Recent Posts


For Your Guests, a Little Offering

I love when we have friends for dinner or visiting from out of town, to bake something for them to enjoy the following morning.  Your guests will appreciate this thoughtful gesture, especially if they have a little too much wine and have to wake up to hungry little children the next day!  My signature offerings […]


THE Banana Bread

Sshh…This is my secret, go-to recipe, I am in the mood to share today! I tweaked this recipe from one in Martha Stewart Entertaining, which is a great resource for fail proof entertaining recipes…


Val’s Granola

If possible try to get unsweetened dried fruit at a local health food store for this yummy granola. Who needs the extra sugar when it is so tasty on its own?


Having a Wine Focused Dinner

Even when hosting a wine dinner, you should start with the food!  Create a menu featuring simple, delicious food that allows the flavors of the wine to be the star of the meal.  It always works to stick to the basics, a fresh cut of meat with salt and pepper cooked on the grill, some […]

Cooking with Japanese Chef Teru

Cooking with Teru

Recently, my friends gathered at our house to learn the art of Japanese cooking from Teru of Sakana of Montecito, California.

House Wines

House Wines

Wine is a permanent fixture in our home and we enjoy it daily.  Our wine cellar is for the most part, my husband’s domain.  An avid wine enthusiast, he has spent the past twenty years building a collection of wines from all over the world.  Picking wine from an inventoried source can be complicated and […]

Garden Planning

Garden Planning

These days, I am very picky about what we plant in our garden.  When I first started I planted rather haphazardly and ended up with bunch of produce I don’t really cook with.  It took me awhile to iron out the kinks of what we truly eat versus what got planted.  I had to learn […]

Valerie Rice


Why have a garden? Especially If you live in Santa Barbara, with its great soil, weather, and diverse growing options, the real question is, what are you waiting for? There are a multitude of benefits to growing your own fruits and vegetables: fresh, organic produce, no pre-handling or washing, the therapeutic aspects of gardening, exposure […]



I made this as a starter for 70 guests at a end of the school year appreciation luncheon. The beets were just popping out of my garden and I though it would be so fun to use them in a non-traditional sort of a way…