Wednesday, April 23, 2014

6 Spring White Wines Under $20

Recently I made a trip to the The Vine Wine and Spirits which is a wine and liquor store located inside of our local Whole Foods.  Before moving to Chattanooga, I've always been used to purchasing wine inside of a grocery store and being able to purchase juice and other sorts of mixers inside of liquor stores.  Unfortunately, here in Chattanooga - you can't do either of those things.  Hence the reason why the the Vine is sort of beside/inside Whole Foods.  Lucky for me, it's all very convenient. The Vine is the cutest wine shop you'll ever see.  It's small, which I love.  Because the size isn't overwhelming, it's easier to see all of the products. They have a fantastic wine selection and a variety of beers, liquors and even a small section of sake.  

The manager of the Vine, John, is well-versed in all things wine related.  I met him over a year ago at a wine tasting dinner. If you have any questions about wine - John is your man.  I asked John to tell me about 6 white wines, reasonably priced, that would be fantastic for sipping during the spring and could be purchased in their store.  If you're looking for some white wines, I've got you covered.

First up is a Vinho Verde.  Vinho Verde is a Portuguese white wine that has a bit of a citrusy flavors. The Vine carries Vinho Verde for $15

#2 is a Calamares Vinho Verde - same delicious flavor but a few bucks cheaper - $9

Next is a Lorentz Pinot Blanc. This Pinot Blanc is made in the North Eastern part of France and aged over 20-30 years, a great choice to enjoy for $19.99. 

The fourth wine is a Torrentes, which I enjoy every now and again.  The Vine has a fantastic Torrentes for $10.99.  Perfect on a warm spring day.

#5 - a Picpoul de Pinet - this wine was new to me. I'd never tasted it nor had a I heard of it.  John described the the Picpoul de Pinet as a dry, delicate white wine that's very refreshing.  It's also quite versatile in that it pairs wells with lots of foods. ($11.99)

The last, but certainly not least white wine recommendation for the spring is a Feliciana Felugan Lugana - that's a mouthful. An Italian wine, it's closely described as a Chardonnay but certainly has it's own lane and for $17.99, it pairs well with seafood.

I had so much fun hanging out with John and the staff at The Vine.  On Thursday's and Friday's The Vine has wine tastings from 4-6pm.  John picks the wine and gives excellent detail on the history, the flavors and the region the wine originated. If you decide that you like the wine that's up for discussion, you'll get a 10% discount off of a bottle - awesome!  In case you miss one of those tastings you can join them on Saturday's from 1-4pm too!

This Saturday April 26th...they're tasting margaritas.  I'm so there.  Check out The Vine at 301 Manufacturer's Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405.  Be sure to like and follow them on Facebook too!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Menus & Music: A Jazz Cocktail

So, April is Jazz Appreciation Month. Did you know this?  Jazz Appreciation month is what makes this particular post so special - there's a theme.  Since moving to Chattanooga, there's been lots of cool events and activities happening throughout the city and because April is Jazz Appreciation Month, naturally, there's something cool happening in our city.  During the entire month of April, Chattanooga has been honored to have a jazz festival: Jazzanooga.  Jazzanooga has presented such a variety of events throughout the city. Some of those events have been perfect for date night, family-friendly or embraces our beautiful outdoor scene.

One particular event that prompted this post and that I'm most excited about happens this Thursday.  Jazzanooga is hosting an evening with culinary historian, Michael Twitty.  Michael Twitty will present a lecture and cooking demonstration on edible jazz and the importance of tradition, nature and the availability of ingredients in African-American and southern culture.  So, I thought I would showcase a jazzy cocktail named after a popular and talented musician, Dizzy Gillespie.

Ingredients needed for the Izze Gillespie
tequila (1oz)
rosemary simple syrup (.5oz)
dashes of bitters
Izze sparkling clementine soda
rosemary sprig for garnish

Take tequila and the simple syrup and pour into a cocktail shaker with ice - shake, shake, shake.

Pour tequila into a cold glass, add a couple of dashes of bitters, ice and top with clementine soda. 

Complete the cocktail by adding fresh rosemary!

Take a listen to Dizzy Gillespie's A Night in Tunisia:


 Interested in attending Michael Twitty's lecture? Click here to purchase tickets. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Weekend

I love long weekends.  Don't get me wrong, I like my work weeks and love being busy but it's always really nice to have not just a weekend but a 3-day weekend to relax, have fun and run errands! Sure, errands don't seem that much fun but John and I both had Friday off so we ran around and completed some much needed tasks and celebrated by treating ourselves to a nice dinner at the end of the night.  We had a fun night Saturday hanging with friends for a birthday then heading over to our friends' apartment for so many laughs and cocktails.  What wasn't so nice was getting up Sunday morning at 5am (yes) to head to Nashville for Easter for the day.  Easter was beautiful but what wasn't so nice was waking up so early.  Needless to say, taking a nap was definitely on my list when we returned from Nashville.  So good.  Even though I'm still a little tired, I'm hoping for a great week...and maybe a bit more sleep.

John and I had our annual Easter egg "hunt" at his parents' place; this year we tied for the amount of money we won - I was hoping to take a clean sweep...maybe next year.  Next weekend, if you've ever wanted to learn and make a zine, join me at the next Chattery class...we're making zines! I think I'll make one about my blog. What about you?


Friday, April 18, 2014

How To: Easy Green Smoothies

My journey of giving up alcohol for the Lent is almost over.  In the meantime, I thought I would supplement the urge to drink with something besides sweet tea. I love fresh juices and smoothies but I don't drink enough of them.  I've been drinking a ton of sweet tea lately but making my own green smoothie was definitely worth it.  A common complaint that a lot of us have with trying to eat healthy or trying juicing at home is that it's too expensive and you're right.  Sometimes prices can get a bit out of control especially when you're on a budget but want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The great thing about this smoothie is that you can play with the flavors and textures but also, it's relatively affordable and very easy to make.  You won't break the bank and you still have a delicious and healthy smoothie packed with nutrients and your favorite fruits. I followed "the formula".  Have you seen these formulas yet floating around on Pinterest? I pinned recently and was immediately convinced I needed to make a green smoothie. So here we are.  I'll show you how to make an easy, simple and delicious green smoothie.

         This photo makes me laugh because this photo is missing the almond milk that I used. Oh well.

The "formula" is pretty easy: 2 cups of a leafy green (spinach, kale, collards, etc.); 2 cups of a liquid (water, almond milk, coconut water, etc.); 3 cups of fruit (bananas, mangoes, apples, pineapples, grapes, etc.).  

For my smoothie, I used spinach, almond milk, 1 cup of chopped mangoes, 1 cup of frozen pineapples and 2 ripe bananas.  I had to stop myself from eating the mango that I was good.  Make sure you use at least one frozen fruit to chill the smoothie; this also eliminates having to use ice, which waters down your smoothie.  Dole has great frozen fruit chunks; I used their frozen pineapples

Another note: be sure to blend your smoothie in batches. Blend your leafy green and your liquid first, then when you add the rest of the ingredients, blend again.  This helps you not have a chewy smoothie.  Gross.

You can also made this smoothie using green tea matcha powder.  Certainly you can 'boost' your smoothie with protein powder, chia seeds or acai powder. I sprinkled a bit of cinnamon on top of my finished product just to give it a bit of extra flavor - it smelled nice too.  Definitely a great way to enter the weekend!

Try it!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Prosciutto & Gruyere Croissants

I love easy food ideas.  Who doesn't?  Simple yet elegant meals or appetizers are what I'm all about. I came across a beautiful photo on Pinterest a few weeks ago of prosciutto and gruyere croissants. No recipe, no details just a beautiful photo with what looked like the most amazing croissants known to man. The melted cheese looked as if it was slowly oozing out of the croissants while you could see bits of prosciutto peeking through the freshly baked bread.  Is your mouth watering? It should be.  I have to admit, I didn't go and bake homemade croissants like the photo probably reflected. Obviously, if you have time, patience and you enjoy baking, homemade baked goods would be fantastic. I enjoy baking (sometimes) but not enough for these croissants. I do, however, believe in taking shortcuts only when it's appropriate and only when it won't compromise the results.  


These are great. Perfect for a party.

Interested in recreating? It's really simple.

Pillsbury Crescent rolls
gruyere cheese, sliced into matchsticks
black pepper
egg wash (egg+water)
dried rosemary (optional)

Preheat your oven to 375.

After unrolling your crescent rolls, layer cheese and prosciutto; sprinkle with a bit of black pepper.

Roll up the croissants and brush lightly with egg wash.

If you like, you can sprinkle with rosemary or any other herb you like.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted.


Monday, April 14, 2014

The Weekend

So sad when the weekend is over but I'm looking forward to a short week (no work on Friday).  This weekend we headed to the movies to see Wes Anderson's latest film, Grand Budapest Hotel and had a little birthday dinner with friends.  I tried to get some much needed cleaning done on Saturday then frolicked to Atlanta for another birthday party.  Lots of birthdays around the spring. I got a chance to see friends that I don't get a chance to see that often since we all live in different areas and are busy with life.  We ended the weekend with a trip to the 4 Bridges Arts Festival - the weather was perfect and there was food trucks!  

I had a delicious grilled cheese from the Muenster Truck.  The sandwich was called the Uncle Phil (yes, from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) - it was a tribute to James Avery who played Uncle Phil and recently passed away.  I ended the weekend with one of my favorite comfort foods - spaghetti!  I love making spaghetti at home.

To the person who told me they were a fan of my blog this weekend - thank you.  You have no idea but you made my day!

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cardamom Ginger Cookies

When I was younger, I loved ginger snaps.  I loved the kind that came in a brown bag (can't remember the brand) but they were very crunchy and sort of burned your mouth after you ate them.  The flavor was fantastic but the burn is what I loved most; not really sure why that is but I did.  Recently, I became reacquainted with the deliciousness that are ginger snaps.  I found the 'brown bag' brand in my grocery store and almost immediately, nostalgia.  As the cookies slowly disappeared (because I couldn't stop eating them) I thought I should come up with a plan to recreate them on my own.  Sure, I could always head back to the store and continue purchasing the delicious brown bag brand of ginger snaps but I wanted something a bit more - something I could call my own. Is this crazy? Does it even make sense?

Lucky for me, I'd already pinned two types of cookies that encompassed just what I was looking for.  Once I *finally* found time to bake these gingery cookies, I was way too excited. I developed an obsession with cardamom sometime last year and when you mix it with ginger - oh the magic.  These cookies were perfectly chewy (mainly because of the molasses) and they smelled sort of like Christmas.

I didn't really alter the recipe but I did eliminate one of the steps, which was to let the cardamom sit in a 1/2 cup of granulated sugar for a few days; I couldn't plan that far in advance.  

Visit Reclaiming Provincial for the full recipe.

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