Wine Wednesday – Thanksgiving wine recommendations

Hello, hello!

Happy Wine Wednesday before Thanksgiving Thursday!

The weather outside is most definitely frightful and, if you’re traveling today, please be careful. I’m sure your family/friends would enjoy giving thanks for your safe arrival. If you’re traveling tomorrow, the same story holds. :)

So, let’s talk wine.

I mean, it IS Wine Wednesday, after all!

cheers!

source

Do you have a plan for what wine you’re pouring with tomorrow’s meal?

If you do – Excellent! What are you pouring?

If you don’t, and you’re in charge of the wine, you’re in luck. I’m here to help!

Oh, and if you’re not in charge of wine this time around but are for Christmas, these tips will work for that meal, as well. :)

The first thing you need to figure out is how much wine to have on hand.

Generally, a standard bottle will yield about 4-6 glasses of wine, depending on who does the pouring. If it’s my dad, we’re looking at 4 glasses. :)

So, for math purposes, we’ll go with 5.

Plan for about 2 glasses per person (some will drink none and some will most definitely drink more) but 2 is a good average.

vino-21

source

Then, you have to figure out how many people will be there.

Adults, not children. Please don’t give the children any wine.

We’re going to have 15 at my folks’ house but out of those 15, 6 are below the age of 21. So, we’ll have 9 wine drinkers.

So, 9 wine drinkers plus 2 glasses each equals 18 glasses of wine. Divide that by how many glasses you can get out of a bottle – (remember from up there?) – 5 and we’re looking at about 4 bottles of wine for the meal.

Now, you can mix it up and offer both white and red, if you want. You’ll still want to stick to those estimated calculations. If you know that people will drink more because they aren’t driving, then you can plan for that.

Whatever you plan for pre-dinner drinks is completely up to you and if it’s more wine, you’ll have to account for that in your wine bottle total.

Ooohh, you know what’s handy?

image

Wine charms! If you have quite a few people drinking wine, it’s very common for someone to put down their glass and walk away for a minute only to come back and discover that it’s gone. With wine charms, everyone basically calls dibs on their own glass with a little charm! They wrap around the glass stem, aren’t very expensive, and can be found in most wine markets and places like World Market, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and, who knows, probably even Target! (*note – if the store sells wine glasses, it probably sells wine charms)

And now it’s time for the good stuff!

What to drink!!

rhoc

source

If you’re doing the traditional Thanksgiving meal with turkey or ham, there are a variety of wines that pair with both (and all the side dishes) quite nicely.

Let’s start with white wines, shall we?

Rieslings, Gewurztraminers, and Chardonnays are all excellent choices.

They’re all light and fruity without being overly sweet. Gewürztraminers bring a little bit of spiciness to the table and pair excellently with both pecan and pumpkin pie. When looking for a Chardonnay, you want to look for something “unoaked” or stainless barreled. Some oaky Chardonnays can be intensely buttery and might overwhelm your meal. The lighter, unoaked are both crisp and full-bodied and delicious.

Some of my favorite Rieslings include Fetzer, Chateau Ste. Michelle, and J. Lohr.

Favorite Gewürztraminers include Fetzer (again). I haven’t tried too many others so that’s all I got.

And Chardonnays include Kunde, Mer Soleil ($$), Fess Parker, and Josh Cellars.

wpid-20140509_175015.jpg

For red wines, traditional choices are Beaujolais and Pinot Noir. You could also go with a Malbec or a Zinfandel. If you decide to buy a couple bottles of different kinds, serve the Beaujolais and Pinot Noirs BEFORE the Malbecs and Zinfandels.

Beaujolais and Pinot Noir are both light and fruity with a little bit of earthiness. Malbecs are a more lush, medium-bodied wine and Zinfandels are powerful and fruity and full of depth.

If your Thanksgiving crowd are wine lovers, you could definitely throw the Malbecs and the Zinfandels into the mix without worry but if you have wine novices or people who prefer a “lighter” wine, then you should definitely stick with the Beaujolais or Pinot Noir.

I don’t have a favorite Beaujolais as I normally grab a Pinot Noir. Some favorite Pinot Noirs include Rubeus of Lore, Edna Valley, and Decoy.

wpid-20141025_183904.jpg

Favorite Malbecs include Middle Sister (SO GOOD!!), Acacia, or most Meritages (includes the Malbec grape).

Favorite Zinfandels include Four Vines, Seghisio ($$), and Rancho Zabaco.

So there you have it! You’re all set. Well, as far as the wine goes. I can’t help you with the cooking part. :)

Talk to me: Pumpkin or Pecan pie?

- jennifer

Tasty Tuesday! – Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Hi there!

It’s Tasty Tuesday time! Whoop Whoop!

Tasty Tuesday Badge 2000x2000

As always, make sure you head over to Lena’s page to check out all the Tasty Tuesday yumminess as she’s the leader of this linkup party.  You never know what you’ll find over there. Maybe some Russian Meatballs or something like that. Bet you didn’t see THAT coming! ;)

I’ve had a lot of interest in my homemade chicken noodle soup so I thought I would share with you how I made it.

I mean, from what I understand, it’s supposed to be a cold winter in most areas and we’ve already had some major temperature fluctuations and everyone is either coughing, sneezing, or both!

Might as well have some of the good stuff handy to help cure what ails you. :)

And, you should also have hand sanitizer and Lysol. Lots and lots and lots of both. Since, you know, you can’t walk around in a bubble.

First things first (because, they wouldn’t be first if they came second!), this is not a quick 30-minute recipe. Sorry.

Those are out there and usually require store bought, or previously homemade, chicken broth.

In a way, the soup COULD be a 30 minute meal if you use chicken and broth that you’ve already made.

So, yes, it’s a 30 minute meal.

With about 15-18 hours worth of prep time.

All done in a crockpot so don’t freak out. It’s not like you’re standing in front of the stove for that long. Oh gosh, how awful would that be?

Anyhoo, the first thing you do is prep the chicken.

wpid-20141012_165024.jpg

I usually buy a 4 pound organic chicken, rinse it and pat it dry, rub it with a paste made of olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper, and cook on HIGH for about 5 hours. (You can do LOW just up the time to 8-10 hours.)

I learned a nifty trick from Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean – ball up 4 sheets of aluminum foil, put them in the crockpot, and set your chicken on top of it! They act as a rack, lifting the chicken off the bottom and allowing the air to circulate and the juices to drip freely off the bird without causing a soggy bottom.

Cuz no one likes a soggy bottom.

Once the bird is done, remove it from the crockpot, allow to cool, and start shredding!

wpid-20141116_155800.jpg

Put all the meat in a container (you’ll have more than you need for soup so …. use some for chicken sandwiches, in salads, in BBQ sauce, etc!) and toss all the skin and bones back into the crockpot.

Um, remove the aluminum foil balls first. You’re done with those.

Throw in a roughly chopped onion, a few roughly chopped carrots (2-3 regular – you don’t even have to peel them!), a couple stalks of roughly chopped celery, some chopped garlic (3-5 cloves), a bay leaf, and fresh (or dried) herbs such as thyme, oregano, parsley, and marjoram. Then, pour about 8 cups of water into your crockpot (honestly, if you’re using a 6 quart, you could probably pour in 10 cups or so) or just to about an inch from the top.

Cover and cook on LOW 10-12 hours.

While you’re sleeping is an excellent time to do this.

Or, you could cook the chicken while you sleep, shred it when you wake up, then prep the broth and let it cook while you’re at work. Then you could totally make chicken soup when you get home!

Okay, so after the broth is done, strain it through a fine mesh sieve and discard the bones, skins, chopped veggies, etc.

Pour your broth into containers suitable from freezing/refrigerating.

wpid-20141013_070121.jpg

I usually pour them out in one cup or two cup containers.

If you’re freezing the broth, make sure you don’t fill the container all the way full. You need to allow room for the broth to expand.

If you’re going right from the straining to the making of the chicken soup step, pour about 32 ounces of your freshly made broth into a large soup/stock pot.

Bring to a simmer.

Peel and chop a few carrots and some celery and throw those in there. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes. TASTE and adjust seasonings.

I like to add more oregano, marjoram, and thyme in addition to salt and pepper.

Tasting is hugely important because you don’t want overly salty soup.

Or at least I don’t want overly salty soup. Blech.

Then, add your noodles and cook about 5-8 minutes. Add in desired amount of previously shredded chicken and cook for about 5 minutes. This is just to finish cooking the pasta and heat the chicken up. You don’t want to overcook either.

If you prefer a creamier soup, you can add a tablespoon of butter and between 1/4 – 1/2 cup of heavy cream with the chicken.

wpid-img_20141123_183206.jpg

If you’re making this from the “refrigerated broth” point, heat a small amount of butter in a large soup/stock pot.

Add about 1/4 cup chopped onion, your chopped carrots, and chopped celery. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add 2-3 cloves chopped garlic, if desired. Cook 1 minute.

Add broth and bring to a simmer.

Once at a simmer, follow the steps above for seasoning, adding pasta, chicken, and butter and cream, if desired.

EAT!!!

Talk to me: Creamy or brothy? What’s your favorite pasta shape in chicken noodle soup?

Weekend things and a little bit of food prep

Hi there!

Happy Monday!

Are you gearing up for Thanksgiving? Are you cooking? Have you started cooking already? Are you traveling to where someone else is doing all the cooking? <—-winning

I’ll be doing only a small amount of cooking this year as we’re headed to my folks’ house.

Mom’s having the bulk of the meal catered (this should be interesting – my first catered meal experience) and the rest of us are  responsible for a few side dishes and desserts.

I’m making this. I made it for just us last year and it is the bomb dot com.

Plus, the pecan tree in my back yard is literally vomiting pecans so…..yeah.

image

My town had its Thanksgiving market on Saturday and my favorite vendor was going to be there so, you know we had to go. :)

image

There were like 65 vendors or something!

Lots of artsy craftsy stuff.

image

There were lots of puppy dogs.

Seriously, I can’t post pictures of all the dogs – we’d be here all day.

image

And there were lots of leafy green veggies!

image

There was a pony that I wanted to ride but I don’t think he was there for people of my size age.

image

I loaded up on sweet taters (duh!) and apples and the biggest butternut squashes I have ever seen (needed for above recipe!).

image

I tried to get my sailor to take a picture of me holding the butternut squashes but he said no. Because I don’t have a porn blog.

Seriously, where was HIS brain? Haha

And besides, has he never ever heard of food porn?

Whatever.

So, he took this picture of this goat instead. Her name is Latte. She was hanging out with the goat cheese lady. Mmmm…..goat cheese……

image

Here’s my haul on fresh beef. Score!

image

After the market, we took our goodies home and headed out for some lunch and errands.

We went to our favorite Indian place. MMMM…

image

I had the medium spicy vindaloo and was sweating bullets at the table. lol

For the record, I only ate one little triangle of the naan because it is made with wheat and I’m doing that whole gluten free thing.

I was okay with it (or I just couldn’t tell I wasn’t because I was still breathing fire) but a few hours later, I had an iced skinny vanilla latte from Starbucks and that made my stomach hurt.

Did some research and turns out the skinny vanilla stuff has gluten in it! Blech!

I didn’t finish it. Which sucks. Starbucks ain’t cheap.

So, I’m thinking about heading to the doc to officially get tested for celiac, just to see. Because it really did make me feel bad. :/

Sunday was a pretty low key day.

I did a little food prep but not too much since we’re going to be laden with turkey leftovers, too. :)

I made some gluten-free banana bread. Because, it’s banana bread. Duh.

image

I made us some homemade chicken noodle soup (gluten free rotini pasta) with the last of the chicken from last week and some of the broth that I made.

To make it creamy, I added a tablespoon of grass-fed butter (I buy Kerrygold and if you haven’t tried it yet, you are totally missing out!) and about half a cup of heavy cream.

So delicious!

image

Then, I made some beef stew in the crockpot using some stew meat that I snagged at the farmer’s market.

image

I used less than 2 pounds of meat so I used upped the veggies a little. I also subbed Yukon Gold taters for the red taters because that’s what I had and I used regular onion because the recipe didn’t state red onion until down in the directions.

Yes, I broke the cardinal rule of following a recipe – I didn’t read the whole thing before I started.

my-bad

source

It worked out okay though. :)

I also didn’t add any frozen corn because I didn’t have any. T’was fine. Delicious, in fact.

Talk to me: What’s your favorite thing on the Starbucks menu?

- jennifer