Double Chocolate Granola Bars

You guys….I have no idea how these granola bars have made it this long before coming into my life. SERIOUSLY. They are so freaking tasty and easy to make, it’s ridiculous. Even better? They’re not so terribly bad for you … Continue reading

Winemaker’s Dinner- Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse

Happy Winesday Wednesday! I know it has been a while since I have posted in this series and most of it is due to not really having anything to talk about! If I don’t have any new wines, beers, or experiences to share with you, then I have nothing to post! Luckily, I have a pretty rad topic this week and I’m really excited to share it 🙂

Last week, I was given the opportunity to attend the Grupo Penaflor Winemaker Dinner which took place at Pampa Brazilian Steakhouse in downtown Calgary.

Grupo Penaflor is ‘one of the top 10 wine producers in the world, Grupo Peñaflor is owned by the Bemberg family who pride themselves on their honest, ethical and responsible conduct, and their high quality, award-winning, and also great value, wines.’

I had never been to this restaurant before, and I was excited to check it out! Hey, anything that has steak in the name is a winner in my book! We had a slightly different dinner than the norm of what is served, but it was all to perfectly pair with the wines we were there to taste.

While known for the interactive “Rodizio” dining experience, Pampa chef and owner Joao Dachery also excels in dishes from the different regions of the country. We will be treated to an indulgent plated six-course meal, and hear from Juan Ignacio about the six superb wines that complement it.

I arrived at 6pm and was greeted with a welcome wine. It did NOT disappoint. I tried the white wine that was also being offered, but much more preferred the red as I waited for the dinner to begin.


It was a pretty odd feeling at first for me to be there by myself, but I knew once the wine got flowing it would be a lot more interactive with the other guests in attendance. PS: I didn’t drink the entirety of all my servings because I was driving home. And I managed to drink about 3 liters of water as well over the course of my almost 4 hours there.

The inside of the restaurant is big and open. I would love to come here again to enjoy the ‘normal’ dining experience and sample wines from their menu.


Never-ending meat? Yes please.

Back to the evening’s menu:


We were going to be treated to six courses. SIX.

Cheese bread was being passed around the reception area and although I didn’t want to spoil my dinner, I had to test one out. I could have eaten a plate full of those alone.


Just before 7pm, we were welcomed into the private dining room that was set up beautifully. All of the wine were on display and the large windows along one wall let in a lot of light. (Plus, we were able to make passersby jealous with all the wine and food)




The tables were arranged in a square and each side was a designated team for a variety of wine-related games. Winners were to receive a special treat at the end of the meal, and my team was quick to start on winning!

After a brief introduction by the organizers of the experience and another by the wine representative, we started with the first course: small bites of beef carpaccio, mango chutney prawns on papa toast, and a twist on the classic empanada. I opted out of the prawn.

It was paired with OPI Chardonnay that was so light and tasty I would have never guessed it was a chardonnay! Notes on this wine: The grapes for this are harvested far from the coastline. Typically, vineyards are located along the coast and this particular vineyard is so inland that it does not get the ocean breeze or any other normal factors you’d see in a coastal wine.




At this point, I either wanted a whole plate of this to myself or for the second course to come out immediately because I was HUNGRY. I have the hardest time with patience when it comes to multiple-course meals.

Our second course didn’t sound as appetizing to me from reading the menu, but holy moly was it ever delicious: mini marinated leg of lamb skewers with Pampa mint sauce and coconut milk mashed potato. It was paired with Don David Malbec which ended up being my favorite wine of the evening. Notes on this wine: The presenter talked about how this was from the highest vineyard in the world located in the northernmost part of Argentina. The atmosphere then gives it a completely different tasting profile than other malbecs. SO GOOD.




Also, I am definitely making mashed potatoes with coconut milk from now on. Mind= blown.

The organizer gave us another tidbit on wine with food: chew on herbs to get a completely different taste out of your wine! We all then chewed on the rosemary spring from this dish and agreed the wine came off so different…much more delicious!

Our third course was my favorite from the evening. (hint: because there’s bacon involved): chicken thighs wrapped with bacon and charcoal roasted with arugula, warm red wine vinegar and potato polenta. This was paired with PAZ Cab Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc. It was my second favorite wine of the evening and also complemented the dish well. Notes on the wine: PAZ means ‘peace’ and the winemaker created this with the intention of drinkers enjoying the wine with good company. (Check!) It tasted of blackberries and very herbaceous.




We were treated to 2 oz of each wine for the evening and I found it entertaining to watch the woman go around the table with multiple bottles to pour! Several attendees lucked out with a top up, but I politely declined since I was driving.


The fourth dish was my least favorite, only because I am not a seafood fan. There were some great flavors in the other parts of the serving, but I savored my wine instead. We had: sausage with calamari, chickpeas, and croutons. It was paired with Ciclos which is a 50/50 blend of Malbec and Merlot. It was my least favorite wine but I am attributing that to it being paired with my least favorite dish.




Our fifth course: rump steak with manioc flour and chimichurri. Whoa, this dish was so different to me and I LOVED it. The chimichurri had a good amount of heat to it and the ‘flour’ as explained by the chef, was intended to create texture. I really enjoyed this and the spice made for the corresponding wine to go down pretty easy. Notes on the wine: We were served Unanime which was a bordeaux blend comprised of 3 different varietals. It had lots of tannins which played so well with the steak.




For dessert we had passionfruit mousse with blueberry malbec reduction. Usually, I only want to have a chocolate inspired dessert, but I later discovered that this was the perfect ending to a meal paired with the variety of accompanying Argentinian wines. I appreciated that it was only a small plate, too. I could have eaten my weight in this!


Somewhere between courses 2 and 3, our team managed to complete one of the games and were pleasantly treated with shots of some sort of liqueur. I couldn’t hear exactly what it was, but it had been frozen in a block of ice for 2 days and is expertly poured from 6 feet in the air. I barely touched my lips to this because I didn’t need any more alcohol, and found not only was it of a syrupy consistency, but it tasted like toasted bananas…I think. Either way, it was a fun experience to watch how it was served!




I left the meal happily stuffed. Is there really anything else that needs to be said? The experience was so nice and I am intrigued to return to Pampa another time with Tyler to get the typical dining experience.

Have you been to Pampa? Tried any of the wines mentioned above?

Week + Weekender about a wonderful and crazy week! The amazing weather hardly makes it feel like the weekend is winding down and having my mom here with us makes it even better! I didn’t get to do a recap of the week on Friday because I posted Wes’s first birthday (which I think is way more important) so let’s see what I can remember. Apologies in advance for the excessive photos 😉

Monday: From all that I can remember (eek) I got my workout done in the morning and we walked the neighborhood in the afternoon- making sure to hit the playground before returning home. Chicken caesar salads for dinner!


PS: No joke, I was doing the second week of 22 Minute Hard Corps this week and could already see the changes! My core is much stronger and my arms and butt are getting more definition! (I think I might chat about this later this week since it might also be due to some hormonal changes…man, you just never know! But these workouts feel GOOD!)





Tuesday: My mom flew in! We haven’t seen her (or my dad…but he stayed home. boo) in just over 6 months. It really is 100% no fun to live so far away from family. I crave moments where I can just have mom and dad come over for dinner or to watch Wes for an afternoon. But…it is what it is right now.

We headed straight to Costco from the airport to stock up on essentials, made homemade chicken tenders for dinner, then called it an early night. Not without a glass of wine first!






Wednesday: We considered Wednesday our ‘transition’ day. It was nice for just the three of us (me, my mom and Wes) to hang out and get into the rhythm of a slightly different weekday now that grandma was in town! We did manage to get out of the house and run a couple of errands which was nice. Lots of snacks and maybe even a couple of presents for Wes!





We had pulled pork sandwiches for dinner and hit the hay. Wes really took to grandma so fast and has been super bubbly which has been great!


Thursday: Wes has his one year appointment at 10am, but woke up so early in the morning that he was already down for a nap by 9am and I had to wake him to put him in the car to go. I hate doing that, but I knew that it was still early enough in the day that he would get a good afternoon nap in anyways.

He wasn’t too happy at the appointment and wanted me to hold him the whole time. I didn’t mind at all since I rarely get those good cuddles, but I didn’t like seeing him saddish.

We headed to the Tim Horton’s drive through on the way home for a couple of coffees and picked up a timbit for Wes since it was his birthday eve. No shocker- he gobbled it in two bites!


He was still pretty clingy the rest of the day and snuggled with grandma throughout the afternoon. Heart=melted.


Tyler picked up a pizza on the way home from work for him and my mom and I was out the door by 5:30 to attend a winemaker’s dinner at Pampas Brazilian Steakhouse (more on that later this week!)


Friday: My baby turned ONE! We celebrated just as the sun came up with balloons in his crib and he LOVED them. Poor Tyler’s alarm still hadn’t gone off yet and we were making so much noise. Whoops!










We had pancakes for his birthday breakfast (my idea, obviously) and Wes hung out with grandma to play. They even facetimed grandpa for the Happy Birthday song!




I think we walked over to the shopping center to pick up a couple of things too. It must’ve happened, because there’s photo evidence!


After his morning nap, I attempted to take his one year photos and was so excited for him to wear some new garb! Luckily, I have come across so many great small shops lately that I was able to assemble something rather last minute. I absolutely loved each piece 🙂



The leggings are from Baby H Designs (she made the leggings/hat Wes wore when he came home from the hospital), moccs from Posh Panda, and bow tie from Will & Co

After a somewhat successful photo session, all clothing was removed so he could enjoy his very first cupcake! I would have preferred it to be something I made myself (I am anti-any-baked-good-from-a-store-since-homemade-is-better) but I thought this was too cute to pass up when I stopped by Crave.






IMG_4688 from Jen Linton on Vimeo.

We had to take a quick bath after that because it was a bit messy and Reggie was losing his mind over all the potential frosting to lick. We opted to all stay shirtless after the fact (plus, it was warm out) and I whipped up these amazingly delicious baked chimichangas for dinner. Best part? We had leftovers which were easily wrapped up and thrown in the freezer! Edited to add: I just remembered that Wes ZONKED for nearly three hours after noshing on the cupcake. It was a great little break for me and my mom, but it made for a less fun night of trying to get him to bed…almost 9pm!



Saturday: Even though Wes went to bed so late on Friday night, he was up at 6am on Saturday. No fun for this mama because my eyes just felt heavy as bricks! I made sure to get both our breakfasts ready before getting him from his room and we hung out in the living room for a while. On one hand, early mornings are no fun because who wants to get out of bed, but on the other hand, I absolutely love those quiet morning hours with Wes when it’s just me and him….and maybe one or two of the doggies who make it out of the bedroom.


The little guy is getting more adventurous in his eating and was asking for a lot of my mom’s cereal. So cereal he got! Afterwards, he was back to sleep for almost another 3 hours! Although I didn’t want him to miss out on the gorgeous weather, I knew he needed the sleep and it was nice for us all to be able to do our own thing for a little bit.


After his nap, we spent a long time hanging out on the patio! When it’s this nice out, it’s a sin not to sit outside and enjoy it! He really loved the fresh air and looking out 🙂












Once Tyler got to a point in his renovations where he could take a break, we had cake! Well, technically only Wes had the cake. No party this year for the birthday boy (1. Because he won’t remember it, 2. Because we have no family around to come and my girlfriends all live so FAR AWAY, and 3. Because umm…isn’t cake enough??!) I sort of feel bad about it, but so long as he’s happy that’s all that matters. He really enjoyed the cake even though he really didn’t understand the concept 😉

Also, I really need to dress nice for some photos, but can’t see the point when we’re just in the house! Besides, DOG. HAIR.





















Timing worked in our favor this time and he was in bed at a relatively normal time! We had lasagna for dinner and watched Ride Along 2 before getting in bed.


Sunday: I heard Wes stirring in his crib at 6am and of course he went back to sleep but I couldn’t. I laid in bed for a few minutes before getting up to start coffee, make waffles for everyone, and fix my BAE breakfast.


At 8:30 I decided to put Wes in the stroller and walk to the library to return some books and maybe stroll around the neighborhood for a bit. I was walking one of our usual loops and just before we got back to the house, he had fallen asleep. Since Layla is a barking beast when we get to the front door, I opted to keep walking throughout the neighborhood until Wes woke up. Cut to one hour later and I finally decided to just throw in the towel because my fitbit died haha.




I had him bundled in the stroller because there was still a tiny nip in the air, but by the time we were back at the house it was practically HOT out. I changed Wes and we hung out on the patio for a couple of hours..and even managed to have a picnic lunch.



I even braved to snag a few photos in our backyard. It worked out pretty decent- the grass is (dead) nice and dry from the warm weather, and there was no dog poo! I should probably mow it sometime soon, but we’re never back there. Oops.












Layla is such a great pup with Wes. He loves her so much and is always grabbing for her and hugging her and even just laying on her and she takes it all like a champ.

We came inside for a bit because it was getting a bit too warm and I took the dogs for a long walk. After coming home, Wes went down for a nap, I worked out, and finished up the laundry.

Then it was a nice naked afternoon of crawling, climbing, babbling, and giggling.


Tyler made burgers on the BBQ for dinner and we all got to sleep pretty early after all that sun, exercise, and renovations (for Tyler).


It looks like there is still more sunny weather ahead this week, so we will be having many more outdoor adventures. I can’t wait!



It’s 9pm on Sunday night as I finally sit down to type this and it is the first time all weekend I’ve actually just sat to rest. Even though I guess I’m not technically resting if I’m typing this..There has just been so much going on with the home renos, some outings, workouts, phew! I’m excited for my mom to get here this week so I can have maybe just a few more extra ‘me’ minutes every day while she chases after the munchkin. Here’s what we were up to this weekend!–>

Friday: Breakfast on the floor! I love mornings where I get a little extra time to myself so I can make pancakes. Maybe this particular morning I should have been on my game a bit better since the second batch in the pan got a little ‘crispy’. STILL GOOD THOUGH.



After a relatively easy morning with Wes- i.e. lots of Reggie pestering and my workout, I headed down to Rose and Crown for lunch. A lunch (beer included) that I won via twitter thankyouverymuch. It was a perfect day to sit on the patio and I enjoyed the conversation with the people there. I got the turkey and brie sandwich and it was DELICIOUS!


I was only gone a couple of hours and was back on Wes duty for the remainder of the afternoon while Tyler worked his hump off with home renos. Friday he did a lot of wiring stuff and prep for the installation of a fan in the ensuite shower. I don’t dare interject because it’s all at a skill set way above my pay grade.


For dinner, we had salsa verde burgers on the BBQ and I’m pretty sure I inhaled mine in less than 4 minutes. During one of Tyler’s routine home improvement store trips, he managed to pick me up a little surprise and I was a VERY happy wife. It makes up for the lack of together time we get with all these home projects!



Now that Wes is crawling around and slowly perfecting his ability to climb the step up from the living space, he likes to hang with the doggies. Even when they’re begging for a bit of burger from daddy. Please note: they only beg from Tyler and not me because they KNOW they won’t get anything. I’m not that nice to share my food!


In care you’re wondering, the green rag is a Layla drool rag. We have them all over the house because she’s a friggin faucet!

After Wes went down, we watched Amazing Race and the first hour of the Revenant before heading to bed. Sunburns make me tired!

Saturday: When Wes only has one nap he tends to go to bed earlier (woohoo!) but it also means he’ll wake up a bit earlier too (BOOOOOOOOOOFACE). I was up before 7am with him and made sure to get both of our bottles ready before getting him from his room.


The rest of the morning/early afternoon was pretty much a wash- I walked the dogs, did some household stuff and hung out with Wes while Tyler was WORK WORK WORKING on the house. By the time 3pm rolled around, I was on the road to check out an Orange Theory Fitness private class with a bunch of my friends. (I refuse to refer to them as blog friends because that category is just so silly!) The workout was great- the first half was done on the treadmill and the remainder was circuits of strength and rowing.


I particularly enjoyed the fact that we were all geared up with heart rate monitors and could see our progress on the big screens. I thought I was pushing myself, but hardly had any ‘splat’ points (when you’re in the orange zone). I can’t get too down on it though- I just have a really low resting heart rate! I was going 9-9.5mph for some of those sprints, dang it!

Can I just add that this location is sandwiched in between a liquor store and a Fatburger?! If I lived in that part of town I would either be in that shopping center all the time OR I’d avoid it all the time! Haha.





Most of us headed out to dinner afterwards. I have to admit, I didn’t order anything because A.) I’m cheap, and B.) I didn’t really want anything from that restaurant. I was happy to come home later that night and snack on some of Tyler’s leftovers and have a beer while we finished watching the Revenant. I think I earned it after burning 517 calories?

Sunday: Another early as heck morning! I need my mom to get here ASAP so I can at least just lay in bed for a few extra minutes. I’m pretty much awake just before 7am every morning anyways, but a lot of times I just don’t want to get out of bed and adult.

I made my standard BAE breakfast and……YOU GUESSED IT…..hung around with Wes while Tyler worked on the house. Is this post redundant or what?!


Just before Wes went down for a nap I was able to do the Resistance 2 workout from 22 Minutes Hard Corps. I couldn’t tell if it was actually more difficult or if my chest was a tad sore from the heavier weights I used for chest flys at OTF the day before. Either way, it felt good.

During Wes’s nap, I did some of my freelance work then we waited around for what seemed like FOREVER for someone to show up and buy the first Bob stroller we got (the orange one! Loved it, but was able to get a much newer used one for a bargain). She was a total low baller and I was *this close* to just telling her she could leave without it. So annoying.

I made a batch of my favoritest chocolate chip cookies EVER- this time using the mini Hershey kisses and they turned out ridiculously tasty. Do you have any idea how hard it is to not eat them all while they’re still warm?!


While they cooled (and in an attempt to avoid temptation) I walked Wes to the grocery store for some random items we needed. It was a bit cooler out, but felt nice to have some fresh air and to NOT hear the banging of hammers or the whirring of random power tools.

For dinner we had steak. Alberta beef is pretty much the tastiest thing around, and these babies didn’t disappoint. Wes even snagged quite a few bites from my plate even though he already had his dinner!


I would have liked more greens on the plate, but what can ya do. I eat healthy more times throughout the week than not (don’t refer to my chocolate chip cookies, haha).

Wes had a nice long bath then we hung out for a bit before it was his bed time.



I rounded out the evening with a walk with the dogs, a cardio workout (CALL ME CRAZY BUT I JUST HAVE SO MUCH ENERGY) and some more freelance stuff.

Fingers crossed for a good, long sleep tonight!