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Strong Coffee to Red Wine Posts

Green Beans with Corn, Avocado, and Mint

We were having dinner last Saturday at my sister’s house. A family friend was in town, and so we were all gathering. Since it is at my sister’s house, she drives the menu. And to say, she has some favorite items that she likes to make, is an understatement. While the sauce, gravy or rub may change it is always pork tenderloin, and the vegetable is also always roasted green beans. It got so frequent that I presented her with a picture of a pig showing all the various cuts of meat and about ten recipes for green beans. Ah, Choices! …

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Thirty Years – Life Together

Thirty years ago today, Gary and I went on our first date. We have been a couple ever since. Back then marriage was not an option so we were just together and that was enough. We moved in together about ten months later when our leases expired. As time passed, that date, June 18th, became our anniversary. Like all couples, there were a few bumps in the road during our first year, but after that, we settled into coupledom with ease. I hear folks talk about relationships being “hard,” and I understood because I watched couples around us struggle. But…

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White Wine: Step Out of Your Box

If I had to guess what white wine you had in your fridge right now, I’d say Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. I would also imagine that if you drink Chardonnay, you would only drink a Sauvignon Blanc if that was your only option and visa versa. It is now time to step out on your white wine and try something new, and I am here to offer some suggestions. Aren’t you glad this is not a post on box wine? I bet that is what you thought when you read the title.  I gotcha! White Wine Varieties There are somewhere around ten thousand varieties of wine…

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Ceviche! With Shrimp and Scallops

It is about this time every year that I start to crave ceviche. Vegetables are local and fresh, and the shrimp is also from just down the road. Lime is the perfect acid to “cook” the seafood. It is bright, clean and oh so delicious. And let’s not forget, you do not need to turn on the stove other than to boil the shrimp for a few minutes so the kitchen stays cool. Now speaking of fresh. Gary and I are growing one tomato plant, and our first tomato is in the ceviche. Unfortunately, our second tomato was bitten and only…

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Napa Valley: A Wine Lover’s Playground Pt 1

Last week, I had the good fortune to be one of twenty-nine writers to attend the inaugural Wine Writers’ Educational Tours conference. It was held in Napa Valley, California. Over the course of forty-three classroom hours in four days we visited nine wineries, walked four vineyards, and tasted over 130 wines. We learned from fifty of Napa Valley’s best and brightest winemakers, winery and vineyard owners, vineyard managers and wine educators. As if that is not enough the sampled wines included 23 grape varieties from all 17 Napa Valley AVAs*. They ranged in age from 40-years old to just bottled. While I was…

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Repour – A Fantastic New Wine Preserver

A Video Post I am trying something new this week and made a video post. Trust that I have no idea what I am doing as far as video editing is concerned so this was all done in a single take on my iPhone. Yeah, if I knew how to edit a digital video, I could have changed a few things and made it “more professional.” But this is what it is, and I actually love it and think it’s not bad for a first try. Besides this post is more about seeing than reading, so I hope you enjoy. Repour The Affordable Wine Preserver…

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Fennel Orange & Arugula Salad

Why I only buy fennel when its warm outside is beyond me. I love this herb/vegetable and the mild, anise flavor that it brings to any salad. A few years back at an olive oil tasting it was served on its own with just a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. It was then that I realized that fennel could be the star or focal point of a salad as well. I have been craving fennel for a few weeks now, and so it seemed like the perfect time to make up a salad for my lunch.…

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New Wines and Great Food

Even as someone who thrives on trying new places, I still need to visit some of my old haunts now and then. It is fun to see what new wines they are pouring and to try something new on the menu. In this post, I am sharing two such experiences. The first is about the incredible new wines I found. The the second a fantastic take on “Eggs Benedict.” @goat.sheep.cow.north One of my favorite old haunts is the wine bar and fromagerie goat.sheep.cow.north. “Old” here is a relative term because it has not even been open for two years yet. No matter…

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Spring Green Tomato Salad

Growing up we had a garden in the backyard and there was always tomato plants. Inevitably a few green tomatoes would be picked so we could make fried green tomato sandwiches. Thinly sliced, dredged in flour then fried in butter until crispy. Stack the slices between to buttered pieces of white bread and we were off to the races. During tomato season this was always what we did in summer before the ripening started. Gary and I decided to try our hand at growing a tomato plant in a container this year. We may have started it a bit late since tomato…

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Riesling from Smith-Madrone * Napa Valley

This is the last of my three posts starring the Smith-Madrone family of wines that I was fortunate enough to taste. You will recall that I sampled the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon which melted my heart with its perfect harmony and their 2015 Chardonnay, a fantastic California Chard that goes easy on the “butter” and complexity is king. This third and final bottle is the 2014 Smith-Madrone Riesling. This tasting brought me back to the restaurant gig I had in college where I was first introduced to wine. (other than Boones Farm, my wine of choice in high school.) Ok, sing it with me folks, “Memories,…

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Easy Last Minute Appetizer & Gifts for Mom

Recently I had a couple of situations when I needed to make an appetizer for a party or event. The ask came up last minute, and so I needed to scramble to find something that would be quick and easy.  I have two quickies for you. Sandwiched between the recipes, I figured that some of you may still have some shopping to do for your mom. I have a few affordable wine gifts for your last minute Mother’s Day shopping. Easy Appetizer: Velveeta Sausage Dip I am sure that everyone has seen a recipe like this one. My sister really likes to…

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Score! by Wine Critics

What Does a Wine Score Tell You? At least ten years ago, maybe longer, I was shopping the wine section at Costco. I saw a bottle of wine that was under $20.00 (not unusual for Costco), and it had a Robert Parker score of 96 points. (not the wine pictured below) I picked up a bottle and placed it in my cart. If internationally renowned wine critic Robert Parker liked this wine, it must be fantastic. As you continue reading, you may think I was a bit naive. Well, I was. But at the time I was not schooled nor trained about wine…

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Le Farfalle * Fine Italian Cuisine * Bravo!

Le Farfalle has been open for 18 months, and I had yet to give it a try. Honestly, new restaurants are opening in Charleston almost every month throughout the year. Some make it, and some don’t because this is a food town and “good” is just not good enough to make it. Le Farfalle came to Charleston with great fanfare, but as we all know hype is not always deserved. So, I usually let a new place get its legs and will wait for the “grand opening crowds” to die out. I will read a few reviews, and listen to…

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Blue Planet Eyewear & A Napa Wine

At Least Once a Day… … I get asked where I got my glasses or a compliment about my glasses. Sadly this specific frame is no longer available, but the company has other really cool eyewear. Ah, I am getting ahead of myself. The frames you see in this picture of me started out as sunglasses. It was during our annual trip to Provincetown that we wandered into a men’s clothing and accessory store, and I found these (as sunglasses). I put them on and immediately fell in love with them. You see, I have been in search of new frames for my…

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Nostalgic Tuna Noodle Casserole

I grew up in a time when the casserole was king. Lately, I have been nostalgic for my mom’s Tuna Noodle Casserole. This meal was always one she could put all together in the morning and bake it off later after volunteering at the community center with her friend Phyllis, selling pool memberships. We all loved this dish so much. It is so simple and filling; just what she needed when raising four kids. Gary was also craving it which meant I had to swap out the mushroom soup with other complementary flavors. I used Cream of Onion and Cream of…

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