California Adventures with ClifBar Pt. 1

All of my travel and accommodations for this trip were covered by ClifBar.  I was not compensated for writing this post or asked to share any of my experience.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.  

Two weeks ago, I had an awesome opportunity to head out to California with other sports-focused dietitians for a nutrition retreat with the Clif Bar team.  Some of the other attendees are BIG in the sports nutrition field so while I felt a tad out of my league, I was excited to be a part of the whole experience.

After landing in San Francisco, we immediately headed to the Clif Family Winery in Napa Valley, Velo Vino, for lunch. 

Velo Vino

The tasting room is decked out in cycling decor and offers up specialty foods like preserves, nuts and vinegars in addition to Clif bar products.  We enjoyed a delicious lunch from the Bruschetteria food truck on site and of course, a small wine tasting.  The Bici (cute name, right?) was definitely a fave of mine!

Lunch

After lunch, we made a quick stop to check-in at the Napa Valley Lodge where we’d be staying for the night.  I didn’t snap any pictures of the resort, but my room was gorgeous with a little patio that overlooked a vineyard.  We were able to freshen up a bit for heading out to the Clif Family Farm for a tour.

Cliff Farm

I’ll be sharing a little backstory of Clif Company, as well as more of their culture in Part 2, but the fully organic farm should start to clue you into how they roll.  Our tour was led by Farmers Brad and Drew and they shared all sorts of insight into how they handle growing all of the food for the food truck and more.  The Clif Family Farm is certified with CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) and Food Alliance.  The Clif Bar Family Foundation also created Seed Matters, an initiative to preserve genetic diversity among crops and support seed research. 

Seed Matters

There has been some controversy surrounding the recent Mr. Seed video that was released by Seed Matters, accusing the Clif Foundation and the producers of being fear-mongers and spreading misinformation regarding organic and non-organic farming practices.  I did take the chance to ask the Clif team about the video and the response was that Clif stands behind the messaging.  While I personally do not agree that the best way to go about encouraging organic farming practices is with aggression and vulgarity, I can appreciate that organic has always been important to Clif and that they continue to fight for their messaging.  

As for the farm tour, we got to see everything they’re growing including lettuces, onions, blueberries, peaches, their signature red flint corn.  They also have several bee hives on the property, as well as chickens and roosters.

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After the tour, we gathered for an educational edible experience with Kate Geagan.  Kate walked us through some fun taste tests and opened our eyes to the variety of descriptors there are for foods.  She focused on the energizing foods Clif used in their bars and products: dates, apples, bananas, sweet potatoes, beets, etc. We also covered the importance of gut health in supporting our energy metabolism from the foods we eat.  It was a great refresher from a lot of the discussions at the Food As Medicine conference I went to in the fall, which was so interesting!

edible experience

The taste testing was fun and delicious, but after we finished it was definitely time for a good meal.  Everyone boarded our bus and headed over to the Clif Family Vineyard for dinner.  Executive Chef John explained the menu and actually prepared it right on site in the wood fired outdoor oven!  

 

We enjoyed Clif signature Red Flint Corn Polenta with Chanterelle Mushrooms (ahhhmazing!), Grilled Kale with Lemon Ricotta Salata and Radicchio Salad with Garlic Anchovy Vinaigrette and Pecorino.  There was also wood-fired chicken for the non-veg folks.  Oh, and plenty of delicious vino, as introduced by the winemaker Laura Barrett, who we got to chat with during dinner.

Vineyard meal

Most importantly, the meal ended with delicious mini sweets:  Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Plum Compote and Savory Herbs (weird/incredible combo) and Chocolate Budino with Whipped Cream and Sea Salt.  Of course, I had to try both and whoa!  I actually liked the Panna Cotta best, but you can’t go wrong with chocolate and sea salt!  Yum!

Dessert Clif

Dessert was the perfect end to our first day and we headed back to the Napa Valley Lodge for bed.  More on Clif culture and our tour of Clif Bar HQ to come in Part 2.  Stay tuned!

Your turn–Have you been to Napa Valley? Did you know Clif Bar Company also owns a vineyard and a farm?! When it comes to dessert: chocolate or vanilla?

Signature 

Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Cinnamon Whipped Cream {Recipe ReDux Spotlight}

Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Cinnamon Whipped Cream {Recipe ReDux Spotlight}

The Recipe ReDux turns five(!) this month and to celebrate, we’re turning the spotlight on fellow Recipe ReDux members.  I just joined the group a few months ago (you can find my first few RR recipes here and here), but have been following many of the members on social media for a long time now.  Not to mention, drooling over their delicious creations.  The ReDuxer I’m sharing with y’all today is someone I only know via her blog and social media, but from what I can tell, I’m pretty sure we’d be friends in real life too!  Meet Tara Deal Rochford, future RD and blogger behind Treble in the Kitchen.

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Tara is from Indiana but now lives with her husband and dog Bernie in Denver, Colorado (#goals), where she is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor.  She has a degree in music (hence the super cute blog name) and was inspired to become an RD while working as a Fitness Director on a cruise line where people would ask her nutrition questions.  Tara has been a Recipe Redux member for over a year and loves to bake cookies, muffins and sweets to share!  She’s now in school and is well on her way to becoming a dietitian, but still finds time for creating lots of awesome recipes and sharing fun workouts on her blog.

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I love following Tara’s blog for her yummy recipes and kick-butt workouts (like this bodyweight tabata), but also to get a sneak peek into her adventures in Colorado and beyond.  Boyfriend and I have this not-so-secret desire to move to Denver (even though we’ve never even visited), so I love seeing when she’s hiking in Colorado or doing yoga at Red Rocks.  

Now that you have a little bit of an introduction to Tara, let’s talk about her recipes, shall we?  She enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and I love that her recipes are simple, whole foods-based and nourishing.  Many are dairy-free, grain or gluten-free and low FODMAP as well.  

Since we’re celebrating a birthday and birthday parties typically involve some kind of sweet treat, I figured I’d try out one of Tara’s delicious dessert recipes.  Last month I saw her share this recipe for Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Cinnamon Whipped Cream and I immediately pinned it to make at a later date.  Well this past weekend, when we fired up the grill for dinner, I knew what would be for dessert!  

pineapple

This sweet treat totally hit the spot, though my photo doesn’t do it justice.  I was a little impatient and didn’t whip the cream long enough so it didn’t fluff up, but the flavor was still incredible.  And I don’t even really like coconut! The cinnamon and touch of maple syrup was perfection and boyfriend actually kept the rest of the “cream” to use in his coffee, which he raved about!  Seriously, this recipe is super simple but oh so good.  Grilled pineapple is a MUST this summer and I highly recommend adding Tara’s Coconut Cinnamon Whipped Cream to take it up a notch.  Here’s the recipe:

Grilled Pineapple with Coconut Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Serves 4


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Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
12 min

Total Time
17 min

Prep Time
5 min

Cook Time
12 min

Total Time
17 min

Ingredients
  1. 1 can of full fat coconut milk or coconut cream (refrigerated at least 3 hours)
  2. 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  3. 1 tsp cinnamon
  4. 8 slices of pineapple
  5. Misto with extra virgin olive oil, or a small amount of olive oil to brush on the pineapple
Instructions
  1. Remove the coconut cream that rose to the top of the can in the chilled coconut cream can. Beat the cream for a few minutes until it becomes nice, light and fluffy. Add the maple syrup and cinnamon, and adjust to taste.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat.
  3. Spritz the pineapple slices, or use a brush dipped in olive oil if you don’t have a misto, with a small amount of olive oil on each side.
  4. Place the pineapple slices on the grill.
  5. Cook 6-8 minutes on each side, until nicely charred.
Notes
  1. It is best to refrigerate the can of coconut cream over night. This recipe makes more than enough whipped cream for this recipe. It is best served immediately, but it can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. It will harden in the fridge, so simply blend it again until creamy. This is great served with berries or on hot coffee/cocoa!
KH Nutrition http://khnutrition.com/

Find Tara and her delicious recipes here:

Blog: Treble in the Kitchen

Facebook: Treble in the Kitchen

Instagram: @trebleinthekchn

Twitter: @trebleinthekchn

Pinterest: Treble in the Kitchen

Click through the links below to get to know even more Recipe ReDux members and their culinary creations.

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