Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wine Wednesday :: Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne

***This post is getting up late this week and I apologize.  I came down with some weird cold thing earlier this week and then baby got it yesterday.  Thus computer time was limited.  I hope this makes up for it.  =)***

Hello dear readers!  Here we are at yet another Wine Wednesday.  Crazy thought, I realized that I could probably keep this series going for a very long time and never exhaust all the wonderful wines that have been and are still being created in this world.  So let's raise a glass and discuss a great new wine that I highly recommend to you folks.

This past Saturday, the hubby, kiddo, and I were invited to a sushi party at our friends' home.  It was an amazing dinner but more on that later.  I wanted to bring a a beverage of some sort (our hostess is an amazing woman who wouldn't let me bring anything to help with dinner).  So I turned to my friend/wine adviser for a suggestion and he said to do champagne.  Only in this case, he recommended a cremant de bourgogne.  Are you asking what is the difference?  Good question, I asked the same thing.  (Well, I asked what's the difference right after I asked him how to pronounce that.)

To make a long and complicated story shorter, the difference is in the region of France it comes from rather than any major difference in the essence of the grape or winemaking style.  French wine makers jealously guard the right to claim where their wine comes and so only wines made in Champagne are champagnes.  Both wines fall under the general category of sparkling wine but each comes from a different region in France.

Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne Sparkling Brut: from Wine Exchange or Wine Searcher
Louis Bouillot Cremant de Bourgogne Rose Perle Aurore: from Wine Exchange or Wine Searcher
So back to the main feature: cremant and sushi.  It was an amazing pairing!  My personal favorite was the rose cremant.  It was refreshing, palate cleansing, and not over powering to the main event (which was the mountains of sushi we were about to set in on).  Just imagine a refreshing glass of bubbly to go with the richness and fatness of good salmon and tuna.  
This picture was early in the evening before all the food came out relegating the flowers to  another space.
Near to far: shrimp, yellowtail tuna, and assorted veggies.
Clams, octopus, salmon, and spam musubis.
Isn't it beautiful?!
The requisite miso soup and sake cup!
The big picture.  =)
While some people ate, the little one went and had some fun on the floor.  =)
That was my Saturday night dinner and my Wine Wednesday suggestion!

Have a beautiful day and go get something good to drink!

Monday, July 23, 2012

make it better Monday :: play date!

It seems like life just keeps on going and I can't quite seem to catch my breath.  But however poor my time management skills may be, there have been some fantastic little moments that I love having the opportunity to remember while I write this post for make it better Monday!

I have to say, play dates are one of my favorite parts of being a mom.  The kid gets lots of energy out and I get to spend some time with some fabulous women!  These are some pictures from last week's play date!

like my twinsie Kristin from Petal and Thorn.  Yes, I talk about her a lot.  Yes, she is awesome.  Yes, you should go check her out if you haven't already. =)  The hats are from Urban Outfitters if you are wondering.  =)
Hito had the perfect smile right before the camera clicked...  But my friend Jennie looks cute, doesn't she?!
Aren't these mammas beautiful?  It ended up being hat day for most of us.  =P  Their little girls are the  cutest too!
And then we get home and this kid still finds the energy to come home and pull pretty nearly every toy in the box.  =P 
All told, despite getting sick over the weekend, it has been great just chilling with the hubby and kiddo, sleeping, and reading.  All great summer activities even if I was forced to do them because I was sick.  =P  

Have a beautiful day, everyone!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wine Wednesday :: 2007 J.L. Wolf Wachenheimer Belz Riesling

Hello everyone!  Welcome back to another Wine Wednesday!  I am totally in love with this wine that I am sharing with you today and it is a great summer wine that will not break your budget!

Today, I have a wine that is crisp, clean, and extremely refreshing for the warmer weather that most of us are enjoying!  J.L. Wolf Wachenheimer Belz Riesling is fantastic!

I think I may have found one of my new favorite wineries for white wines.  J.L. Wolf makes several fantastic wines.  I have had their 2009 Wachenheimer Riesling also - with the same great experience!

The hubby and I opened this bottle last night for a little late night relaxation (the baby is teething so life has been more than a little hectic).  While we didn't have a full meal with this, it isn't hard to imagine having this wine with something beautifully fried.  =P  (Maybe these pig ears that I talk about over in this post.)

When you smell it, the wine smells like apple pie before you bake it.  There is a spicy, tart, scent to it.  When you take a sip, that green apple taste is predominant with some undercurrents of white pepper or the bite that you get when you eat arugula.  (No, the wine does not taste like arugula but there is that almost bitter taste that you get when bitting into a leaf.)

All in all, I have had two different rieslings from this maker and love them both.  You can find bottles for anywhere from $10 - $30 depending on the year and vineyard it is sourced from.

Check it out!  I think you will like it!

Have a beautiful day and get a bottle of wine to drink!  =)

Monday, July 16, 2012

make it better Monday :: 10 month musings...

It has been a while since I've done a make it better Monday post but since today is also Hito's 10 month mark, I thought it would be appropriate.  =)

Man, I have had a baby around for 10 months now...whodathunk?  I mean, I knew he was coming, well, I knew a baby was coming (we didn't find out if he was going to be a boy or girl before he came).  And I knew it was going to be a journey.  But I guess I didn't expect all of this.  The joy, the disregard for the state of my house because I'd rather spend time with the kid, the ridiculous happiness when I see pictures like this...

He is learning how to use the things that he used to just wing around, he is pulling himself up on anything he thinks is remotely stable.  The pace of life is increasing rapidly...

 But still he smiles...and I smile.  Mostly because his is so darn infectious...I can't help it.  Even when I'm praying with all my might to keep it all under control because he won't nap and I have things that need to get done.  Ah well.  God knows.  And so on this Monday, it is a better Monday.  Even if he hasn't had a good nap and isn't wanting to pay attention when he is eating and has been fussying a lot today.  We smile because he still is so excited to see me or dad or to pull himself up again and again.  Not all of this may make sense today.  But let me just say it again.  It is a better Monday because I have been blessed.  With smiles, family, and a 10 month old baby.

Have a beautiful day.

Friday, July 13, 2012

a crazy week full of precious moments

Hello Hue Little Things

It has been a full week.  And I mean full in every sense of the term.  Both in terms of what I needed to do and the things I got to do with my family, the moments I treasure.
the family got to have some beach time and enjoyed a warm weather treat.  a kind stranger came up to us and told us that she had to take our picture because Hito was so excited and smiling so big about having his first shave ice!  I am rather in love with this picture.  
he got a little brain freeze.  =P
it was super yummy!
he passed out that night.  =)
a great bottle of wine that I talk about here
a little book I picked up for some summer reading...I finished it in two days.  It was really good!

we had some precious mommy and baby moments...

anyone else go and get donuts during their 75th birthday celebration?!  Happy birthday, Krispy Kreme!
and did you know that some stores have clearance on their flowers?!?!  I got a dozen roses and these sunflowers (as far as I can learn, they are called teddy bear sunflowers.  anyone want to help me out on this one?)

But all in all, it has been a wonderful week and I am endeavoring to savor the little things and work on the big ones.  Linking up with Lindsay over at Hello Hue for her Friday linky party!

Have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wine Wednesday :: 2011 Domaine de la Solitude Cotes du Rhone Rose

Hello folks!  It's hump day again and from where I sit in Southern California, it is also a HOT day.  So today, I have a refreshing summery wine that will pair beautifully with a salad or a steak (preferably tuna steak but I'm getting ahead of myself).

I started hunting around for a wine for this week's post and asked my friends who know what to drink.  And here is what I came up with: 2011 Domaine de la Solitude Cotes du Rhone Rose at $12.99 a bottle at my still favorite wine shop: Wine Exchange. (Looking for it somewhere closer to you?  Check out Wine Searcher:  Does it get much better than that?   Good wine at fabulous prices!

So I have been promising to post pictures of the food I have been eating with the wine I've been drinking and I have finally done it!  Since I knew I was going to be drinking a rose, I decided to make a hearty salad and put the protein on top.  So this is what I ended up with: 

Somen salad with seared tuna steaks on top.  The salad is just somen noodles (I found them at my local Asian market but you could use any kind of rice noodle), lettuce, cucumber, celery, green onions, and cilantro tossed in a store bought Asian sesame dressing.  And then the hubby pan seared the tuna with a little sea salt and cracked pepper (the tuna was an amazing gift from a deep sea fisherman in our church!) and we were ready to eat!

The wine has some very apple-y notes when you sniff the nose.  Think crunchy, tart, Australian apple (I thought it tasted like a Brae-burn apple myself).  Blended in with the apple are some wildflowers and a hint of something spicy, like white pepper.  Don't know what that might taste like in a wine?  Good.  It tasted really good.  =)  And when paired with the sesame dressing on the salad and the tuna, it was amazing!  A wonderful, healthy, light summer meal.  

(If you aren't a fish person, you could easily use fish or pork tenderloin or some other lighter meat if you are going to pair it with this wine.  Traditionally, a somen salad would have char siu pork on top but I wasn't going to make any yesterday.  And I thought the fish was definitely a good choice!  Salmon would also be delish on this.)

Have a beautiful day and go find a good bottle of wine!

Friday, July 6, 2012

it's the moments that fly by...

Babies and mommies.  I have been blessed to have some great play dates with women in my church this summer.  One of them is the extremely talented Kristin over at Petal and Thorn Handmades (check her out if you haven't seen her work already!).  As I have been spending more time with this wonderful women, I have been blown away by how God prepares things for us before we even get to a situation or a trial.  Life is never static and my other mommas have been such an encouragement to me.

This past week, I actually remembered to grab the camera as I ran out the door to meet Kristin.  Here are some of the pictures that we got from the day (they came out rather well if I do say so myself).

they're going to be super good friends =)
playing in the water
i got a picture with my growing boy!
playing with photoshop  =P
watching the little girl enjoy all the fountains (and Kristin is rockin' the new ring you can find in my Etsy shop!  but she always looks so stinking cute...)
the problem with water is that sometimes unstable little ones can slip - hence the sad face on momma.  Sisi was over it pretty quick though.  =)
 I will never get enough of play dates that involve coffee, conversation, and cute hats.  But more on the hats later.  =)

Have a beautiful day and a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wine Wednesday :: A Dinner to Remember part 2

Happy 4th of July, everyone!  I hope you have wonderful plans for time with friends and family and to remember the great gift we have of freedom and liberties in America.

But here, ladies and gentlemen, I finish the saga of our "Foie-maggedon" adventures.  Last week, you heard me write at length about a great many wonderful dishes.  The best are yet to come.

 And this is the main event.  These two dishes were what we came to see - and more particularly, eat.  The first two pictures are of the foie gras pate and porcini mushroom ravioli in chicken consumme.  You would not believe how amazing that dish was.  Doesn't it look like a simple thing?  One ravioli, a little bit of foie gras tourchon, and chicken soup.  A little taste of what Wolfgang Puck might make for himself when he was sick.  I don't know why you would make this when you're sick but it was so supremely wonderful that you can't help wishing you could get it when sick. =)  

The second dish is the classic saute foie gras.  It is moist, warm, and succulent.  This particular preparation was served over a piece of sweet bread and a bed of cooked peaches.  Along with this classic dish, we had a traditional wine pairing.  Or rather, three...  =)  I have a friend who likes to over do it with wine sometimes.  Ok, not really.  We were celebrating the end of our freedom to eat in California and took advantage of it.  So we had three Sauterne wines from the same maker but different vintages.  Chateau Lafaurie-Payraguey makes some heavenly sauternes.  If the foie-gras wasn't enough, this certainly put us into other worlds.  We had an 1986, 2003, and 2005.  If you have never had a 25 year old bottle of wine at any point in your life, I would highly recommend you try.  If you have never had a 25 year old sauterne in your life....well, I think you might be out of luck because we all went hunting for more bottles after this dinner and came up empty.  But you should definitely try tasting at least some sauterne if you have never had it.  

Wines like sauternes pair wonderfully with rich dishes.  A sauterne is often times more viscus of a wine than your normal red or white.  It has a more honey-like taste and feel.  Often it is complimented with wonderful citrusy and exotic flavors that make it the perfect compliment to something so fatty and succulent as foie-gras or other such dishes (certain cheeses and even fried foods go well).  Or if you just want it for a wonderful dessert wine, this is a good start!

And our journey is almost over.  These last three dishes were the end of our evening (and my camera phone was not playing nice for these).  The first picture is of a corn potash (a thick soup) with shaved black truffles and drizzled in truffle oil.  Holy cow...almost as good as the foie-gras. Almost.  =)  The last two pictures are of our dessert.  Panna cotta.  The food of gods and an amazing finish to this meal.  Vanilla, perfect texture, creamy, and paired with an almond biscotti...we were all about ready to die when we finished.  The last picture is of my new friend, Amelia.  She is one of the owners of Marche Moderne and the maker of this divine dessert.  She came and checked on us and we kind of gushed about everything...Peter wanted a picture with his hero.  =)

All in all, an evening to remember.  Ironic that it is the 4th of July and there is now a ban on this food.  =)

I hope you all have a beautiful day and wonderful bottle of wine!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

a time to...

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, And a time to heal;
A time to break down, And a time to build up; 
A time to weep, And a time to laugh;
 A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, And a time to lose;
A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
A time to tear, And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
A time to love, And a time to hate;
A time of war, And a time of peace.
What profit has the worker from that in which he labors?  I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.  He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
~Ecclesiastes 2.1-11~

Recently, I have been presented with several situations that have once again impressed on me the shortness of our time.  A dear college friend and I remembered that we graduated from college three long/short years ago and contemplated how our siblings and parents have all grown up and gotten older.  My once tiny baby is now nine and a half months old.  Friendships are growing and I want more and more time with these wonderful people.  My third wedding anniversary is rushing towards me at breakneck speed.  My brother is deploying to Afghanistan in the Army for nine months, leaving his new wife (they have only been married for three months) behind.  

With all of these different cases, the reality is clear.  I choose what is important to me in the time that I am given by what I choose to do.  God has given all of us a specific amount of time.  What are you doing with it?

I am afraid that I often fill my time with worries, frustrations, and silly little things.  Why do I do that?!  God has put eternity in our hearts and we feel so often the shortness of the time He has given us on this earth.  Put it to use for Him! He is making everything beautiful in its time...even me.  Even this poor, silly, jealous, selfish girl who wants so badly to be a woman for my God.

So as I worry about whether I vacuumed this week, did dishes yet, organized those silly papers on my desk, there are people and tasks out there that actually will fulfill my God-given task which mirrors His.  I am part of His process to make everything beautiful!  I have friends who are weeping this week who need comfort and company, family who is savoring the last few times we get to talk to my brother regularly, and babies to laugh with and watch as they grow physically and spiritually.  

Is this making any sense yet?  I'm not sure I'm making sense to myself entirely.  But this is what I am really trying to say.  Your time is short.  God has things for you to do.  Do them.  Don't get caught up in the silly and petty.  Dishes will always be there.  Your opportunity to laugh with your baby, talk to a family member, or pray for someone, may not be.  

Have a beautiful day, dear friends.
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