Stop Whining, Start Wining

Before I elaborate on my wonderful wine tasting experience at Wine By The Bay in Miami, I thought I would quickly point out the fact that my last two posts just so happen to be about “grownup beverages”. Yes, I love wine and fun cocktails, but I do believe it is better in moderation…now that I have graduated from that crazy place called college. Anyway, I could not resist sharing my wine tasting experience!

I am going to be honest. I love wine tastings but am also pretty new to them. As of yesterday, I have been to five wine tastings in my life. One in Indiana, two in North Carolina, one in Chicago, Illinois and now one in Miami, Florida. I can not wait to get my butt out to Napa Valley, but I guess I am starting with wine tasting baby steps. I got my mom this wine tasting present off of Groupon and you know it just so happened that it was a wine tasting for two. I’ll admit it was in the back of my head that maybe she would bring the lovely daughter that gifted her this experience, and she did!

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The Selection

I could go on and on about the great selection that Wine By The Bay has and how quaint and casual the location is, but I want to get down to business (talking about my experience). Just make sure to click on the photo to check out this modern wine boutique’s website.

I thought I would just make one of my lists to let you know some of my favorite things about the wine tasting. Here it goes:

  1. It had a very intimate feel. The tasting was at a table and benches that only sat ten people and then there were chairs circling the table with about twelve more people. My mom and I made sure to get there early to get a seat at the table! (I had gotten her a wine tasting gift to this same place two years before, so she made sure that we nixed the idea of being fashionably late)
  2. The theme was Spanish wines. There was a selection of eight wines, with a majority from the Rioja region. We made our way from easy going whites that still “pack a punch” to smooth reds and ended with a sweet dessert wine.
  3. Liz and Kasey made the experience! They were extremely knowledgeable and energetic. They were the perfect pair and made us feel as if we were their good friends invited over for a causal night of wine drinking and girl talk.
  4. I loved all wines, which may be a problem if this keeps happening in the future. The relatable Kasey mentioned she struggled with this problem, but I guess there are worse issues in this world than never being disappointed by fine wines.
  5. They served cheese!
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Oh So Selfie

If I could I would have bought a bottle of each of the Spanish wines, but we decided to go with two. We chose a red and the dessert wine. They are the Alto Moncayo Veraton (perfect with chocolate) and the Pedro Ximenez Triana Hidalgo (which tasted like a fig newton). I am a red wine gal, but wanted to branch out. That is why I chose the dessert wine instead of another red or a light white. The fig newton taste was like an elementary school lunch snack blast from the past with a sophisticated twist of course, and I just couldn’t pass it up.  

Wine is a new found passion of mine and hopefully this is just the beginning of my wine tasting ride. Cheers!

Go-To Brunch Cocktail… The Strawscato

Let’s get one thing straight, I’m a brunch gal! I love brunch. I also like things to be simple and sweet, especially on a good ol’ Sunday early afternoon or any day for that matter! I think it is because whenever I eat something sweet I wish I could have something salty right there with it, and brunch seems to be the perfect solution to my oh so troubling sweet vs salty battle. And what goes perfectly with this sweet and savory meal? Well, a cocktail of course! I’m a sucker for the traditional Mimosa, Bellini, and Bloody Mary, but I like to simply mix things up every once in a while.

Well, one Sunday afternoon I was mixing and matching and came up with The Strawscato! Whether you think the name is awesome or a bit odd, just know it’s delicious and extremely easy to make. Make it for your next get together and your friends will be calling you the cocktail queen (or king)!

Okay, let’s get down to business!

IMG_8603Recipe (for 3 glasses)

Ingredients

Directions

I take the strawberries, lemon juice, and grapefruit zest and put them in a blender. I use the Magic Bullet short cup. Next, I blend the ingredients for about 45 seconds. I like the fruit on the bottom effect, but for a complete blend I recommend around 1 minute. Then just pour around 1-1.5 teaspoons of the strawberry blend into your wine flute and fill the rest of the glass with the Moscato. Remember to pour slowly to avoid the bubbly foam at the top or a possible overflow! Just repeat with the next couple of glasses.

Thoughts

  • Feel free to top it off with some mint or add a strawberry on the rim. Don’t be afraid to add your own creative touch!
  • Why did I choose the recipe to be for 3 people? I guess my brunch parties tend to have around 3-6 people so it is easy to double or triple the recipe! It may serve another glass depending on the size of the strawberries 🙂
  • It is just as easy to make a Strawsecco. Just substitute your favorite Prosecco in for the Moscato and voilà! You are now a Strawscato and Strawsecco making master!

Oh So Berry Kale Smoothie

I feel that it’s time for me to expand the blog, so that its more than just the story of why I am blogging. I thought today I would offer up a simple and oh so delicious recipe. It’s my very own “Oh So Berry Kale Smoothie” recipe.

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Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 handful of fresh kale (feel free to be generous if you love you some kale)
  • 3 medium size fresh strawberries
  • About 15 fresh blueberries
  • .5 frozen fresh banana
  • 1-1.5 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt
  • .5 teaspoon of agave nectar
  • 2 mint leaves

Directions

I add the lemon juice, kale, strawberries, blueberries, and the banana into my magic bullet. I blend those ingredients until there are no longer large pieces of fruit.  I then add the greek yogurt and agave nectar to add to the flavor and for the correct smooth consistency. Once again I blend the smoothie, this time for around 45 seconds. Sometimes I do two bursts of 30 second blends, mixing or shaking the blender in between. Finally, I pour the smoothie into a glass and top it off with a couple of mint leaves. Ta Da!

Thoughts

  • I choose to freeze fruit (or you can always buy frozen fruit at the grocery store) so that I can eliminate the use of ice most of the time. It is a perfect way to guarantee a cold refreshing smoothie without watering out the flavor.
  • The lemon juice gives it a much needed light refreshing kit. Sometimes I use 2 teaspoons.
  • I am a supporter of the idea “if you look good you feel good” and I don’t just apply this to my appearance. I love adding the mint to my smoothies for aesthetic appeal plus the aroma adds for a better smoothie drinking experience.
  • I am definitely not a pro, as you can see from my “handful”  kale measurements. You don’t have to be a pro to make a scrumptious smoothie. Be confident and try it out. If it doesn’t taste how you wanted just add a bit more of your favorite ingredient.
  • I love to start my day out with this recipe. It fills me up and is such a positive start to my day.
  • Get creative! There are unlimited ways of making berry kale smoothies. Feel free to comment with your favorite smoothie recipes. I would love to hear from all of you.

Oh So Berry Kale Smoothie

P.S. I will be island living for only two more weeks so I thought why not take advantage of the abundance of shells I have!