Wine Time

wine 2If you’ve ever read my “about me” on here or know me personally, then you know my drink of choice is wine. White in particular. Not that I hit the bottle hard or anything, but when I do occasionally imbibe, my poison is wine. Anyhow, I came across some information at my local grocery store about wine pairings and I thought it was too interesting not to pass on.

I don’t typically do wine pairings. Ever. So don’t go thinking I’m a wine connoisseur or anything like that. I’m more the drink it while I’m making dinner, feel good, THEN eat type of person.  But for those of you out there that enjoy a glass of wine with dinner but aren’t quite sure what matches up to what, here’s a little guide:

White Wines:

  • Chardonnay-Dry. Medium to heavy body. Typically with oak. Pairs well with: mild cheese, salmon, scallops, chicken, baked ham, cheesecake
  • Sauvignon Blanc– Dry. Light to medium body. Clean and refreshing. Pairs well with: oysters, shrimp, lobster, chicken, key lime pie
  • Pinot Grigio– Medium body. Crispy and dry. Pairs wells with: white sauces, grilled chicken, lobster, shrimp, pork, apple tart
  • Riesling– Sweet. Light body. Pairs well with: creamy cheeses, spicy dishes, baked ham, grilled pork, melon
  • Moscato– Sweet. Light body. Pairs well with: oysters, shrimp, spicy dishes, peach cobbler, sorbet
  • Sparkling– Light and bubbly. Pairs well with: nutty cheeses, oysters, clams, crab, spicy food, milk chocolate

Red Wines:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon– Dry. Heavy body. Pairs well with: pungent cheeses, grilled steak, roasted lamb, red sauces, dark & bittersweet chocolate
  • Malbec– Dry. Heavy body. Pairs well with: smoked turkey, carne asada, pulled pork, dark & bittersweet chocolate
  • Zinfandel– Dry. Medium to heavy body. Pairs well with: aged cheeses, spare ribs, brisket, leg of lamb, pizza, chili, beef stew, chocolate cake
  • Merlot– Dry. Medium body. Pairs well with: aged cheeses, veal, meatloaf, hamburgers, salmon, red sauces, chocolate mousse
  • Pinot Noir- Dry. Medium body. Pairs well with: cream cheeses, roasted pork, smoked sausage, salmon, crème brulee
  • Red Blend– Off-dry. Medium body. Pairs well with: risotto, lamb chops, grilled steak, hamburgers, cherry pie

My personal favorite is Chardonnay. It’s dry, not sweet, slightly bold. And I’m more than happy to drink a $4.99 bottle of Barefoot Chardonnay. They’re award winners for a reason! However, if I’m out wine tasting locally, I prefer a Viognier which in my opinion, is a lighter more refreshing sister to Chardonnay.

If I’m drinking red at home (which I typically don’t, but my hubs only drinks red wine) I’m more than happy with a Red Blend. They are typically smooth, not overpowering and a great intro to red wines. Menage A Trois makes a great inexpensive one (around $7.99). Thanks to my neighbor for introducing me to that one! Wine tasting locally, I love Zinfandel! It’s smooth and flavorful. And nothing at all like the box of that pink stuff you may be thinking of.

So with the holidays coming up and armed with this new wine knowledge, I’m thinking about being a little sophisticated and having a wine tasting party. Everyone brings their favorite bottle of wine. Tastings and appetizers, that I now know will pair well together! Sounds like a nice little change from the traditional get together.

Or I might just continue to drink my cheap affordable wine, enjoy my pre-dinner buzz, go about my evening, and forgo the hassles of hosting company at my house. We’ll see how things go.


Speedy Strawberry Lemonade

We celebrated my daughter’s birthday over the weekend and I served this lemonade at her party. No, it’s not from scratch but that’s okay!! And that’s because this is quick, easy, looks pretty and tastes yummy. Sounds good to me!

Speedy Strawberry Lemonade (serves a crowd)

  • 96 ounces store bought lemonade
  • 2 liters of lemon lime soda
  • 1 bag of frozen whole strawberries

Add everything into a punch bowl or large drink dispenser. Stir and serve.

strawberry lemonadeNow if you do an outdoor party like we did or are just having a BBQ, the frozen strawberries work really well to keep the lemonade cold. They act as giant strawberry ice cubes. Not only do they keep the lemonade cold, but they won’t water it down and also add that strawberry flavor.

lemonadeAs for the lemonade, I bought a 2 pack of organic lemonade over at Costco. First time I tried it but I really liked it. And it was super inexpensive. Look for it next time you’re there.

And if you’re looking to serve an adult beverage, try adding vodka to make this into Speedy Spiked Strawberry Lemonade. Mmmmm……


Make Ahead Smoothies

Yes, you can make smoothies ahead of time! Why you ask? Well, here’s the predicament I was in. Or I should say, my husband. He recently started jogging in the morning before going to work. And after his jog, he wanted a healthy breakfast. But depending on his work schedule, he’s up anywhere from 4am to 6am, which is prime sleeping time for everyone else in our house. And I know the last thing I want waking me up is the obnoxious sound of a blender. Enter make ahead smoothies.

So you can make the smoothies just as you normally would and put them in a freezer safe container. I love my Ball plastic salsa freezer jars. I’ve had them for a couple of years and picked them up at Walmart. I use them all the time, and not necessarily for salsa. They are perfect for these make ahead smoothies. I found some plastic freezer jars over at Amazon and although they’re not the same exact ones I have, I think these are just the updated version.

smoothie jars 2Since the smoothies are frozen solid, my husband takes them out of the freezer right when he wakes up. He fills a larger cup with hot water and sets the smoothie jar inside. And when he’s back from his jog, he says they’re still a little slushy but have melted enough for him to eat AND they taste good. Make ahead smoothie success!

Use whatever smoothie recipe you like, or try out one of mine:

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Healthy Oatmeal Banana Smoothie

Mango & Chia Smoothie

My husband’s favorite smoothie has peaches in it so that’s usually what I make him. I happened to have a fresh pineapple so I decided to throw that in there this time around.

Tropical Peach Smoothie (makes approximately 20 ounces)

  • 1 fresh or frozen banana
  • 1/2 c. frozen peaches
  • 1/4 c. fresh pineapple
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax
  • 1 1/2 c. almond milk
  • 1/3 c. vanilla yogurt

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth. Divide between two freezer container jars and store in the freezer.

smoothie jarsNow if you don’t have a jogging husband that you need to make these for, these would be great for family picnics. Just place them in your cooler and by the time you’ve eaten your food and the kids have played, a healthy dessert has thawed out and is ready and waiting for them. I also recommend the YP Sport pouches, shown below. They also hold smoothies or shakes very well, are freezer safe and fun for the kids. You can find them by clicking on this link at Amazon. I know my kids think they’re pretty cool.


“Orange” Juice

orange juice 4I realized that I’ve only ever posted one juice recipe and figured it was time to put up another one. I have really slowed my roll on juicing but decided to bust my juicer out so the kids could have some fresh juice with breakfast.

I have to admit, juicing is really a serious hassle. But if you’ve got the time, it’s totally worth the result, which is crisp, fresh tasting juice! Now, I call this “orange” juice because of the color. There are oranges in it, but it’s not just plain ole’ orange juice. This is a great recipe for a virgin juicer who’s not willing to jump into the green juice pool just yet, or for picky kids.

“Orange” Juice (yields approximately 3 cups)

  • 5 small green apples, core removed (2 large red delicious make a great substitute)
  • 2 large oranges, peel removed
  • 1 large carrot

Turn your juice extractor on and add ingredients in the order listed. Stir and pour over ice.

orange juice 3

I tried to get an action shot. It was difficult.

orange juice 2

Yes the color looks a bit off now, but wait!

orange juice

Check out that gorgeous ORANGE color!

I just wanted to mention that if you have the time, I highly recommend trying the aforementioned plain ole’ orange juice. It’s so much better in a juice extractor than in a traditional citrus juicer. Frothy and almost creamy. Very time consuming to cut off all the peels but if you’re hankering for some O.J. and have the time, give it a try.

Choco-Coffee Shake

choco coffee shake 2Sometimes you just have those mornings when you don’t have time to enjoy a cup of coffee and a protein shake. And I love my coffee!! Especially with my favorite creamer (Bailey’s Chocolatini, to die for!). But there are days when I’m rushed. Or it’s already hot out and I feel like I’ve missed my window of opportunity to drink a hot cuppa joe. On those types of days, I turn to this shake to incorporate my favorite morning beverage.

I’ve made this recipe a protein shake simply because if I’ve been a good girl, then that means I got up and worked out in the morning. I’m also not the biggest breakfast person so if I can throw everything into a blender and drink my brekkie, I’m happy to do so. If you prefer to not have a protein shake, then the protein powder can easily be substituted with something yummy like Ovaltine. But I have a favorite protein powder that’s specifically geared towards women and I think it’s great tasting. Nature’s Bounty Optimal Solutions Complete Protein & Vitamin Shake Mix in Naturally Flavored Decadent Chocolate.

protein powderI also threw in Spectrum Decadent Blend Chia & Flax Seed with Coconut & Cocoa that gives it that extra healthy kick. I really like this product but if you don’t have it, just omit that ingredient.

chia & flax

Choco-Coffee Protein Shake (makes one 16 ounce shake)

  • 1 c. almond milk
  • 1/2 c. coffee
  • 1 banana, frozen (a fresh banana works too, just add a few ice cubes)
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder (or Ovaltine)
  • 1 tbsp. chia & flax coconut/cocoa blend

Put all items in a blender and blend on high until smooth.

Drink up!choco coffee shake 3


Healthy Oatmeal Banana Smoothie

oatmeal banana smoothie 2I’m going to start off by saying it’s the first day of my kids’ summer vacation. Yay! And with the morning sun streaming in through the windows and me sweaty after my morning exercise, I do not want to cook breakfast. My kids are typically happy with cereal, oatmeal, you know, that kind of stuff. But if I’ve worked out, I prefer to have a protein shake for breakfast. Unfortunately, I had recently run out of protein powder and I just could not gag down the alternative (yogurt). Yes, I’ve talked about yogurt quite a few times recently and I’m disappointed to say I bought a different brand, and I highly DO NOT recommend it.

Gag me with a spoon!

Gag me with a spoon!

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I thought I could disguise this yogurt if I could put it in a smoothie. And luckily, it worked pretty well. But if you use yogurt you actually like to eat, then this smoothie should be even more yummy than mine was.

As you should all know by now, if you’re following my blog, I make an assortment of food. Ranging from pretty okay for you, to downright sinful. This is a “pretty okay” for you recipe. Look out for my upcoming artery clogger coming up. But like I said, with this being the first day of summer vacation, I thought this was a good one to share to start your summer off right!

Healthy Oatmeal Banana Smoothie (makes a 16 ounce smoothie)

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/3 c. Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 2 heaping tbsp. quick cooking oats
  • 1 tbsp. flax meal
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 3 ice cubes, if you like it especially cold (I do not)

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. *A dash of cinnamon would really kick this up a notch!

oatmeal banana smoothieDrink quickly or else your 4 year old child will notice you have something that you specifically made for yourself. Which will make her want it more. Which means you will have to share. So again, I insist you drink quickly and quietly. Enjoy!

Budget Friendly Finds

yogurt 3As I told you all in my last post, I was in San Diego for the weekend with my hubby. While there, we stopped at the nearby Grocery Outlet Bargain Market that my mom turned me on to. She’s a big San Diego fan and seems to know where everything’s at down there. So last time I was there, she took me to this place and I really liked it. Good prices and some really good items. They have a section against the back wall that seems to be for all the healthy stuff. And the prices are much better than what I’m typically used to spending.

wineLast time I was there, I picked up some wine that my mom recommended. 3.99 a bottle! And it’s good. Really! So of course I had to pick up a couple bottles this time around. Indigo Eyes Chardonnay. I have never seen this wine anywhere else so be on the lookout for this stuff.

yogurtyogurt 2I also grabbed some Tillamook Farmstyle Greek Yogurt. I don’t even really like yogurt. Basically, the texture makes me gag. And Greek yogurt is usually too tangy for me. But I know it’s good for you and so for a super quick breakfast, I take a cup of yogurt into the car with me and put it in my cup holder. And eat it as I take the kids to school. People who see me eating yogurt while driving must think it’s weird, but it’s not messy at all and saves me time! Multitasking at it’s best. Anyhow, my favorite yogurt so far has been Fage Fruyo. It’s not tangy like other Greek yogurts. But it’s really expensive. So I only buy that when it’s on sale. But when I saw the Tillamook at Grocery Outlet, I had to get it. It was only $.50 per cup. Less than half the price of my favorite Fruyo. And guess what? It’s delicious! Thick, creamy, and not too tangy. I highly recommend it. Pretty sure they carry this yogurt at most stores, although I haven’t seen it at my local Wal-Mart yet.

So those are my two budget friendly finds. And if you’re ever wandering around downtown San Diego, check out Grocery Outlet and pick up a bottle of wine and maybe some yogurt too.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

sb smoothieSnack. It’s a word I pretty much loathe. I’ve heard that word for so many years now. Ever notice how you can feed your kids lunch and they eat everything, yet 20 minutes later, they ask for that dreaded word? How is that possible?!?! I don’t understand it at all.

So when they come home from school, they want a snack. I know kids need snacks. But it’s just something I have against that word. Anyways, when it’s hot out, I like to make them smoothies as their after school snack. It’s a nice refreshing “treat” that is actually good for them. And a great alternative to the typical snacks they usually have. I realize I used the word “snack” way too many times in this post. But besides that, this would make a great and quick breakfast as well.

Strawberry Banana Smoothiesb smoothie 2

  • 1 heaping cup frozen whole strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp. each chia seeds, and milled flax
  • 1/2 c. orange juice (or apple juice)
  • 3/4 c. vanilla yogurt
  • 3/4 c. milk (or almond milk for a healthier option)
  • 1 tbsp. honey, optional (my kids find it sweet enough without honey)

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth and combined.

This recipes makes enough for about 4 smaller smoothies with just enough left over for Mom to tilt back that pitcher and get out the last few drops.


Ch, ch, ch, CHIA!

chiaThese tiny crunchy little seeds pack a healthy punch! If you’ve never tried them, give it a shot. According to research, they were a diet staple of the Aztecs and Mayans and are supposed to provide sustained energy. Not to mention, only 1 tablespoon has 150% of your daily recommended value of Omega-3! The suggested serving size per day is only 1 tablespoon and it’s so easy to find ways to sneak them into your food.

My personal favorite way to eat them (Monday-Friday this is my go to breakfast) is oatmeal! I’ve tried to cut back on sugar consumption in the morning time (at least during the week), even though I love a sugary breakfast. If you absolutely cannot live without it, you can add sugar to this but it’s totally optional, and the dried cranberries have sugar in them and add just the right amount of sweetness. And I swear this breakfast starts my day off right.

Oatmeal with Chia Seeds (makes one serving)oatmeal ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp. almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. sliced almonds
  • 1-2 tbsp. dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp. sugar, (brown, white, turbinado) optional

Put oats and water into a microwave safe bowl and stir. Heat in the microwave for one minute. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.

Another great way to incorporate chia seeds into your diet is in smoothies. This is a recipe that is definitely kid approved.

smoothie ingredientsMango & Chia Smoothie (makes approximately 3 1/2 cups, or two smoothies)

  • 1 c. plain greek yogurtblender
  • 1 c. coconut water
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 banana
  • 1 mango, cut into chunks (no skin)
  • 1 pear, cut into chunks (optional if you want to leave the skin on)

Put all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until smooth.

mango smoothie

Feel the power of Chia course through your body and start your day like a super hero!

Time to hulk out and drink GREEN

fruitSo first off, let me start off by informing all of you that I am NOT a photographer. I don’t know about lighting, angles or anything like that. But it’s a picture, you get the idea….hopefully! That being said, on to the matter at hand, JUICE! And green juice!

So I finally bought a juice extractor. We’d been thinking about it for awhile but after the first of the year, like so many others, my husband Adam decided it was time to get extra healthy. Enter juice extractor. I bought what I would call an introductory juicer. I really wanted this extra cool juicer that I saw Giada use but my budget and hers are nowhere near being close, so beginner juicer it was! Fortunately, I’m really happy with it so far.

So I’m very new to the world of juicing but I have heard that the greener, the better. I’ve been experimenting and came up with this delicious juice. If you have picky kids, like my ultra picky middle daughter, they will be put off by the color of this drink. If they can get over that hump, they will really enjoy this, and it’s GOOD for you. But maybe don’t tell them that last part. On a happy note though, my other two girls really like this so give it a try people.

First off, my juice extractor recommends that you peel citrus fruit. So I do just that. Aside from that minor inconvenience, juicing is pretty easy and fairly quick. I did a lot of research before buying my juicer, and according to a lot of people, carrots should always be last to go in because their remnants can tend to block the juicer causing less juice to come out of your other fruits and veggies. Also I cannot fit a whole apple down the chute so I core it and cut it, depending on the size of the apple. And the juicier type of apple, the better.  Those are the basics. It’s now time to juice.

green juice

Green Juice

3 oranges, peeled

1 lemon, peeled

1 apple, cored and cut to fit the chute (I used a large red delicious)

3-5 large kale leaves

2 carrots

Put all the ingredients through your juicer/extractor, stir and pour over ice. Should make approximately two cups, or two drinks, depending on the size and juiciness of your fruit.