Winter is here and what better time to start cozying up to your favorite red! Today I’m sharing my beloved wine glass with you. Friends are always asking me where they can get one. What makes it so special? It fits an entire bottle of vino! I must confess I do not drink an entire bottle of wine at once, however I’m a sucker for a great novelty. It’s now my “go to” hostess gift or “budget gift” that is very “rich in style”. Stock up and have them on hand for that perfect gift.
CLICK ON PHOTO TO PURCHASE GLASS
The ideas are endless:
- Get them etched with Mr. and Mrs., a special date or a wine quote at your local engraver for a one of a kind gift. (or etch them yourself if you’re the crafty type)
- For dual usage fill the large wine glass with candies, nuts or a dip at your next cocktail / wine party.
- Use them as candle holders or a flower vase.
- They make a great vessel for wrapping gift certificates to your local wine tasting bar, restaurants or home decore stores.
- They make the perfect storage for used wine corks too!
I’ve fallen in love with the quirky cooking show, Extra Virgin, starring Debi Mazar and her Italian native husband. I recently tried one of their mouth watering recipes, bolognese lasagne with a besciamella sauce. It is divine! I’m going to be upfront with you, it’s a simple yet time consuming recipe. However, one bite and you’ll know it was worth all the effort. The main thing you’ll notice that sets this recipe apart from most, is the lack of cheese. Instead you use a besciamella sauce that is made from butter, flour and milk. It turns what would be an ordinary dish into an extraordinary one!
I followed the recipe as directed, except I omitted the nutmeg simply because I don’t like it. If you need a meal to impress, look no further… Serve it with a simple salad and rustic Italian bread. Of course, don’t forget the vino!
(courtesy of Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar)
Recently, my sister asked me to come up with a creative idea for guests to sign my nephew’s graduation party book. In addition, I was also in charge of the photo gallery. I thought the obvious thing to do was have everyone sign a guitar (the party theme was music / The Beatles), and also have a photo collage, but that just felt too predictable and lazy. It seems like when I have a deadline, ideas never come, but when I have nothing going on, the ideas flow endlessly. Anyway, I was having a serious case of creativity block, and even looking at Pinterest while drinking wine wasn’t helping. Fortunately for me, my genius son (yes, I’m one of those moms) came up with a brilliant idea! He said to combine the photo album with the sign-in book using thought bubbles. How perfect! Not only did it meet my sisters criteria, but it was whimsical and fun! It ended up turning out great, and it was also a good way for the diverse guests to mingle with one another as they had fun reminiscing over old photos and trying to come up with clever comments. I’m happy to report it was a huge success!
Here are the basic steps:
- Gather all the photos you want to use into an album on your computer (I personally use iPhoto)
- Create thought and speech bubbles in Photoshop or similar program
- Then place thought bubbles on your selected photos in Photoshop
- Finally, I used Blurb to create my photo album (Blurb is more economical than iPhoto books, but a little more complicated if you’re a rookie)
In order to do it my way, you need to know how to use Photoshop or have access to someone who can help you. It’s very simple if you do. Otherwise, you can create the same type of album but you will either have to hand write the thought & speech bubbles, use a stencil or stickers.
- bridal showers
- graduation parties
- high school reunions
- baby showers
- special occasions
I left several pages at the end of the photo album for more autographs. I titled each page differently as you can see in the photos.
I couldn’t decide what should be on the back cover, if anything. Then it hit me, a photograph of the back of my nephew! Think outside the box…it’s fun!
I used a photograph of my nephews party invitation as the cover for the guest album. I also mixed in many photographs without thought or speech bubbles throughout the album. (as seen in photos at top of article) I will be honest, this isn’t a project you whip out in a few hours. It does take some careful planning when gathering photos, Photoshop work, and putting it all together. However, if you’re looking for a one of a kind unique gift or keepsake, this is a sure winner that anyone will appreciate for many years to come. I hope this guest book idea whets your appetite to create an unforgettable guest book for your next special occasion.
Looking for something different that you haven’t experienced in your culinary life as of yet?
Outstanding in the Field is a roving adventure – literally a restaurant without walls. They set the long tables at farms or gardens, on mountain tops or in sea caves, on islands or at ranches. Occasionally the table is set indoors: a beautiful refurbished barn, a cool greenhouse or a stately museum. Ingredients for the meal are almost all local and generally prepared by a celebrated chef of the region. This really is a great way to experience the farm to table trend.
I personally have not had the pleasure of sharing a meal at one of their tables. They’re not always in your area and dip deep into your pockets. However, it is on my list of things to do…eventually. I’d also like to mention I have no financial gain by sharing this information with you. It’s just something I found to be interesting that I wanted to share with my readers. MARK YOUR CALENDAR, MARCH 20th TICKETS GO ON SALE! Look at their schedule now and plan ahead. Tickets sell out in minutes.
DIYD: (do it yourself dinner)
- If you know the day you can burn a few hundred bucks is not in your near future, but you’re inspired by the idea, why not try to recreate your own “farm to table” dinner.
What to do:
- Location! Location! Location! Find a special space whether indoors or out that is a little more adventurous then the dining room. Think-the beach, along the river, in a cactus forest, on a ranch, at a local park, in a privately owned library, under a big tree, in the middle of the street at the end of a cul de sac, on a basketball/tennis court. Think outside the box and have fun!
- After your location is established, decide on how many guests you will be serving. A romantic dinner for 2? A family reunion for 20? You decide! Once the number of people is established be sure you have enough long banquet tables and folding chairs to recreate an outdoor dining room.
- Customize the dining décor to your own individual liking. For me, I would use as many candles as would fit! Others may use hay stacks for the benches with crisp white linens draping the tables. Have fun and remember there are no rules! (Martha won’t be attending)
- Next, decide on your menu. Choose seasonal items that you can get at your local farmers markets. If you really prepare in advance, you can even grow some of your own ingredients yourself. Try to select items that can be prepared fully in your kitchen and brought to the sight in coolers or warming bags.
- Remember the details such as weather conditions, bugs, restroom availability, parking, dietary restrictions/allergies , wine pairings, music, throw blankets, etc…
- If you like the idea but don’t want all of the work, cater the event and have it delivered to your site. Try to find a store or restaurant that makes farm to table meals. The concept and ambiance will still be enjoyed by all.
As many of you may know, I am more of a savory gal than sweet. ( I’m not talking just personality here!) So when and if I recommend something on the sugary side, you’ll know it must be really good and relatively easy to make. I love to cook, but hate to bake. Who needs to bake when you have your sister living down the street that could give Elizabeth Falkner a run for her money?
Today, you’re in for a treat (no pun intended)! I’m sharing my sisters “fake it, chocolate peanut butter cupcakes”. She (Colleen, a.k.a. my sis) cuts some corners to save you time and energy, without sacrificing taste and quality. I promise you won’t be disappointed with these mouth watering, belly bulging cupcakes! I never said, low-fat, just really yummy and easy!