Napa Girls Trip

Kayoko walking to our room at Indian Springs

Kayoko walking to our room at Indian Springs

A few weeks ago I did a quick overnight girls trip with 2 of my best friends from college. We drove up to Napa County, which is about 2 hours away from where I live in the woods.  I had always heard about Indian Springs the cool, old resort in Calistoga, and despite my parents living only 10 minutes from there, I'd never been! Kayoko (my good friend and co-founder of Umami Mart) suggested it, and it was perfect for our little getaway.  I love its vintage white-washed look with palms, cactus gardens and striped pool awnings.  And a real geyser that constantly bubbling! It was a 24-hour splurge, complete with delicious food and wine, hot springs and the best massage at their spa.

The pool at Indian Springs is actually filled with water from the natural hot spring! The water is quite warm, which really makes me want to go back in the winter.

The pool at Indian Springs is actually filled with water from the natural hot spring! The water is quite warm, which really makes me want to go back in the winter.

Pool-side selfie! (in my  new palm swimsuit )

Pool-side selfie! (in my new palm swimsuit)

Palms and cactus surrounding the pool area.

Palms and cactus surrounding the pool area.

We had dinner at the restaurant at Indian Springs, Sam's Social Club. I thought the food was great. Aperol spritzes alongside deep-fried Brussels sprouts, grilled artichoke and burrata with fried bread. Yum!

We had dinner at the restaurant at Indian Springs, Sam's Social Club. I thought the food was great. Aperol spritzes alongside deep-fried Brussels sprouts, grilled artichoke and burrata with fried bread. Yum!

Back at Sam's for Breakfast.

Back at Sam's for Breakfast.

avocado toast!

avocado toast!

We did a little shopping before heading home. Lincoln Street, the downtown drag of Calistoga, has some great antique stores. 

We did a little shopping before heading home. Lincoln Street, the downtown drag of Calistoga, has some great antique stores. 

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The drive home through Napa is so pretty, passing all the wineries and vineyards. It was a quick trip but I felt totally refreshed afterwards! I'll be back.

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Other Napa reccs:

The Calistoga Inn & Brewery: this is where I always go with my parents when I'm visiting them. We love to sit outside there and have a drink.

Cafe Sarafornia: great for a comfort food brunch!

Cook Tavern & Pizzeria: a tasty stop for lunch in St. Helena while wine tasting

Broccoli Fritters

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I feel like I am always looking for new ideas to get our 2 toddlers to eat vegetables. It's so hard! Max (who is 1)  simply throws everything and Ezra (who is 3) often removes anything green from his plate immediately upon arrival. This past Monday at 5pm I had just gotten home with both kids and had no idea what to make for dinner. I needed an idea quick and I remembered seeing this Broccoli Fritter recipe in my Smitten Kitchen newsletter. In the post, Deb talked about how fritters were the answer to this toddler problem so I decided to try it out on my 2 little veggie skeptics. 

The recipe is quite simple. You chop a head of broccoli into very small pieces, steam it in a skillet, then stir it in a bowl with flour, an egg and some grated cheese. Fry and eat!

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To my surprise, THE KIDS ACTUALLY ATE THEM!!! And I thought they were delicious, too, topped with yogurt, lemon and Maldon salt. I enjoyed a few of them with a glass of rosé. 

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This one will be making a recurring appearance. Recommended! Thanks, Deb. Now I am brainstorming what else I can turn into a fritter...

Broccoli Fritters

Adapted from this recipe by Smitten Kitchen. Makes about 8 fritters.

1 small head of broccoli

1/2 c flour

1 egg

1 clove garlic, minced

1/3 c grated cheese (I used a mix of parmesan and cheddar)

salt and pepper to taste, oil for frying

Chop the broccoli into very small pieces (florets and the upper parts of the stems). Throw them in a big skillet with a splash of water and cover to steam (about 5 min). Drain the broccoli and move it to a mixing bowl. Add the other ingredients and stir to combine. Use a potato masher or the bottom of a glass to mash the broccoli mixture just a bit. It's ok if there are still some chunks. Fry heaping spoonfuls (to make patties) in olive oil until both sides are browned. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and serve alongside yogurt and a lemon wedge. My kids also liked dipping them in ketchup (whatever gets the greens down!). Enjoy!

 

Sweet Potato + Lentil Tacos

I made this for dinner last night and it only took about 20 minutes. I thought it was such a tasty, healthy, easy weeknight idea that I needed to recreate it here. Happy cooking!

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SWEET POTATO + LENTIL TACOS

makes enough filling for about 6 corn tortilla tacos

1/2 red onion (diced)

1 small sweet potato (diced with peel on)

1 (15 oz) can cooked lentils (drained and rinsed in a colander)

a handful of arugula (or any greens! cilantro, lettuce, spinach, chopped kale...)

1 avocado

hot sauce

corn tortillas (or flour if you prefer)

Sauté the diced onion and sweet potato with some olive oil, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes over med/low heat, until the potatoes are soft when poked with a fork. For the last minute, add the lentils, just to warm them. Spoon the mixture into warm tortillas (I use tongs and heat mine over an open stovetop flame). Top each taco with a pinch of arugula, a slice of avocado, a bit of hot sauce and a pinch of flaky salt

 

I sautéed the sweet potatoes and onion  in my favorite skillet  for 10 min, then added lentils to warm them.

I sautéed the sweet potatoes and onion in my favorite skillet for 10 min, then added lentils to warm them.

Top the tacos with arugula, avocado and hot sauce

Top the tacos with arugula, avocado and hot sauce

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Color-Coded Bookshelf and My Favorite Spring Dress!

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For years I've seen photos online of bookshelves arranged by color and thought I'd love to do that someday if I ever have time. WELL! Last night, after the kids went to bed, I felt inspired. I could watch a show, check email, or JUST DO IT! I had on my favorite spring dress, I poured a glass of wine, put on some Joni Mitchell and it only took about 90 minutes! Now whenever I walk by I smile and our living room feels somehow more "together".

I didn't try to make it too perfect. I wanted it to be a fun project, and not stressful, so I just dug in. I pulled books out and made several stacks according to color. Yellow, Orange, Pink/Red, Blue/Purple, Green, Black, White, Beige and "Multi".  Warm colors are always my jam, so I put those in the middle and worked outwards. I grouped black and white ones toward the bottom and left an overflow row at the top for books with a multicolored binding. On each shelf, I tried to put dark books side by side and light books side by side, so as to create a somewhat ombre effect. My Forest Feast cookbook(s) are in 10 languages now (!) so it was fun to have a shelf with a bunch of them together.

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Such a fun little project. If you've ever thought about doing this too, I say go for it! It won't take as long as you think.

Happy weekend!

PS: I love this yellow floral dress I got on Amazon and wear it all the time. I have it in a few different colors and it's great for a myriad of occasions since you can easily dress it up with jewelry and wedges or down with sandals and a denim jacket. It's also super comfortable and works for all stages of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Full disclosure: The Forest Feast participates in the Amazon Affiliates program so I get a small kickback of sales via this link. Opinions are completely my own.