You’ve asked and I listened! Here’s a round-up of some of my favorite wines. A mixture of rosés, reds, and whites (including bubbles!) that range from affordable to splurge-worthy.
It’s no secret that I love a good rosé…it’s always the first section my eyes go to on the wine list. More often than not, I prefer a European vineyard – but not necessarily from France as one would imagine. A few years ago I discovered Austrian rosés are my jam! Dry, crisp, and sometimes reminiscent of a rosé and a sauvignon blanc mixed because they are citrus forward. My very favorite is Rosé Zweigelt Vintage 2018, Blauer Zweigelt.
Cost: $12 at Total Wine.
Separately, I love this canned rosé. In my previous post about hosting a girls night in on a budget, I told you about the most amazing organic wine from Scout and Cellar on hand sent to me via my beautiful friend, Becca (it can be ordered here.) This is one of their offerings and I’m digging it for summer days, poolside!
Cost: $35 for a 4 pack (but wait for their sales like I did!)
When celebrating anything, I love a good bubbly option. And when I drink bubbles, it’s usually just that: celebrating a special occasion…so I splurge a little. On our recent 10 year anniversary trip to Sonoma, we visited Gloria Ferrer winery and we both fell in love with their Extra Brut Reserve Cuvée. It’s very dry and not sweet, which I love.
Cost: $50 (members of their wine club receive discounts!)
On the same said trip, we found the most lovely family run winery called Troika. I’m normally not a red person, but all of their reds are beautiful. We ended up subscribing to a mixed case, including this Grenache. Even my husband loved their reds, and he’s definitely not a red drinker. All of them are lovely, so try them all!
Cost: $40 (members of their wine club receive discounts!)
Sauvignon blanc is my OG wine. This Étnico Sauvignon Blanc from Chile is bright, acidic, super crisp and so lovely. It’s now a favorite of mine. Also fromBecca (it can be ordered here.)
There you have it! Some of my favorite wines.
What are you drinking that you love right now? Cheers from my kitchen to yours!
Motherhood, wine and cheese have to be synonymous…don’t you think? Add summer to the mix and VIOLA! You’ve got yourself the perfect ingredients for hosting a girls night in. What’s more: no babysitter required if they bring over their kids to run around and play together with your kids. Moms get to connect and the kids tucker themselves out in the fresh air catching frogs + fireflies. I call that a mom win!
There is something to be said for a warm summer evening alfresco spent sipping wine amongst friends. The magical golden hour that seems to linger on forever is the perfect ambiance for hosting an outdoor soirée. Using this ambiance brings an element all of it’s own to hosting, and throwing something together that compliments the scene doesn’t have to break the bank.
This past weekend I hosted such a gathering to share the details with you on how simple it can be, in partnership with my friends at Roth Cheese.
First, let’s talk ambiance. I grabbed items I already had in our home to bring some charm outdoors: a few throw pillows, a neutral blanket, an antique travel case to double as a table…then set it all up in my backyard. I added a few trays I had as makeshift tables and an ice bucket to keep the wine chilled. Throw in some cloth napkins, plates and wine glasses and you’re all set.
Now let’s discuss the menu. I created this cheeseboard with a budget in mind! The entire thing was made for just $20. Want to go a step further? It’s all 100% organic!
The idea is simple: build a stunning cheeseboard for $20 using a combination of store bought items and pantry staples. For this cheeseboard, I used Roth’s Organic Cheddar and Grand Cru cheeses, then built the board around these flavors.
I prefer to carry color themes throughout my cheeseboards, so I stuck to browns, greens and bright oranges. The finishing touch was some rosemary from my garden for aroma and visual effect.
I also had the most amazing organic wine from Scout and Cellar on hand sent to me via my beautiful friend, Becca (it can be ordered here.) Organic, clean, sans chemicals and NO HANGOVER – that benefit pairs well with everything!
This Sauvignon Blanc from Chile is bright, acidic, super crisp and so lovely. It’s now a favorite of mine that will be stocked for evenings just like these.
Just because you’re the host, doesn’t mean you have to front the entire wine consumption cost! If you have friends as lovely as I do – ask them to bring a bottle of wine to the party. My typical rule of hosting a small gathering is to have at least 2-3 bottles chilled or at the ready, and ask friends to bring 1 to contribute as well. They won’t find it rude.
Aside from that, I always have fresh veggies and hummus on hand, so I put a plate of that on the side and let the main star of the show (the cheeseboard) speak for itself. Here’s a breakdown of cost on how I put this together:
Dried fruit. You can use anything here, but I always have raisins, dried apples and dried mangoes on hand. My kids eat them by the fist full. I chose no sugar added organic dried mangoes.
Nuts. Same idea here, any nuts will do. Those I have on hand on the regular are pistachios, cashews, almonds and peanuts. Occasionally I have Marcona almonds, which are an absolute favorite on cheeseboards, but I didn’t assume those to be as staple in everyone’s pantry. I selected organic lightly salted almonds.
Fried potatoes. I always have an assortment of potatoes in my pantry. It’s not unusual for me take 1-2 potatoes out in the morning and fry them in avocado or olive oil in a skillet. I used 6 baby potatoes, quartered and fried, then added salt and pepper after they were crisp.
Crackers. I feel like this is a staple on every cheeseboard. The crunch is essential in my opinion, and I used an assortment of gluten free crackers that I always have on hand like Crunchmaster and Mary’s Gone Crackers.
There you have it! An entire girls night in (well…in but outside) on a budget. The takeaway? You can put together a beautiful cheeseboard for $20 or less, provide a couple bottles of wine, but then ask your friends to bring an app or bottle to share.
It’s more about sharing in good company and conversation than it is about spending an arm and a leg. Cheers to curating more experiences that linger and practicing hospitality!
Winter in the Midwest can be both beautiful and fierce. This winter, we’ve had a particularly intense season that’s brought one winter storm after another, as well as some drastically cold temps. Even though I’ve lived in Minnesota my entire life, winters here still chill me to the bone.
Add to that the amount of sick people everywhere, I’m always upping my game when it comes to boosting my immune system. I’m pretty minimal in my supplements: I take a daily probiotic, and a Spirulina + Chlorphyll supplement. Otherwise I eat a diet rich in fiber and fermented foods and steer clear of GMO’s and antibiotics.
I believe in the power of food – to heal or harm our bodies. I’ve recently been diving into roots + herbs and love the process of learning that nothing on this earth was created by chance or for waste.
Back to this tea…it’s loaded with ingredients that not only make me feel great, it tastes incredible. Just to dig in a little about the tea’s ingredients: Ginger is great for digestion, inflammation and cold and flu symptoms. Apple Cider Vinegar lowers blood sugar, kills harmful bacteria in your gut + lowers cholesterol. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties from the antioxidants + lowers blood sugar. Cloves aid in detoxing the liver + is high in antioxidants. For good measure, I added my daily dropper of CBD oil to really up my anti-inflammatory game.
This tea is a perfect way to warm up, plus the antioxidants are a great aid to my skin on those frigid, dry winter days. It’s even better when sipped beside a loved one. My girls both love this tea…and tea parties will never be the same.
Cheers from my kitchen to yours!
12 oz filtered water
1 blood orange, juiced + one slice reserved
2 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp. cloves
1 tsp. pure maple syrup (optional)
2″ section of peeled ginger
Add all ingredients to a medium saucepan, including the slice of blood orange.
Bring to a low boil for 5 minutes.
Strain through a fine sieve and divide between two mugs. Or one large mug should you feel so inclined. Sip. Enjoy.
Give me any roasted veggies + I’m an insanely happy woman. Put them in dip form, and the entire house is happy. (Definitely me most of all.) This dip is a nod to the eggplant dip from Black Sheep Pizza in Minneapolis, which never disappoints.
Its creamy, roasted flavors pair well with just about anything.
Especially when consumed sipping a crisp Rosé or Sauv Blanc.
I used large aubergines for this dip, and peeled them to avoid the bitter exteriors. If you use smaller ones, feel free to leave the peels on for added depth of flavor.
We’ll be noshing on this tonight whilst watching the Golden Globes, but definitely making it again in the foreseeable future. Cheers from my kitchen to yours!
2 large eggplants, peeled + diced into uniform sized cubes
4 cloves of roasted garlic
1/4 cup EVOO + 3 tbsp, divided
1/2 jar roasted red peppers + 1/4 cup of the liquid from the jar
4 oz. parmesan cheese, cubed
salt + pepper
Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Slice the top quarter of the garlic head off + place in aluminum foil. Drizzle with 1 tbsp of the EVOO + seal. Put it in the corner of the parchment lined pan. Fill the rest of the pan with the peeled + diced eggplant. Drizzle with 2 tbsp of EVOO and salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
Add the roasted eggplant, red peppers + liquid, garlic cloves, 1/4 cup EVOO + cubed parmesan cheese pieces to a food processor. Puree until you get a smooth consistency.
Place the dip in an oven safe dish and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes.
Remove from oven, drizzle with additional EVOO if desired + serve with toasted bread, chips, crackers or raw veggies.
Christmas is one of my favorite times for so many reasons – and as more Christmases pass by, the more intense my focus on creating vivid memories with family becomes. There is no other holiday that stirs up memories of my childhood as much as this one. There were always weekends spent together in my grandma’s small apple studded kitchen baking, where the scents of coffee mixed with baked goods + laughter the main theme song. My grandma’s laugh filled the room, and her love palpable. Her hugs were as warm as the coffee and when she spoke with you, her focus was on nothing but your words.
She was one of the kindest women I’ve ever met.
This recipe for gingerbread is hers – and my mom’s favorite. As the story goes, after I was born (in the middle of summer) my mom’s only request was for my grandma’s gingerbread. She snuck it into the hospital for my mom, and I can see both women enjoying it knowing not a nurse or doctor could challenge them otherwise. When the women in our family put their mind to something – especially out of love – nothing stands in our way. We are a determined bunch.
These can be made as cut outs + decorated per your whim – or for a simpler treat, bake them in a 9×13 pan as bars. A cinnamon frosting slathered atop them is glorious. I used a decorator icing to pipe, and my girls frosted some then topped with sprinkles. They’re also lovely on their own.
For any gluten free bakers, I substituted Bob’s Red Mill cup for cup Gluten Free flour and they turned out wonderfully.
From my kitchen to yours, enjoy baking with those you love this season!
1 cup room temp butter (my grandma used shortening. I’m a butter girl.)
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup molasses
2 room temp eggs
5 cups AP flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. all spice
1 tsp. cloves
For the Royal Icing:
1 lb powder sugar
2-3 tbsp. whole milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (use Mexican Vanilla if you want a pure white icing)
Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment paper/silpat liner.
Mix the first 4 ingredients well. Add in remaining ingredients and mix until incorporated.
Roll out evenly on a clean surface + cut with your favorite cookie cutters. Repeat with the scraps until all the dough has been used.
Bake cookies 8-10 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling rack + allow to cool completely before frosting/decorating.
Mix the icing by combining the three ingredients until a thick icing is formed. You want it thick enough to avoid running through a piping bag. Add more milk if too dry, more powder sugar if too wet.
Store in a cool, dry place or freeze until a few hours before serving.
Tacos are most definitely a food group in our home. They’re a regular on the menu every week, and that’s because tacos are an already delicious main on their own – but everyone can customize their meal without leaving me feeling like a short order cook. From the simplest two ingredient taco to one mounded with 10 toppings, everybody at the table wins.
Whenever we make tacos, I make a few different filling options for the umami ingredient. My girls love shredded chicken, my husband the standard ground beef and I fluctuate from shrimp to veggie on any given week. But tacos are so simple to repurpose into meals for leftovers – be it in a bowl, burrito, quesadilla or salad.
I recently stepped back into eating a primarily plant based diet, and wanted to expand some options in our taco night repertoire. Into my fridge I went seeking out whatever veggies I had and found 1/2 a carton of cremini mushrooms my husband had used to top pizzas a few days prior. I hate wasting food, but quite honestly I dislike mushrooms almost as much. But I was determined to take on a good challenge and I’m so happy with the results.
The mushrooms on their own were great, but pairing them with slow simmered black beans made this one of my favorite new ways to eat tacos…and that’s saying something. Full of umami and flavor – I invite you to make these for even the biggest omnivore you know!
1 yellow onion, diced into similar size pieces as the mushrooms and divided in half
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp garlic salt, divided
3 tsp. chili powder, divided
1 can organic black beans – unstrained
1 clove minced garlic
4 tbsp EVOO, divided
5 green onions, chopped
Flour or soft corn tortillas, lightly blackened on the stovetop+ all your favorite toppings for tacos (may I suggest avocado, cheese, raw onion, jalapeño peppers, and fresh cilantro.) You do you here!
In a medium size sauce pan, pour in the can of black beans + their liquid. Add the chopped green onions + 1/2 chopped yellow onion, minced garlic, 2 tbsp EVOO, 1.5 tsp chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder + 1 tsp garlic salt to the beans. Simmer on low, covered for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
For the last 10 minutes of the beans simmering, add the remaining 1/2 yellow onion, chopped mushrooms, 2 tbsp EVOO, 2 tbsp butter, 1.5 tsp chili powder + 1 tsp garlic salt to a medium size sauté pan. Sauté on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture becomes a warm brown color + the onions translucent.
Assemble your tacos with equal parts beans and mushrooms, then top with your favorite ingredients. I topped mine with raw red or white onion, fresh avocado slices, cheddar cheese, peppers + loads of fresh cilantro.
*note – I’m a firm believer in using the best quality ingredients that fit your budget. I shop organic as much as possible to both limit GMOs and also enjoy the quality of flavor each ingredient boasts.
Gather with the friends, family or people you love most + share tacos together.
I love sharing freshly baked cookies with people. Not only that, but the baking process is linked to a strong sense of nostalgia for me. It brings me back to being a little girl in my grandma’s kitchen, elbow deep in cookie dough with the aromas of freshly baked cookies and coffee filling my senses. Her laugh floods my senses just as much as the aromas of her tiny little kitchen, bursting at the seams with love.
These cookies are a chewy, sweet marriage of chocolate and coconut. Think chocolate chip cookie meets a coconut macaroon. The key is subbing out butter for Philosophie’s Cacao Magic Superfood Coconut Butter.
As a mom, I aim to practice balance and try to teach my girls the same. To me, that means controlling the quality of ingredients in what we eat. There’s no lack of baking or treats in my home. I don’t give them sugar every day, but when the sweet treats do appear in the kitchen, it’s with a strong degree of filtering out ingredients and ensuring they’re ones of quality.
I’m so glad I discovered Philosophie. Creator, Sophie Jaffe is a mom of three, health and wellness expert, entrepreneur and all around real mama hoping to inspire others to live in an authentic + healthy way. Do yourself a favor and head to their site to browse around. Personally, I love adding their plant based superfoods to my pantry – because they’re quality made superfoods that actually taste good! I also love supporting another mama on a mission of wellness + authenticity!
This recipe yields 24 cookies. Enjoy, from my kitchen to yours!
In my mind, a local co-op should be a staple in your grocery shopping repertoire. Better yet, become an owner in a co-op! Not only will you get amazing deals by being an owner, but you’ll play an integral part in supporting local farmers and purveyors of locally sourced foods. It’s the next best thing to being able to shake hands with the farmer who feeds you – a luxury we don’t always have in the metropolitan area.
The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul have a large offering of co-ops smattered amongst them and I love stopping at each on of them as often as possible. When two great ones in Minneapolis reached out to partner, I immediately jumped at the chance to help promote their offerings.
Wedge and Linden Hills both believe that access to healthy foods promotes strong communities. Not only that, but they work tirelessly to engage in the community, supporting the people who live there with various activities and CSA programs. I absolutely love their goal to encourage education and activism on sustainability, health and nutrition related issues. This is speaking my love language, right here!
One of their partners is Local Crate, which are chef inspired meal kits with as many locally sourced and sustainable ingredients as possible. The kits these co-ops offer change seasonally and meals can be viewed on their site.
(click here for a list of their summer offerings.)
What you’ll find inside the crate are easy to follow step by step directions and
pre-portioned ingredients. From start to finish, you can expect to create a chef
inspired meal for two in under 30 minutes.
As much as I adore creating nutritious meals for my family, having little to think about with meal prep or ingredients every now and again is a welcomed retreat in the kitchen. The meal highlighted below was a Roasted Chicken Shawarma Bowl with Tzatziki, of which my husband and I devoured during a mid-week date night at home.
What I really love (as much as the beautiful ingredients and easy to follow instructions) is that you can create a meal at home with ingredients you may not feel comfortable buying in a large quantity at the store before tasting.
The meal kits are also perfect for the novice or advanced home chef alike.
If you’ve never made Chicken Shawarma – buying the various seasonings in bulk for a dish may feel intimidating. Yet with these meal kits, it’s all included inside and allows you to create a dish that may feel completely outside your comfort zone worry free.
On the other hand, the well seasoned at home cook can also enjoy a night where they can “take a night off” and simply enjoy the ease and comfort of preparing a meal without all the planning and shopping beforehand.
Whatever your skill level in the kitchen – do yourself a favor and head to one of these
co-ops, pick up a Local Crate meal and some other locally sourced goodies, pour yourself a glass of wine…and let the fun begin!
Our family is big on snacks in between meals, and I’m always encouraging my girls to choose healthy snack options as much as possible. My youngest and I can often be found snacking on carrots and hummus, and it’s quickly become one of my favorite go to options. The really beautiful thing about hummus is that it’s such a blank canvas for flavors. From smokey eggplant to jalapeño, I haven’t found one hummus I don’t enjoy.
I particularly love this blend for it’s peppery notes from the red lentils. Lentils are a great source of protein – but they’re also dense in folate, iron and manganese. I try to provide my family with plant based sources of iron as much as possible, and often “sneak” lentils into soups, chili or this creamy hummus. They also pack a great punch of B6 vitamin, which is key for brain and nervous system functions.
Edit this recipe as you see fit with fresh herbs or spice. I decided to whir in some red pepper flakes at the last minute to give it a little more kick. Fresh jalapeños would compliment the lentils as well. I love hummus with a tiny bit of texture, so I didn’t puree it until it was velvety smooth, though you certainly can. Finish it off with some extra EVOO drizzled atop and fresh herbs or more red pepper flakes. We love to dip fresh raw veggies, crackers or bean chips into our hummus; but choose what you love most. Enjoy and thanks for stopping by! Cheers from my kitchen to yours.
3/4 cup cooked red lentils
15 oz. can organic chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup organic tahini
1/4 cup EVOO, plus more for drizzling
juice of 1 small lemon
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp cane sugar
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic salt (I added just a touch more at the end)
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional) plus more for garnish
Rinse lentils and cook according to the package instructions. (I cooked 1 cup dried lentils and had a bit leftover of which I used in another dish.)
Add all ingredients to a food processor and puree until you get desired texture. If you prefer your hummus a bit thinner, add a little more EVOO.
Transfer to a serving bowl and chill. Drizzle with EVOO and any other garnish you’d like, then serve with your favorite crunchy snack.
FACT: I absolutely cannot watch horror/thriller movies. My overactive imagination prevents me from separating fiction from fact and runs wild. Then I get the craziest nightmares. Being we have two littles who are known to throw middle of the night raves, we don’t need help in the loss of sleep department.
So when I chose Get Out as the film to theme a dish around for an Oscar’s recipe roundup with some talented ladies (see below for a full list of recipes,) I had to laugh at myself a little. I then did what seemed most logical and read the entire synopsis online vs watching it. (Still got nightmares btw.)
Without giving away too much of the plot line: the movie stems around an interracial couple, Rose and Chris. They go away for the weekend to meet Rose’s parents. Chris notices very unusual behavior from the black housekeeper and groundskeeper at the family home. Her parents, a hypnotherapist and a neurosurgeon, have a horrifying way of combining black and white and the weekend strays far from what Chris (or the viewer) would ever anticipate.
These cookies are a much sweeter end than the movie produces (seriously twisted ending to the movie) but are a great recipe to bring to your Oscar’s parties as a nod to the best picture nominated film, Get Out.
I also happen to be a huge Seinfeld fan and can never talk about a Black + White Cookie without thinking about that episode. “Oh look Elaine, the black and white cookie. I love the black and white. Two races of flavor living side by side in harmony.”
The batter is thick and produces a very cake-like, dome shaped cookie. Because a.) I have an affinity for cake-like cookies, and b.) they taste better. Total fact. IT’S A CAKE IN COOKIE FORM!! Sorry for the yelling. I just get really excited about this.
Once cooled, you flip them over and frost the flat side. With the most gooey and decadent white + chocolate glazes. The recipe yields approximately 10-12 large cookies. This recipe makes a delicious gluten free version that no one is the wiser, but you can sub out your favorite AP flour if you’re not running in the GF crowd.
One thing to note: as soon as you mix the ingredients together, don’t over mix and spoon the dough out onto two baking sheets then bake immediately. The baking soda reacts once it combines with the wet ingredients and the longer you let the batter sit, the less evenly the cookies will bake.
For the cookies:
1/2 cup room temp butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1.5 cups 1:1 GF flour mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
3/4 tsp. baking soda
For the frosting:
2 cups powder sugar, divided
1/2 cup boiling water, divided (you may not use it all)
2 tbsp. butter
2.8 oz. dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 350.
Cream together butter and sugar. Then mix in the eggs, vanilla and milk.
Stir in dry ingredients until combined.
Spoon out heaping tablespoons of the dough onto silpat lined baking sheets. (The cookies will be approximately 4″ in diameter once baked.)
Bake 8-10 minutes until edges are golden brown. After 5 minutes, transfer to wire racks and cool completely.
While the cookies cool, make the frosting by whisking 1 cup of the powder sugar in a mixing bowl with 1/8 cup of the hot water. If it’s too thick, add 1 tbsp. at a time of the hot water until it reaches a thick, spreadable consistency.
Spread the white frosting on half of each cooled cookie.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate and butter until combined.
Repeat step 6 then add the melted chocolate/butter mixture. Spread the chocolate frosting on the other half of each cookie.
EAT THE COOKIES!
To find a full menu inspired by the best pictures, follow the links below: