Lemon Ginger Cookies | Gluten & Dairy Free

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I hate baking. Probably because I’m terrible at it and I fail 9 times out of 10. But, for some reason I am really good at making chocolate chip and sugar cookies.

I didn’t want to make plain old sugar cookies so I added some fresh lemon juice and grated ginger. These cookies turned out SOOOO well. They lasted about an hour in my house. My only regret is not adding enough fresh ginger. The lemon was definitely the more dominant flavor. I added 1 tsp of fresh ginger, but next time I think I will add 2, so I’ve adjusted the recipe below.

Dusting the cookies with powdered sugar at the end was my favorite part because I usually don’t “decorate” my food. Not gonna lie, I got into it. It was cute.

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These aren’t overly sweet and go great with fresh lemonade or tea! Enjoy!

Lemon Ginger Cookies | Gluten & Dairy Free

*All ingredients are organic, and purchased at Oliver’s Market in Sonoma County, CA

Ingredients:

1.5 cups of all purpose gluten free flour ( If your blend doesn’t had xanthan gum, add 1.4 tsp )

1/2 cup of dairy free margarin

1 cup of sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp lemon zest

2 tsp of freshly grated ginger

1 TBSP lemon juice

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a Kitchen Aid or hand mixer, cream margarine and sugar together. Add egg, vanilla lemon juice, lemon zest and grated ginger. Combine, but don’t over mix.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet, scraping down the sides from time to time to make sure everything is well mixed.
  4. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 min.
  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Do not skip the parchment paper! I learned this the hard way.
  6. Grab a heaping TBSP of dough and flatten out onto cookie sheet with your hand or a fork. Repeat until sheet is full.
  7. Bake for about 13-15 min, Keep an eye out for browning edges, then take out.
  8. Allow to cook completely before trying to pull off from the parchment paper. Also learned that the hard way.

*Told you I’m a terrible baker. But these cookies rock! Please let me know how they turn out if you give it a try!

 

The Best Quinoa Salad Ever!

The Best Quinoa Salad ever!

My dear friend Monica introduced me to cold quinoa salad recently, and I’ve spent the last four months or so trying to create the ultimate recipe. I’ve come a long way from just tossing a couple veggies and whatever quinoa was on sale with some apple cider vin and olive oil.

My final recipe is a masterpiece. This is by far the best quinoa salad I have ever had, and possibly one of the best salad’s I’ve ever had.

The magic is in the dressing, which I can’t take total credit for. Jennifer Harris, local queen of fermentation and pickling, showed me how to make dressing with sauerkraut. The recipe here is my edited version.

The latest edit to this dish is the roasted brussels sprouts. It’s my go-to veggie that always pleases my household and takes 5 seconds to make. (That’s not true it takes like 20 min, but it can be done while multitasking.)

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I started with roasting the brussels and letting them cool. Then I made the quinoa, transferred to a large bowl and then stuck in the fridge to chill. This recipe is NOT good if the quinoa hasn’t completely chilled so be patient.

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While all be chillin’, make your dressing and chop your veggies.

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This recipe makes A LOT of food so use your biggest bowl to mix. Toss all your ingredients and enjoy! This recipe is easily made vegan if you sub vegetable stock for the chicken stock when making the quinoa.

To make a meal out of it, cook up some chicken sausage on the side, and bam, happy and full household!

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Ingredients:

For The Roasted Brussels Sprouts:

-Approx. 20 Brussels sprouts

-1 TBSP olive oil

-1/2 tsp garlic powder

-1/2 tsp salt

dash of pepper

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Peel and quarter the sprouts, toss sprouts in oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast for approx. 12-15 min or until golden brown around the edges. Set aside.

 

For the Quinoa:

-3 cups of quinoa ( I used 1.5 cups of sprouted quinoa because its easier to digest and 1.5 cups of red quinoa, strictly because it looks cool.)

-1.5 cups of chicken stock and 1.5 cups of filtered water. (sub vegetable stock to make this recipe vegan.)

Lightly toast the dry quinoa in a large skillet, stirring frequently so they don’t burn. You will start to smell a toasted, nutty aroma and eventually hear a bit of crackling. That’s when you know its time to add the liquid. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to simmer and cover. Cook for 15 min. Do not over-cook. Al dente quinoa is better than mushy, especially for this dish. Put in fridge to chill.

For the Dressing:

  • 1 cup of Bubbies Sauerkraut ( I only use traditional, fermented sauerkraut.)
  • 2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp mustard (Any kind will work, but I like to use Dijon.)
  • 1 TBSP local honey
  • 2 TBSP olive oil

Blend dressing ingredients in a magic bullet or food processor until most of the kraut chunks are blended thoroughly.

For the Salad:

  • 1 small stalk of broccoli , chopped
  • 1/2 of a small head of purple cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • a handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • avocado, sliced to your preference

Throw it all together and toss well with a little S & P to taste! Test out the recipe and let me know how it turns out!

 

 

No Talkie Before Coffee

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My Spoiled To Perfection adventures have led me to discover the wonders of coffee. Of course, I was thrilled to find out that coffee beans are fermented. But I also wanted to know why humans are so obsessed with our coffee and why we “LITERALLY” can’t live without it! So I went straight to the source and sat down with the folks in charge of production at my two favorite local coffee roasters, Taylor Maid Organic Coffee and Tea, and Flying Goat Coffee. Darren O’Brien, who happens to be one of my closest friends, my ex-roommate and ex-band mate, is also the head of production at Taylor Maid. Darren walked me through the “cupping” process and we tasted two different styles of coffee that have been processed in both the “washed,” and “natural” methods. Check out the video below and read the article at Spoiled To Perfection.

Coffee + Beer = Sonoma County

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Once again, I am reminded of why I live in Sonoma County, and why I love my community. Yesterday, I was able to spend the morning with my very good friend, Darren O’Brien, who also happens to be head of production at Taylor Maid Farms Organic Coffee & Tea. Darren and I have been friends for nearly a decade. We’ve been roommates and band mates and I consider him family. Not only is he a talented musician and song writer, he’s a master roaster and educated coffee buyer for TMF.

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I met with Darren yesterday morning in the coffee bar of TMF in The Barlow, in Sebastopol. If you’ve never been to The Barlow, you must! We had coffee and then wandered over to Woodfour Brewing Company across the street where we met Seth Wood, owner and brewer. Darren and Seth have been collaborating for a while now on coffee and beers with each other’s creative influences.

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I am proud to know them both, and proud of both of these Sonoma County brands. Woodfour is dedicated to supporting local farms, making wild yeast beers and giving impeccable service. Taylor Maid Farms stays focused on bringing sustainable coffee beans into their facilities and encourage their customers to reduce, reuse, and recycle, offering discounts to those who bring in their old coffee cans and refill.

Sonoma County is thriving on culture, creative freedom and flavor. To experience this for yourself, wander over to The Barlow!

Italy in Sonoma County @ DaVero

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Sonoma County’s climate and soil are the closest to that of Italy than any other area in the world. So, it’s no wonder we’re known for our fine food, wine and other unique libations. There are plenty of wineries and restaurants doing things “Italian,” but there is only one Farm+Winery that is truly living the “Italian Way,” and that’s DaVero in Healdsburg, CA.

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Ridgely Evers bought this gorgeous piece of land in 1982. It was mostly planted with vines at the time, but Ridge had bigger dreams. His partner, Colleen McGlynn, came on to the scene in 1993 with a passion for farming and culinary creativity passed down from her family. They wanted to produce the greatest olive oil Sonoma County had ever tasted, so they traveled to Italy and brought back cuttings from the best olive trees in the whole country. Before planting anything on the land, Ridge and Colleen discovered that the soil had been abused for many years, and they knew they needed to replenish the earth before they could plant the dream farm that they both had in mind. As a result of their soil amendment efforts, DaVero is now a certified biodynamic farm. Click here to learn more about the origin and definition of Biodynamics.

When referring to his land Ridge will say, “Look at what God has done here. She has done some amazing work. And if you’re wondering about the gender I have assigned to her, just look around. There’s no way a man could have created this beauty.”

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Ridge was kind enough to invite me, and staff and guests of Rosso Pizzeria + Wine Bar for a tour and tasting on July 2nd, 2015. We toured the property and ate fresh strawberries off the vine. I got to practice using my new camera to take some pretty cool pictures. After the tour, we sat at a long farm table under a trellis of recycled Wisteria vines and tasted their wines. Colleen served us plates of fresh veggies and dried fruits, all from the garden, as well as some incredible cheeses. Winemaker and cellarmaster, Evan LaNouette schooled us on traditional Italian winemaking while Ridge helped pour and tell stories.

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Evan and Ridge were destined to work together. Sagrantino is the wine that brought them together and they are making an amazing vintage of their own. My personal favorite was the 2011 Carignano from Testa Family Vineyard in Mendocino. I keep discovering that the wines I tend to love the most come from that area. I am a sucker for foggy climates and earthy undertones. You can learn more about their current releases here.

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The most enjoyable part of the whole experience was seeing the passion behind everyone who works there. Ridge and Colleen are living the dream in every aspect of the phrase. Winemaker, Evan came to Sonoma County to do one thing, make reputable Italian wines with people whose love, passion and drive met his, and that’s exactly what he found in Ridge and Colleen. Each person working on the farm is rocking a beautiful smile on their face. Even the ones making fertilizer are passionate.

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The Rosso Family is so proud to serve DaVero olive oil and wine in our restaurants. We are looking forward to hosting them this time for our Winemaker Wednesday event at 53 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa, CA on July 8th at 4:30pm. All are welcome to join us! We will be serving freshly picked ingredients from their garden, pouring DaVero wines and making Dry Creek peach lemonade prosecco cocktails. Gotta love summer!

Cheers!

On Sundays We Shop

When I woke up this morning, I was in no mood to shop, which is strange because I’m always in the mood to shop. That’s 90% of the reason I have a job. So I can SHOP! But this morning was different. I had discovered that one of my accounts had been compromised. Apparently someone opened up a pay pal with my chase card and purchased a few hundred dollars worth of who knows what. Shout out to Chase for catching it, but also, screw you Chase for being the first person I have to talk to on a Sunday morning.

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Anyways, I couldn’t let these nameless thieves take shopping away from me, so I got dressed and met up with my dear friend and fellow restaurant industry babe, Stefanie Surovec. We had brunch at one of my favorite places to dine in Santa Rosa, Spinster Sisters. Brunch was spent discussing major world issues; gossip, relationships, bargain shopping. The usual. Stefanie had invited me to a private shopping event that day. I had no idea what I was tagging along to. When she said “trunk sale,” I was expected a high class garage sale in someone’s yard with funky lamps, art and bubbly. (Clarification-An event on a Sunday in Wine Country without sparkling wine doesn’t exist. Seriously never happens.)  What I walked into was the the gorgeous home of Holly Ratliff, owner of Nor Cal Boho Chic, an online store where you can find one of a kind, handmade goods from Sonoma County, CA.

Holly had transformed her home into a huge pop up shop, supporting local retail brands owned by talented and business savvy women of all ages. I was in shopping addict heaven! I was swimming in small boutique shops with some of the cutest collections of clothing I’ve seen in a long time, hair care brands, jewelers, swimwear and skin care. Holly had hired a very handsome bartender to serve wine and the kitchen was decked out in horderves. It took me about 5 seconds to completely forget about the whole Chase credit card thing. “It’s fine,” I told myself, “this is why I have more than one card.”

IMG_9043I saw some familiar faces including, Sue Navarra, owner of Sunkissed by Sunsations. Sue is the spray tan queen of Santa Rosa and has a knack for carrying the sexiest swim wear out there. Sue brought a gorgeous model with her to walk the party in some of her pieces. If you are looking for one of a kind swimwear and summer attire, as well as a killer spray tan, visit Sue at Sunkissed by Sunsations, or Great Sunsations.

Stefanie and I spent most of our time and money with the girls at Delicious Boutique. Liz and Salma, owners of the boutique were joined by their manager, Samantha. These ladies are so extremely stylish and have such a deep understanding of classic, yet trendy clothing that is comfortable and high quality. Their store is located in Rohnert Park, Ca. I picked myself up an adorable, reversible, tie dye pencil skirt by Michael Stars and Stef got a backless tee. I’m looking forward to visiting the store and seeing what else they are carrying right now.

Deanna Thompson, one of my favorite women that I met today, owns Haute52, a Designer Retail Consignment shop. Holly’s spread of handbags was more than impressive. You can visit Holly’s site to shop and consign your own designer items. Holly’s keen sense of entrepreneurship has definitely rubbed off on her twelve year old daughter Bobbie, who had a booth of her own. Bobbie Thompson is the owner of Daisies and Toast, organic skincare essentials. Bobbie makes her own decorative soaps, body scrubs, lip balms and more. Her products are sold exclusively at Nor Cal Boho Chic. Mother Holly said, ” I told Bobbie if she wants new Rainbow flip flops and new Nikes, you have to figure out how to make your own money.” Holly gave her daughter a business loan to buy the products she needed to start Daises and Toast and Bobbie is responsible for paying her back and putting 30% of her profits in a savings account for the future. I loved this story because it reminded me of my childhood, and how my parents started teaching me business lessons before I could ride a bike.

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Other vendors at the event included: Michelle Neal Jewelry and Pisces Productions. I was so impressed with Holly’s work and how much time, energy and money she puts into this event. It’s a beautiful thing to see all these women, who have started their own businesses, succeeding at doing something they love and teaching future generations that being a successful businesswoman takes blood, sweat and tears, but is worth every second of it. Cheers to you, ladies!

I can’t wait until next year.

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