Wine Wednesday – 2012 Red Rock Winery Reserve Winemaker’s Blend

Hello, hello!

Happy Wine Wednesday, my friends!



Welp, it finally happened.

I tried some wine I wasn’t crazy about.

Disappointing for sure but it happens.

I’ll still tell you about it though because, well, honestly,  you might like it. Who knows? Everyone’s taste buds are different, right? :)

And, it’s entirely possible that, if cellared for a few more years, it could improve.

Anyway, I was browsing the wine selection – I was looking for a blend – and I came across these two.


Now, I’ve already reviewed, and enjoyed, the Sterling Vintners Collection Meritage in the 2011 so, even though I wanted to drink it, I grabbed the Red Rock so I could review something new for you. (If you go to their site, just to warn you, they have a video that plays automatically so don’t go there after you’ve been jamming out to Weird Al or something like that.)

(PS. *note to self – next time grab the Meritage)

And you thought I was just drinking all that wine for me…… ;)

I was actually pretty excited about it when I got it home.

I mean, c’mon, it’s a blend of Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, and Merlot.

3 grapes I LOVE.

What’s not to be excited about!?


The color was a beautiful deep garnet, typical of petite sirah and on the nose, I was greeted with plums and berries and toastiness.

I don’t know what the ratio of the blend is but I’m willing to bet the Petit Sirah is the most. I could definitely smell it.


And then, I tasted it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad. I don’t want you to think it was bad. Because it wasn’t.

It tasted just fine with food (we had marinated grilled chicken and sweet taters), and my sailor liked it, but I wasn’t crazy about it on its own (and honestly, I still had the memory of that first taste in my mouth so I was trying REALLY HARD to erase it).

I can’t explain it – there was just something that my tastebuds weren’t crazy about.

I guess I expected something a little more fruit forward from the Petit Syrah and earthy from the Zinfandel. It was almost as if they cancelled each other out but I wasn’t just left with an amazing Merlot to drink either.

I don’t know.

Wasn’t my favorite and I will probably not buy it again.

But, again, everyone is different and, like I said, it was fine with our food.  So, if it meets your budget and you want to try it, please do!

Let me know your opinion.

Talk to me: Have you ever been disappointed with a wine or beer? Did you still drink it?

- jennifer

Tasty Tuesday – Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Brownie Cookies


It’s Tasty Tuesday and I have a fabulous Fall recipe to share with you!  Whoop!!


Make sure you head over to Lena’s page and check out all the other Tasty Tuesday yumminess! :)

I decided it was high time I jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon because it really seems like Fall is here to stay.  I figured we would have somewhat of an Indian Summer and have warm weather through October but…..according to the meteorologists, these temps are going up any time soon.

Of course, how much can you really count on a meteorologist but still…….I’m doing it because I want some pumpkin stuff!

I’ve been dreaming of brownie cookies lately – as well as of running. Anxious much? – and I decided I needed to incorporate pumpkin somehow.

I’ve made a couple of pumpkin brownie recipes and I’ve made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies so it seemed that the logical next step was pumpkin brownie cookies!


I’m really stoked these turned out so well on my first shot!

They are soft, chewy, pillowy, chocolatey, pumpkin spice-y, and delicious.

Thing 2 said they were really chocolatey but … really, what’s wrong with that?!


You would think they would be dense but they’re not. It’s gotta be the pumpkin that makes it like little pillows.

Little pillows of chocolatey goodness.



Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Brownie Cookies
makes approximately 18 cookies

1 cup white whole wheat flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cocoa powder
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
½ cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients – flour through nutmeg.

3. In large mixer bowl, mix pumpkin, sugar, and vanilla until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.

4. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets. These will not spread so don’t worry about them running into each other.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

6. NOM them down!!



Talk to me: Do you dream about cookies? Do you love Fall? What’s your favorite season?

- jennifer

Sunday food prep – what went down in my kitchen (5)

Hello, hello!

I finally got back on my Sunday food prep program.  Now I feel so much more prepared for the week!

And, it’s going to be a busy one.

But, that’s good, right? It should make the week fly by!

But then, it also makes Christmas get here a little sooner and I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet.

Pssst…..there are only 86 more sleeps until Christmas……


And, moving on.

So, what went down in my kitchen yesterday?

Well, I started off my day by making some Crockpot Steel Cut Oats – the apples and cinnamon variety.

I used this recipe from The Yummy Life – used lite coconut milk instead of fat free. I also added the butter (cuz butter is awesome).


Trust me.

It made four servings, perfect for quick reheating in the morning or as my 2nd breakfast at work. :)

Add in your toppings of choice.


Continuing on the scents of Fall theme, I decided I needed to make enough chili to feed a small village.


I found this recipe from Perry’s Plate and decided to give it a try.

I only made a couple of changes to fit our preferences – I went with a full teaspoon of the cayenne, I added 1/2 teaspoon of this fancy new Ghost Pepper sauce (um, ghost pepper is seriously hot) I got, and at the 3 hour mark, I added in 1/2 cup of pumpkin.

Yes, that’s random but you’ll understand further down in the post. :)

My only complaint is that the chili was not as thick as we would prefer.  When I was transferring it to containers, I ended up using a slotted spoon so I could get the goods and I left a lot of the soupiness behind.

It was really tasty – and, no, you won’t be a fire breathing dragon even with my additions – and the meat literally falls apart.

This will serve as lunches and dinners through the week. :)

And finally, ever since the Pumpkin Spice Latte made its way back to the Starbucks® menu, it seems the whole world is on a massive pumpkin kick.

So, I’ve been thinking about something different I could do with pumpkin.

I’ve made pumpkin brownies before (another kind here) but I didn’t just want to do that again.

What about brownie cookies?!



These little things are all soft and chocolately and pumpkin spicy and delicious! I couldn’t be happier with the way they came out!

And on the first try, even!!

I’ll share the recipe in tomorrow’s Tasty Tuesday post.

You’ll be okay. You can wait. I promise. :)

Finally, crockpots of yumminess bubbling away and neither one is dinner?


OH! The extra pumpkin! Well, I had a 1/2 cup left and that chili recipe said to stir occasionally and I’ve made Pumpkin Chili before so……yeah!

Variety is the spice of life and I decided to make a double recipe of my Chana ma-Chicken for dinner and give us an additional leftover option this week.

*side note: my sailor has taken to calling this china man chicken. He thinks he’s funny.


Even though I followed my own recipe, this turned out a little spicier than the last time.

That’s fine for us but if you don’t do spicy, ease back on the cayenne.

Serve over rice or couscous or with naan to mop up all the delicious juices!


Random Spam Comment: “What a material of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable familiarity concerning unexpected emotions.” This was in reply to my Quick Cinnamon Buns with Buttermilk Icing post.

Talk to me: Did you food prep this weekend? What did you make? Have you jumped aboard the pumpkin train?

- jennifer