Thursday, December 17, 2009

my dream come true! for someone else.

So what have I been up to lately? Welp, since last Wednesday... watching this clip from Glee on my DVR over and over.

and over.

and over.

If you haven't watched Glee, then you better start. now.

That sassy brunette singing is Lea Michele, and she is a legit Broadway singer/actor. But feel free to substitute her head for mine... that's what i do anyways.

Because if I was going to sweep onto a stage and belt my heart out - this, my friends, would be my song. It always has been in my car, and I am pretty confident my college roomies would back me up.

So Babs, this one's for you...

Love ya'll! mean it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wine Wednesday is Nouveau!

So Josh and I are a little late celebrating Beaujolais Nouveau this year, but because this is what we are doing as I write, then that is what we will be chatting about this week!

So who here is familiar with the fun that is Beaujolais Noveau?


Well, I wasn't until I started reading about the winemaking industry, and I have found this little tradition particularly entertaining...

Why? Check out the pic of our bottle below... Notice anything odd?

No, not my "Where's Waldo?" reflection in the glass. Take a closer gander at that bottle...

That's right peeps, this vintage is 2009.

As in the current year.

As in the grapes that were growing on the vines just a few months ago.

And if you still don't get it, maybe you should just spend your surfing time here. I think that will be a better fit... (I know it is for me on more than one occasion.)

Beaujolais Nouveau is made from Gamay grapes in the Beaujolais region of France. You have probably seen other Beaujolais wines, like Villages, which are basically the same grapes. The only difference is that Nouveau grapes that go through a special, quick fermentation that actually uses the whole fruit (they aren't pressed like normal wine). The grapes are picked by hand, fermented, bottled, and ready to drink within weeks.

Beaujolais Nouveau is always released for sale on the third Thursday of November and is often celebrated with parties and festivals. Nouveau is special in that you get to have that "first taste" of the current year's vintage, often a fun indicator of what vintages will be great as they are released in the years to come.

But you know what 2 things I love most about Nouveau?

First, it is meant to be consumed immediately... recommended within months (although most people open it right away).

Second, it is cheap! All of it! The general range is $8 - $12 per bottle. And you just can't beat that, my friends.

But if you want to enjoy this fun quirk of the wine industry, then grab it fast! 2009 is being hailed by wine critics as one of the best vintages ever of Beaujolais Nouveau. Wine people are gosh-darn excited about this year, so you should be too!

Now keep in mind, Nouveau is not meant to rival the finest wines in the world. The short fermentation leaves the wine very fruity, with higher acid and low tannins. The bottle we are sipping is a deep, dark pink color with a bright acidity and smooth notes of plum and strawberry jam. It is completely different from any other wine we drink, but that's half the fun!

Last serving note: If you pick up a bottle to enjoy yourself, let it chill the fridge about 20-30 minutes prior to serving. This is best served slightly chilled. Also, be sure to try it before you eat food and again while you dine. It can take on very different flavors with the introduction of food.

So enjoy this fun tradition! It is great for parties or a fun Christmas gift. And drink it fast, my friends; the clock's a tickin'.

Love ya'll! Mean it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wine Wednesday Wish List

Hi there!

Yes, yes I am here. I just get a little lazy and ADD-style around the holidays...

Can you be lazy and ADD at the same time? Does that work? Because somehow I make that happen reeeal easy.

Anyways, I promise to be a better little blogger and not just resurface every other Wednesday to talk booze. Or at least I promise to TRY. Ok?


So let's set up this week's little tidbit for you, shall we? Josh found this nifty iPhone app called "lose it!" that helps set your weight loss or maintenance goals, and then track your calories and exercise! It is super easy, and a lot of grocery items, restaurants, and activities are already stored in it. So Josh and I are now trying slim down with the help of this little game - because it really is oddly entertaining!

But what does iPhone dieting have to do with Wine Wednesday? ooooh, honey, stick with me.

Josh and I both like to crack open a bottle of wine after dinner while we unwind from the day. And our iPhone app helped us both realize we really didn't have any idea how much we were drinking and how many calories it was adding up to... yikes!

So we have started bustin' out those measuring cups to really control how much we have... the crazy part? We are drinking less but we don't even miss it!

Here's my issue. Wine to us is an experience. A fun little ritual for the two of us to enjoy and discuss as we slow down for the evening. But somehow my giant, black plastic measuring cup stinks up our little moment.

And I don't like stinky things in my picture.

Except Griff :)

So I started googling my issue, another favorite pastime, and I found it!

The answer!

The prettiness for my mental picture!

The friend to my iPhone diet!

The friend of my WINE!

Let's take a moment to bask in the brilliant glory of....


Photo via Wine-Trax website

I love this baby! Those pretty "decorative" little rings etched in the glass are actually measuring lines! AMAZING!

The lines measure 4, 6 and 8 fluid oz, and it does it all in a very subtle way. The concept is so simple, but could really help anyone track their consumption.

You can buy Wine-Trax here for $35 for two glasses. And while you're at it, send a couple extra my way... it is Christmas, right?

Love ya'll! mean it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wine Wednesday takes a punch

With the holidays basically ummm... HERE, I am getting pretty darn excited to yet again embrace my Christmas music, wreaths, presents, Santa, and pie.

Well, maybe not the pie. We have more of a love/hate thing happening...

Love the pie.

Hate having to ask for clothes from Pea in the Pod for Christmas even though I am not preggers.

Anywaaaaays, one of my very favorite thing about the holidays is all the parties!!! I can't get enough of 'em. Christmas, New Years, it's all fun and it's all fabulous.

And nothing gets a party started like my somewhat-famous Champagne Punch! I made this for the first bash Josh and I hosted as a married couple - New Years!

I am pretty sure I was still painting the dining room 2 hours before the party... but by the time our friends arrived, the paint was dry, the food was prepared, the punch was made, and my hair looked great. All key ingredients to a rockin' good time.

Now, this is not your great-aunt's sherbet-ginger ale-lime jello punch. This stuff is tart, light and potent. Trust me on that last one. Party punch has such a classic, throw-back feel that I love - but this recipe brings punch up to par with current flavor profiles and trendy cocktails.

So here it is! the best, party-tastic punch you could ever imagine... courtesy of Emeril!

Champagne Punch
1 1/3 cups fresh lemon juice

1 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
1/2 cup Triple Sec
1/2 cup cognac
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 bottles chilled brut Champagne or sparkling wine
Orange or lemon slices
Fresh strawberries, optional

Combine the lemon juice, sugar, orange liqueur, Triple Sec, cognac, and orange juice in a non-reactive bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the Champagne and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Pour into a decorative bowl or pitcher. Garnish with orange or lemon slices and fresh strawberries, if desired, and serve in Champagne flutes.

And remember friends - Always choose Brut for your champagne.

and your men.

ooooh yeah.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wine Wednesday is headin to a party! And is lazy.

Now that November has rolled around, which in itself is completely shocking, you know what time it is... PARTY TIME!

Thanksgiving potlucks, Christmas shindigs, New Years extravaganzas - it's all happening.

right now.

So what do you bring when you show up at your lovely host home of the week?

A candle? eh, ok. Some cookies perhaps? Your hostess might think you just want her to get fat, and that doesn't make friends. So what could you possible bring?

hmmm..... some vino perhaps? PERFECT!

Ok, so here is where the lazy part of my post comes in... I am cheating this week.

And I am totally ok with it.

It was a busy weekend and now a busier week which sounds like an excuse, but its not. It is just a fact. But I promise to pour my heart and soul into this next week, ok?


This article was written by my very favorite wine columnists for the Wall Street Journal, Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher. This article is specifically about great wine options to bring to a party, and I love all the ideas they have. Even if you have nowhere to go, pick some of these up for your own private dinner party!

Because why can't grilled cheese and a movie not be a dinner party?

Oh wait. It CAN. glad we cleared that up.

So check out this little bit of genius HERE! Then go shoppin' and partyin' and everything else that is holiday-tastic.

Love ya'll! Mean it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I've got the itch.

I have officially not been on a trip in 24 days. It feels like it might as well have been 2 years. Josh and I both looooove to travel. Before we tackle kiddos (which is a LONG time away...) we want to do and see as much as we possibly can!

So anyways..... 24 days. And I would say that once I am approaching 1 month since my last trip, I start planning my next one. Since Josh and I are on budget, we are all about finding cheap airfare to places within the U.S. - but finding a fabulous hotel to stay in. There are some pretty incredible regions, resorts, inns, restaurants tucked into the most random parts of our country. And a lot of them are cheap to get to!

So let me introduce you to my two favorite travel resources ever, ever, in the whole wide world, ever!

I love this annual list almost as much as I love french fries. This is actually where Josh and I found our honeymoon/anniversary spot, White Barn Inn! They highlight some really low-profile but high-style places all over the world, although I tend to focus on their U.S. list. Many (but not all) of them are pricey, but this is where Josh and I go for the cheap travel airfare or a decent driving distance. It is amazing how cheap travel is to many domestic locations if you just do your homework.

When I am dreamin' and schemin', this has been my recent favorite spot to research. It is a home rental site that has been highlighted in the Wall Street Journal as a growing major player in the internet travel industry. They have homes/apartments for rent EVERYWHERE is the world - often for the price of a couple of hotel rooms! I love to think of the most random place possible, and see what they have. :) They have great little filters to narrow down your selections, and all the listers are screened and guaranteed by the company. I have stayed in homes booked through this site that were fab. u. lous. And my mom booked a killer apartment in January in NYC! Can't wait :)

The point is... trips are FUN! and make life interesting! And mostly they give you a great opportunity to relax and focus on the ones you love most. So think outside the box - no Hilton or Marriott - and get creative with how you allocate your travel budget! And let me know what you come up with. Like I said, it's time for me to start planning again...

Love ya'll! Mean it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wine Wednesday?

Ummmmm...... hi there.

So if you haven't figured it out by now, I am all about honesty on this thing. Throwing it all out there for your judgment/entertainment means I don't have to use my filter, which I can barely utilize at work.

Which means I pretty much never use it at work - thank goodness for my coworkers. bless their little hearts.

And I digress.....

Sooooooo I am not fully prepared for Wine Wednesday this week... but I have been busy! This weekend was filled with gazing at my beautiful bottles of fancy wine that finally arrived from my Napa travels in September, but I procrastinate during weekends anyway.

So what was the problem?

Monday night I made my all-time favorite snack from my Baylor days... apple bread! And last night night I took that delicious apple bread to some friends who invited us over for dinner. This means I played on a school (work) night TWO nights in a row.

This brings me to two conclusions:
1. I love apple bread.
2. I am pathetic that I can only fit in one extra activity each night.

I am old and crusty.

and not like a good French baguette... more like an open tube of toothpaste.

But I do have all my good wine now - YAY! And I can write about that, right?

This weekend I got my glorious shipment of Fisher wines. People... this stuff is serious. It is from a stunning, tiny mountain vineyard overlooking Napa Valley that makes some killer Cabernet. It is the Spring Mountain district, which has become my favorite California Cab region.

You know what I love about Spring Mountain? All the vineyards are small and make wine with love. Because they have to! In the 1970's, when California wine started taking off, winemakers began buying the Spring Mountain land and planting it with Cabernet grapes... it is the perfect climate. But there was a problem - all the loose soil from the land-clearing was running into Napa Valley! yikes! So California laws were passed that restrict any more land on Spring Mountain to be cleared for planting. period. done. So what you see is what you get! and what you will ever get!

Mr. and Mrs. Fisher have been there since the beginning, and their wine shows it. One bottle in particular that I bought just melts my heart...

See this bottle?

Ain't it pretty?

So this is called the wedding vineyard cabernet, and for good reason. In the 1970's, soon after the Fishers bought their land, they spent all their money getting it cleared for the vineyard. Since they had nothing left to pay for planters, they decided to get married on their land. So they did! And the reception? Everybody rolled up their sleeves and planted the grapevines on the property. Seriously! It is literally the wedding vineyard.

and those very same grapes produce the cabernet in this bottle... love it.

Any Fisher wines can be tough to find and kinda expensive to buy. Look in fine dining restaurants or online. But if you find a bottle of the Unity Cab, Coach Insignia, anything... just buy it. It literally will change your life... and I am not just saying that for dramatic effect.

Because I am really not that dramatic... nobody in my family is.

Love ya'll! Mean it.

and love Fisher! Really mean it.