The 24-Hour Wine Expert

24HourWineExpert

I like to consider myself a wine aficionado, although I am probably closer to being a wino. . . I mean a wine lover.

While I was in culinary school, one of my favorite classes was an intensive wine course we were required to take. This class was a combination of lectures, tastings and wine pairings.  My school was located in San Francisco, so we were able to take field trips to the Napa and Sonoma Valley for tastings and meetings with local wine makers. Although I enjoyed wine before, I had no real understanding of wine. This class opened my eyes, and my palate.

In California, you can find great wine being made from the Mexican border all the way up to the Oregon border. I have been to wineries all over this state, and learned through tasting what my favorite wines are. But, while California has many varietals to choose from, the reality is that wine is produced all over the world and has been since biblical times. And learning about wines from other countries can be daunting, especially if you aren’t required to take a class, as I was.

That is where The 24-Hour Wine Expert written by renowned wine critic Jancis Robinson comes in. This pocket-size book makes choosing the right wine so simple, even if you are a wine novice.  This book is written for everyone, with no wine snobbery or language that is not accessible.

About the same size as a Kindle or other tablet, this book easily fits in your purse or bag, so taking it with you when you go wine shopping is easy.

Are you having a dinner party? Consult the chapter about Matching Wine to the Occasion.

Don’t know a thing about European wines? Read Wine Regions You Need to Know About – A Cheat Sheet.

Not sure how to store and serve your wines? How to Handle Wine and Essential Hardware are the chapters you need.

From learning about each grape variety to choosing the right bottle, The 24-Hour Wine Expert breaks it all down for you in an unfettered, simple to understand style.

To learn even more about wine and Jancis Robinson, visit her website, where you can find articles, tasting notes and more.

Find links to purchase The 24-Hour Wine Expert here.

 

Full Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from Abrams Books and the Abrams Dinner Party.  I may receive compensation in the form of monetary compensation or product compensation in exchange for my review. I believe in reviewing only products that fit my brand and will be beneficial to my readers. All the opinions are my own.

Spicy Turkey Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Spicy Turkey Stuffed Poblano Peppers #tryturkey

 

Turkeys and I are good friends. Well, friends in the sense that I love to eat them up. So maybe frenemies is the better term, but either way I love turkey.

From Succulent Spiced Turkey Carnitas,

Turkey Carnitas

 

to Mini Brie Stuffed Turkey Burgers,

 

Mini Brie Stuffed Turkey Burgers | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

to Turkey Chili Pasta,

Turkey Chili Pasta

and Cherry Chipotle Glazed Turkey Meatballs,

 

Cherry Chipotle Glazed Turkey Meatballs | Black Girl Chef's Whites

 

it is obvious I am a fan of the All American bird. Did you know Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as the symbol of America? The bald eagle won that battle, but its always nice to be nominated.

My latest recipe featuring turkey is an amazingly flavorful and easy Spicy Turkey Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Think of those stuffed bell peppers your grandma used to make, but so, so much better!

 

Poblano Chile Peppers

 

Turkey is a very mild meat that lends itself to so many different flavor profiles. Poblano peppers are a mildly spicy chile, that is most often recognized as the pepper used in the Mexican dish Chile Relleno. For this recipe, I chose to season ground turkey with a myriad of spices before stuffing and baking it in the halved chiles. While the recipe is simple, the results are not!

I am working with the National Turkey Federation to promote awareness about how versatile and delicious turkey is. Don’t just think about turkey at Thanksgiving, consider it a meat to buy year round. Not only is is easy to cook, it is considerably lower in fat than many other meats and tastes fantastic.

The National Turkey Federation supports its farmers to raise well-treated turkeys in comfortable settings that are environmentally safe and that by doing so raise the tastiest turkey. By providing all the information retail and restaurant professionals need to raise awareness educate and inspire people to try an unexpected, healthy and flavorful lean protein – turkey.

Spicy Turkey Stuffed Poblano Peppers
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8 peppers
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • ¼ cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Pepitas, or roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle chile
  • 4 poblano peppers, halved, seeds removed
  • Sliced jack cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the turkey, shallots, pepitas, salt, thyme, cumin, coriander and chipotle.
  3. Using clean hands, throughly mix all the ingredients together.
  4. Place the poblano pepper halves into an 11 X 9 baking dish,
  5. Divide the turkey mixture between the peppers.
  6. Gently press the turkey into each pepper, evenly distributing the meat.
  7. An optional garnish is sliced mild cheese. If using place the cheese on top of the turkey.
  8. Cover the dish with foil and bake 40 minutes.
  9. Remove the foil from the dish and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until the turkey is nicely browned.
  10. Serve immediately.

 

I’ve given you five excellent turkey recipes but for additional recipes, tips, videos and resources on turkey,  visit the Serve Turkey website.

 

You  can also find great information and recipes on the Serve Turkey Facebook page as well as the Serve Turkey Twitter account.

 

 

Breakfast Sausage and Home Fries Casserole

Breakfast Sausage and Home Fries Casserole

This is the kind of meal I like to order when I go out to breakfast. I used to make this kind of breakfast at home, but when you have a hungry kid with zero patience, you go for the quick option most of the time. But the great thing about this Breakfast Sausage and Home Fries  Casserole is that you can make it the night before, then bake it in the morning!

Once again, I am working with Johnsonville Sausage to create a new recipe for a holiday casserole. For me, the best part of the holiday season is watching my daughter unwrap her Christmas gifts. Paper is ripped and tossed at warp speed. Cats pounce on the discarded ribbons with abandon. I sit there groggy, taking photos and enjoying the ear to ear grins and cries of joy and excitement.

But the minute the rampage subsides, my daughter will turn and look at me, asking “What’s for breakfast?”

This is where having an assembled casserole ready to baked is so wonderful. Whether it is Christmas morning, New Year’s day or any old day, all you have to do is turn on the oven, pop the casserole in and sit back and enjoy your family while it bakes.

 

Johnsonville Breakfast Sausage and Home Fries Casserole Ingredients

I like to buy ready to eat sausage links and patties because of my impatient and hungry child. I used Johnsonville Fully Cooked Original Recipe Breakfast Sausage for this casserole. If you do not eat pork, they also have a delicious turkey breakfast sausage, which will work just fine in this recipe.

If you are making this casserole the night before, assemble it completely, like the photo below.

 

Breakfast Sausage and Home Fries Casserole

Cover the casserole tightly with foil and place in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Cooks Tip: If using a mandolin style slicer for the potatoes, slice them directly into a bowl of cold water. This stops discoloration and will crisp up the potatoes. If cutting by hand, place them into cold water after cutting.

Breakfast Sausage and Home Fries Casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 package Johnsonville Original Recipe Fully Cooked Breakfast Sausage, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 russet potatoes (about 2 pounds) peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2 garnet yams (about 1½ pounds) peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, sliced into matchstick size pieces
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F
  2. Coat a 9X13 baking pan non stick cooking spray.
  3. Mix together salt, pepper and thyme in small bowl.
  4. Layer ⅓ of both types of potatoes in the bottom of baking pan.
  5. Sprinkle with ⅓ of the spice mixture.
  6. Top with ⅓ each of the sausage, peppers and shallots.
  7. Repeat the layering twice until casserole assembled.
  8. Place the pieces of butter on top, then cover with foil.
  9. Bake 40 minutes, remove foil, bake additional 15 - 20 minutes to brown potatoes.

 

Breakfast Sausage and Home Fries Casserole

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Johnsonville. The opinions and text are all mine.

Dessert Hack Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cups

Who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies? Who doesn’t like peanut butter cups? Put them together and you have these heavenly Dessert Hack Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cups!

I’m working with Nestle Toll House on this post, to tell you all about Speed Scratch baking. Speed what, you say? Speed Scratch, or utilizing a convenience product as a component in an otherwise from scratch recipe. I don’t know about you, but I am crazy busy most of the time. As much as I would like to cook and bake from scratch all the time, it is not going to happen. Nestle Toll House Refrigerated Cookie Bar Dough is the perfect dessert hack. It can be a base for a cookie bar, a crust, a topping and so much more. In this case, I transformed it into a peanut butter cup.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cups

Nestle Toll House Ultimates Chocolate Chip Lovers Cookie Bar Dough are pre-cut and easy to break apart, making it perfect for last minute desserts or just as a treat. I love that you can break off one or two cookies, bake them, eat them and not have to worry about eating too many cookies. If there are cookies to be eaten in my house, I eat them.  And my waistline is a testament to that.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cups

Dessert Hack Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cups
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 (16 ounce) package Nestle Toll House Ultimates Chocolate Lovers Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 325° F.
  2. Separate the cookie dough into 12 cookies.
  3. Cut each cookie into quarters. You will have 48 pieces of cookie dough.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and peanut butter, until the mixture becomes a crumbly paste.
  5. Using clean hands, form 24 balls from the peanut butter filling.
  6. Spray a 24 cup mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  7. Place one piece of cookie dough into each cup, pressing the dough flat and up the sides of the muffin pan.
  8. Place one peanut butter ball into each cup of the muffin pan.
  9. Slightly flatten another piece of the cookie dough, then gently press it over the peanut butter ball.
  10. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough.
  11. Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes, until cookie is browned and done.
  12. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
  13. Cool the cookies at least 20 minutes, then carefully remove from the pan.
  14. Cool the cookies completely on the rack.

 

And to make this even better, I am hosting a giveaway on Instagram! The prize is a $10 gift card to Amazon.

Here is what you need to do to qualify for the giveaway:

1. Follow @NestleTollHouse and @CherylDLee on Instagram.

2. Scroll through the @NestleTollHouse feed and pick a recipe you would like to try!

3. Leave a comment on my Instagram post with the following hashtags: #BakeTrendy #NestleTollHouse #sweepstakes

It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cups

Seedles in the Little Organic Garden

Package of Seedles

Thyme Bombs! Get it? T-I-M-E bombs?

Alright, I may be the only one who enjoys a good pun. Me and the people who make Seedles, a really cool and easy way to garden. Seedles are composed of little colorful balls of compost, seeds and clay. You just throw them down, water them and let nature do its thing. Actually, you can just throw them and grow them, as nature will provide the water when it rains. (unless, like me you live in California, where we are experiencing a record drought) The wildflower seeds are all native, non-GMO certified seeds.

But even more important, the mission of Seedles is as follows:

 

We aim to inspire kids to grow one billion wildflowers to bring back the bees and ensure a sustainable food system for their future.

 

Although I am writing about the Thyme Bombs, Seedles also sell Wildflower Seedles and California Poppy Seedles.

Cece in the Little Organic Garden

Occasionally I post about my little organic garden, usually through photographs. The picture above shows my garden today, and is a combination of a summer garden and winter garden. We’ll call it a transitional garden. There are collard greens, Tuscan kale, boysenberries, lemongrass, kabocha squash, arugula, cucumbers, tarragon, shishito peppers, habanero peppers, jalapeno peppers, sorrel, garlic chives and rosemary. Some plants grow really well. Some plants I kill.

I learn as I go. . . or grow, should I say.

Seedles

In another planting bed where I grow a few herbs I have a large bare spot of dirt. At one time there were a couple of kinds of basil there, but I killed it. What better place for me to spread the Thyme Bombs?

Seedles

I placed those little colorful balls on the dirt, amongst a bunch of oak leaves from my tree. I watered the area, and will wait and see what happens.

Within moments the Seedles had a new fan in the garden. And the roly poly liked them too.

Seedles with a Roly Poly Hitchhiker

 

 

I may receive compensation in either monetary or product form for my work. I take pride in working with products that fit my brand and will be beneficial to my readers.  All opinions are my own.