Sometimes I have thought about what to open that night before 8am...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Adventures in Egg Land

This is one of my very favorite "breakfast for dinner" recipes.  It is goooood.  Good enough that it makes the regular rotation.  Good enough that I will share the recipe with you! 

Much like most of my favorite recipes, it comes from Cooking Light.  Also, much like all of my favorite recipes, I have made a few changes...

1.  I don't put the potatoes in the recipe.  I prefer to add a side of crispy hash browns.

2.  I change the veggies all the time.  Whatever I find in the crisper is the ingredient du jour.  Sometimes it is spinach, onion, and mushroom... sometimes broccoli, peppers and onion, sometimes the ones listed.  Variety is the spice of life, and I embrace it!

3.  Merry Christmas!  and Happy New Year!  I am hoping to post again between now and then, but in case I don't... consider yourself wished!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bubbles Make Everything Better

I want to write a post about Prosecco.  Why I love it.  Why I prefer it to Champagne and Sparkling Wine for holiday parties.  I want to tell you how I love that it is fruity and dry and has a full mouth feel with just the right amount of bubbles.

But I'm stuck.  Someone threw up a big old road block in my brain.  I blame this wretched head cold.

So I will leave you with these two tips.

1.  Buy the Riondo Prosecco.  Gamble on it.  It is worth it.  Most times I can pick up a bottle for around $13.  You can do better than that if you live near a World Market.  They are offering a 1.5 of the Riondo Prosecco for $19.  This is an especially good deal if you are having a party.

2.  Put a pretty little dish of pomegranate seeds next to your champagne glasses.  A teaspoon of pomegranate seeds will make your presentation festive and interesting.  The seeds will rise and fall in the glass with the bubbles. 
I am sure that you appreciate that I take most of my pictures on the bathroom floor.
That room has the best lighting... and a pretty floor!
Oh and tip #3.  (I know that I said two tips, but I just thought of this.)  Why not pick up sparkling cider for your younger guests?  It is cute and fun, and will make them feel included in your party!  Actually, sparkling cider is in the picture above.  I wasn't going to waste a bottle of Prosecco when I have this head cold!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Charlie's Life List

I have been thinking about New Year's Resolutions lately.  Exercise more, eat healthy, lose weight, spend more time reading/less time watching tv... you know the drill.  The problem is that I'm not very good at resolutions.  My will power and motivation last less than the one month average most people maintain their resolutions.  There are many reasons for this.  Some of which are: I like the way I eat now, and I like to drink wine.  I guess, much like Popeye, I yam what I yam.

So I'm taking a new approach this year.  I am starting a Life List.  Not a bucket list, because I don't really want to plan on dying, but a list of things that I want to do in my life.  There are adventures, skills, and opportunities to give back.  Some of them involve healthy living, which is a great life goal all on it's own.

For now the list is 37 items.  Generated for my years on this earth so far, and because I was reaching to come up with more.  The 37 here are valid and true, and that seemed like a logical place to stop.  That said, I reserve the right to add to it and edit it, as I see fit.  It is my life after all!   

Charlie's Life List:
1.  Build a well. 2.  Learn to speak 3 languages (conversationally), other than English.  Spanish, French, American Sign Language. 3.  Hike Angel Falls in Venezuela. 4.  Complete my Grandmother's book.  5.  Race in the Camp Pendleton Mud Run.  6.  Buy and drink a bottle of Opus One. 7.  Hike the Mayan ruins. 8.  Make my own bedding for my room.  Quilt, Shams, Pillows, Dog beds. 9.  Tithe. 10.  Drive cross country. 11.  Visit all 58 National Parks. 12.  Learn to make pasta.  13.  Go back to France.  14.  Attend the Olympic Games.  15.  Learn to Swing Dance.  16.  Volunteer abroad.  17.  Volunteer at home.  18.  Hike to the top of a Volcano.  19.  Go Whitewater Rafting.  20.  Learn to knit.  21.  Knit a sweater.  22.  Learn to do a Back Handspring.  23.  Spend a romantic weekend in San Francisco.  24.  Improve my piano playing to be able to sightread proficiently.  25.  Sing Karaoke in a bar.  26.  Soak in a natural hot spring.  27.  Run a 10k.  28.  Fly on a Trapeze.  29.  Make my own tortillas.  30.  Design this freakin' blog.  31.  Visit Monique in Australia.  32.  Texas-OU.  33.  Snow Shoe.  34.  Hike Mt. Marcy. 35.  Financial Independence.  36.  See Alaska  37.  Kiss my Grand Babies.

So there you have it.  It may not be much, but just looking at it makes me want to get started!

Oh, and if you have a list, or you just want to share a few goals leave it in the comments. 

Share your dreams, they might inspire someone else!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Santa's Tired of Cookies

I know it is hard to believe that after thousands of years and millions of homes around the world, that Santa might be tired of eating cookies, but it's true.  In fact, he left us a note two Christmases ago telling us this was the case.

It is important to keep Santa happy, so last year we made my top secret, amazing, stupendous, everything-a-red-velvet-should-be, Red Velvet Cupcakes.  You know, the real ones?  Where the red hue is caused by a chemical reaction between the cocoa and the buttermilk?  Yep, those.

Santa was quite pleased.

So, if you want to stay on the nice list (not that the naughty list isn't fun at times), I suggest you spice things up this year.  Make brownies.  Make truffles.  Make whatever you (or your husband) like best!

If you want to make my Red Velvet Cupcakes, there are a couple of things you should know.

1.  They aren't really mine.  The recipe belongs to Ellen Sternau and Beth Pilar owners of How Sweet It Is Bakery in Manhattan.  It was published in Runner's World Magazine.  They are geniuses and it is sublime.
Tell me these aren't beautiful!
 2.  Please pipe your frosting.  I cannot tell you what a difference this one step can make in your overall look. I can, however, show you...

Adorable, right?
For these I did a double star. One star crisscrossing on top of another. I like the haphazard look. If you prefer more uniformity, go for swirls, or perpendicular lines.  Throw on a few sprinkles.  Perfection.

Whatever you choose, I promise, Santa will be pleased.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Cork Wreath

For years I have wanted a cork wreath for Christmas.  

I saved my corks, and saved my corks, and saved my corks, and saved my corks, and saved my corks...  and then I sold my house, moved cross country and gave all my corks away!  

Trust me, you part with a lot of prized posessions when your entire life has to fit in an 8x8x16 foot Pod.

The idea of starting over was daunting.  I had years invested in this process.  So instead, much like the rest of my life, I decided to make something lovely out of what I had on hand.
My very fancy work station.  Yes that is a Domino's box.  Don't judge me.
I bought this grapevine wreath at Michaels.  It was $7.99.  Added the roughly 30 corks I have accumulated since the move.  Plugged in the hot glue gun, and Voila!  

Rustic Christmas Cork Wreath.  

The best part is that I can continue to add to it over the years.  And somehow, when it is all said and done, this is really much more me!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Best Under 10 I have found in a long, long time!

My mom was not much of a drinker.  She never had alcohol in the house unless my grandfather was coming to town, and then there was usually a bottle of wine, chablis to be exact.  Now Ray enjoyed a good bottle of wine, I believe there was a bottle of Opus One on his 70th birthday, but he was also unafraid to say he liked something if it was cheap.  Maybe I get my love of good cheap wine from him.  But this post is about my mom.  Or maybe it is really about both of them, and me.

Every year Ray would fly out to see us on December 26th.  The anticipation for his arrival, put Christmas to shame.  Mom's Daddy was the light of her life, and of ours.  He always brought mom a box of Godiva Chocolates (the big one), we always went by the water (the beach), and sometimes we would stop at the liquor store and he would buy Mom a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape.  Ray said it was her favorite.

I never had the opportunity to share a glass of wine with my mom.  She was taken far to young by a beast called Melanoma.  But when I completed my college degree I found myself working in a field that required knowledge of wine.  That knowledge led to a life long love affair, and funny enough my favorite is Chateauneuf du Pape.

Most Chateauneuf du Papes average well above my $15 everyday wine cap ($30+).  They are collectors.  Savey-Saveys as we call them in our house.  Usually, Santa is generous and I find one in my stocking.  It is placed with it's brothers to sleep and wait until such time as we have gathered a group of good, wine loving friends, and it is ready.

So imagine my surprise a couple of weeks ago, as I was doing my Thanksgiving shopping at Trader Joe's and I came around a corner to see, "Chateauneuf du Pape, The wine of Thanksgiving, $9.99" 

$9.99?!  Are you kidding?  Shocked as I was, $9.99 was worth the gamble.  We opened it a few days after Thanksgiving, and to my surprise it is quite good.  Don't get me wrong, it will not be resting with it's brothers, waiting for just the right time to be opened. 


So far I have enjoyed it while cooking dinner and wrapping presents.  I have given it as a hostess gift and a Christmas gift. 

It is light, yet still has that bigness I expect when I drink Chateauneuf du Pape, and I swear there is a slight pepper on the finish, but that just might be me.

Regardless, I highly recommend it.  It is hands down, the best under $10 I have found in a very, very long time!

I swear these aren't all for me!
Val de la Pierre
Chateneuf du Pape
Found at Trader Joe's

Maybe tonight I will raise a glass to Mom and Ray. 

Maybe I better go buy another bottle first!