Hoo! Hoo! for the Owl’s Brew and Other Booze News

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The jury is still out on this new artisanal mixer treat called, “Owl’s Brew” by Jennie Ripps and Maria Littlefield.  I protested when green tea started showing up in everything from shampoo to dog food, and the concept of mixing tea and booze is a new one for me.  However, I have to admit, it does taste good…unique, light, refreshing.   These mixers are concocted from fresh herbs, whole spices and fruits to create something different…something fun to mix 2 to 1 with a shot of booze.  I think I like them!

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The Pink and Black mixer is  handcrafted in small batches and consists of a blend of black tea, hibiscus, lemon peel, and agave, splashed with strawberry and lemon juices. Just add your favorite liquor and you’re all set.   The Coco Lada is a blend of black tea, coconut, chai spices, pineapple juice and agave.

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Who is to say that you have to use them with booze, however?  How about a splash into a glass of tonic water or club soda?  How about adding some to one’s morning orange juice?  To limit these great flavor concentrates to booze is doing them an injustice.  However, if one does decide to use them in booze, they can count on the concoction to be about 1/3 fewer calories than drinks made from their usual mixers….and that’s a good thing!

While we’re in drinking mode, here are some other tips to help you hack your booze, courtesy of this website.

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1. Keep your pitcher cold yet undiluted with a plastic cup full of ice.

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2. Cut a hole in an orange, and poke the insides gently to open up the pulp. Then pour in your miniature vodka bottle and leave it in the fridge overnight. The next day you will have a delicious, boozy vodka orange!

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3. Freeze grapes to chill wine without watering it down

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4. Freeze your leftover wine in a ice-cube to use in sauces

5. It doesn’t quite seem like a genius idea, but using a CD to protect your clothes and others around you can and will work.

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6. Add a few sprinkles of salt to a bucket of ice, place your booze of choice inside and then watch it cool off, right before your eyes!

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7. Drunken gummy bears: Place in baking dish, cover with vodka. Leave in fridge for a week.

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8. Did you know the lines on the Solo cups are measurement marks? Solo said it actually isn’t true but to us, and social drinkers around the world, it makes sense. First line, liquor, second wine, third beer. Cheers!

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9. If you ever lose your bottle opener, you can always open your next beer with a stapler

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10. Or open wine with a drill like a pro.

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Cheers, dears!  🙂

Day #29 – IN MY BAG

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Photo a Day – JUNE

Day #29 – IN MY BAG

© Stacy Alexander -2013

Fondu for Dr. Freed

My husband was in the mood for fondu tonight, so I decided to whip some up for a nice dinner outside, under the stars.   Fondu is the easiest thing in the world to make, and quick, too.

I began by whipping up a simple baguette. I prefer the heartier flavor of a whole grain bread with my fondu, but some people prefer a more delicate bread.  John would probably eat light bread, if I would let him, but I won’t. 😉

While it baked, I began the fondu.

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I use a very simple recipe that begins with a cup of white wine.  I always use an inexpensive, yet tasty, Italian pinot grigio, because the flavors are less delicate than the pinot from the Napa or Willamette Valleys or those from France.  (We reserve those wines for drinking.)  The Italian pinot grapes are much more pronounced, crisper and better (in my opinion) for cooking with cheese.  This varietal is a nice, pale, straw color and has a crisp flavor with hints of melons, peaches, limes and lemons.  It is light and dry….so you could also drink it with this fondu and it would be nice…but I prefer to use it for cooking.

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So….to make this cheezy concoction, simply pour one cup of the white wine of your choice into a pan and bring it to a boil.

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While the wine is heating, make a roux from butter and flour in another pan.  When it is done, set it aside.

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This recipe uses both swiss and gruyere cheeses, 7 ounces each.   Do not skimp on the cheese, because this is the key ingredient….so buy the finest cheese that you can afford.  Shops that specialize in cheese are highly recommended for the best selections.

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Cube the cheese and add it to the hot wine .

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Stir continually over medium/low heat until it melts, but take care not to overcook.

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Just before  the cheese has finished melting, add a little nutmeg.  Do not use nutmeg from a can.  Grate a nutmeg seed with a grater.  The flavor difference is wonderful, and it goes all through the cheese.  Fresh is always best!

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Next,  while keeping the mixture on low heat, slowly integrate the roux into the melted cheese mixture.  Continue to stir until it gets nice and thick.  The texture should be smooth.

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Once the fondu has thickened, transfer it to the fondu pan and serve with a variety of breads, fruits and veggies.

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For this meal, I tossed together a spinach salad with micro greens, candid pecans, walnuts, gorgonzola cheese, dried cranberries and blueberries, and a fresh, homemade raspberry vinegarette dressing.   It’s funny, because  I went to four different stores to get these ingredients when, in fact, Trader Joes sells a similar salad all in one bag.  Thing is, the one from Trader Joe’s is not organic, so I passed on it.

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We sat out on our little deck, under the stars, and listened to Winton Marsalis, talked softly, had a few laughs, a few soft kisses, sipped some very nice wine,…..and felt lucky to be alive.  And thankful.

This whole fondu thing is VERY fattening, so we don’t want to do it very often, but for tonight, it was the right thing.

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Ahhhhhhhhh!

A simple thing like a meal can mean so much.  Life is sweet.