Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sonoma State of Mind

About five minutes after I wrote the last blog post about new year's resolutions, I decided to act fast.  I stared at the page for 27 seconds before I decided to do something about #10 on the list.  Before we both knew it, two weekend getaways had been booked.  Hey, I take this resolution business seriously.

A couple Saturdays ago, we woke up on a beautiful San Francisco morning and headed less than an hour north to stunning Sonoma wine country.  We passed through miles of vineyards before landing at our first stop, Ravens Wood Winery. I love their slogan: unadulterated, unapologetic, unfussy, unwimpy.  The wine was delicious and we had fun chatting with the guy at the tasting bar about all things food and zinfandel.

We had a tasty lunch in "downtown" Sonoma which is an adorable old town square vibe with NO Starbucks in sight! Perfection.  Even more perfect were the two snack plates we picked out to fill our tummies and soak up the wine: fingerling potatoes served with an olive oil and herb infused goat cheese dipping sauce (hello favorite things) and fire roasted piquillo peppers filled with fresh chevre, chopped pistachios, honey, orange zest and a little EVOO for good measure.  Phew.  Heaven in a few bites.
That night, and the real reason for our trip, we paid a visit to Sur la Table, where we'd been given a gift certificate for a cooking class over a year ago (thanks Mom and Dad Degnan).  The class theme was "Moroccan Date Night" and it was amazing!  We created kitchen perfection in the form of olive and orange salad, saffron chicken, crispy flatbread and tasty Moroccan almond cookies.  I always enjoy cooking classes but the thing I love the most (besides cooking a gourmet meal and having all the dishes done for us!) is the simple reminder that food is a pretty incredible thing when done right.  Fresh herbs, unique spices, preserved lemons, and slow cooking make one helluva difference.

We finished off the night with a bottle of wine at our hotel and woke up the next morning to enjoy breakfast, coffee, and a leisurely drive home through Sausalito to enjoy the crystal-clear bay views.  All in all, a perfect way to spend 24 hours!

The following weekend we joined a group of friends in Lake Tahoe.  Neither of us had been before so it was a total treat, minus the no-snow factor.  I'll save that for another blog post :)

Monday, January 2, 2012

I Resolve.

I'm not one to faithfully make resolutions at the start of each year, but since my sister pointed out my lack of blogging lately, I thought I'd document 15 of the thoughts-turned-resolutions that have been percolating over the last couple of days.

In 2012, I resolve to...
1. Try one new recipe each week.
2. Bake more, even if that means I'm pawning the goods off at work so we don't eat them ourselves :)
3. Make the most of my evenings by working out in the morning as much as possible to get it out of the way.
4. Pick up the phone a little more often (not to check Facebook or Twitter, but to actually dial some numbers and have some old-fashioned conversation)
5. Say what's on my mind before it turns in to something way messier than it ever needed to be (been working on this one all my life it seems).
6. Intentionally carve out time in my day for the gym, rather than allow it to be an afterthought.
7. Continue enriching my skills by taking on personal projects for fun. Working on a little something right now actually...
8. Go to the movies more than twice. Ha!
9. Take advantage of the stunning outdoors in San Francisco, even when it rains.  Cuz that aint gonna change in 2012...
10. Book a few weekend getaways before our calendars fill up, rather than saying we never have time to go away.
11. Get my photos organized and (gasp!) even print a few for albums.
12. Blog more.  Stop shying away from it. Writing is better than worrying!
13. Make real plans for a beachy vacation; don't just daydream about it. :)
14. Get authentically involved in a local charity (not the one that pays my bills!)
15. Choose gratitude in the hard moments. Let go of what doesn't matter to make room for what does.