Thursday, December 17, 2009

Featured on Mod Podge Rocks!

I am honored today to be guest blogging at Mod Podge Rocks, an awesome blog devoted to Mod Podge! Go check it out!

Mod Podge Rocks

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Present for a True Wine-o

Each year, I rack my brain for the perfect Christmas present for Chris. He's actually very difficult because in addition to Christmas, his birthday is a week later, so I have to get all the good gifts out of my system in one fell swoop. This is not always, or ever, easy!

This year, with help from my brother, I got Chris a very good and unique gift: a wine barrel top lazy susan, and a bottle of wine from the same winery.

Yes, that's right, a top of a wine barrel, turned into a lazy susan. A very cool gift, because this is a used wine barrel top, which means when you turn it over, it's stained with the red wine that was aging in it. And the winery I got was Pahlmeyer, but the man who makes them has a bunch of different brandings on the wood, mostly the barrel makers but some wineries as well.

In case you're interested, here's the listing:

Wine Barrel Top Lazy Susan

Then since I got him a barrel top from Pahlmeyer, I decided a nice Pahlmeyer bottle of wine would go quite well with it! I checked out (and if you haven't been there before, you must go!) and looked at ratings of tons of bottles of wine. I finally settled on a bottle of 2005 Pahlmeyer Jayson Pinot Noir. I found it for purchase online, had it shipped, and voila! A perfect gift for a wonderful wine-o!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Split Pea Soup and Pyrador Pinot

Since the fam left after Thanksgiving, we were left with a lot of vegetables. I think we thought we would use far more carrots, onions, and celery than we actually did. Well anyway, since Chris was working late late late this week, and I was alone to fend for myself in the kitchen while still using some of the refrigerator contents, I decided to make some split pea soup! I had never made split pea soup before, and I didn't have ham (or anything pig-related), but I had everything else. But, thanks to, and my Droid on the train ride home, I came across a ham-less split pea recipe:

Split Pea Soup without Pork


* 1 pound dried split peas
* 1 stalk celery, diced
* 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
* 2 (14.5 ounce) cans low-fat, low sodium chicken broth
* 3 cups water
* salt and pepper to taste


1. Rinse and pick through peas. Place them in a large pot with the celery, carrots, broth and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until peas have fallen apart, 1 to 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

I decided to also add a small onion, since I have a ton of them, and despite the reviews saying this was too watery, I actually found mine was too mushy, so I added more water. Also I only needed to cook mine about 1.5 hrs. I chose to saute the veggies with a little of the stock before putting all the split peas and remaining stock/water, with some pepper and a bit of smoked paprika for a little smokiness. In the end, you couldn't really taste the smoked paprika, so maybe next time I will choose something else for a boost in flavor. Regardless, the result was very tasty, very hearty for this cold weather, and reheated well for future lunches and dinners. I highly recommend this simple tasty meal!


Next on the agenda, the Pyrador Pinot Noir (2007). This wine is from the central coast of California, and is a decent wine for the $18 we paid for it at Binny's. It's a little thin, but has a fruit-forward flavor that we both really like. I'm not wild about it, but I enjoyed it for 4:00 on a Saturday afternoon.