“Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is a friend for life.” Daniel Handler
I was sitting down my husband having a hot cup of coffee, steam was still rising from the top of my mug that says “Greatest Mom”, and then I remembered…I told the kids I would make some fresh, hot, cinnamon rolls. Well, luckily, I purchased some Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls from the grocery store the other day.
I leaped out of my French Country chair with the woven sea grass, and took a few splinters in my rear for getting up so fast. I ran across the cold tile with my bare feet to the fridge. Ahhh, a life saver, in tube form…the cinnamon rolls, just needed to be popped open, and put in a cast iron skillet, ya know, for a home made look. LOL!
I pop them in the oven that is 400 degrees, and mix about 4 teaspoons of cinnamon to 4 teaspoons of “sugar in the raw”, and add that to the top. Not everyone in the family likes the frosting that comes with the Pillsbury tube. They came out of the oven perfectly fluffy, and invigorating the whole house with the smell of cinnamon. The look of them in the cast iron skillet is such a bonus.
Yes, the kids were happy, and so was my husband.
“Branding is the process of connecting good strategy with good creativity” Marty Neumeier
One of the biggest aspects of branding is making sure that people are aware that you exist. This has been an issue for a long time, but we are working hard to change all that by getting out there, and engaging with people that enjoy wine.
Recently, I was at our 2nd annual charity dinner. All of us on the Pleasant Valley Wine Trail, host a dinner at Hartley Farms. We hired Trumpet Vine Catering, and we were very pleased with their food. We pair the foods with the wine, and sell tickets for people to join us “Under the Estella Sky”. We then gave our money to the Pleasant Valley School, so they could have computer equipment. Here are some photos of our shenanigans after the party…
Then, I was off to Petaluma for a Polo Match, and pouring wine…
Pouring wine in Pismo…
Pouring wine in Fresno for Wine and Wishes…
This next month, is full of pouring at more events, and meeting more people. We love being out there and engaging with an audience that enjoys wines!
I have some small scale reverse glass paintings by R. Moretti that I just adore.
Both are rural Italian scenes, a farm house in the background. I used to having these little gems beside my bed, when we lived in the city. I’m guessing they made a subconscious impact on us, since now we are people that have a town and country life. With all the heavy clads it reminds me of the end of summer, and beginning of the autumn is looming in the horizon.
I love how the artist made use of the light just breaking through the clouds, and the detail is amazing for such a small painting. One has touches of orange, indicating the poppies that are still in bloom. The other has a creek with a waterfall, with light bouncing on the rocks. I just love how paintings take us out of existence in this time and space, then transports us to another location. Well, of course, you have to be willing to use your imagination.
“Family love is messy, clinging, and of an annoying and repetitive pattern, like bad wallpaper.” P. J. O’Rourke.
The other day, my daughter and I had a wonderful day together. She’s a senior in high school. It was a special day at school when the parents go to Liturgy, then the seniors are dismissed to spend the rest of the day with their parents. My husband couldn’t attend, since we are harvesting our grapes. She and I went to Barnes and Nobel, we are avid readers, and then went to eat. When we were eating she asked me “Do you miss our house in Oakland?” I answered…I miss the memories that we created. She told me that she missed the way the sun came into the front room, and the time we would spend in that room just reading together. We then remembered the Bradbury and Bradbury ceiling paper story that always makes us laugh. I believe it would make anyone laugh.
It took us years to get our house to be the gem that it was before we sold it. We had reconstruction done to our house, and that was so labor intensive for all of us. Then after the contractors went away, it was time for us to do all the finish work, and one of those projects was the ceiling paper for our living room. This would be the room where the family would gather for conversations and reading.
We ordered our Bradbury and Bradbury paper, and it doesn’t come precut, or at least at the time, it didn’t. You have to do all the trimming for the paper yourself or hire a professional. It is also paper that is hung using a clay. The paper sat in the large tubes until it was time for Roberto to take his winter vacation. The anticipation of the paper going on the ceiling was intense.
Roberto broke out several saw horses, and made himself a cutting space. After all that was done, he was ready for me to help him. He had two ladders, one for me at the back of the room, and his ladder was near the clay. The paper was folded according style as we gently put up section by section. I was in charge of holding it while he made sure all the bubbles were out of the paper. Success! We had the first section up, only 12 more to go. The first section took so long, and the kids were young, so they had questions to ask…which made the whole process seem longer.
We were on section 2, and I was holding the accordion piece with one hand and holding the paper with the other. Sabrina came into the living room, and told me something that was funny, but Roberto told me “Stop moving, you’re going to rip the expensive paper.” I told Sabrina, I would be in the family room once we finished this section. My arms were shaking from keeping them up in the air for so long. All the sudden, almost the whole part that we just put up on the ceiling peeled away, and drooped to the floor. Roberto was pissed. He walked over to the five gallon buck and picked it up, then slammed in on the floor in frustration. At the same time his glasses slipped off his face, and fell into the bucket of mud. I just busted out laughing so hard. I couldn’t stop laughing. He grabbed his glasses and took off to the kitchen where I could hear him laughing too. Then the kids came into the kitchen saw his glasses and laughter filled the house.
I got down from the ladder, and he told me; “We need to figure out a better way of getting the paper on the ceiling.” We all took a break together, and then he told me to stay out of the living room. He had an idea…I was replaced by a ladder and a cardboard box! LOL!!
“Jazz does not belong to one race or culture, but is a gift that America has given the world.” Ahmad Alaadeen
Just a few weeks ago I attended the San Jose Jazz Festival, and it rocked! I was pouring wine in the “Blues” section, and other were pouring our wine in the VIP section. Here is my booth…
I was just so excited to be a part of the festival, and the city was just buzzing with energy. Since I was a vendor, I got to go behind the scenes, you could feel the city waking up…
This was the longest amount of time that I had ever spent in San Jose, and I loved it. Additionally, I visited the San Jose Museum of Art, St. Joseph Basilica, and did some people watching at a cafe.
One of the most exciting aspects of the whole trip was going to the Mayor’s Brunch, and he even thanked us at the brunch. A view from the rooftop at Scott’s Seafood, and the crowd coming in that day.
We donated 25 cases to San Jose Jazz Festival, and all the pours that were sold went to the festival, so we were happy to help.
“…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?” Vincent Van Gogh
One of my favorite artists (of our modern age), that paints scenes of nature, is Fawn Mc Neill, she see’s and transfers her vision on canvas so beautifully. I unfortunately, only own one of her paintings, but it is one that I see everyday.
I love flowers, and this is perfect to see first thing in the morning to remind me that it’s going to be a great day. Fresh cut flowers die, but flowers on canvas life for eternity. I life the face that she add the leaves of the flower as contrast to the stark pink. It’s magnificent!
“If the way of the sage is true, that we are all dreaming our world into being, then it has to apply not only to our private, personal universe but to the world at large.”
When I go out to feed the animals everyday the aroma of sage hangs in the air. It is that smell that lured us back every weekend to find the right property when we were on our search for the piece of property that would be our dream destination.
Honesty, there are those days that I want to just throw up my hands and surrender, but the smell of sage reminds me…”you knew this was going to be tough, so you got to just hang in there.” Ironically, the sage plant is the only thing growing when all the other grass is dead. It is the thing that perceivers, and emits a fragrance that is intoxicating to me. It is my signal to keep moving forward, keep my head up, and everything will work out the way it is supposed to work.
Food is not just fuel. Food is about family, food is about community, food is about identity. And we nourish all those things when we eat well. Michael Pollan
Magical Mashed Potatoes
5 lbs of potatoes 4 ounces of butter, 2 cups of milk, teaspoon of salt
Potato ricer, and a mixer
Peel the potatoes, and cut them into small pieces, cover them with water, and start to boil. Add a teaspoon of salt to your water. Once the potatoes are boiling, check them with a fork to see how if they are soft. Drain the water off the potatoes, and in the mixing bowl add the 4 ounces of butter.
Spoon out the potatoes to the ricer, and push the potatoes through the ricer into the mixing bowl. Continue until you are finished. Add about 2 cups of milk, you may need a little more or a little less, it depends on how fluffy or pureed you prefer your potatoes.
Stop buying your bread crumbs! When your bread is starting to lose it’s freshness, leave it out so it can become dry. If you have a food processor, put the pieces of bread in there, and store your bread crumbs in a container or plastic bag. What are you going to need?
Chicken, 3 cups of bread crumbs, 1 cup olive oil, spices and herbs you like, use at least a teaspoon of each, Italian Parsley, Oregano, Basil, Cumin, Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Tarragon, Sage and Rosemary are our favorites, but you can add what you like. Three bowls are needed, and a cookie sheet.
Preheat your oven to 450, wash your chicken and put it in a big bowl, Your going to need three bowls. One bowl for your chicken, one bowl for olive oil, and one bowl is going to have the fine breadcrumbs and all your herbs and spiced mixed together.
Give your chicken a bath in the olive oil, and then your going to roll the piece of chicken in the bread crumbs. Add each piece to the cookie sheet.
It takes about 30 minutes to bake your chicken. Make sure they are crispy and brown before you take them out of the oven. The naked ones I have in the oven are ones I save for lunches. They are just given a olive oil bath, and herbs and spices.