Monthly Archives: January 2018

It’s Never Too Late…

Tonya’s journey and adventures are amazing. Visit her blog to read about her picturesque family farm, along with fabulous recipes and photographs. We’ll look forward to reading about your WSET Level 3 success soon Tonya!

fourth generation farmgirl

Farmgirl 2017

RdV Vineyards

Delaplane, Virginia

If someone asked me five years ago what I’d be doing today, I really don’t think my answer would have included writing a blog, taking art classes/painting, and pursuing my WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust based in London) Level 3 Award in Wines and Spirits.  But, here I am.

Five years ago, I was working in a public school setting, modeling correct production of various speech sounds for adorable kindergarteners, teaching some of the most inspiring nonverbal children sign language, and helping charming second graders construct sentences using prepositions, pronouns, and superlatives.  I was mostly in treatment sessions with students or doing paperwork: completing treatment notes, scoring tests, writing up evaluations, or initiating paperwork for eligibility or IEPs (Individual Education Plans).  I also spent a good deal of time in meetings discussing students’ needs for special education services, progress made in treatment, and the occasional…

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Millionaire’s Bacon

A fun spicy version of Millionaire’s Bacon…like bacon candy…the perfect snack to serve during the upcoming awards shows…for an Academy Awards Brunch perhaps…with a bit of bubbly! Thank you FRUGAL HAUSFRAU for this lovely recipe.

Frugal Hausfrau

Millionaire's Bacon - this is amazing = crispy, chewy, sweet, salty. smoky, spicy deliciousness. It's addictive!!

Millionaire’s Bacon. It’s everything. It’s insanely good. Hard to stop, good. So what is Millionaire’s Bacon? It’s like candied bacon on steroids. Salty, sweet, spicy, smoky, crunchy, chewy deliciousness.

Millionaire's Bacon - sweet, salty, spicy deliciousness. Millionaire’s Bacon – sweet, salty, smoky spicy deliciousness.

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Fun Recipe Contest ~ Applesauce + Champagne

I was writing an e-mail this morning (entering a recipe contest) and our landline phone rang, so I got up to answer it in the other room.  When I returned to the computer this is what I found on the screen:


And this is what was sitting on my computer chair:


Apparently Ziggy the kitty had been walking on the computer keyboard for the few seconds that I was out of the room. Little rascal!

I love to enter recipe contests. The Simply Wholesome Foods Applesauce contest recently caught my eye. Simply Wholesome is based in Russell, Massachusetts.

They sent me a case of the most delicious applesauce to use while I create recipes to submit to their contest. The case included unsweetened applesauce ~ made of local apples and lemon juice (which could pass for sweetened applesauce it is so delectable), touch of honey applesauce and touch of cinnamon applesauce.  Their brand is still very young – they’ve only been producing applesauce for slightly more than one year – so their brand is evolving.  The applesauce has a limited availability at this time and I will keep you posted as they expand their market presence.

Today I entered this yummy recipe in the contest. Very little effort needed to put together this flavorful fun appetizer:

Apple Honey Puffs

How we ladies say it in the South,  “This is pure heaven in a biscuit!”

Makes 12 puffs

Preheat oven 400 degrees Fahrenheit

1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed

Roll out puff pastry sheet on a cutting board. Using a 2 1/8 inch biscuit cutter cut pastry dough into 12 rounds.

Spray baking sheet lightly with vegetable oil spray.

Place puff pastry rounds on baking sheet. Poke a couple of holes in the rounds with a fork.  Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom.

Remove puff pastry rounds from the oven and allow to cool.

Peel one half of a small Honey Crisp Apple.

Cut the apple half into 12 thin slices.  Cut the slices to make 24 thin pieces.

¼ cup Honey Roasted Cashews, chopped fine

6 teaspoons Simply Wholesome Touch of Honey Applesauce

12 small slices ripe Brie Cheese

Ground Pink Peppercorns

Honey for drizzling

Separate tops and bottoms of the puff pastry puffs.  Place brie cheese on bottom of each puff. Top the brie with ½ teaspoon applesauce on each puff,  two thin apple pieces and 1 teaspoon honey roasted cashew pieces on each puff.  Grind pink peppercorns over the cashew pieces.  Drizzle with a little honey before putting the top back on the puff.

If nothing else please purchase a grinder jar of pink peppercorns. They have wonderful pepper flavor with a little punch (and they are pretty too!). I find myself grinding pink peppercorns on almost everything I cook these days.  I found my pink peppercorn grinder at Earth Fare grocery and the grinders are also available on-line. 

January champagne

Apple Honey Puffs are a perfect accompaniment to champagne.  We enjoyed a glass of Jean Vesselle Reserve with our puffs.  80% pinot noir, 20% chardonnay. Notes of peach, crisp apple and toast. Perfection!  $40 range.

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Goal: Daily Dubble Bubble Trubble

Brown bag bubbly bottle guessing game – fun idea! 🥂🍾 Thank you for sharing Liz Barrett!

What's in that Bottle?

Hello Wineaux Friends:

Champagne is KING on New Year’s Eve, but I’d like to reference the notorious Marie Antoinette when I say: “Let them drink Champagne!”  Everyday! Seriously – don’t save Champagne or other sparkling wines just for special occasions. You deserve to drink bubbles whenever you want, even if it’s a Monday night.

In this episode of Name That Wine, Rob at Odd Bacchus and I attempted to identify to delightful sparkling wines blind. Or blind bubble tasting was fun but not exactly on-point, accuracy wise, but still! We always have fun and you should, too. To more bubbles in 2018!

P.S. You don’t have to shell out huge bucks for Champagne – you can shell out tiny bucks for Prosecco or Cava. Good Proseccos and Cavas can be had in the neighborhood of $10.

P.P.S. Someone (who may or may not be me) has been having technical difficulties…

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The Random Samples (Imports)—1/17/2018

Our friend Jeff Kralik, the Drunken Cyclist is a finalist for the 2018 Millésima Wine Blog Awards! Please go HERE and vote for him so that I might win a trip to Bordeaux! Cheers and thank you!

the drunken cyclist

I am a finalist for the 2018 Millésima Wine Blog Awards! Please go HERE and vote for me so that I might win a trip to Bordeaux!

It is time for another edition of “Random Samples”–I occasionally get samples from marketing agencies and/or producers, and these can often be grouped together into some sort of over-arching theme: Drink Them and It Will ComeSummer is Here, So That Means (More) Rosé, If It Doesn’t Sparkle, It Doesn’t Matter.

Other times, I get just a bottle or two that do not have any apparent connection or link. Instead of holding on to those bottles until the “right” combination comes along, I decided to link all these “random” bottles together, making their own category (and, being the math geek that I am, “random sample” has a bit of a double entendre….

The first two wines come from Domaine Bousquet, which…

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Champagne + Truffles = Amazing Evening With Friends

This winter has been extraordinarily cold in Southwest Virginia so a warm fire in a cozy kitchen surrounded by good friends, truffles and champagne was especially welcoming. andre-champagne-and-bag

We toasted the evening with…

NV André Clouet Champagne 1911

Only 1911 bottles of this Champagne are made each year.

Each bottle is numbered by hand. My bottle number 224 and it was disgorged on April 4, 2016.

Produced in the Bouzy village in the Champagne region (the village name is pronounced “Boozy” which tickles me!) with 100% Grand Cru  Bouzy and Ambonnay Pinot Noir grapes by winemaker Jean-Francois Clouet.

Cuvée 1911 commemorates the year riots broke out in the Champagne region as the local farmers rebelled against the larger houses.  The bottle is wrapped in straw, the same way Jean-Francois Clouet’s great grandfather delivered the champagne to Maxim’s in Paris, France in 1911.

Bottle wrapped in straw makes for a fun conversation piece. We found this bubbly to be an “upside surprise”.  Consistent tiny bubbles that danced around my flute.   Elegant and smooth with a fine mousse.  Notes of hazelnuts, lightly toasted brioche and just a touch of ripe pear. This champagne is reminiscent of the Bollinger style.  André Clouet uses an old Champagne tradition which blends multiple vintages together, in this case 2005, 2002, 2000 vintages were blended together to create this fabulous champagne.  $100 range.

1911 champagne

…accompanied by Beef Tenderloin and Gratin Dauphinois Appetizer Spoons. (topped with horseradish cream sauce and fresh thyme sprigs) Gratin Dauphinois are classic French Potatoes Baked in  whipping cream with grated gruyere cheese. These fabulous potatoes remind me of a very rich variation of scalloped potatoes.  Here’s a link to Julia Child’s recipe for Gratin Dauphinois:


White Truffle Imported From Italy

pasta truffle shaver

Truffle Shaver

pasta with truffles

pasta truffles and porcini mushroomspasta

Perfect Pasta ~  Porcini Mushroom And White Truffle Fettucine

pasta wine

Azelia Barolo Bricco Fiasco 2004. Italian Barolo.   Earthy spices, smoky tobacco, chocolate, orange peel, black cherries, sweet prunes, slight vanilla oak.  Great balance and terrific acidity that paired perfectly with the pasta.

And to top off the evening…

champagne top 1-18champagne turgy

Michel Turgy Champagne ~ Blanc de Blancs ~ 100% Chardonnay from the Grand Cru of Mesnil, the same village that brought us Salon, Krug Clos de Mesnil and Launois. Well balanced with citrus and pastry aromas.

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It’s A Puzzle…Any Idea What This Is?


Dear Readers,

I need your help…

I found this at T J Maxx department store in the housewares/barware section.  I have no clue as to its intended use.  I asked everyone in the store and the cashiers and they did not have an answer.  I put the question on Facebook and Instagram and the best answer so far is a chip and dip bowl. It seems a bit small for chips and dip? If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

Here’s the information that I have so far:

  1.  It costs $12.99
  2. The top and bottom do not have any holes in them.
  3. It is made in India.
  4. I looked on T J Maxx website and Marshall’s website, googled it and searched eBay,  but no luck finding it.

Thank you for your help with this puzzle!

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