{My Favorite SLO Things Gift Baskets}

Gift Basket

For Christmas gifts for our parents this year, Jeff and I decided to make a favorite SLO things gift basket. We thought it might be a fun idea since I’ve started this blog and since this is our last year in SLO (trying not to think about that part yet!). I had so much fun picking and choosing which places to include in the gift basket, but, of course, there were some price and size limitations to consider. Here’s what we ended up with.

1. Sweet Earth Chocolates— Sweet Earth Chocolates is a local, organic, fair trade chocolate shop. Jeff and I actually used their chocolate truffles as favors for our wedding last year! I got a few pieces of their dark chocolate almond bark and their chili orange walnut bark.  Yum!

Sweet Earth Chocolates

Sweet Earth Chocolates

2. We Olive Oil–We also put a bottle of the local olive oil store’s Tuscan Blend, an unfiltered olive oil from Paso Robles. At the store, you can buy a large container and then keep refilling the bottle at a discounted price.

We Olive Olive Oil

We Olive Olive Oil

3. Mo’s Barbecue Sauce–You already know I love Mo’s Barbecue, so a bottle of their sauce seemed like the perfect addition to the gift basket. My favorite is their Sweet Carolina, but we decided to go with the more universally delicious Philthy Phil’s.

Mo's Barbecue Sauce

4. Off the Farm–We also included an Off the Farm Blueberry Vanilla energy bar in each of the gift baskets. I’ve been noticing these little goodies in a few local stores and markets and since they’re made locally, I thought they would be a great little addition to the basket.

Off the Farm

5. Kenneth Volk–My parents drink more wine than beer, so we decided to include a bottle of wine from our favorite winery, Kenneth Volk. We went with a bottle of their chardonnay and it was great, just as always.

Kenneth Volk Chardonnay

6. Tap It–In Jeff’s parents’ gift basket, we also included a bottle of Tap It’s IPA and APA from the local brewery.

Tap It

Here’s the finished project!

Gift Basket

What do you think?

 

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{An Introduction}

Hummus and Quinoa

The promise of a rainy day calls for a little reminiscing, don’t you think?

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to study abroad in London for a summer. One weekend, we decided to visit the Greenwich Market for a little shopping and lunch when I stumbled across a booth serving this:

Food Stand

Food Booth

I had never had quinoa before, but it was just beginning to become popular and with all of those other amazing ingredients, I thought I’d just have to give it a try. It’s hard to believe there was a time when I didn’t eat it since now it’s a staple in our household.

A random beginning to what’s become a lifelong obsession!

{Is It Fall Yet?}

I was so excited when it seemed fall had finally come to the central coast last week. We had cold days and nights, a major rainstorm, and I broke out my tights, wool skirts, turtlenecks, and Smartwool. I even made my first soup of the season. And then, somehow, the seasons reversed themselves and it was 102 degrees yesterday. 102! And in a city without air conditioning, anything over 80 usually feels like a heat wave.

Of course, I shouldn’t complain. I do know that every year we get an indian summer with hot days periodically through October and November but for once, I just wanted to hold onto that fall feeling. So in honor of fall and in hopes of coercing the weather gods to bring it back to us here on the central coast, here are a few recipes I’ll be dreaming of making as soon as it cools back down.

Click on the pictures for the recipe links

1. Chicken, Quinoa, and Green Olive Stew from Sunset

Chicken, Quinoa & Green Olive Stew with Blonde Bock

2. Cheesy Baked Artichoke Dip from pickycook.com

Cheesy Baked Artichoke Dip

3. Vegetable Potpies with Sweet Potato Biscuits from Food and Wine

Vegetable Potpies with Sweet Potato Biscuits

4. Borlotti Minestrone

Borlotti Minestrone

5.Healthy Chicken Tamale Casserole from Cooking Light

Healthy Chicken Tamale Casserole

6. Stout Cupcakes from My Baking Addiction

Stout Cupcakes

In the mean time, I’m still going to the pumpkin patch at Avila Barn this weekend–I don’t care how hot it is!

{Using It All}

Veggies

After a long Monday of work/school, I arrived home to the best present ever: my csa box full of veggies! I had been wondering all day what the box would contain and I was definitely not disappointed when I got home. And yes, that is a watermelon you see! We also got Butter Leaf Lettuce, Dino Kale, Radishes, a Green Bell Peppers, Fennel, Cucumbers, Celery, Kohlrabi, Spring Onions, Yellow Squash, Vine Ripened Tomatoes, and a Tri-Colored Green Bean Blend.

We did a decent job of eating everything last week (we do still have a lot of chard!), but this week I’m determined to consume every last vegetable in the box. This will be especially difficult since we’re going out of town on Saturday, so I’m trying to incorporate the vegetables into every meal I eat.

When I got home from class last night, Jeff had apparently read my mind and had made roast chicken, gnocchi with goat cheese, tomatoes, and squash, and a salad with cucumbers and a peach vinaigrette–the perfect start to using our veggies. Good job husband!

And for lunch/snacks tomorrow, I made myself watermelon, celery with almond butter, and salad with green beans and radishes. If we keep this up, hopefully we’ll be in good shape by the time we get our next box on Monday!

While we were listening to  Aarti at Savor on Sunday, she mentioned that she’s been creating a list of all of the veggies she has in her “crisper” so she doesn’t forget that they’re in the fridge and waste them. Being ever the planner, I decided that this was the perfect idea to keep me on track this week.

I’ll have to check in later in the week and let you know how successful (or not) we were! And if you know any good recipes featuring some of the vegetables, please share!

Veggie List

How do you keep from wasting produce?