fashion. wine. design... and my life.

Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

Cranberries and a cab…

In Uncategorized on November 23, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Yep…

Initially what I thought to be an unusual partnership has quickly transformed into a perfect marriage.  Cranberries paired with Cabernet Sauvignon – delicious – and most definitely my new thing!

I have to thank Google for this discovery… or… maybe it is my curious appetite for always wanting to tweak things and take them to the next level.  Bottom line, I simply wanted to mix it up a little this Thanksgiving and put an unexpected twist on the cranberry sauce that I plan to serve.

As uncomplicated as it is to make, and with the ingredients sparse, it might be difficult to believe that my  recipe has evolved over the years.   Trust me… it has.  Until now, it has consisted of the following… 12 oz. bag of cranberries.  1 cup sugar.  1 cup orange juice.  Boil until berries pop.  Chill overnight and serve.  Simple, eh?

But now, thanks to chowhound.com and an online user named “Candy”, her cranberry sauce recipe is now mine.  Disclaimer here:  if “Candy” ever stumbles upon this blog – in an effort to be honest and fair, I promise to always reference you when I serve this side dish – that is until I tweak your recipe and truly make it mine!  Haha – I’m just saying!

Hmmmmm, out of all of the recipes that I found, I bet you can’t even fathom what made this one stick?  Ok… maybe you can.  It was the wine!  The W-I-N-E!  Hey… blame it on a weak spot, an enjoyment, a fondness… better yet, an appreciation.  It just tastes good.  Soooo, what better way to elevate a dish that I already relish?  Yes sir!  You guessed it — add wine!!!

I am sure that if I continued my search, I would have turned up a plethora of recipes which included wine – but something about this one was appealing, especially since it stipulated the use of one of my favorite reds – Cabernet Sauvignon.  With various notes of plum, cherry, blackberry and blueberry, I find the spicy rich flavor of cabs attractive.  I generally prefer the full-bodied cabs – the taste seems to linger on my tongue longer… which for me, heightens my enjoyment.  Nonetheless – I was intrigued and gave the recipe a spin!

Paying homage to “Candy” her recipe is as follows:  12 oz. bag of cranberries.  1 cup sugar.  1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon. 2 tsp. of tangerine zest (ummm, can I say how difficult it was to retrieve this zest – obviously I am not a great “zester”) 1 cinnamon stick.  Bring to boil.  Simmer 10-15 minutes.  Discard cinnamon stick.  Serve warm or cold (as I type, mine is chilling in the refrigerator so that the flavors set for tomorrow’s consumption).   Again… easy, eh?

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and in true fashion, we all tend to pace our menu and prepare dishes early as to ease the process.

Tonight I made the sauce — all I can say is DAMN!

The most noticeable difference was the aroma.  The scent of the cab heating up, combining with the tangerine zest and the cinnamon was intoxicating.  At some points, it was so aromatic that I pulled away from the pot to offer my senses a break – how could something so simple smell so divine?!  The intense color of the sauce was equally as brilliant – a deep burgundy… much more vibrant in color that sauces made in previous years.  But the pièce de résistance was the taste!  Mind you… I only tasted the spoon – what a difference!  There was this zing… literally!  The tartness of the cranberries is more noticeable while the sweetness is subtle… it is absolutely fantastic!  Need I say how much I am looking forward to tomorrow’s dinner… for me, it is definitely going to be all about the sauce!

The beautiful part about the recipe is that you can continually alter the cab that you select… this year hats off to Chalone Vineyard 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – it is dynamite – 1 cup in the sauce and the rest… well, let’s just say that the bottle is empty!

Check it out at:  chalonevineyard.com.

Wishing you all a sensational Thanksgiving filled with friends, family and laughter.

Cheers!

-k

Advertisements

…the design of HIS man-cave.

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm

“It is your space to do with what you choose.”

My words to him.

With his head tilted, offering a suspicious stare, he responds “Really?”  I respond with a reassuring “Yes!  It’s your space… your man-cave… all yours to design and decorate.”

I said it.  I put it out there, right?  So then can someone tell me why I just can’t let go – relinquish control – let him set down his coach’s whistle, pick up a measuring tape or a sketch pad and design HIS man-cave?!

Who knows… maybe I was being a overzealous with my proposal.  As a designer, I naturally assumed that he would consult me and solicit an opinion prior to executing any design decisions – AND – if I disagreed, he would yield, letting the “designer’s” suggestions prevail.  Let it be known – the intention was genuine.  I was never opposed to him having a man-cave… actually elated that after many years of hard work, we could afford a home that provided that option.  Haha – isn’t that pinnacle for guys…  a man-cave?!

All jokes aside – he is deserving of that space.  Hard-working.  Family oriented.  Dedicated.  Honest.  A damn good man, who simply wants a private haven to prop up his feet, listen to music, watch sports, play a lil’ chess and enjoy an ice-cold brew.  I get it!  And he has that… but, what is wrong with me wanting to participate in the design (ok… now that I typed that, maybe the truth is that I want to CREATE the design so I too can secretly retreat there as well… hmmmmm)?

So… here is the scenario:

After 15 months of his man-cave being nearly complete and moderately user-friendly for the both of us, he decides that the placement of the TV is the source of recurring headaches – thus a change is needed instantaneously!  Makes sense.  Can’t have headaches.  And yes… prior to shifting any electronics and furniture, he did inquire about placement.  Haha – apparently I was a wee bit too demanding with my requests for he moved on and revamped the space… without me – his own way!

I would be lying if I said that it didn’t cause a tiff.  Yep.  It did.  Even more infuriating on my part – because design is not his forte, his focus is on correcting the problem in the space… not the “big picture” and overall composition.  Can I just tell you that as he was chillin’ and experiencing some headache free TV watching, s#%t is everywhere… and if I am going to be able to chill as well, I have got to fix it!

So… here is the solution:

Get strategic — just like in his beloved game of chess.

Him… the king; the most important piece but weak for he can only move in one square in any direction ( parallel to his design skills).  Me… the queen; the most powerful piece for she can move in any one straight direction as far as possible as long as she doesn’t move through any of her own pieces (parallel to me tweaking his design).  I’m thinking you have figured it out.  Yes I did… I exercised a few creative liberties on the design of HIS man-cave!

Not even attempting to acquire a checkmate… reiterating again that my intentions are genuine.  Rolling up my sleeves with my measuring tape in hand, I am actually acting more as a rook – working together and protecting each other (haha- do I need to say that this is parallel to our design skills).  So, while he was busy at work,  I just finished what he started… completed the layout and created a composition.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!   Not too shabby, if I do say so myself!

My big reveal — I sent him an image on his phone.  His texted response, “I guess that looks nice.  Haha!”

All I am saying is this – as I am home alone… this entire blog was comfortably typed, with my feet propped up, listening to music in HIS (shhhh —  really our) man-cave.

Success, eh?!

Cheers!

-k

Did you just say ALASKA??!

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Surprised.  Perplexed.  In a state of disbelief.

That was my initial reaction.

Ok… honestly, it was more like – WTF?!  ALASKA??!  The Last Frontier?  Bears?!  Caribou?!  Moose?!  Alaska is COLD!  AND, Alaska is…. is…. far,  far, FAAAAAR away from me (3,273 miles to be exact)!  Sigh…

But now, especially since the house has been packed and the boxes shipped, it is time to come to terms with reality… my baby sister is moving to Alaska!

As a product of a military upbringing, the idea of moving is commonplace.  Very familiar with the routine and the transient lifestyle.  So naturally, considering that my sister followed suit and is an officer  in the Army, it is expected that she too would be moving frequently.  Yep.  I know the drill.  But it doesn’t mean I have to like it!

8 years my junior, I probably have always maintained a maternal instinct towards her.  Haha – even despite our age, I still introduce her as my “baby” sister!  Now as adults, with our relationship matured, I would be fibbing if I said that old habits waned.  I sometimes catch myself  rekindling those maternal fires – analyzing her decisions and offering an unsolicited opinion way too many times!  Blame it on birth order… after all, I am her big sister.  Our varied yet similar interests and personalities are pronounced… both of us Aquarians, full-time working mothers, lovers of music, laughter and life… we are sisters.

So, as I bid her a hearty bon voyage, I am thinking that a bit of Alaskan advice from a “big sister” is expected and a necessity, eh?

With that said… here are my top 5 things to remember while away:

#5  Since you are relocating in the winter, please get yourself a warmer winter coat and some all-weather boots!  Perhaps stating the obvious, but with current temperatures being 8 degrees, you are about to freeze your ass off!  Not even going to list suggestions – just logging three websites that you might want to become familiar — with a quickness!  (www.columbia.com/clothing  www.thenorthface.com  www.sorel.com)

#4  Maintain an open mind and try new things…especially with food.  With the incredible amount of wildlife abundant in Alaska, I can only imagine the array of exotic meats and fish available for consumption.  Moose meat and the freshest wild salmon… hmmm, can a girl live vicariously through you?  Can’t wait to hear your reviews of your gamey entrees!

#3  Be adventurous and get involved with the community.  Since everything is going to be brand new to you, I can’t stress how important it will be to simply get involved!  I am positive that your medical colleagues will quickly embrace you and immerse you in the rhythm and culture of your new community.  Be open to the kindness — for everything that you have done for others in the past, this is now the time for others to pay it forward.

#2  The male to female ratio.  Yes, I am going there!  Haha – all I am saying is this… a lil’ extra lip gloss never hurt nobody!  Keep yourself fit in mind, body and spirit — for I am SURE  you will immediately have admirers!  Your energy is powerful and I am hoping that you will find someone as equally energetic to explore the Alaskan terrain!  And… well, you know.

#1  Most importantly, remember this… I am going to miss you and my nephew so very much.  Funny how roles can quickly shift.  As the older sibling, I aim to be your mentor…  but baby sister, the roles have reversed and you are now mine.  I admire so much about you and I am so, so,  SOOOOOOO proud of each and every one of your accomplishments.  You are intelligent and beautiful… our girl Alicia Keys says it best – you are a SUPERWOMAN!

Here we are… A mere 17 days until your departure and I know that you are eager and excited.  Definitely looking forward to you getting settled so that I can visit!  Guess it’s time to start planning that farewell send off, eh?

And no doubt, there will be wine!

Cheers!

-k

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe…

In Uncategorized on November 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm

…catch a coat by the toe?!

Yep…

Considering that I have a fondness for coats, I am thinking that some might conclude that this children’s counting rhyme is the process in which I determine my outerwear selection for the day.  Guilty.  I admit, there is an overindulgence.  However… without hesitation I promise you that I would never rely on such  foolish antics.   Haha – all dedicated to a love of style, fashion and that finishing touch (like the cherry on the top of your sundae) that makes your ensemble pop!  Didn’t you know… there is and always has been a method to my madness!

Ecstatic that the crisp days of fall now allow for this layering option.  Naturally, as we all know, the intent of our coat is to provide warmth — blah, blah, blah.   Ladies… and also gentlemen, I ask this:  what better way to express yourself, complement your outfit AND accentuate your silhouette than the contours of a coat?  Perhaps, when it comes to colors and styles, my male friends might find their shopping options more limited than my female companions.  Hey, bottom line is this:  coats are a powerhouse.  They add an instant “wow” factor and simply show-off your style… your presentation!

Not appear over the top but you have got to agree with me… there is nothing more disheartening than seeing someone in a an ill-fitting coat or one that is totally inappropriate for their outfit.  Makes me cringe… ok, maybe “cringe” is too harsh – but it’s just wrong… all wrong!

Sooooo… allow me my platform.  For surely you have got to know that I have a few friendly suggestions!

Since it inevitably is all about attention to detail, here are my never fail, sure-fire, top three requirements for any coat that I add to my wardrobe.  Haha- not even hinting that anyone should follow suit — I’mmmmmmmmm just saying.

#1 — Function and Fit.  From a practical stance, the chill in the air makes it necessary to don a coat.  Your lifestyle, profession and location on the planet, will drive your outerwear selections.  It’s not secret and absolutely expected.  Knowing that you need a coat, covering the basics and smart shopping are the general rules that everyone knows, eh?  So, knowing how you want the coat to function should be key and determine the fit you need when purchasing.  Are you investing in a big puffy coat that you need to be layered over thick fleece clothing, a classic trench coat to be worn over a suit jacket or a structured pea coat to be paired with a sweater?  Bottom line… a coat that is too tight or too big is just NOT a good look!

#2 — Pay attention to your physique.  We know that our body size and shapes play an important role when selecting suits, shirts, skirts, dresses and my favorite – jeans!  So, why should the rules shift when buying a coat?  They don’t.  Certain coat shapes flatter the tall as well as certain shapes flatter those that are shorter.  Weight and where you carry your weight always plays a part… and for my ladies… our “girls” can make or break the look of a coat.  Not going off on a tangent here… summing it up with my steadfast rule – know your body/what works for you and accentuate your positives!  ALWAYS!  EVERYDAY!

#3 — Embrace your inner fashionista (haha -or fashionisto).  Coats can be so stylish and I love how they  “hint” at the outfit that lies beneath.  Have fun and try an unexpected style or color… maybe a lil’ fur around the collar or detachable collar, maybe even unexpected details on the cuff , buttons… even the lining!  Play around with pattern and texture… leather, wool, houndstooth,  – it’s all so irresistible.  Why not make a statement?  Why not add some swagger?  Trust me – catch a glimpse of yourself in a coat that has an extra dose of panache and I guarantee that you will stand a few inches taller AND have more peep in your step!  Haha – and if you are like me… don’t forget to pop your collar!

It has to be evident… I do have an appetite for an unforgettable coat.  But then again… I do like presentation!  Happy if you take heed and implement my 1, 2, 3’s.  Not that difficult and for many probably a shared rule of thumb.  At any rate, I am looking forward to adding to my collection – this season’s must have is a winter white stunner!  Still on the prowl — I’ll let you know when I find the right one!

Cheers!

-k