The Ultimate Culinary Experience in Sicily in 2017

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My first trip to Sicily and my first villa experience were one in the same. After spending a few nights at Rocca delle Tre Contrade, I arrived at the conclusion that there is no better way to enjoy Sicily. Complete with 11 bedrooms and space for 22 guests, you’ll also find incredible views and a staff going the extra mile to provide the supreme comforts of home. This is just as an ideal spot to visit with family and friends as it is for an intimate destination wedding. The 360-degree panoramic views take your eyes from the sparkling Ionian Sea to the lava peak of Mount Etna.
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I just recently received exciting news from their exclusive luxury villa company The Thinking Traveller that Rocca delle Tre Contrade, has joined forces with acclaimed Chef Skye Gyngell for a two week-long culinary experiences exploring the gastronomic bounty and cuisine of the Mediterranean’s largest and most diverse island. This is truly a bucket list culinary experience!
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Skye Gyngell is one of the most respected chefs working in the UK. After working at a variety of high level restaurants, including La Varenne in Paris and The Dorchester in London, Skye became head chef at Petersham Nurseries, where the earned her Michelin star. In 2014, Skye opened Spring, in Somerset House, London. It quickly became regarded as one of the capital’s top restaurants.

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Below please find details for the course:

  • Six days immersed in a full food and wine program with Skye Gyngell, including cookery demo sessions and ‘hands on’ lessons with Skye Gyngell and her team
  • Seven hands-on sessions in the villa’s large demonstration kitchen (each work station shared by two participants)
  • Seven nights’ accommodation at the private luxury villa Rocca delle Tre Contrade in double rooms (single occupancy also available)
  • The presence of Jon Moslet, co-owner of Rocca delle Tre Contrade and expert in Sicilian wine and gastronomic traditions
  • A program of guided tours with English-speaking guide and related ground transportation
  • All meals including wine and beverages (7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners)
  • Transfers between Catania Fontanarossa Airport and Rocca delle Tre Contrade on the first and last days of the week
  • Complimentary in-house laundry service (dry-cleaning not included)
The course is available for two weeks this spring, the week of March 25 and also the week of April 22.
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About the villa:
Rocca delle Tre Contrade occupies a stunningly panoramic position atop its own hill on Sicily’s east coast. The views of this former aristocratic estate are further enhanced by the intense greens and citrus flashes of the villa’s grounds, which feature lemon groves, fruit orchards and vegetable gardens. The magnificence of Mother Nature is rivalled only by the spectacular 25-metre, south-facing infinity pool and the delightful interiors, which have been renovated and refurbished to exactingly high standards.
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Bison Tenderloin with Cherry Port Glace

Bison Tenderloin with Cherry Port Reduction

Who is ready for Thanksgiving? I just returned from The Resort at Paws Up where everything is amazing. Food, wine, horseback riding, ATV rides, clay shooting, fly fishing, hiking, running, biking, spa and super wonderful people and customer service. I had a sample of what they’ll be serving up on their Thanksgiving menu so take a look. If you don’t have Thanksgiving plans yet, what are you waiting for?

House Made Bites

Hutterite Duck Prosciutto, Cured Olives, Pickled Hutterite Vegetables, Bitterroot Organic Cured Tomatoes, Tucker Farms Cheese, Amaranth, Quinoa Granola, New Zealand Spinach, 50 year Balsamic and Organic Olive Oil

Deluge Farms Pumpkin Bisque, Ginger Chantilly, Cinnamon Pemmican, Smoked Trout, Chives

Roasted Crabapple and Diver Scallop, Candied Yam Shoestrings, Beet Syrup, Beet Chips, Beet Caviar

Stone Crab, Preserved Lemon Butter, Picante Pepper Emulsion, Tobacco Onions

Waygu Carpaccio, Walnut and Fig Chutney, Flat Head Cherry Syrup, Shaved Truffle, House Made Cracker

Salads and Sides

Sweet Potato Pie, House Made Fluff, Vietnamese Cinnamon, Maple Bacon Brown Butter

House Made Cranberry Relish

Black Pepper Green Beans, Grandma Jones Recipe

Hutterite Bacon Smothered Brussels Sprouts

Whipped Potatoes, Butter, Cream, Salt and Pepper-That’s it

Candied Chestnut Dressing, Organic Wheat Montana Breads, Organic Vegetables, Locally Grown Sage, Hutterite Chicken Bone Broth

Caesar Salad, Garlic Parmesan Dressing, The Perfect Crouton, White Anchovies

Kale Salad, Swiss Chard, Dried Huckleberries, Cherries and Golden Raisins, Tucker Family Blue Cheese, Walnut and Honeycrisp Apple Vinaigrette

Stuffed Rainbow Trout

The Main Event

Hutterite Turkey Breast and Thighs, Pan Gravy with or with out Giblets

MT Natural Lamb Rack, Caramelized Shallot Lamb Glace

Bison Tenderloin, Flat Head Cherry Demi Glace

Lump Crab Stuffed Rainbow Trout, Tarragon Buerre Blanc

Sweet Endings

Mom’s Goat Cheese, Pumpkin Cheesecake and multiple seasonal selections that have been delivered to your home during the dinner hour.

The resort at Paws up

The Resort at Paws Up is Montana’s premier luxury ranch resort, offering first-class adventure on a grand scale. Discretely nestled in Greenough, Montana, amidst glacier-hewn mountains, Paws Up features the legendary Blackfoot River, expansive timberland and limitless prairies. From private homes and safari-style tents to attentive, anticipatory service, getting away to the wilds of Montana has never been so civilized. The Resort features a comprehensive, sophisticated culinary program and has been recognized as one of the leading experiential destinations in America. The Resort at Paws Up truly is The Last Best Place.

Since The Resort’s June 2005 inception, the property has received over 2,000 favorable reviews. In 2016, the Resort was voted the #1 Family Resort and the #2 Destination Resort in America in USA Today and the Best Small Family Resort and Best Glamping Resort in Sunset. For more information, please visit The Resort at Paws Up is also on Facebook and Twitter (@Paws_Up).

Meadowood Garden Beet Salad

Meadowood Garden Beet Salad

As you know,  I love food and travel, so I am really excited about this new book! Admired for its long tradition of gracious hospitality inspired by local cuisine and culture, Relais & Châteaux presents “The Art of Entertaining,” its first book dedicated to sharing the secrets to crafting outstanding parties and events nuanced to replicate unforgettable experiences at home.  Set for an October 2016 release from Rizzoli New York, the compilation brings to life 17 seasonal parties from Relais & Châteaux members across North America. Each chapter is designed to celebrate the senses in a unique environment with exquisite food and cocktail recipes, creative décor and the thoughtful, creative touches for which Relais & Châteaux is renowned.

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In this gorgeous new book, some of North America’s most renowned chefs and innkeepers share their thoughts, recipes and secrets for successful entertaining at home to inspire readers.

With 85 Relais & Châteaux properties located throughout the U.S., Mexico, Caribbean and Canada, the opportunities to share entertaining tips, tricks and expertise are endless. The themes featured within this first book are hinged on delicious gourmet recipes that can be easily executed. You’ll also new ideas for tablescapes and décor from the beautiful backdrop of the legendary Relais & Châteaux venues.

This Meadowood Garden Beet Salad is one of Meadowood’s favorite dishes during the summer harvest season. The beets can be small heirloom varietals of all colors and stripes (literally). Chef Alejandro Ayala recommends taking some artistic license with the presentation; he cuts the beets into various shapes as well as paper-thin cross sections. The salad is at once both bright and earthy, and the pistachio “soil” is an unexpected, at-home, twist.

From Travel to Kids: What is New In My World


So, it has been a month since I last posted on Ingredients, Inc. I apologize! Sometimes work, kids, family and life really get in the way of blogging.

For those of you who do not blog, do you have any idea how long it takes to put just one post together? You start with an idea or—in my case, a recipe—then you must test it, take photos, write, edit, and factor in many other tech requirements before a post can go live. If you’re lucky, this only takes about five hours!


To be honest, I really needed a blogging break. I have been super busy with work and new clients (for which I’m so grateful!), and I decided to focus all of my time and energy on them. I began writing for Bravo TV, which is a really fun gig. In fact, if you want a few places to go to channel your inner chef, check out my piece on these resorts.

scrub island

There really isn’t very much new with me since I posted last. I did get away to the British Virgin Islands—Peter Island and Scrub Island—with my husband. It was absolutely relaxing, gorgeous and amazing in every way. If you ever have a chance to go to either resort, do it ASAP! See my post on what’s new at Peter Island on Spafinder by clicking this link.


Other than that, I have posted a bit more frequently on Healthy Travel. September is National Yoga Month, so you know I had to cover that! Also be sure to check out some noteworthy hotel openings happening the remainder of the year.

The Resort at Paws Up

Next up on my travel agenda, it’s all about beautiful Montana scenery and two incredible food and wine events at The Resort at Paws Up. I’ll be attending Montana Master Chefs, the Oscars of the foodie world, and Upper Crust, a baking, pizza, cookie, and pie adventure—I cannot wait! From there, I am headed to Santa Barbara, which has been on my travel bucket list forever!

 paws up upper crust event

An update on my kids: my oldest, Alec Lewis, is soaring by leaps and bounds in his sports writing career. He is so wise and talented, and he amazes me every day. Today I woke up to his Podcast with Paul Finebaum he recorded this morning. Tune in—it’s a great interview.

alec lewis sports writer

My daughter, Leigh, is applying to colleges (she’s a senior this year). She has 15 schools on her list, and she can’t seem to narrow them down by even one. From UCLA to University of Vermont, she’s all over the United States map. My youngest son, Zachary, has been super busy with tennis. He’s played in several tournaments the past few weekends—lots of fun to watch, but I don’t need any more sun this summer! I am wishing him good luck with his school tryouts this week (fingers crossed).

Tomato Watermelon Salad
My husband, Doug, is still awesome in every way. I couldn’t be luckier to have him. He also has taken over a lot of cooking in the house, which is another reason I have not posted many new recipes. But I did create this recipe for Tomato Watermelon Salad for SC Johnson, which we all love!

candy bar Ice cream

Also this Candy Bar Ice Cream which a keeper for sure! That’s enough for now. What’s new in your world?

Banana Honey Muffins

Banana Honey MuffinsIf you’re wondering what to do with leftover bananas, these Banana Honey Muffins are for you. At my house, we go through bananas like monkeys, but my neighborhood grocery store often packages overripe bananas and marks them way down. I typically freeze them for smoothies or smoothie bowls, or often make my famous One Bowl Banana Bread recipe (which is made with nonfat Greek yogurt). My husband found a recipe for Honey Banana Muffins so he and my daughter made these yesterday. They are not too sweet, light and fluffy, and they make a wonderful morning or afternoon snack or light breakfast idea with a cup of coffee. My husband likes them drizzled with honey over the top 🙂

Bananas are naturally fat and cholesterol free. Bananas well known for their high potassium content, with over 400 mg potassium in a single medium-size banana (this is great for muscle function and providing a healthy balance of fluids in the body). Bananas are also easy to digest and a good source of vitamin C, fiber and B6 vitamins.  Did you know you can use mashed bananas as a substitute for some or all of the butter or oil when making cookies or some baked goods? This recipe is going to be a keeper when school starts, so enjoy!

Banana Honey Muffins

Healthy Breakfast Popsicles

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We make smoothies and smoothie bowls almost every single day. My daughter, Leigh, turned one of our favorite simple and healthy smoothie recipes into popsicles to create these Healthy Breakfast Popsicles. All you need is five simple ingredients including the chocolate flavored Dynamic Fruit & Greens which is a blend of organic vegetable such as kale, kelp, Chlorella and turmeric that adds antioxidants as well as an amazing chocolate flavor (if you’re a Lifetime Fitness member, they sell it at the facility).

When frozen, remove from the popsicle molds and sprinkle with additional oats and chia seeds. Trust me, you’ll love these!

Kale Guacamole

Kale Guacamole

I had a great time last weekend at Lake Austin Spa Resort where I was teaching smoothie bowl classes promoting my latest cookbook 200 Best Smoothie Bowls. I also had the amazing opportunity to workout, take a mediation for clarity class, try hydrobikes and experience amazing spa treatments and of course, food. The food at this Texas spa is out of this world with so many clever, creative and healthy combinations. The first night they had “Kale Guacamole” on their menu for an appetizer. They didn’t have the recipe, but I came home and recreated it tonight. My husband said, “It tastes just it.” This recipe is classic guacamole recipe with kale added. Why did I not think of that?

Alison Lewis

Homemade Pesto

Homemade Pesto

As you might have seen from my last post, I am up to my ears in fresh herbs (which is such a good thing)! I have been making this Homemade Pesto recipe lately on a weekly basis to go over pasta, served alongside grilled chicken or shrimp or as a topping to fresh salmon. This recipe is so easy to make—my fifteen year-old, Zachary made this batch for me. Toss fresh basil, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil, salt and a touch of a fresh lemon juice in a blender or food processor. It’s that easy!

Similar to cilantro, basil if filled with many health benefits including helping to rid of acne, help replenish iron and more. Basil is a good source of vitamin A and can help with cardiovascular health. Basil is also an anti-inflammatory food so it can also help individuals with inflammatory health problems such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel conditions. Try this recipe and enjoy fresh basil all summer long.

DIY Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

I am really into making homemade fresh salad dressings this summer. When I was out of town last month in Cabo, I came home and my husband had planted various hanging fresh herb baskets in our backyard. Needless to say I was beyond excited, and this DIY Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette recipe will be the first of many recipes including fresh herbs in the coming months. This vinaigrette can be drizzled over salads, fish tacos, seafood, pork and chicken. We served it last night over a big mixed salad with grilled shrimp, and it was divine! If you want to grow your own cilantro this summer, it’s super easy. It just needs good sunlight and water almost every day.

fresh cilantro

Fresh cilantro is very low in calories, and its green leaves contain  antioxidants, vitamins, and dietary fiber, which may help reduce the “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood. It’s also high in potassium, calcium, folate, Vitamin A and Vitamin C. It’s also said to be a detoxifying food.


5 Meal Prepping Hacks That Save You Time in the Kitchen


meal preppingOne of the most common excuses for not eating healthy is lack of time. With people busy between work and their families, the easiest thing to do is to pick up dinner instead of cookie. Active families like mine need to eat healthy, so it’s important to do everything you can to eat at home as often as possible (we eat at home at least five to six nights a week). Meal prepping is the best way to make meals at home when you have a hectic schedule. Here are meal prep hacks that will keep your family eating healthy.

1. Meal Plan

Meal planning is an extremely important part of prep. Create a calendar that has every meal planned out until your next grocery shopping trip. While some people like to plan out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks, that can be planning overkill for some families. Planning dinners is the most important part, so at least plan those, and then wing the rest if you don’t feel the need to plan every small detail. Once you have planned each meal, add all of the ingredients that you need to your grocery list to make each dinner.

food prepping

2. Cook in Advance

Cooked meals stay fresh in the fridge for several days, so you can cook several meals to reheat during the week. Choose items that won’t try out when they’re reheated. For example, you can cook spaghetti, enchiladas, a casserole, and a few other meals all in one day. Let them cool at room temperature, label them, and then place them in the refrigerator until the day you plan to eat them.

crock pot meals

3. Crock Pot Meals

Prepping crock pot meals is another great way to prep in advance. You can take all the ingredients to make one crock pot meal and store it in a one-gallon Ziploc freezer bag.  Placer bag in the freezer, uncooked, and pour it in the crock pot the morning of the day that you want to eat it for dinner. Having about five to six crock pot meals prepped will give you more options and allow you to have something easy in the freezer that will make very little time to prepare. Put everything in your slow cooker during breakfast and it will be ready after work. If you don’t know many recipes, you can dress up the same ones with different sauces and dressings. Hampton Creek is popular for creating the Hampton Creek mayo. They also have healthy ranch, chipotle, and other delicious sauces and dressings that you can add to your dishes.

healthy snacks4. Prep Snacks

Prepping snacks is just as important as prepping dinners. Do you find yourself running to the gas station to grab snacks on the go? Instead of getting stopping or trying to figure out what type of snacks to eat, prep some snacks. Fill Ziploc bags with an apple and a handful of strawberries. Fill other bags with some crackers and some sliced cheese. As you get some meal prepping practice, you’ll find yourself coming up with more combinations. When it’s time to run to to tennis tournaments or dance practice, everyone can grab a bag full of the snacks that they enjoy.

5. Re-Organize Your Fridge
Fridge organization is one of the biggest problems when it comes to prepping foods. Most people have a row of yogurt, a drawer of apples, and so on. Basically, all of your foods are grouped together. What’s wrong with that? It makes it more difficult to prep for the week. Dedicate different areas of your fridge for each week. Many people use baskets to organize their shelves around their home. Using them for your fridge can help too. Put all of your Ziploc bags full of snacks for Monday in one basket. Put the snacks for Tuesday in another basket and so on.

Meal prepping is the best way to make sure your family eats healthy every day. You’ll save money and time.