Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Maple Roasted Delicata Squash

Squash is such a cozy food isn't it? Now that we've entered November nothing sounds better than coming home from a long day of work and filling my belly with something warm. Well, one day this little delicate squash was sitting on my kitchen counter just waiting for me to throw it in the oven. In just 15 minutes, I had a delicious side and I was oh so cozy. I paired this recipe with kale and walnuts. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Maple Roasted Delicata Squash

1 delicata squash
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash squash and slice in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Slice each half into 1-inch segments. Mix squash, oil, syrup, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a bowl then scatter onto a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Top with raisins or dried cranberries.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

{Recipe ReDux} Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

This month's Recipe ReDux theme, "Spooky Spices" made me realize I really need to stock my spice cabinet. Since I moved to Portland and started the dietetic internship, my meals have been quite spiceless. Sure, my veggies and quinoa have tons of flavor on their own, but I guess it's time to turn up the heat.

This recipe for Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats is super quick to throw together after a busy day and makes for a delicious breakfast the next morning. The funny thing is, I never cared very much for pumpkin flavored things. Now, I'm going pumpkin crazy. It is so delicious! I especially love pumpkin pie which is why I decided to toss it into my morning mix.

1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup vanilla soymilk
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
small dash of salt
2 tbsp raisins

Combine ingredients in a jar and stir. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning top with granola or raisins! 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

{Recipe ReDux} Baked Rotini in a Pumpkin Sauce with Parmesan + Pecans

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the National Pasta Association and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

I'm 75% Italian which ultimately means pasta is my favorite meal of all time. The options are endless with pasta which is why we should celebrate National Pasta Month! You can have it with a marinara sauce, pesto sauce, vodka sauce, or garlic and oil. You can have it with veggies, meat, beans, or eggs. You can have penne, rotini, linguini, or fettuccine. Pasta is the perfect foundation for a healthy meal.

I especially love buying whole wheat pasta. It's an affordable way to incorporate whole grains into your diet plus, it's guaranteed to be satiating. As a college student, I often come home in dire need of a quick fix for dinner. This recipe couldn't be any easier to throw together and it enhances the flavors of fall! 

1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 can pumpkin puree
1/8 cup reduced fat milk
1/4 cup pecans
2 leaves of sage, chopped

1 box whole grain rotini
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large saucepan, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil. Cook until garlic is brown and onion is translucent. Add the pumpkin and milk. Stir. 
2. Stir in sage, pecans, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes. 
3. While the sauce is cooking, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
4. Combine the pasta and sauce in a baking pan. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.


As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Strawberry Yogurt Cake

Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday with wonderful people and delicious food. This reminded me of how powerful a meal can be when spent with the right people. As part of my dietetic internship application, I wrote about food's role in bringing people together, bonding, and celebrating. Well, this recipe is meant to do just that. I strongly encourage you to share a slice of this Strawberry Yogurt Cake with someone you love.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 egg
1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh berries
1/4 cup hemp seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs. Add to flour mix.
4. Stir in olive oil, maple syrup, yogurt, berries, and seeds. Mix.
5. Pour into a greased cake pan.
6. Bake for 40 minutes.

I like a to smear a little bit of jam on top and serve with fresh berries for breakfast.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Whole Wheat Linguini with Poached Egg

I love to cook, but I especially love to cook something that's quick. Well, this pasta recipe just worked its way to the top of my list as it cooks in less than a half an hour. If that's not satisfying enough, the added bonus is that it's hearty, healthy, and absolutely delicious! The addition of the eggs adds a punch of flavor to this traditional pesto dish.

1 cup whole wheat linguini
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
homemade pesto
4 eggs, (1 egg per serving) poached
parmesan cheese

Place a pot of water over medium heat. Bring to a boil. In the meantime, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and let brown. Then, add the mushrooms and cook until tender. When pasta is cooked, strain and pour in a bowl. Add the mushrooms and pesto. Mix. Divide pasta equally and top with parmesan cheese and a poached egg.


Friday, August 22, 2014

{Recipe ReDux} Banana Bread Bars

School has officially started.

It's been a great first week, but I'm so happy that it's Friday! The first week is always tough. After a whole summer of sleeping in, waking up at 5 AM just doesn't feel natural. For me, breakfast is usually at 6, but by the time 9 rolls around, I'm hungry again! In order to stay sane, I pack some snacks. I love this month's Recipe ReDux theme, because bars, bites, and brown bag snacks are so important for us, kids to stay alert throughout the school day.

This recipe for Banana Bread Bars has only 4 wholesome ingredients making it very easy to pop in the oven on a Sunday night. It kind of resembles a Larabar which happens to be one my favorite on-the-go snacks.

3 very ripe bananas
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tbsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mash the bananas.  Fold the flour into the mashed bananas. Then, add the applesauce and cinnamon. Mix well and place into a small greased pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

A few weeks ago, I was tagged by my dear friend and mentor, McKenzie Hall to participate in the What I Ate Wednesday series. I couldn't have been more excited to photograph what I eat on a typical day. On this specific day, I had just arrived to Portland, Oregon where I will be completing my dietetic internship. Portland has been recognized as one of the healthiest cities in the country along with some of the healthiest restaurants. With that said, I could not wait to unleash my inner foodie and explore some of the amazing food options available to us Portlanders.

Commence exploration.

Beginning in my quaint neighborhood, Hillsdale, I came across a place I knew I would spend countless hours at doing homework and chugging coffee. Baker & Spice, a local cafe is where I ate breakfast...

Breakfast: Harvest Grain Bread + Coffee
Bread was made with a mix of veggies.

After breakfast, I explored the downtown area of Portland which is home to Powell's Bookstore and also where the Saturday Market is held. I eventually made my way back to Hillsdale and stopped for lunch at Verde Cocina...

Lunch: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad

This was a day filled with walking. When I say walking, I really mean hiking (there are hills everywhere!). So, my appetite was through the roof and this led me to Seasons & Regions.

Dinner: Fish tacos + rice & beans
Seasons and Regions restaurant uses produce from their own farm and other local farms to make their menu items. These tacos made excellent  leftovers for the following night as well.

The WIAW Dietitian Tag! #WIAWRD

This blog post is a part of a ‘dietitian tag’ to see what other registered dietitians from around the world really eat!

To carry on this tag all you need to do is:
1) Copy and paste this section (marked within the ******) to the bottom of your WIAW blog post.
2) Tweet/Facebook the link using the hashtag #WIAWRD (What I Ate Wednesday Registered Dietitian).
3) Add your blog post link into the section below.
4) ‘Tag’ 2-3 other dietitians to carry on the tag via email!

I tag:

Previous WIAW Blog Posts (add yours here along with where you’re from!):
Nic’s Nutrition – Weekend Edition (West Yorkshire, UK)
Gemma Critchley, Dietitian Without Borders (Liverpool, UK)
Nic’s Nutrition – Week Day Edition (West Yorkshire, UK)

Helen West, Food & Nonsense (Uluwatu, Bali)
Diana Chard, Bite My Words (Nova Scotia, Canada)

Mark McGill, Glipho (Ottawa, Canada)

Debra RiedeselCycleDiet.com, Sensitive Dietitian’s Kitchen.com (Iowa,Florida, New Jersey, 
Aaron Flores, Balance Variety and Moderation RDN (Los Angeles, CA)

Michaela Ballmann, Wholify (Los Angeles, CA)
Sharon Palmer, The Plant-Powered Blog (Los Angeles, CA)
McKenzie Hall, Nourish RDs (Los Angeles, CA)
Jaime Ruisi, Noms McGee (Long Island, NY)

Monday, August 11, 2014

{Recipe ReDux} Back to School Banana Berry Oatmeal

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by National Dairy Council and the Quaker Oats Center of Excellence and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Why is it that the summer always goes so fast and the winter always feels so long?

Tomorrow is my first day of orientation for my dietetic internship at OHSU. It's going to be a busy week and is only going to get busier once classes begin. So, a hearty breakfast is so important! This bowl of oats is packed with fruit providing you with a lot of nutrition. It is the perfect way to start your day and a great school year!

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Place in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.

Good luck to all students!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Staying hydrated (flavorfully) & an agua fresca recipe

Water has always been my drink of choice. I always keep a bottle handy incase the heat gets the best of me. It's so important to stay hydrated during these hot summer months. There are lots of flavorful ways to stay hydrated, too! A piece of fruit or flavored water is a great way to give your body the fluids it needs. This recipe for a mixed berry agua fresca adds a little pizazz to your plain ole' water. You can blend any type of fruit you like with water - watermelon, raspberries, lemon, and lime.

1 1/2 cup mixed berries
2 cups water
2 tablespoons chia seeds

Mix all ingredients in a blender.

Serves 2

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Simple Tomato & Avocado Salad

This salad has a place at the table for almost every meal. It's so easy to make and adds color to any dish. It's your new summertime staple.

2 medium tomatoes
1 medium avocado
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Chop tomatoes and avocado.
In a medium bowl, mix with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Ready to serve!

Serves 4 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tuna & Avocado Lettuce Wraps

This recipe for Tuna & Avocado Lettuce Wraps is the perfect summertime meal. It's quick and easy to make, either as an appetizer, lunch, or dinner. The avocado is a healthy substitute for mayonnaise and packs in a lot of light and refreshing flavors.

1 head Boston lettuce
2 cans tuna
1 avocado
1 medium tomato, sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

Separate and wash lettuce leaves.
In a bowl, mix tuna and avocado until evenly combined. Stir in salt and pepper.
Place 1 scoop of tuna into a lettuce cup. Top with a slice of tomato and serve!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Rosemary Roasted Cauliflower

Fact: Side dishes are the best part of the meal. 

Evidence: This recipe for Rosemary Roasted Cauliflower.

I have had a love affair with cauliflower lately. It's such a versatile vegetable, you can pretty much do anything with it. As I spend a lot of time on Pinterest for recipe inspiration, I've come across cauliflower recipes I never thought were imaginable - cauliflower steaks and cauliflower crust pizzas (SAY WHAT?!). 

Cauliflower tastes great steamed, sauteed, and stir-fried, but roasted is by far the best. All jokes aside, this recipe serves four, but I can eat it all myself. Enjoy!

Rosemary Roasted Cauliflower

1 head cauliflower
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Wash cauliflower and chop into florets.
3. In a large bowl, mix florets with olive oil, cheese, and garlic. Mix in a dash of salt and pepper.
4. Spread cauliflower florets onto a baking pan.
5. Chop rosemary and spread on top of the cauliflower.
6. Place in the oven until cauliflower is fork tender and lightly browned (30-40 minutes)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal For One

Who says you can't have chocolate for breakfast?

For whatever reason, the earlier I wake up, the hungrier I am. As a consistent 6 "a.m.-er," I'm always searching for something fast and filling for breakfast. The only thing that satisfies this growing (still hoping) girl is a big bowl of oatmeal, and why not a bit of chocolate? Here's to starting the day right!

1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup milk (skim or plant based)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 eggwhite
1 tbsp unsalted peanut butter
1 tbsp ground flaxmeal
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp maple syrup
Banana + Nuts (optional)

1. Combine oats and milk in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil and then lower to medium heat, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the cocoa powder and vanilla to the pan and mix.
3. Stir in the eggwhites and continue to mix thoroughly.
4. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and cook until mixture thickens. Top with a chopped banana and nuts, and serve!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Eat the Rainbow for National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month

For the past two years, I've been bi-coastal - a few months in LA, a few months in New York, back to LA, you get the idea. Now, I'm in New York and one thing I really miss about Southern California is the farmers markets. It became tradition to spend Saturdays at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, grab some snacks, and hit the beach. No matter how many times I had visited the market, it never cease to amaze me the variety of fresh produce being sold. The size of the farmers market and quality of the produce is something we unfortunately don't have on Long Island.

But, I am lucky that it's summertime and fresh produce is within reach. Peaches, berries, and watermelon fit into all of my summer meals. They make delicious additions to oatmeal, yogurt, and salads. Plus, they even work well on the grill. A slice of grilled pineapple on top of a burger is heaven on a dish. Let's celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month by visiting the local farmers market, growing your own produce, or just taking a bite into your favorite fruits and veggies.

Here are some of my favorite fruit and veggie recipes.

Banana & Kale Smoothie

Raspberry & Mango Guacamole

Citrus Edamame Salad


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

{Pretty in Pink} Strawberry & Watermelon Smoothie

It's finally feeling like summer here, in New York. It's 80 degrees and nothing but sunshine. This kind of weather makes me crave anything cold - iced tea, frozen yogurt, and the variety of fresh fruit that's in season.

Yesterday was one of those days, and I wanted something cold. And, when I crave something... I don't wanna wait for it. So, what could I whip up in just a few short minutes? A smoothie!

This refreshing smoothie is nutrient-dense, packed with antioxidants, and SCREAMS summer. It's a delicious way to stay hydrated, too! #DrinkPink

1 cup watermelon, chopped
1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
1/4 cup yogurt
1/2 cup ice

Place chopped fruit into a blender.
Add yogurt and ice cubes.
Blend until smooth. Serve!

Serves 1

Monday, June 2, 2014

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Blueberries are just so perfect. They're perfect in cereal, yogurt, smoothies, salads, and pies. And how about those blueberry muffins?!

The best part about this recipe is that there are more than just blueberries baked into these muffins. The product is still your classic blueberry muffin, but with a healthier, fruitier twist.

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup almond meal
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup walnuts
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 bananas, mashed
1 cup milk or milk alternative
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Coat a muffin tin with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, combine almond meal, oats, sugar, walnuts, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the mashed bananas.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Pour mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until moist.
Add blueberries and gently toss to combine.
Scoop the batter into a muffin tray. Place into the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Let cool and serve.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

{Recipe ReDux} Black Bean Brownies with Matcha Tea Frosting

I love a cup of tea. My day isn't complete unless I end it with a cup of green and an episode of Modern Family. I've been drinking tea for years, but cooking with it... never. So, when I found out this month's Recipe ReDux theme was "Cooking with Tea," I was intrigued.

As I began to brainstorm, I immediately thought GREEN TEA ICE CREAM. But, I wanted to be a little more creative so I turned to Pinterest for some ideas. A recipe for chocolate cupcakes with matcha green tea frosting sparked my imagination. Brownies sounded even better. But, black bean brownies sounded even healthier. A black bean brownie topped with matcha green tea frosting, now we're in business.

Black Bean Brownies with Matcha Green Tea Frosting

For Brownies-
1 (15 ounce can) black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For Frosting-
1 cup greek yogurt
2 tbsp matcha green tea powder
1 tbsp brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place all brownie ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth.
Pour brownie batter into a nonstick or greased 8x8 baking pan.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes.

While the brownies cool, combine the frosting ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Mix well until frosting becomes a light green color. Using a knife, spread onto the brownies. Serve!


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

{Recipe} Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies


3/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp finely ground coffee
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 small banana, mashed
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine tapioca flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, coffee, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together the coconut sugar, butter, coconut oil, beaten eggs, and mashed banana.
4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix until all wet ingredients are moist. Stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Spoon 1-2 inch balls of dough onto a greased or nonstick baking pan.
6. Bake for 15 minutes.

Serve with a cold glass of milk. Enjoy!

Makes 10-12 cookies

Thursday, May 8, 2014

{Recipe ReDux} Pepper, Spinach & Swiss Frittata

Disclosure: I received free samples of Breton Gluten Free Original with Flax and Breton Gluten Free Herb and Garlic from Dare Foods Incorporated mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Dare Foods Incorporated and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

To honor Celiac Disease Awareness Month, Recipe ReDux teamed up with Dare Foods to create delicious gluten-free recipes. Before participating in this contest, I wasn't very familiar with gluten-free foods. So, when I received samples of Breton's new line of gluten-free crackers, I was amazed at the quality of taste! The crackers come in 2 varieties- Original with Flax and Herb & Garlic, both equally delicious. The crackers are made with wholesome ingredients like, arrowroot flour and green lentil flour, and are certified gluten free by the Canadian Celiac Association's Gluten Free Certification Program.  

This recipe is entirely gluten-free and is an easy-to-make main course for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I used spinach and peppers in my frittata, but you can use any of your favorite vegetables! Heck, substitute the swiss for your favorite cheese. Frittata recipes are perfect for combining your favorite foods into one big dish. Dig in!

Pepper, Spinach & Swiss Frittata with Cracker Crust


15 Breton Gluten-Free Original with Flax Crackers
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup spinach, packed
1 cup bell peppers, sliced
4 eggs
1/2 cup skim milk, or plant based alternative
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Crush the crackers and mix with melted butter. Pat down onto the bottom of a pie pan.
3. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion to the pan and cook until translucent. Saute the spinach and peppers for 10 minutes.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the 4 eggs and combine with the milk. Add the cheese to the bowl and mix.
5. Combine the egg mixture and vegetables. Stir in salt and pepper. Pour over the cracker crust.
6. Place in the oven and let bake for approximately 40 minutes.

Serves 8


As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Bucket List

Last week, my family and I hit the Pacific Coast Highway and ventured towards Napa Valley, California. Before hitting the road, we fueled the car, and our bellies. Urth Caffe has been on my list of places to dine at for months and since the title of this blog is called, The Bucket List, this was the first thing to cross off my list. 

Urth Caffe is known for its organic coffees and teas. Each cup comes topped with a unique design inscribed into the steamed milk. I had the multigrain waffle which was made with oats, flax seed, wheat germ, and whole wheat flour, and was topped with fresh strawberries and bananas. It was delicious and I'm not ashamed to admit that I ate the whole thing. My mom ordered the bread pudding which was to die for. I definitely recommend trying it. 

After breakfast, we hit the road. First stop, Santa Barbara. We had only begun driving and were already going in the wrong direction! But, we did come across Peterson's Ranch which had a beautiful display of fresh produce. We took this opportunity to stock up on snacks for the car ride.

As soon as we entered Santa Barbara, we stopped at a local winery for some wine tasting of course. It was a beautiful day to sit outside and relax. Then, we walked around the farmers market which was extremely impressive! The selection of fruits and vegetables were gorgeous.

The next day, we got back on the PCH. The views were incredible! We stopped at Elephant Seal Beach, which pretty much speaks for itself. There were hundreds of seals laying on the sand. Further up the coast we stopped in Big Sur for a bite to eat. Nepenthe sat on top of a cliff providing us with the most breathtaking views of the oceans and mountains.Then, we continued up to Carmel and Monterrey.

That night we stayed in San Francisco. I had been there once before and fell in love with the city. This time around it was just as much as fun as I had remembered. We went to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market which is renowned throughout the country as one of the top farmers market to visit. The diversity and quality of the produce was truly unique.

As my dad stood on an unusually long line at Blue Bottle Coffee, my mom and I circled around an almond brittle vendor who was handing out samples. After a handful of samples, we decided it was only fair to purchase a few pieces. The vendor also told us that the line my dad was standing on was for the best coffee in the world. One coffee turned into 4 lattes to go.

After too many hours of driving, we reached our destination - Napa Valley. It was time to kick back, relax, and do nothing but eat and drink. We stayed at the gorgeous and homey, Embassy Suites. Couches and fire pits surrounded a lake which was home to a bevy of swans. It definitely had that winery-feel. 

During our stay in Napa, we made a reservation for dinner at the Culinary Institute of America. At the CIA Greystone, student chefs spend their last few weeks of the program cooking and serving guests at a restaurant right on campus. The school was a beautiful stone building overlooking a vineyard. The menu was limited to a few selections for appetizers, main course, and dessert. I ordered Mary's Farm Chicken which was the largest and freshest piece of chicken I have ever laid my eyes on. This was exactly what a piece of chicken was supposed to look like. 

Back to the bucket list. Every vacation, Nance (mom) insists on finding adventure. So, one morning we woke up bright and early and went on a hot air balloon ride. Check off the bucket list! In the first few moments of take off, I was nervous, but as soon as we got up into the sky, it was a beautiful sight. Our pilot was comical and engaging. The thing with hot air balloons is that there are no controls. It's easy to get up, but apparently not so easy to get down. The pilot has to be in tune with the wind and changes in direction. Towards the end of our ride, the wind wasn't on our side, but it was so much fun. Our pilot, Jay, had his crewing running back and forth beneath us trying to get a hold of the rope to pull us down. Unfortunately, the rope wasn't connected and we landed in a levy. Luckily, Jay knew what he was doing and we gave him a second try. We landed safely in a field. 

The next few days in Napa included a lot of bread, cheese, and wine. Some of my favorite vineyards were St. Supery, Castello di Amoroso, and Del Dotto. Napa is a wonderful place to visit and is filled with really wonderful and friendly people. I hope to visit again soon!

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