A buckle, you say. Or maybe it was the whiskey part that caught your eye. Either way, I’m with you. While in Napa Valley this summer, I picked up a berry-themed cookbook from a used bookstore that was filled with traditional rustic desserts: slumps, crisps, grunts, cobblers, and buckles. All meant to be simple, comforting, and full of seasonal fruit….
Scones. To me they scream, “Come on, sit down, take a break, have some tea.” My school year schedule is back to full warp speed. Coaching, work, orchestra rehearsals, swim meets. These days my favorite ritual to decompress is finding new podcasts and listening while baking. Hearing stories about what makes people tick; their passions, their struggles, their loves, and everything in between, is grounding and inspirational. Human beings are pretty incredible, aren’t they?
I have always had a strange love/hate relationship with bananas. I really want to like them for all the practical reasons – they’re healthy, portable, and low maintenance. But every time I buy them, the optimism I had in the grocery store about eating a banana all on its own quickly dwindles and they sit on my counter and go uneaten. It’s weird, I know. We drove down to southern Missouri this last weekend for a lake trip with friends (I always forget how beautiful the Ozark region of Missouri is!). Prior to the trip, I bought bananas, forgot to pack them in the car, and knew without a doubt I would not want to eat them when we returned….
Last week we headed west to California. Our first stop, after a day wandering the streets of San Francisco, was Napa Valley where we met up with our friends Megan and Bryon to taste and see what Napa does best. This wine tasting trip has been in the works for the last year in honor of what Megan and I call our “25th best friendiversary”. No one really needs an excuse to go wine tasting I suppose, but this felt like a worthy cause. Next up, Heath and I drove halfway down the coast to San Luis Obispo to meet with my LA-living sister and her boyfriend, where we watched (much to Heath’s dismay) the OKC Thunder lose to the Spurs in a friendly bar that made us all feel like locals. And later, some more wine tasting. Our third leg led us north and east away from the coast toward Yosemite National Park. Beautiful seems like such a minuscule word when trying to describe Yosemite. The fact that we have so many awe-inspiring places like this in the US is always so shocking to me. I could have spent days there.
Prior to our trip, I had done some research on gluten-free bakeries and other food related places of note for our expected destinations. In Napa, we checked out the Oxbow Public Market, full of wonderful organic food vendors, wine, and cafes. This felt like a gluten-free haven to me. One of the vendors, Cate & Co., is a gluten-free bakeshop and eatery where I had my first true breakfast sandwich in what felt like eons….
Peanut butter. Maple syrup. Chocolate chips. Melted into the goopiest goop you’ve ever seen. Marshmallows? Sure, throw those in too. The goopier the better. Growing up, this was my sister’s after-school snack. We had those hyper-colored plastic bowls that changed color in the microwave that I had received for sending in all my oatmeal box proofs-of-purchase to the Quaker Oats man. She would fill one of them up with her special ingredients, pop it in the microwave, and pull out the sweet peanut butter combo (the bowl a different color, of course). I don’t know how this little “treat” started and could never really understand why, but everyday at about 4:30 in the afternoon, the house smelled amazing.…