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Why, oh wine…

…do you taste soooo good?  I mean I like grapes just as much as the next chap, but something magical happens between Lucille Ball stomping on them and me drinking their fermented goodness.  But…I bet you want to know what tastes even better than wine.  (I swear it’s possible!)  Well, my dear friends, take a little look-see at sangria.  Oh my dear heavens, this stuff is tasty.  Nectar of the gods, I tell ya!  It even sounds delicious.  Say it with me…sanngggriiiiaaaahhhh.   Yep.  Delicious. 

Know what’s even better?  It’s so simple to make!  You’ll only need 4 ingredients:  wine, sugar, fruit, and ginger ale.  Come on, you can’t tell me that doesn’t sound like pure awesomeness.  We took this along on our camping trip to share with the crew.  I didn’t know how much I needed, so I tripled it.  That was perhaps too much.  (There were 8 of us, but apparently not everyone loves wine the way I do… Yeah, I think they’re crazy, too.)

Okay, enough yammering.  Recipe time!  (FYI – This is my tripled version.)

Ingredients:
1 large bottle (1.5L) of Livingston Red Rosé
1 bottle (750 ML) of Wollersheim Blushing Rose
1 cup of sugar
A bunch of sliced strawberries that you didn’t measure but think was maybe about 3 cups (mine were frozen)
A bunch of raspberries (I did a bag of frozen ones plus one tiny container of fresh)
2 liter bottle of ginger ale
Some lemons

Directions:
Pour bottles of wine into large pitcher/jug. 
Add the sugar and stir well.
Add the fruit (minus lemons) and give a quick stir.
Cover and let the magic happen overnight in the refrigerator.
Prior to serving add the ginger ale and a sliced lemon to each glass.  (You could also be lazy like me and just slice up the lemon and dump it in the pitcher.)
Enjoy!

all crafts Homemade Projects ~ Add Yours {8/16}           HookingupwithHoH      It's a Keeper

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Gone Bananas!

Welcome to my very first post as a 26-year-old.  That’s right folks, I’ve gone and gotten older on you…

This afternoon I was sitting at work contemplating my plans for dinner.  At this point I had none…No clue.  I ventured over to one of my favorite websites, A Year of Slowcooking.  Let me just start by saying that I just might be obsessed with this website (and my crockpots).  My coworkers actually laugh when I mention that our supper, once again, came from the slow cooker. 

Before I discovered the beauty of the crockpot my husband and I pretty much stuck to three meals:  Spaghetti, Chicken Patties & French Fries, or Cereal.  I wish I was joking… 

Cooking was terrifying new territory for me.  I could follow recipes to the letter and somehow they would still always turn out tasting like cardboard.  Dan attempted to convince me that I was overreacting, but being the perfect wife I am… I told him to shut it.  So, back to the three meals we’d go.  I decided that I hated cooking, and I wanted to do as little of it as possible.  Enter, the crockpot.  It seemed like the perfect fix for me.  I could whip a bunch of crap into a pot and walk away.  Seriously, how hard could that be?  Thanks to the slowcooker, my dinners starting tasting good!  I gained more confidence in the kitchen, and now I have a blog!

So today when I was at a loss for dinner plans I, of course, leaned towards my crockpot…and A Year of Slowcooking.  (PS – If you have not yet had the pleasure of reading Stephaine O’Dea’s blog I would highly suggest it!)  I came across her posting for “Clean out the Pantry Minestrone Soup” and decided to give it a go.  With all of my rambling, I bet you’d guess this is going to be a blog post about making soup in the crockpot.  You’d be guessing wrong.  I just ramble.  Just ask my husband…  To tell you the truth I couldn’t even give you a recipe for the concoction I made today.  I whipped so many random things in that pot I wouldn’t even know where to start.  But, it tasted good and I have a cleaner fridge and freezer.  This is the part where I finally get to my topic.  You see, when I was rummaging through my freezer I found a bag of frozen-so-long-I-don’t-even-remember-freezing-them bananas.  I grabbed them out of the freezer and decided tonight would be a blog and wine kinda night.  (Aren’t those just your favorite!?)

Okay, down to business.  I had 4 bananas so I made 2 different recipes.

Recipe #1:  Banana White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
I thought I was a genius today.  I have never had a banana oatmeal cookie, so naturally I thought I invented it.  Turns out that’s not the case.  Darn it…  I did add white chocolate chips, though!  I made the recipe up using my recipe for Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies as a guide.

Ingredients:

Plus 2 overripe bananas


2 overripe bananas
2 TBSP honey
3/4 cup cinnamon flavored applesauce
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup egg replacer
2 1/3 cup oats
1/4 cup milled flax seed
1 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup white chocolate chips

 
Directions:
1.  Beat together the bananas, egg replacer, honey, applesauce, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.
2.  Stir in the oats, flour, and flax.
3.  Drop 32 spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.
4.  Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

Verdict:
I don’t love banana nearly as much as Dan, and I found these cookies to have a bizarre texture.  They are actually kind of spongey.  You can squish them, and they’ll bounce back.  Dan found this texture to be amazing.  He said “I don’t know what you’re talking about.  I wish all cookies were like this!  It’s like mixing a cookie with a muffin top!  It’s perfection!” 
Then I couldn’t stop thinking about Seinfeld.

32 cookies at 96 calories a piece

 

Recipe #2:  Cranberry Banana Bread
I found this recipe at The Fresh Loaf and just made a few changes.

Ingredients:

And 2 overripe bananas

1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup egg replacer
2 overripe bananas
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 TBSP milled flax seed
1/2 cup dried cranberries (soaked in hot water to plump up)
Directions:
1. Blend together the top four ingredients.
2. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
3. Pour batter into greased loaf pan.
4. Bake in 350 degree oven for 50 minutes.

Verdict:
I’m actually surprised at how moist it is without the butter.  It’s pretty darn tasty, and I think it will be perfect for a morning snack.  Dan likes it too.  He didn’t rave about its texture like he did with the cookies, though. 

Each of the 12 slices will be 176 calories

 

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Wine & Flowers

Before I get down to business here, I wanted to inform you just how terrible I am with anything (oh, and I really mean anything) that needs the tiniest bit of coordination.  Trying to play fetch with Kyra (our 2-year-old cockapoo) turns into warfare in our house.  Just this afternoon I attempted to throw a toy for her and it proceeded to bounce off the table sending quite a few icing flowers cascading to the floor.  Needless to say, the sugar raining down on her distracted her from the toy and even now she’s bouncing off the walls on a sugar high.  Yippee…

Anywhoo.  Me = uncoordinated.  The reason I’m explaining this to you is so that you understand just why I am soooo excited about yesterday’s adventure!  Are you ready for it?

I waded into the kiddie pool of cake decorating.  Yep…me.

I was doubting my ability to have the slow, steady, and precise movements needed for all those tiny little decorations, but Wilton has made it easy for people like me!  So last night I whipped up a batch of Royal Icing and started my journey as a cake decorator.  (Royal icing can be left to dry hard and then stored away for future use.)  The decorating kit I bought came with a beginner’s guide and I simply followed the steps.  Honestly, that’s.it. 

I started with the leaves first, and I think that was a really good idea.  I used tip #67 and icing color Moss Green.  This is called a “veined leaf”…at least it is in the world of cake decorating.  Basically you just squeeze the bag harder at first, and lessen up as you are pulling away.  Super easy!

 

After the leaves, I moved on to the flowers.  I started with tip #129 and icing color violet to make “swirl drop flowers”.  I would recommend that you start with just regular drop flowers before moving on to the swirl drop.  I’m a super novice and had NO idea there was a difference.  With the leaves, I was making darn near perfect ones right out of the gate.  That wasn’t the case with the purple flowers.  This is where the wine part of the title comes in to play.  I wasn’t grasping what Wilton was telling me, and I was getting frustrated.  So I cranked up the music, opened the wine, and took a breath and guess what…I figured it out!  So, they aren’t as beautiful and perfect looking as the ones in this book, but they are still cute!  I don’t think I can explain the process any better than Wilton does, so I’ll just tell you to go get the book. 🙂

After figuring out the “Swirl Drop Flowers” I felt pretty good about tackling the regular old “Drop Flowers”.  Same basic principle except without a wrist twist.  I also used a smaller tip, so they are smaller flowers.  Tip #225 and icing color rose petal.

All in all, I’m pretty impressed with Wilton.  Heck, I’m even sort of impressed with me!  Haha!  I’m excited to try out more decorating ideas, and to move on to an actual cake!  I urge you to take a crack at this whole cake decorating thing, it might be easier than you think! 

(Sidenote:  I’m quite certain cake decorating to the professional extent is not easy at ALL, but there are plenty of techniques us average folks can use to make our desserts appear above average.  Oh, also I’m pretty sure that all cake decorators must have a wicked case of arthritis.  The wine helps…)