8.31.2010

Trader Joe's GIVEAWAY!

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Happy 100th post to Ice Cream & Wine! I thought I'd never get here! 

I started this blog way back in December 2009, and I was an eager little blogger with very consistent postings. I went through a rut in the spring - we were planning a move, had family in town visiting a lot and were able to do some traveling (hello, Florida, Nebraska & The Bahamas!). 

Since this summer was mainly spent looking for jobs out in California, I had the time to revive Ice Cream & Wine - and I'm so happy I did. I have way more readers now than I ever expected to have. During the first few months, only my family and closest friends kept up with this blog. Now I'm happy to say that Ice Cream & Wine has been seen in 44 states and 19 countries! Now I realize that there are many more blogs out there that have better stats than that - but I'm very proud and appreciate the readers that keep coming back for more!


As a thank you, I'm giving away some Trader Joe's goodies! Y'all know I'm rather obsessed with TJ's, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite goods with you! Here's what one of you will win:

Cinnamon & Sugar Pita Chips
Valencia Peanut Butter with Roasted Flaxseeds (crunchy & salted)
Two mini bags of microwave popcorn
Fiberful Fruit Bar (Apple Blueberry)
100% Dried Fruit Bar (Raspberry)


There are many ways to enter - check it out (open to U.S. and Canada residents only):

Mandatory:
Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite ice cream or wine. If for some reason you don't like either (gasp!), tell me your favorite indulgent treat. :)

Additional Entries - each entry deserves a separate comment telling me you did so:

-Become a Google Follower OR subscribe via email. If you already follow it, let me know!

-Follow me on Twitter: @icecream_wine


-Tweet this: I just entered a Trader Joe's Giveaway on @icecream_wine - you can too! http://tinyurl.com/2b2jacu

That's right - you have four ways to enter! You will have until tomorrow (Wednesday, September 1) at 11:59p.m. to enter. I will randomly pick a winner on Thursday morning.

Good Luck! And again - thank you for being a part of Ice Cream & Wine!

8.27.2010

Blueberry Crisp

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A few weekends ago, my husband and I drove down to North Carolina to spend time with some wonderful friends of ours. Since we're moving to California next week (whee!), we wanted to see them one last time before the whole entire country separates us! 

During a drizzly & gloomy Sunday afternoon, we went to a blueberry farm - or maybe blueberry patch is a better term. Anyway, we picked and picked and picked blueberries for a good hour. And guess what. We walked away with 25 pounds of fresh blueberries. (Note: this number did not include the pounds of blueberries that somehow made it into my stomach while picking!)

So what did we do with 25 pounds? We made jam! We used quite of few blueberries for that, and the rest were either frozen or eaten fresh. 

I do have pictures of the all the canned jam - but they seem to be lost into the depths of my computer. I'll find those soon and post them - it's a lot!


 With some of the fresh blueberries that we brought back up to D.C., I made a wonderful crisp - so good! After reading some of the reviews of the recipe, it sounded like the crisp part was rather lacking (hello, it is from Cooking Light!). So I cut the blueberry mixture in half and kept the crisp at the full amount. I'm definitely a fan of the buttery, sugary crisp! Below you will find the original recipe - remember, I used only 3 cups of blueberries, and it turned out to be great!

Blueberry Crisp
Source: Cooking Light, June 2006

Ingredients:
6  cups  blueberries
2  tablespoons  brown sugar
1  tablespoon  all-purpose flour
1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
2/3  cup  all-purpose flour
1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
1/2  cup  regular oats
3/4  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
4 1/2  tablespoons  chilled butter or stick margarine, cut into small pieces

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; spoon into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine 2/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon, and cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle over the blueberry mixture. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Top each serving with 1/4 cup frozen yogurt.

Note: Topping may also be made in the food processor. Place 2/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon in a food processor, and pulse 2 times or until combined. Add butter; pulse 4 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal.

8.25.2010

Wine Wednesday: MOM

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I've realized that by acknowledging Wine Wednesdays every week, the weeks seem to go by rather quickly. Here we are again!

Don't think I've been lacking in the food area - I have plenty of simple recipes to share with you in the coming days.

I'm sipping on some absolutely delightful white table wine as I type this post. Remember when I had the best time at Festa Rappahannock? My husband and I didn't walk away empty handed from that wine festival. Oh no, we bought ourselves a bottle of wine in remembrance of a wonderful day!


It was the white table wine titled MOM from Narmada Winery that won over our taste buds that day. We finally popped the cork and enjoyed it with some homemade pizza. Because really, wine does go with everything.


MOM, named after the winery owner's mother (and in honor of all moms!), is a very light & crisp wine. The aftertaste is just beautiful. It pairs well with spicy Indian food, but as we also found out, it's very good with pizza! I highly suggest this wine to any and all white wine lovers and to loyal red drinkers. My husband is such a fan of red wine, and even this table white brought a smile to his face!

8.18.2010

Wine Wednesday: I'm a Winner!

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Wine Wednesday...so we meet again!


Can you believe that I indulged in two - TWO! - bottles of wine this weekend and did not snap pictures of either? I'm such a disgrace! In my defense, I enjoyed the wine while visiting some great friends down in North Carolina and just got caught up in some great conversation and some great food. It happens...


But I have a great topic for this week's wine post: today I won a wine-related giveaway! I should let you know that I've been pretty lucky when it comes to blog and Twitter giveaways. I won my first back in March (a $50 Safeway gift card), my second in July (10 raw energy bars), my third last week (Justin's Nut Butter package) and my fourth today! 


Although I've been excited about all prizes, today's takes top honors.


Source: Rosehill Wine Cellars
That, my friends, is a Recycled Barrel Wine Glass Holder from Rosehill Wine Cellars. How cool is that?! I love it for many reasons - A.) it's unique B.) it supports my wine drinking habits and C.) it's green - hello, recycled material!

I can't wait to get my hands on this.  I think it will look very nice in our new California apartment, don't you agree?!


P.S. Three more posts and then the Trader Joe's giveaway! You must be a follower of Ice Cream & Wine to be eligible, so do it now! :)

8.16.2010

Cod with Roasted Corn & Peppers

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So colorful, isn't it? In my quest to eat more fish (let's hear it for those omega-3 fatty acids!), I've forced myself to search for quick & tasty recipes online - from recipe collection websites like My Recipes, to my good old Google Reader. I must say, I've been rather successful! 

The easy tilapia recipe that I shared last week turned out to be a hit, but I thought it would be. I already knew that I liked tilapia, so I wasn't branching out of my comfort zone. However, I did with this one: Cod with Roasted Corn & Peppers. 


The original recipe calls for grouper, but they suggest "other moderately firm fish" like cod, tile fish or sea bass. Luckily, my Trader Joe's had cod fillets, so cod it was! Using pre-cut fillets saved me a lot of time.

The roasted corn and peppers turned out to be such a great side dish to the cod. The smell while it was roasting in the oven was just fantastic. The best part about this recipe is that you use a cutting board, knife and a roasting pan. That's IT! Hardly any dirty dishes - love!

Cod with Roasted Corn & Peppers
Source: Food & Wine, 1997

Ingredients:
1  red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch squares
1  green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch squares
2  cups  fresh (cut from about 3 ears) or frozen corn kernels
2  tablespoons  cooking oil
1/2  teaspoon  salt - I used seasoned salt
1/2  teaspoon  fresh-ground black pepper
1/2  teaspoon  dried thyme
2  pounds  grouper fillets, cut to make 4 pieces

Directions:
Heat the oven to 450°. In a large roasting pan, combine the red and green bell peppers, the corn, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt, pepper, and thyme. Roast in the oven until the corn and peppers start to brown, about 12 minutes, stirring twice. 

Rub the remaining tablespoon oil over both sides of the fish. Sprinkle the fish with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt, pepper, and thyme. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and push the corn-and-pepper mixture to the sides of the pan. Put the fish in the center of the pan, skin-side down, and cook until just done, about 15 minutes for 1-inch-thick fillets. Serve the fish with the corn and peppers. 

Test-Kitchen Tip from Food & Wine: If using frozen corn kernels, let them defrost if you can; it only takes a few minutes. Measure the corn first thing and it will be defrosted by the time you're ready for it. Pat the corn dry with a paper towel after defrosting so that the excess moisture won't get in the way during cooking and make browning impossible.

8.13.2010

Chilled Cucumber & Avocado Soup

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Happy Weekend! Another week down, another week closer to living in California! For those of you who are new to Ice Cream & Wine, my husband (Evan) and I are moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in September. Evan will be starting a graduate program out there, and I'll [hopefully] be a working woman some time soon!


Anyway, do I have a great summer recipe for you! This Chilled Cucumber & Avocado Soup is really the epitome of summer - light, crisp, refreshing. I served it alongside roasted asparagus and wild rice. The original recipe is found below, but of course I had to make some changes. First, I don't have white pepper on-hand, so I just used ground black pepper. I also used plain Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt - hello, extra protein! Finally, I left the cucumber skin on to get extra fiber and nutrients. 


I know this may seem like a lot of changes, but the point of Ice Cream & Wine is to enjoy simple meals that don't require a lot of fuss. By using ingredients I had on-hand (such as the black pepper & Greek yogurt), I saved money and was able to tailor this recipe to how I wanted. 

Chilled Cucumber, Avocado & Yogurt Soup
Source: Sunset Magazine, June 2010


Ingredients:
4  cups  plain low-fat yogurt
2 cups cold water
2  tablespoons  minced garlic
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  ground white pepper
1/4  teaspoon  ground cumin
1  English cucumber, peeled and chopped
1  avocado, cut into 1/2-in. dice
1/4  cup  chopped fresh mint
1/4  cup  chopped fresh dill
4  teaspoons  extra-virgin olive oil - I omitted this

Directions:
Whisk together yogurt, garlic, salt, spices, and 2 cups cold water in a large bowl. Add cucumber, avocado, mint, and dill, stirring gently to combine. Drizzle each serving with 1 tsp. oil.

8.12.2010

Banana Cupcakes & Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

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So cupcakes have been all the rage the past couple of years. And to be honest, I love that this classic dessert is getting the much-deserved attention. However, many people in the food world think that this is just a trend, and that cupcakes are so yesterday. Really?!

With cupcakeries popping up all over the nation, it's hard for me to believe that this is just a trend that will soon wear out. Cupcakes have been around for years, and I don't believe that a little spike in popularity will run this idea into the ground. 

The same people that are calling cupcakes a fad, are also saying that macarons will soon be taking over. Now, I have various opinions on this matter. I love macarons...I really do. The chewy cookie filled with wonderful frosting, cream, fruit preserve - you name it - is an absolute delight. And while pastry shops in hip, urban neighborhoods are beginning to see a rise in demand for these little gems, the ordinary home-baker has yet to tackle macarons for everyday enjoyment (you don't see boxed mixes for macarons in the grocery store aisles, now do you?). They seem scary, intimidating and hard to master...so I've heard. I haven't tried for said reasons! But really, can you honestly see macarons replacing cupcakes at little Johnny's 4th birthday party? I guess I just don't understand why people seem to think one has to replace the other. Why can't we have both?


Ok, enough of my rant about how cupcakes will always have a place in society.

I was craving cupcakes last week because...well, just because. I love the combination of banana and cinnamon, so I knew I'd enjoy these. Go ahead and try them out - they're simple, flavorful and quite indulgent! Perfection.

Banana Cupcakes
Source: Cooking Light, September 1999

Ingredients:
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
1/4 cup butter or stick margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt - I used Greek yogurt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar and banana; set aside. Beat 1/2 cup granulated sugar, butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 3 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana mixture to sugar mixture, beating well. 

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition.

Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups lined with paper liners. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Top with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below).


Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients:
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature - I used light
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:
In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar and cinnamon, mixing well until it’s all incorporated.  Use immediately or refrigerate.  The frosting will harden in the fridge, so plan on bring it back to room temperature if you must refrigerate it before frosting the cupcakes.

8.11.2010

Wine Wednesday: Sangria Summer

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Happy Wine Wednesday, everyone!

Do you want to know a fun fact? Wine Wednesday has actually been declared on Twitter! If you post any tweets today about wine, just be sure to add #ww or #winewednesday. I was able to find a lot of sweet wine folks on Twitter last Wednesday because of this. And don't forget to add me - @icecream_wine - ok, I'm done!

Today's Wine Wednesday topic: Sangria. Fun, right?! I've always enjoyed sangria, but to be honest, I rarely have it. I see it as a special treat. However, every time I enjoy a refreshing glass, I always tell myself to have it more often. It's really, really good. 

It's a perfect treat for summer, with all the fresh fruit in abundance! You can also make white and red variations of the drink, so it truly can be enjoyed by all.


Remember when I had this white sangria at Festa Rappahannock? The white wine and green apples made for a sweet taste. It complemented my grilled chicken and veggies quite wonderfully. 




Now here I am enjoying red sangria. And my, oh my, this is a completely different drink! The red wine and chosen fruit (oranges, limes, etc.) made this drink a little deeper in flavor, and almost bitter. But in a good way, I promise you! I drank this sangria with some cheese pizza at Jazz in the Garden at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden in D.C. Jazz in the Garden is held every Friday night during the summer months from 5:30-8:30. It's jam-packed with young professionals, and pitchers of sangria can be seen everywhere!


I've decided to set a little challenge for myself - if you could call it that. I have never made sangria - but I'm going to try it before we move to California. I have 3 1/2 weeks - I know I'll be able to find a good excuse to make it! 


I've done some searching for sangria recipes, and here are a few that are front runners.


Red Wine Sangria, Real Simple Magazine
Carolina Peach Sangria, Southern Living Magazine
Sangria Perea, Guy Fieri


Do you have a sangria recipe that you like? Let me know!

8.10.2010

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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I'm sorry to have teased you with the picture of the sprouts and not the recipe. What was I thinking?! Well, now you have it and can enjoy it! 

My husband loves brussels sprouts. To be quite honest, I never had them until I had dinner with his family while dating and his mother made them. I cannot even begin to explain how nervous I was when I plopped some on my plate. I mean, what if I hated them?! I couldn't offend his mother! No worries, foodies...I loved them!

This is a great way to prepare sprouts - although I'm a little biased. I think every vegetable can, and should, be roasted in the oven. Such good flavor.

Oh, and I used a new gadget during this recipe. Review to come soon!


Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss sprouts with oil and minced garlic. Once well-coated, place sprouts on a large, rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. 

Make sure sprouts are cut-side down. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until tender and golden on edges.
 
Yield: 2 servings

8.09.2010

Yellow Squash & Tomatoes

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I love summer and the great fresh produce that comes along with it. The abundance of fruit and vegetables just excites me, as well as the pretty and vibrant colors. This makes for fun and creative recipes!

Speaking of vegetables, a vegetable must always be represented in all Ice Cream & Wine dinners, per the request of my husband. But he's gotten me hooked, as now I don't see a meal as complete unless there's a vegetable side dish. And we're talking legit vegetable side dishes...not ones doused in cream/butter/etc. 



I'm a big fan of cooked tomatoes, so when I saw this recipe featured on Katie's Cucina, I was immediately inspired.

Yellow Squash & Tomatoes

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small yellow squash, 1/4-inch sliced
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. When heated, add yellow squash and cook for 8 minutes. 

Add in tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for additional 4 minutes until all vegetables are heated through. 

Yield: 4 servings

8.08.2010

Baked & Seasoned Tilapia

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I always laugh at myself when I rave about how good a fish recipe tastes. I used to loathe fish. Seriously, I would gag at the smell of it. I know, a complete over-share on that one, but I'm all about honesty, people!

My husband and I are trying to incorporate more fish into our weekly menus. The health benefits of eating fish are grand, so we're trying to get those omega-3 fatty acids and cut out the saturated fat. Two points for healthy food!

Anyway, this tilapia recipe will be made again and again. Fish is so easy to prepare, and this recipe hardly has any clean-up involved. I love that.

Baked & Seasoned Tilapia
Inspiration: Easy Baked Tilapia, All Recipes

Ingredients:
2 tilapia fillets
1 tablespoon olive oil
juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place fillets in a square baking dish coated with cooking spray.


Drizzle fillets with olive oil, followed by lemon juice. Sprinkle with seasoned salt, pepper and garlic powder.


Bake for 15 minutes, or until fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

Yield: 2 servings

8.06.2010

Braised Balsamic Chicken

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Ok, I realize this is not a pretty picture. Believe me, I do. And I also realize it's not the prettiest color. However, I doubt anyone could make an appealing color out of balsamic vinegar and tomatoes. Brown and red? Yeah, not the greatest combination.

But who cares? When a dish tastes as good as this, it really doesn't matter. Not only am I obsessed with balsamic vinegar, I am also obsessed with the taste of it when mixed with tomatoes. Seriously, the flavors were meant to be with each other.

The flavors are so rich and deep - people will think you slaved away in the kitchen. But I assure you, this is anything but complicated. You should know me well enough by now that I don't make tedious recipes!

I hope you'll look past this picture and give this recipe a try. It's definitely a keeper in the Ice Cream & Wine household!

Oh, and the following recipe serves 6; I cut it in half and used three chicken breasts.

Braised Balsamic Chicken
Source: All Recipes 

Ingredients:
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast; cubed (1 inch pieces)
ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 - 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme


Directions:
Season cubed chicken with pepper, garlic powder and salt. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat; brown the onion and cubed chicken.

Pour balsamic vinegar and tomatoes over the chicken & onion mixture. Season with the remaining ingredients. Simmer until the chicken is no longer pink, and the juices run clear - about 15 minutes.


Serve over brown rice or angel hair pasta.
 

8.05.2010

Garlicky Spaghetti with Beans & Greens

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I've expressed my love for pasta many times before. It's just such a versatile ingredient; there are many ways to use it, and it's very hard to mess up.

In the winter I love red-based sauces - they're really just so hearty, warm & comforting. During the spring and summer months, I try to find new ways to lighten the pasta. That's where this recipe comes in: Garlicky Spaghetti with Beans & Greens.


 This is the perfect summer dish. Tomatoes, greens and no thick, heavy sauce. It's very easy to make - and it makes a lot of servings! You gain great protein and fiber from the cannellini beans. And of course the crushed red pepper gives this dish some great heat!

Garlicky Spaghetti with Beans & Greens
Source: Cooking Light, August 2009 

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients:
8 oz. uncooked spaghetti
3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. minced fresh garlic
1/2 tsp.  crushed red pepper
2 c.  grape tomatoes, halved
1 (16-oz.) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
5 oz. arugula leaves
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 c. (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Place pasta in a small bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, tossing gently. Set aside, and keep warm. 

Return pan to medium heat. Add oil, garlic, and red pepper; cook 2 minutes or until garlic is lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, tomatoes, and beans; cook 2 minutes. Add pasta; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add reserved pasta water and arugula, tossing gently to combine. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and cheese. Serve immediately. 

8.04.2010

Wine Wednesday: Charles Shaw

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Welcome to the first Wine Wednesday post! Let's pop open those bottles and get the wine a'flowing! 

I thought I'd start this new series with an educational post about one of the most affordable, yet delightful brands of wine. This topic is great for my friends and family back in Nebraska, as they'll soon be able to marvel at the glory that is Trader Joe's. 


source

I proudly introduce to you: Charles Shaw. Charles Shaw is sold in Trader Joe's across the country (except, for instance, Maryland because of their stupid laws). Do you recognize it? Maybe not by its official name, but what about when I say "Two Buck Chuck" - anything now?

Yes, winos, Charles Shaw is the famous Two Buck Chuck. It got its nickname back in the day (i.e. before the economy went downhill) when you could buy it for the mere price of $1.99. Um, that's cheap.

Cheap, indeed. And even at its price today - $3.19 - it's still a very affordable brand. But price isn't the exciting part here...it's what you get for the price that makes it a steal.

Seriously good wine. There's really no other way to put it. In fact, the Charles Shaw 2002 Shiraz won the double gold medal at the 28th Annual International Eastern Wine Competition. Oh, and it beat 2,300 other wines to do so!


Still not convinced? At the 2007 California Exposition and State Fair, the 2005 Chardonnay won Best Chardonnay from California. Sounds like a real winner, folks!

You'll get full reviews on specific Charles Shaw wines in the near future. My husband and I just stopped at Trader Joe's this past weekend to stock up. We walked away with four wine bottles that day and spent around $13. Life is good, isn't it?!

8.03.2010

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

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A couple months ago I went through a Nutella phase. One that I'm not necessarily proud of. We're talking on the brink of addiction here, people. I think it was because I had never had it before - so I just dove in, head first.

Luckily, I've said goodbye to the crazy habit of eating it by the spoonful. I'm *almost* embarrassed to have just shared that. Eh, that's life.

To be honest, I haven't had Nutella for a couple months. I know - I just said I went through an addiction a couple months ago - it was a quick one! But anyway, I brought Nutella back into my life recently when I made these cookies. I noticed a jar at the top of our cupboard and knew that I wanted to use it up. 

Even delicious with wine (but honestly, what isn't?!)
Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies are so utterly indulgent. I cannot even begin to explain how wonderful the texture is - crispy on the outside and ooey-gooey on the inside. Simply amazing. I'm begging you: please please please try these!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Books 'N Cooks, Nutella Cookies 

Ingredients:
2 c. + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt.
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter, melted and cooled
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. Nutella
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.


In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.


In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix butter and sugars until combined. Add Nutella, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.

Add in the flour mixture in thirds to ensure complete mixing. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls (or use a cookie scoop, like I did) and flatten slightly. Dough won’t spread, so whatever size you make the balls will be the size of your cookies.

Bake for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack. 


Yield: 24 cookies

New Features

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Happy Tuesday, foodies!

I'm sure that by now, you've noticed some changes on Ice Cream & Wine.  My husband, who just happens to be tech-savvy, updated my blog header, as well as made a new Twitter link. Just look to the left, and there it is! Click on the wine bottle, and you'll be directed to my Twitter account (here's the official address: http://www.twitter.com/icecream_wine). I would love it if you became a follower, and of course I'd follow you back!

Another change involves my page tabs just below the blog title. You'll see that there is a Recipe Box tab. Although I already had labels on my recipes, I found that this wasn't the best way to archive that good eats that go on here. You'll find great organization in the Recipe Box section, and I hope you find it more user-friendly.

Finally, I am going to start blogging more about wine. I've declared Wednesdays as the official "wine day of the week." On this day, my posts will be centered on wine (a bottle review, what I'm drinking that day, news about wine, vineyard/winery spotlight, etc.). I'll be saving all these posts under the Wine Wednesdays tab. I'm very excited about this!

Ok, that's all the new features for now. I'll be sure to update you if any more changes are in the future!

P.S. My 100th blog post is coming up...I'm thinking about holding my first giveaway. Stay tuned!

8.02.2010

Black Bean Burritos

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If you've been following Ice Cream & Wine for a while now, you know that I have not shared any recipes involving red meat. And while this might be a controversial topic among my family (hello, I was raised in Nebraska!), I don't think it's too big of a deal. A lot of people have asked me how we came to this decision - the decision to cut red meat from our household. To be honest, I don't have an exciting answer. My husband and I just feel better about our health when we stick to poultry and fish.

Lately though, we've been incorporating a lot of vegetarian meals into our weekly menu. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, I've found that we save money when we have 1-2 vegetarian meals a week. Beans and tofu and extremely cheap in comparison to meat. Secondly, vegetarian meals tend to be on the "lighter" side which is great for the summer and our appetites!


This all relates to my recipe for the day: Black Bean Burritos. These burritos are a great alternative to ones filled with meat. They have a great flavor from the black beans and green chiles. Very easy to make and very easy to enjoy!  

Black Bean Burritos
Inspiration: Black Bean Burrito Bake, Cooking Light, March 2003

Ingredients:
1/2 small can diced green chiles
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 - 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed, drained and divided
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
4 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
Cooking spray
1 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded cheese - I used a Mexican blend

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the green chiles and sour cream. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Pour half the black beans into a medium bowl. Using a fork, mash until beans turn into a thick paste. Add in the remaining whole beans, corn and sour cream mixture. Stir until well-combined. 

Spoon 1/2 cup bean mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up tortillas; place, seam side down, in an 8x8 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread salsa over tortillas; sprinkle with cheese.

Cover and bake for 20 minutes - or until heated through.

8.01.2010

Festa Rappahannock: Full Recap!

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Foodies Winos, I had the best day on Saturday. When a day is filled with wine, local food and great music, can it really be bad?! My point exactly.


My husband loves being out of the house and doing something. For those of you that know me, you know that I while I enjoy being socially active, I really enjoy being a homebody. Having these two personalities in a marriage is great though because we get to experience fun things, but also get to enjoy being lazy around the house. Compromise, people!


This leads me to our wine-derful (no?) weekend! Evan found out about this great wine festival called FESTA RAPPAHANNOCK. With 15 wine tastings and local food, who were we to say no?! Plus, part of the proceeds benefited the Hospice of Rapidan. Drinking wine for a good cause, that's how we saw it!

It was held at Rappahannock Cellars, which is a winery located about an hour west of Washington D.C. Four other wineries were also a part of this event: Chester Gap Cellars, Gadino Cellars, Narmada Winery, and Sharp Rock


In exchange for the purchase of our event tickets, we were each given 15 raffle tickets (each raffle ticket = 1 tasting). Each winery had three to sample, and you could use the tickets any way you wanted. We decided to try all the wines, to get the most out of this experience!

We stopped at Narmada Winery first, and they completely won us over. The owners are from India, and their tagline is "Experience India...Taste Virginia." So fun. We actually purchased one of their wines titled Mom - it's supposed to be a great pairing with Indian food - which we love! I'll be sure to post a picture of the bottle with a full review once we crack that baby open! Side note: having an advertising background, I also fell in love with their bottles and labels. I can't WAIT to show you it!
 

Next we stopped at Rappahannock Cellars and had a great conversation with the man in charge of the tastings. One conversation turned into another, and somehow our move to California was brought up. The owner happened to be walking by, so we were able to chat with him. He's from California and actually attended Stanford (which is where Evan will be attending grad school in the fall!). He used to own a winery near Palo Alto, so we're excited to check it out once we get there. Small, small world. 

We thought food sounded pretty good at this point! The food was prepared by Marriott Ranch, and Evan enjoyed a hamburger made from grass-fed local beef. I opted for the grilled chicken. We both had the chilled rice with veggies, as well as the cucumber and tomato salad. 


To wash down our food, Evan enjoyed a glass of Rappahannock Cellars' 2008 Cabernet Franc.


Me? Well, winos, I sipped on some sangria. That's summer right there, folks! 

 
We were able to enjoy music from the Mark Brandt Trio while eating - it was wonderful.



We finished our tastings at Sharp Rock, Chester Gap and Gadino. We must say that Rappahannock Cellars and Narmada Winery stood out the most, but we really did enjoy all five.

We ended the day with a cellar tour. Jason, the Winemaker, at Rappahannock Cellars gave us a wonderful tour of the winery. We were able to see the machines that break down the grapes, as well as the stainless steel and wooden barrels that store the wine. It was very interesting!



All in all, it was a great festival. It was absolutely gorgeous outside: not too hot, no humidity and hardly any wind. A great summer day!


How was your weekend? Was wine a part of it?! :)

Sneak Preview: FESTA RAPPAHANNOCK

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Here's what I did yesterday:


Looks fun, huh?! Details to come!
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