Archive for December, 2016

Sweet & Spicy Nuts

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

For Christmas this year I made several versions of Sweet & Spicy Nuts and they were a big hit. The original recipe is here.

I made 3 different versions. In two versions, I used a prepared curry powder because I discovered that I did not have any cumin. One of those batches I made spicy with some extra cayenne pepper. I really liked this version.

The third version I made was vegan. I used coconut oil in place of butter, and for spices I added similar spices I used for the Golden Milk recipe (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric, black pepper). I also added a couple of tablespoons of unsweetened shredded coconut to the nuts before adding the syrup and baking.

Sweet, spicy, crunchy, and delicious!

Sweet, spicy, crunchy, and delicious! Bonus – they’re super easy to make, too!

These will make a wonderful New Year’s Eve snack, too. Why not prepare a batch today?

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

Here’s wishing you a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve. Please remember to be safe out there. Please remember that if you are out and about, you don’t need to drive if you have been drinking. Click here for some available options for safe transportation.

Training Ride #1 2017 Napa Valley Tour de Cure

Friday, December 30th, 2016

Today was officially Training Ride #1 for my 2017 Napa Valley Tour de Cure. My friend Phil also volunteers for the American Diabetes Association Napa Valley Tour de Cure and will be riding the 50-mile route this year. My friend, and Phil’s lovely fiancee, Desiree, will be riding the 25-mile route. Check out this ride – there are routes for all levels of cyclists. It’s a really well supported ride and is a fundraiser for a great cause.

I am really bad at this selfie thing ...

I am really bad at this selfie thing …

Phil and I did a quick Vacaville loop and then I explored a little more. I decided to see how I would do again on Gates Canyon Road. This is a wonderful training hill – it gets a bit steep in some places, but then it levels out and gives plenty of stretches for recovery time.

Gates Canyon Road

Gates Canyon Road

It feels good to be back in the saddle again!

Here’s hoping you had a great day and got some good cycling in.

Ginger & Orange Roasted Carrots

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

This year’s Christmas menu had a few new items for me. Normally I am not a fan of cooked carrots, but these were really good.

Ginger & Orange Glazed Roasted Carrots

I used a festive combination of orange, yellow, and maroon carrots.

Clean, peel, and cut about 6 medium to large carrots into 1/4-inch slices. Peel and coarsely mince a 3 to 4-inch piece of fresh ginger. Combine the carrots and ginger with the zest of one orange, a splash of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place them in a single layer in a roasting pan or baking dish. Roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, or until they’re slightly caramelized and tender.

You can prepare them a day ahead and let them marinate overnight. 

The roasting will bring out the natural sweetness in the carrots, but if you like this a bit sweeter, then you can add a touch of honey or maple syrup before roasting.

Finally – A Ride!

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Today is the first day of my vacation that I’m feeling up to riding. I picked up a cold and have had a bit of a residual cough. Bah humbug!

It was a lovely day for a ride and much warmer than I anticipated. I rode (slowly!) out to Winters and logged just over 53 miles.

122816-ride-5

Pleasants Valley Road

Lake Solano Park

Lake Solano Park

Lagoon Valley Park

Lagoon Valley Park

I am looking forward to riding again tomorrow!

 

 

Christmas Eve Adventure

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Christmas Eve I was treated to a private flight over the Napa Valley. It was so much fun!! Flying out of Davis I got to see from the air many of the roads I have cycled on for years. It was awesome!

Christmas Eve Flight

Christmas Eve Flight

My friend let me use his camera to take pictures. Here are a few …

Pre-flight view. Look at that sky - nary a cloud.

Pre-flight view. Look at that sky – nary a cloud.

You can see Sacramento in the distance!

You can see Sacramento in the distance!

Just another cool scene headed out of Davis ...

Just another cool scene headed out of Davis …

I am pretty sure that is the Bay Bridge!

I am pretty sure that is the Bay Bridge!

Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa

Lake Berryessa Dam  - see that windy road to the right? I have cycled that a time or two.

Lake Berryessa Dam – I have cycled that windy road on the right a time or two.

Almost back to Davis ... luckily in time to avoid these clouds.

Almost back to Davis … luckily in time to avoid these clouds.

I am hoping to get to do this again!

Easiest Veggie Dip Ever!

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

This is so easy, but tastes surprisingly decadent. Stir together non-fat plain Greek yogurt and a few grinds of Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning. Cover and refrigerate overnight. This would also be great in place of sour cream on a baked potato.

Fresh vegetables - heirloom  tomatoes*, celery, maroon carrots, and fennel.

Fresh vegetables – heirloom tomatoes*, celery, maroon carrots, and fennel.

*Yes, I know that tomato is a fruit, but it’s wonderful on a “veggie” platter.

Non-fat Greek yogurt is high in protein, calcium-rich, and can be a great substitute for sour cream.

Mushroom Risotto

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

This mushroom risotto was the main dish for Christmas dinner this year. Based on this recipe, I modified it just a bit. I added a lot more mushrooms (probably double and added oyster mushrooms to the mix), added a little smoked Gouda cheese with the Parmesan cheese, and I forgot to get flat leaf parsley. Otherwise, I followed the recipe pretty closely. I did double the original recipe, which turned out to not be necessary because the serving size was pretty generous. The recipe below is not doubled, so it will make about 6 servings. Be sure to allow about an hour for total prep (25) and cooking time (35) and do remember the parsley!

Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms

Fresh Shiitake Mushrooms

Fresh Oyster Mushrooms

Fresh Oyster Mushrooms

Fresh Crimini Mushrooms

Fresh Crimini Mushrooms

Mushroom Risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 shallot, minced
about 6 ounces each: fresh shiitake, oyster, and crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 3/4 cup Arborio rice
1 1/4 cups dry white wine (Pinot Grigio would be a good choice)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
salt & pepper to taste
1 quart hot vegetable stock
3/8 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/8 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese (or cut into very small chunks)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

Make sure to assemble all of your ingredients before starting. Once you add the liquid to the rice, you’ll need to stir constantly, so have everything ready to go.

Remember to heat the stock and keep it hot and close by for when it’s time to add it! Make sure you’ve got some hot water available, too, in case you need it to finish cooking the rice.

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the crimini mushrooms and cook a few minutes, then add the shiitake, cooking a few minutes more. Add the oyster mushrooms last (they’re the most delicate). Stir frequently and cook until the mushrooms just begin to brown. Stir in 2 tablespoons of butter and the Arborio rice. Stir to coat the rice well. Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms are golden brown.

Add the wine and cook until it’s evaporated, stirring constantly. Season with thyme, salt, and pepper.

Reduce heat to medium low and begin adding the hot stock. Add about 1/3 of the stock, stirring until it’s evaporated. Repeat with the remaining stock. Each addition will take about 7 minutes of stirring.

Continue stirring until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy. You might need to add a little hot water at this step and continue cooking until the rice is tender.

Stir in the cheeses and flat parsley. Serve immediately.

Mushroom Risotto ... warm, creamy, rich, and satisfying!

Mushroom Risotto … warm, creamy, rich, and satisfying!

I hope your holidays have been merry and bright, filled with family, friends, and a heaping dose of joy. Now, let’s get to some cycling – the weather is beautiful out there today. If you’re out and about today in Northern California, be sure to layer up – it is chilly out there!

 

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

Here’s hoping everyone has a warm, wonderful, Merry Christmas!

I love polar bears!

I love polar bears!

Of course my tree is filled with bicycle ornaments!

Of course my tree is filled with bicycle ornaments!

... and more bicycle ornaments!

… and more bicycle ornaments!

... and a little bling!

… and a little bling!

Sorry for the really poor quality photos … taken with my phone.

Merry Christmas! Time to get ready for company. I’m cooking for friends and am so grateful. I hope to get some really good photos of the food and will post those when I can.

 

Napa Hiking … Nice Day!

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

I had a really nice day yesterday – hiking in Skyline Wilderness Park in Napa, California and a late lunch that turned into an early dinner at the Oxbow Public Market in Napa. I was like a kid in a candy store! There were some fun shops there that I hope to explore in more detail another visit.

Skyline Wilderness Park

Skyline Wilderness Park

Hope you are all having a wonderful day!