Sunday, April 28, 2013

Home Brew Competition

The last Thursday of April is our club's home brew competition that we hold at Sierra Nevada.
Chris and I have been stewards (Chris, the chief steward) for the past three years. We coordinate all the stewards to help facilitate the judges with scoring sheets and the home brew samples. 

Any entries that scored in the high 30s or better were collected on a side table for all the stewards to sample.
The judging lasted until about 12:30 pm, after which we were served a catered buffet lunch and the Big Room taps were opened for our drinking enjoyment. It was a pretty low key this event this year and most of the stewards seemed to do a good job. We'll find out the results next weekend at our club award ceremony potluck. Hopefully "somebody" will be coming home with more bling around his neck!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Scientific experiment

We took some time out of our busy schedule today to devote ourselves to a very scientific experiment; which are better - Doritos tacos or Cool Ranch tacos? As you can see, somebody was up to the task.
And the verdict? Cool Ranch tacos!

Now it's back home for some last minute cleaning before our dinner party tonight - we're having my co-worker Josh and his wife Lenette over for dinner. We're bbqing some flank steak, making roasted sweet potatoes, and a salad of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, and basil covered in balsamic vinegar. Josh is bringing strawberry shortcakes for dessert. Yum!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

My introduction to Port

Tonight I went to a wine tasting with some gals from work over at the Eagles Lodge in Chico. We'd gone the last couple of years together, so it's a standing date for us. Since I'm the only one in Chico, they asked if I'd get there a couple of minutes before them to get a spot in line. So I got there early and fended off the hordes of people.
Oh wait, that's right, nobody else showed up (except my friends) for another 20 minutes. Note to self for next year. For our admission we got a free wine glass and a vendor program.
I went through the program and made a game plan as to which wineries I wanted to visit which could pretty much be summed up with "HoneyRun Winery". They had four flavored honey wines (melomels) and one dry mead (which I skipped because I don't like those). I figured those would be the only ones I liked, but much to my surprise I tried a port and really liked it which makes sense since it's a dessert wine and I like the sweet stuff. There were two wineries that brought ports, both of which were good, but the Grant Eddie Winery port was the best - smooth like butter. To soak up all of our communion there were two tables of finger foods like dolmas, pinwheels, meatballs, meat and cheese trays, baked cheese in phyllo dough (the best!!), fruit, crostini with dips, chicken wings, and sausages. Plus there was a whole separate table of desserts. We drank our hearts out from 4-7 pm before our chauffeur husbands came to retrieve us off the floor.
This was way better than a silly pub crawl! Even though, all I've done is give myself wicked heartburn from all the wine. Can't wait to see how awesome I feel in the morning!

Booze Bus

Every couple of year our home brew club likes to put together a club-sponsored group outing. Two years ago the club rented a tour bus and did a pub crawl through Sacramento. It was such a hit, officers of the group put together another pub crawl this year for the first 80 members to sign up that took us through Nevada County and eventually over to the Roseville/Sacramento area. Yesterday we met in Chico at 8:30 a.m. since we were supposed to be leaving at "9:00 a.m. sharp", but seeing as how club members were spending that first half-an-hour drinking their breakfasts (i.e. mimosas, bloody mary's, gin & tonics, coffee and Irish cream, etc) we couldn't actually get ourselves together enough to leave until 9:15 a.m. which immediately put us behind schedule and set the tone for the rest of the day. As we loaded up on the bus, each of us were handed a lunch bag with our names on it that had a plastic drinking cup, bottled water, and some snacks.
Drinking's allowed on charter buses, so beer was flowing before we even pulled out of the parking lot.
Our first stop was at Ol' Republic Brewery in Nevada City. They had graciously agreed to open an hour early for us, had put together samplers for us at a reduced rate, and gave us a great little spiel about their new (14 months old) business.

Our next stop, and lunch location, was at Auburn Alehouse. They were located in Auburn's historic downtown district and was already packed with their lunch rush which made us very grateful that we had their outdoor patio reserved and had already given them our lunch orders. But, as with any big group such as ours, it takes considerable time to serve that many people and get the bills sorted which only put us further behind schedule.
Once we were stuffed with food and ready for a nap, we soldiered on to Loomis Basin Brewery.

Loomis was our favorite brewery as far as the atmosphere was concerned. They had plenty of indoor room as well as a whole back yard patio area where they had picnic tables set up covered with tents to protect you from the sun. Plus, their stout wasn't too bad either! After LBB, we headed over to Roseville and stopped at the Roseville Brewing Company which was a tiny, roll-up door warehouse operation that was actually our Sacramento area drop-off for entries in our upcoming home brew competition.

Even though the place was small, hot, and crowded with people from a local rugby match, I think it had the best beer selections. The Canadian had a smoked amber, which we found out later had been smoked with bacon, and apparently their stout (with cinnamon) was a group favorite. Now I wished I'd asked to take a sip of somebody's!

Our last stop of the evening was at Track 7, south of South Sacramento which sounded like that was not a good thing. Again, another roll-up door warehouse operation that was hot and didn't have very good selections. I talked the boy into getting their stout, so that I could take a sip or two, and neither of us ended up liking it nor did anybody else who'd picked it also.
We could have left this place off the crawl and not missed a thing. Seriously. There was nothing redeeming about this place other than we ended up having some conversations with club members we hadn't spoke with before. We finally headed home around 7:00 pm which got us back to Chico around 9:00 pm. Although the boy enjoyed trying some new breweries, neither of us feel the need to do any club sponsored pub crawls again in the future. The group tends to get loud and obnoxious by late afternoon and neither of us can stand that behavior. If Chris wanted to watch people get shit-faced and obnoxious, he'd just stay home and watch me drink orange juice with whipped cream flavored vodka all day. At least that's free!

Saturday, April 13, 2013


This weekend we made our annual trip to Mecca, otherwise known as the Roseville Galleria. The Canadian was quite the sport and walked with me from one end of the mall to other and even across the street to The Fountain shopping center so I could do even more damage. In exchange, I directed him to lunch at The Yard House which my co-worker had suggested because it had more beer taps then she'd ever seen in her life. He was in beer heaven and settled on a six-piece Belgian sampler to wash down his Korean pulled pork and blackened swordfish tacos. 
I had a bbq chicken salad piled high with fried onion rings, ah-mazing! By the end of the day, we both found some pretty good loot. I ended up with four skirts, three tops, one dress, and a fancy-pants necklace (courtesy of the boy) from White House Black Market. All in a day's work! 

And in the spirit of new things, when we got home I had another treat waiting for me at the front door - my Pampered Chef order from a fundraiser earlier in the week. 
I love all of my Pampered Chef cookbooks so I was especially excited to see their new gluten free one. And after looking at it I love it even more because it just uses Bob's Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour, which you can buy anywhere, instead of a complex mix of different rice and potato flours. I also bought another cookie cooling rack after my Christmas cookie debacle where I was trying to bake and cool tens-of-thousands of cookies using one, single cooling rack. 

And just because it made me laugh out loud, here's my Onion desk calendar page from earlier in the week;
Can I get an "Amen"?!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Taking care of business

Chris was gone yesterday and today in the Petaluma area for work so I decided to use my time alone productively and get some long overdue filing done. I plopped myself down on the couch, put on my DVR'd movie "My Week with Marilyn", and got busy filing four months worth of church bills.
Now the 2012 records are boxed and ready for storage, new 2013 files have been made, and all paid bills have been filed. I don't know why I hate making new files at the beginning of the year so much, I just do. But, in a very slow effort, I'm trying to get things boxed and taken back to the church so that I can start cleaning up the rest of my craft room for Chris to use as his office. Baby steps.

After I was done filing I spent a little time in the kitchen trying out a new grain-free recipe for lemon blueberry muffins (using coconut flour).
I only made a half batch since I wasn't sure how they'd be, but they turned out wonderful. Other than I forgot to make sure I had muffin liners (which I didn't) so I had to butter the tin and the bottoms still slightly stuck.

My other treat of the weekend was a new laptop computer. It arrived in the mail yesterday so I texted Chris to let him know his computer showed up, which I assumed to be another work computer, and he answered back that it was mine! It's so big and luxurious compared to my notebook and everything opens so quickly. I love it! It does run Windows 8 though, so it's taking a little time to get used to, but so far I really like it.