Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Our Fourth of July Picnic

The Bear and I recently celebrated Independence Day at the shooting range. This was an extra special treat for me since it was the first time we took my dad, and it was an extra special treat for my Bear because I prepared a nice picnic for us once we were finished!

I made a turkey sandwich for myself and a ham sandwich for him. This was also the first time I made macaroni salad and he loved it! Celery, green peppers, green onions, elbows, and some olive oil-based mayo- and boy was it delicious!

Our delicious meal was accompanied by Klingshirn Winery's Chardonnay. Klingshirn's Chard has a cool, crisp, refreshing taste and a light finish, which made it pair well with picnic food. This would also be a good wine for fish or chicken dinners with creme-based sauces. 
This is a normal picture of wine.

This is a normal picture of wine plus a photobomber.

If you're headed out for a picnic soon, consider taking a bottle of Klingshirn Chardonnay with you. You won't be disappointed.

Thanks for visiting and stay tuned for updates! Enjoy responsibly!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My Lunch Date with Gewurtztraminer

Recently, the Bear and I have been trying to eat healthier and more sensibly. We're doing this to look better but also to feel better. For me, at least, the better I feel about myself, the better partner I will be. This change hasn't been easy but it has been fun and rewarding already!

This shift in our eating habits has been significantly easier for him since he has no problem eating what I consider to be rabbit food.

I, however, really don't enjoy many things that come in any shade of green, and I really don't like things that crunch when I bite them. But, I have found a love for spinach and I've been delighted in trying new ways to prepare it. My new favorite is throwing a little garlic in a pan with some olive oil and warming the spinach until it's wilted. It's quick, easy, and it goes great as a side with just about any meal. 

It's so good that I, the hater of all things healthy and green, now crave it.

This afternoon, I was struck by a craving for a little garlic spinach and I knew I had some leftover pasta that I needed to use soon, so I decided to combine the two! And, I've had a pretty good day so far and accomplished a lot over the past few days, so I rewarded myself with a cool glass of Firelands Winery's 2012 Gewurtztraminer. The sweetness of the wine offsets the saltiness of the spinach and the pasta perfectly! 

Here's how I made it:

1/4 lb pasta, cooked
1/2 lb spinach, washed, stems removed, roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Olive oil 
Nonstick pan
Pecorino Romano, grated

Coat the pan with enough olive oil to cover the bottom. Heat garlic and oil over medium-low heat. Add a handful of spinach and let it wilt, then add more spinach until entire half-pound is wilted. Add pasta and stir until pasta is evenly coated with spinach and olive oil. Serve topped with Pecorino Romano and with a glass of Gewurtztraminer on the side!

In case you were wondering, Firelands 2012 Gewurtztraminer is definitely a sweeter wine. This wine also pairs well with spicy foods, especially if you or someone you're cooking for isn't a fan of spicy things. The sweetness helps to take the edge of the heat of certain flavors and this wine is perfect for the task.
This took about 10 minutes in all to prep, but I had the pasta already made. It is a quick and delicious lunch and it was SO easy! I hope you try it soon!

Stay tuned for more meal updates! Thank you for visiting and as always, enjoy your grapes responsibly!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Wine Elf is Back Online!

Hello, everyone!

It has been a long time since I've posted anything at all, even a picture. For that, I apologize.

I started The Wine Elf while I was away from my job. I had never been a serious blogger before and I quickly found out how much effort and energy it takes to write a truly meaningful, thoughtful post. Since it was all about wine though, I figured "I love doing this, this will be piece of cake once I return to work."

Apparently my time off clouded my judgement in regards to just how much work, work is. I was recalled to my position late in October of 2013 and, after four months off (give or take a few weeks), returning to the real world of employment was an adjustment. I was faced with a lot of new responsibilities and changes when I went back which required me to learn and apply a great deal of new information in a short period of time; I enjoyed this challenge immensely. This shift came at a price, though, and I had to give up a part of my job that I loved. At the end of the day, I was exhausted and couldn't muster up the energy to do much besides throw something together for dinner and head to bed.

Another change that deeply impacted me occurred in November 2013, when my family's beautiful Old English Sheepdog, Bailey, was diagnosed with kidney disease. She lost a significant amount of weight quickly and was acting less like herself every day.

Bailey was more than just a pet- she was a member of our family. Intelligent, loving, and loyal are the words that describe her best. I always looked forward to visiting my parents, but I especially looked forward to seeing her. I know my parents love me even more than she did, but no one else at home dropped everything to lay by the door and wait for hours on end for me to arrive, and no one else literally bounced up and down because they were so excited to see me once I finally got there. Bailey made it abundantly clear that I was important to her; I was constantly amazed at her emotional intelligence and the unique ways she communicated it. She was my buddy, always protecting me and doling out unconditional love throughout our time together, even when she barely had the energy left to do so.

Bailey passed away January 15, 2014. She was about two weeks shy of her eighth birthday.

I miss her every day.

I put a lot of time and effort into my job and I don't get an opportunity throughout the work day to shift my mental focus to anything but work, so most of my free time this past winter was spent healing. A lot of things were put on the back burner while I was doing everything I could to cope with our loss at home and adjust to the changes at my job; I had a lot on my plate trying to deal with these issues concurrently. Unfortunately, The Wine Elf became one of those things I told myself I'd get to "later."

My Bear was with me every step of the way. He hugged me when I needed a hug and gave me space when I needed space. He also did his Bearly duties and had a glass of wine with me whenever I really needed to unwind. I couldn't be more grateful to have someone so wonderful, supportive, and patient by my side. Cheers to you, babe, for being the best.

The good news (for me) is that, in time, I was able to get myself together and I'm back to being my normal self. The good news (for the site) is that I am currently off work again. How long this is expected to last is unknown, but I am sincerely looking forward to reconnecting with my creative side via blogging.

I will still post about wineries as we visit, but I am also going to put a little more emphasis on pairing wines with food. One thing I like about being away from my job is that I have enough time and energy to cook! I had a great time last summer identifying which wines go best with our favorite meals and I am excited to discover even more great combinations this year. I also have a backlog of wineries to post about from our trip last summer, so keep an eye out for those to pop up from time to time.

Last, but certainly not least, I look forward to encouraging readers to try a new wine or visit a winery they haven't been to, and I hope this blog can continue to serve as a source of inspiration to my fellow wine lovers.

All of my posts come from my heart and this one, a little more so. I wanted to take this opportunity to give everyone a chance to get to know me a little bit better on a more personal level. Thank you for visiting and stay tuned for updates- I promise the next one won't be eight months away!

As always, cheers, everyone! Enjoy your grapes responsibly!