Posts tagged ‘Rome Valley Vineyards’

May 6, 2013

Summertime White Sangria

I love sangria. Jim loves it too, and whenever we go to Mexican restaurants that serve it, we get a glass…or a pitcher, whatever.

I’ve always wanted to try making my own, but never have had the patience to let it sit overnight and all that. But when we decided to have people over for fish tacos for Cinco de Mayo, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl.

I searched through our wine “cellar” for a relatively inexpensive bottle of red that I didn’t mind sacrificing (of course there was the potential that this would turn out horribly and waste an entire bottle of wine), and unfortunately I came up short. I didn’t have a single bottle of red wine that I wanted to turn into sangria. So I switched gears. We had TONS of bottles of white because we both enjoy red just a little bit better (until summer comes around anyway), so I decided to make some sangria out of white wine instead.

We popped open a bottle of Rome Valley Vineyards‘ Chardonnay and started making magic!


Summertime White Sangria

The beauty of sangria is that you can pretty much put whatever fruit into it that you want. I mean sure there’s a traditional recipe, but you can make something completely delicious and unique to your own taste just as easily. I used a handful of different fruits we already had on hand.

2 oranges, sliced

1 lime, sliced

5 strawberries, cut in half, tops removed

5 thin slices of rhubarb

2 shots of triple sec

I bottle of chardonnay (you can use whatever white wine you like or have on hand)

Sparkling water (Mine was lime scented, and I used about 36 ounces, but you can taste as you go. It’s not a science)

Pour your wine into a pitcher. Add fruit and triple sec. Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight or for several hours. The longer, the better. When you’re ready to serve, pour in the sparkling water. Serve ice cold in your most beautiful glasses, garnished with extra fruit.


It turned out pretty dern delicious, if I don’t say so myself. Originally I wanted to use limes, raspberries and peaches, but they only had limes at our local grocery store…you know, the only one open at 10:30 when I decided I wanted to attempt this endeavor. I think I’ll try that combination next time. I’ve also heard people use ginger ale instead of the sparkling water and it gives it more flavor. I didn’t want the added sugar (or high fructose corn syrup. Yuck!), so I will probably always stick with the water.


Also this weekend, I finally got to play around with my new camera. It does a pretty good job, eh? Here are a few of my favorite shots of Katie that I took. She’s a hard dog to photograph, let me tell you! She’s like my brother when it comes to taking her picture. She always turns away from the camera! So the fact that I got these ones was a miracle in and of itself!

black lab

Isn’t she cute? Just chilling in the grass.


This one I made a funny sound at her, so she tilted her head as if to ask “what the heck was that?!”

I hope everyone is having a happy Monday! Or at least a not-sucky Monday as Mondays can be pretty challenging.

Have you ever tried making sangria before? If so, did you use a recipe or did you just wing it like I did?

October 29, 2012

Crazy weekend #4: Disneyland

Last weekend we was our final crazy weekend in October. And it sure was a doozy!

Friday night when Jim got off work, he and my mom and I piled into my car with our formal wear and a giant sack of healthy snacks and hit the road. Sevenish hours later, we pulled up to our hotel and couldn’t fall into bed quick enough (with one exception: we stayed at the Doubletree and they have those yummy chocolate chip cookies? Yea, Mom and I had to eat ours before we slept).

The next morning we forwent arriving at the park when it opened in favor of sleeping a few more hours, which I ended up quite grateful for. More on that later.

We got to the park just after 10 a.m. and spent a few hours with BJ and Ashley before they went back to their hotel for naps (they DID arrive at the park when it opened).

You can tell my coffee hasn’t hit me quite yet in this photo! I did love all the pumpkin decorations they had up for fall though. You can see Minnie Mouse in the background.

After lunch, Mom and Jim and I took off on our own and hit up our favorite rides: Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion (which had insanely long lines due to its new holiday makeover), and we got fast passes for Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Unfortunately, when we went to use our fast passes BOTH rides had just broken down. What the heck kind of bad luck is that? Not to mention, the rides I listed above are pretty much the only ones we got to ride. We didn’t even get to California Adventure because there were SO many people. I haven’t been to Disneyland in the past few years when it’s been this packed.
It really rather put a damper on our day, and made me both thankful and regretful that we slept those extra hours. If we hadn’t, I’d have been cranky as a hungry bear, but we’d also have had more time to go on rides in the morning. Oh, well. It is what it is.

I discovered one cool thing though: there’s a boat with my name in Pirates of the Caribbean!

Cool, huh? No, we didn’t get to ride in it. Our day wasn’t that lucky.

After we waited for about half an hour for Space Mountain to get back up and running, we gave up and went back to the hotel to change for dinner.  BJ and Ashley picked us up a little early and we headed back to the park for Rome Valley Vineyards’ annual winemaker’s dinner at Club 33.

We rode the train from the main gate back to New Orleans Square

We took our annual photo by the door. (Don’t you love how the humidity got to my hair? I look kind of creepy)

Last year’s photo

I believe this was our second…third?..course. Lobster Bisque and Asparagus Baklava. So delicious!

Dessert!!! So yummy! And so sad I only got two bites. 😦

BJ and Ashley. The girl peeking out from behind Ashley is Rachel, the manager (who was very cool, by the way). The guy is Matt. He was our server for my bachelorette party last year. And me and Mommy.

Bachelorette party: Matt’s hiding in the back, third head from the right. He was quite a trooper that night! 🙂

So back to last weekend. Dinner was amazing. So many courses of delicious food, such good wine and a great group of people. Despite some hiccups during the day, the evening turned out really well. Ashley turned 21 a couple of days before, so we celebrated her birthday as well as the new wine from the vineyard. I wish someone had gotten a photo of it, but BJ actually presented me with a really nice framed copy of the new label which I helped design as well as helping name the wine.

We left the park well after closing. It’s one of the coolest things. Picture this: it’s dark. It’s quiet. There are no people anywhere, except those who are cleaning and getting everything ready for the next day. Main Street is deserted. It’s one of the most bizarre and fascinating things I’ve ever seen.

Once back to the hotel, we took another annual photo:

The four of us girls.

Last year’s photo.

And one with Jim, because he’s pretty important too. 🙂

The next morning we got up, met BJ and Ashley and some of their other friends for breakfast and then started our seven hour drive home.

The weekend was short and crazy and fun and exhausting and it made me soooo glad to stay home and veg (and pack!!) this past weekend.  Now we’ve got more craziness ahead as we get to the end of our escrow period just in time for the holiday madness to begin. I guess I’d better start working on controlling my stress because the end is nowhere in sight!

Have a great Monday!!!

March 19, 2012

Ten things to be happy about 3/19

I have a lot to be happy about at this point. The last few weeks…last week especially….were hellacious! I am so glad to be on the other side of them.

1. My to-do list at work is empty! Well, not entirely empty, but the four  major projects I HAD to get done ASAP are done. Check!

2. I got to wake up to this view this morning!Sure, we were snowed in all weekend. But we were at the vineyard, so we were in good company and we should be able to get the car out and go home tonight.

3. I get to sleep in my own bed tonight! I totally take that for granted when I don’t have it. And it’s not that I don’t LOVE mini-vacations, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of falling asleep in your own bed.

4. I tried a few recipes from my new cookbook! I know, I’m lame for forgetting to take a photo, but I made the coconut orange bread pudding from my Blissful Bites cookbook. I also made the sweet polenta porridge and Jim made the hearty lentil soup. All of them were fabulous, but my favorite had to be the bread pudding. It was such a unique take on a classic dessert. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone contemplating going vegan.

the book

5. I got the cutest new shoes! I haven’t bought anything for myself in a long time. And in the shoe department, I am seriously lacking. I have no shoes to trompse around in the rain in, nor did I have any cute shoes for spring. So, like any girl would probably do, I went for cute over function. Winter is almost over, afterall! I’m not so sure I love the bottoms of them…they’re kind of weird, but I’ll wear them around the house a bit and see what I think. Aren’t they adorable?!

6. My husband is at work with me today! Part of being snowbound all weekend was that he was stuck with me, which means he is still stuck with me. He’s just sitting there watching YouTube videos while I work, but it’s still kind of nice to have him here.

7. I get to see my sister-in-law tonight! She doesn’t know it yet, I don’t think, but her husband is cutting Jim’s hair tonight (before his job interview tomorrow!), so we’ll be over there for a little bit tonight. I’m excited. We have a good time together. 🙂

8. As a result of #1, my office is getting very clean. It’s so much nicer to work in a clean office, and having nothing else to do, I have time to CLEAN!!

9. I think there’s a delicious slice of pumpkin pie on its way for me! I made chicken pot pie for dinner last night, and Ashley made the crust. Well she used her grandmother’s recipe, which is one of those that can’t be cut down in size, so with an extra 6 crusts, she made a pumpkin pie for dessert. And I’m not sure anyone makes better pumpkin pie than Ash does!

10. I have a massage tomorrow!I haven’t had once since, I believe, the last time I included it in my ten things post. I’m so excited! I need this like crazy!

I hope everyone is having a lovely Monday. What are you happy about today?

February 13, 2012

Weekend Schenanigans

I don’t post on the weekend. I’ve come to realize and accept this. I’m just too busy, whether it be out and about having adventures or simply spending a relaxing Saturday on the couch catching up on Gossip Girl. I spend five days a week, roughly 7 hours a day in front of a computer screen. My eyes need a break!

This weekend, Jim and I decided to do something different. In fact, we decided that every other weekend we’re going to do something different. We got to talking and it seems like we always do the same thing on the weekends…granted, up until the past few weeks, Jim had been working Saturdays, so Sundays were our only day together and he really wanted to rest from his work week. But we decided every other weekend, we’re going to try something new and we’re going to take turns deciding what that thing is.

It was my turn first and I found us a fun event to go to in Clarksburg at the Old Sugar Mill. The mill houses six different wineries, and they were doing a Port, Wine and Chocolate event for Valentine’s Day.

The building used to be a working sugar mill, and now it’s been transformed into the Clarksburg Wine Company. They also do weddings, I guess, in the other side of the building, which is adorably run down with broken windows and exposed brick. I love it. I don’t wish we’d had our wedding there because I LOOOOOVE our own winery, but it would be cool to attend one there.

Like I said, there were about six wineries that participated in the event, so as you can imagine, we left the event with quite a bit of wine in our systems! Jim, fortunately, is 6’4 and doesn’t feel the effects as much as I do, so he was fine to drive.

On our way home, we stopped just on the other side of this cute little bridge to take a few pictures.

The rest of the evening, we spent at Jim’s brother’s house, catching up on the Bachelor (the girls) and working on DJ’s truck (the boys). We made tacos for dinner, and sat around the kitchen table laughing at the kids and chatting like normal people do over dinner (we usually eat in front of the television!).

On Sunday I met my good friend, Jenny, for coffee in the morning. We hadn’t had the chance to talk since before the wedding, and we both had lots of catching up to do!

In the afternoon, we drove up to the vineyard to visit with BJ and Ashley and help with a project we started with them over a month ago. It’s always so enjoyable to go up there. The time just floats away as if on a cloud and even when we’re “working,” it still feels like fun.

This morning I arrived to work feeling a little under the weather. But my mood was brought up exponentially when this little guy arrived.

How could you NOT smile?!

He had fun playing with his Uncle Jim.

And then my mom came and picked him up, and Jim left, and I was left alone with my computer screen once more…and of course, nothing to distract my mind from remembering that I wasn’t feeling well.

Now I’m still sitting here, except I’ve got a giant glass of bubbly water and 100% cherry juice (I’m feeling an impending bladder infection. Yuck), and all I want to do is go home and lie on the couch and…well, that’s as far as I’ve gotten but the situation has got to start looking up at that point, right?

How was your weekend? Did you try anything new?

January 30, 2012

Conquering Fears

This weekend was about facing my fears and telling them where they can shove it. And it wasn’t even what I set out to do. But sometimes you’re offered opportunities, and somehow I’ve figured out where to find that unique ability to just say “Yes!”

They actually made a movie about this concept, I believe. “Yes Man,” it was called. Not a bad movie, actually. I like Zooey Deschanel.


Of course, this is a little bit overboard and I have no intentions of becoming a “Yes Woman,” but I think there’s definitely something to be said for seizing opportunities….even if they’re scary.

So we started the weekend with the party at the Nugget in Reno I was telling you about. It was a ton of fun.

Photo booth fun!

My brother, Matt, brought the baby, who was, of course, the star of the show. Poor guy didn’t have a nap all day, though, and true to form, he fell asleep on me on the dance floor.

My favorite part of the evening, though, was just before the party. In my family, I’ve sort of learned to just do my own thing because waiting for them to figure out what they’re doing can cost you a whole evening. So Jim and I got dressed, and since we were starving, we went downstairs to the bar at Orozko and ordered a couple of drinks and appetizers. As we sat down….at the best seat in the house, we later learned…the evening’s entertainment arrived, a guy with a microphone who sang Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra and Neil Diamond (among others). It was just nice to sit there, listening to good music, drinking a martini, enjoying some delicious appetizers and just being together before we had to go into the party and turn on the schmooze.

After the party, like we usually do, we all went back downstairs to do a little gambling. Now, I’m not a big gambler. I like to play $10-$20 on the penny slots and call it good. Except my brother came up to me and said “Let’s go teach you how to play blackjack.” And honestly, it scared the crap out of me. $5 minimums=lots of potential lost cash!


But I did it anyway. And we lost some cash (fortunately we wrote it off as a “business expense”). But I did it. I looked my fear in the eye and I said “I’m going to do it anyway.” ….Oh, and I doubled my $10 on the pennies. Just sayin’.

On Sunday, we got up leisurely (after going to be after 2 am!), had breakfast with my youngest brother, Dan, who is going to school in Reno and then went to Rome Valley Vineyards, where we got married.

I wish I had photos of this day, but it was one of those days you just live. I didn’t have time to whip out a camera and document it. Besides, I had no pockets and was on the back of a quad, so…. If you knew the size of my scaredy-catedness, you’d have been proud of me. Not only did I ride all over the vineyard (lots of steep hills!!!) on the back of a quad, I shot a gun AND walked into an old mine to the point where I could barely see sunlight behind us anymore.

I may not be a tough girl yet, but I’m working on it! One step at a time.

How was your weekend? Conquer any fears lately?


January 18, 2012

10 things to be happy about

I think I need one of these today. It’s shaping up to be one of those days… the ones where every little thing that can go wrong does? Like I went to pick my keys up off the counter and in the process knocked a stack of papers onto the floor. And my coffee mug wasn’t letting any coffee out…until it was…and then it was flooding my face and choking me in the process.

So since my crankiness meter just shot through the roof, I thought it was fitting that I spend some time trying to turn my frown upside down and find some gratitude in this day.

1. I got some groceries last night….so I have my usual latte this morning (even though it tried to drown me on my way to work).

2. I’m working on editing some photos today….while I should be working.

3. I get to spend the evening at my favorite place in the world with some of my favorite people.

Rome Valley Vineyards, where we were married in October.

4. We got a new router at work. Crossing fingers for faster internet! This may not seem like such a big deal, but we have regular outages that leave us with NO internet sometimes.

5. I have a delicious homemade gingerbread soy latte to drink this morning. De-licious!

6. I have a reason to wear my favorite fancy dress again! We’re going to a party next weekend, and it’s a dress-up occasion.

Me (in the dress) and my mommy (in red) and the two favorite people from #3. Gosh that was a good night.

7. I get paid on Friday!! That’s always happy, right? I think it’s time to get my nails done. It’s been….months. Since before my wedding actually…so late September. Eek!

8. I have delicious leftover lentil soup for lunch today…which is in less than an hour.

9. Despite what seems to be an unknown crippling fear, I’ve been writing.

10.  I have to do it. I have to put him every time because he makes me happier than anything else in my life. My husband.

In Santa Cruz for our one year anniversary.

Done. Phew. That was hard today! But I think I’m feeling a little bit better…

November 29, 2011

My favorite place on earth

Everyone has a favorite place, that one spot where the world stands still, problems cease to exist and perfect harmony is more than just a lovely little ideal. At least I have that place, and I sure hope everyone else has one too!

Mine is Rome Valley Vineyards. It’s the place where we got married, and it’s funny because I booked it before I fell in love with it.

Sunset at Rome Valley Vineyards

Since booking our wedding almost a year ago, the vineyard has become a home away from home. I mention it now because I went up there for a meeting this morning, and I’ve been completely useless since. It’s almost like taking a happy pill. It’s so peaceful and serene and you walk inside the door this time of year and are washed with Christmas spirit (of course, today the Christmas spirit was more or less still spilling out of boxes). There’s always fresh coffee and some sort of special flavored creamer (today was pumpkin spice….although the special creamer is for special people…regular people get plain vanilla. lol). Just looking at all the colors is amazing.

This one was taken at sunrise about two months ago when the grape leaves were just starting to change.

We went up there to help harvest the grapes. They’re all picked by hand at Rome Valley. And it was so much fun! If you’ve never harvested grapes before, I highly suggest it!

The grapes a few months before harvest when they were “teenagers.” It’s been fun to watch them grow and change over the course of the year. Winemaking is something that has always fascinated me…well, you know, since I’ve been old enough to appreciate it anyway. And at Rome Valley the process is in its purest form. No complex harvesting machines, all the labels are put on by hand (largely by MY hands!) and if you go up for a tasting, the owner herself will pour your wine.

 What’s your favorite place in the world?