Holiday Entertaining with Beaujolais Nouveau

Fun holiday table. #spon #CelebrateBNThis post was sponsored on behalf of Georges Duboeuf and One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.

Some years I feel like decorating with untraditional colors. But right now, I’m totally into the classic red and green. Although I am not planning on having any holiday parties this year, I’m sure something will pop up more last-minute. With just a little greenery and hints of gold, I’m going to be ready for any guests that turn up. This post was created to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau. Have you ever had it?

A fun holiday table and entertaining ideas. #spon #CelebrateBNAside from having good food for your holiday guests, it’s always good to have some delicious beverages as well. And I always love when there is something a little extra exciting that you can share with your guests that they may not have experienced before. If you don’t know, every year, under French law, at 12:01 on the third Thursday in November, Beaujolais Nouveau wine is released. The first time I heard about this was almost 15 years ago. I wasn’t even a wine drinker back then. But when I heard that you couldn’t get the wine until that third Thursday, which often coincides with Thanksgiving, I knew I had to track down a bottle. It seemed so extraordinary.  I called around to ask who would carry it and headed out, to pick up a bottle for our Thanksgiving meal. The fruity, easy-to-drink wine’s light fermentation means that both red and white wine lovers should enjoy it.  Which makes it just right for holiday celebrations. And you drink it slightly chilled (just 15 minutes in the fridge prior to drinking), which makes it a little more unusual for a red wine. It was exciting to get to try something that had just been released! Most of your guests will probably not know about this celebratory wine. So you can be the first to share it with them and be part of that memory.

Simple holiday flower arrangement. #spon #CelebrateBNGeorges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is all about experiencing life’s simple pleasures and nature’s seasonal gifts. I decided to pair festive, berry-like branches with calla lillies and pine branches to create easy flower arrangements. They were easy to put together but really helped the table to feel more holiday festive. Something I am trying to be better about is keeping fresh flowers around. By mixing flowers bought at the market and plants from around your yard, you can create really easy centerpieces for unexpected or last-minute guests.

Holiday tablesetting with green and red, plaid and gold. Keeping it classic. #spon #CelebrateBNMy place settings include just a colorful napkin and an extra piece of greenery to add a special touch. I added candles to the table to create a glow and the table came together really fast. There is no need to get stressed out during the holidays. Now is not the time to go all out and impress everyone with your mad hosting skills. To me, now is the time to really enjoy, and be present, with your friends and family. Who cares if your silverware (stainless steel) doesn’t match the gold hues of the other accents of your table (I was totally bothered at first, I’ll be honest)? Or that your table-cloth may have a few wrinkles. If your guests feel loved in your home, you’ve done your job.

Celebrating the holidays with Beaujolais Nouveau. #spon #CelebrateBNOf course having plenty of wine doesn’t hurt either. One of my favorite things to do when putting together a last-minute spread is to set out candy. For this table, I pulled out a great glass and brass display box and filled it with candies that played up the reds in the table. People love candy. And even if you don’t have time to pull together a fantastic appetizer spread, your guests will have something to munch on.

I'm feeling traditional this year. Green and red it is!!! #spon #CelebrateBNI recently reorganized my garage and now can find all my favorite serving pieces easily. I suggest you take a moment and pull your favorite pieces together so you can easily grab them when you need to.  I keep things super causal for my family and our nightly meals. But come Christmas morning, my table looks GOOD. A footed bowl can make even store-bought crackers instantly feel more special (special crackers, you say? Yes, crackers can feel special.)

Have you ever tried Beaujolais Nouveau? It's a fun holiday tradition. #spon #CelebrateBNGeorges Duboeuf is the #1 seller of Beaujolais Nouveau and since this year’s harvest has just been released, I think this is the perfect time to invite friends over to try this delicious wine. Don’t you?

*Thank your for supporting the brands that let me be creative, drink a little wine and celebrate with my friends.

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Things I Love : November, 2014

Take time to stop and bake mini donuts with your kids. Random things that I loved this month…

I usually work on blog stuff in the mornings. Even the weekend. So it was a really nice change of pace when my son found our mini donut baker in the garage and all but demanded we make them immediately. So we did.  And they loved them. And it was really fun to make something for breakfast and take a little more time with them instead of being on the computer. I guess sometimes you have to stop and smell the mini donuts.

The styling in Bon Appetit Magazine is the best. They get me. I die for food magazines. I rarely make anything from them, but I have to read them each month. Over the last year or so I’ve been falling in love with Bon Appetit and their styling. They just get me. It’s all I can do to wait patiently for the new issue to arrive each month. The creative direction is SO GOOD. Like, I want to rip out these pages and decoupage them on my dresser like I did with bands in high school.

Celebrating a friend who is following her dream. This didn’t happen in October but I didn’t download the photo until now so it missed last month’s ‘Things I Love.” My dear friend, Erika, was an extra on Brooklyn 99, one of my fave shows. So of course we had to have a viewing party at her house and experience it together. It was the Halloween episode. She nailed it. I love watching her explore this new path in her life and think she is awesome. See her on Cougar Town here.

My favorite Erin Wasson for RVCA shirt and vintage necklace. You guys. I’ve only been wine tasting twice now but both times I really felt like I needed to wear this vintage grape necklace that my grandma gave me. Do you really need to have a good luck charm for wine tasting? Because I think this is mine. My grandma wasn’t in to wine per se although she always ordered a Chablis when we ate at the pizzeria. One of the funniest conversations I ever had with my grandparents was them making fun of pretentious wine tasters and the adjectives they use to describe the wine. I will never forget it. I love this necklace. And this shirt. I will die if anything happens to it. It’s Erin Wasson for RVCA and it is my all time fave. If we’ve hung out in person you have certainly seen me in it. And I love my new necklace from Shop Serene Sky. I won it at a blogger event and it’s totally my style! So glad I didn’t win the free month of exercise.

Fried Green Beans from The Habit. Dearest fried green bean, how did I not know about you until now? I saw someone post about these on their instagram account and later that day went to try them. I adore green beans. It’s the world’s best vegetable. And fried?! Yum. This was my first time at The Habit, although it is in the same parking lot as my Joann’s so you know I’ve passed it and smelled it like a gazillion times. The burger was also amazing! Can’t wait to go back and try out more things! I also love that they put a gummy hamburger in the kids meals! Nice touch.

Nerds against bullying! You know I love Nerds, right? They are my fave. But if Nerds and green beans got in to a fight, I’m not sure whose earrings I would hold. That’s not true. I would mean mug the green beans and back my Nerds. And then eat the green beans and then the Nerds.  So when Geeky Hostess posted this it made my heart sing. Candy against bullying. Now that is a cause I can get behind. Well done Wonka.

High waisted jeans changed my life. YOU GUYS! I’m sorry to shout at you but these pants changed my life. So I’m pretty cheap about my denim. I used to buy pricey pants, and they really did fit and wear well. But it just isn’t the right time for me to spend a lot on good denim. So I’ve been hitting the cheapy stores for my pants. These stores usually go for a younger audience so the pants are all low-rise and terrible whiskering. Well, I finally came across that was high-waisted (but not in a Jessica Simpson high-waisted pants debacle, high waist) jeans and they are awesome! The whiskering and details are still not something I would typically go for, but the fact that my muffin top is fully ensconced in these pants is amazing! I instantly felt pounds lighter. Shirts lay nicer. And I don’t constantly have to hitch them up. Because they sit above my hip bones, they don’t slip down much to create saggy butt. Life changing. So now I wear them every day. I apologize in advance.

Kids on the red carpet. This one is also from last month. My husband has a friend who is an artist and he created some custom pieces for a show at the Long Beach Museum of Art. One of the pieces is a sort of team photo from a made up sport and my husband is one of the players. So of course we had to go see my husband hanging on a museum wall.  We took the kids and they were so much fun to have there. My oldest dressed like he was going for an art heist (here he is missing the beanie and hood up). And my youngest was super in to the receptions happening outside including dancing like a spaz to the band and sucking down Sprite from the bar. And, of course, we had to get them on the red carpet. The docents only had to talk to the boys a dozen times to remind them not to touch anything.

My favorite wines from @lorimarwinery/.I have new favorite wines! I fell in love with Trio from Lorimar Winery on my first visit (a red with notes of coconut, yum). But this last visit I was lucky enough to get to taste even more of their wines. Their sparkling wine is my fave sparkling! SO delicious!  And the Grenache Blanc is where it’s at. I can’t wait to crack that baby open! Looks like I’ve got my holiday drinking game plan set.

Tillamook Chef event with Haven Gastro Pub at Provisions Market in Orange. I was invited to attend a Tillamook cheese event a few weeks ago and it was amazing. Tillamook partners with chefs from all over the country and has them create sensational dishes using Tillamook product. This event was in conjunction with the Chef’s of Haven Gastro Pub and Provisions Market in Orange. The servers strolled around with platters of beer and cheese beignets and other delightful cheesey dishes. There was a fantastic cheese tasting spread set out complete with beer pairings and then there was this Mac and Cheese. Best. Ever. For this recipe they used the Extra Sharp White Cheddar and added bacon and other yummy goodness.  The event was awesome but my favorite part is that they are sharing all the recipes! I want to make everything!  Here is the White Cheddar Bacon Mac and Cheese.  I fell in love with the Black Pepper White Cheddar and can’t wait to find that again in a grocery store. Mmmmmm.

Red Wine Cocktail Recipes

Wine cocktail week!!  Yeah!!  This whole week I’ll be sharing a different cocktail recipe that also features wine.  Be sure to come back each day to see what I’m sharing.  Red wine based cocktail recipe // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com*BIG thank you to One Hope Wine for sending me wine to use in this wine cocktail recipe! 

It was bound to happen.  I like wine.  I like cocktails.  And I wondered how they would work together.  Today’s cocktail is a red wine based cocktail.  And while I am not a big red wine fan, I was certainly not going to ignore an entire color of wine and exclude it from this series.  Besides, this recipe also features tequila.  And I’m finding that I really like tequila.

Sharing a series of wine based cocktail recipes some featuring @onehopewine  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI’ve been wanting to do this series for a while but one thing a blogger has to think about when doing a series is the cost. Imagine how many bottles of wine I would have had to buy if One Hope Wine hadn’t graciously sent some to me when I reached out to them.  I know lately there has been a big to-do about sponsored posts and how bloggers should only share things that they love with no brand tie in.  But my blog is also a business and I need to try to find ways to off set my costs.  I hope you know by now that I only share brands that I feel a connection to (for real Hot Shot bug spray is a savior to me and my extreme hatred of ants – none of that post was a put on just to get a paycheck). If you aren’t familiar with One Hope Wine they are a fantastic company that raises money for a multitude of causes. I absolutely back that with all my heart. So while this isn’t a sponsored post, per se, they are making it possible for me to share what is on my heart, you know, like really important wine cocktails…So please show them some love.  

Whoa.  Where’d that come from.

Tequila and wine based cocktail recipe // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comPinot Noir and tequila.  Why not! And grapefruit soda.  Ok.  I had NO idea how this cocktail would taste.  Which is part of why it was so fun to do this series.  It was a really fun way to explore cocktails a little bit more and figure out what flavors go with what wine.

Wine based cocktails:  Pinot Noir and Tequila recipe // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comBecause I have never worked with wine in cocktails before (aside from sparkling wine) I decided that I would do a little internet research and see what I could find.  The cocktail I made was found on Cosmopolitan site in a round-up of other wine cocktail recipes.  They called it the Red Splash.

Tequila and Pinot Noir based cocktail //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe recipe couldn’t have been easier.  You literally add everything to a cocktail shaker with ice, shake it up and then strain in to a glass with ice. 

Red Wine based cocktail with @onehopewine Pinot Noir // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis first wine cocktail was ok.  I could certainly taste the red wine but it was really nice with the tequila and the grapefruit soda. This was not my favorite of the ones that I’ll be sharing the rest of the week but it was fun to try something new. 

Red Wine Spritzer Recipe with @onehopewine //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI also thought I would try the Pinot Noir as a red wine spritzer.  All you need is a little lemon lime soda and wine. Again, not my favorite but it was worth a try. 

Red Wine Spritzer with @onehopewin //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI also got to use a cute little cocktail stick in it.  So that was fun.  

Red Splash via Cosmo

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 oz Tequila
  • 1 1/2 oz Pinot Noir (I used One Hope Wine)
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz agave
  • 2 oz grapefruit soda

Instructions

  1. Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Strain in to a cocktail glass filled with ice.
  3. Garnish with lime.
  4. Enjoy!
  5. Recipe from: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/food-cocktails/g2121/cocktails-made-with-wine/?slide=7
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/red-wine-cocktail-recipes/

@onehopewine Pinot Noir //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comExcited to share the other cocktail recipes with you all week-long! Thank you One Hope Wine for allowing me to create some fun posts this week without putting me in to debt.

One Hope Wine:  Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest

Essentials for a Beach Day with Friends

*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Black Box Wines.  All opinions and tips are my own.  And, duh, it’s wine so I know you’ll love it as much as I do.beach-essentials-for-hanging-with-friends

There are two kinds of beach days for me, one with family and one with friends. They look REALLY different. With my kids, there is sand EVERYWHERE, there are lots of plastic beach toys and bone dry juice boxes littering the horizon. I’m also on constant watch, ready to spring in to action, to save my kids from getting too far out in the water or reaching for the wrong kid’s sand toys. But with friends, now THAT is where I can relax. That is where I can enjoy delightful conversation, probably some good music and perhaps catch up on some reading material. And if we’re lucky, there is a little wine. Here are my essentials for spending a fun afternoon, with friends, at the beach.

At the beach, I may or may not be in my swimsuit depending on the time of day or weather. The beach is sometimes even more fun on a cool, overcast day. But you certainly want to make sure to bring along healthy snacks so that you can still fit in to your swimsuit. Nuts and dried fruit are a great option. They bring the crunch, a little salt and the sweet touch that most of us crave. Similarly, popcorn is my new go to snack and it is easy to transport in a Tiffin type carrier.

Especially if the weather is warm, you want to make sure to stay hydrated with water. I love Boxed Water because there is no plastic and they are good to the environment. They also just look way cooler. Make sure to stay away from sodas that can cause you to feel the bloat. No one needs to look like they are wearing an inner-tube when they aren’t.

Sunscreen and sunglasses are not optional. Pack your favorite pair of sunnies and slather yourself up with your favorite sunscreen BEFORE you leave for the beach. It needs time to penetrate the skin. Make sure to bring it with you and reapply as sunscreen wears off and leaves your skin vulnerable to the sun. Don’t forget to bring a speaker along (and something to play music from like your iPhone or iPod!). I love this one by Nixon because it is sand, water and shock resistant. And if you think you might have a minute, bring a long some magazines to get caught up on. But do not ignore your friends and keep your nose buried in one. You DO want to get invited back for another friend beach day.

Depending on the beach and the time of day, wine is a great addition to a great afternoon with friends at the beach. Most beaches where I am from do not allow any glass so Black Box Wines are the perfect option. Lose the bottle and toast your friends with one of their tasty varieties like their new Pinot Noir (notes of fresh berry, rose petals an cocoa!). This 3L box is the equivalent of 4 bottles! So you won’t need to worry about running out AND you can take the rest of the box home with you to finish when you deem fit over the next month. I know what you may be thinking, boxed wine? But as someone who favors twist off bottles (oh the side eyes I’ve gotten when I pull out my screw tops! – which happen to be eco-friendly thankyouverymuch.) boxed wine is a great idea! This packaing is also eco friendlier than regular bottles, they stay fresh for WAY longer and you only need to take one box with you and you have a whole heck of a lot of wine. It just makes sense. AND it tastes good. The Black Box wines are award winning and are a much better value than comparable bottle wine. You guys, I’m dying to taste the Sauvignon Blanc!

Black Box also has 500 mL sized boxes, in 5 varieties, for when you just want to take a few glasses with you. These are perfect for smaller picnics and tailgates.

The only thing as fabulous as enjoying a high quality, award winning box of Black Box Wines is winning a $5,000 shopping spree! “Lose the Bottle” and grab your shopping bag! Enter the sweepstakes by visiting https://www.facebook.com/blackboxwines/

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Black Box Wines. The opinions and text are all mine.


black box wines logoThank you for supporting the brands that keep me doing the kinds of posts I love!

Drink Rose on a Patio Playlist

Drink rose on a patio this spring.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThere is nothing better than sitting on a patio on a nice day drinking rose.  No wait.  There is nothing better than sitting on a patio on a nice day drinking rose and listening to some awesome music.  Here is a playlist that I think suits rose drinking just fine.  So gather your friends, gather some wine and pull out your speakers.  And email me an invite.