sacramento connect » Food & Wine sacramento blogs & community news around sacramento california Thu, 20 Nov 2014 20:38:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mushroom Lasagna Thu, 20 Nov 2014 20:34:00 +0000

Is everyone ready for Thanksgiving? I'm definitely not.  Growing up as an only child in a family that wasn't super gung-ho over celebrating holidays; I feel a bit overwhelmed during the holiday season since I started dating Mr.S.  He has a big family that's really nice, but the holidays always feel a bit chaotic to me when I'm there.  There's a lot of people in his house during Thanksgiving and Xmas, a lot of noise and kids running amuck.  Up until this year, I could skip events and just duck home to the cottage if I needed a breather but now that I live with Mr.S I'm not quite sure how I'm going to handle it all.  I think the panic of the holidays must have already started to show a little on my face because Mr. S suggested we get out of town for a night. So the day after Thanksgiving we're going to duck out and decompress. I'm looking forward to it. ☺

How do you all deal with the holiday frenzy? Got any tried and true tips?

In the meantime, if you get tired of turkey and ham, give this delicious mushroom lasagna recipe by the folks at Sunset Magazine a shot.  My friend Michelle made it for book club and it was so insanely good that I had to ask her for the recipe. I just made it again this weekend. Mr.S and I had half and I brought half to a friend that just had a baby.  It has a wonderful earthy taste balanced by a  béchamel sauce that's not overwhelming. Also it can prepared ahead of time which makes it a holiday time-saving gem!

Mushroom and Fresh Herb Lasagna


12 no-boil lasagna noodles (1/2 lb.)
1 qt. milk  (I used 2%)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, divided
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 medium leeks, sliced into thin rings
1 1/2 pounds portabella mushrooms, sliced
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. coarsely shredded Asiago cheese


1. Soften noodles in a pan of very hot water while you prep the other ingredients.
2. Make béchamel (white sauce): Bring milk to a simmer in a saucepan and remove from heat. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened, 2 minutes. Whisk milk into flour mixture all at once and whisk until smooth. Add 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and the nutmeg. Sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon; if it isn't, cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in garlic, 2 tbsp. parsley, and 1/2 tbsp. thyme. Keep covered.
3. Preheat oven to 375°. Heat a deep, wide pot over medium-high heat 2 minutes. Swirl in 1 tbsp. oil and add leeks. Cook until tender but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scoop leeks into a bowl and set aside.
4. Swirl 2 tbsp. oil into pot. Add mushrooms, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat, covered, until mushrooms are tender and beginning to release juices, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until edges start to brown. Stir in leeks and remaining 1/2 tbsp. thyme. Remove from heat.
5. Mix Parmesan with Asiago.
6. Assemble lasagna: Oil a 9- by 13-in. baking dish. Spread a few spoonfuls of béchamel over bottom. Arrange 3 noodles crosswise in dish, then spoon on about 1/2 cup béchamel, followed by a third of the mushrooms and 1/3 cup cheeses. Repeat layers twice more. Top with a final layer of noodles and béchamel, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
7. Bake lasagna until browned and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp. parsley and let sit at least 15 minutes before slicing.
* Make ahead: Through step 6, 1 day, chilled, or up to 3 months, frozen. Let chilled lasagna sit at room temperature 1 hour before baking. Frozen lasagna can either be thawed in the refrigerator overnight and then baked, or baked straight from the freezer for 1 3/4 hours (cover for first hour).
* Dried shiitakes will work in this recipe too. Just rinse them in cold water several time, then place them in a bowl with boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain the water off, slice of the stems and use.
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Green Bean Hamburger Casserole: #Recipe Thu, 20 Nov 2014 12:00:05 +0000 Glynis Jolly  @Speculations Impressed is once again showcasing one of her family recipes. This Green Bean Hamburger Casserole recipe goes well with this time of year as a potential Thanksgiving Day recipe. Take it away, Glynis.

I want to thank Susan for having me on her blog as a guest writer/blogger.  I’m enjoying the change that this monthly [...]

The post Green Bean Hamburger Casserole: #Recipe appeared first on Finding Our Way Now.

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Maple Sweet Potato Casserole Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:13:44 +0000 {continue reading}]]> 0 FREE PIZZA! Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:34:38 +0000 0 This Cranberry Gingerbread Is A Must Bake This Holiday Season Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:00:19 +0000 Hybrid Rasta Mama

Show of hands. Who here has tried cranberry and gingerbread rolled into one delicious somewhat sweet, somewhat spicy, somewhat tart treat? Oh, you haven’t? Well then…let’s change that right now! This creation was completely accidental. My daughter was helping me in the kitchen and spices just started flowing into the bowl. When I tried the ... Keep Reading! You Know You Want To!

This Cranberry Gingerbread Is A Must Bake This Holiday Season

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Winter Beverages: Irish Coffee Wed, 19 Nov 2014 14:15:00 +0000 Now that the cold temps are upon most of us, it’s nice to have some warm adult beverages to sip. One of my favorite hot drinks is Irish Coffee. While this hot alcoholic beverage was actually invented in Ireland, the beverage’s popularity in the United States can be traced to a bar/restaurant in San Francisco, The […]

The post Winter Beverages: Irish Coffee appeared first on Chronicles of Nothing.

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Potato Chip Caramel Brownie Pie Wed, 19 Nov 2014 11:00:33 +0000 Oh. My. Goodness. THIS PIE! It’s like the trinity of decadent desserts: caramel, brownie…and potato chips! You haven’t eaten a RUFFLES® Original Potato Chip until you’ve tried it on top of a Caramel Brownie Pie. You know what TV show I miss the most? Friends. I know it’s still on TBS or one of those networks, […]

The post Potato Chip Caramel Brownie Pie appeared first on Crazy for Crust.

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Dining News: Pieology, Replacing Monsoon at 16th & K, Opens Wednesday Wed, 19 Nov 2014 05:15:00 +0000 0 Vegan Fall Harvest Chefs’ Table Featured Thursday Night Wed, 19 Nov 2014 03:52:43 +0000 0 Try It: Yakitori Yuchan’s Gyoza Wed, 19 Nov 2014 02:40:20 +0000 0 Local Home Baker Brûlées Her Way to New York City Wed, 19 Nov 2014 02:39:21 +0000 0 Dining Deal: $5 for $10 at Starbucks Tue, 18 Nov 2014 18:15:00 +0000 0 2 Ingredient Roasted Red Potatoes Tue, 18 Nov 2014 15:13:12 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 0 Almond Joy Oatmeal Cookies Tue, 18 Nov 2014 07:06:41 +0000 {continue reading}]]> 0 Dining News: Trick Pony to Hold Official Grand Opening on Tuesday Tue, 18 Nov 2014 06:14:13 +0000 ]]> 0 Chocolate Covered Mint & Chocolate Cookies Tue, 18 Nov 2014 02:05:00 +0000

  I recently connected with a community of inspiring individuals and was invited to share on Something Lovely, a website crafted by Holly Wooten to chronicle her pursuit of and inspiration from all that's lovely in life. Her happiness and positive vignette of life's beauty is contagious. Her aspiration of finding all that's lovely in everyday life is one we could all stand to adopt into our day to day existence.

  In the words I shared on Holly's blog, I discussed what handwritten letters mean to me. There is something about opening your mailbox to find a letter-be it an envelope addressed to you, a postcard, or package, full of thoughtful words in unique penmanship.

  I recently received a heartfelt letter handwritten by the woman behind West Heritage on handmade paper crafted of kozo by the talented couple behind Share Studios in Maine.   I was swept off my feet. Codi’s words and Stephanie’s handcraftsmanship are ethereal. These women are thoughtful, genuine, and inspiring, and they have pulled me deeper into the art and pastime of letter-writing.

  In addition to these creative spirits, I have also had the pleasure of getting to know a handful of unique and talented women that the lovely author of this blog introduced me to: Holly - the brilliant mastermind of  Something Lovely, from the state that produces our beloved Bourbon, Briana - pursuing her photography business Life Talesin Sweden, Jessica - a Hawai’i blogger with a passion for beauty and food, and Austrailia-based Bethany Jae and her brainchild The Free Woman; a revolution of the feminine heart.

  Though I have only briefly gotten to know this band of creatives, I am filled with inspiration from their talents and positive energy and encouragement.
  To pass on this contagious inspiration, I am sharing a recipe that very closely resembles-in texture and flavor-the infamous thin mint cookie.
  These tasty gems are made of simple ingredients, they are gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, and full of delectable texture and fresh minty chocolatiness.

Chocolate Covered Mint & Chocolate Cookies
makes about 2 dozen cookies

chocolate cookies
-1/4 cup melted coconut oil
-1/4 cup maple syrup
-1/4 teaspoon sea salt
-1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
-1 teaspoon peppermint extract
-1/2 cup powdered cocoa or cacao
-1/2 cup sweet white rice flour
-1/4 cup arrowroot starch

chocolate coating
-1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
-2 Tablespoons coconut oil
-1 teaspoon peppermint extract

1. Beat coconut oil and syrup at low speed until combined. Add salt, extracts, and cocoa, beat until consistency of frosting. Add flour and starch, beat to combine.
2. Roll into a log about 2" in diameter. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze 15-20 minutes. 
3. Preheat oven to 350F and line baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick liner.
4. Remove cookie dough from freezer and cut into 1/4" thick slices. Place evenly on prepared baking sheet and bake in preheated oven 12 minutes.
5. Heat chocolate chips, coconut oil, and peppermint extract in double-boiler (you can use a heat-proof bowl that fits snugly over on top of the pot) over simmering water until just melted. Remove from heat.
6. One at a time, drop the cookies into the melted chocolate. With a fork, spoon out each cookie and shake off the excess chocolate. Place the dipped cookie back on the baking sheet and repeat for the rest of the batch. Place in freezer for twenty minutes or so until firmed up, remove and enjoy.

Store in refrigerator for up to a week, for longer, store in freezer.

Mangia! Mangia!
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The Best Covered Bridge in the World is Near Us Tue, 18 Nov 2014 01:31:00 +0000
Forget about the Bridges of Madison County, the longest covered bridge in the United States is nearby in Nevada County.  This weekend my BFF and I took a day to go shopping in Nevada City and then headed to check out the covered bridge on a beautiful fall day. 

The Bridgeport bridge is located at South Yuba River State Park, a few miles off of Highway 20.  You can either go to Lincoln and take Highway toward Grass Valley or go to Grass Valley and head back toward Lincoln.  The park is closer to Grass Valley - 16 miles away.

In the 1860’s this bridge was constantly abustle day and night, with passenger and commercial traffic beating a path to the silver mines of Virginia City via the Henness Pass. Today at 229 feet, David Wood’s bridge is the longest single-span wooden covered bridge still in existence in the United States.

The bridge is in need of restoration funds and it's definitely a historical building worth saving.  Consider donating to the cause. 

This barn stored the horses and equipment along the Virginia Turnpike. "The Virginia Turnpike was a crucial link between the port in Marysville and the Henness Pass, which was passable more months per year due to its relatively low altitude."

If you are looking for a nice day trip to do with a bit of hiking or picnicking thrown in, then take a drive up to South Yuba River State Park

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Opah (Moonfish) with Tomatoes and Parmesan Tue, 18 Nov 2014 00:32:00 +0000 0 Funeral Sandwiches Mon, 17 Nov 2014 19:41:00 +0000 doggie belly band on him. It seems to be working but I'm constantly velcroing and unvelcroing the sucker for him so he can go out. I'm like a doggie valet. I'll have to take a pic of him wearing the belly band, it's really cute (we bought him one that has bowties on it) but man, does Peppy hate it! Talk about a really disgruntled poodle.

Anyhow, I did come up for air and do some cooking this weekend.  About a month or two ago, my friend Julie posted on Facebook that she was eating a funeral sandwich. My interest was piqued, I had to ask, "What's a funeral sandwich?" Turns out it's a type of slider made with Kings Hawaiian rolls, filled with thinly sliced lunchmeat meat and cheese, and then glazed with a sauce.  You shove them in the fridge to marinate and then pop them in the oven. I'm not 100% sure but I think they're some kind of spin-off of the Southern funeral biscuit.

I decided to make some this week and Mr. S and Kidlet #1 LOVED them, in fact Kidlet #1 has been begging me to make them again. He even offered to wash my car if I made them for him. I could get used to this. ☺

So if you need a dish for football Sunday, to take to bunco or just something to nosh on- give these a whirl. They're super easy to make (and you can even make them the night before). Traditionally they're made with ham and Swiss but I prefer turkey and provolone, so use whatever combo you like. They all taste good with the glaze.

Funeral Sandwiches


12 Kings Hawaiian rolls
12 slices of turkey lunchmeat (thinly sliced)
12 slices of provolone cheese
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon onion powder


1. In a Pyrex measuring cup, melt your butter. Add in the Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, brown sugar and onion powder. Whisk together.

2. Coat your 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray.  Split the whole package of rolls in half and place the bottoms in the pan.

3. Use a pastry brush and baste each roll bottom with the sauce.

4. Fold a piece of lunch meat and cheese onto each roll bottom.

5. Place the roll top on.

6. Brush each roll top with sauce. Then drizzle the remaining portion of the sauce over the top of the rolls.

7. Cover tightly with Saran Wrap. Place in the fridge for a minimum of 3-4 hours but overnight is even better.

8. Preheat over for 350 degrees F.

9. If you want to get fancy you can sprinkle the rolls with poppy seeds or toasted sesame seeds.

9. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.

10. Remove from oven. Eat right away.  (FYI: These do not reheat well so eat 'em up!)

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Who doesn’t want to date a farmer… Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:00:38 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 0 ……the tree had it’s revenge Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:40:00 +0000 0 Homemade Sugar Cookie Mix Mon, 17 Nov 2014 11:00:43 +0000 Why buy a mix when you can make your own? Keep this in your cabinet for sugar cookie emergencies, or give it as a gift for the holidays! Plus, the mix has sprinkles. #winning It’s finally cold here in Sacramento. The heat kept kind of hanging on (it was high 70s/low 80s last weekend) but […]

The post Homemade Sugar Cookie Mix appeared first on Crazy for Crust.

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Vegan Fall Harvest Chef’s Table Mon, 17 Nov 2014 08:02:00 +0000 Vegan Fall Harvest Chef's Table at Tower Bridge Bistro this Thursday.

This five-course vegan meal will feature dishes prepared by five of the outstanding chefs who participated in the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge:

• Chef Clay Purcell of Tower Bridge Bistro
• Chef Raphael Kendall of Capitol Garage
• Chef F. J. Villalobos of 58 Degrees & Holding Co.
• Chef Carina Lampkin of Blackbird Kitchen + Beer Gallery
• Chef Joelle Dennis of Capital Dime

The only thing better than enjoying the food at this wonderful vegan meal would be if the money raised at the dinner were used to help low-income residents in our community. Guess what? It does! Two awesome nonprofit organizations will benefit from this fundraiser.

Alchemist Community Development Corporation is one of my favorite local organizations, and I have done volunteer work for them in a variety of capacities. Their staff works with Sacramento area residents in an effort to create vibrant, equitable, healthy and diverse communities. Their main focus in recent years has been to increase access to healthy food in underserved neighborhoods. Alchemist CDC has made it possible for low-income families to use food stamps at local farmers' markets, an option that was previously unavailable to them. They are also working to bring fresh produce into corner stores in low-income neighborhoods.

Family Promise of Sacramento is a program that helps homeless families achieve self-sufficiency and regain a home for themselves and their children by utilizing an interfaith hospitality network of diverse faith communities throughout the Sacramento.

The Vegan Fall Harvest Chef's Table will be held this Thursday, November 20th, at Tower Bridge Bistro at the Embassy Suites Hotel beginning at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased online at I hope to see you there!
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Easy Pecan Hand Pies Mon, 17 Nov 2014 07:39:27 +0000 {continue reading}]]> 0 Dining News: Sticky Gator Finally Open at Former Home of Rick’s Dessert Diner Mon, 17 Nov 2014 06:42:46 +0000 0 Chocolate Covered Drumstick (Allergy Friendly) Mon, 17 Nov 2014 01:18:23 +0000 I always feel for parents who have kids with multiple allergies. My little nephews have to follow a gluten free, milk free, dairy free, egg free, soy free and nut free diet, along with multiple other allergies for certain fruits, vegetables, and meats. Having to watch other kids get treats at school is never fun for any kid, so I made some of these drumsticks for them so they’d have something special at their school Thanksgiving celebration, and at home. Originally I was thinking about a turkey cookie, but candy corn was out (artificial flavors and colors), and I have yet to be successful at making a gluten free cut out cookie that holds its shape well. I decided a drumstick cookie might work, and then I found this cute drumsticks candy mold online. Perfect! I brushed the molds with Enjoy Life chocolate chips melted with a little safflower oil, filled them with some crumbled cookies (made with Namaste cookie mix -I substituted chia seeds+water for the eggs, as they can’t have flaxseed either, and used safflower oil), then covered the cookies with more melted chocolate. Good quality baking mixes are very helpful since gluten free baking is not one […] ]]> 0 Grocery Store Flower Arrangements Sun, 16 Nov 2014 13:00:52 +0000 When I was writing The Thanksgiving Game Plan it was in the back of my mind that it might be someone’s first time hosting. (My first time was when I was in college.) I know that I went to a lot of trouble to make a nice meal, and I also wanted [...]

The post Grocery Store Flower Arrangements appeared first on Baked Bree.

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Venetian Moon Pinot Grigio: #Wine Sun, 16 Nov 2014 12:00:12 +0000 0 Pecan Pie Baklava Sun, 16 Nov 2014 11:00:26 +0000 Yes, you read that right. I took pecan pie and turned it into baklava. {Your yoga pants love me right now, don’t they?} Last week Jordan told me she was hoping Santa would bring her another American Girl Doll for Christmas this year. {Yes, another. He’s been very generous and brought a bitty baby and […]

The post Pecan Pie Baklava appeared first on Crazy for Crust.

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Boneless Turkey Roast Recipe Sat, 15 Nov 2014 23:27:14 +0000
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2014 Favorite Things + Giveaway Sat, 15 Nov 2014 11:00:22 +0000 OMG it’s like an episode of Oprah! **not really, but let’s pretend, mmkay?** Today I’m sharing all of my 2014 Favorite Things and I’m giving away one of them! (Scroll all the way to the bottom for my giveaway and links to all the others.) AND…I’ve banded together with some of my friends to give […]

The post 2014 Favorite Things + Giveaway appeared first on Crazy for Crust.

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Hot Chocolate Cereal Treats Sat, 15 Nov 2014 07:37:39 +0000 {continue reading}]]> 0 Free Ice Cream Sandwich at CREAM Elk Grove on Saturday Fri, 14 Nov 2014 16:30:00 +0000 0 No Oven Required Thanksgiving Appetizer Ideas Fri, 14 Nov 2014 13:00:17 +0000 When I was working on The Thanksgiving Game Plan, I asked everyone what their biggest turkey day challenges were. One that I heard over and over again was, what can I make for guests to snack on that doesn’t require any precious oven space? Good question. I am a firm believer that appetizers on [...]

The post No Oven Required Thanksgiving Appetizer Ideas appeared first on Baked Bree.

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Pin of the Week Fri, 14 Nov 2014 13:00:00 +0000 0 Christmas tree permits go on sale in Lake Tahoe Basin Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:59:18 +0000 0 Perfect Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Fri, 14 Nov 2014 05:09:09 +0000 0 Dining News: Oak Park Brewing Company Officially Opens on Friday Fri, 14 Nov 2014 04:15:00 +0000 ]]> 0 Buy One Holiday Drink, Get One Free at Starbucks Thru Sunday Thu, 13 Nov 2014 16:30:00 +0000 0 My Favorite Earl Grey Tea Latte Thu, 13 Nov 2014 14:11:00 +0000 0