Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wine Down Wednesday

Last Tuesday I went to a wine tasting at The Wine Market with some of my favorite coworkers.  We had a great time and I came home with three new bottles of wine to get me through my on call weekend.  (Okay, to clarify, its not that bad, I did not have to drink three bottles myself to get through it)

Here are some of my favorites from the tasting.
(I stuck to whites after the first couple tastings as I don't think I would have made it home tasting all the delicious reds AND whites)

Charles Smith Riesling "Kung Fu Girl"
There was hardly a bottle left at the end of the tasting.  Everyone loved this Pacific Northwest wine!  I can't wait to share it with my aunt and cousin who love Riesling too!

Taburno Falanghina 
An Italian wine like no other I ever tasted.  I think this calls for a trip to Italy!!!

Peter Lehmann "Layers" White
I don't know if it was because I just made a layered strawberry shortcake or what, but this reminded me of a wonderful wine to have with a nice summery dessert!

Okay, I had to stop somewhere so those were my three I allowed myself that night.  

BUT, next time I will have to pick up this bottle too!
Alexander Valley Vineyards Rose
PERFECT for a spring/summer evening on the deck with a nice salad!

And just to run in how spoiled I am…

I had one of the greatest experiences recently.  I was able to have the opportunity to precept a nurse practitioner student.  Lordy knows why they would want me to precept, but I was excited and we had a great time!  She's such a wonderful girl, and will be an AMAZING nurse practitioner soon enough!  Yesterday was her last day with me (tear) and she wrote me the sweetest note and spoiled me with this bottle of wine!

Phantom by Bogle Vineyards
Petite Sirah - Zinfandel - Mourvedre
OMG!  I CANNOT wait to try this!!!  
Thank you, sweet Emily!!!  I already miss our Tuesdays together!

And yes, it seems as though my profession causes a wine addiction!  :)

What are some of your favorites?!


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday Treats: Blondies

2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla 
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.  Grease 13X9 baking pan
3.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl.
4.  Beat brown sugar, butter, and vanilla in large mixing bowl until creamy.
5.  Add eggs; beat until light and fluffy.
6.  Gradually stir in flour mixture.
7.  Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup walnuts.
8.  Spread into baking pan.
9.  Sprinkle remaining 2/3 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 cup walnuts.

10.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
11.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

12.  Cut into bars.



Friday, April 15, 2011

Bright White Wish List

Can you tell I'm ready for spring?!
The weather here in Maryland has been so crazy.  One day we are in the mid 80's and the next back in the 60's.  I'm ready for the sun to come and stick around so I can get out my springtime clothes and accessories.  There are a couple fun things I would LOVE to add to my collection this spring...

White Jeans
I've never had a pair and think I'm ready for the change!  I am going to check out my favorite jeans (Joe's Jeans) and go from there…wish me luck, jean shopping is always a tough one!

Now that I have my silver Michelle watch and gold MK watch, I'm ready to move on to the white watch.  But I don't want one that will break the bank.  I tried on a couple when I was at the mall last week, and this one was one of my favorites, more dainty then bold and chunky.  

I have been eyeing up this beautiful FOREVER!  So in love with it!!!  
I have a feeling this will be on my wish list for quite some time.

And of course, I'm going to need a tote to carry around while I shop, right?!  

Happy Friday!  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Homemaking

I moved into my new home in November and have had the best time trying to decorate it.  I started with almost nothing but a bedroom set, but over time I have furnished a second bedroom, office, living room, dining room, sitting area in the kitchen, and a family room.  I still have so much more I would love to do on the inside, yet I think with this spring weather approaching, it's time to take things outside!

My mom is going to help me figure out what to plant in front of my house, and I would also love to spruce up the backyard, but that might have to wait until next year.  I'm so excited to pick out some beautiful plants and flowers so there will be some color in the front of my house! What are some of your favorites?

Then, I have come to realize I need a grill.  I will not lie, I'm scared to death to try to use a grill (it will not be a charcoal one like this…that is way too nerve wrecking for me!).  But it's time to put on those Big Girl Pants again and learn yet another (in my opinion) manly task.  Remember, I tackled building a fire, shoveling snow, taking out the trash, and using tools?  Here's my next Big Girl Project.  

And then, what I really can't wait to do…
Get some new furniture for the deck so I can enjoy a nice glass of vino on a beautiful night!

Tuesday night I went to a wonderful wine tasting with some amazing girls.  We had a great time, and I came home with three new bottles of white wine which I can't wait to share with you soon!  Spring/Summertime equals white wine on the deck with great company!

I am lucky to have the worlds best neighbors…I swear!  Our whole little block is just too sweet and fun! We all have dogs which makes it a friendly environment for the fur babies.  Let me tell you, the couple on the end are super sweet and have a son who always helps with the snow removal, the next house is a fun younger woman with a young boy who loves to sit on the porch on a nice evening with a glass of wine and chat.  Then it's the couple next door.  So sweet and hardly ever make a peep, but always friendly.  And on the other side I have a single mom with her teenage son who helps shovel and rake our  whole row.  And the ultimate award goes to my very next door neighbor who not only helps me with electrical issues, and loves to play with Baxter, but the other week I came home to find him cutting back some of the tree branches so "sap won't get on my car," cleaning out all of our gutters, mulching all of our lawns and nearby trees and mailboxes, raking, and filling in any wholes with dirt.  He is amazing and does everything out of the good of his heart.  He makes me want to be a better person in turn, helping out more people the way he does.  I am trying to think of ways to say "Thank You" to he and his wife…any ideas? I have a couple ideas, but I know you all are so creative!

Anything you are doing to get your house ready for spring?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Bridal Favors

OK, how do you turn this photo around?!
I hosted a little dinner on Friday night for my friend who is getting married in May.  Her colors are a blue and purple, and I thought I would try to incorporate them into the dinner.

 I stole this cute idea from my sister who made these to ask us to be in her wedding:

I have to say, I did not bake these from scratch.  Oh, I know, it breaks my heart!  But my sister just used a sugar cookie mix she bought and they turned out great, and I was running short on time.  So, I used the  mix.  Therefore, my directions go like this…

Follow directions on back of package.
Refrigerate dough for about an hour.
Roll dough onto flat surface sprinkled with flour.
Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters.
Place on ungreased baking sheet.

Bake as directed on package.
Let cool on baking sheet for about one minute.
Place on cooling rack and allow to completely cool.

Then, I made the icing.  I just make a simple powder sugar icing, as I said, I was running low on time.

Ingredients for Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp milk

Combine all ingredients and as milk to get desired consistency.
Add food coloring to get desired look.

Then, I placed them in a cellophane bag (as above picture) and tied together with ribbon and little note thanking the guests for coming.  Placed in a little basket I found at Michaels and tied up with a white bow.

Viola!  Fun, easy favors!

And of course, I made cake balls in her colors for the shower the next day.  Easiest way to use the brides colors, and always a hit!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday Treats: Chocolate Cookie Dough Balls

This is photo from google, I unfortunately forgot to take a final picture before they were all gobbled up!

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup milk (I used 2%)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup mini chocolate chips
2 containers meltable fruit chocolate 
(the kind you dip strawberries in)

1.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl.
2.   Beat butter and sugars in large bowl on medium speed until fluffy.  Add milk and vanilla. 
3.  Mix in dry mix with sugar mix.
4.  Fold in mini chocolate chips.

5.  Cover dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
6.  Shape dough into mini balls and place on baking sheet lined with wax paper.

7.  Place sheets in refrigerator and allow to chill for at least an hour.
8.  Melt chocolate in microwave.
9.  Roll balls in chocolate to cover and place back on lined baking sheet.
10.  Refrigerate until hard.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday Wellness: Pecan-Crusted Trout

Pecan-Crusted Trout
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 large egg
1 1/2 Tbsp milk
1 cup chopped pecans
4 trout fillets
2 Tbsp Canola oil

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  In a shallow dish, whisk together flour, seasoning, and garlic powder.  
3.  In second dish, whisk together egg and milk.  Put the pecans in a third dish or plate.
4.  Coat the side of the fillet without the skin with flour and then the egg wash.
5.  Press it gently into the pecans to coat thoroughly.  Repeat with remaining fillets.
6.  In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat, and when hot, sear the trout, skin side up, for 2 minutes.  Turn fish fillets gently with spatula and sear the skin side for 2 minutes longer.  
7.  Transfer the fillets to a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. 


Monday, April 4, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

It's Opening Day at Camden Yards!!!

And here is my #1 hottie!!!  (Well, besides Peyton that is! Love my southern boys!)