Wine About It

We spent most of the day wandering from winery to winery. Downtown Walla Walla is basically one after the other, the only problem  is deciding which ones to skip. You could easily wine taste for days just downtown.

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We started the trip with a list of wineries we haven’t been to so we could try some new wines.  Some were great, some too expensive and a few just amazing.

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K Vitners, also known as Charles Smith has  very good wine, especially their Syrah’s.

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We headed to the airport to try a few new ones and revisit an old favorite.

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Of course we had to pop into Sleight of Hands since we are members.

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And luckily two of the wineries we are always hoping to visit but are always closed were open.

Va Piano was a great experience. Not only did they have playmates for the girls,

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we met the winemaker. He gave us a taste of his Rose out of the barrel and although it wont be ready for months is was already delicious, all of his wines were five star.

We got to visit the cellar and witness the aftermath of a wedding proposal.

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Hard to follow that but we still tried. Dusted Valley had some above decent wines and a large lot for the girls to run around.

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We have done some pretty good damage in the wine department.

On the Road Again

I pulled Kaili out of school a tad early so we could hit the road, destination Walla Walla.  The girls did good, better than I expected to be honest. After a pretty decent dinner in Stockton, we finished up the days drive in Dixon, a town outside of Sacramento. It was 8:30 p.m by the time we were all ready for bed and the girls crashed without a peep.

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Dinner at Harvest Moon, Stockton, Ca.

After a quick hotel breakfast we were back on the road again by 8:00 a.m. It was a long day in the car and the weather wasn’t great. We saw Mount Shasta and a few beautiful rainbows but besides that our sights were set on Newport, Oregon.

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We hoped to get there while there was still daylight but by the time we checked in to our hotel and made it down to the bay front for dinner, it was pitch dark outside. Dinner was good, we have been wanting to try Mo’s for a long time, it was fun to check that box.

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Too cold and dark to walk around, so we went back to the room to get the girls and myself in bed. I fell asleep before 8:00 p.m.

Kaili woke up around 6:00 a.m so we had an early start to the day. With cheese and ice cream on the mind, we made our way to the Tillamook factory. Kaili seemed to enjoy watching the cheese packaging process and pretending to milk the fake cow. Averi was just enjoying being out of the car and neither of them seemed to care about the cheese. We were disappointed to find out the cafe was only serving breakfast since we had our minds set on grilled cheese, so we settled for ice cream instead.

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The only other stop we planned on before arriving in Walla Walla was Multnomah falls.  It was a perfect spot for a bathroom break and a stretch of the legs.

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On the third day and the final stretch  of the trip, Averi decided to give into a nap. It was bliss.

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We made our arrival into the town and conveniently drove by one of the wineries we are members of, so of course we had to stop.

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It’s good to be here and it’s good not having to get back into the car for another day of driving tomorrow. Maybe wine tasting downtown instead.

 

Bolognese + Garlic Cream Sauce

You know what marriage is? it’s bumping into the same person in your kitchen day after day and not killing them. Also known as true love.

The other night I made a recipe that I got over a year ago with a wine shipment. Dunham cellars in Walla Walla, one of our favorites in town.  Most of the recipes we received from them looked good, but this one I knew I was going to make, I just needed an excuse.

The recipe read like it was a  Bolognese meets Alfredo sauce, where is the fault in that?  My first step after reading a recipe, any recipe is to pick it apart. Most of the time I will counter it with multiple other “similar” recipes and come up with my own ending.

The results were pretty fantastic. Sausage and garlic can do no wrong, just make sure you get an Italian sausage in casing that has fennel, otherwise you’re wasting your time with this dish. I am not sure what my final measurements were so I will give you the original recipe. Do as you wish but don’t leave out the sausage or the red peppers, trust me.

Oh, and for some reason the original recipe is named “Tagliatelle Bolognese”. I am not sure if the person who submitted this recipe couldn’t find Tagliatelle and just grabbed the nearest fettuccine and “forgot” to tell us, or they  just didn’t know. But the two are different. With that, it really won’t matter what you use, although if you can find fresh Tagliatelle than by all means use that. I couldn’t, well I didn’t want to drive down to Little Italy, so I used fresh Fettuccine that I found at Sprouts.

Happy cooking!

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Ingredients

Meat sauce

3 oz. ground beef (crumbled into ½” pieces)
• 3 oz. Italian sausage (crumbled into ½” pieces)
• 1/8 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
• 12 oz. Plum tomatoes (seeded, drained, chopped)
• 1 Tablespoon parsley, minced
• 1 ½ teaspoons garlic, minced
• 3 Tablespoons roasted red pepper (cut into ¼” strips)
• ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• Fresh ground black pepper
• 2 Tablespoons olive oil
• 1 lb. Fettuccine
• Parmesan, finely shredded
• Fresh parsley, chopped

Garlic Cream sauce

• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 cube butter
• 1 pint whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon salt
• Fresh ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:
Meat sauce: Preheat 12” sauté pan over medium high heat. Sprinkle salt over the bottom of the pan to aid in browning and prevent meat from sticking. Add ground
beef and sausage a little at a time. Meat should sizzle and smoke. Let meat brown on one side then stir. Cook to medium rare and drain off excess fat. Add all other
ingredients except olive oil. Simmer uncovered about 30 minutes until thickened. Stir in olive oil and set aside.

Cream sauce: Heat butter in a heavy gauge sauce pan until melted. Add minced garlic and simmer on low heat for 5 to 8 minutes. Add cream, salt and pepper. Let
simmer for 45 minutes until reduced in volume by 10%, stirring often.

Heat meat sauce, then add the cream sauce and heat until it bubbles and reduces. Cook pasta, drain and add to the sauce, thoroughly coating noodles. SERVE IMMEDIATELY. Garnish with shredded parmesan and parsley.

*recipe from Dunham Cellars

A Hot Minute

Last we left off Gma was having another “episode” . She needed more help than we thought and is now living with assistance and everyone is hoping she gets back to her old self and is able to go back home soon.

Our last few days in WW were as exciting as you can imagine.. Our flight home was easy peasy. I lucked out on our first flight and was able to have a row to myself, makes a world of difference with a lap child.

Our good neighbors met us at the airport so we could load all of our luggage and cases of wine into their car since it wouldn’t all fit in ours. Once it was packed up they headed home and we hopped on the shuttle to find our car. When we got to the parking lot we were greeted with a dead battery. It was 9:30 at night, there was no one around to help and I had just packed Averi’s diaper bag in the other car. AwESomE. We called our neighbor to come back and give us a jump start, which luckily worked and we were finally  home by 10:30. It pays to live near the airport.

The girls were so good but it’s still such an exhausting process traveling with kids. SO MUCH STUFF and bottles and and and…..I couldn’t imagine doing that with a child who was a little shit or a baby who cries all the time.
Hoping our next trip is to somewhere warmer, like let’s say, Hawaii!

Big Plan Fail

I had big blogging plans for this trip but…..

I have so much to tell you. We will start with wine and dogs.

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Elegante Cellars and the dog with no name…because I forgot it.

 

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Dunham Cellars and the other dog with no name….because wine.

Shane and I took the kids out to the airport for some wine tasting on Tuesday. No not the actual airport but right past the Walla Walla airport houses over 20 wineries. I googled it for you. We hit a handful of them but the one we were looking forward to all day was Dunham cellars. We were lucky enough to meet JoAnne Dunham thanks to Wags. They became fast friends when he was in town for a motivational speech. She met us at the winery and gave us a first class tasting and we became wine members without hesitation.

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Christmas eve was full of cheer. Most of the family came, food was inhaled and gifts were tore open. It was nice to catch up with people I haven’t seen in years and might not see again for a few more. We recovered Christmas morning by sitting on our asses as Jesus intended it.

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Friday was Shane’s birthday and we had just a few more wineries we wanted to visit. We packed up the kids and headed out to the other side of Walla Walla Soon after our first stop I realized I forgot Averi’s bottles. I packed everything for the kids, e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g for a day out except a fucking bottle.

Another one of Shane’s high school friends just moved his tasting  room from the airport to downtown. He let us know that he was there at Kontos Cellars pouring, so we dropped the kids off with grandma and hit the town. (thank you!)  We were lucky enough to meet back up with Chris and his wife later that evening for a fun few hours. Then this happened….

The next morning JoAnne wasn’t at home, apparently the police called around 2 in the morning. Shane’s grandma ( who lives not far down the road) had run to the neighbors claiming she had been assaulted and there were strange people in her house. Once Gordon and JoAnne showed up it was obvious that no one was ever there and that her mind was playing some wacky ass tricks on her. Turns out there was SO MUCH more to Gma’s story. Ladies were talking about her in her bedroom and every time she got close to the door they ran away, a  naked couple had performed a play  in her front room under a teepee made with her comforter and then  they were laying on her floor “doing their thing”. Her clothes were scattered all throughout her yard, some were nicely folded in the washing machine topped with Ramen noodles and she was convinced her dog had been drugged and his hair was falling out so she lathered him up with hand lotion. There is so much more but I can’t write all night.

The next morning JoAnne and her sister Kellie took Gma to the ER and spent most of the day waiting for tests. Hours and hours later the results were and it turns out she has a bladder infection. YOU GUYS a urinary tract infection in older women can cause paranoia and hallucinations. Now, not to say age or maybe even dementia isn’t playing a small part but here….read it for yourselves. The ER doctor sent her home with antibiotics and a sitter for the night.

We all hoped that would do the trick but come Sunday night we couldn’t reach her by phone. Convinced someone had to check on her, Shane and JoAnne headed over.  Oh man…she had barricaded both the front and back door to keep the people out, broken a lamp so they would cut their feet and told Shane that his “wife’s husband” is the one doing this. It’s  crazy ass shit that I can’t wrap my head around. I am truly amazed that a bladder infection can mess with your mind in such a way.

This is a PSA for the elderly. IF you have a loved one who may be going senile or straight mad, take them in for tests. Could be as simple as a urinary tract infection. Question is, does it go away with antibiotics?

 

Sip and Paint

Poor Averi still has a bad cold making nights reminiscent of the newborn days. I have been sneaking into Kaili’s room at all hours of the night to get some quality sleep.

Saturday afternoon all the girls went to Brushes N Brix and we had a blast.

IMG_6072 I was a tad terrified when I found out we were going to be painting trees, unless they’re palm trees, it’s not quite my forte. I wasn’t thrilled with my final project but for the first time it wasn’t terrible. I could totally do this on a regular basis, and the wine truly does help. It numbs the pain when you realize you just fucked up your painting with black paint and makes it easier to just brush it off.

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Sunday, after taking Kaili for a run in the park headed downtown to sneak in a few wine tastings. We hit a handful of wineries that were new to us and most of them were really good.

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We were told to hit Trust Cellars by a couple of ladies and it was the best decision we made all day. We loved everything about this winery, we quickly became wine members.

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Trust Cellars

We ended the day at a friends house. Telling stories over wine and football, we had a great time. ( HOW BOUT THEM HAWKS!!)

We did a Pepsi/Coke challenge with three syrah’s, one being a San Diego county wine and it held up like a champ against some very delicious Washington wines.

IMG_6120I guess it’s time to start getting ready for Christmas. I am not even done wrapping, are you?

Feeling the Chill

Our first night in town everyone was beyond exhausted. Averi quickly showed symptoms of a cold and spent the ENTIRE night sniffing and moaning…so tired.

The next morning, with two sick kids on our hands we knew we too were probably doomed to be hit with the sickness. However the sun was shining and it seemed like a fine day to go check out the new cabin the folks had just purchased in Tollgate, OR. We left Averi home to sleep with grandma and Shane, Gordon, Kaili and I hit the road. Just about 3/4 of the way there Kaili got sick, really sick, all over herself and her carseat…barf. We were in the middle of nowhere, literally. We had nothing, no water, no wipes, just a few tissues and luckily a change of clothes in her backpack.  We were headed to a cabin that was basically closed up for the winter, meaning no running water. We did the best we could wiping it up and turned around and headed home. That was a long 30 minute drive.

After a bath, Kaili perked up and as the day went on Shane started to feel worse. I have been dosing myself with everything including naps to stay healthy. This is how our trip is starting and come to think of it, pretty much the way our trip here always starts…minus the throwing up.

Poor Averi is super congested but Kaili is already on the mend, hopefully this is a short lived cold and we can all survive before wine tasting and football commences.

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GO HAWKS.