Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Salmon en Papillote

Salmon en Papillote - better known as salmon in paper.

I have been wanting to try cooking fish in parchment paper before (see, another good reason to have parchment paper in stock at your house!), but never got around to it. I love fish of all kinds, but just don't buy it that often and I am not sure why. It's quick and easy to cook and is a great way to get in omega-3's! And most fish has such a mild flavor that you can really play around with the seasonings and flavors that you like - dill, lemon, soy sauce, green onions, and the list goes on and on.

This time I wanted to keep it simple. I just did lemon, salt and pepper and a pinch of italian seasoning. I also wanted to have a vegetable and why dirty another pan when you can just steam them in the packet with the fish! After a quick run to the store to hunt down some fish and veggies, they had some great wild salmon and some perfect asparagus. I hate when the asparagus is too big. It tends to get too chewy and string and no body likes that.

Now, you don't necessarily need parchment paper for this. You can do it in foil. Which I know you have in your kitchen. Everyone uses foil! To get the right shape and size of your parchment or foil, just use your best judgment. You are looking for a packet to hold one serving of fish and veggies. If you are still not sure, just make it bigger then you think and most likely it will be the perfect size. Now, make sure to cut the parchment in the shape of a heart. This may sound strange, but trust me it works. It's the best for putting in all the yumminess into that steam packet! Once you put your fish and everything else in the middle of one side of the heart, fold over the other half to make it look like a sandwich. Then, from the middle of the heart, start folding over the edges to make a nice seal. Once you get to the very end of the heart, tuck a little bit of the end underneath so that nothing will escape. You're done! That easy. I was a little intimidated at first seeing as how I have never baked like this before, but it was super easy and fun. For more information on creating and using parchment for cooking, check out this site - Cooking in Parchment

ingredients. if you don't like asparagus, use whatever veggies you like!

heart shaped parchment

ready to fold up

folded up and ready to bake

20 minutes later, dinner is ready!

served with a side of brown rice. super healthy and super yummy.

Salmon en Papilotte (adapted from

Serves One

1/2 a lemon, squeezed over fish
Salt and pepper to taste
Italian Seasoning to taste
10 spears asparagus (or your favorite veggie - about 1 cup)
1 salmon fillet (or your favorite kind of fish) 
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place salmon on heart shaped parchment, top with lemon juice and seasonings. Also add a slice of lemon to the top along with the veggies.

Fold parchment over contents; pleat edge to seal, forming a half-moon. Bake on a baking sheet 20 minutes. To serve, cut paper with kitchen scissors to open.

Super easy and super delicious. This was SO quick and easy, I have now made it a rule in my house to eat fish at least once a week! The best part of all, this did not smell up my house at all. And let me tell you, fish always stinks up my house when I cook it! I can't wait to try this with shrimp. Pesto shrimp to be exact.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Black Bean Brownies

Okay, okay. I know what you are thinking. Black beans and brownies? Seriously?

Yes, I am dead serious. And they are seriously delicious. I must admit, I was slightly skeptical at first, but if you didn't know any better, you'd never know there were black beans in this recipe. Even better, they are completely gluten free (hi Lauren!)! I wasn't sure they would be at first considering there is cocoa powder in them, but after further research and asking around at our local health food store, cocoa powder is gluten free!

You do not need a kitchen aid for this one, but you do need a mini food processor or a really good masher to make sure the beans are nice and smooth. You do not want beany lumps in your brownie. Now, that wouldn't not be good. Also, the original recipe called for three whole eggs and since I wanted to bring the calorie count down a little more, I used egg substitute. You could not tell the difference with all the flavor that was going on in these brownies. I also wanted to substitute the oil for unsweetened applesauce, but I must have run out because I could not find it anywhere. Oh well.

This one is super easy to whip up and is a great way to get in some extra protein and fiber. I am always looking to get more of both of those in my every day diet. And if I can get it in with a low calorie dessert, even better. This makes about 16 servings that come in at about 100 calories a serving. I know 1/16 doesn't seem like much, but these are rich and yummy and will curb any chocolate craving you might have. I didn't have more then two in one sitting, but I might be careful of having a large piece. After all, it is made with a whole can of beans. And you know what happens if you eat too many beans!

see, there really are beans in this!

make sure to rinse and drain the beans REALLY well.

making the beans into a smooth paste

incorporating the beans to the rest of the ingredients

pre- cooked

done and cooling. they smell SO good!

Dark Chocolate Black Bean Brownies (adapted from

One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed very well
3 large eggs ( or 3/4 cup egg whites or egg substitute)
3 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dark chocolate cocoa, but you can use whatever is in your pantry)
 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil or coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan or dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Place the black beans in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy.  Add the eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, peppermint extract as desired, baking powder, and salt and process until smooth.  Add ¼ cup of the chips and pulse a few times until the chips are incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a rubber spatula, and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before slicing into 2-inch squares.

I know that you are still thinking this sounds strange, but just try it. I promise you will like it. I even think kids will like this and they will never know they are eating beans!

Bodega Bay Blackberry Cobbler

What better to make with fresh picked blackberries then cobbler, right? Right! I must admit, this was Ryan's idea to make and boy was I glad we decided to make this one. Although, finding the ingredients we needed in Bodega Bay was a little trickier then I thought. There are only a few stores in town and by stores, I mean super small stores with super expensive necessities. There are no major grocery stores. If you wanted to go to one, you had to drive all the way out to Sebastapol and we were not doing that. 

On our drive back from our afternoon adventure near the Russian River, we stopped at one of the little places to look for bisquick, sugar and what we thought we might need for cobbler (I had limited reception and could not call my parents to see what was in the pantry at the house we were renting). Before I go any futher, do you want to hear a funny story? Ok. Here you go. Ryan and I stopped at this cool little general store in Cazadero and I picked up a special bottle of wine made from the area. I put it in my bag, but during the windy road it must have fallen out and started rolling around on the front seat floor. When we got to the little store in Bodega Bay, I opened the truck door (not realizing were the wine was) and BOOM CRASH. Wine broke all over the ground. I was pretty mad at first, but now that I think about it, it was pretty funny. At least the ground smelled good. Good thing the store we stopped had lots of wine and I could pick up a replacement!

The next morning we found a recipe and started making the cobbler. Guess who read the recipe wrong and messed it up the first time? Me! I think it was too early or I hadn't eaten breakfast yet. If you don't know this, I get cranky when I'm hungry and then my brain doesn't work right. Good thing I hadn't added in those precious berries yet! We started over again, no biggie, and put it in the oven. We let it cool while we ate breakfast and played dominos and when it was ready to eat, it was SO good. It must have been the berries, because it was one of the best cobblers I'd ever had. And it made for the perfect breakfast dessert. Dessert is a must with every meal, right?

I only took one picture - the best one! Finished cobbler!

Quick Blackberry Cobbler

1/2 c. milk
2 tsp. melted butter
1/3 c. sugar
1 c. pancake mix (Bisquick)
2 c. black berries
1/3 c. sugar (or to taste based on sweetness of berries)
3/4 c. water

Mix first 4 ingredients and put into a greased 2-quart casserole. Mix berries, sugar and water. Pour over batter. Bake at 375°F about 45 minutes.

See, super easy and super delicious. You could make this with frozen berries from the store, but if you can pick your own or get some local fresh ones from a farmers market, I would most definitely recommend the latter. I already want to go back and pick more berries!

Candied Carrot Curls

I guess it would have made sense if I posted this right after the post about the irresistable carrot cake, but I got too excited about those german chocolate cupcakes. Oops.

When I was making that fabulous cake for my dad's birthday, I wanted to add something special as a decoration. I've done chocolate shavings before on cakes, or nuts or berries, but never anything more then that. I can't remember when I first saw these, but I figured what better to top the cake than with candied carrot curls. They are super easy, but you must not make these after you have been baking up a storm all night and getting a little on the tired side. Or should I say, cranky side. I had made a whole cake and two dozen cupcakes. I bet you'd be a little cranky too!

It took me two tries before I got these to look curly. The first time I must have made the peels too thin and baked them too long because when I went to wrap them around a wooden spoon, they snapped. Darn. I think I may have used another word at that point to express my frustration. So, I started again and they turned out pretty well. I think I should have put the seams, or ends down so they would have remained a bit more curly, but they still looked good. I'm trying to tell myself, everything doesn't need to be perfect. Those imperfections make them special, plus, everything still tastes just as good! Some day I'll learn.

you only need a few things to make these cute curls

lots of carrot strands

water, sugar and carrot peels boiling away

boiled carrots ready to bake. Make sure you use parchment paper otherwise these bad boys will stick. Trust me, you do not want to be scraping up carrots off the sheet pan.

first round of drying done, now time to get curly!

second round of baking done - all curly and ready for the cake!

Candied Carrot Curls (
1 large carrot (preferably large and wide) or 2 medium
1 C water
1 C sugar 

  1. Peel layers from carrot lengthwise on one side with peeler until you begin to get wide slices. Peel wide strips, reserving them, until you get about 15 (there will be a few extra). 
  2. Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
  3. Add carrot strips and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. 
  4. Strain through a sieve into a bowl, discarding syrup.
  5. Let stand 15 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 225 F with rack in middle.
  7. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper then arrange candied carrot slices flat in 1 layer on sheet.
  8. Bake until dry but still flexible, about 20-30 minutes. (Leave oven on.) 
  9. Wind carrot strips, 1 at a time, around end of handle of a wooden spoon in a loose spiral, then slip off each curl and return, seam sides down, to lined baking sheet.
  10. Return curls to oven to dry until crisp, 30 to 45 minutes more. (Some of my curls looked less curly after this step)
  11. Cool completely on baking sheet.  Carrot curls can be made 5 days ahead and cooled completely, then kept in an airtight container at room temperature. Recrisp in a 250 F oven 10 minutes. 

I bet these would be super cute on cupcakes too and definitely beats tying to make carrots out of marzipan. Although, I do love me some marzipan. I would just eat it instead of making into fun shapes, so for me, the curls are much better. Although those were pretty tasty on their own as well. I wonder if you could do this with zucchini as a topper for a chocolate zucchini cake? I might just have to try that!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

German Chocolate Cupcakes

Coconut + ganache + pecans + chocolate cake = amazingness.

Every weekend I set my tivo to record "Desserts First", a great sweets show on the food channel. The chef, Anne Thorton, is one of my favorite pastry chefs and she makes some amazing desserts. All of which I hope to attempt some day. Back in May I saw an episode where she made this amazing chocolate cake that she used for three different recipes. One of them being German chocolate cupcakes. Right then and there, I knew I would have to make these. I am not sure how I came to like German chocolate cake so much since I didn't eat it that often as a child (maybe it's because it's one of my dad's favorites too), but it definitely has become one of my favorite desserts. There is just something about that sweet coconut and rich chocolate combination that wins me over every time.

The first time I made these was for my awesome co-worker Jen's wedding shower. Our department at work all got together and threw her and her fiancee a BBQ and shower. It was a great time and everyone loved the cupcakes, especially the groom - his cupcake choice was German chocolate! I don't blame him for liking these so much. The cake was light, but full of chocolate flavor. The ganache was rich, but just enough where it was not overwhelming. And the best part of all, the coconut and pecan topping. I could seriously eat this straight from the pot. That good. I think this would also make a great filling for a double layer cake using Anne's chocolate cake recipe. Or you can just forget the cake and dip the topping right into the ganache. I am not afraid to admit I totally did that and if you make these, I bet you will too.

cupcake topping ingredients!

adding in the evaporated milk

topping completed! YUM.

I got too excited and forgot to take a picture of the cake ingredients. Oops.

cooling chocolate cupcakes. try to say that three times fast.

chocolate glaze ingredients. mmm more chocolate

cooling glaze

cupcakes dipped in the glaze and waiting for the topping.

cupcakes completed!

German Chocolate Cupcakes (

Chocolate Cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature for 30 minutes
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk 

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together onto parchment paper. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 4 or 5 minutes. Add your eggs, 1 at a time, mixing until completely incorporated before adding each additional egg. Mix in the chocolate and vanilla, making sure to combine really well. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk, in 3 batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Make sure to let it mix thoroughly.

Chocolate Glaze:

3/4 cup heavy cream
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon prepared coffee


3 egg yolks
12 ounces evaporated milk
1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups packed sweetened flaked coconut, toasted (if desired)
1 3/4 cups toasted pecans, chopped

Special equipment: silver/foil-lined muffin cups, 1 (2-ounce) ice cream scoop and 1 (1/2-ounce) ice cream scoop 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 regular muffin pans with muffin cups.

Use a 2-ounce ice cream scoop and portion out the Chocolate Cake batter evenly into the muffin cups. Pop the pan in the oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes, turning the pans halfway through. You'll know it's done when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean. Let the cupcakes completely cool in the pan on a rack. 

For the glaze: Mix the cream, chocolate, honey and coffee in saucepan on low heat. Stir until smooth. Let it cool a bit. 

For the topping: Put the egg yolks, evaporated milk, brown sugar and butter in a separate saucepan. Place it over medium heat and cook until the sugar dissolves and the butter melts. Continue cooking, stirring constantly until thick, 8 to 10 minutes or so. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, coconut and pecans. Allow to cool. 

Dip the cooled cupcakes in the chocolate glaze. Place on the rack and let the glaze harden. Scoop the topping on the cupcakes with a heaping 1/2-ounce ice cream scoop

This recipe makes A LOT of cupcakes. 24 to be exact, but it is super easy to halve if you want to make just 12. Trust me though, you will want to make the full recipe. These cupcakes last for awhile in the fridge and the leftovers are great to bring to work or give out as a gift. That and although there are quite a few steps, you can make the topping a day or two ahead of time. All you need to do is keep it in the fridge and when you are ready to use it, just pop it out into a pan and warm it through slightly. You want it a little warm so it is easy to scoop on top the cupcakes.

The Ultimate Carrot Cake

Carrot cake has to be one of my dad's top three favorite desserts in whole wide world. When it came to deciding what dessert to make for his big 5-0, I struggled a bit only because I knew the other two favorites in the back of my mind too. After much contemplation, I knew it had to be carrot cake. Not just any carrot cake though. It had to be the ultimate carrot cake. Carrot cake with homemade candied carrot curls and toasted pecans all on the outside. How to on making the candied carrot curls coming up this week!

This past Easter I made my first carrot cake - a two layer carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and nuts. Lots of nuts. Boy oh boy was it good, but I wanted to step it up a couple of notches for my dad's big day. I did some research online and was able to find the perfect recipe - a three layer carrot cake with raisins and pecans. Are you drooling yet? I sure am. In fact, I wish I would have saved a piece and kept it in the freezer for times like these. 

You might be thinking, three layers, that sounds tough. Honestly, it's really not that hard to make a mult-layer cake. In fact, I much prefer to make these than sheet cakes. They take a little bit more work, but just look so much prettier.  The most important thing about making multi-layer cakes is that you have to make sure you have the right tools - the right size pans and parchment paper. The first time I made a carrot cake I did not use parchment paper. Even though I sprayed non-stick spray like there was no tomorrow, some of the carrots stuck. Since it was two layers and there was a middle section, there was really nothing to worry about and you could just peel up the missing chunks and place them back where they belonged. But I am a perfectionist when it comes to my baking (especially for other people) and only want to produce the best products. So, I made a mental note that next time I would use parchment not only for easy clean up, but for easy cake removal. This time around, those cakes were practically hopping out the pan and they were so even and nice. If you do not have parchment in your pantry, please go get some. It's has so many uses and is a must in your kitchen!

This cake is super easy, super moist and best of all a real winner. The hardest part is trying not to eat the batter or the frosting (yes, I always sample prior to baking!). I guess if you had to choose a hard part, it would have to be grating those carrots. If you have a food processor or a kitchen aid attachment that grates like I do (thanks Kris!), this will definitely be your best friend here since you will need 3 cups of good 'ol carrot. You can always use a box grater too, it will just take longer and you might loose some knuckle skin. I've done that in the past. Ouch. Now for the best part - frosting! This cream cheese frosting is not too sweet and was the perfect way for me to use up the last of my massive Costco supply of cream cheese that I bought for all the baking I did for Ryan's graduation party. Finally, no more cream cheese in my fridge! You can use this frosting for almost any cake you'd like a cream cheese frosting for - red velvet or even a banana cake. Wow, banana and cream cheese frosting. I'm drooling again.

If you or someone you know loves carrot cake, you've got to try this one. If you don't like carrot cake (why would you not?!), this will change your mind about carrot cake. I promise!

Warning - there are a lot of photos here. I wanted to make sure to show you each step so that you can see just how easy making your own layered cakes can be!

cake ingredients. if it has carrots, it has to be healthy, right?

swirling pecans.

pans lined with parchment. tip- spray the bottom of the pan with non-stick spray and then put the parchment circle in. Then, spray some more. This will help with easy removal of the paper after baking.

cooling cakes. I put mine on foil sprayed with a little non-stick spray so that the cake doesn't adhere to the foil.

When you are ready to frost, put the first layer on the middle of the plate you are going to use. I always line mine with parchment strips to that you don't get frosting all over the plate. Just pull them out gently when you are done and you have a mess free plate!

see, I told you I had a huge block of cream cheese

add the powdered sugar gently otherwise you will end up being covered in it.

layers stacked and sandwiched with the frosting

fully frosted. If I were not covering the sides with nuts, I would have smoothed this out a bit more. If you want to go without the nuts, just use a butter knife and gently go around in one swoop to clean it all up so it's nice and even.


final cake without the 5-0 candles. excuse the cake mess behind it.

don't think anyone liked the cake, haha. this is after one night and one afternoon of cake eating!

See, I told you that was a lot of photos!

Triple-Layer Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups finely grated peeled carrots (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (about 1/2 ounce)
1/2 cup raisins (regular or golden)
1 cup chopped pecans (for sides of cake) - optional

4 cups powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Lightly grease waxed paper. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and vegetable oil in bowl until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into sugar and oil mixture. Stir in carrots, chopped pecans and raisins. Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pans, about 45 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.) 

For frosting:
Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth and creamy. Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with another cake layer. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Using icing spatula, spread remaining frosting in decorative swirls over sides and top of cake. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome or plastic wrap and refrigerate.) Serve cake cold or at room temperature. 

Recipe from

My #1 question with carrot cake is raisins or no raisins? It seems like 50% of people say yay and the other half says no way. I love raisins, so I say the more the merrier. Do you like raisins in your carrot cake?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mini Vacation Getaway

This post has nothing to do with food. Well, kinda,  but no recipes. Purely vacation bragging and photos!

Last Friday was my dad's 50th birthday. Happy birthday Dad! For awhile now, he's been wanting to plan a family get away, but it was hard to get everyone to commit to a date (yes, my family is indecisive). Plus he has SO much vacation time he does not know what to do it all, so this was the perfect time to plan something so we all could go. Hawaii was out - too far and too expensive, and everyone can't just drop everything and go for a week. The whole family got together and decided, why not rent a beach house here in California. It's close and everyone can come and go as they please. My sister found this awesome site,, where you can rent vacation homes by owners. There are great reviews, and lots of beautiful homes across the country. After hours of looking, my family finally settled in on a huge property in Bodega Bay. Right on the water! What could be better? Not much!

view from my room!
I drove up late Friday night after work to meet my family. It was a long drive, but well worth it. After getting slightly lost about one street away from where we were staying, my dad had to come get me to lead me to the house. Embarrassing! Darn GPS lead me to the wrong area. Ryan showed up that next morning and we all went for a long walk on the beach. We even ran into his brother and his family too. Always good to see them! Since my sister and Jeffy were going to go horseback riding that afternoon, Ryan and I set out on a trek to some of the areas he used to go as a kid (and his dad too - hi Dean!). It wasn't too too far from where we were staying and the area was so pretty. I had never been out by the Russian River before. The best part of our multi-hour trek was our blackberry picking. Ryan pulled over on the side of some random road and picked a few berries. I was nervous to try them (not sure why I thought they could be poisonous), but they were the best blackberries I'd ever had. No joke. Luckily, I had packed snacks and had a little Tupperware and my water bottle with me, so we parked the truck and picked away for a good hour. Our hands look liked we had killed someone with all the blackberry juice all over them and we were a little scraped up, but it was well worth it. I had never picked them before!

fresh blackberry cobbler for a post breakfast dessert. dessert with every meal, right?

That night we had a nice family belated bday dinner for my Dad. It was so nice everyone could get together.We opened gifts, played card games and dominos and had his favorite cake for his birthday - Carrot Cake! Recipe and how to's for this cake to come later this week!

homemade three layer carrot cake (Barb - this has raisins too!)

The next day, we made a trip out to the other side of Bodega Bay for lunch at Spud Point Crab Company (you've got to try this place if you are out there!). Now, if you have ever had clam chowder (chowdah!) from Splash Cafe in Pismo or San Luis Obispo, you might be a bit biased when you try this. At least I was. Splash is probably the best clam chowder I've had. And in a bread bowl. YUM! So horrible for you, but SO yummy in the tummy. Back to Spuds.  They only have a handful of things on the menu ranging from crab sandwiches, to clam chowder to crab cakes. I think I even saw a little girl with a hot dog, so I guess they serve those too. I had the shrimp sandwich and had a few bites of clam chowder. The chowder was good, but not anything like the one from Splash. This one was thinner and had lots of herbs and spices. Super yummy and definitely good to warm you up on a foggy day in Bodega Bay. After we were all full, we went up the hill to see if we could see any whales. No such luck. Guess it was not that time of the year.


Looking for whales...

no whales, just people.

That evening Jess, Jeffy and Ryan headed back to reality and it was just me and my parents and their friend John. We all had a great time and I even got to go explore Sebastapol for a little bit with my mom. Such a cute town. Even better, on the way home, I spotted a little general store that had a "fresh pie today!" sign. I debated on stopping, but I did. They had fresh pies delivered daily from a bakery that grows their own fruit in Sebastapol! They only had a few left, so we swooped on a strawberry rhubarb. OMG, SO GOOD. I could have just eaten the filling with a spoon. Too bad they don't make that flavor of jam. I would seriously eat the whole jar. No joke.


It was cool and foggy most of the time there, but Monday night, the fog cleared out and we had a beautiful sunset. It cleared out even more as the night went on and the starts were literally twinkling. You could even see the milky way. I had never seen that before. So beautiful!

run, the sun is out!

beautiful sunset on day three

the day I left, this is what I woke up to. Foggiest day yet!

On the way home Tuesday afternoon, I thought it would be fun to drive up to Healdsburg (which is only an hour away give or take) and go check out my boss' family vineyard - Seghesio Family Vineyards. It was beautiful and everyone really liked the vino. Thanks dad for buying me a bottle! The drive through Napa was even more beautiful, minus the traffic. Better than taking 101 and weaving through highway 37. Glad I decided to take the detour and make my way home through wine county.

hello napa!

check this place out - very good vino!

The trip was great and a good break from reality for a few days. Even though I love my job and being back home, I still wish I was back in Bodega Bay waking up to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore.