My Love/Hate Relationship with Weekly Meal Planning

It all started two January’s ago, when I decided to make meal planning my New Year’s resolution. I was tired of the nightly scramble for dinner, the constant grocery shopping and way too much money spent on last minute takeout. Not to mention, it made for some pretty unbalanced meals.

I wanted to succeed at this resolution, so I first started by doing some research and talking about it with my husband, and then my friends and family. A friend recommended a great lifestyle blog, Live Simply, which includes a whole guide to menu planning, along with monthly ideas and recipes. I read through the materials, feeling more knowledgeable about what it takes to make meal planning a success.

I also sat down and made a list of all the meals my family likes to eat (and that I know how to cook). This gave me a base of meals to use for my weekly planning. I focused mainly on Sunday – Thursday, since the weekend was usually pretty unpredictable and figuring out two meals on the fly would not be that much of an issue.

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Cookbook Review: Against All Grain

I think it’s time I let you know a little bit more about me. You see, I can’t eat dairy (I haven’t eaten dairy since I was 18) and recently, I cut out most grains from my diet. The thing is, none of this is by choice. If I could have my way, I would eat macaroni and cheese, with a side of cheesecake, loaded with whipped cream. But alas, my tummy will not have any of it.

When I embarked on this cutting out more (not all) grains thing, I realized I needed a little help. I mean one can only live off of so much salad. So I started looking around at various websites and cookbooks, and found Against All Grain by Danielle Walker.

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A Taste of Hawaii: Kalua Pork, Musubi and Squadra Bianco

I love Hawaii. In my mind it is beautiful and perfect: sandy beaches, warm weather and delicious foods. And lately, I have been really wanting to go back (I don’t know, maybe it is from all this dreary Seattle weather). Unfortunately, I can’t jump on a plane and head off to Hawaii at this moment, so I decided to bring a touch of “Aloha” to the dinner table.

Aloha BabyThe Saturday menu: Kalua Pork, Masubi, Macaroni Salad, Coleslaw, Kings Hawaiian roles and Squadra Bianco.

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A Visit to Cave B Estate Winery

Half-way between Seattle and Spokane, along the I-90 corridor, there is a wine oasis. The Cave B Estate Winery sits high up on the cliffs above the Columbia River commanding spectacular views of the valley below.

I have passed by the exit for the winery many times, always curiouGrape Leavess about the winery, but never ventured off the highway. Recently, life called for a few celebrations, so my husband, daughter and I met my parents and brother at the winery, with the plans to have lunch, do a little wine tasting and walk around the vineyards.

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Round Pond Estate Sauvignon Blanc

May 24th marked the anniversary of the Judgement of Paris, the famous blind taste test in France the pitted California wines against French wines. On this fateful day in 1976, two California wines, the 1973 chardonnay from Chateau Montelena and the 1973 cabernet sauvignon from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, won top honors.

The results were a shock to the French judges, and many others. But, it put California wine (and the U.S.) on the map as a serious contender in the wine scene.

So, what better way to celebrate this notable day, than to watch the movie, Bottle Shock (a 2009 movie based on the Judgement of Paris) and drink some California wine.

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Female Winemakers In Washington State – A Steady Increase

It is no secret that the wine industry has been male dominated since, well, forever. However, recent reports show this is now changing, which is good news for females entering the field. The title of a Wine Enthusiast article sums it up nicely: The Number of Women Winemakers Is Growing, and Fast. Well, at least in California. Which led me to thinking – how does Washington State compare when it comes to female winemakers?

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Wine Coolers: Preparing for Summer Wine Season

Last week a heat wave hit Seattle. I couldn’t let the 80+ degree temperatures (in April!) go to waste, so I reached for a bottle of Rosé. Unfortunately, I was caught off guard by the summer-like conditions. I had to think fast and throw my wine in the freezer for a quick blast of cool, before settling on semi-chilled wine.

At least I had a full glass in hand while watching the sunset.

The freezer method worked (kinda) for the moment, but it is not a long term solution. What I really need is a wine cooler. Something to keep my wine at the correct temperature, ready to drink at a moments notice. Like many, I tend to chill wine only when needed, so my fridge isn’t too full and my food isn’t fighting for space with my wine.

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Three Key Items to Think About When Creating a Website

Anymore consumers are going to the internet to decide everything from what wine to drink with dinner to what car to buy. This means that every business needs an internet presence in order to be seen and increase consumer awareness.

But, before you jump feet first into creating a website, here are a few points to keep in mind when creating your website:

  1. Your website goal
  2. Mobile optimization
  3. Content

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Lombardy, Inferno and Risotto Milanese

Moving along my virtual wine tour through Italy, my next stop is the Lombardy region. Lombardy is the home of Milan, Marscipone cheese and Ossobuco (a fancy dish consisting of veal shanks and bone marrow). More importantly, it is the home to a good handful of wine regions, the three most well known include the Franciacorta, the Oltrepo Pavese and the Valtellina.

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The Velvet Devil and the Devil’s Novice – A Double Dose of Devil

There are certain wines I consider ‘cocktail wines.’ They tend to be boozy – high alcohol content and a lot of heat.  And sometimes that is not a bad thing. Especially on a Friday night after a long week of work and life.

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