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Give Us The Gold

“Nothing is impossible. With so many people saying it couldn’t be done, all it takes is an imagination” Michael Phelps

We have been giving everything we have to the winery. San Marcos Creek Vineyard and Winery has not even been known to the people of the county of San Luis Obispo. We have attended events, entered contests, given blood sweat and tears to every single day.

We finally got a little pay off from this journey when we entered the Los Angles International Wine Competition. We got 2 gold medals!! We scored a 95 out of 100 points, and Best in Class. Our Cabernet Sauvignon has been described as velvety smooth, fruit forward with dusty tannins.

Here is our bottle wearing her hardware…IMG_9635

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Templeton Farmers Market

“The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.” John F. Kennedy

Recently, I was at the Templeton Farmers Market. I loved seeing all the farmers there selling what they grow on their farm. I haven’t got to the point that I can sell my wares at a Farmers Market, but I did have our wine there to taste for that day.

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Before I actually set up, I was walking around the outside of the perimeter of the park. When I look at the prices of items that are for sale, I just can’t believe that the prices were pretty on par with super market prices.

 

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The Groves on 41

I met Jennifer when I first came down here to SLO county. She is one of the warmest most genuine people you will ever meet. Being around her, you just feel like you may be family. She and I have been telling each other how we were going to get together. In fact, we had to make plans a month in advance. We are business owners, and our days are filled with making our businesses stronger.

She and I finally got together. I went to the Groves on 41, and she showed me the property. The last time I was there, I was there for a party, and did not get a private tour. Jennifer took me around to the their vacation rental, wedding venue, and into the groves.

Being out in the groves was fun. It was super muddy that day, and she and I were talking as we were walking. She was educating me about olive trees, and things to look for in the grove. As she talked, and we walked, we also were picking off the fruit that was still on the trees. I felt as though I left with a whole new understanding about olive groves. We also agreed to carry their line in the tasting room.

Here are some of the photos from the day…

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Hidden Hills

When we were in our “dream building” phase, one of the things we wanted was an olive grove, and we finally found it. Hidden Hills gave us everything we wanted in an olive grove, we have olives, and a vacation rental. The olive trees are now being taken care of, and lovingly be watched, pruned, watered, and then in November…they will be harvested.

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The property has a wonderful history too. The place was built as a bed and breakfast. There was a keeper of the house that grew a garden, and the beds are still on the property. There is a gentleman’s orchard with apple, pear, plum, and nectarine trees. There is a green house, and it was once was filled with the fragrance of basil, vanilla, and flowers. The attendant of the house used to put fresh flowers in each of the rooms, and the cottage. There is a chicken run with hen houses. The attendant would gather eggs from the hens each day.  He made fresh dishes that were made from the food that was gathered from “Hidden Hills“. These are all aspects I love.

The goals for the place…get the olives in great shape for the fall so we can go back to having “Hidden Hills” as a label. We will then be able to sell the olive oil in the tasting room. Fix the barn, and have an intern trade housing for maintaining the gardens, greenhouse, and chickens. Gathering the fresh items to give to each of the vacation rentals. Each of the baskets would include olive oil, wine, fresh herbs, chamomile, lavender, homemade soap, homemade lotion, honey, eggs, and bouquet of flowers. Maybe even a postcard of the property.

There is also a pool, spa, and outdoor kitchen at the property. If you would like to stay at the property, make sure you go to Paso Robles Vacation Rental.

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Honey Healing

One of the first weekends we were living in the country, this happened…

I was taking both of the dogs (Cane Corso females) for a walk. Since we were new to the country I did not want to trust to just let them out in the yard. Now, our yard is 42 acres. There are coyotes and other animals around here. I was gazing at the stars when all the sudden Sadie pulled really hard, and I did not let go. I was pulled across the rocks like I was a rag doll. I screamed, and Sheba stopped. Sheba stayed right by my side, and Sadie was running after what ever it was that was near our house. I limped back into the house with Sheba.

I went upstairs and washed my legs with soap and water. I had to take a wash cloth to get all the debris that was embedded in my legs. My left leg looked a lot worse than my right leg. It burned like hell…it was really painful. I took some honey, and put it all over the wounds, and took another wash cloth that was damp and kept it over the wound.

I kept the wound clean every day, and also added honey to it every day. By the third day it was really looking so much better. By two weeks it was healed. I believe I was in less pain, and it healed faster with the honey.

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Red Velvet Cupcakes with Nutella

Over Valentines Day weekend I was in charge of Red Velvet Cupcakes for the Pleasant Valley wine Trail, since we are a part of the trail. Everyone had something they made and then paired with a wine. We paired our cupcakes with our Late Harvest Zinfandel. I heard nothing but good things, so I was very happy that it was warmly received.

I made 100 cupcakes on Friday night, and then another 100 on Saturday night. I used the recipe that was passed down from my Great Aunt Nelle. She was a great cook, and it was said in the family that she asked about the recipe one time when she was visited the Waldorf Hotel. I later learned that many southern women told the story about asking for the recipe from the Waldorf. She was a traveler, and was a fantastic cool. I never questioned the story!

My Great Aunt used to make Red Velvet Cake for my dad every year on his birthday. It was his favorite cake. She also would make a mayonnaise cake that was so delicious. Although, I remember that she didn’t like to say the name around me, it made me sick to think of mayonnaise being used to bake a cake. When we would love something that she made, she would give an index card with the recipe to my mom. We would cherish those recipe cards. There was a special wooded box that we kept them.

Never the less, here is the recipe for the cake…

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ pounds canned beets, drained and pureed
  • 1 tablespoon red food color
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (I make my own by adding vinegar, and waiting for 10 minutes, 
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Start preheating your oven to 375, drain and puree your beets. If you don’t have buttermilk in your fridge, I never do…Add one tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to your cup of milk.

Meanwhile, add your dry ingredients together, add you eggs, beets, food coloring, vanilla, vinegar, olive oil and finally, the buttermilk. Mix until all the ingredients are wet.

Add the paper cupcake holders to the cupcake pans, fill up the cupcake papers about 1/2 full. This will make about 18 cupcakes. They will take about 25 minutes to bake.

While your cupcakes are baking, you can make the frosting…

8 ounces of cream cheese (softened)

1 Stick of butter (softened)

4 cups of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Blend your ingredients together to make the frosting. I used a pastry bag for the first time last week when I made these for Valentines day. I had to end up asking my husband to take the pastry bag away from me, since mine didn’t look good. His looked lovely!

Now, if you want to add the Nutella, it does taste delicious, but it is time consuming. We took a melon baller, and scooped out the center. After each one was done, we then added the frosting. Like I mentioned earlier, my frosting job was a little frightening, so I had my husband make them look pretty.

 

 

 

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Closer to the Holidays

My kids are on the verge of becoming truly independent. As we approach the holidays I am reminded that not to long ago we were attending all those school performances. There were years when my kids just did not want to go to the performance or one was sick, and I never pushed them into going. The performance went on without them, and they would cuddle up on the couch and just relax. I hope that when they are older and have their own children they will use a page out of my parenting book. LOL

With so many school events,  volunteering, and other family functions it easy to forget that the kids need some rest. When my children were little, and they needed a day off of school, I gave it to them. We called it a “mental health day”.  Sometimes they would tell me “I just need a break.” Then I would ask them if they needed a “mental health day”, a day they could relax, read, or just get catered to for a day.

As much as I loved the school performances, I also didn’t want my kids to feel pressured into doing one more thing that was supposed to be fun. I get that it is a community event, and we all interact within the community. We also need a break, and these days the pressure to be a part of the community doesn’t end once we are home. We also have an online social presence.

So, as we get closer to the holidays, if I am not here, I am at work or spending time with my beloved family. I hope you all treasure every moment you can with your family too, and listen to your children…don’t over burden them with too much hustle and bustle. img_8757

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Healthy Choices

Well, I made it 12 days, and now I have to start all over again. I have wrestled with continuing or starting over, but I want to do it right, so I have made up my mind to start over again. I want to make it for the entire 21 days. This is something that I just want to do for myself so there is no reason to try to cheat myself. So, as much as I hate it that I have failed, and must start again…I know I am doing it for a great reason.

I am going to make it this time! Right?

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Make it A Habit

Ten Days of working out, and watching what I eat. I have been good for ten days straight. The hardest part sometimes is just getting started in the morning, and convincing myself that it will be worth it. Many years ago I read that it takes 14 days for an action to become a habit, apparently, the research now suggest that it takes 21 days for an activity to become a habit.

One of the exercises this week was to ask one of your mentors about motivation. I really look up to one of the trainers at the gym. Melinda has a great body, and she is always upbeat. She even has four children! I told her it was hard to get to the gym that day, and she told me “Somedays, I have the same feeling.” It was comforting to know, that even someone like her has issues with getting going sometimes. It really made my day.

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Make it a Habit

Ten days, and counting. I made it ten out of 21 days. Everyday, I have to do something, and eat well. I have to write the food items down in a book. I have been really good. I haven’t rewarded myself with cookies. (Yep, I have done it before.) So, I have allowed myself an apple or some pine nuts instead of chips or cookies. I gotta be honest, cookies are good to me. Although, I have to say that an apple is a nice replacement. 

Working out…I have been doing MWF, as aquatic days, and Tuesday and Thursday are dry days. I get on the elliptical for 30 minutes, and then hit the weights. On Saturday and Sunday, I am working on the farm. I take an extra walk with the dogs, and they enjoy it. 

I am determined to make it though my 21 days. I want my good health to be one of my good habits. Any extra advice or tips are appreciated!