lifestyle


Petrified Forest in Calistoga

hiking trails calistoga petrified forest calistoga calistoga hiking trailscalistoga petrified forest historical petrified forest

wearing: silver earrings / lipstick / long sleeve tee / sweatshirt / backpack / jeans / nail polish / hiking boots /

Our family loves the outdoors, and hiking! So, when I was researching hiking trails in the Napa Valley, I came across The Petrified Forest located in Calistoga. I had no idea we had one here in the Bay Area! This sounded amazing, and like something we needed to check out. We are so glad we did!

The Petrified Forest in Calistoga features petrified redwood tress which are frozen in time. They fell over about 3.4 million years ago, you read that right, 3.4 million years ago! The trees were knocked down forcefully by a volcanic explosion from a volcano located behind present-day Mount Saint Helena. It is no longer a mountain, and it is dormant; buried behind our current mountain. The explosion was so forceful, it toppled a redwood forest filled with trees which have been aged at over 2000 years old at the time of the explosion. Can you imagine? Trees which were already 1000-2000 years old, toppled over by a volcano, then preserved under the ash for 3.4 million years! It’s incredible!

We took the 11am guided tour which was incredibly interesting. Our tour guide taught us so much about petrified wood and the history of the forest. He was incredibly nice, and so informative! We really enjoyed the tour.

The tour is also a hike, so if you go, wear a good pair of hiking shoes or boots. My hiking boots were perfect for the terrain. Also be sure to allow enough time for the tour. It was roughly 1.5 hours which was not only a good hike, it was a lot of time to learn a ton of information from our guide. We loved it!

You can learn more about The Petrified Forest on their website.

Shop my hiking outfit online:

Have you seen a petrified forest before? What did you think?

XOXO
Cathy

the petrified forest the queen petrified redwood treepetrified wood millions years old


Fall 2019 fitness routine and goals

pictured: Sign Hill Trail, see original post here /

The fall season is in full swing, and this means adjusting our workout schedules to fit in with the changing weather patterns and season. I had every intention of sticking to my summer workout routine, alas, I started having pain in my left hip.

Let me tell you, hip pain is no joke. It can be bad! It hurts to walk, it hurts to sit, and it can also hurt when laying down. I tried stretching it, resting it, going to a Chiropractor; nothing worked. I was soon diagnosed with Bursitis in my hip. I was told to rest it, and at the same time, strengthen the muscles in my legs. Um, how do you do that while resting your hip? Ugh, I am still trying to find a solution.

Long story short, my hip still hurts, and it isn’t getting better. I am working on the exercises prescribed to me, and this season, I will have to do a light workout routine in order to let my hip heal.

I don’t have a weekly routine like I have had in seasons past. For the fall 2019 season, my workout routine involved exercises prescribed by my doctor, yoga once a week to stretch everything out, swimming, and walking. Can I just tell you, this is really boring!

So, hopefully this routine allows my hip to heal while strengthening my leg muscles so my hip can heal properly.  Which types of exercises are you doing this fall?

Shop my favorite workout gear:

Thanks for stopping by!

XOXO

Cathy


Homemade Baked Ziti recipe

If you have been reading here for awhile, you know I have three kids, and a very busy schedule. Types of casseroles are an important dinner option for me since they can be made ahead. Casseroles only need to bake in the oven when it’s time to cook dinner, so they are super convenient. This makes prep convenient with my schedule, and it makes feeding my family a home-cooked meal even easier.

My kids love pasta; don’t most kids? Since pasta is a huge hit at my house, and quite possibly yours, a casserole version is key on busy days. My homemade baked ziti recipe is both easy to make, and well loved by pasta-loving children. That’s win-win!

Homemade baked ziti is an easy and delicious casserole you can make on the spot, or ahead of time when your schedule gets the best of you. So without further ado, here is my homemade baked ziti recipe with instructions. I hope you love it as much as my kids do!

Homemade baked ziti ingredients:

  • 1 lb. Ziti pasta (you can substitute penne if your market doesn’t carry ziti)
  • 1 jar Rao’s Marinara (you can make your own, or use another brand, but this is the most authentic on the market, in my opinion-my ancestors are from Italy, so my family is used to authentic Italian food)
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • Sliced provolone cheese
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup mozzarella
  • 2 pounds bulk Italian sausage, cook before mixing into casserole. (can substitute 1 pound ground beef and 1 pound ground pork if you don’t like sausage)

Homemade baked ziti cooking instructions:

Step 1: Cook pasta

Step 2: Mix pasta together with sauce and meat in a mixing bowl.

Step 3: Pour half of the mozzarella into the bowl and mix together.

Step 4: Pour half of the pasta mixture into the casserole dish.

Step 5: Cover the pasta mixture with the remainder of mozzarella cheese.

Step 6: Pour the last half of the pasta mixture on top.

Step 7: Smooth out the top of the casserole with a wooden spoon.

Step 8: Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of the casserole.

Step 9: Layer provolone cheese slices on top of Parmesan cheese.

Step 10: Top the casserole with green onions.

Bake 35 minutes at 350. Remove from the oven, serve, and enjoy!

There you have it! A really easy casserole the whole family can enjoy. It makes about twelve servings, so there is a good chance you will have plenty of leftovers to eat on another busy day, or bring to work for lunch. I hope you and your family, friends, etc love this homemade baked ziti recipe too!

Thanks for stopping by, and manjia tutti!

XOXO
Cathy