Napa: Running Swag & Wine Tastings

napa-zooma-tough-girl-tutus-sisters

This year’s annual girl’s trip lead us to Napa, CA for the Zooma Women’s Half on June 28th.  This was my second half marathon and second destination run.  Last year, I ran the Subaru Distance Classic Half in Jax on Thanksgiving Day and also a women’s 5k in Chicago!  Napa was the perfect girls destination weekend trip!  What’s more to love than great food, amazing wine and laughter with wonderful friends?  Oh maybe perfect weather… Napa had that too!

I took hundreds of pictures and have way too much to say about Napa and all that wouldn’t even do this city justice.  If you love wine, this place is definitely worth the trip!!  In fact, I don’t think you can do it all in one trip and I already have a list of places to see next time!  Napa is about a 1 – 1.5 hour drive outside San Francisco (if no traffic) but feels like it’s a completely different world.  The weather perfect… sunny, warm and low humidity ( <— according to my standards), the people are extremely nice (they drink all day) and calories don’t count!

So here’s a short recap of our weekend and my favorites of this trip!

napa-fume-bistroFirst things first… drink wine.  Eat lunch.  Check and check.  Right around the corner from our hotel, the Napa Winery Inn, was Fume Bistro, a delicious restaurant with great outside seating.  This place was great for late night cocktails, early lunch and everything in between!  We ended up eating here at least twice and brought our own bottle of wine the last night.

So the wine tours (and amazing food) planning process was well under way!

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The first night we  ate dinner at Il Posto, and let me just say, OH MY GOODNESS Italians sure do know how to cook.  The desserts…. well we couldn’t pick just one so we got three… My favorite, hands down, the affogato.  It just sounds Italian, right?! Affogato!  Affogato what I ate for dinner because this dessert was so delicious!

  •  Affogato – vanilla bean gelato, espresso
  •  Tiramisu – coffee, ladyfingers, mascarpone
  • Fiorello’s Sorbeto – strawberry

The next morning we got up super early (thank goodness for carb-loading the night before!) and ran a half marathon!

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This was the first time the  Zooma Women’s Half Marathon Race Series held a race in Napa, Ca.  Seriously, what’s more enticing to women than beautiful weather and wine!? I know, feeling super girly and fun with awesome women and awesome tutus from Tough Girl Tutus!  I love, love Tough Girl Tutus.  This was my first order from this company but I have since placed a second order.  The tutu really is fit for a runner and the colors are so much fun!  I emailed Tough Girl Tutus about shipping times and their response was super helpful.

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The course was beautiful so we thought, why not take a few snazzy pics?! I used my Jenny Collection Handy 10 water bottle during the full 13.1 miles!  This was a great size for the race and allowed me to hydrate with Gatorade between water stops.    I actually run with this often because I hate searching for fluids on runs, especially in Florida!

napa-zooma-half-marathon-tough-girl-tutus-run

After the race, I was feeling pretty tired but the thought of wine tours and more amazing food was enough to keep me going… and so we went!  Off to Yountville!  I would definitely stay in this little town within the Napa Valley.  It has great restaurants and many wine shops with tastings on the main street.

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Wine tasting…

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The last full day was even better!  We went on two tours of vineyards and both could not have been more different from each other.

napa-bell-windery-clone-6Bell Wine Cellars was stunning!  The grounds are beautiful and we even got to drink wine and play bocce ball on the lawn… how fancy can you get?!  I loved learning about the wine making processing and our tour-guide-tasting-teacher-master-wino-extraordinaire, Elise, made it such an enjoyable experience.  <— the wine might have helped a little too 🙂

 

Our next stop was a crazy-interesting-must-go-to-see-for-yourself winery.  Raymond Vineyards.  The wine was amazing, the atmosphere even better.  I don’t think I’m a wine connoisseur and nor can I comment on wine tasting other than my own preference but Napa wine is definitely top notch!

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I feel alittle wine-isticated (<— note to self, not a wino if you use that term!) after this trip and every glass I’ll remember, swirl and sniff!

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Not sure how the next girl’s trip can top this one, but I can’t wait to find out!  Any recommendations for destination races?

 

 

Milkies: Lactation Cookies

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I’m always looking for inspiration for the desserts I make. A few days ago, one of my friends mentioned she wanted to try lactation cookies but didn’t have time to bake with a newborn.  Actually, she barely has time to eat, sleep and who knows when she got a nice long shower last, but I wasn’t going to remind her of that. Baking is probably the absolute last thing on her to-do list right now, but it could be an important thing to do!! So enter me. Girl who takes showers daily (ok, usually – yikes!) and loves to bake!

I was intrigued with the thought of lactation cookies and I’m always up for trying new things, especially when it’s a special request!!  So I made a fun version of lactation cookies (the testers say they are so delicious)!

Before we go more into the cookies, I think you should know some things about the “lactation” power of them. When I told a few not-so-pregnant friends about my new baking adventure, they had questions. I’m sure you have questions. She here is the dialog we had… ( Sorry, not sorry, for the honesty)

Nutella-Milkies-coverQ- Are you pregnant?
A- No

Q- Will my boobs grow?
A- Unless you are lactating already,no your boobs won’t grow.

Q- Are you sure my boobs won’t grow?
A- They won’t grow. Sorry.

Q- Will my boobs produce milk?
A- same answer as above

Q- What do you call the cookies?
A- Milkies! (it’s a combination of the words milk and cookies)

Q- What makes the cookies, milkies?
A- It’s all in the ingredients! Three important ingredients are packed with nutrients that have been known to increase milk production in women.

Q- Like what?
A- Oats– full of fiber, iron and good calories. Brewer’s Yeast– vitamin B and increases energy. Flaxseed – major source of omega-3

Q- What kind of milkies do you have?
A- Right now, I’m starting with Nutella Milkies.  Nutella batter with sweet white chocolate chips.

Q- This is weird.
A- I know.  Have you met me? And that wasn’t a question.

Q- When can we try them?
A- When you place an order! Actually for the next few weeks I’ll be preparing them for various people and would love you to try them! Just leave a comment and well set something up!

Milkies-mix

So back to these cookies… below are (most) of the ingredients and measurements I used. 🙂

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups oats, ground in a food processor
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 cup flax, ground
  • 2tbsp Brewer’s Yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp agave nectar
  • chocolate chips

Beat sugars, butter, eggs, vanilla and nutella.  In a food processor, grind oats and then add baking soda, flour, brewer’s yeast and flax until combined.  Combine wet and dry ingredients and remaining items.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 11 minutes.

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Bon appetite all you milking mommas!!

 

Good Friday, CPA Exam, Easter & Lactation Cookies

Three-layers-wall

After a few months of studying and way too many trips to Starbucks (embarrassed to admit how many grandes), I finally took the BEC section of the CPA exam on Good Friday.  It was by far, hands down, without a doubt, the hardest exam I have ever taken.  In.My.Life.Ever.  I felt the Audit section was a little easier, but everyone is different.  Now is the fun part… the waiting game.

Paleo-pancakes-berriesWhile I wait the 2-3 weeks for my results, I am taking a break from the CPA all together. (hallelujah!!) This way, I can catch up with life a little, hang out with friends and make some yummy meals!  This weekend was no exception!

Friday: Paleo Pancakes!  I added a berry mixture and this gave the pancakes a sweet kick that was so delicious!  I posted my recipe for paleo pancakes a few days ago, but it’s simple – eggs, bananas, cinnamon.  Done!

Saturday Work0ut: Tested out the new running swag!  I bought the Yurbuds Inspire Talk for Women and tested them out this week.  The problem with me and earphones is the same problem everyone has… they don’t fit right.  The ones that come with iPhones hurt my ears really bad and I’m sure the amount of sweat that gets in them and my ears when I workout isn’t good.  So I decided to give the Yurbuds a try and guess what, I LOVE LOVE them!!  They aren’t too big, fit perfectly and “lock” in place.  Also, I can hear my music but also hear outside sound too, which is helpful when I’m running outside.  The turquoise/light blue color is fun too!

Running-swag

After that early morning workout, I went to an Easter Egg Hunt with my friend and her awesome 20 month old… so much fun watching the little ones gather eggs!

Egg-hunt

Emmie had fun Saturday afternoon!  She got to play with her friend, Boomer, and run around (off-leash!!) until she couldn’t run anymore.  She slept the whole way home and was perfect the rest of the day (<— yeah, she’s not always perfect!)  I am so thankful for friends with dogs and backyards!

Puppy-play-date

Saturday night, I went to my church’s Easter Service.  The series we are in is called “The Way” and it’s a look back into the life, the land and the way Jesus took.  We got to see video footage from when my Pastor went to Israel and it was really awesome!

Three-layersSaturday later night, I went with some great friends to Three Layers, a coffee house, wine bar, hole-in-the-wall-middle-of-nowhere gem!  This place was really cool and had live music.  The best part was the venue for sure.  You could relax of a sofa and chairs, sit at high tops, play board games, watch tv, sit at the wine bar or even sit outside in the zen café!  We checked out all the areas (ok it’s small but they make great use of the space) and ended outside where we met a real Easter bunny!

Sunday morning came very early and I went to the 6am sunrise service at the beach.  There is nothing more amazing than watching the sunrise over the ocean while worshiping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Resurrection Sunday!  Unfortunately, the weather was too yucky so they cancelled service.  Fortunately, Moosehaven had a 7am sunrise on the river, so over the bridge I went! (after stopping at Dunkin Donuts for more coffee!)  Here’s a picture I took from the service!

Sunday-service-on-river

The last part of my weekend I am very excited about was making Nutella Milkies!!  Milkies are my version of lactation cookies.  Before you get all weirded out, these cookies are just full of yummy goodness that helps lactating women produce more milk!  I’m visiting a friend tomorrow who is nursing her newborn and I’m so excited to introduce her to these.  A blog post to come soon about the cookies 🙂

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That about wrap it up for me.  What was the best part of your weekend?  What Easter traditions do you have?