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National Drink Wine Day

National Drink Wine Day

Let’s’ talk about wine. Today happens to be National Drink Wine Day, so it is a perfect opportunity to discuss my affair with wine. If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you probably know I love craft beer and might be wondering why I am talking about wine and not beer right now. Am I having an affair on those delicious, hand crafted 355 mL brown bottles filled with liquid hops, malts, barley and other grains? No, we are all in this together. In my house beer knows about wine and wine knows about beer. It’s a mutual understanding that I love and enjoy both regularly, but I have to be honest. I am more comfortable talking about beer than I am about wine. I feel more experienced. The smells and tastes of beer really come to me easily and with wine, I feel a little lost. But I do love wine and want to learn more so I have recently started attending local wine tasting events at Liquor on McLeod. They are fun, non-pretentious and educational! Mostly what I have learned in the few events I have participated in, is that I really don’t know a lot about wine! But I really like wine and I enjoy trying to taste what I am supposed to taste. Sometimes the flavour notes jump right out at me and sometimes I read the bottle and think “Tobacco? Nope didn’t taste that.” So I have a lot of learning to do, which will require a lot of wine tasting; and I am okay with that! Challenge accepted! 

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Brussels Sprouts and Carrots – Oven Roasted

Brussels Sprouts and Carrots – Oven Roasted

A bag of each – Brussels Sprouts and carrots – sitting in the vegetable drawer of my fridge, waiting to be together. Or at least that I was what I was thinking! I wasn’t sure if the two would be good together, but I needed to use them both up, (story of my life) so into a pot together they went!

It’s the New Year and that means it is time for eating healthy and getting back on track for me. Last year my New Years resolution was to lose 50 pounds and I lost 35 – not too shabby! I’ll take that as a success! Now for the next 15! One of the ways I was able to lose the weight I did was by incorporating more fresh vegetables into my diet. As long as I made my plate 1/2 full of veggies (then 1/4 lean protein and 1/4 complex carbohydrates) I was satisfied! I am going to continue that philosophy starting with some Brussels sprouts and carrots. 

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Orange Liqueur, Beer, Coffee, Wine and a Freebie!

Orange Liqueur, Beer, Coffee, Wine and a Freebie!

I have a lot to write about today. I finished my orange liqueur and have been trying different beers, wine and coffee and I need to share! Also there is a freebie available to you if you subscribe!

Early April I started a batch of homemade orange liqueur. Check it out here! This is part two of that process, so let’s do a recap. I took four oranges and peeled them ever so slightly so I only got the orange and left the white pith behind. Then I added some sugar and mashed the peels and sugar around. I put my peel/sugar mixture into a glass jar, added some vanilla bean, vodka and brandy and let it sit for 20 days. And here we are – and the next step very easy!!!

Orange Liqueur, Part II

– Take the glass jar of peels and mixture, and strain into a bowl, using a colander and discard the orange peels.
– Stir 1 cup of sugar with 2 cups of water in a sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved. This is a “simple syrup”
 – Let the simple syrup cool completely. While the syrup is cooling, take your strained orange liqueur and strain again through a coffee filter 2 – 3 times, until the orange liqueur is coming through clear. 
– Add the cooled simple syrup to the orange liqueur and mix. Pour mixture into a glass bottle, refrigerate and store for a up to a year! If it lasts that long, that is!!

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Beer, Wine and Burgers

Beer, Wine and Burgers

Now that it is spring and the weather is getting nicer, I am finding myself drinking more beers outside in the sun. I am getting a bit behind on posting all the beers I have tried, so I am going to catch-up a little here!

The first beer I will share is a Russell Brewing Beer, made in British Columbia, called IP’eh!
If you like the hoppy, bitter beers, then this is for you! I am not typically an IPA fan, but this beer was different. Or maybe I am gaining a tolerance to the IPAs. I actually enjoyed this hoppy beer and found it very refreshing. It didn’t seem to leave that strong after taste in my mouth that I usually find with IPAs. It is very drinkable and a clean beer. If you are starting to experiment with the IPAs, like I am, I would recommend this one!

Beer

The next one is one of my favourites. (yeah, I know – I have a lot of favourite beers!) My husband stumbled upon this beer and we pick it up often! It’s the Dead Frog Pepper Lime Lager! Of course as soon I see that it is lime, I am buying it! The lime and pepper flavours are mild, so if you are a bit wary, don’t worry. It is a lager, so it is a clear beer with not a lot of hops or bitter tastes. The flavours really remind me of drinking on a hot summer day. Could be because I have enjoyed a few of these on hot summer days… Dead Frog also has a Nut Brown Ale that I had over the winter that is really good. It has a lot of flavour with hints of coffee, chocolate and nuts coming through nicely. I found this beer when I was in Invermere, BC and I haven’t seen it since.

Beer

Next is yet another BC beer – Elsinore Pilsner from Phillips Brewing. I can’t say that I ever see the word ‘Pilsner’ and instantly want to buy that kind of beer. I tend to trend towards the wits and brown ales – but this one was surprisingly good! Elsinore has a nice malt and hops balance and was quite nice. When I was looking at their website I am intrigued by a few of their other beers and have to set myself up to try some such as the Amnesiac, double IPA. I am sure it will be super hoppy and bitter!

Beer

Now onto a wine! For my birthday I received a lot of wine as gifts! (yahoo!) And a few of them are new wines for me, so I will be able to share them! I did get a few bottles of my favourite wine – Apothic – that’s a win for sure!

I opened up a bottle of Delta Landing Zinfandel. There are a few Zinfandel’s out there that I really enjoy! This one is now added to my list! The wine is a medium bodied, smooth and easy drinking wine. It is juicy with intense flavours of cherries and raspberries. The best part of this wine, is that it came as a gift with The Swirl – so I had to try them out together! I didn’t taste the wine before using The Swirl, so I can’t say if it made a difference, but it sure was fun to use!

WineBirthday present – The Swirl – Glass Wine Scent and Flavour Enhancer

Wine

Okay, now we move right along into burgers. We went to Soda Jerks last week. We have been there a few times before. My favourite part is that you can build your own burger, adding on as many (or as few) toppings as you want! Usually that’s what I do – but this time I changed it up and ordered the Buba Burger – basically a pyrogy burger! And oh wow, this was a great burger! Not on the “losing weight plan” by any means, but a definite worth while treat! The pretzel bun was so soft and delicious and then biting into a fresh ground chuck burger topped with bacon, sour cream and a couple pyrogies made this a win for me! I am planning on recreating this burger myself, and hopefully downsize on the calories a bit – because I feel like I need to eat this more often!

Burger

My husband ordered the M*Rib burger. The burger is a pork rib burger with root beer BBQ sauce and pickles. I can’t really say much since I didn’t try it but my husband said it was okay – the pork rib was a little dry – and next time he would try it again – and there is no need for me to find a way to recreate it in a bit of a healthier version. So I guess that’s that! The poutine, however, was great with thick fries, cheese curds and a nice salty dark gravy!

Burger

That’s it! That’s the beer, wine and burgers that I have to share today! I feel good about getting a bit caught up on the beer reviews! Maybe I should slow down on the beer tasting!? Nah!

Coming up on the blog:

  • Whole Wheat Gnocchi on a tomato vegetable sauce – inspired by Smitten Kitchen
  • A-Z vegetable list – with recipes, tips and more
  • More beer, wine and coffee!

Do you like hoppy beers like IPAs? Have you been to Soda Jerks? Are you drinking lots of interesting beers in this nice weather? 

Sangria Italian Birthday!

Sangria Italian Birthday!

Hi!

I love to cook and I am so happy when I can cook and entertain my family and friends. For my birthday this year I told my husband that I wanted to go all out and make a huge dinner for everyone – and that’s what we did! Homemade Italian dinner of ravioli, salad and garlic toast, with antipasto cheese and meat board to start and homemade tiramisu to finish it all off. Great company of family and friends and games until the wee hours of the morning! Oh and of course, there was sangria and lots of sangria. For Christmas I made my first Sangria and it was a hit, so instead of the tiny little pitcher I had in the cupboard, I went all out and bought a huge drink dispenser and made 10 L of a Italian sangria I called the “Sassy Cassy.” It was also a hit!

The only disappointing part of my birthday was that I forgot to take a lot of pictures!! I don’t have pictures of the awesome antipasto board – and I don’t have pictures of the tiramisu. The only pictures I have of the main meal are of us making the ravioli, some pictures of my decorations, and a few shots of the table set with everything on it…

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Apothic Red Wine – California Blend

Apothic Red Wine – California Blend

Hi everyone!  Time for a red wine review!

Just want to say first off that I am not a sommelier but I drink quite a bit of wine; so the opinion I have of this wine may seem very juvenile and amateur, but it is from many attempts of trying various wines. In the winter months, I drink mostly red wines, and then in the summer I seem to switch to whites. So, you will see a switch very soon!

It can be hard for me to ‘taste’ wine, since it seems to go down my throat so fast, totally by-passing the taste buds on my tongue. But for the purpose of this post, I will make gallant effort in tasting the wine.

I will continue to practice, practice, practice tasting wines, because you know, practice makes perfect!

Today’s red wine is California’s Apothic Blend.

Apothic Red Wine

The Apothic red wine blend is from California and is a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

This wine is on the sweeter side, with the fruity flavours of raspberries and black cherries; with hints of chocolate/mocha. It has a smooth finish and is an easy wine to drink.

This is one of my favourite red wines right now. It is fairly inexpensive and is my choice almost every time I am in the liquor store (which seems to be way too often…)

I love this wine on it’s own, or try it with a sharp cheddar, a juicy burger or pasta.

If you do not drink wine, but you want to start; I recommend this red wine for starting out because of it’s smoothness and fruitiness.

What is your favourite red wine?

Let me know if you try this wine and taste the same flavours I did!  Or let me know what wine I should be tasting! Or just your thoughts in general! 🙂

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