Gate Club and the Film Centre, Presidio of San Francisco Saturday, January 31, 2015.

A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, ZAP was founded in 1991 at a time when Zinfandel was the underdog with a cause. A small group of passionate winemaking pioneers and Zinfandel lovers joined to create a movement that would elevate the understanding and status of Zinfandel wine – rightfully establishing it among the premier varietals of the world.

Attending 2015 Zinfandel Experience is more than going to a fun and lively wine tasting event. It’s also about making deeper connections with others who love Zinfandel as much as you do. It’s about introducing your friends to a meaningful part of your life. And it’s about discovering new ways of bringing Zinfandel’s magic into the world.

Click here for more information on the event line up and ticket pricing.

You can find ZAP on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here. The official hashtag for the 2015 Zinfandel Experience is ‪#‎ZinEx.


12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: Piatti eGiftcards

It was a very hectic weekend over at cavegrrl.com headquarters, so I apologize for no gift idea yesterday. I will make up for this with two blog posts today and two gift ideas (day eight and day nine of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover).

I’ll begin with Day eight’s idea: eGiftcards from Piatti Ristorante and Bar. The best thing about this gift idea is that you don’t even have to get in your car to buy one. You can complete your transaction entirely online and the eGiftcard is delivered immediately into the recipient’s email inbox. You can personalize it and choose your own design like this:

egiftcard

Then with that they can buy a meal that looks as incredible (and Primal friendly!) as this:

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The eGiftcard is the easiest and most convenient way to treat friends and family with the gift of dining at all Piatti locations:
Northern California: Mill Valley, Danville, Sacramento, & Santa Clara
Southern California: La Jolla
Washington: Seattle
Colorado: Denver
Texas: San Antonio: The Quarry

You can purchase a Piatti eGiftcard here.

You can find Piatti Sacramento on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here. Tune in later today for day nine of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! Cheers :)


12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: Amoretti Master Sampler Pack

sample package
Are you feeling lucky? Because it’s day number seven and time for another one of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine lover!

Today’s pick is the Master Sampler Pack from Amoretti®.

The Amoretti Master Sampler Pack contains twelve 50ml bottles of Amoretti’s most popular products, broken down into four sampler packs containing three 50ml bottles each.

One sampler 3-pack contains a 50ml bottle of Amoretti Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil infused with the natural flavor and aroma of kalamata olives, a 50ml bottle of Amoretti Aged Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar and a bottle both, blended into a vinaigrette. These bottles are perfect to take with you to work and jazz up your lunch, or to pack along for travel.

The next sampler 3-pack contains 50ml sample bottles of Amoretti’s most popular creamy syrups—Crema di Vanilla, Crema di Hazelnut and Crema di Caramel. If you are Paleo/Primal, you can keep these in the house for guests to use in their coffee! :)

Another sampler 3-pack contains 50ml sample bottles of each of 3 of Amoretti’s most popular sugar free flavors, French Vanilla, Hazelnut, and Caramel with half the calories and carbohydrates of our regular syrups. YAY sugar free! Amoretti actually has a proprietary flavor extraction process that produces a sugar free formulation without the addition of artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners, so I will be using these in my own coffee and sugar free desserts!

The last sampler pack contains a 50ml sample bottle of each of Amoretti’s Organolicious Agave Nectar, Organolicious Blood Orange Flavored Agave Nectar, and Organolicious French Vanilla Flavored Agave Nectar. Agave nectar is a natural sweetener, extracted from the blue agave plant, a succulent plant from Southern Mexico resembling aloe vera. It has all the sweetness and natural flavor of sugar, but with a low glycemic index number.
51vExnSqYzL._SS520_I added a little of the Amoretti French Vanilla Flavored Agave Nectar to my caramel date paste for some cookies I am making tonight for my 1st Annual Gluten Free Cookie Exchange. It was such a flavorful addition. I really loved it!

You can buy the sampler pack here. Bonus: FREE shipping if you happen to have Amazon Prime.

You can find Amoretti on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

Hope you’ll come back tomorrow for day eight of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! Cheers!


12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: jcoco Chocolate Bars Gift Set

jcoco
It’s day two of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover and my second Christmas selection is this gift set of chocolate bars from jcoco chocolate.

jcoco chocolate is a remarkable new line of American couture chocolate. Like fashion’s haute couture, jcoco draws inspiration from cultures across the globe to create a fresh, contemporary style.

Their line of flavors include: On Dasher! On Ginger!, Peanut Strawberry Baobab (like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich dipped in chocolate), Black Fig Pistachio, Vanuatu Coconut Pecan, Edamame Sea Salt, Agave Quinoa Sesame, Cayenne Veracruz Orange and Noble Dark.

jcoco sent me the three bars you see above to sample and though my favorite of the three was the Noble Dark (72% couverture chocolate with Casa Luker cocoa nibs from Colombia), the most Christmassy flavor was On Dasher! On Ginger, a bar with pieces of candied ginger and a hint of allspice (below).

ginger bar
What I really liked about the packaging of the bars is that each package has three individually wrapped 1 oz bars. This makes it perfect to open a package, take one bar out for yourself, and share the other two in the package with your besties. :) I hope you’ll check back tomorrow for day three of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! Cheers!

packaging
You can order jcoco directly from their website here. You can follow jcoco on Facebook here or follow them on Twitter here.


12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover: SIMI’s Landslide Cabernet Sauvignon

With twelve days remaining until Christmas, I thought I would count down until the big day by bringing you a dozen holiday gifts for the food and wine lover.

I’ll kick off the festivities with day one’s selection: A bottle of 2011 SIMI Landslide Vineyard Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

We enjoyed this wine while at our home in Incline Village a few weeks ago, and we paired it with filet mignon, Andy’s wilted chard, some sweet potato medallions and a salad. It’s always so fun to be up there relaxing in front of the fire and enjoying dinner on the giant wooden table.

The recently released SIMI Landslide Cabernet Sauvignon is a food friendly Cabernet blend: 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec, & 1% Tannat. It is 100% oak-aged for 24 months in French oak barrels, 56% new. It has aging potential, but the tannins are soft enough that the wine can also be enjoyed at your holiday event in the next few weeks.

simi cabernet
SIMI Winery was founded in 1876 by Giuseppe and Pietro Simi. They were brothers who had originally traveled from Tuscany, Italy, to California for the Gold Rush (didn’t pan out so much for them). ;) Instead, they ended up selling fruits and vegetables in the North Beach area of San Francisco. Eventually they bought grapes from the Healdsburg area and decided to make wine in their house. The wine making went a little better than the gold finding, so they then moved to Healdsburg in 1890 to expand their growing and wine production, and bought land with a winery already on the property.

In 1904, both brothers passed away from Spanish flu, leaving the winery to Giuseppe’s 18 year old daughter Isabelle. During prohibition, SIMI Winery survived by making alter wine and wine sold for medicinal purposes. They also shelved 500,000 cases of wine during this time and in 1933 when prohibition ended, lots of thirsty customers flocked to SIMI. I can only imagine!

In 1934, Isabelle designed and opened the current tasting room (fashioned from a 25,000 gallon cask that was installed in front of the winery.

By 1970, Isabelle sold the winery to Russell and BJ Green, but kept a position in the tasting room for many years. Russell and BJ updated the wine making facility and hired MaryAnn Graf in 1973. MaryAnn was the first female enology graduate in the United States. In 1979, Zelma Long became the wine maker at SIMI. Zelma just happened to be the country’s second female enology graduate.

The Landslide Vineyard in the Alexander Valley was purchased in 1982. The Landslide name comes from a series of earthquakes and landslides which occurred in the area. The vineyard has an interesting amalgamation of soils that have shifted from the uplands, midlands and lowlands and is now home to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot that make up the Landslide Cabernet.

Here’s a photo of the full dinner we paired with the wine. Highly recommended! I hope you’ll check back tomorrow for day two of my 12 Days of Christmas Picks for the Food and Wine Lover! Cheers!

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You can find SIMI on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter here.

 


Gluten Free Menu Shines at Siino’s Pizza, Pasta and Grill in Lincoln

outdoor shot
A few weeks ago, Andy and I visited a restaurant in Lincoln called Siino’s Pizza, Pasta & Grill. We were originally going to sample the gluten free pizzas as a part of National Pizza Month in October, but instead we decided to go with other items on the gluten free menu.

Siino’s story began in February 2011, when Annalisa Siino opened the doors of her first restaurant as a franchisee. When Annalisa took over, the restaurant was an Original Pete’s, and in just three years Annalisa turned it into her own community establishment and gave it her own name: Siino’s Pizza, Pasta & Grill. The rebranding took place in May of 2014.

Siino’s concept is to partner with local growers and feature their produce/products within the new menu. The menu also includes baked goods from Divine Desserts in Loomis, and hand-crafted brews from Loomis Basin Brewing Company & Roseville Brewing Company.

But back to that great gluten free menu. I am not sure of the inspiration for that, but I was pleased to see a restaurant with a whole section of their menu devoted to gluten free items. Patrons can order pizza, burgers and pasta sans gluten.

Gluten Free Menu
Siino’s also has a succinct and approachable wine list and an even more impressive beer selection. They offer a happy hour from 2-5pm, and an all day happy hour on Mondays, with a $1 off pints and $2 off wine by the glass. Then there is Wine Wednesday, that involves half off bottles and $2 off glasses of wine. Sign me up for that! :)

We chose a bottle of 2011 Chateau St. Jean Merlot, because of its versatility. We decided within a few minutes of looking at the food menu, we were going to both order a burger, so this wine was appropriate.

merlot
Our “appetizer” was a salad— the Balsamic Chicken salad. The salad was composed of mixed lettuce with grilled chicken, julienned salami and mozzarella cheese, red onions, roasted bell peppers and pepperoncinis. It was served with balsamic vinaigrette (easily ordered on the side). Another note: the picture below depicts half of the serving. The kitchen staff kindly split the salad between the two of us.

salad

I loved the local touch on the menu of the Zebra Burger (lovingly named after the Lincoln High School mascot), so I ordered it. It came topped with pepper jack cheese, sliced avocado, applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo and a spicy brown mustard.

Zebra burger

Andy ordered Siino’s Mushroom Burger with sautéed red onions and mushrooms topped with melted Swiss cheese. I actually liked this burger more than the Zebra burger. The mushrooms and the Swiss cheese were an incredible combination. We both enjoyed sweet potato fries with our burgers. Sweet potato fries were a nice touch and an interesting alternative to regular fries.

mushroom burger
Siino’s has many great characteristics as a restaurant: a very local gem, family friendly, great beer selection, fun wine list, lots of gluten free options, and I did not mention this previously, but the service at the restaurant was also very good. My only suggestion is for Siino’s to incorporate some local wineries into their wine list, since they are already using local purveyors for their produce.

Thanks to the servers and management team at Siino’s for a fun Friday evening. You can find Siino’s Pizza, Pasta & Grill on Facebook here and on twitter here.


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