Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Our Anniversary Trip to Napa!

Happy Anni to us!
38 years and "W" and I are still going strong.
So....we went to Napa to celebrate.
Actually Yountville 
Which is my new favorite town in Napa Valley.

So quaint, so accessible to anything Napa
We started by having a layover in Dallas and y'all...
I had THE BEST chicken dish in the airport that I have ever had in my life. So stick with me for a sec while I change up my original intent for this blog....
I had to come home and re-create it.

Recipe way down below
It wasn't AS good but it was pretty darn close.

The dish was called Chicken La Madeleine. There are many La Madeleine's around the country but who would have thought that there was one in the Dallas airport???
This started my gastronomical affair for the next 5 days.

Okay, back to the real intent.

Day 1 in Napa


This is one of my all time favorite wines.
Relentless and One Point Five are the best selections.
We learned SO many things about who Mr. Shafer was and how he started this winery.
He was simply amazing.
He was a text book salesman and at 49 he told his wife he wanted to quit and buy land in Napa and make wine. He had never even had a glass of wine.
This was in 1979.
The story was just incredible of how he started growing these delicious grapes and how he learned and grew through the process.

the grapes are currently in what is called "versaison" which is the magical time when the grapes turn from green to purple!

Next stop:
Cliff Lede Winery
This is one of my favorite wineries in the valley.
I love the rock and roll themed grounds, the sculptures, art, everything about it.
Oh, and Poetry Wine.
Just yum.

That night (our anniversary) we had dinner at 
The Auberge du Soleil
The view and ambience is spectacular.
Food is good, but if you are a picky eater...well, you are out of luck.
yikes! But Happy Anniversary to us!
The next morning the alarm went off at 4:30 AM so that I could fulfill one of the items on my bucket list!
Riding in a Hot Air balloon.

This is a MUST DO if you ever go to Napa.
"W" who is a pilot who doesn't like heights🤔said he would never ride in one.  He surprised me!

did I mention how great the food is in Napa?

That afternoon we kinda winged it with a trip to St. Helena.
Shoppes are so cute and just a beautiful little town.
But, this was what was SO dang funny!
We have some good friends that we don't see often enough.
"K" saw my instagram that we were out there and sent me a message that she and her hubs "T" were out there too!
They said they were doing the wine train that day.
We saw the train and I randomly just started videoing it and laughing and said "hey K and T" (I was just going to send it to them).
There they were hanging out the door of the train! 
Right on my video!
(I wish I could post the whole video because it was so stinking hilarious, random and unplanned)
So...the next night we went to dinner with them.
red wine stained teeth and all!
Gosh I love them!!!

So...on to Saturday.
We had a driver pick us up at 9:30 and take us to a few little known wineries.
The first one was super private and I'm sadly not allowed to post pics of it.  Because let me just tell you.  The view was just amazing.
It was so high up on a mountain that my ears were popping.
The next winery was one of my faves for the day.
Kelly was SO incredibly knowledgeable!
It is her parents winery and the stories she told were just fun to hear.
She truly explained wine growing and the process that this little winery goes through in such understandable terms!
I highly recommend going to see them.
By appt. only

Next up was Hourglass!
Probably the prettiest wine tasting event we had!
They first explained the soil types to us and how the different soil makes for different wine.
It was super interesting!

wine dog is real

We didn't get to visit Screaming Eagle but really....
who does?

Hourglass wine was pretty special though.

On to our last stop
So this was literally just a cave that we went into to do the tasting.
Totally random but super yummy wine!
The wine maker met us and explained his whole process.

Sadly we had to leave on Sunday but not before fulfilling my gastronomical ambition of eating at Boon Fly Cafe.
A MUST go to for breakfast....
and a Bloody Mary....

ya know, we just hadn't had enough to eat (or drink)🤪

usually at the end of Napa, all I want is Mexican, a hamburger and a Bloody Mary.

Just sayin.

My version Chicken La Madeline:

2 Skinned chicken breasts cut into strips
3 chopped green onions
basket full of Cremini mushrooms
2 smashed garlic cloves
bag of broccoli
1 cup of chicken broth
1 block of cream cheese
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
olive oil
3/4 cup of marsala
salt and pepper

Cut chicken in to strips, salt and pepper
Melt 1/2 stick of butter and a little olive oil together
Add smushed garlic, and slightly brown
Add chopped green onions
Brown all of that up real nice!
Remove and cook the chicken
Add everything back in to the skillet
Add the chicken broth and marsala
Let that get super hot and add the whipping cream
Let that cook down and add the cream cheese
Add the broccoli and let it cook for about 5 or so minutes

***if it gets too thick add more chicken broth

Instead of broccoli, use artichoke hearts or snap peas

***This recipe is also really good in a pie crust as Chicken Pot Pie!

***serve over rice

***this is a Keto friendly recipe just don't add any carbs to the mix!!!

Have a great day y'all!!!


Saturday, July 20, 2019

The Explosion Cake from Williams-Sonoma

I have wanted to make one of these yummy looking
"Explosion Cakes" 
for a while now, so while we are at the beach this week, I felt like this was the perfect opportunity to do some cooking with the kids!
We have also painted...a lot.

and beached.

and tennised.

and played.

and napped. (thank God)

Williams Sonoma sells the kit btw.


So...some of you may know this but my Ever's is really kinda like a master baker.
Let's just put it this way, she can teach us a few things.
At age 10.

Here's what cha get

It does not come with the small pans so you will have to buy those 
also. I only bought 2 because they were 20.00 each 🤪. 
Seriously. A little ridiculous.
So, because I only had two pans the cake took longer than normal.


we separated the batter in to 6 bowls

and with a little help from Catiebug dyed the batter for each layer.
We added a little more dye because we wanted the layers to be extra bright!
 *the dye is included in the mix

then we baked all of them but forgot to take pics....
And covered them to finish the next day

Off to Shunk Gulley on 30A

a little disappointed that they haven't gotten on the paper straw bandwagon.
But, they had a GREAT band playing

Back to the cake
We were up bright and early to finish.
(I promise)
We found a 2" circle (champaign) glass to cut the hole
*tip - do one at a time, lay the next layer on the bottom to use the first one as a guide so that the hole will all line up.

 like this!
and this
now for the icing

mix it all up really well.  Remember what I said about following the directions?
They are very specific.

put a dollop of icing on a rotating plate (this really really helps if you have one)
I had a rotating cheese plate
Then put down the first layer

and ice
Be sure that you don't get the icing inside the hole

and then the next one!

Icing each layer as you go being sure to line it up perfectly straight
(why the holes need to be all lined up)
you get to the final layer with the hole and then 
pour all the yummy sprinkles into the hole!

add the top layer and ice.

This is where 10 year old Ever's schooled me.
Crumb Coating the cake.
(never heard of it before😂🤪)
after I told her just to ice it she said
(my bad)
head hung low I was schooled on baking.
Sadly our hands were too messy to show how you coat the outside with the sprinkles.  But, after taking the cake out of the fridge, you finish icing completely.  Put the entire rotating pan on a large baking pan and starting from the bottom and using your hands you carefully coat the entire cake with the sprinkles.

You cut in to it and all those yummy sprinkles and stuff come billowing out!

Y'all, I highly recommend this.
It was SO SO fun,
and really good!
And easy!!!

Have a great day y'all!!!