Wine – Website to Doorstep to Glass

Last month, I discovered an online wine club, Club W. I have purchased wine club subscriptions in the past from different vendors, but Club W impressed me immediately.

Club W

Here’s why I like it so far:

1.  Club W asks about taste preferences.

Club W provides a quick, six question survey called a “Palate Profile” to assess taste preferences.  Answers help to generate recommendations.

2.  The Club W site uses little lingo or jargon.

I know a little bit about wine, but am by no means an expert.  I have a read a few books on wine. I have gone to wine tastings, wine festivals and wine pairing dinners.  I have learned some of the wine jargon.  I have learned some of the wine rules. However, I find the jargon and the rules weigh me down when I select wine.  Club W recommendations are presented with text descriptions and video descriptions.  Very little jargon is used, but when it is used, a hyperlink of the term leads to an easy to understand definition.   Continue reading

C is for COOKIE

I am at the midpoint of my holiday cookie baking.  I have a lot of fun each year making sugar cookies that I decorate with royal icing. In past years I have made snowmen, reindeer, and Jack Skellington cookies to name a few.

I am always on the lookout for new cutters to add to my collection. I take a few things into consideration when buying new cutters that you may find helpful. I usually ask myself the following questions:

1. What is the cutter made from –  plastic or metal (and what kind of metal)? 

Plastic cutters keep their shape well, but may crack or chip. Some plastic cutters can stain if the cookie dough contains food coloring. Check plastic cutters to make sure they are BPA free and dish washer safe for your health and convenience.

20131217-213351.jpg

Continue reading

Shop #SmallBizSat for the Food Lover in Your Life

Happy “Black Friday”!

Don’t forget – tomorrow is “Small Business Saturday“!

SBS

I always love to shop “small”. I find that small businesses are often local “Rock Star Brands“.  Whenever I travel, I always try to visit the “Mom and Pop” shops in order to get a better feel of the city or town. When I am home, I find it more interesting, more authentic somehow, to try to shop and eat local.

I have compiled this short list of small(er) businesses to check out this #SmallBizSat if you are a food lover or if you have a “foodie” on your holiday shopping list.  There are many wonderful shops but these places have left an impression on me this year (or in past years).

Several shops have websites, but if you are able, try to visit the shops.  I think you will love the special attention and customer service you receive.  Continue reading

Happy National Root Beer Float Day

Today is National Root Beer Float Day!

A root beer float is a fun, simple, classic, easy treat.

Chill a mug or pint glass.

Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to the glass.

Pour root beer slowly over ice cream.

Enjoy with a straw and a spoon!

My root beer floats will be made with Abita root beer.  Abita tastes amazing, is made with cane sugar, is caffeine free and is my favorite.  Abita is a Louisiana based brewery. To make it easier to find Abita products, the company has a sleek, concise, cleanly designed, and free App for iPhone and Android. Get the App or try Abita’s web based product finder tool at www.abita.com.

20130805-225450.jpg         20130805-225504.jpg

A&W is a name nearly synonymous with root beer. A&W Restaurants will be celebrating National Root Beer Float Day with free small floats while supplies last. A&W will also be using the celebration to raise funds and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project. You can find all the details here.

Hope you enjoy your day!

-Jenn

Easy Lentil Salad

I never knew lentils could be so tasty and versatile and right now I am especially enamored with the beautiful French Lentil.

French Lentils

Now that I am more familiar with this ingredient, I find myself using the French Lentil variety often.  Its texture is firm and its flavor is both verdant and earthy.  I have been incorporating the French Lentil into soups, salads, stews, and I even use it when I make my vegetable stock.

This simple recipe, inspired by the flavors of tabouli, showcases the French Lentil.  It is an easy summer dish that is picnic friendly (no mayo!), plant based / vegan, and gluten-free too!

I enjoy this dish for lunch and it works well as a side dish too.

FRENCH LENTIL SALAD

by: Jenn Surowitz @FoodByJenn / http://www.foodbyjenn.com

Cook 1 cup dried French Lentils in a large pot of boiling water for about 45 minutes (or until tender or to your desired tenderness). Drain and let the lentils either come to room temperature or chill.  You can use cooking time or chilling time to prep the other ingredients listed below.

3 Very thin slices of red onion, minced (approximately 1-2 Tablespoons)

1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely minced (or pressed in a garlic press or grated on a microplaneContinue reading

Ohh La La Lentils

French Lentils

I am currently on a mission to cook with more vegetables and other plant based foods.

I mentioned this to a friend who recommended I try French Lentils.

I purchased my first batch today (pictured above).

They are so beautiful!!! – each one like a little cosmic planet – filled with joy and fuel and possibility.

I am so excited to experiment with these “petites beautés” over the next few days!

Have fun in your kitchen this weekend!

Cheers,

Jenn