All in Ohana

VJB Cellars

“It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination.”

The Napa Valley has always evoked a Twilight Zone sense of feeling to me. As soon as I exit right off Interstate 80 and onto Highway 12, I turn the bend around the first foothill and embark into the mysterious region where I immediately begin to lose the tension in my shoulders and my deep breaths end with a smile. I’m fortunate to live near one of the most prominent wine regions in the world. Only 83 miles from Downtown Sacramento, my family and I set out to meet my brother Brandon and his friend Christian at VJB Cellars. On an absolutely picturesque 65-degree day in late March, we were blessed with a slight breeze and a gentle sun. It was the perfect day to be out wine tasting.

Local Girl Cooks Southern Fried Chicken

The seasons are changing and it's that time of year when we start planning to gather with family and friends for the holidays. Growing up, this was primarily done around delicious homemade meals prepared with love. Three months ago, I found myself wanting to do something new and unfamiliar to me. At the time my son was 4 months old and began taking a stronger interest in foods that I was eating. This launched a desire for me to start cooking again. And not just foods that could be prepared in 10 minutes or less to satisfy a bachelorette’s palette but something that my son could remember sharing with me. For example, each time I dice a white onion and sauté it in the pan the smells and sensations remind me of when my grandma would cook a hot breakfast for me before school. The aroma that filled her kitchen when she would bake an apple cake or zucchini bread from scratch made me feel comforted and at home. Those are the memories I want to create for my son. As I began to research recipes and prepare entrees that required a little more time, I'd place different spices like curry or garlic under his nose so he could experience something new. Weeks would pass and I concluded that random recipes off the internet were not what my heart or belly desired. In an effort to spend more time with my loved ones, I decided to reach out to my cousins and close friends to see if they would share with me and my son what their favorite meal is to cook and reminisce on why it is so special.