WritersButt Wednesday – Recap from the road and Lettuce Wrap Recipe

Whew, I have been a busy girl since last week. When I left you, WritersButt was going on the road to Sacramento to speak with RWA’s chapter, Sacramento Valley Rose. Well, it went, it had fun and it returned home safely and by ‘it’, I mean me! Let me share the trip with you.

I arrived in Sacramento mid-day and got to finally meet Patricia (who writes as Jansen Schmidt) in person. In no time, there was much talking and laughing. I have to add that Patricia is a fabulous tour guide. I think I know more about where she lives and grew up than I do about where I live.  It was so fun to learn about a place I’d never been before. As I describe any photos and/or places, I hope Patricia will correct me where I get the details wrong. I had been up since 4 am!

We set off to find food since we were both starving. We went to a lovely little restaurant called The Independent. We both ordered their roasted beet salad, which was delicious. Their soup special was a carrot soup that sounded so unique that I had to try it even though it had a dairy base. It was worth a little tummy discomfort to try the blend of flavors; carrots, jalapeño, radish and something else I can’t remember.

I got the drive-by tour of Hangtown, aptly named because they originally had a hanging tree. Here’s George displayed as an homage to the days gone by.

George at Hangmen's Tree

George at Hangman’s Tree

Nestled into the hills were remnants of houses, stairs, and chimneys from long ago. I took this picture for some very important reason that I can’t recall. Patricia will have to fill in the pertinent details here.

Something cool where I was. :)

Something cool where I was. 🙂

After lunch, we did what any smart women would do in wine country. We went wine tasting. We went to two different wineries. Even though the vines were pruned and there was a lack of green, I loved how the rolling hills looked and the stark branches. Here are some photos.

Ginger and Patricia at Boeger (did I spell that right?) Winery

Ginger and Patricia at Boeger (did I spell that right?) Winery. Blurry, yes, but thought it was a cute pic.

Old building at Boeger Winery

Old building at Boeger Winery

Patricia and Ginger at Lava Cap

Patricia and Ginger at Lava Cap

The winter vines at Lava Cap Winery. Really LOVED the wines here!

The winter vines at Lava Cap Winery. Really LOVED the wines here!

At Lava Cap they had me compare their 3 Zinfandels side by side. They were all excellent.

At Lava Cap they had me compare their 3 Zinfandels side by side. They were all excellent. Peace out! 🙂

I enjoyed meeting Patricia’s husband and especially their sweet dog, Sherlock. (I mean with that name, how could you go wrong, right?)

It was about time for dinner so we drove ‘back down the hill’ to meet up with some of the board members of Sacramento Valley Rose. I enjoyed meeting them and getting to chat over a lovely dinner. By the time I got to my hotel room, I was exhausted. It wasn’t late by west coast standards but I was two hours ahead and limping along on very little sleep by that point.

The next morning, I did a little workout in my hotel room. YES, that’s right! No excuses! Enjoyed a lovely little breakfast and then got ready for my presentation.

Ginger speaks to Sacramento Valley Rose about WritersButt.

Ginger speaks to Sacramento Valley Rose about WritersButt.

This photo needs a caption! Who's got one to match my expression?

This photo needs a caption! Who’s got one to match my expression?

Patricia and Ginger post meeting and ready for lunch.

Patricia and Ginger post meeting and ready for lunch.

I want to thank Patricia for inviting me to speak. The workshop went very well. The members of SVR were awesome. They asked amazing questions. I could have talked with them all day. I wish them all much success in their writing AND in incorporating fitness and healthy nutrition into their lives. I hope it helps their creativity soar and keeps their muses happy and dancing!

BONUS: A recipe for you!!

Chicken Veggie Lettuce Wraps

Chicken Veggie Lettuce Wraps

The first night after my return home, I made Chicken Lettuce Wraps from a recipe I got from a friend. I did alter the recipe a bit to accommodate one of my childrens’ aversion to bell peppers. I’ll post the recipe she uses and tell you my alterations. You can create your own version. I made a HUGE batch so we could use it for 2 nights and we still have a little left to use in eggs tonight. I love a meal that keeps providing for days.

Chicken Vegetable Lettuce Cups


  Additional toppings of choice: Avocado, Guacamole, Salsa, etc.
  Lettuce leaves (such as Bibb), washed and dried
  Salt and Pepper to taste
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh parsley or cilantro
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 pound ground chicken (or turkey or beef)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup yellow onions, diced
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or coconut oil)


**NOTE: Both my friend and I added mushrooms because we like them. I will say that I more than doubled this recipe, like quadrupled, because I did want it for multiple meals. I used a whole bag of shredded carrots, 2 cups mushrooms (sliced small), 4 fresh zucchini sliced small instead of bell peppers.


Cook all your veggies in a large skillet with coconut oil and garlic until softened. (If you’re going to add mushrooms, cook them first w/ no salt until they get good color and then add the other veggies) Don’t overcook and let your veggies get mushy! Add your salt and pepper.

Brown your meat in another skillet or pot.

Once your meat is cooked through, add your veggies to your meat, add in your chili powder and more salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Remove from the heat and stir in your fresh parsley or cilantro.

NOTE: You can add in an Asian sauce for flavor but only if you find one without added sugar and no high fructose corn syrup. Good luck! I suggest a little tamari soy sauce – tamari because it’s gluten free. If you are going to use the soy, hold back on your salt seasonings until the end because you may not need any.

To serve, place chicken/veggie mixture into lettuce cups and serve with toppings of choice. I used large green leaf lettuce cups instead of the typical iceberg because it’s healthier. You could use red leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, romaine ‘boats’, etc.

YUM – enjoy!!


About Ginger Calem

I never met a notebook I didn't want to buy. Pens speak to me. Sticky notes are dear to my heart. Some of my best friends are those clambering in my head trying to get onto the page. And when they have their stories told, and I release them to the world, I hope they'll be your friends too.

Posted on January 30, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. So glad the trip went well for you Ginger! I love Sacramento! There’s so much history there. And how great was that getting to meet and hang out with Patricia? A fellow WANA to boot! You girls had a wonderful time and it shows. I am so happy that Writersbutt has taken off and thanks for sharing Patricia and your trip with us. Wahoo! 🙂

    • I really enjoyed the Sacramento area. I actually had no idea about all that history. It wasn’t my strong suit in school! 😉 We had a great time and I can’t wait to do it again and meet more wanas and lots more writers!

  2. Yay for an awesome workshop!!!! Can’t wait to try the recipe!! 🙂

  3. I’m happy you and Patricia got to hang out and visit wineries. I’m jealous, too. Wah! Good job with the workshop. Keep spreading the word about fitness and healthful eating as good for the muse.

  4. Oh you look like you had so much fun! And I’ve had a thing for lettuce wraps lately. My hub made a vietnamese version with lime and fresh ginger the other day. I love that you made a big batch to use for more meals later. Super smart!

  5. Awesome report my friend although the town is actually called Placerville now (after the placer mining phase here in gold country). It used to be called Hangtown because it was the county seat and where the courthouse was located. We call it Old Hangtown. And yes, they used to hang bad guys right there in town.

    The next picture is the bell tower. It’s in the original place where the bell tower used to be (the town’s burned down or nearly down twice since the gold rush era) and it was used as a way to announce fires or emergencies in town. The bell still works and gets rung on occasion.

    You did spell the winery correct and the old building at Boeger Winery is the original tasting room.

    Ah, good times.

    Thanks for presenting your wonderful Writer’s Butt program to the gals at SVR. Everyone enjoyed the presentation and took home some excellent tips and ideas for improving their creativity and overall physical states.

    Lovely to have met you finally. Thanks for sharing your trip here.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Hooray, I got most of the details right and I never wrote any of it down. See what an impression it all made on me. Yeah, I was pretty sure Placerville and Hangtown (or Old Hangtown) were the same thing, but wasn’t 100% certain.

      I’m thrilled everyone enjoyed the workshop. I can’t wait to do more! Please tell them all thanks again for having me.

      Now, go drink some of that wine you got … LUCKY!

  6. Yum! This looks really good and gluten free.

  7. Glad you had such a great trip, Ginger! What do we have to do to bribe you to come down to Florida? 🙂

    I love lettuce wraps. I might just shock my husband and actually cook up a batch one night (he usually does all the cooking).

    • Well … not too much! Just need to arrange to present WB to a group of writers … or any group for that matter. I’d LOVE to come. What part of Florida? I used to live in Orlando and my dad has a place near there where I stay from time to time. My critique group met there once for a retreat. It was awesome.

      Try the wraps. So easy!

  8. How cool are you! That will look great on your resume! I bet you had a blast.

  9. Kristina Mathews

    Ginger, It was great meeting you and I’m inspiried to drink more water and get more sleep. I’m even trying to cut back on my Diet Cokes. I can’t cut it out completely. Especially not when I drive.

    I’m glad you enjoyed Placerville, and especially Boeger wine. It’s the best. We used to live just up the road from there.

    The lettuce wraps look good. I’m trying to return to more cooking fresh. When my son was diagnosed with nut allergies six years ago, I did a really good job of cooking from scratch and reading labels (and losing ten pounds). I still read labels, but now I only look for allergen warnings. I’ve slacked on the no processed foods but I’ll buy organic brands when available. At least I can pronounce the ingredients. Thanks for the reminder that it doesn’t take that much more time to eat fresh foods. And chopping veggies is good for plotting.

    • Hi Kristina. I’m so glad to have met so many new people and I’m thrilled I’ve inspired you in some ways. That makes me feel great.

      Oh, I hear you on the diet cokes. Diet sodas are one of the hardest habits to break. I have had clients who were very addicted to them and have managed to do it, so it can be done! 🙂 My advice is to ease up a little at a time. Cut one out for the day for about a week. Then another. Eventually get to where you treat yourself to one a few days a week, then once a week, … you get the idea. Eventually you lose the taste for them.

      You’re in a great position in the cooking department because you’ve already done it and had success. No better motivation than that! You did it once, you can do it again. I’ll be cheering you on and yes, chopping veggies is awesome for plotting — especially if you write any form of mystery. 😉

      Thanks so much for visiting my blog and commenting. I really appreciate it. (sorry for the tardy reply — my life went all crazy on me this past week!)

  10. That sounds like a fun trip! It makes me wish I liked wine because going to vineyards sounds like a blast. I’d love to see a Writer’s Butt workshop, and I’d also love ideas about “hotel workouts” that we can all do, especially when going to writer’s conferences. 🙂 I’m not the most self-directed exerciser. I like the have something specific to follow.

    • It was super fun. Yes wine tasting is fun because it’s always so picturesque, well, assuming you’re visiting the vineyard itself. Any normally everyone is so happy because they are surrounded by wine. ha!

      Ok, great idea — I’ll write up a good batch of hotel room (or hotel gym) specific workouts. That way everyone attending conferences or traveling on any sort of business or fun will have workouts to take with them. Thanks!!

  11. Wow! You know Susie Lindau… I feel like I know you… except I’ve never met anyone named Ginger before. I was born in Sacramento and lived there for some time before escaping to Chicago. The best place for Sacramento History is the City Cemetery. Hangtown… wow, I haven’t heard that in some time. When I was little, everyone called it that and not Placerville. There was a cafe called the Blue Bell and they served The Hangtown Fry… probably the only thing Placerville is famous for. Judging by the tummy discomfort from the Carrot Soup and the Chicken Lettuce Wraps, you may not want to try it… bit it is Ab Fab!

    p.s. I wish I had heard you speak.

    • You’ve never met a Ginger? Well, I’m honored to be the one and only. I don’t know very many myself and am always surprised to run across another Ginger. Yes, I know Susie through a blogging class we both took over a year ago. I consider her one of my blogging-buddies! 🙂

      You know, one probably has to order a Hangtown Fry just for the experience of it. haha! Sounds like a kicker of a meal.

      Maybe I’ll get to Chicago at some point. Only I will need to come when I won’t freeze my butt off and/or get blown out of the state by wind. Or does it not earn it’s name, Windy City?

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  1. Pingback: WritersButt Wednesday: NEW Class debut – and SALSA to DIE for! | Ginger Calem

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