Health Benefits of Nuts and the Ultimate Grilled Cheese

I love adding nuts to pretty much everything, including my ultimate grilled cheese sandwich. Check out my secret for always have totally melted cheese.

I absolutely love nuts, all kinds of nuts, and I put them in pretty much everything. Nuts are a healthy addition to your diet (good thing for me) and add flavor and texture. Some tout them as a healthy snack but the problem with nuts is that they are high in calories. I find it hard to control portions when I’m snacking on them so I prefer to add them to my food. I put them in salads, stir fries, frittatas, pasta, and even my favorite grilled cheese sandwich, which I call the ultimate grilled cheese. Health Benefits of Nuts I think most people have heard that nuts are “heart healthy” but they also have other benefits. Research shows that people who eat nuts tend to be leaner and less prone to some diseases compared to people who don’t eat nuts. Nuts are packed with protein and most nuts contain at…

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Wine and Food Pairing Event — Scott Harvey and Taste

The Scott Harvey Wines and Taste Restaurant wine and food pairing for wine club members and guests was a hit. Wine club membership has its privileges!

You’ve heard that membership has its privileges. Well, that is very true when it comes to wine club membership at local wineries in Gold Country. Scott Harvey Wines had its February Wine Club Release Extravaganza for wine club members and their guests this past weekend with food pairings from Taste Restaurant in Plymouth. A sign outside the winery welcomed wine club members for the wine and food pairing event. As you may know, I love my bubbly and the Jana Mendocino Blanc de Blanc is delicious. We arrived a little early and Jack poured the Blanc de Blanc for us while we waited for the food stations to finish setting up. Wine and Food Pairing We looked over the wine and food pairing menu while we waited and were eager to get started. Mark Berkner, chef and owner of Taste, kept the Fanny Bay oysters coming once the tasting began. These…

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Cooking for One — My Favorite Meal

When you are single, cooking for one can sometimes be a challenge. Here's my favorite go-to meal. It's quick, easy, with clean up that's a snap.

When you are single, cooking for one can sometimes be a challenge. Sure, I like casseroles, soups and roasts and have my freezer stocked with leftover meals, but a single person can’t cook like that every night. The freezer would be overflowing in no time. And what do you do if you forgot to start the slow cooker or even take something out to thaw? Of course, you can thaw one of your leftover meals in the microwave but what if you want something fresh and simple? When I buy chicken thighs/breasts, pork chops or salmon, I lay them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet to freeze. Once they are frozen, I seal them with my FoodSaver. I can take them out one or two at a time and they thaw pretty quickly, but I can also give them a little help thawing in the microwave if I…

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Pasta with Pumpkin Cream – Not Just for Fall!

Pasta with Pumpkin Cream, Butternut Squash and Chicken Sausage - my version of a delicious dish we had at Villa Toscano from Chef Tim Benham.

Several weeks ago, the Vineyard Vixens had a pasta dish for lunch at Villa Toscano that we all just loved. Executive Chef, Tim Benham, explained his process to us and told us the ingredients but didn’t give us any specific amounts. I played with the recipe and tweaked it until I came up with a version that I find quite yummy. I’m calling my version of this delicious dish Pasta with Pumpkin Cream, Butternut Squash and Chicken Sausage. The original dish had an even longer name! One of the ingredients of the dish is soy sauce soaked, roasted pumpkin seeds. There weren’t any on the portion I got from the buffet at Villa Toscano so I didn’t get to taste them. I thought this sounded like an odd ingredient but, what the heck, he’s the chef, right? So I made them. You just might want to make up a bunch for…

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Most Viewed Posts of 2016

A look back at 2016 and my most viewed posts of the year. There were a few surprises and some things I knew would be there.

It’s the beginning of a new year and I’ve been reflecting on the blog, looking back at old posts and setting some goals for 2017. Even though the blog hasn’t been in operation for a full year yet (my first post was published on March 7th), I thought you might be interested in knowing what my most viewed posts have been since then. 5 Most Viewed Posts of 2016 I was a little surprised that my Kodiak Canvas Truck Tent Review (September) came in fifth. This post gets most of its traffic from search engines and Pinterest. I like that a nuts and bolts review is doing so well. My most popular recipe for the year was 5-minute Microwave Fudge (December) which came in fourth. This post got a lot of views in a very short time — it has been up for less than a month. It is the quick and easy version of my Vino…

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5-Minute Microwave Fudge

Here is the microwave version of my Vino de Mocca fudge as promised. I think you'll love this quick and super easy microwave fudge.

For a while now I’ve been promising a microwave version of my Vino de Mocca fudge. I love that old-fashioned version but I learned the hard way why it is considered an “expert” level recipe. The first time I made it, it was perfect. The second time, my arms started giving out and I didn’t stir it the full length of time. It turned out like a brick! That really spurred me on to work on this microwave version. I had this 5-minute microwave fudge recipe ready a while back but I’m so glad I didn’t get the post finished until after I visited Allspicery in Sacramento. The habanero sugar I purchased there added such a special touch. This microwave fudge recipe is a version of a recipe my mom used for years — probably since microwaves were invented in 1947. Well, maybe not that long, but I had no idea that…

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Everything Nice at Allspicery

The Saucy Sisters cooking group recently took a foodie field trip to Allspicery, a new spice shop in downtown Sacramento. We were like kids in a candy store.

Recently, the Saucy Sisters cooking group took a foodie field trip to Sacramento to visit, among other places, Allspicery. When Jan, the organizer of the field trip, told me the Allspicery story, I knew I would want to tell you about it. As a cook, I enjoy experimenting with herbs and spices. I used to buy my herbs and spices in bulk online which can be a great money saver but isn’t all that great an idea unless you cook a LOT! Herbs and spices don’t really go “bad,” they just lose potency. Some people recommend replacing them every six months but 2-3 years for ground spices and 1-2 years for dried herbs is more realistic. I have to admit, lots of my spices have been hanging around for many years and I still use them. That’s why I concentrated on the things I don’t have when we went to Allspicery. Allspicery Allspicery…

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It’s All In My Head! – Food, Wine and Travel

A preview of what's coming on the blog in food, wine and travel - a field trip to Allspicery, some wine tasting and a couple of terrific recipes.

It seems I’ve been on a bit of an unintended hiatus from the blog. I’ve been so busy doing research, photograpy and coming up with ideas for content that I haven’t had (taken) the time to write it down. Now I have so many things in my head it is almost overwhelming but I will start getting it written! Here are some of the things I’m working on in food, wine and travel that you can expect to see on the blog in the next few weeks. When I wrote about my Wine Lovers Vino de Mocha Fudge, I promised an easy, microwave version. I’ve made several batches, including one I took to Thanksgiving dinner, and am very happy with the results. I’m also making a batch of it to add to a gift basket for the Motherlode Newcomers’ Christmas luncheon coming up on December 1st. Every month at our luncheon, the Newcomers raffle off baskets or other…

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