While I was out…I turned 27

Long time no see little blog!  New blogger = Bad blogger.  Last week was crazy and the blog got the boot so that I could play catch up.  I had an all day strategic planning retreat for a non-profit I sit on the board for and then a big annual fundraiser for my own non-profit that took up most of my energy.  We hosted a wine tasting and silent auction at the tastiest restaurant in town!

If you are ever in the Flagstaff area checking out BRIX is a must!  You can also find Criollo in Flagstaff and Proper in Tucson, AZ that are both Paul Moir creations.  Got to love fresh, creative local food!

After spending the weekend working events Drew treated me to a little birthday getaway!  He always goes above and beyond when it comes to birthdays and I know that I’m spoiled rotten.  Last year he took me to Mexico and proposed on the beach so I wasn’t sure what he would have up his sleeve this year, but of course he delivered a perfect day!

It started with a card and this little itinerary inside…

photo-9We woke up the morning of my birthday and drove the gorgeous 30 minutes down to Sedona for a full day of wine tasting via AZ Winery Tours. We arrived early and were able to squeeze in a little early morning cocktail at our hotel for that night the Hilton Resort and Spa.  photo-8Our tour started around 10:05 when the AZ Winery Tour limo bus showed up at our hotel to pick us up!  Since my birthday was on a Monday it was just Drew, I, and a fun couple from Victoria, British Colombia.  It was nice to get to know them throughout the day and I’m still laughing at the inside jokes that had developed between the four us before the end of our tour.  Our tour took us to three different wineries in the Oak Creek area: Oak Creek Vineyards and Winery, Page Springs Cellars, and Javelina Leap Vineyard and Winery.

Limo Bus for four please!

Limo Bus for four please!

I enjoyed all three vineyards, each for different reasons.  We hit Oak Creek early in the morning by 10:30 and apparently other humans don’t think drinking wine that early in the morning is appropriate because we were the only ones there!  We got to have one on one time with the vineyard owner, Deb.  Deb was a straight shooter and I was slightly afraid of her at first, but then she started talking about her life and journey into wine making and she really started to warm up.  As the day went on all four of us were quoting Deb left and right and appreciated all the wine knowledge she had bestowed up on us that morning while we were still sober enough to remember it all!

Page Springs was our second stop and it was by far the largest vineyard and most beautiful!  The desert isn’t very green so it is nice to see so many plants in one place.  The large tasting room is really beautiful and the creek runs right by which adds to its appeal.  However, since it is the biggest it was also the busiest.  Nothing we couldn’t handle on a Monday but I could see how you might want to skip out on the weekends if you aren’t interested in waiting your turn.

AZ Winery Tours provided lunch for us and we decided to eat right by the creek at Page Springs Cellars.  We bought a bottle of wine to pair with our meal and share with our new Canadian friends. It was picture perfect!

Drew and I at Page Springs

Drew and I at Page Springs

Page Springs Cellars

Page Springs Cellars

Our final stop was Javelina Leap and it was the smallest of the tasting rooms, but they were adding on a second room that was going to be just gorgeous.  I can’t wait to go back when the construction is complete!  Javelina had a great laid back vibe and I liked that it that I never felt rushed to finish my wine flight.

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Drew tending bar at Javelina Leap

Our tour wrapped up around 4 and boy were we beat when we got back to our hotel.  Drew and I both passed out until about 7 and then cleaned up and headed to dinner at the Javelina Cantina in Sedona.  We met a great couple from Ohio who sent us drinks to our table after we parted ways with them at the bar.  Too sweet!  We slept in the next morning before heading back up the hill home.

It was such a great day!  I would definitely recommend AZ Winery Tours and will probably be planning a girls trip in the near future.  I loved that Drew and I could both enjoy lots of wine without worrying about who was driving and how we were going to get back to the hotel safely.

So hello 27…be good to me!

Cherry Pecan Quinoa

I found this recipe over at How Sweet It Is.  I give it a full two thumbs up, everyone commented on how great it was.  I chose not to mention it was super easy!

Here is the recipe: 

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cups water, stock or liquid of choice (I used water)

1 bulb roasted garlic (I only had minced on hand)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup fresh cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped (Bashas was out of cherries, so I used dried)

1/3 cup chopped pecans

1-2 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced 

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Once hot, add onions and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until soft and slightly caramelized. Add in quinoa then add in liquid. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes. While quinoa is cooking, add balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 3-4 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to thicken.

Remove quinoa from heat and fold in cherries, pecans, roasted garlic, and feta. Drizzle with balsamic or stir it in. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

I like this best served at room temp. 

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Forgot to take a picture last night so this is of the little bit of leftovers. Newbie fail.

The Longest Day

My alarm went off at 6 am this morning.  It was painful because I was up until midnight finishing a book I couldn’t seem to put down, but my phone was set to wake me up via Emeli Sande singing ‘Next to Me’ which is my current lady jam!

I rolled my ass out of bed and did a hill workout.  Running up the hill, walking down 15 times.  It sucked, but I felt good after I was done and finished up with a resistance band arm workout.  These flapping arms of mine have to be in a wedding dress in 154 days so its time to put some work in.

I headed to work around 8:45 only to notice one of my rear windows was half way down.  The motor was kaput and so I had to drop my car off at the shop for the morning to have a little repair work done.

I spent the afternoon running errands for work.  I was at the office working on my upcoming Sunday fundraiser on until 7:30.  It is a little after 8:00 and I still have a dish to make for a potluck meeting tomorrow.

In more exciting news the lady in my office that makes sure we are supplied with diet coke and snacks decided to go healthy this week. Check out this supply!  Cherries, plums, and nectarines…YUM!

ImageI’m off to try out a new recipe for tomorrow’s potluck.  I’ll share it in tomorrow’s post if it is any good.  Perhaps I shouldn’t be trying it out on co-workers!  Wish me luck.

First Post

I can’t imagine that first posts are ever very good.  So let’s just skip all the details!  Looking forward to capturing my experiences and keeping them here on the world wide web.  Tomorrow I will just start blogging like I’ve been doing this for years.  I think it will save us all a lot of pain, and by all I mean me, because lets face it there isn’t going to be soul following the blog for a while!