6 Bold White Wines for the Sweet Wine Lover

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Today’s guest post is from Joanna from Motherhood and Merlot. I recently met Joanna online, as bloggers usually meet, and we connected right away. She created this really fabulous blog tribe that I’m part of and I’ve loved every minute of it! I also love her honest approach to motherhood, marriage and of course, wine! Since Joanna blogs about wine every Wednesday, she’s been inspiring me to expand my palate. I’m a sweet wine lover, through and through, and am always made fun of by the red wine drinkers in my family. Since I now drink beer, I know I’m capable of enjoying some good white wines that aren’t Moscato or Riesling, but I need some handholding so I can find the right ones. Who better than Joanna to show me (and those of you who are also sweet wine drinkers) which bold white wines to pick? Today I’ve invited Joanna to share with us six wines for the sweeter wine lover. She’s tried (and reviewed) tons of wines, so we don’t have to. 

Sit back, grab a glass, and enjoy Joanna’s post! 

I could not be more excited to guest poster here. Lisa is an exceptional writer and I know her readers are equally as phenomenal!

I love a good wine, white or red, it doesn’t matter to me! I review different wines weekly on my website. I do not claim to be any type of expert on the subject, just an avid wine drinker and lover.

Lisa mentioned to me that she usually leans more towards the lighter and sweeter whites when it comes to her wine of choice. So I thought I would bring you all a list of 6 wonderful white wines, ranging from the really sweet side and then venturing into the slightly bolder and less sweet side, so that maybe those of you that do lean towards the sweeter wines might find a few on this list that will expand your wine horizons. These are wines that I have tried and enjoyed, but don’t feel confined to just this list!

white wines

6 Bold White Wines for the Sweet Wine Lover

  1. Little Black Dress Pinot Grigio: I love the Little Black Dress brand as a whole. Their wines are almost always good and they have a great price tag at around $11. This wine in particular will definitely cater to those of you that like your wine sweet. It carries mostly notes of apple and pear, but isn’t sweet to the point of a syrup-like consistency, as some sweet wines have. It is by far one of my favorite sweet whites. Another great one from this brand that leans more toward the tart notes while continuing to remain sweet is 2011 Little Black Dress Sauvignon Blanc. If you are trying to branch out from the really sweet whites (Riesling, Moscato), I would absolutely try one of these two!
  2. Thorny Rose Chardonnay: This is another wine that is more tart than sweet. With notes of green apple and citrus,  it is a wonderful wine to have with a light lunch or to sip on the patio with some friends. It is not your typical Chardonnay. It doesn’t come off as creamy or have too many oak flavors, but it is a unique and crisp wine that those who love lighter wines would enjoy.
  3. Green Fin Pinot Grigio: If you are in the mood for a cheap, sweet, but tasty wine, this will satisfy all of the above! At a price of just under $4, you can’t really beat the quality of this Pinot Grigio. Another one that has plenty of green apple notes mixed in with a light honey flavor for the added sweetness, this is a great pick for a weeknight dinner when you just want a decent glass of sweet white.
  4. 2012 Pacific Rim Dry Riesling: Dry and Riesling don’t usually go together… when you think of Riesling, the words “sweet” and maybe even “fruity” come to mind. But, if you want to try something new and not as dessert-like as some Rieslings can be, go on the hunt for a Dry Riesling like this one. It is crisp and contains much more citrus flavor than a normal Riesling.
  5. Bordeaux Chateau Olivier Chardonnay: If you are in the mood for an expensive wine, Bordeaux carries some world renowned and beautifully made wines.  These wines range in price depending on their territorial classification and their vintage and some can push over the $1,000 mark. But for the most part, the sweet wines in the Bordeaux array remain close to $30, and the flavor is never lacking. The Chateau Olivier is a Sauvignon Blanc that will not disappoint with flavors of citrus, lemon grass and melon, and a price tag of just over $30!
  6. Cupcake Chardonnay: This wine is for those that want to branch out from the sweeter wines and try something with a bit more depth in flavor. This Chardonnay has strong vanilla notes, but also carries a heavy amount of toasted oak. It is creamy, as Chardonnay should be. This one took me a little while to get used to, because to me the oak flavor is pretty bold. But, now I enjoy a glass of this when I want something less sweet. You can usually find this wine in a local grocery store for around $12.

Thank you all for letting me come join you over here! I would love to have you come visit me over at www.motherhoodandmerlot.com for a new wine post every Wednesday!Cheers

-Joanna from Motherhood and Merlot

Coffee Is My Spirit Animal

Scroll down to enter the Coffee-mate Giveaway, valued at $31. 

Coffee is my spirit animal. If I were stranded on a desert island with one thing to drink, it would have to be coffee. It does more than just wake me up in the morning. It’s part of my morning ritual. I wake up and kiss C and I crawl out of bed just before the sun comes up to start brewing us some coffee. Since we started dating, I’ve noticed that he loves when we share our first cup of coffee together. We take turns making each other’s coffee and then bring it outside, where we sit in the crisp coolness of the morning air and drink together. Coffee-mate Latin Flavor Abuelita Mexican Chocolate We talk about the things that we’ve seen lately that interest us, we share what we’re going to do during the day and when we’ve reached the bottom of our cups, it’s time to say goodbye as he goes to work and I go into my home office to write. There’s nothing I love more than a good cup of coffee with someone I love. Lately I’ve been trying Coffee-mate’s new Latin Flavors, Abuelita® Mexican Chocolate and La Lechera® Dulce de Leche. It’s impossible not to fall in love with these two flavors. Coffee-mate New Latin Flavors They’re amazing. Some of my closest friends are Latina. Over the many years we’ve known each other, we’ve gone to college together, celebrated weddings and quinceaneras together, had dozens of parties together and chatted about our lives over coffee. I’ve met their abuela’s and they’ve met mine. We’ve shared family recipes and tried each other’s cooking. Over the years, some of my friends have gotten married and started talking about having children. Parents have become ill. Little girls have grown into women. But the one constant is our friendship. Our moments together are sometimes further and further apart, so we celebrate each of them by having intimate heart-to-heart talks, talking about what matters most, and showing each other how much we care. Friendship and coffee go hand in hand. Over the years, some of my best memories have come from coffee dates with my best friends. It’s the one in our lives where we can go to unwind and talk about the things that worry us and what makes us happy. DSC_0262 Thanks to Coffee-mate, today on the blog we’re giving away a special Coffee-mate Coffee Prize Pack including a custom designed coffee mug by Kathy Cano-Murillo of Crafty Chica, coasters and 2 full-value Coffee-mate product coupons ($31 ARV).  Contest begins on September 1st and ends September 26th. The winner will be announced on September 30th and must claim their prize within 24 hours. 02e00df7223d52eef4cb9ed058cd13ed  

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

What We Ate: Broccoli Chicken Casserole With Cheese

I recently went through a comfort food stage and was really craving a good ol’ American casserole. More than anything I wanted a simple broccoli recipe with cheese, so I found this recipe for a broccoli chicken casserole with cheese.

I changed the recipe up a little bit, adding more rice and less broccoli. Of course, I added more cheese. You don’t think I got these hips by skimming on the cheese, do you?

Broccoli Chicken Casserole With Cheese

The best part about this casserole is the bread crumbs, which you add melted butter to in order to create the crunchy crust. I probably ate half of the bread crumb mixture before I threw it in the oven. It’s okay, though. I added more.

Broccoli Chicken Casserole With Cheese

Isn’t this pretty? In order to make the casserole as simple as possible, I bought pre-cut chicken breasts from the store and cooked them up in a frying pan. Then I boiled up the broccoli (although I recommend chopping it up smaller than I did here. As you’re cooking the broccoli, you’ll want to cook the rice too. Depending on your preferences, you can add less rice and more veggies or more meat and less veggies.

Broccoli Chicken Casserole With Cheese

Once everything is cooked, you’ll want to spray your pan with nonstick spray and then add the chicken, rice, and broccoli. Mix it up. I added some cheese here and mixed it up again. Then I added some more cheese and mixed it again.

We love our cheese around here.

Stir the soup and milk in a bowl. Add more soup if needed. Hell, add more milk if you want. This dish should be creamy–the creamier the better. Pour the soup mixture over the rice, chicken, and broccoli and stir again. Add more cheese. Or don’t. But if you do, I won’t tell the vegans.

Top the casserole with more cheese and then stir the bread crumbs and butter in a bowl. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top. It won’t necessarily spread evenly, but you can do your best.

Or just do it a little sloppy, like you see I did here. It tastes the same, regardless.  Broccoli Chicken Casserole With Cheese

Broccoli Chicken Casserole
Recipe Type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Lisa Kerr
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked broccoli florets
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 2 cup rice
  • 2 cans (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell’s® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Place the broccoli, chicken, and rice into a 13 x 9 baking pan. Mix in some cheese, if preferred.
  2. Stir the soup and milk in a small bowl. Pour the soup mixture over the broccoli and chicken. Sprinkle with the cheese. Stir the bread crumbs and butter in a small bowl. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the cheese.
  3. Bake at 450°F. for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbling.
Notes
This recipe can be modified to your taste and dietary needs. This recipe was adapted from Campbell’s Chicken Broccoli Divan.

 

A Foodies Dream: I Owe It All To Spaghetti

Sophia Loren greatly said: “Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” 

Did Sophia mean her thighs or her boobs? Either way, this week we’re following in Sophia’s footsteps by visiting the good old fashioned spaghetti plate that we all know and love. There’s nothing more comforting than a hot plate of spaghetti. It reminds me of childhood–when I could slurp my noodles and blow bubbles in my milk without getting funny looks from people.

Oh wait, I always got funny looks for that.

Before we get into the recipe you guys are here for, I have to tell you about one of the best Italian restaurants in Los Angeles. It’s called Palermo and it’s located in the Los Feliz neighborhood of L.A.

palermo

Palermo is one of the most understated restaurants in the neighborhood but you have to go. Try their pizza rossa (pictured below) and then email me to tell me thank you for sending you to the most delightful place on the planet. I also devour their lasagna, but order a small serving. Their portions ain’t no joke. Their spaghetti is also divine.

Photo by Kelly Bone
Photo by Kelly Bone

I’m hungry for some pizza rossa now. Thanks a lot. (I realize this has nothing to do with spaghetti.)

I first went to Palermo with my friend Lydia. She said the first time she went, she saw Vince Vaughn. And it’s no surprise. The walls in the foyer of the restaurant are lined with autographed photos of actors and important people who’ve eaten there. And besides that, Lydia is also an actress who has been in films like The Holiday and met Tom Hanks in The Terminal. When we walked into Palermo the first time, the owner of the place (it’s a family owned establishment), Tony, came by to say hi to Lydia. Next thing we knew, we had an order of fried mushrooms delivered on the house. They were good.

                                       

I decided I love Ree Drummond, partly because she’s so adorable and partly because she was a blogger before she was a Food Network Personality. So today’s recipe hails from her kitchen. Or her website. Or both.

pasghetti

Spaghetti Sauce
Recipe Type: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Ree Drummund
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 18
Ingredients
  • 5 pounds Ground Beef (I Used Ground Round)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 whole Large Yellow Onions, Diced
  • 2 whole Green Bell Pepper, Seeded And Diced
  • 6 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 cup White Wine (or Low Sodium Beef Broth If You Prefer)
  • 2 cans 28 Ounce Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 Oz. Size) Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 can (small, 4-ounce) Tomato Paste
  • 1 jar Good Storebought Marinara Sauce (can Use Another Jar If You Like The Sauce To Be More Saucy Than Meaty)
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Thyme
  • 4 whole Bay Leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Finely Minced Fresh Parsley (or 3 Tablespoons Parsley Flakes), More To Taste
  • 1 whole Rind From One Wedge Parmesan (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)
  • 2 pounds Spaghetti, Cooked Al Dente And Tossed With Olive Oil
  • Extra Minced Parsley, For Serving
  • Extra Parmesan Cheese, For Serving
Instructions
  1. IMPORTANT: This recipe can be cut in half.
  2. In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef until browned. Remove meat from pot with a slotted spoon and put into a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Discard any grease in pot, but do not clean the pot. Drizzle in olive oil. When it is heated, throw in the diced onion and diced bell pepper. Stir it around for 1 1/2 minutes, then add the garlic. Stir and cook for an additional minute.
  4. Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble up and reduce for about 1 1/2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and marinara sauce. Stir to combine, then add oregano, thyme, sugar, salt, bay leaves, and crushed red pepper (if using). Stir, then add cooked ground beef and stir to combine. Place the lid on the pot and allow to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add a little water or some low-sodium broth if it needs more liquid.
  5. After an hour, add the minced parsley and the rind from a wedge of Parmesan (or grated Parmesan if you prefer–or both!) Stir to combine, then put the lid back on and allow it to simmer for another 30 minutes or so. Discard bay leaves before serving.

Photo Source.

A Foodies Dream is a weekend feature, including the best food recipes I’ve found online. All of which I’m dying to try. I’m a foodie and if you’re reading this, you probably are, too. Happy eating & enjoy the foodies dream! Let me know in the comments if you try any of these recipes (or if you adapt any to your own taste). This week’s theme is Spaghetti. 

Eat With Your Eyes

Today’s post is all visual, courtesy of Swedish food stylist and photographer Linda Lomelino. Since I don’t speak Swedish, I can’t necessarily link you to the recipes, but if you do read Swedish, you can find them here or on Linda’s website. These are the most stunning desserts I’ve ever seen. I just had to share!

linda

linda2

linda 3

Photos by Linda Lomelino of Call Me Cupcake.

Too rich and divine looking for you? Julia Child aptly said: “The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” Maybe we should heed her advice and try something as beautiful as these desserts.

A Foodies Dream is a weekend feature, including the best food recipes I’ve found online. All of which I’m dying to try. I’m a foodie and if you’re reading this, you probably are, too. Happy eating & enjoy the foodies dream! Let me know in the comments if you try any of these recipes (or if you adapt any to your own taste). This week’s theme is “Eat With Your Eyes.” 

A Foodies Dream: Oven-Fried Chicken

Who doesn’t love fried chicken? When it’s done well, it’s one of my favorite foods. Pair it with some homemade mashed potatoes and I’ve just died from happiness.

This week’s recipe is for oven-fried breadcrumb crusted chicken drumsticks, so you don’t get all that grease from pan frying the chicken. And baking chicken is way easier than standing over a hot frying pan to cook.

Bread crumbs have become a staple in my house lately, but truth be told I’m still learning how to use them. In fact, I recently told my boyfriend that I was going to start a food blog about all the recipes I mess up. To which he said, “The only way to become a good cook is by practicing.” And then I said, okay and continued to mess up some perfectly good biscuits and gravy.

The good news is, I made this recipe on Thursday night and we both loved it. I served it with some Parmesan risotto and steamed broccoli. I think the flavors were perfect together and I loved this chicken so much I went back for…well, a lot.

So, without further ado, here’s today’s fully tested and fully loved recipe. I hope you love it as much as I did!

RECIPE – Oven-Fried Breadcrumb Crusted Chicken Drumsticks

Photo source: The Two Bite Club
Photo source: The Two Bite Club
Oven-Fried Breadcrumb Crusted Chicken Drumsticks
Recipe Type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Lisa Kerr
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 6 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsps butter
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsps parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in microwave. Put the butter in a casserole dish or baking pan.
  2. Meanwhile, in a shallow dish whisk together the egg and the water. In another shallow dish, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, basil and black pepper.
  3. Dip the drumsticks in the egg mixture followed by the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the coating firmly onto each piece. Put the drumsticks into the pan of melted butter and drizzle them with olive oil.
  4. Bake the chicken for 30 minutes, flip then continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes.

The original recipe and photo comes from The Two Bite Club but was modified. Original recipe here. Our version omitted the onion powder because onion powder is just plain gross.

A Foodies Dream is a weekend feature, including the best food recipes I’ve found online. All of which I’m dying to eat again. I’m a foodie and if you’re reading this, you probably are, too. Here’s a few of my favorite foodie pins from Pinterest this week. Happy eating & enjoy the foodies dream! Let me know in the comments if you try any of these recipes (or if you adapt any to your own taste). This week’s theme is oven-fried chicken.

What We Ate: Tomato-Cream Sauce with Tortellini

I’ve interrupted the weekend Foodies Dream series for this post in the new series “What We Ate.” I hope you like it!

It’s not often that our homemade dinners are featured on this blog, but I couldn’t help blogging about what we ate last night. Mostly because C. is becoming one of my favorite chefs and this meal was seriously one of the best things I’ve eaten in years. I’m starting to wonder if my boyfriend missed his calling as a chef.

photo2

Tonight C. made a tomato-cream sauce with tortellini and served it with oven-roasted asparagus. He even bought my favorite white wine, Stella Rosa. (I swear I’m an unpaid evangelist for Stella Rosa wine. I tell everyone about how delicious it is and some of my friends serve it exclusively at their parties now.)

Here’s what the final dish looked like. Original recipes are below, along with the sources we pulled them from. We modified each recipe, so I’ve included notes on what we changed.

photo1

Tomato-Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter

 Directions:

In a saucepan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Make sure it doesn’t burn. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and continue to boil 5 minutes or until most of the liquid evaporates. Remove from heat; stir in whipping cream and butter. Reduce heat and simmer 5 more minutes.

Note:

We didn’t add sugar so I left that out of the recipe, but the original source is below. We also add onions, because I didn’t have any! It turned out amazing without them and in fact, the sauce was very sweet, so I recommend cutting out the sugar anyway. I’ve noticed some people added fresh basil to theirs (would be delicious) and pureed the sauce before serving it. The texture didn’t bother me, but these are tips you might try at home.

Original recipe source. We modified this version.

Oven-Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch thin asparagus spears, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (we used shredded)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the olive oil and garlic in a small bowl. Mix well. Then place the asparagus in a mixing bowl, and drizzle with olive oil/garlic mixture. Toss to coat the spears. Arrange the spears onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes depending on thickness. Sprinkle with lemon juice just before serving.

Original recipe source. We modified this version.