Sunday, December 3, 2017

Locally Made Wine County Gift ideas

The holidays always seem to creep up so fast and this year I'm definitely, not prepared. Since becoming a mom or mombie, finding the time and energy to figure out unique gift ideas have not really been my specialty. To help myself and others out, here is a quick list of locally made (if not fully produced, at least the businesses are headquarted in wine country!) Wine County gift ideas. This will be my first Wine Country Christmas, so I am embracing this wonderful county we live in and vowing to shop locally. Before I moved here, there were so many products I loved that came from this region.  It seems like every day I discover more & more amazing local companies making products that are tasty, creative, and sustainable.

After the horrible wildfires that struck our region in October there has never been a better time to support Wine Country. If you can, come and travel to visit the Sonoma and Napa wine regions. If you can't visit us right now, put us on your travel bucket list for the future. In the meantime, check out the products below to purchase for yourself or friends and family this holiday season. They are all available to buy online! I feel like half the time curated gift guides on websites are always really expensive like including a $570 sweater or something similar. Hopefully, this little guide is more realistic for those budget-friendly shoppers, like me!

Olive Oil

California has been producing some fine olive oil in recent history and here are some favorites that hail from Sonoma County.

Wine & Beverages

Of course, there are so many amazing wines from Sonoma and Napa but I picked the one below because they have a wonderful tasting room and beautiful garden grounds in my town of Santa Rosa. When you plan that trip to wine country it is a fantastic place to stop by!
Many people in our area are seen drinking the "yellow cans" of  Guayaki's Yerba Mate. While the yerba mate leaves are sourced in Brazil and Argentina the company is based out of Sebastopol. Their line of Yerba Mate drinks may just be that natural stimulant you need to get you through the busy holiday season.....and my husband now works for this awesome company!
If you are a breastfeeding mom like me, you may have already been introduced to Traditional Medicinals by drinking their Mother's Milk Tea. They have more than 50+  herbal organic teas plus special holiday selections all created by their herbalists and are based out of Rohnert Park.

                               Kendall Jackson          Guayaki Yerba Mate          Traditional Medicinals


If you are a cheese lover then you have probably heard of and tasted cheese from Cowgirl Creamery. If you haven't then you are in for a treat. Sue Conley and Peggy Smith were pioneers of artisan cheesemaking in the United States. They are also listed on the trail map for the California Cheese Trail. Yes, that exists and it is definitely on my travel bucket list!

                                                                     Cowgirl Creamery


Between coffee, beer (which I didn't even include in this post!), and wine we have all the good stuff!  However, in the coffee realm, there are some fabulous coffee roasters in wine country. The four below all have cozy cafe locations as well around the area. Blue Beagle Coffee is owned by a fellow writer at Wine Country Moms Blog. It is a fantastic independently owned shop that focuses on small batch artisan roasts. I visited them for the first time before the wine country fires. The Larkfield location they are in was hit hard and many customers lost their homes. They have the cutest logo and I really like their travel mugs by KeepCups!

                                     Bella Rosa   Blue Beagle Coffee   Taylor Maid   Acre Coffee

Housewares & Jewelry 

Petaluma based, Catstudio designs amazing geography pillows, glasses, and dish towels. I have one of their glasses from when I lived in Utah that I love. This is a great way that you could buy a gift for a relative with their region on it and still support a local company.
I was introduced to Napa-based, Olive and Poppy from Wine Country Moms Blog and have been fawning over their products ever since. I love their earrings and bracelets made from recycled oak wine barrels.

                                                   Catstudio          Olive and Poppy

Since I'm still a newcomer to this area, I would love to know what are some of your favorite locally made wine country products?

*I was not financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*

Friday, September 22, 2017

Welcoming Fall: Swiss Chard Pie

Fall is coming and I'm ready:

This will be our first Fall in wine country and I'm pretty excited. After living in Colorado the last 2 1/2 years, it will be nice to not have to deal with snow (well, mostly driving in the snow). While I think snow is beautiful I've had my fill of cold winters. Snowy/wintery locales would be okay if you could just always sit by a warm fire and watch the snow fall. However, real life requires that we have to get out and do stuff. Yeah, I'm fine with missing out on a white Christmas. If we really want snow we can take a trip over to Tahoe! Plus, I've heard awesome recommendations around here for pumpkin patches, and tree farms, fall vineyard drives, and a ton of holiday events. Santa Rosa is even home to a year-round ice skating rink!

A few weeks ago, we discovered a great farm stand nearby our house. Tierra Vegetables is a sustainable farm and is housed in a neat old white barn right off of HWY 101. Anyone can stop on by and check out their produce and local Sonoma County made products. The day we went, I bought some amazing tomatoes and picked up a bunch of beautiful chard too! I haven't had or cooked with chard in awhile so I found this recipe for a hearty vegetarian option. I like that it utilizes both the leaves and stems so nothing gets wasted. Happy Fall and if you make this pie let me know what you think!

Swiss Chard Pie

Olive Oil Dough & Swiss Chard Filling:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cold water
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 3 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • Zest + 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • coarse salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • basalmic glaze

 Olive Oil Dough:
1. Combine flour, olive oil, water, and salt. Use a fork and stir to combine, then turn the dough onto a work surface. Knead the dough for 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let come to room temperature for 30 minutes. 

 Swiss Chard Filling: 

1. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the garlic and onion. After 2 minutes, add the chard stems and red pepper flakes. Cook until stems are soft, about 2 minutes 

2. Put chard leaves in pot and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover and cook until the chard leaves are wilted, for about 4 minutes. When chard is soft, drain and try to press out as much liquid as possible. Mix chard with Parmesan, flour, lemon zest, juice, sun-dried tomatoes, and feta. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

 3. Roll 2/3 of the dough to a 12 1/2 inch round (about the size of an 8-inch round cake pan). Fit into cake pan and fill the bottom crust with the chard mixture. With the remaining dough roll to a 9 1/2 inch round and place over filling. Pinch the edges together and close to seal. With a knife, cut a few vents in the center of the pie. Combine egg yolk with1 tsp. water and brush over top. Freeze pie for later! 

 4. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in the lowest position. Bake frozen pie until the crust is a deep golden brown for 1 1/2 hours To serve, preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Bake frozen pie until the crust is golden brown, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature drizzled with balsamic glaze. 

Yield: 8 servings *Recipe slightly adapted from Martha Sewart


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