November Coffee Chat

Okay, so technically it is December, but as much as I love the holidays I’m not ready to admit that we are in the last month of 2017.

November was a crazy busy month and it went by way to quickly for me to fully enjoy it. Even with that it was one hell of a month.

Exploring without kids

As a family we have been blessed to travel a lot. When we were a family of three we went to Mexico, Disney, Florida, South Dakota, and many other places. Since adding Baz to the mix 18 months ago we still haven’t slowed down. I’ve traveled with just the kids, Nick has traveled solo for work, but in the five years since we became parents we had never traveled just the two of us. In fact, we realized that it had been since our honeymoon in 2009 that we had traveled as a couple – no kids, no friends, no extended family.

Pool Barcelo Maya

So November was big for us. We traveled for a long weekend to our favorite all-inclusive in Mexico. It was the perfect first trip because we didn’t have to worry about anything once we got there and with cold weather on its way we got one last shot of sun and sand. More to come on this trip in the next post, but lets just say a couple’s getaway is going to become an annual occurrence.

Family Traditions

The holidays have always been a time of strong family traditions and this year I decided to pull out a few of my grandma’s recipes and make them for our own Thanksgiving feast and it took me right back to all those gatherings as a kid.

pumpkin pie

A slice of pumpkin pie that tastes just like grandma’s because it was made with her recipe and extra turkey turned into creamy, delicious turkey and noodles took me right back to all those Thanksgiving meals at the community center in Illinois. When does something really become a family tradition and what traditions are you carrying on in your own way?

Can’t wait to hear about your family traditions and how you make the holidays special!

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The Makers: An Introduction

Often times we find ourselves just going through the motions of life. Not really enjoying things or feeling connected to what we are doing. But people who are passionate about what they are pursuing inspire me and remind me that it is possible to blend creative pursuits, work, and a zeal for life into one amazing journey. So I’m talking to The Makers – those doing something special in food and travel, following their passion, and bringing something unique to the world around them. So here we go . . .


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Wine Wanderlust: Sonoma and Europe

If you know me, or if you’ve only casually read this blog, you know I’m slightly obsessed with food. In college I took food writing and food history classes, studied food science, got a degree in nutrition, and even toyed with going to culinary school. So I’m of course going to geek out over a book that brings together food, history, and travel – Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love by Simran Sethi does all of that.
Although it was a little more science talk than I expected, I loved the stories of the people on the ground toiling away to bring us some of our favorite culinary delights and how our need for consistency bar to bar and bottle to bottle might be putting these simple pleasures in danger of extinction. It left me craving a spread of some of the best,  guiltily thinking about all of the mass produced homogenous items I’ve consumed thus far, and of course dreaming of some far of places. But it also got me to thinking about some of the people creating diverse products like bread, wine, beer, coffee, and chocolate closer to home.
So over the next few weeks I thought I would give a few ideas for exploring one of these culinary treats closer to home and further afield. Seeing that I’ve had a hectic month I thought we should start with wine. That beautiful end to any sort of day.
Enjoy a glass of wine
Closer to home
In the book she talks about a glass of wine that resulted in a sort of transformative experience in her relationship with wine. This wine and the story behind it took wine from something that she could live or live without to an intriguing character with a life of its own.
This wine with transformative powers? Trousseau Gris grown in California at the Fanucchi vineyard and I want a glass. My own journey with wine has been a slow, transformative process and it only seems fitting that I finally make it to Sonoma Valley and enjoy a glass of this pale golden liquid.
Besides while I’m there I have a few other things I’d like to do and see:
Visit Cowgirl Creamery. I tried this cheese while visiting the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco and fell instantly in love. Seeing the actual place it is made would be a dream come true.
Farther afield
As I’ve said, I have had my own relationship with wine. One that started with pure disgust and has morphed into a happy friendship. So it seems only fitting that the first places I head to on a search for wine farther from home would be France, Italy, and Spain. Three places that I have visited and sadly gulped down malt beverages and hard liquor along the way while abstaining from wine.
Until I get these trips planned I’ll sit here with my glass of today’s choice and enjoy thinking about future bottles of great grapes.

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Getting back to it

When I started this site it was to be a place for me to go and share the stories of exploring the world through food, travel, and just living life. It has been way to long since I was on here. But that is what happens when . . .

You have a second child that decides to arrive five weeks early.

You spend time in the NICU (once again).

You only take six weeks off before heading back to full-time work.

You have just started a new job three weeks before delivery.

You love what you do.

You decide to take a week long trip to Disney with a four-year-old and a six-month old.

So eight and half months later and we are settling into life as a family of four (sort of).

To make our new life work I’ve found there are several things I have to just be willing to give on. Dishes have to sit dirty longer than I would like. Grocery shopping (and wine shopping) happens online with curbside pick-up. Workouts don’t always happen first thing in the morning. Cooking no longer consists of hours in the kitchen happily working away.

Setting priorities not just for the day or the week, but for life overall has become even more important. So what do I want from this next stage in my life?

  • Positivity: I want to create a positive environment for my children and myself to exist in, even if I can only provide that cocoon within the walls of our home
  • Travel: This is non-negotiable. I want to see more places, meet more people, and experience things I never imagined and I want my children to enter adulthood with a broader view of this amazing world we live in.
  • Health: Healthy cooking might look a little different right now, but getting in all the good stuff I can is top priority. Even if I have to squeeze a workout in between getting off of an eight-hour work day and getting the kids from daycare (or in-front of the oven as dinner cooks ) I will keep getting stronger and faster.

So, hopefully I will be meeting all of those goals and find time to share the journey.



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Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving from the family at Nomad Momma! Eat, drink, and give thanks . . .

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October Round-up: FoodWorx, beer, and pumpkin seeds

Hard to believe October is over and fall is in full swing. Here are a few things we’ve been enjoying, coveting, and anticipating over the last month.



I happened upon these on a quick trip to one of our local grocers and I am addicted. They had a few variates, but come on, coffee and chocolate, who could resist! They are crunchy and sweet and a perfect little pick-me up between meals . . . bonus, they are healthy for you.

Noble Brewer

I have recommended this service before, but since we are on the quarterly plan we got our newest collection of brews. Nevermore Chocolate Porter – Mosaic India Pale Ale – Pipe In A Sack Scotch Ale – Wry Rye Imperial India Pale Ale. There hasn’t been a clear winner, but the Chocolate Porter is inspiring a few baking ideas.

Angel Food Cake

I recently posted about an angel food cake tradition that my family has that I’ve considered resurrecting. After that story I had several people ask me about where I got my cake pan. Mine is a hand me down from my mom and to be honest, it probably was a hand me down to her, but I love it. I do recommend getting one with the removable bottom and center and the little edges so you can turn it upside down on a flat surface if you don’t have a bottle that works.

FoodWorx 2016

Food and travel are sort of an obsession of mine so when the opportunity arose to help plan and market this year’s FoodWorx Conference in Portland I jumped at it. This multiday event brings together experts in food, travel, and much more for what has been called the Tedx of Food.

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Life is made of what we give


Having just spent the last week celebrating my grandfather’s life this quote really stuck with me. His life and how everyone came together at the end of it is a shining example of how what we give makes our life. Hundreds of people came through his visitation and shared not only their words of condolences but their stories and memories of a quiet, smiling farmer.

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One books journey to Syria

Usually I take Wednesday to chat about travel or food, but I have been working on this story at work this week and I had to share . . .

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Looking forward to 2015 . . .

Well, 2014 is over already and what a year it was! It was a year of change and growth for all of us. I started my MBA. I started a new job I adore. We welcomed a new little girl to the Benner clan. My youngest sister started college (wow I am feeling very old). Olivia moved into a new daycare class and away from the teachers we all adored (we still have to go say “hi” to her Brooke). We took Olivia on her first trip to Disney. Olivia said “I love you” for the first time!

FamilyRolling right into 2015 I know we are going to have a happy jar full of little moments like these. We are already planning and looking forward to so many things. There are six things I am excited for that with a little attention on my part will make this year the year to top.

1. Visiting new places and revisiting old places with new friends. We are already planning a camping trip to South Dakota. I’ve never been and this will also be Olivia’s first trip there and first time camping. For years I have also wanted to do a girl’s weekend with my sisters. A time where we can just focus on fun and ourselves. So we are headed to Chicago for a long weekend of good food, shopping, and a little pampering. This past year also saw the birth of a new business idea that will mean gathering stories. Starting close to home, we are headed to the Amana Colonies in Iowa for some food tasting, shopping, and a little history lesson. I can’t wait to hit the road!

2. Experiences not possessions. As I’ve gotten older and as I’ve seen people dear to me age and slow down I’ve realized even more that the experiences are what make up a life. So for this year I am focusing on not passing up opportunities that come my way for experiences that have been on my bucket list. I am going to be skydiving and traveling and we will see what else!

3. Foster friendships. With starting my MBA, a new job, and having a toddler I feel like I have let the few friendships I had developed slip away. I’ve never been the one to be the center of attention so as the person who sits back and observes making friends has always been a slow process for me. I have met some amazing people over the past year and learned a lot about them, but it is time to let them into my world a little more and set aside time to get to know them even more. I know that as I get older friendships will be even more important and I want to encourage Olivia to do the same.

4. Celebrate life events. We have had so much to celebrate these last few years, but I don’t feel like we have done it right. So this year I want to throw a special birthday party for Olivia’s third birthday. I want to celebrate my husband and mine’s further growth into our 30s. Each celebration doesn’t have to be a big blow out filled with gifts and hoopla, but they will be special and unique and build happy memories we can carry forward. Happiness jar

5. The happiness jar. Last year I started a happiness jar and this year I want to over stuff it with things big and small. This simple mason jar sits on our mantle and last year I’m sure I overlooked some little joys to write down on a scrap of paper and stuff inside.

6. And to top it all off after 10 years of waiting and signing the petitions – Crispy M&Ms are coming back to the US! Since 2005 I have had to stock up as my in-laws made trips to Australia and New Zealand, but not anymore 🙂

Crispy M&Ms2015 is going to be amazing!

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