blogging

Be a wine pro (or how to fake it)

Let me start this off with a little good news/bad news. The bad news is, no how-to article will teach you how to be a wine pro. The good news is, the only way to talk about wine & sound like you have a clue is to: 

1. DRINK MORE WINE. 

It is 100% true that whenever I taste a new wine I learn something. It can be anything from a new combination of flavors that I love, to ‘Oh wow, this wine compliments what I’m eating so well.’, to ‘OMG, I definitely never want to drink this again.’ 

You can read books about wine, and flavor profiles of different wines. A simple Pinterest search will bring you an info graphic that tells you that the flavor profile of a particular Cabernet has red currant notes with some tobacco on the back, along with a leathery mouthfeel. I’m here to tell you that the light will not go on until one day you experience that leathery mouthfeel. The bottom line: it doesn’t take a lot of work. Just drink. 

2. Listen to the guy at the store.

This tip will usually work if you’re buying your wine at a reputable place. In general, most serious wine drinkers will love to tell you about their favorites, recent finds, and what they would drink with certain meals. If you have a general idea of what you’re looking for (i.e. a wine to go with some steaks I’m grilling, a good wine to take on a picnic) they will generally steer you in the right direction. Example: one summer I walked into my local spot looking for a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand (if you’re looking for a refreshing summer wine, this is a great choice). My spot had 6 of them; so I asked the guy which one he would recommend. Without hesitation, he recommended Kim Crawford. I told him if it was terrible, I would be back to give him a piece of my mind. He laughed & told me I wouldn’t be. He was right. It was excellent & Kim still holds a spot in my summer wine rotation. 

3. Experiment 

Try different wines with different foods. It’s fun, and every once in awhile you will have a ‘there’s a party in my mouth’ moment. And it will be glorious. Many wineries and higher-end shops will offer hands-on events where they pair their wines with different foods. I once hosted one with aphrodisiacs that was outside the box, but a fun way to spend an evening.

4. Don’t follow the rules.

Are there “rules” for wine? Sure. But much like ‘don’t wear white pants after Labor Day’ you don’t have to follow them. Drink what you like. If you only like sweet white wine, then drink it with your steak if that’s what makes you happy. If you want to put a couple of ice cubes in your Chardonnay, ignore the side-eye and do it. Don’t like room temperature red wine? Chill that puppy in the fridge for a bit. 

For more wine, food, and snark follow my Pinterest feed! 

I wrote an e-book!

This week I finished the manuscript for, & published my first e-book. I’ve been at work on recipes & banter for a cookbook for the better part of a year. It’s always been my dream to write & publish a cookbook, in fact, that was my main motivation when I started blogging. I decided to self-publish, mostly to see if I could do it. The process itself was fairly easy, and if it turns out that e-books are a good outlet for me, then I will definitely be publishing more of them in the future. Anyone who has self-published and has any pointers, please leave them in the comments.

As you know, I really dig fish in a can. The e-book is entitled “Reluctant Food Blogger Loves: Fish in a Can” & is available on Nook & Kindle for $2.99 (that’s less than a latte folks). It includes 12 recipes all featuring some type of fish from a can. It’s a good read for foodie types who are looking to try new things, or if you’re someone looking to save some pennies & pair down your family’s meal budget. It’s also available in both formats for sharing, so if you get it & you like it, share with a friend!

Click here to buy my e-book for Amazon Kindle.

Click here to buy my e-book for B&N Nook.

Tools of my trade…

This week I was named a Delectable Wine Pro!

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So what the heck does that mean? Well, I use a nice little wine app called Delectable. I recommend it to all my fellow winos, if you don’t already have it. I use it to track and rate wines I’ve tasted, and also while I’m in the store picking out wines to purchase. It has excellent label recognition (the best I’ve come across in a wine app) and will give you user & pro ratings as well as descriptions by users & pros. So I guess I’m officially a professional wino according to Delectable. Check me out on Delectable here & see what I’m drinking!

Another fun little tool in my arsenal is Pepperplate. I’m just starting to scratch the surface of what Pepperplate can do, but the main thing I use it for is when I’m composing recipes. It formats them for me so I don’t have to worry about numbering, or bullet points, or lining things up. It does all that for me. You can share recipes with your friends and there’s an option to make menus and grocery lists using the recipes. Best thing is, I have this app in my phone, so I can write a recipe wherever & whenever inspiration strikes. Currently, there’s an option to share your recipes on Facebook & Twitter, and boy would I like to see an option for formatting a recipe on Pepperplate, and posting it to WordPress (hint hint).

Liebster Award

So apparently I’m an award-winning blogger.

“YOU LIKE ME! YOU REALLY LIKE ME!”

Yesterday I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Josey & Brian of Spareness & Simplicity. It’s a blog about simplifying and downsizing the superfluous stuff in your life. Thanks guys! I will likely never be a minimalist, but damn, do I ever respect those who strive to be. Check out their blog & follow their journey! The Liebster Award (which autocorrect keeps changing to “lobster”) is a blogger-to-blogger award, in which bloggers recognize & nominate one another.

Here’s the rules:

  1. Thank the nominating blogger
  2. Nominate blogs that are new and/or have small followings. (I’m not really sure what constitutes a small following, I just nominated blogs that I follow & enjoy.)
  3. Answer questions from the nominating blogger
  4. Tell your readers random facts about yourself
  5. Give your nominees questions to answer

Here’s my nominations & why I nominated them (in no particular order):

  1. Kitchen Overlord She does nerdy things with food. Need I say more?
  2. Wine by Ari Home winemaker. Growing her own grapes. Cheers!
  3. The Armchair Sommelier Does a great series called Wine, Words, and Wednesday which takes in interesting historical perspective on wine.
  4. dosirakbento Cute bento boxes and sushi. Almost too cute to eat. Almost.
  5. Shenannagans Quirky Aussie chick who likes food, wine, coffee, and shenanigans. Basically me if I was Australian. 🙂
  6. Punk Domestics Cool homesteading stuff. Basically all the stuff you see on Pinterest, come to life!
  7. Much Ado About Cheese He makes cheese. This is basically cheese porn. Can I say that?
  8. La Vie Piquant Mark my words. This guy is going to be BIG. Like Martha Stewart/Ina Garten big. Read his blog. Follow his Instagram.
  9. The Drunken Cyclist He drinks wine and he knows how to saber a bottle with a wine glass and a bicycle wheel. Impressive. 
  10. imbibe: [kc] Cocktails, coffee, and tea in the KC Metro. Just needs a wine section- maybe a guest blogger? 😉

My answers to Josey & Brian’s questions:

  1. What country are you from? The US. I’m originally from New York, currently reside in the KC area. My kingdom for a NY pizza!
  2. What’s your favorite thing about American culture? The food traditions. More specifically the varied food traditions. It’s so cool to see the foods that happen when people of different cultures live in close proximity and influence each other. It’s the original “fusion cuisine”.
  3. If you win the lottery, let’s say $400 million, will you share it with anyone? Who? I don’t play the lottery, but if I ever came into a lot of money I could grab my family & start on the bucket list…
  4. How do you feel about cheese? I have never met a cheese I didn’t like. See above.
  5. What’s your favorite sport to watch? Boxing. Wrestling. MMA. Pretty much anything where guys beat the hell out of each other. Easy to follow. The guy on the ground is losing.
  6. Channing Tatum or Gerard Butler? Channing. He’s adorable and hilarious.
  7. Crossword puzzle question: 10 letters- Language introduced in 1995 I googled it. It’s JAVASCRIPT. I also found a blog where a guy does the NYT crossword. PS: I am a total crossword dork.

Random facts about me:

  1. I used to play Julia Child on my grandma’s front steps as a kid.
  2. I love Converse sneakers & wear them almost every day.
  3. I am obsessed with my adorable 14 year old Russian Blue, Brimstone.
  4. I collect vintage cookbooks.
  5. I am a boyband enthusiast.

My questions to nominated bloggers:

  1. If you were on death row, what would you choose as your last meal?
  2. What is your pop-culture guilty pleasure?
  3. What was your motivation when you started blogging?
  4. What’s your favorite book of all time?
  5. What’s the number one thing on your bucket list?

And with that I pass the Liebster (or lobster) torch…

ALLLL the Social Medias!

I recorded my first blog-related video yesterday (do not even ask how many takes it took) & today I’m launching my YouTube channel for posting my future videos. Here’s my channel for folks who want to subscribe.

Additionally, here’s the Google+ page I had to make to get my YouTube started… I’m not really too versed in Google+ yet, so bear with me….

And in case you haven’t checked it out there’s always Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook!