Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wine Review - Verdi Spumante

Time for some holiday cheer! Let's try some bubbly or shall I say semi-bubbly. This time of year there are so many parties and celebrations to host or attend. One way to save money is to bring a reasonably priced gift that everyone can enjoy.

Verdi Spumante  is under $10 and a nice sparkling wine that can be enjoyed by many.  It's good for novice wine drinkers who have not yet acquired the taste for less sweet, drier, or even red wines.  It's also a great replacement for bubbly champagne. The effervescence of champagne is not enjoyed by all, so here you have a celebratory wine with some sparkle.

Easy Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

This is one of the easiest, if not the easiest, cookie recipes ever created!  It is also amazing!  I literally have to hide these from my family or wait until the day I plan to "allow" them to eat the cookies. Each year I have to hide them in a new location!  They know I hide them, so they work pretty hard at finding them.  I can't even say how long I've been making these, but I can say it's been the same every year.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wine Review - Louis Jadot Boujolais-Villages

Louis Jadot Boujolais-Villages is my husbands favorite wine, so I decided to postpone the wine review on my favorite until after Christmas.  One reason I decided to review his favorite is because it is a great pairing wine. With the holiday's right around the corner, and parties all around us, I figured "what better time".  My hope is that you will add it to your holiday wine list, although, this wine is great any time of the year.  We enjoy it fairly regularly.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Melissa's Chili

Isn't there a chili season?  You know, when the days are shorter, the air is cooler, and football season has returned!  Don't you begin to crave that nice warm bowl in your hand with all the delicious toppings of your choice? 

Chili is one of those recipes that you can easily alter to your liking.  There's white bean chili, turkey chili, bean-less chili, vegetarian chili, and good old traditional chili.  I have tried a variety, and enjoyed them from BBQ flavored to hot and spicy.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Wine Review - Hans Schummer Riesling

It has been a while since I have enjoyed a Riesling.  I have a couple girlfriends that enjoy them, but I have not seen them in while, so I presume that is part of the reason. Also as I mentioned in my last wine review, my husband is not a fan of white wine.  We like to enjoy our wine together, so we've been buying reds.  

I'm hooked on a reasonably priced Shiraz right now, so how can I pass up buying it? Inexpensive and Shiraz (my favorite type of wine), nothing can beat that!  My next review will be on this particular Shiraz, so keep your eyes open for that.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bacon Jalapeno Quiche

This recipe was born out of necessity.  I needed to make a quick last minute dinner for my husband.  

Recently, while on Twitter, I ran across a recipe for quiche that had spinach in it. Apparently, this was still fresh in my mind when I was scanning my refrigerator for ingredients.  I was hesitant, though, because my husband is not a big fan of eggs, but will eat them if they are loaded with veggies.  As I continued on my search for the perfect ingredients to make quiche an acceptable dinner for him, I spotted them!  You can't go wrong with bacon and jalapeno - even if it is turkey bacon!  At least not in his book.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Wine Review - Bottaro Red Table Wine

While looking for a nice table wine, we ran across this very unique looking bottle.  We've had table wines before and know what we like, but thought "what the heck, let's try something new!".  Being attracted to something because it's unique isn't unusual, unless you are a teen trying to fit in!  Well, lucky for us we are not teens.  And even more lucky for us wine drinkers, there is quite a large selection.  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Stuffed Acorn Squash

What a great harvest!  The family farm in Northeast Nebraska always has a successful garden.  The vegetables are always large and abundant!  

I have not had the opportunity to be part of the planting, but I have helped pruned and harvest a variety of vegetables.  From acorn squash to zucchini, and everything in between.  The last few years this garden has encouraged me to have my own garden (on a much smaller scale).  I wanted to have access to fresh vegetables right outside my back door.  The farm is about 3 1/2 hours away, so we can only visit every so often.  When we do, though, we stock up and freeze, can, and store what we can.  

Wine Bottle...of Dreams

My husband bought this bottle of wine in 1998 or 1999.  He loves Beaujolais wine, so I'm sure he intended on us enjoying this bottle of wine, but for some reason we didn't. Something made him want to save this one for a special occasion.

That special occasion has changed a few times.  If I recall correctly, the original special occasion was to be when we had our next child, which happened in 2001.  Then it was, when/if my brother got married.  And then it was our 10 year anniversary.  Well, all these occasions have passed us by, yet the bottle remains unopened.  We even had another child, a boy!  You would think he would have opened it then, but no.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Jalapeno Popper Crescent Rolls

Cream Cheese!  I do love cream cheese, but I do not buy it very often.  It's one of those things I do not consider a necessity, and I don't think my family is as fond of it as I am.  Well, I guess if I had bagels in the kitchen regularly then, yes, they would want me to keep cream cheese on hand.  Bagels...another item I do not consider a necessity.  Both of these items are high in calories and fat, of which I do not need!  

I had these cute little jalapeno's left over from my garden that I needed to use soon.  The first thing that came to mind was that I better make something my husband would enjoy, and the second thing that came to mind was - Jalapeno Poppers!  He loves them, but my jalapenos were too small to stuff.  Well a jalapeno tastes the same whole or chopped right?  So, I decided to chop them up and add them to a simple cream cheese mixture.  I also had some refrigerated crescent rolls on hand, so I whipped up this simple recipe.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Holiday Crafts for the Little Ones

I have a small in-home daycare that I decided to open a few years ago after having my son. He's considerably younger than my two girls, so I couldn't miss the opportunity to be home with him.  I also wanted him to have some friends and to interact with other children.  Our little buddies are all under 3 years old.  Two boys and two girls, one of the girls is only with us a couple days a week.  We have a small group and we like it that way.

Although the kids are young, we do crafts around the holidays.  What parent doesn't love having keepsakes of their little ones?  Little handprints and footprints are always nice reminders of how small and innocent our children once were.  

Pinterest is my go to site when looking for crafts.  There's lots of good ideas out there and other people have done the legwork.  Just do a quick search and there you have it, all kinds of ideas at your fingertips!

Pink Apple Jelly

Now this is the thing dreams are made of!  Who would have thought that making jelly out of apples could be so good.  Well, whoever you were, thank you!

I usually make jam, because I don't want to "waste" the fruit.  When you use beautiful organic strawberries, blueberries, or peaches, who would want to?  

My husbands uncle has a farm in northeast Nebraska that we are lucky enough to reap the benefits from.  He is an older bachelor, who only lives and works there during the summer, but he has a huge garden that he plants each year.  A select few of us get to work in the garden and harvest our share.  I'll post more about the garden when the season returns to us.  In the meantime, I want to discuss these apples with you.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Delicious Dutch Oven Bread

Think cold weather, hot soup, and fresh baked bread.  Gorgeous, crispy and delicious bread. This recipe was my first attempt at making bread, and it was a success!  It has become my go-to bread recipe.  I have baked two loaves, frozen one for later, and they thaw beautifully.  In addition, I have also experimented with wheat flour.  It turns out great each time!  My family loves it, especially my two year old who always asks for "mommy's bread".  You can enjoy this bread with one of my homemade jam or jelly recipes or with butter and local honey.  

Baking the dough in a cast iron dutch oven makes this beautiful round loaf.  You can also bake it in a classic loaf or round pan made from cast iron, enamel, or ceramic.


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