Women Traveling Alone — Are You One of Them?

I marvel at the brave women traveling alone in foreighn countries. These days, I'm more interested in exploring what my local region has to offer.

As a single, female, 60 something, baby boomer, and with the state of the world, I’m no longer comfortable with the idea of overseas travel, especially as a woman traveling alone. Perhaps some of you feel the same way. I read lots of travel blogs, mostly written by young millennials. Some are women traveling alone in remote places and I marvel at their bravery and sense of adventure. I’m OK with traveling alone in the US. In fact, this past spring I took a 10-day road trip, with just my cat for company, to a pet blogging conference in Phoenix. I stopped in Orange County in both directions and had a great time in spite of planned meetups with friends not working out. In January, I’ll be going to Texas to visit my Dad and help him celebrate his 95th birthday. I haven’t seen him in three years so I’m pretty excited…

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Awe Inspiring Giant Sequoias in Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Did you know that the giant sequoias are the largest living thing to ever have existed on earth? You can visit them at several locations in Gold Country.

Seeing the giant coastal redwoods (sequoia sempervirens) has always been on my bucket list. You would think that someone who has lived most of her life in California would have checked that item off her list after all these years. Somehow, I have never made it there even though I made many trips over the years from Southern California to Northern California. I had no idea when I moved to Pine Grove that I would be barely more than an hour drive from the coastal redwoods’ relative, the giant sequoias (sequoiadendron giganteum). In fact, I didn’t even know they had relatives. The giant sequoias, also knows as sierra redwoods, are the largest living thing ever to exist on earth! That statement alone just blows me away. The coastal redwoods grow taller but the giant sequoias are more massive. They date back over 180 million years to the age of the dinosaurs and can live 3,000 years.…

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Schmitz 24 BRIX Wines and Barrel Cellar Tasting Room

Schmitz 24 BRIX Wines Tasting Room is relatively new to the Shenandoah Valley. All their wines are highly rated with the Winemaker's Blend the most popular.

24 BRIX is a relatively new kid in the Shenandoah Valley. We watched over a period of weeks this past year as the old antique store on Highway 49 in Plymouth was transformed into the Schmitz 24 BRIX Barrel Cellar Tasting Room. When the Vineyard Vixens visited, we got a warm welcome from the owner and winemaker himself, Paul Schmitz. The 24 BRIX Vineyards I love learning new things about wine and winemaking when I go wine tasting. The name of the winery comes from the fact that they harvest their grapes when the sugar content is at or close to 24 brix (brix is a measure of the sugar content of an aqueous solution). They feel this natural sugar level is the optimal ripeness for the fruit and dramatically influences the quality and taste. 24 BRIX wines have no commercial yeast added. The grapes are fermented using naturally occurring vineyard yeast. The…

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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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Don’t Throw Out Your Sourdough Starter – Dutch Baby Pancakes

Instead of throwing out your sourdough starter when you feed it, try these moist, creamy Dutch baby pancakes. They are great for any meal and dessert!

I enjoy each and every one of my Saucy Sisters meetings but when I learned that we were going to be doing sourdough I was kind of excited. I haven’t done sourdough since I was in my 20s. Hmm, is that a theme? So many things I haven’t done since I was a young woman that I’m starting to reconnect with. Anyway, as I was saying, I was pretty excited about our sourdough meeting. I first started doing sourdough after a trip to San Francisco and bringing home a San Francisco sourdough starter kit. Like most things I do, I jumped into it with both feet, and started making sourdough bread almost weekly. And then I remembered why I quit doing sourdough. In order for your starter to be ready for you to use, your container has to sit out on the counter and you have to feed your starter daily. As someone on another…

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Sutter Creek Chili Cook-off & Car Show

The Saucy Sisters had stiff competition at the 2016 Great Sutter Creek Chili Cook-off and Car Show. Do you think we won again this year?

I love that there are so many local fairs and festivals in Gold Country. My October pick was the Great Sutter Creek Chili Cook-off and Car Show. This annual event is always held on the second Saturday in October so you might want to mark your calendar now for October 8, 2017! This event is so much fun and is family friendly. Main Street is shut down for the day. One end is filled with booths of competitors in the chili and salsa competition. At the other end of the street, you can lay eyes on more than 100 classic cars and hot rods. I’m not much into cars but I did have a few favorites. In between the two, you’ll find some other fun activities and vendors. If you come for the chili, just $6 gets you get a bowl and spoon so you can sample chili until your…

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