Summer-like Grillin’

Grilling has been a consistency ever since we got our grill about two months ago, but something about last night’s BBQ with friends really felt like summer. Maybe it was the glass(es) of cold white wine I drank (I only ever crave whites during warm months), or the fact that the entire meal was eaten with our hands – no utensils required. Whatever the reason, the menu was a winner. Here’s how it all came together!

11:00 – Wandered through the farmers’ market on my way home from the gym (kettlebells for the win!) and picked up some perfectly ripe avocados and deliciously in-season fresh figs. I looked for corn, but no luck today.

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Friday Favorites: Host/Hostess Gifts

It is always nice to bring a little something as a “thank you” to the host of a party that you’re invited to. Here are a few ideas besides the usual flowers or wine/champagne (tried and true for a reason!) to keep in mind so that next time you’re invited somewhere, you’re not scrambling around last minute for a gift!

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This is a gift that Numero Uno and I got at our engagement party. The giver knew that I love to cook, so a nice cutting board and beautiful Wusthof knife were absolutely perfect. If you know what kind of hobbies your host enjoys, gearing a gift towards that theme will be a sure winner.

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Friday Favorites – Wine Accessories

I have family and friends in town this weekend for mine and Numero Uno’s engagement party on Saturday evening. Tonight we’ll have everyone over for a relaxing barbeque and to spend time with those we don’t get to see nearly often enough! I’m sure several bottles of wine will be opened, so for those of you also enjoying the good stuff this weekend, here are a few of my favorite accessories!

We’re lovers of the red in this house. Especially so after a wine trip to Sonoma. The last vineyard on our trip was Truett Hurst, and there we discovered and sampled some lovely Zinfandels. We were hooked and joined their wine club, so now we receive 6 bottles of wine every 3 months. Their reds really are fantastic, but often need a little breathing room to open up and fully develop their flavors before drinking (like most reds). Pouring the bottle into a decanter prior to serving allows this process to occur. I’ve seen these come in all sorts of funky designs – even an antler-shaped one, but that may be a bit much, even for me 🙂

If you’re looking to get the same effect as decanting your wine, but don’t necessarily want to pour off the whole bottle (who am I kidding?), the aerator is your new best friend. This little tool serves the same function as the decanter, but at a much quicker rate. When wine is poured into the spout, air bubbles flow through it and helps open up the wine. It also seems to serve as a great party trick, as guests really seem to like to decant their own wine. Continue reading

Friday Favorites – Animal Edition

Today’s Friday Favorites post is animal-themed. It is no secret that I want a dog. In the past, I had craved a large-and-in-charge pup (think Rottweiler, Bull Mastiff, Newfoundland). Those expectations were scaled back a bit when I realized that I just didn’t have the space or yard for something that big, and probably wouldn’t any time soon.

As the years have passed, my wants and desires have changed and at this point I’ll take just about anything. That french bulldog with his giant bat ears? Want! The Yorkie staring at me with its silver and gold mane? Make it mine! The pug making googly eyes at me through the internet? Give it here! Seriously. Anything.

And because I still haven’t acquired a cuddly puppy, I seem to be making up for it in different ways. Any animal-themed home accessory I come across gets a swipe of the debit card. It’s not quite at DEFCON1 yet, but I have to watch myself to make sure I’m not turning into that crazy lady with stuffed animal “friends” covering every inch of my bed.

With that said, I do think that a few animal accents can really liven up a place and give a fun vibe to guests. Here are a few of my favorites… I promise, I don’t own them all. Yet.

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Stocking Your Bar

One of the most important parts of a good party is the alcohol. It’s such a bummer when your drink of choice runs out or you begin making another cocktail only to find that there are no more ice or mixers left. It’s definitely best to over-buy when it comes to the booze than risk running dry. So how much is enough?

As a general rule of thumb:

  1. Each guest will drink 2 drinks in the first hour and 1 drink per hour thereafter
  2. A 1-liter bottle of liquor will result in ~22 mixed drinks
  3. A 750-ml bottle of wine/champagne yields 6 glasses
  4. If you are mixing beer, wine, and cocktails, estimate about 1 bottle of wine per 8 guests, and 2 beers per person, knowing that not everyone will drink them
  5. Plan on 1/2 lime, 1/2 lemon, and 2 cherries per guest

Now onto types of drinks.  Continue reading