Wine Crate with Winter Foliage

photo 1 (6)

Have you ever seen those fantastic wine crates?  The ones with the embossed wine label on the side?  The ones that liquor stores just throw away?

Say WHAT?!  Yes, they just throw them away.

Here’s a secret…..

Continue reading

Advertisements

Wine Crate with Winter Foliage

photo 1 (6)

Have you ever seen those fantastic wine crates?  The ones with the embossed wine label on the side?  The ones that liquor stores just throw away?

Say WHAT?!  Yes, they just throw them away.

Here’s a secret…..

Continue reading

Day 14: Get Together!

IMG_6088

The last thing I want to do when I feel like I can’t get it together is to entertain a house full of guests.  Or even host a dinner party for us and one other couple.  But that is precisely why you should do it!  Good friends, good food and good wine always lift the spirits!  Not to mention the last minute blitz to clean the place up and make it presentable!

Prince Charming and I have a divide and conquer approach to getting our house ready to entertain.  One of us tackles the playroom and the kids.  The other dusts and vacuums.  We put away laundry and clear off the counter.  We are actually really good about putting things in their proper place and not just shoving them in closets.  And within an hour or so, our house looks quite presentable.  It makes us wonder why we don’t do this cleaning blitz more often. 

Once the house is clean I begin the cooking.  I think the best way to entertain is having a larger crowd, a pot of something where guests can serve themselves and a few appetizers.  Most recently I made Brunswick Stew for a football viewing party.  We had some chips and veggies and dip as appetizers.  Some guests brought some apps and desserts.  The stew was self serve and kept warm on the stove.  It was so easy.  Everyone could eat at their leisure and I could relax.

IMG_6071 IMG_6072

I always have a beverage center set up.  I have a big galvanized tub that I bought at Lowe’s when it was on sale for $12.99.  I fill it with ice and adult beverages.  I set up glasses next to it.  I also have a smaller one for juice boxes for the kiddos. 

IMG_6070 IMG_6069

Sometimes it is nice to have a sit down dinner.  You know, pull out the good dishes, set the table, light some candles and really cook!  The nice wine can be served in the expensive wine glasses. 

I enjoy creating a menu.  Usually I have an appetizer, a salad and a main dish.  I don’t bake so dessert is either purchased or brought by another guest.  A really easy “go to” dinner menu is a charcuterie plate for an appetizer, kale and Brussels sprout salad and braised short ribs served with crusty bread.  Because the ribs are braised, they cook for a long time and it will seem like you slaved away in the kitchen when, in reality, they cooked while you did other things. 

IMG_6089IMG_6096

I keep the table setting simple.  I try to have festive colors for whatever the time of year is.  Rule of thumb: dark napkins are better than light.  They stain less!

And once the party is over and everyone is satisfied, you’ll feel like you have got it together.  Even if the dinner is gross and you have to order pizza, you and your friends will have a good laugh.  And laughter is the best way to feel like you have it together!

Parmesan Bruschetta

This is truly the easiest appetizer ever.  And a true crowd pleaser.  I promise.

IMG_5876

Yes, I know that the actual definition of bruschetta is “ an Italian appetizer consisting of toasted bread slices drizzled with olive oil and usually topped with tomatoes and basil.” (from dictionary.com), but I’m using the term loosely because I can’t think of a better title for it.  Parmesan Toasts just doesn’t sound right, you know?

There are 3 ingredients, 4 if you count the bread.  You need a sliced baguette, mayonnaise, diced onion and shredded parmesan.  That’s it!

IMG_5869

Mix the parmesan, mayo and onion together and spread on the baguette slices, which you should have arranged on a baking sheet.

IMG_5866IMG_5870

Pop them under the broiler until they start to brown up just a tad.

IMG_5873

Arrange them on a nice serving dish and voila!  Easy, right?!

IMG_5875

 

Parmesan Bruschetta

1 baguette, sliced into rounds

1/2 sweet onion, diced

1 1/2 C. mayonnaise

1 C. shredded parmesan cheese

 

Arrange the baguette rounds on a baking sheet.  Mix together the onion, mayonnaise and parmesan in a bowl.  Spread the parmesan mixture on the baguette rounds. (You can even just plop a dollop of it in the center.  It will spread as it cooks.)  Broil until the top begins to brown just slightly.  Take out immediately and serve.

5 Fab Wines for Under $15

I am no wine snob.  I can’t tell you what notes are left on your pallet, or talk tannins, etc.  (I don’t even know if that last sentence makes sense!  ) I like what I like and that is that.  What I really like is not paying too much for something.  I have found 5 amazing wines for under $15.  It has been said that there are plenty of wines out there for under $10, but I have found that the $10 – $15 range is the sweet spot.

This photo texted to me by my friend and her daughter about sums up my love affair with wine:

V__AE00

All wines are from Total Wine with the exception of one, as noted with its picture.

IMG_3829

IMG_3831

This one is a favorite of mine for the warmer weather.  I serve it very cold.  I don’t know if that is the correct way to serve it, but that’s how I roll!  It is a dry rose’ called Domaine Fontanyl and it costs $12.99.  It is a really good appetizer wine. 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3835

This wine is, hands down, my all time favorite.  It is very light and slightly fruity without being sweet.  I use it to cook, to sip, to entertain, everything!  Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc costs $8.97!  It goes well with fish and chicken.

 

 

 

 

IMG_3836

Bourgogne Pinot Noir came from a local wine shop aptly named The Wine Shop.  My friend picked me up a bottle after we had it at their house and I raved about it.  It has a slightly spicy finish.  (There!  That’s the depth of my wine knowledge!)  It costs $12 per bottle.  This is a steak wine, for sure!

 

 

 

IMG_3837

Cruz Alta Cabernet Sauvignon was recommended by the guy at Total Wine.  He got me at chocolate.  He said it had a chocolate finish.  I don’t really taste it, but it was good nonetheless at $11.99.

 

 

 

 

IMG_3838

This one was introduced to me by my mother and father- in- law who are quite the wine connoisseurs. (They know their coffee, too!)  They ordered it at a sushi place one evening while visiting us.  Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc is very light without being sweet.  It is $11.99 and frequently sold out!

 

 

 

I enjoy discovering new wines and learning more.  Please enlighten me on wine speak – as you can see, I need some coaching!  Smile