Friday, September 30, 2016

Wine Tasting with a Napa Valley Winery

 

 

 

 

When you can't go to Napa Valley for a wine tasting, the next best thing is to have one of its oldest vineyards bring their wines to you. From time to time, our club hosts wine pairing dinners and we always try to go and experience some great food and new to us wines. Earlier this week, the Regusci Winery was the guest of honor and it was so interesting to hear the story of their long history in Napa Valley. The winery originated in 1932, but they have definitely kept up with the times, creating blends with both old and new grapes by collaborating with other established vineyards. Let me take you through the courses and wine pairings.

 

First course

Grilled red and yellow watermelon on a bed of arugula with goat cheese, pistachios and a balsamic vinaigrette. Paired with Tank Rose.

 

Second Course

Grilled Shrimp with a chimichurri sauce and paired with Regusci Sauvignon Blanc.

 

 

3rd Course

A duo of pepper and asiago cheese gnocchi with bolognese sauce and shaved parmesan. Paired with T Vine Hallowed Ground Blend.

 

Main Course

Filet Stack with grilled red pepper and portobello mushroom, mustard zip sauce and roasted brussel sprouts paired with two Cabernets: Farm Collective Cabernet and Regusci Stags Leap District Cabernet.

 

Dessert Course

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding served with coffee.

 

Hungry yet? It was a delicious meal that paired perfectly with the wines chosen to compliment the food. Of course, we were seated with friends and we had a great time discussing the food, the wines and life in general. Just an all around lovely way to spend the evening.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Savvy Southern Style

Between Naps on the Porch

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Monday, September 26, 2016

Early Morning Tailgate

 

 

 

Mimosas to start the morning right.

 

Group Shot including my husband, my daughter, her boyfriend and my sister and brother in law.

 

 

Early morning on campus.

 

Big Ten Tailgate live broadcast.

 

For a noon football kickoff, we need to be waiting in line at the parking lot at 7:00 that morning. That means leaving my house well before the sun is up or any sane person is awake on a Saturday morning. But, it's worth it when we arrive on campus and see we are not the only ones excited for the day. We quickly set up our tents, food tables and chairs and got down to enjoying the morning and anticipating the big game against Wisconson.

We had a table set up for mimosas (real glasses of course) and three other tables full of breakfast food. We even had someone making (to order) Crossaint Sandwiches. It was a little chilly to start the morning, but after the sun started to warm things up, we were fine in our sweatshirts.

The Big Ten Network had their first ever live tailgate show right next to our tailgate spot, so we were able to walk over to that area a few times and see what was going on. It was interesting to see their live broadcast and we might have even been in a background shot on television. I won't say too much about the actual game, because it was a bad day for Spartan Nation, but win or lose, the tailgating is always fun.

 

 

My contribution to the breakfast menu was Baked French Toast with Struesel Topping. It is great for early mornings, because you prepare it the night before and bake it when you wake up. It's delicious too served with a little warm maple syrup.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Book Club - Last Day of Summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to accommodate schedules, we decided to change our Book Club night to Wednesdays this year and this first meeting in September just happened to coincide with the last day of summer. To mark that occasion, we toasted and looked back on a good summer with delicious peach bellinis (pre made from Trader Joe's - who knew?) on our hostesses backyard deck. As is always the case, we were so happy to be back into the routine of getting together every month.

Our dinner was beautifully presented and scrumptious as usual. The grilled pork tenderloin medallions had a slightly spicy rub that I loved and the cold pasta salad, as well as the fennel and strawberry green salad were the perfect side dishes for an end of summer feast. Dessert was a neopolitian cake, as delicious as it was pretty.

 

 

As for the book we read and discussed, this was another case of how being in a book club gets me to read a book I would normally not pick up, but end up enjoying very much. This book is based on the true story of the first black women to graduate from Vasser in 1897. The twist and the conflict in the story is that Vasser was not aware until the end of her senior year that she was black and that she had been passing as white all four years. We had a very thoughtful discussion and it seemed especially timely in the racially charged environment we live in today. If you like historical fiction, this is very well written and has a lot of interesting detail about the Seven Sister schools and the origin of women's college education in the late 1800's.

Have a wonderful weekend - tailgating on Saturday for me so Go Green!

 

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Case of the Mondays

 

 

 

After a pretty quiet weekend, I'm afraid I have a case of the Mondays this morning. I'm just trying to get myself going and hoping that some coffee will help. Also, having the sun rise later and later these days and waking up in the dark, does nothing to get one going in the morning. I think it's a good day to turn on some cozy lights, maybe light a candle and embrace the quiet of the morning.

There was a lot of football watching around here this weekend, and I possibly have somewhat of a football hangover, after MSU's big win over Notre Dame on Saturday night. As you all know, I live and die for my Spartans during football season and before Saturday, there was really no way to know how good the team would be this year. After that game I am more than a little excited for the rest of the season.

I did a lot of walking this weekend and am starting to enjoy the slow change from summer to autumn, just starting to be visible as I walk through the woods. It's not so much that the leaves are changing yet, but the change can be seen in the late afternoon and early evening light. Rather than the harshness of bright sunshine, there starts to be a softness in the light, combining with a slight chill in the air, that gives more than a hint that fall in coming. It's about to be my favorite time of year to walk.

 

 

 

I read two really good books last week that I want to recommend. They are lovely books, written by blogger Molly Wizenberg about her life. The first, A Homemade Life, is all about her relationship with food, her family and the impact of the death of her father. At the end of each chapter are family recipes, each with a story of its own. The second book, Delancey continues where the first book ends, with her marriage and the whirlwind that follows, as her husband fulfills his dream of opening a restaurant. It may not be her dream, but it's a story of how she came to support him, while keeping her own dreams intact. There are recipes too and you feel like you are taste testing for the restaurant right along with them.

Happy Monday!

 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

One Bowl Apple Plum Cake

 

 

 

Here in Michigan, we are having the most beautiful September ever. Cool crisp mornings, lovely mild, sunny days and nights perfect for a bonfire. The mornings especially are my very favorite; meant to be enjoyed slowly with a cup of coffee. And, a crispness in the air always puts me in the mood to bake that special something to go along with my coffee.

I was up a little later this morning, so wanted to make something quick and easy. Fall flavors sounded so good, so I knew it had to be something with apples and cinnamon. For this recipe, everything really does get mixed in one bowl and the hardest part is peeling the apple. At the last minute, I decided to add a plum for extra flavor and it turned this cake into something special. I had a piece for breakfast, but this would also be delicious warm and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Fall on a plate :-)

 

One Bowl Apple Plum Cake


1 egg, beaten

1 cup sugar (I used Truvia equivilent)

1/4 cup oil

1 heaping tsp cinnamon

1 medium apple, peeled and chopped

1 plum, chopped

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl mix together egg, sugar, oil and cinnamon. Add chopped apples and plums. Mix in flour and baking soda until just combined. Spread mixture into prepared cake pan and bake for 50 minutes. Sprinkle top with powdered sugar when cool. Enjoy!

 

{Linking with these friends}

French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Art and Sand

Between Naps on the Porch

My Side of 50

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

Craftberry Bush

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Annual Lobster Party

 

 

 

 

 

My friend's annual lobster party is definitely a tradition that all of us look forward to. Besides the fresh lobster flown in from Maine and all the delicious side dishes and desserts that everyone brings to share, the real fun of the evening is catching up with old friends after a busy summer.

We ask ourselves why we don't all get together more often and there are no obvious answers, besides daily life getting in the way. But, it sure was good to chat here and there with friends that mean the world to you and hold all those memories of the times when our children were young and we were all doing life together.

It was a hard year for our hostess and she considered skipping the party this year, but in the end, I think she was glad she continued the tradition. It was a tradition started by her father, who passed away just a few months ago and his presence was definately felt throughout the night. I think that was a comfort to her and we rallied around her whenever she felt blue.

There is really nothing in the world like an evening spent with old friends.

Happy Monday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Savvy Southern Style

Between Naps on the Porch

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Simple Potato Skins

 

 

 

September brings football and whether watching the game at home or on campus and tailgating, I'm always looking for simple, yet tasty, easy to eat snacks to enjoy. And, while I usually eat as healthy as possible, game day to me is definitely a cheat kind of day. You just have to have a little cheese with a game day snack!

I always look for tailgating recipes that have a few simple criteria. They must be fairly quick to put together, since I am usually doing my preparation in the early morning and they must travel well. That means they don't necessarily have to be kept piping hot and that the dish won't be soggy after a few hours. The key to these potato skins is to get the potatoes extra crispy when baking and they will hold up great. You could add other toppings, but I decided to keep things simple with crumbled bacon and green onion tops. A dollop of sour cream would be delicious too.

 

Simple Potato Skins


6-8 medium to large potatoes

Butter flavored baking spray

Kosher salt

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 cup green onion tops, sliced


Place foil on 2 cookie sheets and spray with cooking spray. Cut off both end of potatoes then slice into 1/2 inch slices. Place slices on cookie sheets and spray both sides with butter flavored spray and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes then turn over potato slices and bake for another 15 minutes. Add toppings (cheese, bacon and green onions) then return to oven until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with a side dish of sour cream if desired.

Happy Thursday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Art and Sand

Between Naps on the Porch

My Side of 50

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

Craftberry Bush

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tailgating and a Walk Through Campus

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a beautiful two days we had on the MSU campus this past weekend. We arrived on Friday afternoon and the skies were blue, the sun was shining and the temperature was a perfect 73 degrees. We quickly set up our tailgate in our usual spot and spent the time before the game so happy to be back at it for another football season. We had delicious food as usual; burgers, brats, hot dogs, greek salad, potato salad, potato skins, layered mexican dip and yummy desserts. There were a lot of students that stopped by and we are always happy to feed them.

The game was fun and we were happy with a win, even though much improvement will be needed for our next matchup against Notre Dame. But, I was happy to be back in Spartan Stadium and singing the fight song along with the marching band.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent the night at the on campus hotel (Kellogg Center) and woke up Saturday morning to another beautiful day. It was way too nice outside to head right home, so after breakfast and checking out, we took a walk around campus. We enjoyed the morning, taking photos at many of the landmark locations. It is and always will be a special place to us.

Happy Monday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Savvy Southern Style

Between Naps on the Porch

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

My Side of 50

Friday, September 2, 2016

Painting Wrought Iron Furniture - Take 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's been a couple of years since I painted my wrought iron patio table and chairs and they really have held up very nicely considering I leave them out year round, in all elements. They even withstand being covered with snow in our harsh winters. But, since this set was originally green, there were a few flecks of green starting to show through here and there. Also, the bottoms of the chairs and table legs that sat in the deep snow, definitely needed touching up.

After wiping everything down with a damp cloth and less than an hour of work, my patio set looks brand new again. I love the Rust-oleum product that I used for the second time. It covers so well with one coat and the metallic finish has just a little sparkle in the sunshine. Now my patio table and chairs are perfect again, just in time for some beautiful Michigan fall afternoons of patio sitting. Maybe with this yummy fall cocktail?

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

{Linking with these friends}

French Country Cottage

A Stroll Thru Life

Savvy Southern Style

The Charm of Home

Art and Sand

Between Naps on the Porch

My Side of 50

Skip To My Lou

Rooted in Thyme

Craftberry Bush

21 Rosemary Lane

Stonegable

Rattlebridge Farm

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