I’ve been working on a novel for about 20 years… on and off… and a year ago summoned up the determination to finish it before the end of this year!
It’s not easy when you work, volunteer to cook for events, spend 2 hours a day on the latest nutrition vs. disease findings, plan for talks on the latter topic once a month, try to modify 2 – 3 recipes a week to fit into the Cancer prevention diet, and do the things the mom of a 17-year-old needs to do. I also get the crochet-something bug once in a while, and the sew-something bug a different once in a while. Not to mention, I have a number of house projects I’m trying to work my way through.
All that is to say… I DO have good reasons for the slow progress on my novel!
So this past weekend J and I decided to go away for the weekend, to avoid distractions, and WRITE! He to work on his thesis, me to work on my book.
So we packed the car, fed the cats, watered the plants, emptied the fridge, filled a grocery bag with snacks, my supplements, water purifier and gluten-free bread, and grabbed our laptops and headed north to Napa.
Most all the Hotels and B&B’s were booked solid Saturday night due to it being a Marathon weekend, but luckily we found one available room at the Beazley House. I loved the name of the place and the photo of the Spring Rose room, so we booked it for Friday and Saturday night.
On the freeway to Napa
The drive is under 60 miles from home, so we didn’t waste a lot of time on the road.
Our intention was to leave around 4:00pm at the latest, but we didn’t get on the freeway until closer to 5:20pm.
Approaching Beazley House on the right
Beazley House, Napa
The Beazley House was awesome. Below are photos of the interior that will give you an idea of its comfy, welcoming atmosphere.
Beazley house front door
Standing in the Foyer looking at backyard door
Beazley house reading room
peeking into the Living Room from Foyer
We were shown to our room, and given information on the amenities and large variety of restaurants a mere two or three blocks away. We met some of the other guests, almost all of whom were running in the Marathon.
We unpacked, and scanning menus for a place where I could eat (organic salad or vegetables, maybe wild caught cold water fish). We chose Tarla’s – a Turkish/Greek/Mediterranean spot. We were the only couple walking to First Street at 7:30pm. Tarla’s was busy.
Tarla’s – Napa
J ordered their bowl of very warm Kalamata olives, soft bread rolls and a Greek Salad. I couldn’t really have any of the entrees since almost all were sautéed in hot oil.. so I opted for a bowl of warm hummus with olive oil and toasted pine nuts, and an organic greens salad.
There was a definite nip in the air as we walk back to Beazley House.
Spring Rose room
We set up our laptops, checked email, and decided to watch the Food Network, since we don’t subscribe to TV at all back home. After an episode of Iron Chef, we decided to turn in so we could get an early-ish start on our writing the next morning.
I was awakened at 4:15 am by the woman next door who figured it was a good time to shower and blow dry her hair! AAAHHHH!! I couldn’t sleep for an hour and finally drifted off from 5:30 – 7:30am. I made myself lay in bed until 8:00.
A buffet breakfast is served from 9:00 – 10:30am. They asked me about dietary restrictions when I made the reservations, so I was curious to see what they would serve me. We did some writing until 9:40am and then went downstairs.
Beazley house staircase
I fell in love with the staircase and window seat when I first saw them.
Beazley house breakfast buffet
There were three people seated at the main table, and we joined them. The main feature was an omelet baked in ramekins. The cook came out to ask if I’d like scrambled or poached eggs with the gluten-free bread they had for me.. and I chose the latter. Unfortunately the bread was swirled with jam and not too tasty but the eggs were perfect. (I didn’t tell them I don’t eat sugar, I felt it would be too overwhelming.)
I had fresh pineapple, berries and apple chunks on the side.
Then up we went for a morning and early afternoon of writing. I finished a chapter and was on page 4 of the next when I my energy gave out. Time for a walk and lunch!
Passing Tarla’s, we walked through a small shopping mall with a number of empty retail spaces. At the far end was a Buckhorn Grill, which we have in our town, so we headed for the counter to order a favorite salad of ours…the Yik Yak.
Buckhorn Grill Napa
Yik Yak Salad
After a quick and very productive visit to the McCaulous store (a pair of white pants, three awesome tops and a turquoise leather purse for me, a plaid shirt for J)… we went back to our Spring Rose room for more writing.
It was almost 8pm when we stopped and headed back out for dinner. This time we took one of the side streets off First and found Grace’s Table.
Grace’s Table Napa
J ordered the Tri-Mushroom Bisque and Pear Salad, and I ordered the grilled Alaskan Halibut with Wilted Pea Vines, Fingerling Potatoes, with Preserved Meyer Lemon and Nicoise Olive Sauce Vierge and the Organic Greens with a Pomegranate Vinaigrette. They steamed the veggies for me and the sauce on them was superb.
A little Food Network before bed, and another 4 am wake-up call as 90% of the guests left their rooms and headed downstairs to pick up the pre-packed Carb snacks the cook had prepared the night before, and made their way to register for the run.
We dozed off again until 8:15am. Breakfast at 10:00a, writing until 11:30, and then back on the road home.
All in all a productive and relaxing weekend.
Back in my kitchen, I decided to have another go at an Almond Cake recipe that I modified a couple of weeks ago. The result this time was INCREDIBLE!
This cake is Gluten-Free, Milk-Free, Light, flavorful, satisfying… with no Flour or Oil!
Tell me what you think!
No Flour Citrus Almond Cake
- 4 Omega-3 Eggs, at room temperature
- 3 Tbs. lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp. Almond extract
- 1/4 c. Xylitol or preferred sweetener
- 1 tsp. Orange Blossom Water, available at Whole Foods and at Middle Eastern markets
- 1 1/2 c. fine Almond Flour/Meal
- 3/4 tsp. ground Cardamom
- 1 tsp. Aluminum-free Baking Powder (check expiration date!)
- 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
- 1 tsp. Cider Vinegar (can use White Vinegar)
- 4 packets Stevia or 1/4 c. Xylitol
- Pinch of Sea Salt
Pre-heat oven to 350º F.
- Line bottom of a 9″ round cake pan with parchment paper, and grease it and the pan sides with Coconut Oil or butter.
- Separate the eggs, making sure the egg whites go into a clean, dry bowl.
- In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, lemon zest, extract, orange blossom water and 1/4 c. Xylitol until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, mix the almond flour, baking powder and soda, cardamom until combined. Add the flour mixture to the egg yolks and mix well.
- With and electric mixer, whip the egg whites starting on low-speed and gradually increasing to high. When frothy, add the pinch of salt and vinegar. As they begin to increase in volume, add Stevia or additional Xylitol a little at a time, as you continue to beat the egg whites. When thick enough to form soft peaks, they are ready.
- Very gently fold the egg whites into the flour mixture a large spoonful at a time, (never stirring). As you add more egg whites, the mixture will become light and fluffy. Don’t rush this process.
almond flour cake batter
- Gently scoop the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for 35 minutes in middle of oven, until top is golden.
- Let cool. Run a knife around the edge and lift from pan. Serve with a squeeze of orange or lemon on top.
~ Sahtein! (double health) ♥