Cookies on Saturday

Along with being an avid wine drinker I am also an avid food lover. I am constantly looking up new recipes and putting cook books on my wish list.

My favorite food blog, Pinch of Yum, featured a cookie the other day that I haven’t been able to get off my mind. It also prompted me to order a new cookbook:

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Cookie + Kate

Apparently I have been living under a rock and I had NO IDEA this blog existed. While I am not a vegetarian, I do enjoy meatless meals just the same. I read the cookie recipe on Lindsey’s site, ordered the book, and moved on.

Today the book arrived and I dove into during the Saturday “quiet time” (aka baby nap time and we all read/nap/chill for 2 hours). I want to make all the salads pastas but OH YEAH THE COOKIES.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie: Excuse me while I eat the batter… 

I am a lover of coconut sugar, and many of the ingredients throughout this book, already and I had all the ingredients on hand.

As they baked I dug through the website and smelled the peanut butter goodness wafting throughout the house.

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Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious.

I am still nursing my broken heart and cookies are a surefire way to do that.

Even if it is swimsuit season….

-Bre

 

New Wine Club

Lee and I did join several wine clubs on our last trip to Sonoma, but we are always looking for interesting wine to add to our collection.

On the way back home from Hawaii, I re-watched Somm on Netflix. This is a very interesting film following a group of men studying to take the Master Sommelier Exam.

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SOMM on IMDB

Curious as I am, I googled “where are they now” and stumbled upon a wonderful find!

Ian Cauble has started a wine website with moderately priced bottles, complete with tasting notes, shipped right to you.

SommSelect.com

I have already ordered one of the wines of the day AND joined the monthly club (shocker).

When they arrive I will put my reviews up for sure.

-Bre

Too Soon

I intend to use this little writing space as more of a wine/food review and light touches on personal life. Today I will make an exception…

I took a short break for two reasons.

1 – Hawaii!

2 – The loss of my very best little friend the same day I arrived home from Hawaii.

Lola. My sweet pup. She was the little tiny furry pup that helped heal my heart from my childhood dog passing away. She was Lee and I’s first “baby.” #1 professional snuggle bug. Every night she was under the covers snuggled against me. For 11.5 years she was there when I was sad. She was here for two new babies coming home. She was there when I crawled into bed over and over while those babies learned to sleep through the night. She nursed me to health when I was sick. If you had a warm blanket, Lola knew your name.

I’m in a very deep state of grief over losing her very quickly and much too soon. She went downhill fast with an Auto-immune disease and the process to help her recover was lengthy and only had a 30% chance of getting her back. While I sit here and wonder if I should have maxed out a credit card to keep her, I know she was ready and didn’t need to go through all the pain. IMG_1279.JPG

My sweet Lola Belle. Forever my friend.

 

-Bre

Wine Review – Underwood Pinot Noir

When you live in Texas in the summer, there is one main survival tactic:

The swimming pool.

The #1 rule at our pool is NO GLASS.

I’m not a beer person. I usually pour wine into a tervis of some kind to enjoy without the worry of spills.

Until the invention of WINE in a CAN.

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Site: UNDERWOOD

The real kicker? It’s GREAT!

So far my preference is the pinot noir. It’s very very strawberry forward and easy to drink, chilled, in the sun. I am going to be on the hunt for the Rose′.

I was able to get the cans easily at Total Wine or Trader Joe’s and today found the bottle at H-E-B for $12.99.

Bargain!

The pinot gris is really good for super hot days, but a little heavy on the grapefruit for me. Sauvignon lovers should like it a lot.

Stock up! Enjoy!

 

-Breann

Monday Night Dinner – Wine Review

Our Monday was something else.

It was actually going quite well.

Put a chicken in the sink to thaw.

Get the kids to school.

Work stuff.

Pick kids up from school .

Then enter the MONDAY part of Monday..

Go back to the school that exists basically INSIDE the GALLERIA OF HOUSTON and retrieve left behind lovey.

This takes an hour.

Trade many phone calls with husband on dinner – deciding to let the chicken be a mulligan and order in . Chinese? Zoe’s?

Get phone call after I am home from hubby still undecided on dinner. You know what? This chicken is in the sink. I got this. COME HOME YOUR KIDS ARE WILD (in my voice, he understood it).

You see – I keep one of these in my freezer most of the time:

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It cooks in an hour.

It tastes like I made a fuss.

Paired with green beans and some rice pilaf (yes, from a box) and dinner is served and amazing.

The thing that undid the mondays of Monday was our amazing Houston weather. We opened our patio doors, played some Van Morrison, and drank wine while the kids chalk colored the entire patio.

We drank this – Rock AngelIMG_5284.jpg

Any Rose lover, as myself, has more than likely had Whispering Angel. I like it, but I often feel as though I am drinking pink water.

Enter Rock Angel. It’s like Whispering Angels’ older sister wearing eye liner and taking up the phone line all day with her friends.

Oops. Aged myself there.

This was made for almost summer days on the patio with wild kids covered in chalk. It was made for dancing in the kitchen while dinner is in the oven.

I highly recommend you grab this one. It’s clean. Crisp. Citrus forward.

NOT pink water. Definitely edges out the little sister.

Go forth. Stock your freezer with chicken and your fridge with this rose. Have Alexa play Van Morrison and enjoy a little sunshine.

What else are you going to do on a Monday?

 

-Bre

The Hangover

No, not the acclaimed movie.

My Monday.

(Hello as my boss reads this?)

Sunday night, infamous Sunday Night Dinner, included my best friend and his husband. He is always courteous to bring wine as we always provide the food. Sometimes we partake in his choosing and other times we don’t.

This time, my husband was out of town. I wasn’t keen on digging into the wines in our cellar so I shared Donald’s. I don’t recall the maker but I remember noting it was a bit on the sweet side.

I have discovered in my research that sweeter wine is hiding something. Imperfections, perhaps. We all know sugar in alcohol contributes to the “flu” the next day. I drank two glasses of his wine and a glass or two of mine (this is over a 5 hour period of time!) and went on to bed.

Oy. Monday. I felt just like I had drank all the wine all by myself.

I started thinking – seriously – can certain wines affect your headache?

YES. They also don’t have to be “Cheap.” I am not dogging on my best bud for grabbing interesting looking stuff at good prices – you can find hidden gems that way for sure. It’s really more in how it’s made. You will also note that my Rose taste testing of late included a $8 bottle – and no headache the next day.

Google and some books I have read informed me that it could be from any artificial “oak alternatives” that are trying to create that oaky taste that causes reactions from those who are headache prone (as I am). There are also tannins and sulfites that can cause reactions.

Lo and behold, so I have some smidgen of credibility, I found this article that helps explain it more than my hangover story.

https://vinepair.com/wine-101/wine-and-headaches/

After a lot of water, advil, and coffee I was back to normal by lunch.

Next time, I will drink more water….

Not necessarily less wine.

 

Wine Review – Kistler Dutton Ranch

Last May Lee and I made our first trip to wine country. While we figured we would join a few wine clubs, we did the novice thing and got drunk tipsy and joined every winery we stopped at, more or less.

This included Kistler.

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Taken with my iphone with a glass of wine in my hand… 

BEAUTIFUL property, first of all. Even if the wine had been so-so the visit would have been worth it for this view.

Trust me – the wine is magnificent.

Until this visit I was giving up on Chardonnay. I find that the $20-$30 bottle I grab at the store tastes quite “manufactured.” Artificial. And then I end up with a headache the next day because of whatever was done to the wine to make it “taste oaky.”

Bring in Kistler and their bright wonderful Chardonnay.

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Dutton Ranch – One of many varietals

Acidic, citrus, honey, and even a little toast on the end. Just amazing.

-Breann

Natural Skin Care

I have always had sensitive skin with a tendency to be a little red. Usually this is because my introvert-self is being asked to speak in front of people, but otherwise it’s just my skin.

Strangely, when I entered my 30’s I started breaking out. It’s like the high school acne waited to show up when I am not supposed to be so awkward anymore! I tried many products and I did finally get it under control with R+F Unblemish. Still, I was red.

Enter Hello Aglow.

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Wow.

First it is natural. This feeds the hippy in me who has thrown out all the plastic dishes, uses essential oils, and makes my own cleaning products for the house.

Second, the rose water/oil element has calmed the redness down a lot. I have even gone makeup free on the weekends for running regular errands!

Third, it smells WONDERFUL.

I am happy to have found something that not only has toned down the redness but fights breakouts and is all natural. What an awesome trifecta!

-Breann

I am not famous enough for anyone to pay me to endorse anything. All reviews on my site are my opinion!

Going Plastic Free (ish)

Lately the news has provided us with more and more articles regarding how just going simply “BPA-free” isn’t the answer when addressing plastic and toxins. While you can use yee-ole-Google and find many for yourself, here are a few I found interesting and helpful:

Plastic is not Fantastic

How and why to go Plastic Free

I started slowly going through these efforts at home starting with baby bottles. Eleanor went onto glass baby bottles at about 6 months of age. I simply added a silicone sleeve so I wouldn’t drop them and they were just as easy to clean as plastic. Bonus: No warping in the dishwasher!

I would say the last 3 months I have made a larger effort to get us as close to plastic free as possible.

First step was storage containers. When I get home from the store I transfer as much as I can from plastic containers to these glass storage containers:

81BNhVE4QsL._SL1500_.jpg Snapware (Amazon)

I discovered quickly that the food stayed fresh much longer. This includes pre-peeled garlic, bacon, etc.

Next I went to work on the kids dishes. They primarily eat off of silicone or metal plates.

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I also focused on what they drink out of since that one concerns me the most. Kleen Kanteen has been a real winner around here for water bottles and I love that they make a toddler spout!

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I also use these neat silicone slip overs on metal cups as a sippy. Amazing.

The next tricky part was food storage. I found that the cloth re-usable snack bags didn’t keep crackers from going stale. I always keep a stash of graham crackers for my daughter so this was a big deal for me to solve.

Thanks to an instagram ad (i am such a sucker) I ordered a few of these silicone baggies.

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Stasher Bags

I LOVE THESE. They seal and keep food fresh and are soft and easy to throw in my purse or weekend bag.

All my plastic mixing bowls and spoons are gone and we now only have glass or ceramic bowls and silicone or wood cooking utensils.

Changes I am working on include actually taking the mesh veggie bags to the store or remembering to transfer to them once we are home.

I am digging for a glass ventilated produce keeper for strawberries as well.

My husband loves his Tervis so I didn’t get rid of those. Otherwise we drink out of Yeti’s or glasses.

The only pain I have found is heating up food for the kids – I can’t just throw their food in the microwave on a metal plate! So I heat it up on a glass plate and transfer it. My son is old enough at 6 1/2 to eat off breakable plates so I mainly do this for our energetic toddler!

What are your thoughts or ideas on plastic free?

-Breann

P.S. These are all my opinions as I try different products. None of these companies paid me for endorsements!

Impromptu Date Night

When you have children, Date Night is usually something planned in advance, at least a week, with much thought to when and where.

Friday my husband emailed me that one of the wine clubs we belong to, Gary Farrell, was hosting a wine dinner Tuesday night of the next week. A weeknight date is very unheard of for us so I was really excited to have this planned.

The location was at Max’s Wine Dive where we were sat at a long table, a bit squeezed in. Upon arriving Lee told me another couple was joining us which made this date night even more unique! This couple was with us at our tour of the winery last May as well.

The menu looked quite fun for sure:

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Of the evening, I would say we all enjoyed the 4th course wine the most and even ordered a bottle to split before we left.

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One of the things that made this experience special was that not only the winery manager was there (and sat with us several times to chat) but also the wine maker! The wine maker is the one who is tasting all the vintages to decide what get’s single vineyard (like the above) or what barrels will work best in a blend. Then she sits and figures out what % of each barrel finally works for the perfect bottle of wine. Wouldn’t that be a cool experience?

This was a great impromptu evening that I enjoyed very much.

Even though it was very hard to get up the next morning…

-Breann