So picture this: I work in Roseville (as a graphic designer/life saver) from 8:30am-5pm, and last Wednesday Andy and I have to be at a Kings Pre-season game by 7:00pm. Factor in a 30 minute commute time, and 10-15 minutes to get to the game from my house, and there’s pretty much NO TIME to cook and have a meal before we go.
Enter National Pizza Month and zpizza! They have a gluten free menu and salads suitable for a busy person like me.
All I had to do was call them ahead of time and let them know I wanted to pick up my order just a little after 5:00pm. I browsed their website, and chose what looked interesting to me. I thought their website was fantastic at showing what and was not available in gluten free. All you have to do is check a little box in the upper right hand corner, and the gluten free items remain listed, while the gluten items are grayed out. See?
So two items on the menu immediately caught my eye, beginning with the Arugula Salad! The salad has cucumbers, caramelized onions, parmesan cheese, candied walnuts and guess what? Arugula! Sold! I added on some avocado and chicken breast for an extra charge.
The other menu item that grabbed my attention was the gluten free Italian pizza with artichoke hearts, tomatoes, ham, basil, pesto (yes!!) mozzarella cheese, and black olives. At first I was worried I didn’t order enough food, but as we ate, we both got really full. I guess we’re not used to having a treat as nice as pizza––even the gluten free variety––and any kind of dough is really filling. I had 3 pieces and it was so gooood. The crust was great and really crispy on the edges. The pesto was terrific and I only wish I had ordered extra on the side to dip the crust in! The crust had a nice buttery flavor and even a sort of flakey texture. I am glad I have Andy to eat the other 5 pieces, because I would have demolished them for sure! ;)
Now, onto the wine we had with dinner! :)
Andy brought over 2 different wines to have with dinner. The white wine he brought was a 2012 Chardonnay from Mercy Vineyards. The second wine he brought (yep, I am pretty lucky to have such premium wines with a take out dinner!!) was a Cinsaut from Miner’s Leap which is produced from 127 year-old vines in Clarksburg!
Andy said he chose the wine pairing to resist the traditional “pizza wines” like sangiovese or chianti, because this pizza had pesto on it and really lent itself to a lighter style of wine. Enter the Chardonnay from Mercy––a less oakey more fruit forward wine, but still a Chardonnay lover’s wine, and the Pinot Noir mimicky Cinsaut from Miner’s Leap. Try either of these two and you’ll just think wow.
Kind of too fancy for pizza, but hey, gluten free zpizza is pretty fancy–especially before a Sacramento Kings game, so OK I’ll take it. :)
PS: The Kings won the game against the Toronto Raptors, 113-106! :)
Just look at that line up! Those bottles of Cakebread Cellars were the wines featured at Sienna Restaurant’s latest wine dinner last Thursday.
Andy and I were excited to attend this dinner because we are big fans of Cakebread, especially their Reserve Chardonnay.
Pictured below is the menu for the evening, kudos to chef Moses Hernandez at Sienna for making our dinner gluten free!!
We started with the 2013 Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc paired with a Scallop and Tiger Prawn Ceviche over cabbage and a mixed vegetable slaw with red chile and blue corn chips. This dish was the best pairing for a Sauvignon Blanc, as it was citrusy, light and refreshing, just as the wine was. And I was a hungry lady after a semi-stressful day at work. Andy remarked that he was transported to Mexico by this dish. Good thing we’re going in November! :)
The second course was a Seared Chilean Sea Bass with Forbidden Rice, Soy Poached Bok Choy, Lemongrass Broth & Thai gremolata. It was paired with a 2012 Napa Valley Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay.
I was so happy to have had this as the second course, as I love Thai food and this was certainly a Thai inspired dish. Again, really refreshing and just amazingly good. The broth was so flavorful, and the rice was cooked perfectly. We had some wine left from the previous course and it went with the Sauvignon Blanc just as well.
The third course was a Roasted New York Steak with Sauteéd Fingerling Potatoes, Citrus Swiss Chard, Pomegranate Molasses, and Roquefort Blue Cheese butter. It was paired with a 2011 Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
This was the course that made Sienna as a restaurant really shine. Not only was the steak cooked perfectly along with the accoutrements. I want to comment for a moment on the service and attention to detail I witnessed at Sienna. First, one of the servers halted service of this course for Andy and me. They were not sure if we had been served the gluten-free plates or not. Now, that was highly appreciated, because although we do not have a gluten allergy, maybe someone who requested a gluten free meal might have. The staff at Sienna made sure we were delivered the correct entreés.
Another comment is that special attention to detail was given in handling the wine, as it was going to be pretty tight tannin-wise. The bar staff at Sienna took the time to both aerate the wine and then decant it long before dinner guests arrived, so that it would give its best showing.
And the wine was pretty phenomenal to both of us, and pretty much put a spell on Andy. He loved the Cabernet so much, that he ordered a case. I am pretty excited about that, because I benefit. I get to taste the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon as it matures and develops. Softens and becomes even more magnificent. I think he said we are going to open a bottle every 6 months. Don’t be jealous, maybe you’ll get an invite for dinner to share. ;)
Then, it was on to the last course. The dessert course. Sienna made sure to adjust ours so that it was gluten free as well. It was a Peanut Butter Mousse, topped with Whipped Cream and chopped Peanut Butter Cups. It was paired with a 2012 Red Hills Lake County Cakebread Cellars Zinfandel that to be quite honest, longed to be paired with the prior course. No matter. I gave Andy all but two tastes of my dessert and I enjoyed the Zinfandel pretty much as my dessert. It was spectacular. :)
I could pretty much sum this dinner up as pure bliss. It was a beautiful evening under the stars with like minded people. All food and wine lovers like Andy and myself. I want to thank the team at Sienna for making this an incredible evening for all of the guests. No detail was spared and I am pretty sure no one left hungry or the slightest bit unhappy. We’ll certainly be back to enjoy dinner when we come to retrieve the case of Cakebread Cabernet, but we’ll also save the date for your upcoming dinner on October 2nd with Jordan Cellars.
PS: Sienna also does a Monday night Wine and Dine, it’s 3 courses paired with wine for $35 per person. Hook yourselves up by clicking here! Guess what… it’s Monday, you should totally go NOWWWW!!!
OK, that’s the yummy wrap for tonight. I’ll have more Farm to Fork Wine Dinner coverage later this week! Cheers!! :)
OK, I know it’s the end of a four-day weekend for most of us, so I have a little giveaway planned to make the work comeback sting a little less! By the way, I am actually starting a new job today, so I am just thankful to have work again after a 3 1/2 month hiatus. ;)
Today, I would like to share with you a new snack item sent to me by Setton Farms: Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites. It’s got two of my very favorite ingredients: pistachios and cranberries. The pistachios used in the Chewy Bites are grown right in the heart of California’s central valley (San Joaquin), and Setton attends to each detail of growing, harvesting, processing the pistachios.
Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites provide healthy snack lovers the amazing benefits of pistachios, cranberries and agave nectar in a delicious bite size bar. Pistachio Chewy Bites are heart healthy, 100% all natural, gluten and dairy free, low in sodium, GMO free, vegan and a great protein snack on the go. They also have no cholesterol, zero trans-fat and are a good source of dietary fiber. Each bar is about 100 calories. They’re also great before or after a race!
Do you want to try Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites for FREE? Enter to win a 16-pack bag by clicking the link below!
You can find Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites on Facebook here.
LUNA is graciously sponsoring this Gluten-Free LUNA Protein Bars Giveaway through my website/Facebook page! You can enter to win 3 boxes (36 bars) of your favorite flavors shipped directly to your door!
Also, you can enter to win a stocked vending machine in your office loaded with LUNA Protein bars (for 6 months!!) over on their Facebook page here.
Last December, I accepted a position with a PR firm in downtown Sacramento. It was one of the happiest days of my professional life. I had dreamed of working there for such a long time. Finally, it seemed I would be able to make decent money, pay my parents the remainder of what they loaned me a few years ago, pay down credit cards, pay off my school loan and most of all, fix up my condominium which despite being livable, was still quite dilapidated from being flooded two summers ago.
I hit the ground running, working on formatting a proposal that would be a key factor in the company’s win of a bid to do business with a certain Department of the State of California. I was in the office quite a lot (leading up to and right after Christmas) working 9-10 hours a day, making sure my work was accurate and completed by the designated deadlines.
To meet my deadlines and take time to check my work, I would often work through standard lunchtimes (when everyone else would go out to eat). I did this for many reasons: 1. I didn’t eat out for lunch because it saved me a ton of money. 2. I got a lot more work done when there were fewer interruptions and less noise. 3. I don’t really eat lunch, so why would I start going out for lunch?
Of course, just to be social and to get to know my coworkers a little more, I made it a point (especially in the beginning) to go with “the team” for lunch once a week (usually on Fridays, despite the fact I really couldn’t afford the extra $50-60 a month to do so). It was then I discovered I got along better with the guys on my “team”. It seemed like I was always sitting across from the women in my department. Still, I tried to be friendly towards them (despite my almost painful shyness), and I tried not to think about it too much. I just wanted to fit in.
I’m not sure what happened after the holiday, other than when I was asked about my diet, I responded that I had cut out flour, sugar, and most daily since March of 2011. I have to also say that other than on this website, I really don’t talk about Paleo that much (unless I am asked). I really don’t care what anyone else eats. Really, I don’t. Like any normal office setting, (especially a PR company) it was typical for the break room to be wallpapered with bagels, muffins, donuts, cookies, et cetera (if it had wheat in it was on the table). There was always an excuse for constant eating. And pressure to eat constantly. It was always someone’s birthday or anniversary, or a client that was coming in (so we had to have food for them), or a client that brought something in for us.
I was not there to eat, I was there to work. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE to eat. I just like to eat after my work is done. And, I would rather eat with my loved one. I don’t like to cram in errands and a sandwich in my mush in a hour time frame. In January, I treated my coworkers with some fun food samples from the Fancy Food Show, and again in February, I brought in a slew more from the Gluten Free Expo. And, I wasn’t really there to make friends, though I did respect my colleagues and definitely wanted them to like me. But, again, I was there to work and make money.
The donut and cake food frenzy continued past the holidays and I would always say “No, thank you.” or “None for me, thanks.” Maybe it was just too weird for people in the office. I could feel the awkwardness at times, but tried to overlook it. Besides, I thought I was safe because the HR department had set an appointment with me to receive benefits, and they had just placed me in the Business Journal’s People on the Move Section on January 24th! I was a PART of this company! I felt comfortable enough to wear some different hairstyles around the office, and I finally let my condition (alopecia) be known to a few people in the office. So, looking back, I’m not sure if it was my diet or my baldness that did me in…
Or maybe it was the day I went down to the second floor to get information on choosing medical, eye and dental insurance as well as other benefits in the human resources office, and I was accidentally handed a spreadsheet with a list of all the company employees (including the partners) and their salaries on it. I have to admit I stared at the sheet a few minutes before I even realized what it was… then I handed the paper back to the HR person and said, “I don’t think you intended for me to have this.” Yes, I am sure that didn’t help my cause either.
Then, on Valentine’s Day, Andy sent me a card about the size of Vermont, and a dozen red roses from Relles. I don’t think it helped my popularity either, but it sure did make me feel special. It’s so important in life to have a supportive partner. Especially when eating a certain way. And, especially when I lost a job I loved and worked so hard for, just short of three months after it started. On the day after Valentine’s Day, I was called down to the Human Resources office around mid-morning. My department director and the HR director were seated in her office. Within minutes, I was being escorted out. I was shocked and scared. Most of all, I didn’t know how I was going to tell Andy. I didn’t want him to be disappointed in me or think ill of me. My heart ached for explanation, and all they would tell me was, “It just wasn’t a good fit.” They must’ve really wanted rid of me because she practically walked me through how I could apply for unemployment that very morning and “it would be no problem” getting it. Huh?
So, I’ll never really know what it was. I am pretty certain one of the women in my department had it out for me (simply because she didn’t like me) and complained until I was gone. But I do know this: I was judged by my lifestyle and rubbed out. And maybe it was just everything combined about me that made me an outcast. And, sometimes people just suck.
I was never going to write about any of this because I was too embarrassed and to be honest, it’s still rather painful to think about (and actually pretty messed up that something like this could happen). That being said, I believe everything happens for a reason…LOL, though I am still trying to figure out what The Man upstairs has in store for me next. When LUNA contacted me about their latest promotion and the gluten-free bars, telling my latest debacle became somewhat dutiful.
Since gluten free snacking at work can be such a challenge (especially if people think you’re a freak for not eating wheat), LUNA wants to help you practice healthy workplace snacking with the “Feed Your Strength…At Work!” Facebook contest. Through June 30th, visit LUNA’s Facebook page and share how your office practices healthy habits and you’ll be entered to win a stocked vending machine full of delicious LUNA snacks including LUNA Protein- a great gluten free snack option that comes in five delicious flavors (Chocolate, Chocolate Cherry Almond, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookie Dough and Mint Chocolate Chip) and has 12 grams of filling protein per serving so that you can do your best at work. The bars are quite delicious, however, they do not protect you from a knife in your back! ;) My favorite is the Cookie Dough, as I have been on quite the cookie dough crack habit lately.
Two winners will receive:
1. A vending machine at their workplace stocked with LUNA bars for six months.
2. Six nutrition sessions with a LUNA nutritionist.
This week, you can enter to win 3 boxes of LUNA Protein bars, any flavor of your choice. Click here to enter the giveaway!!
Note: I realize that LUNA Protein bars are not Paleo, but I support healthier gluten-free products that would be of particular interest to athletes (especially runners).
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!