3.2.1 Quote Me! — Honesty & Trust

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Rules: 3.2.1 Quote Me!

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I have been nominated for the Truth & Honesty Award by my friend over at

Bottomless Coffee 007.

I love this blog.  It is always so thought provoking and it definitely makes me think about things.  I am honored and flattered.  Thank you, thank you.

One quote I say, all the time, which has become my signature quote is “Cool Beans!” I  say this many times throughout the day, especially when I am excited about something.  Something else I say on a regular basis is “Be yourself.  No matter what, always be yourself and be true to who you are”.  There are no specific times or days when I say either of these.  They are just part of who I am and what I believe.

My nominations go to ….  They are always going to tell it like it is and keep it real.

  1. Goldie over at floatinggold

 

 

Sol for the Soul

One of my favorite things to do while traveling is to visit new places.  I love to find unique and special places to eat, shop and enjoy the local ways of life.  Going to chain restaurants or shops are fine when you are at home and want something familiar, although, even at home I try my best to not frequent chain restaurants or stores to often either.  But when I travel, I absolutely refuse to eat at a chain restaurant if I have any other choices available to me.  I do my best to support small, local businesses and artists as much as possible.  One such local find and gem was Cafe Sol, located in downtown Grand Junction, at 420 Main Street.  The food at Cafe Sol is all fresh and made from scratch daily.  They have an open kitchen that features the foods they prepare fresh for your viewing.  You actually get to see the foods they are preparing for you as they prepare them.  Their goal is “to serve fresh, wholesome foods to customers who are searching for something unique”.  They are very “passionate about sourcing local, organic and high quality ingredients” to serve their patrons.  Cafe Sol offers a good selection of foods that are accommodating to all palettes.  They offer a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes as well as foods to satisfy the meat-eaters too.  A trip to Grand Junction should most definitely include at least one trip to Cafe Sol as well.

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Fresh ingredients prepared for you as you wait.  You can see exactly what is being prepared and how.

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So many choices.  What to choose, what to choose.

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We all shared a piece of this fabulous green chili cornbread.  They tempted us by having it right out in front where we ordered.  We couldn’t resist, and we are glad we didn’t.  it was so moist and fluffy and absolutely delicious.

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We all ordered something unique and different.  Everything was scrumptious!  Traci ordered the Dutch pancake with bananas, walnuts and peanut butter.

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Taryn’s salad with eggs and avocado toast was definitely a feast.  By the time she had finished eating, it barely looked like she had even touched her food.

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Larry opted for a more traditional breakfast burrito, that was grilled to perfection.

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I am always up for new ideas, so it was eggs and cornbread with green chili for me.  Who knew this could be so good?!

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Our fabulous feast.  Brunch is served.  Time to eat.

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*** You can learn more about Cafe sol by checking out their website at http://www.cafesolgj.com

 

The Fruits of Palisade

Palisade, Colorado is an agricultural mecca for the state.  It is nestled in the Grand Valley Region of the Western Slope, just outside of Grand Junction, along the Colorado River.  It boasts of having 300+ days of sunshine and a growing season of about 180 days per year.  There is a wide variety of crops grown in Palisade, but it is really famous for two specific crops; peaches Peaches from Palisade and wine grapes.

About 75% of the acreage in Palisade is devoted to growing Colorado’s premium wine grape vineyards.  The most prevalent grapes grown in the region are chardonnay, merlot, sauvingon blanc and cabernet sauvignon, although there are other varietals produced there as well.  Grape growing for wines has been around the Palisade area since 1890.  When European immigrants settled into the Grand Valley Region, they brought their winemaking traditions and viticulture skills with them.  They produced wines in the region until the times of prohibition, which started in 1916 in Colorado, four years earlier than for the rest of the United States. This unfortunately abruptly ended winemaking in Colorado until 1968.  In 1968, a Denver dentist by the name of Dr. Gerald Ivancie, with the help of aspiring winemaker Warren Winiarski, from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, founded the first modern winery in Colorado in Dr. Ivancie’s cellar.  Dr. Ivancie and Mr. Winiarski were the driving forces behind reintroducing winemaking into the Grand River Region of Palisade and Grand Junction in the 1970’s.  The first bottle of wine made solely with Colorado grapes was produced by Jim and Ann Seewald in 1978.  This was history in the making, and grapes and Colorado wines were put on the maps for a place to try up and coming wines from thence forward.  Today, in the best of growing conditions, Colorado’s vineyards produce anywhere from 2.5 -3.5 tons per of grapes per acre.  Most other wine regions of the world produce 4-5 tons per acre.  Every year tough, more and more Colorado wineries appear and more and more Colorado wines are being produced.  We are catching up to the rest of the wine world.  Watch out world, here we come!

A trip to the Grand River Region of both Grand Junction and Palisade would not be complete without at least a couple of stops to some of the local wineries.  We honored the grape growing tradition by stopping in at two of the region’s oldest wineries.  We definitely enjoyed the fruits of their vines, and of course, had to bring some home for later as well.  Our first winery of the region was Ptarmigan Vineyards, which is owned By Stoney Mesa Winery, in nearby Cedaredge, CO.   We stopped at Ptarmigan Vineyards before meeting with our friends Traci and Taryn, when we first arrived in Grand Junction.  All the wines were delicious, but I really enjoyed the Rojo del Mesa.  It was a rich and velvety red blend that was very smooth on the palette and will pair very nicely with a good, hearty steak.

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Here I am toasting with our Hostess and owner, Betty, with a taste of the Rojo del Mesa.

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The Ptarmigan Vineyards with a view of the valley.

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Our second winery was The Grand River Vineyards.  We stopped there as we started our homeward bound trek, at the end of our stay.  “Grand River Vineyards planted their first grapes in 1987 and bottled their first wine in 1990.”  Grande River is still considered a boutique winery, but is quickly growing.  Depending on how well Mother Nature cooperates, Grande River Vineyards produce a wide selection of award winning wines, numbering between “5,000-7,000 cases of wine each year using 100% Colorado grown grapes”.

Larry and I inside the barrel room at Grande River Vineyards.

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Some of the vineyards nestled at the food of the mesa.

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Again, all the wines at Grande River were very good and very tasty.  Of course, I had my favorites there too.  My favorites at Grande River were the Lavande Vin Blanc (lavender white wine, infused with hints of lavender); the Viogner, hosting hints of honeysuckle, peaches, pineapple and nectarines; and the Malbec, which had the taste and aromas of cherries, plums and berries.

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I also purchased a jar of some Palisade peach jam.  I just couldn’t resist.  After all, I love my peaches too and the peaches from Palisade are beyond comparison.  They are the best peaches I have ever tasted.

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You can learn more about both Ptarmigan Vineyards and Grand River Vineyards by checking out their websites.

 

***Ptarmigan Vineyards can be reached at http://www.visitgrandjunction.com/…/ptarmiganvineyards

 

Grand River Vineyards can be reached at granderiverwines.com.

National Drink Wine Day-Feb 18

This is my new FAVORITE day of the year! WHOOOOO HOOOOO!!!!!! 🙂

e-Quips

wine--monk sneaking a drinkNational Drink Wine Day is celebrated annually on February 18 across the United States.

The purpose of National Drink Wine Day is to spread the love and health benefits of wine.  Wine has played an important role in history, religion and relationships.  We embrace the positive benefits of wine such as new friends, reduced risk of heart disease and the enhancement of food and life.

Bottle of wine, fruit of the vine, when you going to let me get sober?

Red, red wine, goes to my head,
Makes me forget that I
Still need you so

You come on like a dream, peaches and cream
Lips like strawberry wine 
You’re sixteen, you’re beautiful and you’re mine

A Taste of Honey by Tom Jones
“…honey, much sweeter than wine”
Best of My Love by the Eagles
“wasting our time on cheap talk and wine, left us so little to give”

All…

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Make It Pretty

Presentation isn’t everything, but it sure does go a long way.   We “taste” with our eyes long before we actually taste things on the tongue.  If something looks pretty, we already have a preconceived notion that it will taste good too, just by looking at it.   Often times, though, we all know that looks can be deceiving, and just because something looks really pretty and appealing, it is not always the case.  Years ago, long before I went to culinary school, I was working at a public relations firm in San Francisco, CA.  Most of our clients were food clients, and we had our own test kitchen at the firm.  A large part of our job was to create recipes and present them in an appealing way in order to promote them.  One of my teammates was getting married and we had a bridal shower for her.  Our boss bought this absolutely beautiful cake for the party, and I had made a cake from one of our clients’ recipes to bring along as well.  Sadly while I was traveling to the party, the cake shifted all around and got slightly mushed and wasn’t nearly as pretty as I would have liked it to be.  After seeing the beautiful cake my boss had bought, I was very embarrassed to bring in the cake I had made, because let’s face it, it looked nothing at all like the beautiful “professionally made” cake did, and in fact, it was kind a sad little thing in comparison.  However, after a lot of prodding and convincing, I eventually brought the cake in to share with the group.  Even though, it didn’t look quite so pretty, everyone said it was a much better cake than the “professional cake”.  The bride to be was very touched that I had made her a cake from scratch for her special day too.  This was a very valuable lesson to me.  Ever since then, I have always said that no matter what it looks like on the on the outside, the most important ingredient to go into any dish or recipe is  love.  If something is made with love, it will always be better than something that is not.  However, if you can make it pretty too, then that recipe will definitely be a winner all the way around.

This past weekend, my husband and I went out to Grand Junction, CO, to meet up with some friends who were there too.  I did not have any time to make anything special, and we were having our house sitter come stay with us so she could get used to the routine for all our fur babies.  I bought a Boston cream pie, which would have been totally fine all on its own, but it looked, and therefore tasted, so much better after I added a few personal touches to it to make it really stand out.

The plain version of a store bought Boston cream pie.

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I quickly whipped up some whipped cream and sliced some strawberries.

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Elizabeth did some quality control and approved of the whipped cream.

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And voila!  Dessert was served.

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Thoughts of Food

I will be out of town this weekend, and therefore will not be posting anything on my blog for a few days.  But have no fear, I won’t be gone for too long.  So in the mean time, I will once again leave you with some thoughts of food from those in the know.

 

Serve the dinner backward, do anything – but for goodness sake, do something weird.

~ Elsa Maxwell ~

Gossip Columnist from The New York, “Herald Tribune”, 1963

 

The qualities of an exceptional cook are akin to those of a successful tightrope walker; an abiding passion for the task, courage to go out on a limb and an impeccable sense of balance.

~ Bryan Miller ~

Food Critic, New York Times, 2/23/1983

 

My kitchen is a mystical place, a kind of temple for me.  It is a place where the surfaces seem to have significance, where the sounds and odors carry meaning that transfers from the past and bridges to the future.

 

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~ Pearl Bailey ~

 

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Sir, respect your dinner:  Idolize it, enjoy it properly.  you will be many hour in the week, many weeks in the year, and many years in your life happier if you do.

~ William Makepeace Thackeray , 1811-1863 ~

 

 

Green Chili Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto over Pasta

Yesterday, I left you with a teaser.   I showed you how to make the sun-dried tomato pesto,  Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto but only showed you the sauce.  Today, I will give you the whole meal deal.  We love sausages of all kinds and eat them fairly regularly, in a variety of different ways.  Sometimes sausages just hit the spot.  I often serve sausages and pasta together.  They are a perfect combination.   And that is exactly how I served it last night, with the sun-dried tomato pesto, some garlic cheese bread and a fruity Pinot Noir from Carhartt Winery, in Los Olivos, California, sent to me by my best friend, Andrea, as a delicious birthday present.  (My birthday was last week).  Pasta is probably one of the most versatile dishes around.  I love pasta and can eat it all the time.  You can serve it with any type of sauce and any type of toppings, with or without meat, hot or cold, and you can even serve it as a dessert.  You just can’t go wrong with pasta.

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So I already gave you the recipe for the spicy sun-dried tomato pesto.  I made that ahead of time, then cooked everything else and combined it all together for a delicious, yet simple meal.  There is no right or wrong way to prepare this meal.  You can use any vegetables you like to enhance the meal as well.  You can also use any type of sausage or chicken as well.  We love mushrooms, and use them in a lot of our meals.  We also love tomatoes of kinds, as well as onions.  Mushrooms, yellow tomatoes and red onions were what I added to the sauce to give us a few extra vegetables and a bit more color and texture to the meal.  Saute the mushrooms and onion slices in olive oil, adding salt & pepper to taste, and cook until the onions are translucent and soft and the mushrooms are done, about 5 minutes or so.  Cook the sausages.  You can grill them or pan fry them.   We do both.

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When the vegetables are done, add the sun-dried tomato pesto sauce and the yellow tomatoes.  Mix everything together and cook just long enough to heat the sauce.  Add the sausage and top with chopped cilantro.  Easy-peasy!  Dinner is served.

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My best friend, whom I have know since I was in 7th grade sent me these two great wines for my birthday.  One was a delicious Pinot Gris and the other was a mouth-watering Pinot Noir.  These wines are from Carhartt Winery, in Los Olivos, California.

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**** You can find out more about Carhartt winery and many other California wineries by clicking onto the website.  https://californiawineryadvisor.com/winery/carhartt-vineyard

A vote sante!