Five Great Wineries in the Umpqua Valley

Five Great Wineries in the Umpqua Valley

This week’s Friday happy hour post is a bit different from my normal cocktail post.  This week, I’d like to introduce you to my favorite wine region in all of Oregon – the Umpqua Valley.  When people think about Oregon’s wine scene, they most often think of the vineyards and wine makers in the Willamette Valley and those in Hood River.  The Willamette Valley is known for its amazing Pinot Noir grapes, which are, without a doubt amazing. However, if…

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Must Have Canning Cookbooks

Must Have Canning Cookbooks

Canning and preserving is one of my favorite cooking activities, which is why I want to share my must have canning cookbooks list with you.  I first learned how to can from my mom.  Many years ago, when I was an early teen, she and I went out to a farm, probably in some way out place like Brighton, Colorado, and bought pickling cucumbers and peaches.  These stand out in my mind because that Christmas, we had our own canned…

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Ravioli Day Roundup

Ravioli Day Roundup

It’s National Ravioli Day!  I get so excited about ravioli, it’s kind of ridiculous.  There’s just something so lovely about filling wrapped in dough.  Ravioli is particularly special, as it works so well with some of the best sauces out there (I’m thinking Alfredo, marinara, tomato sauce with vodka…you get the idea).  Did you know that the first written mention of ravioli occurred in the 14th century in Venice in the personal letters of a merchant?  Ravioli wasn’t served with…

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The Storm Cocktail

The Storm Cocktail

The Storm Cocktail is my homage to X-Men, which is the focus of this month’s Fandom Foodies.  So here’s the long story of how I came to be inspired this month to make The Storm Cocktail.  First off, this cocktail is inspired by the X-Men character, Storm.  So you might wonder, why Storm?  (Ok, you might not wonder, but I’m going to tell you anyway, which is where the long story comes into it). Many years ago, I lived in…

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Mini Strawberry Chocolate Galettes

Mini Strawberry Chocolate Galettes

The February/March Cook the Books reading selection, Dinner with Edward, inspired my mini strawberry chocolate galettes.  Dinner with Edward, by Isabel Vincent, is a charmer.  It’s a quick read, filled to the brim with amazing food stories, menus, and inspiration.  But the heart of the book is the relationship between Edward, a retired gentleman whose wife recently died, and Isabel, a younger woman who goes through major life upheaval in the course of the book.  It’s a book about friendship…

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Freezer Friendly Tropical Turmeric Smoothies

Freezer Friendly Tropical Turmeric Smoothies

Freezer friendly tropical turmeric smoothies blend the lush taste of mango, coconut, pineapple, and strawberry with just a hint of ginger and turmeric for a perfect breakfast or lunch pick me up.  Best yet, they can be made ahead of time (on the weekend during meal prep) and tucked away in half pint jars in the freezer. It’s been awhile since I’ve made smoothies. For a period of time, it was a weekly affair – I’d even you-pick my way…

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Creating the Perfect Spanish Gin and Tonic

Creating the Perfect Spanish Gin and Tonic

Can we all do a collective sigh of relief that it’s Friday and there’s time for creating the perfect Spanish Gin and Tonic?  My week started off with snow.  That’s right – snow, again, in Oregon, in March.  I usually spend one or two days each month around the Oregon capital in Salem, and I’ve been waiting and waiting for the daffodils around the capital mall to open.  I’d been so hopeful that they’d be blooming already, but no – they…

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Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Red Wine Chocolate Cake

Today is my 41st birthday, so I made myself a red wine chocolate cake to celebrate.  There’s a back-story here. Last year, I turned forty.  For months prior to this milestone, I’d contemplated baking myself a fancy cake to celebrate.  I’d just started blogging the year before, and I envisioned a perfect blog post with a beautiful cake. I’d also envisioned having a tapas party and cooking great food with friends. Sometimes fate has other plans: what I really did…

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Freezer Egg, Potato and Bacon Burritos

Freezer Egg, Potato and Bacon Burritos

This month, for Food ‘N Flix, I’m sharing freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos. I was inspired this month by the movie The Martian.  And while potatoes might have been an obvious one for this movie, I couldn’t resist, since they are without a doubt one of my favorite foods.  A favorite story definitely deserves a favorite food. So in case you haven’t seen or read The Martian, it is, in short, an amazing story about the possibilities and beauty of science….

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Dirty Lemon Martini

Dirty Lemon Martini

I’ve had martinis on my mind lately, which explains this Dirty Lemon Martini.  I’ve found a new podcast that I absolutely love called Martinis and Murder.  The best part is that every episode starts with a martini recipe, which I guess makes the fact that the rest of the podcast is all about true crime a little easier to swallow.  The hosts, Daryn Carp and John Thrasher, are very funny and very engaging.  It helps, too, that their producer Matt…

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