How To Choose Wine To Bring To Holiday Parties

Good Morning!

I know this is not my normal blog subject but I keep receiving emails asking the same question and I thought I would just address this and if you have questions you will not need to add stress to your holiday, it’s supposed to be fun!

Choose Wine

The question is about giving wine. The questions all sound something like this: How much wine should I take to a party? Is it ok to drink what we take to the party? How much should I spend? Is it proper to give it as a host gift? How do I make sure the host does not open the wine for everyone? The list goes on and on…here are my thoughts.

First of all, the holidays are all about fellowship and spending time with friends and family or just reconnecting in general.

What you spend on a bottle of wine is all about your personal budget. Just know you do not have to spend a fortune on wine to enjoy it. A bottle of what you like is perfect for your host or friend or family, even if they have very different tastes in wine.

Best way to give a bottle of wine to a host is to take two bottles to the gathering. Take one bottle you want to drink and when you hand the other bottle to the host, say this, “This bottle is for you to enjoy on another night, just let me know how you enjoyed it after you drink it”. Feel free to tell them the story behind the bottle, if there is a story, like we loved this wine when we went on vacation or they served this at our wedding or a simple, I tried this the other day and thought of you, please enjoy! That will let them know, they do not have to open the wine and you have the bottle you brought for yourself and the bottle for yourself does not have to be the same wine, bring something you love.

I always say a bottle of wine for every 2 people, this might be a little more than some people suggest, but I hang out with folks who like wine and will certainly be enjoying at least a glass or two. The only time taking wine to a gathering is not a good idea is if they are opposed to alcohol. I have several friends who are recovering, so I can bring some boutique foods or something special they will enjoy. I also have many friends who are not drinkers but they have no problem with having wine around for friends who indulge.

If I am looking for a wine to take, I take anything with bubbles, Cava, Sparkling, Prosecco or Champagne..bubbles always seem special and they bring the celebration to the forefront. I have also been at parties where they make take a bubbly glass and add a little pomegranate or another light, fresh and fruity juice and create a party theme drink. Bringing an over-sized bottle of bubbles will make you a superstar of the party!

Keep in mind company office parties are a whole different subject, all I can say is, drink half as much as you want, have a designated driver and remember, you have to work with these people after the party, so go easy on the craziness! The rest of the year, you do not want to be the employee who is whispered about when you kissed the Santa, or you are passed over for a promotion. (Ok, so my past as a Executive Recruiter just peered out, she is all gone now).

Just thought I would share my thoughts on giving wine and if this information helps you have more fun and less stress during the holiday season, I am happy! I want you to have an awesome time at any holiday party, so have a blast!

Top 5 Most Important Wine Cooler Features

Have you hit that point? You know, the point where your passion for wine has grown beyond owning one bottle at a time? Do you love to regularly entertain guests and need your wine to be ready to serve on-demand? Do you enjoy having a selection of great wines always available in your home? Taking your passion for great wines seriously and investing in a wine cooler could be in your near future. In this article you will find the 5 most important features in a wine refrigerator that satisfy your storage needs.

Wine Cooler Features

#5- The door to your collection: The vast majority of wine fridges come with glass doors. Glass does a great job of showing off your collection but make sure the type of glass will also protect it from heat and UV rays. Many models achieve this by offering some combination of dual-paned glass, thermal-treated glass, and window tinting.

#4- Honey, where’s the Merlot?: Don’t let your bottles disappear into oblivion. If you have children (or unruly In-Laws) you may want to keep your collection safe under lock-and-key. Many wine lovers, like fine art collectors, enjoy cultivating a great wine collection worth guarding. Even if you aren’t a “hard-core” collector, the time and money that goes into building your collection can easily be wasted if it isn’t locked up.

#3- Don’t get confused on temperature ranges: If you see ambient temperature range listed in the wine cooler description, the manufacturer is usually trying to tell you this model will do well in extreme conditions. Ambient simply means the outside temperature that the cooler can withstand while keeping its internal temperature steady; This is important for garage and basement installations. Most cooler models will list the internal temperature range the cooler can sustain under normal conditions, such as being in a house.

#2- Does it matter how it vents?: Wine cooler vents play a very important role in your decision. If your wine cooler vents in the back you won’t be able to use it as a built-in unit, such as under a counter. Front-venting units are vital for all built-in installations. Thermoelectric coolers, which don’t use the same type of ventilation system, also cannot be used as built-in coolers since they need to vent from all sides. If you are using your wine refrigerator as a stand-alone or counter-top unit you don’t need to worry about where it vents.

#1- Thermoelectric or Compression Cooling?: If you’ve owned a fridge anytime in the last few decades you have had experience with a compression based cooling system. You know the type- They click on and off with each cycle, they vibrate (some more, some less), and can be a little noisy. The amount of noise and vibration varies with the quality of refrigerator you buy. The compression based models are also the only ones that can be used for built-in and under-counter installations.

Thermoelectric wine coolers utilize a relatively new technology that has gained in popularity for in-home use. They have virtually silent operation, don’t click on and off like compression coolers, and don’t vibrate. Thermoelectric fridges are popular among collectors who don’t want to subject their wine to vibrations, which is known to degrade wine quality over time.

So that’s it- The Top 5 most important features to consider when shopping for wine storage. Are your top 5 the same? Feel free to chime in with the comments section below!

Home Logging – Cutting Logs For Burning At Home

Cutting Logs At Home – What a Hassle!

Wouldn’t it be great – and much safer – if you could cut your logs for your wood burning quickly, easily and safely? No more kneeling on a bench and slipping, having those nearer misses – or building something hap-hazard and risking serious injury. Well, now a solution is at hand – and a cheap solution at that. You could do worse than trying a new product called Timber Teeth – possibly the best thing to happen to log cutting at home – and DIY generally for that matter.

Cut Those Logs More Safely!

home logging

It’s much a dangerous business, cutting logs at home, especially when you’re balancing and making do with some flimsy contraption or balancing against a fence – one slip with a saw and it doesn’t bear thinking about – let alone a chain saw…

For Chainsaw I must recommend Husqvarna 455 Rancher 20-Inch. The Rancher 455 is a powerful chainsaw that starts and runs very well. I have owned 3 cheap chain saws before buying this one and consider it a professional grade saw. Keeping the blade sharp is a must.

I purchased a cordless dremmel tool with a bit that fits the chain to allow for a quick tune-up to keep the chain teeth sharp. I have found that if you get a 18″ bar and chain the saw works even better.

The first year I took down eight 100+ foot tall long leaf pine trees on my property with no issues. Second and third year I used it for cutting fireplace wood. Still no issues. From the factory it is set up slightly lean but I have had no issues with over heating thus far.

If you’re looking for a powerful saw, the Husqvarna 455 fits the bill! Don’t forget to buy a sharpener for this machine as well . Nowadays lot of options are available. For easy choosing you may read this best chainsaw sharpener reviews article.

What is needed is a strong, robust, secure system you can use – quickly and easily – to get the log cutting job done. Timber Teeth is just such an invention. Working in conjunction with a B&D Workmate, Timber teeth instantly gives a strong, secure cutting base for logs large and small. Timber Teeth is instantly adjustable to allow logs of varying lengths to be cut quickly and easily.

cutting logs at home

The steel construction of Timber Teeth means it’s more than up to the job. With a weight loading of 50kg+ this is one sawing support that can handle hard work. Slim in it’s design, Timber Teeth will take no room to store. But Because it’s so useful for cutting joinery timbers too, you might be tempted to keep Timber Teeth in your Workmate permanently!

No Need To Buy An Expensive And Inferior Saw-Horse

The trouble with conventional saw-horses is that they’re generally only good for one purpose and some of them aren’t particularly well designed or made – you’ll need to pay upwards of $100 to get a strong, good quality saw-horse – Whereas Timber Teeth only costs $26 – bit of a bargain.

Another strong point for Timber Teeth are the angled ‘Teeth’ in the design – they’re not just been designed at only old measurements, they’re specifically designed to fit popular joinery timber sizes as well – genius! So, when you need to do some DIY or home improvement, and it involved cutting some timber sections, Timber Teeth will make that much safer and simple too.

How to Clean an Oven – It is Easier Than You Think?

You are expecting guests and your oven looks dirty? Have no time and need a quick solution? Then Keep reading and I will let you in on my little secret how people are able to scrub their ovens in no time and no effort. I will also share with you how to make an oven-cleaning solution with ingredients you have in your pantry.

What is the Best Product for Clean an Oven?

Clean an Oven

My mother-in-law is coming over and I don’t want her to see my dirty oven. The same oven I have used to cook for her soon. I am pretty sure she will notice the former and won’t comment on the later so I need to do something to clean my oven.

At the same time, I don’t have a lot of time so that thing has to work fast and preferably it needs to do most of the dirty work for me.

All I want to do is spray the oven and rinse it. Do you think that is possible?

Good news is that it is possible. There are plenty of products on the market that can do that for you. As with everything else some are better than the others.

The product I want to talk about is Mr. Clean Extra Power Magic Eraser.

What I Like About Mr. Clean EXTRA POWER Magic Eraser

Picture a brigade of maids scrubbing your house. Well, that’s what this product is – it has the power of a few maids in it but is less expensive.

It can clean up tough jobs like baked on oil, something that nothing else can scrape no matter how hard you try.

Keep in mind though since Mr. clean sponges are made for tough scrubbing they won’t last long but I guess that’s ok – you won’t have to clean your oven very often – I will tell you why a little bit later.

At the same time the sponges can be used for other purposes as well than cleaning ovens and oven tops. Like removing scuff marks on a wall for example or cleaning off ink, crayon. It can also be used for cleaning floors and counter tops as well.

However, don’t use it for bathtubs or dishes or you would be disappointed.

Some people for some reason prefer not to buy oven cleaning products because they think they are unsafe (not true) and for that reason they are looking for ways to

Clean an Oven Naturally

How to Clean Your Oven Naturally?

Think about that. People have used ovens for ages and they have definitely had a way to clean them. What I am about to do is to share one of these methods with you using a product everyone should have in their home. I am talking about.

Arm and Hammer Washing Soda for Natural Cleaning

Here is how people use soda to cleaning their ovens and oven tops.

1. Make a thin paste of baking soda and water. Keep in mind that it shouldn’t be too think nor too runny. If it helps – a thickness of pancake batter is what you are aiming for.

2. Spread the paste on the sides and bottom of the oven

3. Wipe the oven clean after 15-20 minutes. If there are tough dips that can’t be removed I would recommend using a plastic spatula or an Arm & Hammer toothpaste and a toothbrush.

Keep in mind that the soda paste can be used for cleaning the glass of the oven as well and the oven top.

No matter what method you are going to use to clean the oven keep in mind that you will need heavy-duty gloves.

How to Prevent Oven from getting Dirty

Once the cleaning is over I am pretty sure you tell yourself that from now on you will be cleaning your oven more often, right?

However, we both know it won’t happen. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when I found a product called non-sticking oven liner a while ago.

Here is what I like about you and why I think you should get it:

1. Spills won’t be accumulating anymore

2. Cleaning the liner is easy (just soap and water) so no more stuck-ons on your oven

3. Can be cut and used in a microwave

What’s Next

So, now you have all you need to clean your oven – either with a product like Mr. Clean or a soda and water paste. The difference is the time it will take you to get the job done. The former is faster in my opinion but let me know what you think below.

Thanksgiving Poop Treats!?!

Thanksgiving poop treats have been all over the internet for awhile, but they’re so adorable, they’re worth having all in one place just for fun. In fact, there are different kinds of poop for different holidays & special occasions. LOL

Having kids over for Thanksgiving dinner this year? Or do you need to send some treats for a Thanksgiving school or Sunday School party? Why not whip up a bunch of Thanksgiving Poop Treats? You’ll have them all giggling! Or, why not make some for funny office gifts? As a matter of fact, I bet the kids would love to help make up a few batches of Thanksgiving Poop Treats to take to school for their class parties.

Thanksgiving Poop Treats

Turkey Poop, Thanksgiving Poop Treats

Hilarious Fall or Thanksgiving party favor idea:

For the candy, you can use candy corn, chocolate covered raisins or chocolate covered peanuts. Or what the heck…malted milk balls, my personal favorite! tee hee!

Put the candy in a cellophane treat bag, and print or write out this poem on card stock. Punch a hole in the upper left corner or top center and tie it to the bag with some raffia or curling ribbon.

Ta-Dah! Turkey Poop treats that will keep the kids (and adults) entertained!

 

Turkey Poop

You invited me to Thanksgiving dinner

with your family and your friends.

You didn’t tell me I was the main dish.

For me it was “THE END!”

You frightened me so badly–I knew I had been duped!

So, I left you with my calling card,

this bag of turkey poop!

Happy Thanksgiving, from The Turkey

Scarecrow Poop Treats

Cute idea for school party favors

For the treats, you can use candy corn, M & M’s, Reese’s Pieces or any Fall color candy. It’s especially fun to mix with pretzel sticks (the straw).

Put the candy in a cellophane gift bag, and print or write out this poem on card stock. Punch a hole in the upper left corner or top center and tie it to the bag with some raffia or curling ribbon.

There ya go…Scarecrow Poop Treats!

 

Scarecrow Poop

Fall is here…there’s a nip in the air,

But you won’t have to sink to despair!

To have a warm laugh, here’s the scoop,

I’m giving you some Scarecrow Poop!

OR

Scarecrow Poop

Scarecrows can be cute,

Scarecrows can be scary,

and though they move their feet a lot,

they’re only sedentary.

But if you leave them to their own,

and find them in the morn,

I’ll bet you didn’t know-

Scarecrows poop candy corn!

Are You Going To Make Some Thanksgiving Poop Treats?

Electric Insert Fireplaces Reviews – Most Realistic Flames

Why Choose an Electric Insert Fireplaces?

Winter is a great time of the year to enjoy nature and spend some quality time at home with your family. Some people don’t like the end of the year because of the cold. Others can’t stand winter because it comes with the hefty utility heating bill. What most homes have in common during winter is ensuring that they have adequate heating for several months.

Electric Insert Fireplaces

Those who have central heating appreciate the ease of use and being able to control the temperature from a single point. There are those would like to have a fireplace but cannot afford it because they either live in an apartment or because they don’t have a chimney. Electric Insert Fireplaces are ideal for these people. The focal point of a nice warm fire gives spirit lifting benefits in the cold winter months when feeling good seems a little harder to do!

Electrical Insert Fireplaces

Less work, mess and dust!

There are alternatives to having a chimney that can give you the same level of heat during the cold season. For this reason, many households now invest in best wall mount electric fireplace. This gives you almost the same features as a normal fireplace. However, you don’t have to deal with the smoke, cutting down the wood and emptying the ash tray.

Electric Insert Fireplaces Reviews

With the current designs of many electric insert fireplaces, it can be difficult to differentiate real flames from the simulated electrical offerings. It is also interesting to note that they don’t cost a fortune. However, you need to know what you’re buying and know what will the best for your home. If you will be only relying on these electrical fireplaces during winter, you need to make sure you get an appliance that will generate enough heat to keep house warm. There is also the fact that electrical heating tends to be more expensive than gas. That is why some families combine gas and electrical insert fireplaces.

Realistic Electric Fire Place Inserts

If you want to get a realistic fire place, you should check out the Drayton Electric Fireplace Insert with Brass Trim that sells for a little over $500 at Amazon and at Sears. There is a smaller version marketed as the Burley Rotherby Electric Fireplace Insert with Brass Trim.

If you are the lazy type and you don’t want to have to get up every time you need to make changes to your fire places, you can invest in the Bionaire BFH5000-UM Electric Fireplace Heater with Remote Control which will cost you about $200 depending on where you shop for yours.

Realistic Electric Insert Fireplace

Is it important to you?

What most people find really important is that the flame on the electric insert fireplace must be realistic. Others just want something that will be functional and easy to use. No matter what your desires are, there will be an electric fireplace out there that will meet your needs.

Modern Wall Mounted Electric Fireplaces

Fireplaces are the perfect addition to any room. There are so many different styles to choose from. The modern wall mounted fireplaces are so sleek and beautiful. They use them a lot on HGTV. They are great for romance and family get-together. The fire of a fireplace adds a soft, warm glow to any room. Curl up in a rocking chair, snuggle up into a warm blanket, wrap your hands around a nice hot mug of coco, and indulge yourself in the feeling of peace and contentment. The light from the fire is calming, enchanting, and just plain fun. Here is one of the best wall mount electric fireplace reviews :

electric fireplaces

FIREPLACES AND MORE

Here you will find everything you want in a fireplace in order to stay warm on a chilly evening. Whether you’re looking to stay warm during an outdoor fall soiree or get cozy on the couch you’ll find a vast selection of indoor and outdoor fireplaces to fit your needs, including a large selection of fireplace accessories to match! Why go anywhere else when you can pick out the perfect fireplace screen, electric fireplaces, chimney, patio heater, or fireplace tool set right here!

23″ Beverly Fireplace & TV Stand with Electric Insert in Espresso

Start The Movie with this Electric Insert Fireplace .

Fireplace Features:

* Center shelf for electronic components

* Safe for use with modern TV’s – The heat will not affect plasma or LCD screens

* Four independent side shelf’s for storage

* Built-in multi-function media cabinet with integrated wire management channels

* Mantels are constructed from the finest quality hardwood solids and furniture hardwood veneers

* Classic Flame mantels have won numerous design awards at the High Point Furniture Market

* Place it anywhere – bedroom, living room, office basement and relocate it easily

* Simply plug it into a standard household electrical (120V) outlet

* Economical to operate* and a breeze to set up – no renovations required!

Strata Stones

Strata Stones

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» Wholesale prices on Pebble Tile to the public.

Do-it-yourself installation! You simply lay the pebble tiles next to each other and they inter-lock, creating a totally seamless, hand-crafted mosaic appearance.

These pebble tiles are designed for both interior and exterior applications. Our natural stones come in many shapes and colors to match the decor of your home or office.

OUTDOOR PATIO HEATERS

Outdoor Patio Heaters are a great addition to any backyard. Available in a variety of beautiful powder coated finishes and commercial grade stainless steel, they are sure to complement any type of patio. Your outdoor entertaining just wouldn’t be the same without one of these beautiful outdoor patio heaters!!! So what are you waiting for??? Start having fun outside even if it is a little chilly. You’ll never even know it. Be sure to check them out here.

Boston Bake – a Vegetarian Recipe to Make the Most of Leftovers

boston bake

This is a great and very adaptable comfort food recipe. Here’s how it started life. Many years ago, I used to run a health food store and a specialty was simple vegetarian takeout lunches. The most popular were sandwiches and baked potatoes.

The sandwiches were all made on great wholewheat bread and the most popular toppings for the baked potatoes were baked beans, garlic butter and cheese. (Several customers used to order a baked potato with garlic butter before dental appointments – ha!)

My dilemma was this – I used to prepare these takeout lunches fresh every day but there were always leftovers. I hate waste. On the following day, how could I use yesterday’s leftover sandwiches, baked potatoes, cheese, garlic butter and baked beans?

Boston Bake was born!

recipe boston bake

Before long, this was incredibly popular. It was cut into squares (about four inches square) and sold at a great, low price. Students, seniors and other people on fixed incomes loved it because it was cheap and nutritious – especially when served with a green salad and with an apple or other piece of fruit for a quick and simple dessert. Ever since, I have made Boston Bake at home for the family regularly. Sometimes I use leftovers and sometimes I have to start from scratch. One of the things I love about this recipe is that you can add many different leftovers you might have lurking in the refrigerator.

Bread stuffing

boston baked recipe new

If you have leftover cooked potatoes, you’ve already completed the first step! If not, cook potatoes by boiling or baking – boiling is quicker. How many? Well, that’s one of the great things about this recipe – there are no exact quantities. You’ll just need enough slices of potato to line your oven dish, although two layers are fine too. What sort of potatoes? Whatever you have! Large, small, it doesn’t matter at all.

And if you have leftover sandwiches, that’s step two nearly done. Just roughly chop them or whiz them in a blender or food processor. To start from scratch, take any bread and chop, grate or break into chunks. I usually just break it up with my fingers and use a cheese grater to break up any crusty bits. It doesn’t have to be finely grated or chopped as you can see from the photograph.

Then have fun adding whatever you might have around. As you can see, I added lots of freshly-ground black pepper, a little sea salt, some chopped basil from the garden, some chopped (or pressed) garlic and just a little grated cheese. If I’m having one of those days when I don’t care about calories, I add a little butter, cut into small pieces.

Here are a few ideas of other things you can add.
Leftover cooked mushrooms, chopped
Fresh scallions / spring onions, finely sliced
Chopped tomato
Any leftover cooked vegetables you may have – carrots, zucchini, broccoli – anything will work!
Your favorite herbs or flavorings – whatever suits your family’s tastes

Potatoes

boston baked recipe

Put the bread mixture to one side. The flavors will mingle whilst you’re preparing the potato base. I grease the oven dish lightly with butter, but you could use a low-calorie spray or olive oil. Use whatever you have to hand. The whole idea of this recipe is that you can make it from ingredients you have in your pantry and fridge; you don’t need to buy any special ingredients.

Simply slice the potatoes to line the dish. This can be one layer, two or more – it’s up to you and depends on the size of your dish and the amount of potato you have. Notice that I don’t peel the potatoes – I don’t want to throw away that valuable fiber and the nutrients that are just below the skin. Because we love black pepper, I grind some on top. You can add your own flavorings and herbs. Mint is particularly good with potato.

The next layer

boston bake recipe

Just add your bread mixture on top of the potatoes and press down lightly. Notice that the bread I used was a mix. I used one large slice of wholewheat bread and a slice from a lovely olive loaf. You can probably see the black olives in the photograph. Any bread will do but the better quality it is, the better the eventual dish will be. Any bread products can be added – I remember once adding a slice of leftover pizza that I’d run through the food processor!

Now the beans

I use British Heinz Beans because they are our favorite! But again, anything will do. If you’ve made your own baked beans and have leftovers – fantastic! If they are a cheap brand that was on sale at the grocery store, no problem. Adaptability and flexibility is the key here. Just add the beans on top of the bread mixture. Be sure to get all the sauce too as this will soak into the bread below. Because I’m truly tight-fisted, I add a little water to the empty can, swill it round to get all the sauce that’s clinging to the side of the can, and pour that on top too. (Try the same trick with an ’empty’ gin bottle. Add a little tonic, put the cap on the bottle and swill it round to make sure that you get the last remnants of gin – and a free but weak G & T!)

Finally the Cheese

boston bake new recipe

We love cheese so I cover the beans completely. But cheese is high in calories so you might have more restraint than I do! Again, it doesn’t matter – just use whatever you have. You can use a mixture of cheeses – just grate them together. Even hard lumps of cheese that have definitely seen better days can be added. Top with a little Parmesan? Why not! I often have just a little Parmesan left in the tub so that can go in too. Now put the whole thing into a pre-heated oven. I set mine to 350 but if you already have the oven on to cook another dish at another temperature, that’s fine and is a good way to make the most of your oven space; it’s a shame to use the electricity to heat just one dish so you can plan to make Boston Bake when you’re cooking something else if you wish to be truly economical. Temperature isn’t critical here – all you need to d is leave the dish in the oven until the food is heated through and the cheese is melted. This is usually about 20 minutes. Sometimes, I broil the dish for the last couple of minutes to make the cheese golden.

Guess what? I add black pepper before serving! But you can garnish the dish in whatever way you want to.

You could use:
Sliced tomato and basil – as I did
Chopped parsley or parsley sprigs
Paprika
Black olives – sliced or whole
Chopped scallion / spring onion

Here is my Boston Cake recipe. Enjoy!