5 Good Reasons to Have a Second Cup of Joe

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Something about fall, when the mornings are a little cooler, that makes me go for an extra cup of coffee in the morning! I grew up on coffee, which was a huge social occasion in our home. My grandmother used to let us dip our toast with honey in coffee for breakfast when I was just a little girl and I felt so grown up as a young teen when I was offered to “have coffee” with the grown ups at the end of a dinner party for the first time.

I love the taste of coffee, straight up, black, just by itself, no sweetener, no fancy flavors, no cream…just coffee. I have two cups every morning to start my day. (Right after my warm water with lemon, but that is a blog for another day!) Whatever your coffee pleasure, here are a few great things to know to justify your love of this super beneficial bev.

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1.     Coffee (caffeine) enhances concentration and productivity.

2.     It is a stimulant that boosts brain function, alertness, focus, and even increases memory!

3.     By helping sustain intensity and energy, coffee is the perfect pre-strenuous workout beverage.

4.     Rich in antioxidants, coffee can lower the risks of some forms of cancer, reduces the risk of Parkinson’s Disease and provides protection to the heart. In addition to these health benefits, coffee is especially concentrated with flavonoids, which have been reported to have anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties.

5.     Coffee also stimulates stomach cells to release more hydrochloric acid which aides in         digestion.

A 2010 study in The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that regular moderate amounts of caffeine has an inverse correlation to cognitive decline and can actually help to protect and heal the brain. Everything in moderation of course, in this study, moderation was defined as 1-3 cups of coffee per day.

So, now when you enjoy your morning coffee, you can feel good about all of the benefits that cup of joe is delivering to your body…a super great way to start the day!  Time for my second cup!  Oh, and if you want something sweet and yummy to go with yours, try one of my warm and soothing Pumpkin Muffins! (click here for the recipe)

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Why Farm to Table? 5 Good Reasons

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Beyond the obvious, nouveau restaurant catch phrase, what does Farm to Table or Farm to Fork mean… really?  So, you go to your local farmer’s market on a Saturday morning, bring home some beautiful fruits and vegetables, even meats, cheeses, eggs, nuts and baked goods, then get in the kitchen and cook a little dinner with them.  Simple right?  Yes!  It is so simple and so good!  Good for you, good for the community, good for the environment and good for the economy!  This concept is nothing new but a re-connection to our roots and an attempt to minimize the distance that food travels and must be preserved before being eaten. 5 Good Reasons for Farm to Table:

It's Good For You. The health benefits of fresh local are undeniable.  Since it is not being transported from a long distance, local fruits and vegetables can be picked at the peak of ripeness, not beforehand, when they have not yet fully absorbed their nutrients, to make up for shipping time which means you are eating them at the peak of their flavor. According to the San Diego Tribune, the average produce travels 1500 miles to reach your grocery store, a large percentage of which is coming from outside of the country.

Local Community Impact.  By supporting local farmers you are supporting your own community, creating demand for labor and getting out in a fresh, healthy environment to visit, taste and enjoy!

Environmental Sustainability.  If produce travels 1500 miles at an average of about5 miles/gallon in a large transport truck, it takes 500 gallons of fuel per truck, not to mention emissions polluting our air.

Animal Welfare.  By supporting local farmers who do not practice in industrial factory farming, you are supporting animal welfare.

Economic Impact. By supporting the local farmers, you improve local economic vitality, increase labor demand, and decrease the need for a large supply chain, imports and shipping costs to the food that you are buying.    

Not only are restaurants adopting this brilliant concept, schools are offering Farm-to-Cafeteria lunches promoting healthy eating and nutrition education. Check out my list of my favorite Farm to Table restaurants across the country on Gigi’s Dish List. (click here)

Enjoy this beautiful start to fall, with healthy farm to fork foods!

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Romantic Fall Getaways

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Okay, so you’ve been with the kids all summer, taken your family vacation, and enjoyed every moment.  Now, it’s time for a little romantic getaway just for the two of you! Of course, when I’m looking for a getaway, I always look for a great place to recharge, but it’s really about the food for me, which makes for the perfect all round getaway experience.  Wining, dining and romancing is what this getaway is all about! Here are a few of my favorite Romantic Getaway spots that offer a comfy, cozy environment and fabulous cuisine.

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Auberge du Soleil, Napa Valley @AubergeSoleil

Calistoga Ranch, Napa Valley @CalistogaRanch

Twin Farms, Barnard, Vermont @TwinFarms

Blackberry Inn, Walland Tennessee @blackberryfrm

Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California @Post Ranch Inn 

Little Palm Island, Florida Keys @LittlePalmFL

Inn at Little Washington, Virginia @InnatLittleWash

 

This week’s feature, one of our favorite romantic spots, and my recommendation for your fall romantic getaway, Post Ranch Inn and the Sierra Mar Restaurant. Check out their website Postranchinn.com. We have visited Post Ranch and Sierra Mar many times and it has to be one of my favorite dining experiences. The food and wine are fabulous and the view simply spectacular. With the quaint and wonderful town of Carmel just minutes away, and of course, beautiful Pebble Beach, there is so much to do and see close by, or you can just stay on the cliff of Big Sur and enjoy each other! My recommendation for a fall getaway. 

The vistas at this most magnificent spot are spectacular. Enjoy your romantic getaway, whether traveling near, far, or just having a special staycation at home!

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Located on the Monterey Peninsula, 140 miles south of SF, 94 SanJose 25 Monterey 20 Carmel, down State Route 1 through curves and cliffs and the most incredible views of the Pacific Ocean, rugged CA coastline with the Santa Lucia Mountains bordering the east and the Pacific bordering the west. Activities include hiking, bird watching, wale watching and beaches.  High in the cliffs, site the most beautiful hideaway, Post Ranch Inn and the Sierra Mar Restaurant. 

Summer Travel Series - Vail

This week’s feature – The Vail Valley - Where the air is crisp and cool and the red sky sunsets take your breath away! #SummerintheRockies Read on for my favorite places and Colorado inspired recipes!

“I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky.  You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply, Rocky Mountain High, Colorado…” John Denver Circa 1972

“I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky.  You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply, Rocky Mountain High, Colorado…” John Denver Circa 1972

The summer mountain climate makes for incredible fresh local produce!  The Farmers Markets are amazing show casing local farmers’ and artisans’ works, fresh pastries and confections.  My idea of a perfect day is shopping the farmers market and coming home to create a fresh meal with the day’s bounty. 

The local Palisades Peaches are so sweet and juicy and though just perfect all on their own, I love to cook with them and have so much fun creating fun recipes that include these delicious wonders.  A traditional peach crumble, arugula salad with grilled peaches and goat cheese, even in a vegetarian Bolognese with wide pasta noodles, a fantastic, fresh and simple summer meal.

My traditional Peach Crumble.  Click here for the recipe

My traditional Peach Crumble.  Click here for the recipe

When it comes to dining out in the Vail Valley, there is an array of terrific options, in fact, a few of my favorite restaurants on earth are right here in the Vail Valley.  It’s all about the lunch for me and on a special occasion I love to splurge on a long late lunch as my only meal of the day.  Being a July girl, we are usually in Vail for my birthday. My favorite lunch is @SweetBasilVail where we spent my birthday this year, starting with Rose’ Champagne and Truffle Fries…what could be more decadent than that for a special celebration!

Sweet Basil Vail...One of my Favorites!

Sweet Basil Vail...One of my Favorites!

In addition to super great dining, the summer activities are limitless here and there is something for the entire family.  Healthy living is key with so many great hikes, biking trails, paddle boarding lakes, tennis, golf, super great kids camps, water rafting and fly fishing…the list goes on.  It really is the perfect family summer camp!  Did I mention that I caught 6 rocks and a tree while trying to fly fish?  Jeff is a very talented fly fisherman however, otherwise, we would starve if we were counting on me to catch dinner!  

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My fisherman!  Jeff catching our dinner in the beautiful rapids of the Eagle River. As you can see, the end result is delicious. Trout is probably our favorite white fish, flaky and light, with a delicious mild flavor. There is nothing better than fresh caught fish. A beautiful Rocky Mountain Trout Amandine. Click here for my recipe!  

Preparing for our Trout Fishing Adventure!

Preparing for our Trout Fishing Adventure!

Enjoying our last days of summer in Colorado. We are so blessed to be able to spend a good part of our summers here.  It truly is God’s country! 

  

Summer Travel Series - Colorado Summers

This week's feature, beautiful Aspen Colorado! 

This week's feature, beautiful Aspen Colorado! 

Downtown Aspen

Downtown Aspen

The Little Nell Aspen

The Little Nell Aspen

This week's feature, Aspen.  Though known for being a great ski town, Aspen is also filled with a rich history of early settlers and miners heading west.  Check out Jeff's historic walking tour of Aspen, you will find this little western town's history fascinating!

One of the first things you'll notice in Colorado in the summer is the incredible flowers everywhere you look, in all shapes, sizes and colors of the rainbow.  They just make me smile!

Cascade of beautiful flowers Aspen Streets

Cascade of beautiful flowers Aspen Streets

Downtown Aspen Shopping

Downtown Aspen Shopping

A few of my favorite restaurants are right here in Aspen.  For lunch it has to be Ajax Tavern @thelittlenell right at the base of Ajax Mountain, and The Wild Fig, just across from the famed Wheeler Opera House.  My favorite dinner spots Casa Tua for Italian @casatuaaspen for a super great menu, Ellina @ellinaaspen and a clubby Steakhouse, Steak 316.  Don't forget to check out what's happening at Belly Up Bar @bellyupaspen, for an intimate look at fantastic entertainment.

When breakfast comes into play, I can’t resist the Lemon Soufflé Pancakes at Element 47 @littlenellaspen on the pool terrace.  They are delicate, light and spongy with a sweet raspberry sauce.  Here is my version of this favorite breakfast dish, I think mine are pretty close!

Lemon Souffle' Pancakes - Click here for recipe!

Lemon Souffle' Pancakes - Click here for recipe!

Shopping in Aspen is nearly as much fun as hiking the beautiful Maroon Bells! From elegant designer boutiques to home decor and cowboy boots, not to mention stunning art galleries featuring exquisite collections, there is something to appeal to everyone!

Kemosabe Boots, Hats, Jewelry and Buckles

Kemosabe Boots, Hats, Jewelry and Buckles

I shot this beautiful landscape on the way back from Aspen.  Colorado truly is God's Country! Hope your summer travels bring you to the Rockies sometime soon! Send me your travels and photos from your favorite summer trip! I would love to post them on the blog!

Live well, love well, eat well...travel safely!

 

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Summer Travel Series - Charleston, America's #1

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

The Pineapple Fountain represents the true meaning of the crowned fruit, Welcome, Friendship and Hospitality, the very essence of this fantastic city. There is a reason why Charleston is voted #1 in North America and #2 in the world by Conde' Nast Traveler and Travel & Leisure, it's rich history, natural beauty, amazing culinary and southern hospitality, make it not just a world class summer vacation destination, but a fantastic getaway any time of year! 

The Charleston Battery

The Charleston Battery

Charleston is much more than cobblestone streets and classical architecture, it has become the culinary capital of the southeast, in this city, "History Reigns, Food Rules!" 

There are over 200 restaurants in this beautiful city, offering everything from slow cooked traditional southern food and barbecue, to farm to table and fine dining, including several James Beard award winners.

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Award winning Sean Brock's Husk and it's sister restaurant, McCrady's, members of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group and two of my favorites. Husk, Bon Appetit's 2011 Best New Restaurant in America, features a modern take on farm to table southern food whose menu changes daily based on the fresh ingredients of the day.  McCrady's set in a 4-story Georgian House, circa 1778, home of Edward McGrady, which he opened as McCrady's Tavern, has been many things since his death in 1802, but today stands as both a tavern and adjacent haute cuisine multi-course tasting room. Another favorite is the Hall Family's Hall's Chophouse. Jeannie and Bill Hall opening Hall's in 2009 joined by sons, Tommy and Billy, this family has spent all of their lives in the hospitality industry.

A true neighborhood hot spot offering a well rounded menu for all palette's, live music and the best Gospel Sunday Brunch in town!  In fact, Jeff and I went for brunch once and stayed through dinner enjoying gospel and jazz all afternoon long!  And, by the way, we were among several other tables who did the same thing! 

 

Did I mention shopping? A day on King Street is a shopping extravaganza! From fine art and antiques to designer boutiques, book stores, home decor, chocolates, cosmetics and coffee shops, King Street is Charleston at it's best.   

Rainy day of shopping on King Street!

Rainy day of shopping on King Street!

Hotels range from Belmond's Charleston Place, to lovely and quaint B&B's and guest houses. There is truly something for everyone in Charleston. Whether you are a foodie, shopper or history buff, Charleston has it all. Check out Jeff's historic walking audio tour of the city at historicwalkingtour.com! I hope you can add Charleston to your summer travel planning!  You will be glad you did!  Send me your photos and favorite places!  Happy July!

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Summer Travel Series - Celebrating the 4th of July!

Fireworks in historic Boston Harbor. Founded in the 1600's and where the American Revolution began, what a perfect 4th of July vacation destination! While you are there, check out Jeff's audio historic walking tour with 50 historic sites on a beautiful walk through the city. Click here  to view the tour! Where are your summer travels taking you?

Fireworks in historic Boston Harbor. Founded in the 1600's and where the American Revolution began, what a perfect 4th of July vacation destination! While you are there, check out Jeff's audio historic walking tour with 50 historic sites on a beautiful walk through the city. Click here  to view the tour! Where are your summer travels taking you?

"The second day of July, 1776 will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival." -John Adams, July 1, 1776

The Declaration of Independence was finally approved and signed July 4, 1776, officially declaring the United States of America independent from Great Britain. Ironically, John Adams died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration, as well as Thomas Jefferson who also passed on this very same day. The two were also coincidentally the only signers of the Declaration of Independence to become United States Presidents.

Celebrating right here at home...Hilton Head is a great place for the 4th!

Ocean Lounge, Sea Pines Beach Club, Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island, SC

Ocean Lounge, Sea Pines Beach Club, Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island, SC

A 4th of July tradition...whatever the holiday menu...always ends with my scrumptious Red Velvet Cupcakes with creamy mascarpone and cream cheese frosting, my favorite part of the holiday!

My Red Velvet Cupcakes...Click Here for Recipe!

My Red Velvet Cupcakes...Click Here for Recipe!

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The best part about celebrating holidays is that the festivities always revolve around family, friends and food! Though my favorite part of the 4th of July is the cupcakes, the fireworks are a close second!

Happy 4th of July!

 

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Summer Travel Series - Travel Tips

It's Summer!  Have Suitcase...Will Travel!!!

It's Summer!  Have Suitcase...Will Travel!!!

Summer is here...  Some say finally...I say already?  But ready or not, it is upon us, summer!  It is time to start thinking about summer travel planning.  I hope our summer travel series leads you to a great summer trip, destination, restaurant or even just a new fun recipe.  I want to hear from you!  Please send me your summer travel questions and your feedback!  If you choose one of our recommendations, send me your photos, I'd love to post to the blog!  Wishing you a safe, happy and healthy summer!  Bon Voyage!

Practice makes perfect as they say, and after many years of doing it, I pretty much have it down to an art.  Summer vacation travel is exciting, but seems to bring with it an added level of stress by nature.  Summer travel is meant to be fun…so let’s see what we can do to help keep it that way!

First make a packing list of the types of items you will need, depending on your destination and planned activities.  Packing smart is the key to stress free travel.   

Pack light!  Lighter weight summer clothing makes this even easier.  Choose knits and cottons, fabrics that don’t wrinkle easily. I can actually go for two weeks in a carry-on bag, I know what you are thinking, impossible right?  Stick with me here.  Pick a color and plan around it using the Rule of Three.  No more than three bottoms and/or 3 tops that are interchangeable among each other, this is where your color selection comes in, plus it really makes choosing what to take so much easier!  Pack layers and ladies don’t forget a little black dress, the most versatile item in your closet.  Dark fabrics don’t show stains and can be worn more often.  If you roll clothes, place those items on the bottom of your bag and folded items on top.  Pack small light colored clothes and undergarments in Ziploc bags, squeezing all the excess air out.

Think what you can do without, and don’t pack it!  Only take jewelry that you are actually wearing to travel, which not only keeps is simple, but also helps to prevent leaving a “little” something behind. 

Shoes:  Rule of Three.  Pack one pair of dress shoes and one pair of casual shoes, and of course, if you plan to visit the gym or hit the tennis courts, one pair of tennis/workout shoes.  Of course, you will be wearing one of these for travel, so you really only need to “pack” two.  Stuff shoes with sunglasses, charge cords, other smaller items that will fit inside.  If you are taking your golf clubs, don’t forget to utilize extra space in your golf travel bag for items that would take up unnecessary space in your suitcase, shoes in particular, tennis rackets, etc. 

Pack liquids and cosmetics in small travel containers and place in sealed Ziploc bags, which helps with organization and prevents leakage.  Place vitamins and supplements in Ziploc bags avoiding bottle bulk.  

There you have it.  Stress free travel…just in time for your summer vacation!

Check out this video featuring all of the many wonderful activities at Sea Pines Resort!

Check out this video featuring all of the many wonderful activities at Sea Pines Resort!

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Don't forget to pack the camera! Okay, iPhone 7 with Portrait Photography feature!

Don't forget to pack the camera! Okay, iPhone 7 with Portrait Photography feature!

JT and me enjoying the Ocean Lounge, Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island.

JT and me enjoying the Ocean Lounge, Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island.

If you haven’t made summer travel plans as yet and you are still looking for a fabulous destination for you and your family to spend time together in an amazing setting with incredible culinary…my summer dish list recommendationSea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island.  The best family vacation spot in the world!  Happy Traveling!  And if you are in my neighborhood, please reach out! 

Our home.  Beautiful Harbour Town, Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Our home.  Beautiful Harbour Town, Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Preparing your home:  Turn off toilets, or water altogether.  Pour a little bleach in the toilets.  Turn off the icemaker and remove the all but a couple of ice cubes.  This way you will know if you had a loss of power while you are away.  Chances are if the cubes have melted, the food in your freezer has also thawed at some point.  Remove foods and condiments from the refrigerator that will be spoiled by the time you return.  Leave closet doors ajar for air circulation and in summer or warmer climates, leave AC turned on to 78-80 (F) degrees.

If you are traveling by air, ladies, always carry a wrap or sweater on the plane.  And children should pack (with supervision of course) and carry their own bag!  I see some of the cutest roller bags being pulled by the most proud children when I’m traveling.

Traditional Low Country Boil.  Fresh local South Carolina Shrimp, Smoked Kielbasa, Red New Potatoes and Fresh Corn on the Cob.  Click here for recipe!

Traditional Low Country BoilFresh local South Carolina Shrimp, Smoked Kielbasa, Red New Potatoes and Fresh Corn on the Cob.  Click here for recipe!

The Greatest 2 minutes in Sports!

April Showers Bring May Flowers to Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky

April Showers Bring May Flowers to Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky

It's spring in Kentucky and the first Saturday in May is all about the Run for the Roses!  Who will wear the coveted Garland of Roses this year?  A tradition that started in 1896 when the Derby winner was awarded a floral arrangement of white and pink roses.  The red rose became the official flower of the Kentucky Derby in 1904.

Garland of Red Roses, more than 400 red roses and a crown, one single rose in the center to recognize the heart required to win this incredible race.

Garland of Red Roses, more than 400 red roses and a crown, one single rose in the center to recognize the heart required to win this incredible race.

Derby Pie, my favorite Kentucky Derby Tradition...well, except for a cool Mint Julep of course!

Check out my recipe for Kentucky Derby Pie!  It is rich, chocolaty and delicious, a perfect compliment to a sweet and minty julep!  Give it a try and send me your thoughts!  

Check out my recipe for Kentucky Derby Pie!  It is rich, chocolaty and delicious, a perfect compliment to a sweet and minty julep!  Give it a try and send me your thoughts!

 

Fab Flavors of France

Chocolate Creme Anglaise with Berries

Chocolate Creme Anglaise with Berries

What to do with a little leftover chocolate creme anglaise from last night's dessert soufflé, serve it with berries for breakfast of course!  A chocolate lovers dream petit dejeuner!  As we continue celebrating "April in Paris" and the Fabulous Flavors of France, we wrap the month with my favorite Francais inspired desserts, of course, it has to be chocolate, like my chocolate soufflé (pictured below).  Rich in flavor, but light and airy in texture.  French cuisine has influenced the culinary world for centuries.  The French have mastered the art of savoring food and wine, never in a rush, always taking time to enjoy every bite, every sip, every moment of a meal.  Ending with something sweet is thought to be a great way to create balance for the palate.  Just like me, the French have an affinity for chocolate and custards.

Hope you enjoy making my Chocolate Souffle.  It is so simple to prepare and oh so yummy!  Send me your photos!  Remember April in Paris isn't just a time of year, it is a feeling and always a good idea!

April in Paris...Oui Oui!!!

"I never knew the charm of spring, I never met it face to face.  Till April in Paris, this is a feeling ...what have you done to my heart."  Vernon Duke 1932 (paraphrased)  Audrey Hepburn once said, "Paris is always a good idea." (Sabrina 1954) I tend to agree!  Especially in spring.  This month, we explore my favorite great places to stay, play and eat in France along with a couple of my favorite Francais inspired recipes!  Savourez et trouvez des plasirs!

L'Avenue Paris (Avenue Montaigne Of Course!)

L'Avenue Paris (Avenue Montaigne Of Course!)

This corner restaurant at the lower tip of the Golden Triangle of Paris, with it's outdoor patio has to be my favorite spot in the City of Love.  Jeff and I went once for an early lunch at 11:45 am and ended up leaving sometime around midnight!  Well, there was a walk down the Avenue late that afternoon before returning for cocktail hour which led directly into dinner, meeting new friends, etc.  One of the most memorable days of my life!  I think Jeff was just trying to keep me away from the fabulous shopping along Avenue Montaigne where you will find everything from Haute couture to ready to wear, albeit for me, just maybe the best window shopping in the world!   

This week, let's start with one of my favorite french cheeses and appetizers.  A wonderful creamy french brie or camembert with sautéed mushrooms, herbs and toasted baguette slices.  I could just have this for a most satisfying dinner paired with a lovely red Bordeaux.  Delicieux et satisfaisant.  Send me your favorite french inspired dishes!  Bon Appetit!

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Spring Has Sprung!

The best thing about spring is renewal!  The transition from winter gray skies to bursts of spring color brings beautiful spring flowers, budding leaves on trees, all signs that life on earth begins again with a fresh spirit of youth.  "April hath put a spirit of youth in everything." -William Shakespeare

Fresh and colorful spring vegetables add a vibrant kick to spring entertaining.  Asparagus, baby carrots, sweet peas, scallions all bring fresh flavors and beautiful presentations.  My Penne with Spring Vegetables is a beautiful combination of all of these spring vegetables in a light and aromatic pesto sauce.  A wonderful lunch on its own, or a perfect compliment to a spring rack of lamb.  Give these simple recipes a try and let me know your thoughts!

Live well, Love well, Eat well!  

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It's Wine Wednesday! What's your favorite Pairing?

Sauvignon Blanc Grapes

Sauvignon Blanc Grapes

May I recommend the 2015 Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc, one of my favorite wines! @duckhornwine

May I recommend the 2015 Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc, one of my favorite wines! @duckhornwine

Send me your favorite pairing or just your favorite wine and I will have a perfect recipe pairing for you!  Last week we focused on Cabernet Sauvignon and its perfect pairings.  We turn our attention to the white variety this week and Sauvignon Blanc, a green skinned grape originating from the Bordeaux region of France.  This grape produces an elegant yet delicate, light and crisp wine with hints of citrus and a palette freshening acidic edge.  It pairs particularly well with goat cheese, chèvre in particular.  I like to roll a log of chèvre in fresh lemon zest and thyme leaves, then drizzle with a really good extra virgin olive oil and serve with toasted baguette slices or water crackers and a lovely chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc which enhances the lemony citrus accent of the thyme leaves and zest...a perfect combination of flavors.  For perfect meal pairings, I recommend fish and shellfish, chicken or pork in light sauces (not butter or cream sauces) with fresh herbs and citrus flavors such as my Scallops Marnier appetizer or Whitefish with Fennel-Orange Relish.  As a dessert pairing, anything tropical, mango in particular, works very well with this beautiful wine.  

This wine also pairs beautifully with my Fennel & Orange scented Whitefish!

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Wine Wednesday ~ Perfect Pairings!

One of My Favorite Pairings ~ Cabernet Sauvignon and Morbier Cheese

One of My Favorite Pairings ~ Cabernet Sauvignon and Morbier Cheese

It's Wine Wednesday and it is no secret to those who know me that I love a good California Cab.  The Cabernet Sauvignon grape was an accidental breeding in the 17th century between a red Cabernet Franc grape plant and a white Sauvignon Blanc grape plant, a beautiful and divine intervention!  Cabs are full bodied, dry (not sweet) and meant to be enjoyed and paired with food.  Aged in oak barrels, this amazing wine mellows with age and exudes wonderful flavors of blackberries, cherries and a hint of vanilla from the oak.  I prefer a smooth Cab that is lower in tannins and alcohol content.  When it comes to pairing with cheeses, I recommend a semi hard aged cows milk cheese such as an aged Vermont Cheddar or this beautiful French Morbier (pictured above) or a semi hard sheep's milk cheese such as Pecorino or Manchego, another favorite!  And, of course, who doesn't love a soft ripened French Brie which softens tannins and enhances the fruit flavors of the wine.

For meal pairings, Cabs pair very well with fatty red meats such as beef and lamb, or fatty red fish like salmon or ahi tuna due to the ability of proteins and fats to negate some of the tannins in the wine.  And of course, there is no better pairing than red wine and chocolate!  Serve my beautiful Chocolate Souffle' for dessert with one more glass of bold Cabernet!

 

   

My Favorite Color - 1000 Shades of Blue

The view of Exuma Cays Islands of the Bahamas from the International Space Station

The view of Exuma Cays Islands of the Bahamas from the International Space Station

Tired of snow and gray winter skies?  May I recommend the beautiful Exuma Cays of the Islands of the Bahamas.  Where else can you feed iguanas...swim with pigs...paddle with sharks...snorkel in Thunderball cave and stop for a lovely lunch with a view of the most beautiful water on earth!  Even the astronauts from the International Space Station agree.  Your eyes will not believe what they are seeing, truly 1000 shades of blue...Tiffany blue, of course!!!

Xuma Restaurant, Highbourne Cay Exuma.  Lunch with a view!

Xuma Restaurant, Highbourne Cay Exuma.  Lunch with a view!

This week's featured recipe, Tropical Mango Mahi which you can find by clicking the Recipes tab above, or by clicking here! gigiwilson.com/tropical-mango-mahi

Happy Valentine's Week!

Happy Valentines Day from Beautiful Bahamas!  My favorite day of the year!!!

Happy Valentines Day from Beautiful Bahamas!  My favorite day of the year!!!

Our Valentine's Day starts with romantic Chocolate Waffles and Champagne!  Of course, it would not be Valentine's Day without my 100+ renditions of "My Funny Valentine" (Rodgers & Hart) playing throughout the day...  From Frank Sinatra to Chaka Khan, Ella Fitzgerald to Big Muff, every genre of music is represented!   

It's Ski Season! Great Snow...Let's Go!

Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Avon, Colorado

Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Avon, Colorado

Welcome to my favorite log cabin in the world!  Jeff and I have spent our summers in this amazing log cabin for the past 10 years, but when it comes to skiing, there is not a better full service, ski-in, ski-out destination anywhere in the Rockies.  

Apres Ski in the Grotto!

Apres Ski in the Grotto!

Then, after a great day on the slopes, soak your muscles in the soothing hot water in the Grotto!  Does it get better than this?  I don't think so!  

Maybe a swim in the heated pool looking up the slopes?  

Maybe a swim in the heated pool looking up the slopes?  

Buffalo's Bar & Grill

Buffalo's Bar & Grill

After a swim or a soak, a nice dinner and bottle of wine, maybe a cognac and cigar in Bachelor's Lounge, it is nighty night until first tracks tomorrow!  

Fresh New Year...Fresh New You!

gigiwilson.com/green-on-the-go-smoothie  Great way to start the day and the new year!!!

gigiwilson.com/green-on-the-go-smoothie  Great way to start the day and the new year!!!

Start the new year with a fresh and healthy outlook!  Time to get back in the gym and back to healthy eating.  I try to make time for one good hour of exercise everyday and to concentrate on making my daily eating routine comprised of at least 75% from the earth, mostly vegetables and fruits then nuts and whole grains.  There is no better motivator than results...so get to the gym or outside for an invigorating walk and try to eat healthy...most of the time!  Stay tuned for more healthy recipe ideas during our January Fresh New You Series!  Visit gigiwilson.com/recipes

Happy New Year...and remember...Live Well, Love Well, Eat Well!!!  Cheers!

Holiday Series Continued - New Years Brunch

lobster benedict.  gigiwilson.com/recipes

lobster benedict.  gigiwilson.com/recipes

Happy New Year!  And what a better way to ring in a new year than with a spectacular New Year's Brunch.  Our tradition, Lobster Benedict.  Poached eggs over toasted english muffins with a delicate but rich and creamy lemony lobster sauce.  With a side of steamed asparagus and a festive mimosa or champagne bellini, what a great way to start any day!!!  

Wishing everyone a most wonderful, safe, happy and healthy New Year!!! 

Mimosa and Gigi Bellini ~ Happy New Year!!!

Mimosa and Gigi Bellini ~ Happy New Year!!!

Holiday Series Continued - Christmas Breakfast!

Is there a better Christmas Morning Breakfast Tradition than Panettone French Toast?  I think not!  With a hot cup of coffee and a tall cool mimosa...breakfast heaven!

For more holiday menu ideas, visit gigiwilson.com/thedish