Wine About Winter

The BOY and I hosted our first ever ‘Wine’ About Winter Party last night!

 

IMG_1050

 

It included wine tasting, food, and games and was a total BLAST!

 

IMG_1058

 

Everyone decorated their own wine glasses, and when all of the bottles arrived, the tasting began. 

 

IMG_1063

 

There was some discussion about how to do the rating, and in the end, we went with a 1-10 system.  The whole tasting was definitely interesting since some of our guests don’t drink wine.

 

IMG_1055 IMG_1056

 

For appetizers, we did an antipasto plate complete with fresh cheeses, honey, fruit, and nuts.

 

IMG_1053

 

For the main course, we did meatball sandwiches with a tasty winter salad (made by one of my friends).  Dessert was fruit skewers with pound cake, strawberries, and mallows, red velvet cake, and hot chocolate snack mix (recipe to come).  Plus a few rounds of Likewise and Apples to Apples followed by a hot chocolate bar.

 

IMG_20140111_152125793

 

The winner was a Robert Mondavi Meritage and most of the bottles were empty by the time everyone left with their take home gift of mini muffins and Door County Jam.

 

IMG_1062

 

Our party was a huge success, and we are already planning a summer themed fajita and beer tasting night.

 

IMG_20140111_194024295

 

And I have some great ideas for next year’s Second Annual Wine About Winter Party!

 

 

Rowena’s Sour Cream Pound Cake

From Tastebook

 

Ingredients

3 Cups All purpose flour

3 Cups Sugar

1/2 lb butter (2 sticks)

6 Large Eggs

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 Cup Sour cream

2 tsp almond extract

 

Directions

Sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder.

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and mix until all yellow is gone. Add flour mixture to butter mixture. Add sour cream and extract.

Preheat oven to 250. Place batter in greased and floured tube pan. Bake At 250 for 15 min. Turn oven up to 300 degrees and bake 1 hour or until done.

 

FOR SKEWERS:

Cut pound cake into cubes.  You can freeze it like this if making ahead of time.  Place cake, strawberries, and marshmallows on a skewer.  Drizzle with chocolate if desired.

Making Whoopie

I am not sure why this one is so exhausted…it’s not like she ran 20 miles this morning!!!

IMG_5285

IMG_5290

 

As I have been hinting in the past few posts, I have taken one of my favorite flavors, pumpkin, and turned it into a wonderful dessert using my brand new Whoopie Pie pan. Since I knew I would be tired from the run, I started the process last weekend, making the pumpkin cakes. Today, it was time to make the filling and put everything together for a celebration with friends this evening. I was inspired by the change in seasons and of course my Whoopie Pies Book. This fanstastically fun book has a whole bunch of tasty cakes and creative fillings that you can mix and match.  They even have a bacon-flavored filling!  I borrowed my post title from one of the chapters in the book.IMG_5211

 

On Monday, I made the two cakes.  I thought using my new pan (found on clearance at Sur La Table) would be fun and time efficient.  I froze the cakes in an airtight container for the week and pulled them out to thaw this morning.

IMG_5212IMG_5213

IMG_5224IMG_5235IMG_5236

 

After a quick nap this afternoon, I got to work on the cream cheese frosting.  There are only four simple ingredients needed to make this filling.  I started with cream cheese and butter at room temperature and then added in powdered sugar and vanilla extract.  The result…a thick and rich cream cheese flavored frosting that pairs perfectly with pumpkin.

IMG_5292IMG_5293

 

My only question was how to transport the dessert.  I thought about putting it together at my destination, but instead decided to put everything together on a serving plate and cover it with Press and Seal.  I spread my cream cheese in between the cakes making a large Whoopie Pie.  I was a little nervous about the cakes falling apart, but they were easy to handle, most likely because they were frozen.  I sprinkled pumpkin pie seasoning over the top.

IMG_5294IMG_5295

IMG_5296IMG_5297

 

The Whoopie Pie looked so delicious, it took all of my will power not to cut myself a sliver right away.  You know I was thinking about this spunky dessert throughout my entire run this morning.  I even discussed it with my new friend as we shared our love of pumpkin and pumpkin desserts.  The Whoopie Pie was a HUGE success at the party even though most people had never heard of one.  I will have to brush up on my Whoopie Pie history and facts (all found in the book) before my next party.  It was definitely a topic of conversation!  We cut it like a pie and it tasted amazing on this chilly night.

IMG_5299

IMG_5298  

IMG_5301

IMG_5303

IMG_5302

All in a Day’s Work (Without going to work)

I have gotten so much done today…it feels amazing!  The upstairs is looking so much better and the second bedroom will be ready for company tomorrow night.  Look who even helped out with the dishes.

IMG_2487

I am waiting for the BOY to come home from work to eat dinner.  I made a hodgepodge dinner with my remaining spinach, Chard, and bok choy…along with whole grain couscous and grilled chicken. Quite the combination!

IMG_2530

Meanwhile, I have spent my post-cleaning time in the kitchen.  Remember the yellow cake with chocolate chips the BOY requested for this weekend.  Well, I frosted the cake AND added sprinkles…because really, what is a cake without sprinkles???

IMG_2436     IMG_2437

Initially, I had trouble finding the frosting in the pantry, which is where I KNOW that I put it.  I found it hiding out behind my canned pumpkin in the fridge with a few scoops missing.  This is what happens…when I am away for one night…the BOY eats frosting for dinner?!

IMG_2495     IMG_2504

My cake turned out cute…beautiful frosting has never really been my strength, but I am sure it will taste great!  It was tempting to try some frosting, but because of the HFCS I decided against it.  See my June Eat Clean Pledge HERE.  I didn’t even lick off my very frosted fingers.

IMG_2505   IMG_2507   IMG_2508

IMG_2502   IMG_2503

I also made my first ever batch of homemade almond butter.  I found Ashley’s recipe for Maple Roasted Cinnamon Almond Butter on her blog Edible Perspectives months ago.  Apparently she has updated it since then because my version was slightly different.  I love grinding my own almonds at the WF and knew I had to try it at home.

IMG_2497

My mom supplied the almonds.  I doubled the recipe and began with 2 cups.  I added 3 T maple syrup and baked for 15 minutes, stirring often as recommended.

IMG_2498  IMG_2499   IMG_2510

I let the almonds cool for 10 minutes before adding them to the food processor.  I can not tell you how loud the noise was initially.  I see now that Ashley recommends only cooling for 5 minutes.

   IMG_2514IMG_2515

IMG_2516 IMG_2517

I poured myself a glass of wine and waited patiently!  Check out my new wine glass.  I stole borrowed it from the Flying Saucer in Memphis to help me with portion control.

IMG_2512   IMG_2513

I stirred occasionally and watched the butter become smoother. After 10 minutes, I added a dash of kosher salt, cinnamon and  more syrup.  5 more minutes in the food processor and then I streamed in Safflower oil (that’s what I had in the kitchen) to make a smooth butter.

IMG_2518   IMG_2520

All I can say is OMG!!!  This almond butter (which is still warm from the food processor) is absolutely positively UNBELIEVEABLE!  You have to try this!  I have been licking the spatula, bowl, and blade all evening.

   IMG_2523   IMG_2521

After a busy and productive day, the BOY surprised me with flowers.  They’re from Honduras!  He has a client who brings them to the office and then I benefit when he brings them home.

   IMG_2525   IMG_2524

Although we don’t often keep flowers around for this reason…

IMG_2526   IMG_2527

Luckily, they are hiding safely now!  Well, it’s been a busy day and I am heading off to bed!  Good Night!