The Cooking Runner

Oh Napa Valley….how I miss you

After two days of hard runs, I had to take today off. I woke up with super sore quads. So a 3 mile walk with the puppies was all I could do!

A year ago, my awesome SIL     and I went to a wine industry trade show in Napa Valley. We did a little wine tasting too! If you ever have the chance to go to Napa Valley….GO!!!! I personally liked Napa better than Sonoma, but fun was had by all!!! A couple suggestions are Micheal Mondavi Winery, Clif Family Winery, and Domaine Chandon. When we were at Domaine Chandon, we signed up for Club Chandon. They have all different types of shipments you can pick from. The winery itself has a wonderful gift shop. We found hand lotion, Olivina Fig, that is made by the gods…it smells like Napa Valley, or if Napa had a smell!!! It is a little pricey, but in my opinion well worth the splurge. Check it out! the scent comes in a candle too, my house smells of it right now! The Cliff Family Winery made me think of my husband. He races road and mountain bikes, crazy style (so do his buddies…Kerri, I found this and had to post it!). The entire tasting room is all about cycling. They have wine in a bag called the Climber Pouch… 2 bottles of wine that will maintain freshness if for some odd reason you do not finish them. That would mean you would have left over wine, I am not really sure what that is, but apparently it exists.

However, I have to be true to my school, Traverse City is in heavy competition with Napa Valley… Girls weekend in t minus 3 weeks and counting… I will let you know who wins…

If you are not making a trip out west anytime soon (I am not 😦 ) You can order all these yummy treats online off the winery websites!

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Gourmet Italian Lunch in a mental hospital…

…and let me tell you, it is one of my favorite restaurants of all time!

Instead of waking up and running the dunes this morning, we spent the day in Traverse City. (which is a different kind of fun than running dunes!)  For those of you that do not know where Traverse City is, it is just east of the most beautiful place in the country! Yes, it was a year ago, but nothing has changed… we went there today too.

Getting back to TC…We found this wonderful jewelry maker, Becky Thatcher Designs. AMAZING work! We drove to her Glen Arbor location to chat with her. After our hour long chat, Adam was handed a pair of earrings to give to his wonderful wife…Thanks Becky!!! (yeah I felt the tears well up.  I am that girl… that cries about everything, even gorgeous earrings!)

We had lunch at our favorite spot, a mental hospital. Ok, ok, it is not a mental hospital anymore, but it used to be! The Traverse City State Hospital or Northern Michigan Asylum was built in 1885.

Before medicinal therapies were used, it was thought that you could use beauty as therapy.   The grounds of this building are GORGEOUS. Currently, the main hospital is 75% restored. The entire “village”  is one of the largest, historic preservation and adaptive reuse redevelopments in the country. It now houses restaurants, a day spa, boutiques, and condos. Not sure about the condos though…kinda creepy! We had lunch at Trattoria Stella…one word…yum. 

This is what ATS ate, but I had an amazing porcini cream soup. For dessert we had squash gelato and raspberry honey gelato. Squash gelto you ask? YES… it tasted like a sweet potato casserole in gelato form. It was so good. ( side note… I spilled an entire glass of ice water all over the table… yet again, I am that girl…that only needs one glass of wine to be a hot mess!)

Wines Tried: Talismon Brut, L.Mawby Winery

                           Late Harvest Riesling, Blustone Vineyards 

The perfect end to a perfect day!

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A little rain, a little sun, and some really good muffins

Miles today: Rest Day

Rain and cool autumn temperatures means snuggled up puppies, hot coffee & tea, and a great day for baking!!! We have this AMAZING coffee shop/roastery in the area, Magnum Coffee…one word YUMMM!!!! 

My splurge for tea is Tea Forte. I was introduced to Tea Forte at The Delmonte Spa, at the Delmonte Lodge in Pittsford, NY. (I highly recommend the massage and facial) My mom, sister, and I went last year. Anyways…Tea Forte…They have a cocktail line of teas…tea infuses in cold vodka…fabulous concept, fabulous cocktail too! But, on a cold day, the Lavender Citrus is amazing with hot water. It is so soothing, kinda makes you feel warm and fuzzy all over.

I had some bananas that were starting to brown so I decided to make Gluten Free Trail Mix Muffins. I used the recipe from the Detoxinista’s peanut butter banana muffins as a base and then tweaked it from there.

Gluten Free Trail Mix Muffins- 350* for 15-17 minutes, makes 18 muffins

1 cup reduced fat Jif peanut butter           1/4 cup honey

3 very ripe bananas, mashed                      1/2 c gluten free oatmeal

1 teaspoon baking soda                                 3 tablespoons flax seed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract                           3 tablespoons roasted salted sunflower seeds

3 whole eggs                                                      1/2-3/4 cup Trader Joe’s Golden Berry blend

1/2 Dark Chocolate chips

1. Peel and mash the bananas

2. Add the peanut butter, eggs, baking soda, vanilla, honey and gf oatmeal. Mix well

3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until just combined.

4. Line 18 muffin tins with cupcake liners. Using a tablespoon measuring spoon put two heaping spoonfuls into each muffin hole.

5. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the edges are lightly golden brown.

Remove muffins from tin immediately and cool on a wire rack.

ENJOY!!!!!

A military side note on Marriott hotels… Marriott gives a very substantial military discount on hotel stays. The Delmonte Lodge in Pittsford was 50% off when we stayed last December!!! THANK YOU MARRIOTT!!!!

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