Tag Archives: drinking

Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards

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Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards

Hello! During my North Carolina vacation, my brother and sister in law, Peter and Megan, and I went to Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards for a wine tasting. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to explore the vineyards, because it was a rainy day. But, we did get to hide out in their charming bar area, where we got to taste eleven of their wines for ten bucks each. It was quite the bargain and we even got to keep our tasting glass when we were done! Take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

 

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Peter, Megan, and I spent an hour or so at Saint Paul’s testing the wines and just hanging out. Although the space appeared big with the beautiful high vaulted ceilings, the gentle glow of the soft lighting created a feeling of cozy intimacy. The rain pelting down outside increased this sensation tenfold and hunkering down with a glass of wine in hand was just right.

Taste testing all of the wines was an informative and delicious process. We got to sample five white wines, three reds, and three dessert wines in that order. Of course, I was partial to the sweet whites and the dessert wines weren’t so bad, either! My favorites were the sweet white Laurel Hill with hints of lychee and guava and the sweet tart blackberry dessert wine, Chestnut Gap Cottage. Peter and Megan enjoyed trying the reds and their favorite was a bold and peppery Cabernet Sauvignon called Chestnut Gap.

It was definitely fun trying all of the wines and deciding which ones we liked best. But, at the end of our tasting, we were unanimous in our opinion that despite enjoying some of the wines, we wouldn’t want to drink an entire glass of any of them. The tasting was absolutely worthwhile and it was an excellent value. It also offered us just enough of each wine to know that a glass full of any would be a less than pleasant experience.

This was just our conclusion and it’s interesting to see how different people pick up on different hints of the ingredients in each wine. So, one that we all didn’t care for could be another person’s favorite from across the bar. I loved spending time with my brother and sister in law and Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards provided us with the perfect space to cozy up for an hour and enjoy each others company. Definitely would recommend!

What is your favorite vineyard in your neck of the woods? Do you prefer white or red wine? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Making Moscow Mules

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Making Moscow Mules

Helloooo! This past week, my brother and sister in law came up to visit from Atlanta, Georgia. During this exciting reunion, Peter, Megan, and I decided to make DRANKS and settled upon Moscow Mules. We used Megan’s recipe and it was delicious so, now, I will share it with all of you! POUR UP.

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  • One shot vodka
  • 1/2 bottle of ginger beer
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • Ice

** And if you don’t have copper mugs, coffee mugs will do just fine! 😀

Moscow Mules are one of my favorite drinks. They are so crisp and refreshing and always seem to go down just right. And, who knew that they would be so easy to make?! These drinks are a wonderful option when entertaining guests or when you feel like day drinking on your day off! It’s up to you to be as classy or, for lack of a better words, trashy with it as you like. I don’t have room to talk, though, because I created this post at 11:30 in the morning on my day off and enjoyed two drinks before lunch! #YOLO 😉

What is your favorite drink? What is one of your tried and true drink recipes? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Falling For Food! Season & Serve Style Dinner Party

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Falling For Food! Season & Serve Style Dinner Party

Hello everyone and happy Tuesday! I have a really special treat for all of you today, compliments of the absolutely amazing Melissa of Season & Serve. Melissa reached out to me in mid August with the idea of creating an incredible fall themed dinner party menu just for my readers. Food is something that I am extremely passionate about. I am a vegetarian who loves cooking, baking, and of course – EATING!! Obviously, Melissa offered me a pitch that I couldn’t pass up and a menu, recipes, and pics that are going to make you drool buckets.

Melissa has kindly linked to all of her recipes in this post, so if you are interested in learning more about her dishes or making it for yourself, then do check it out! Now, take a look at an absolutely delicious guest post:

Falling For Food! Season & Serve Style Dinner Party

Out of all the four seasons, fall is definitely my favorite. Not only do I enjoy wearing my cozy sweaters in the cooler temperatures, drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and watching the leaves turn a rainbow of colors, I love it because of all the delicious, seasonal foods that come along with it. Fall harvests bring us countless varieties of apples, squash, brussel sprouts, carrots, and parsnips…the list goes on…all from which we can make hearty and comforting foods. And what better way to enjoy these delicious seasonal foods than with a celebratory fall dinner party?!

When you think about it, fall is the perfect season to entertain at home. It’s not too hot, meaning that you can have your stove and oven going all day and you won’t be dying of heat in the kitchen, and it’s not too cold, meaning that outdoor entertaining is still possible. Whenever weather permits, I like to serve fun fall-inspired cocktails outside early in the evening so that my guests can enjoy the crisp fall air before it gets too cold. Once the temperature drops or the sun sets, they really enjoy coming inside and warming up by the fireplace, and maybe with another cocktail before dinner.

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Speaking of cocktails, I chose to serve one of my favorite fall cocktails for this dinner party, Whiskey & Spice Apple Cider. This cocktail will warm you from the inside out and totally get you into that fall mood. I also like to have a little snack to go along with the cocktail, just so your guests don’t get too tipsy before dinner. One really great idea that I recycle over and over again for parties is a cheeseboard. Because, really, who doesn’t like cheese?! I serve a traditional soft goat cheese, an aged cheddar, hearty Gouda, and powerful blue cheese along with whole-grain or seed crackers, nuts, dates, and red grapes to give it a fall twist. Plus, cheese is extremely portable, allowing your guests to move outdoors to enjoy the fall colors and back indoors again as they mingle.

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When your guests decide to move back inside, I like to bring the outdoor feeling with them, and my main avenue for doing so is through my table setting. The table setting really sets the mood for the party, and for fall I like to keep it relatively rustic and casual. I used a tan linen table runner down the center of my table as my base (This one happened to have pumpkins embroidered on both ends – so fall!) and I continue to build from there. I used some tree branches that still had healthy, plump, green leaves down the middle and added in some bright red and lime green Honey Crisp apples to make it pop (these happened to look the best at the farmer’s market that day). I dotted a few tea lights throughout the leaves and apples to add some sparkle and then anchored the table with a short emerald green vase filled with coffee beans and a tea candle. Of course, you can fill the vase with flowers, grasses, or anything that looks pretty to you!

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As for serving ware, I always think that simple is best. Plain large white plates for the main course, with smaller appetizer white plates placed on top is all you need. I added in my every day cutlery, silver forks and knives, to keep it simple but I went for some statement wine glasses. These wine glasses have been one of my greatest purchases to date. I am in love with the gold rims and the fact that they are stemless makes it even better – it’s so in style right now! I also added a personal touch to each table setting by writing my guests names on some extra leaves using a gold marker. It’s the little touches that make your guests feel warm and fuzzy inside!

Now, let’s get to the star of the dinner party, the main dish(es)! While there is a meat component to this fall dinner party, I also designed the menu keeping vegetarians in mind. For the appetizer, I chose to serve a simple Arugula Salad topped with sliced grapes, Parmesan cheese shavings and Maple Spice Candied Pecans. The salad dressing is very simple and is made from olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. With those tasty candied pecans, you definitely want to keep the dressing minimal. This recipe can be enjoyed by both your omnivore and herbivore friends. For vegans, simply omit the Parmesan cheese and add more grapes and pecans!

I also chose to serve a white wine with this salad, particularly a Gewurztraminer as it has a slightly sweeter flavor. This one is from one of my favorite wineries in Summerland, British Columbia – Dirty Laundry.

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For the main dish, I have two variations – both of which will make your appetite skyrocket. The first is for the meat-eaters, with my recipe for Red-Wine Braised Beef. While this dish looks complicated, it is actually extremely easy, relatively affordable, and looks incredibly elegant when plated (an entertaining trifecta for hosts!). For the Red Wine Braised Beef, simply brown the meat and vegetables, add the red wine, beef stock, and seasonings to the pot and bake in the oven for 4 hours. The slow baking process will tenderize this cheap, tough cut of meat (blade roast) so much that you can cut the meat with a butter knife. You can even do this the night before and simply reheat the meat before serving. How easy is that?!

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For vegetarians, I have a great substitute: Braised Mushrooms with White Wine and Garlic. I clearly have a braising theme going on here, but braised mushrooms are delicious and very satisfying! In this recipe, I use fresh oyster, trumpet, and cremini mushrooms and saute them in a mixture of olive oil and garlic until browned. I then add the white wine and butter, and cook them on the stove top for 5 minutes, or until the wine has reduced down a bit and then serve immediately. I mean, I eat meat and I know that Red Wine Braised Beef is delicious, but I would totally go for this, and vegans would too (minus the butter)!

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I chose to serve a red wine along with both of these recipes since I was looking for a more robust and bold flavor – it is fall, after all! I chose a Cabernet-Merlot mix for its spice and currant notes and for a slightly dry finish. I really enjoy this Cabernet Merlot from Sandhill Estate Vineyard in Oliver, British Columbia. This is definitely going to be my go-to wine for the season. ❤

Finally, for the grand finale, I present my Apple Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze. This is actually my mom’s recipe, but it is so good and so perfect for fall that I had to make it myself. The batter is very simple to make and the cake always comes out incredibly moist due to the sliced apples inside and on top of the cake. Again, you can make this a day in advance BUT if you make it the morning or afternoon of the dinner party, your home will smell absolutely amazing. I like to serve this with coffee (hence why it’s a coffee cake) or tea. No dessert wine here!

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After this big, comforting, delicious meal, your guests will be completely satisfied and will be in a cheerful fall mood. And, of course, while these are just my tips for throwing a fall dinner party, just know that when you mix good people and good food together, you are guaranteed to have a successful dinner party – no matter what the season.

Have a happy fall, everyone! And thank you to Sarah for letting me guest blog for you!

Yum, yum, FREAKING YUM. Thank you infinitely to the author of Season & Serve, Melissa, for creating such a beautiful bounty for my readers. I want in on her next dinner party, and you guys can be, too! Melissa will be back on lifewithlilred in October with a how to guide for a spooky fun Halloween themed party. What would you like to see Melissa cook next? Would you consider yourself a picky eater? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Which Drink Should You Be Serving With Your Food?

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Which Drink Should You Be Serving With Your Food?

If you’re a bit of a foodie, you probably love cooking for your family and the people that you love. However, it’s important that you make sure that you serve the right drinks with your food, too. The right drink will complement the different flavors of the food that you’ve made, and will make the whole experience so much better. If you serve the wrong drink, the whole thing can taste off and become a bit of a dinner disaster. Some people think that it’s all down to the perception of the person eating and drinking, but the experts disagree! 😉

Here are some tips to help you discover the best drinks to serve with your meal:

Contrast: One thing that you can do to make sure you have the perfect pairing of flavors, is to choose flavors that will contrast your food. This might sound counter intuitive, but it can create a mind blowing flavor experience. It doesn’t have to be too dramatic. Just think about how things like lemon and lime can contrast flavors and make them so much better with just a drop!

Alcohol Level: The alcohol level of the beverage is also important. It isn’t just about the flavor! If you’re serving a light meal, then something with a light alcohol content should be served. If you’re serving a heavier dish, then you can afford to do so with your beverage, too. Bottoms up!

Have Fun With It: And, of course, you can experiment! Read the different flavors in beverages and see if you think that they will pair nicely or contrast with your food and test them out. Eventually, you’ll be able to pair things all by yourself. Just make sure that you pay attention to the temperature of certain beverages, as that can also make a big difference.

Check out this awesome infographic for more on the perfect serve of vino! Cheers!


Thanks To: winecoolers.reviews

Featured Image By: Pixabay

The Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting College

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The Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting College

If you are going to be starting college in the fall, then you need to be prepared. There are so many fun things to look forward to, as well as busy times when the exams are on and you’re cramming super late into the night. One thing that anyone will tell you is that the time flies by so quickly. Four years and then you’re out into the ‘real’ world and onto the career path of your choice. So it is important to embrace that time and make the most of it. Here are some of the top things to take into consideration before starting college:

You’ll Never (EVER) Regret Staying In To Study: It can be tempting to just want to go out all of the time. There might be parties everywhere, movie nights, or sports games. But you can’t constantly go out, especially if you’re aiming for top grades (which you should be!). But the thing is, the parties are just parties. There will always be parties or events going on. But you do only get one shot at the test or exam. So if you feel like you should be studying, then you won’t regret it. Work hard, and then you can play even harder after you ace that test.

College Isn’t High School: In high school, people can be quite catty and mean. But you know what, when you hit the ripe old age of college age, it seems that people tend to care less about material stuff or appearances. It doesn’t matter how cool your new bag is or if you’ve got the latest laptop. No one will really care. You’re all there for the same purpose, and that is to get your college education. So you can make an effort with things like that or not. Don’t stress over it!

Work To Pay Off Your Loan: If you are going to college and are needing a loan to do so, then one of the biggest pieces of advice is to get a part-time job when you study. If you are able to take out the smallest loan possible and able to work as you study, it will help tremendously. No one wants to graduate with a load of debt hanging around their neck, right? Otherwise, you’ll need to look for things like debt consolidation for student loans when you finish. They can help as you start out on your career path. But they’re definitely not ideal.

Take Care of Your Health: Getting sick without your parents there to take care of you is the worst (for real). So take care of your health as much as you can. Taking a vitamin supplement is a good idea, as well as keeping hydrated with water. The latter also helps with hangovers, so there is another reason to drink plenty of water! Get rest, eat well, and do some exercise. Your body (and mind) will thank you for it. Especially when mom isn’t there to cook you chicken noodle soup!

College is an exciting time but it can also be an overwhelming wake up call. Be prepared for the twists and turns that your time at uni can take, and all will be well when you’re on your way to graduation! 🙂

Featured Image By: Flickr

Monday Update: Sister’s Birthday Celebration Edition

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Monday Update: Sister’s Birthday Celebration Edition

Heyyy everyone and happy Monday! This past weekend was SO much fun because it was my sister, Kristen’s, 25th birthday! We had such a wonderful time celebrating and I was really happy because I got to spend her entire birthday with her. Kristen is unbearably hard to shop for, so for her birthday I decided to keep it simple and snag her some gift cards so that we could make a day out of using them. Which is exactly what we did!

I got Kristen a gift card to Sephora and to the nail salon that we go to, so we spent the afternoon girling out with pedicures and makeup shopping. Although I didn’t get a pedi because balling on a budget, I got to soak my nasty feet and sit in a massage chair while Kristen got pampered and we had so much fun chit chatting and laughing with all of our favorite nail techies. Kristen got the Hello Kitty pink polish that I recently got on my nails on her toes and it looked so freaking cute! I can’t say that about my feet, but I’m glad that her toesies are on point just in time for flip flop season!

After pedicures, we went to the mall to ultimately spend what felt like forever in Sephora. I have actually never spent that much time in there before and it was surprisingly really fun. We tried on different lipsticks and browsed through the aisles pointing out ridiculous eyeshadow or lip colors and figuring out the best way for her to spend her gift card. Kristen ended up getting a gorgeous new lipstick and an eyebrow pencil as well as a birthday gift from the store (a blush and lip gloss) and some freebies that she got from cashing in the points on her reward card.

Although I tried on some okay-ish lipsticks, I just ended up going with a tube of the Better Than Sex mascara. Kristen got it for me for Christmas this year and since I’ve ran out, no other mascara can compare, so it was a must to get another one! I was really happy because the gift card that I got her covered everything that she wanted and she also got some super nice freebies, so she walked away with an awesome Sephora birthday haul.

Once we were done shopping, I treated Kristen to coffee and then dropped her off at her apartment so that she could get ready for the evening festivities. Our night was a boozy celebration of going to get margaritas with her friends and then hitting the bars afterwards for some more alcohol related fun. AND I also got to ride in my first Uber, so that was really exciting, lol. THE DRIVER WAS SO NICE!! #ubereverywhere

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(The lovely lady in the second photo, Kelsey, will be featured on lifewithlilred soon so keep your eyes peeled!)

The day after Kristen’s birthday was spent nursing a very worthwhile hangover and celebrating at home with the family. I know I had a blast and it felt really good knowing that Kristen did, too, and I like to think that I helped make that possible! Now, I’m just excited for my birthday to roll around in June so that she can return the favor!

So there you have it, this week’s Monday Update: Sister’s Birthday Celebration Edition! How did you celebrate your birthday this year? How did you spend your weekend? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

What Really Happens To Your Body After Drinking Alcohol

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What Really Happens To Your Body After Drinking Alcohol

There’s nothing quite like a crisp glass of white wine after a busy day in the office, is there?! Alcohol is a great way to unwind and forget about all the day’s stresses. However, are you sure that this is the best way to chill out after a long day at work? If that glass of wine becomes a regular habit, you could end up putting your health at risk.

But, what exactly are the effects that alcohol has on our body? We are regularly told that we should limit our drinking and make sure that we stick to the recommended number of units per week. Not sure why that is, though? Well, here are some surprising effects of alcohol on our body, which could make you rethink excessive drinking:

It Damages Your Nervous System: The first sign that you are a little bit tipsy is the change in your behavior. For instance, your speech may start to slur and you could start to suffer from poor coordination. This is all because of the effect of alcohol on your nervous system. Over time, if you continue drinking too much, you will find that the damage to your nervous system can also result in abnormal sensations in your extremities and the frontal lobes in your brain will shrink.

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Cheers! In moderation. 😉

Your Digestive System Will Worsen: Drinking too much can damage the salivary glands in your mouth. This can result in a lot of irritation and will also make it harder to digest food. That’s not all, though, as the pancreas can become inflamed, which can also make it much harder for your body to digest food properly. If your digestive system becomes badly damaged, you will end up suffering from stomach ulcers, diarrhea, and gassiness.

Addiction: People who drink heavily for long periods will find that it becomes harder and harder to go for a few days without having a drink. If you get to this point, you should seriously consider cutting down on your drinking, as you could be developing an addiction. Once you are addicted, it will be very difficult trying to quit alcohol for good and you will experience various symptoms such as nausea and anxiety. Most addicts find that visiting their local rehabilitation center can help them go without their vice and improve their health.

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Pop the champagne! Also in moderation. 😉

Risk Of Diseases: Regular drinking puts you at a high risk of developing certain life-threatening diseases and health conditions. For instance, heavy drinkers regularly suffer from complications with their circulatory system, which can end in them having a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure is also common among alcoholics and binge drinkers.

As you can see, there are many health problems associated with drinking alcohol. However, if you are sensible and always drink in moderation, then you should be able to enjoy your glass of wine without worrying about the consequences. It’s worth assessing your weekly alcohol intake to make sure that you aren’t pushing your body to the edge, though. Then you will know which changes you can make to improve your health.

Featured Image By: Pexels