C Casa

C Casa is an organic and gluten-free taqueria located in Napa’s Oxbow Public Market. The C stands for cultural cuisine using pure and natural ingredients. Don’t ask for a regular Coke at C Casa. This is a preservative-free zone. However, they can offer you a Coke from Mexico with pure cane sugar … from Hawaii … sweetened by the sun.

That’s not the only thing that’s pure and natural at C Casa. Hidden under all that nutritious and fresh local produce, each gourmet taco contains a delicious and cultural experience in grass-fed beef, sustainable fish, and free-range poultry. These animals led happy lives, frolicking in their natural environment, and you can just taste the happiness in their meat.

My mountain man went for the biggest game on the menu … buffalo! The man sitting next to us was eating buffalo, too, and the two men looked at each other and nodded that manly nod and grunted approvingly at one another and devoured that buffalo-loaded taco and wiped their mouths with their sleeves and dreamed about camping on the plains of South Dakota and living off the land.

Meanwhile, I daintily ate my delicate Mahi Mahi fish taco with a fork and dreamed of sunbathing on the tropical beaches of Hawaii and spa treatments and beautiful sunsets. I guess the C in C Casa does stand for cultural cuisine, because I’m ready to pack my bags for Kauai and enjoy more fresh island fish!

Before I catch my flight, though, I definitely need to include a couple cases of C Casa’s tortillas, because those were the best gluten-free tortillas I’ve ever had in my life … so light and delicious.  Adios, C Casa!  Aloha, Hawaii!

Parenting Support

Parenting is the most rewarding and the most heartbreaking job on the planet.  I’ve had moments of pure joy in parenting, where I just want to bottle up the moment, so I can relive it again and again.  I’ve also had moments as a parent where my heart is so broken that it physically hurts, where I wish I could remove my heart and place it on a shelf, just to escape the pain and grief for awhile.

In those moments of disappointment and despair, I want to hide from the world as I work my way through a box of Kleenex.  What I really need, though, is a good friend, preferably someone who doesn’t have picture perfect kids.  Of course, there’s no shame in seeking outside help, too.  A life coach, counselor or support group can be a great source of encouragement and hope, plus it’s a much healthier alternative than spending the day watching reruns of Gilmore Girls while polishing off a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, and it’s fewer calories, too. 😉

 

I Love Bob

I love Bob and I want to live at his Red Mill. Bob makes everything I bake, satisfying and delicious…and gluten free. Without Bob, there would be no warm cornbread slathered in honey, no Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal to warm me up on a frosty winter morning, and none of my favorite non-gluten free recipes that I can now make, because of Bob’s magical gluten free flour. Bob, you make our once tasteless and unpalatable gluten free lives, so much more rich and flavorful. I can’t thank you enough. I love you, Bob.

Nature’s Path Gluten Free Granola

I’ll take Nature’s Path any day, especially if the trail is littered with gluten free Summer Berries Granola! Soooo yummy! On Nature’s Path, you’ll also find gluten free waffles, cereal, chewy granola bars, and Qi’a, a superfood that looks like birdseed, only better!

Just be careful to look for the gluten free sign along Nature’s Path, so you don’t accidentally find yourself wandering into non-gluten free territory! With all these delicious, organic, gluten free choices, why choose any other route? Take Nature’s Path! I’ll leave a trail of granola for you to follow! :)

What’s your favorite gluten free granola?

Good Grief

Well, I don’t have any words of wisdom for this post, just honesty. This is the first Easter and summer that none of my kids will be coming home for vacation. One is graduated from college, one is nearly graduated, and one is hankering for an on campus job for the summer, so she can hang with her homies in So Cal. Can I just say this stinks?

Just when I think I’ve arrived and I’m handling the whole empty nest thing. Wham! It’s like another stage of grief all over again. All I want to know is, does it ever end?

I guess I need to get a life. Either that or my husband and I need to plan to take a cruise over Spring Break, like in the movie, Christmas with the Kranks. Hopefully, I won’t whack my head on a tanning bed, OR awkwardly bump into my pastor just outside the tanning salon in a bikini…(me in the bikini, of course, not my pastor) OR get a phone call from my daughter to announce that she’s getting married to Enrique, because she doesn’t even know an Enrique and if she did, he might take her away to Spain and then I’d have to deal with a whole other stage of loss and grief, and then I’d REALLY need a cruise.

It’s a slippery slope, I tell you. Did I ever mention that I have a dark side? I guess the secret’s out. I hope that doesn’t scare off all my karenpickrell.com fans. Thank goodness, there are only two of you out there, and you love me anyway…neurosis and all. Actually, I’ve been told that’s part of my charm and it’s definitely Karen in real life…totally uncensored. Lucky you. 😉

P.S. Truth is stranger than fiction! My daughter, Laura, actually did meet Lucas, a Brazilian citizen, while she was traveling in London. They are celebrating their first wedding anniversary today. Thank goodness, he just got his green card, so she doesn’t have to move to the UK. I thought this was the perfect day to feature this old blog post.

Happy Anniversary, Laura and Lucas! So glad we get to keep you!

 

Sweetie Pies

Sweetie Pies is a whimsical bakery on the charming Riverfront in Napa. Initially, I was lured into the bakery by my incredible sweet tooth, but once inside, I was captivated not only by the artful and otherworldly treats, but by the colorful portraits of a young girl, who I can only assume is Sweetie Pie, inhabiting the walls of the bakery.  She looked kind of reminiscent of a character from a Tim Burton film, suggesting that Sweetie Pie might have a dark side. Apparently, it’s a delicious dark side with a creamy, swirly center, because when I inquired if any of Sweetie Pies’ treats were gluten free, they told me about a flourless chocolate creation called a Yodel that looks and tastes like a giant Hostess Ho Ho. Sign me up!

Unfortunately, the Yodels were out for the day, and if you saw a Yodel, you’d know why I came back the next morning in hopes of Yodeling, but apparently, lots of people like to Yodel, so I never got to Yodel in Napa. Next trip, my plan is to reserve two Yodels in advance, because my husband wants to Yodel too, so I suspect we’ll be Yodeling together at Sweetie Pies real soon.  Actually, one Yodel is enough for any couple, but of course, my Sweetie Pie wants to make the trip to Sweetie Pies well worth it. Okay. I’m done now. That’s enough of the word play. I’m headed off to a high hill with a lonely goatherd, and a girl in a pale pink coat and her Mama with a gleaming gloat, whatever a gloat is. Odl-lay-e-ooh!

www.sweetiepies.com

I’d love to hear from you! What’s your favorite gluten free treat?

Lost in Translation

Having trouble connecting with your child? Maybe you’re not speaking their love language. Why not take Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages assessment to find out how you and your child give and receive love?

The 5 Love Languages are…

  • Acts of Service
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Gift Giving
  • Physical Touch

My love language is acts of service, so I make my family work for it. 😉

Which love language is yours? Which love language is your child’s?

 

 

A Sneak Peek Inside BUTTONS!

Here’s a sneak peek inside my children’s picture book, BUTTONS! These are Long Buttons“, but there are plenty more buttons where those came from! BUTTONS will be available on Amazon soon! Then you’ll be able to unfasten the pages of BUTTONS and uncover the best button of all! 🙂 

Button, button, who’s got a button?

Here’s a sneak peek at the back cover of Laura’s and my first soon-to-be-released children’s picture book, BUTTONS! It will be available on Amazon soon! This book is for little people ages 2-5. You’ll even catch a glimpse of Santa within the pages of BUTTONS, so it’s the perfect gift for Christmas!

Check out karenpickrell.com next week for a surprise look inside BUTTONS!