Monday, August 8, 2016

Twelve tips for summer picnics

If you plan on having a picnic this summer, there are a few simple tips you should keep in mind as your plan takes shape. For total fun and enjoyment for all involved, consider:
  1. Serving finger foods. There will be less prep time involved and less to carry with you on your excursion.
  2. Stashing plenty of ice packs. To keep your food from spoiling, it needs to be kept cool.
  3. Avoiding mayo or mayo based condiments since it can spoil faster than anything else you bring.
  4. Packing small or disposable salt and pepper shakers so everyone can season their food to their personal preference. 
  5. Bringing small, refillable jars of ketchup and mustard. They can be washed and refilled anytime you need to bring them along on an outing.
  6. Packing a small cutting board and knife just in case anything needs to be cut while you're out. Wrap the knife in a towel and secure it tightly with a rubber band for safety.
  7. Bringing along reusable utensils instead of wasting money on disposables. This goes for cloth napkins, too.
  8. Taking a corkscrew and bottle opener in case someone else in your party brings along a bottle of wine or bottles of beer for the adults to enjoy.
  9. Packing a trash bag so everyone can clean up after themselves.
  10. Bringing wet naps or moist towelettes for easy cleanup, especially when you don't have running water available.
  11. Using a lightweight tote for carrying your goodies to your picnic site. It will be easier to carry than a picnic basket or cooler.
  12. Packing a large, lightweight blanket for everyone to sit on. Not every picnic site has tables and sitting in the grass can be uncomfortable and itchy.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Rice and spinach stuffed zucchini boats recipe

These delicious "boats" are a yummy and healthy summer entree when its simply too hot to eat meat. 

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup white rice, rinsed
  • 2 cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of excess liquid
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 4 medium zucchini
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil with salt, pepper and cayenne until fragrant. Add rice, spinach, water and additional salt and pepper if desired. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to low, cover and cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Fluff rice and stir in half and half, tomatoes and cheese. Add additional half and half if needed. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. The halves will resemble a boat. Place the zucchini boats on a baking sheet and fill with the rice mixture. Bake until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle with a little more Parmesan. 

Rogue Ales and Paradise Beverage releasing collaborative brew September 1

Newport OR based Rogue Ales has announced a tropical collision of kindred spirits with the September 1st release of Paradise Pucker, their new collaborative brew with Hawaii's Paradise Beverage. This Hawiian inspired sour ale is brewed with a blend of passion fruit, orange and guava (POG). Inspired by Rogue’s longtime admiration for the state of Hawaii, Paradise Pucker is dedicated to the Mahalo spirit as well as Rogue’s late founder, Jack Joyce, a lifelong lover of the islands and part-time resident.

“We’ve been wearing Tiki shirts for the last 768 Tuesdays,” said Rogue President Brett Joyce, “So you could say we had some pre-existing inspiration to make a POG beer.” 

Paradise Pucker will be available on draft and in serigraphed 22oz bottles throughout the state of Hawaii starting September 1, as the first ever bottled sour from Rogue Ales. Paradise Pucker can also be found on draft in limited quantities at all Rogue locations. For more information, visit Available September 1st.

About Rogue Ales & Spirits 
Rogue Ales & Spirits is an agri-fermenter founded in Oregon in 1988 as one of America’s first microbreweries. Rogue has won more than 1,800 awards for taste, quality and packaging and is available in all 50 states as well as 54 countries. Since 2008, Rogue has remained committed to saving the terroir of Oregon hops, barley, rye, wheat, honey, jalapeños, and pumpkins one acre at a time by growing its own.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Cookbook Review: what shall we cook today? more than 70 fun recipes for kids to make

On first glance, the book is weighty but not intimidating, which is a definite plus for kids. Including pictures, recipes, an abridged table of contents and index, it comes in at only 159 pages – which is completely doable for the average parent and child to work with together.

Thumbing through, there are some intriguing recipes: white chocolate and raspberry tartlets, creamy pea soup, leek frittata, and bang bang chicken, to name a few.

The directions are numbered in short, easy steps; anything that might be slightly dangerous is annotated with “Ask an adult to help you” in bold type. For reading material, this becomes quite repetitive; however, it fits perfectly with the audience for the recipes, which is about six to ten years of age.

Three-year-olds and potato
peelers must be supervised!
Many of the recipes call for unusual items such as mascarpone (Italian cream cheese), canned cherry tomatoes, pancetta (Italian bacon), pine nuts, or olive tapenade; and the recipes assume (some very specifically) that they are already in the cooks’ kitchens. These are fairly readily available, but the average American home doesn’t tend to have them on hand. The recipes have a British flavor in the wording of the descriptions and instructions – including one recipe for Toad-in-the-Hole, which didn’t look very appetizing.

Additionally, I began looking for a recipe that I could test with my daughter, who is not quite four years old. Many of the non-desserts contained ingredients that most small children are leery of eating! Mushrooms, tomatoes, peas, onions, and so on. However, I am blessed with a child who loves vegetables. I chose Creamy Pea Soup as something that she and I could work on together.

Not quite as green as expected...
She very much enjoyed carefully peeling the potato and stirring that, the onion and garlic in the pot as it cooked. We used turkey broth that I’d canned last Thanksgiving, and she poured it in very carefully, followed by frozen peas. The recipe did say to let it simmer for about twenty minutes, but it took closer to forty for the potato to become soft enough, and I had it set to a low boil. Not having a stick blender, I pureed it in three batches; and not having heavy cream, I used a bit of sour cream instead. With a bit of salt and pepper, it was very tasty; however, my daughter was none too interested in it because it was an avocado-ish green. When I finally convinced her to eat it, she found it very palatable, but too thick.

In all, I’d have to say that this is a good book for slightly older children – six to ten – and their parents, preferably those with a more expansive palate than chicken nuggets and fries.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Ward on Wine’s Mike Ward launches private label 2015 vintage Syncopation Wines

Mike Ward (CS, CWE, CSS) from Ward on Wine is launching his private label 2015 vintage Syncopation Wines on August 10th, exclusively at area Schnucks stores. In addition to the Syncopation Rhythmic Red Blend, a White Acoustic Blend has been added to the brand this year.

Following the success of our 2014 Rhythmic Red Blend, Ward wanted to extend the brand to other wines.

 “Folks were requesting a white,” said Ward. “With the 2015 vintage Vignoles grapes from Noboleis Vineyard being of such a high quality, we knew the timing was perfect and chose them as the base for our new white blend.”

Syncopation Rhythmic Blend and Acoustic Blend are both produced and bottled at Noboleis Vineyard and Winery. “I knew I wanted estate-grown fruit from the Augusta AVA, one of the best grape growing regions in Missouri,” said Ward. “I was also drawn to working with their exceptionally talented winemaker, Brandon Dixon, in developing the blends.”

To celebrate the launch, Ward on Wine will be hosting tastings at several area Schnucks locations. Wine lovers will also be treated to giveaways and raffles, and can visit for specific times and locations.

Ward on Wine was created in 2014 by Mike Ward, Certified Sommelier, Certified Specialist of Spirits, and Certified Wine Educator. Ward’s philosophy is that wine is not only to be paired with food, it is to be paired with people. There is a wine out there for everyone, no matter what their story may be - there is a wine for every occasion, every journey, every place in time. Ward on Wine is designed to help you discover those wines, learn about those wines, and share those wines.

Watermelon margarita recipe from Fruit2O

Here's a new take on a classic summer cocktail from the folks at Fruit2O

  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1 ounce St. Germain
  • 2 ounces silver tequila
  • 1 cup chilled Watermelon Fruit2O
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and give a couple shakes to combine. Serve on the rocks with salt and a small slice of fresh watermelon.

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Ballast Point celebrates IPA Day on August 4th

For Ballast Point, it's all about the hops... Keep reading for more details on how they plan to celebrate IPA Day in California!

Sculpin, Big Eye, Even Keel, Dorado....there is no shortage of hops around Ballast Point. But there is one day a year that we pay tribute to the hoppy beers that we love so much, IPA Day. We are celebrating at all 6 of our tasting rooms next Thursday, August 4th.

What we love most about IPA day is the chance to explore new flavors and share them in our locations - and our brewers are having a lot of fun testing out some new brews. Last year we featured Watermelon Dorado, Mango Even Keel and Pineapple Sculpin - and less than a year later we figured out a way to spread them across the country. We will be releasing the tap list next week, but you can check out the sneak peek below:

  • Mango Sculpin 
  • Coffee Sculpin 
  • Passionfruit Grunion 
  • Cantaloupe Big Eye 
  • Peach Even Keel

We also have a couple more events coming up that you can check out too. To start off we are having a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Ballast Point Temecula on August 2nd at 2pm. We will have a special that includes a pint and all you can eat tacos for $20 plus games on the patio. Plus we are hosting our first Crawfish Boil at Ballast Point Miramar on August 27th. It will take place from noon to 4pm. You can grab your spot for $20 and you will get crawfish, shrimp, potatoes, corn, andouille sausage and a canned beer. Find more information about these events on the events section of our website.

Also, as a part of our 20th Anniversary we are sharing photos of our fans celebrating with us on our 20th anniversary webpage. You can tag your photos by using the hashtag #ballastpointOG20 and you can be featured on our site and social media profiles.

Cheesy chicken enchilada recipe

This hearty dinner is a great way to use leftover chicken, or purchase a roast chicken from the deli to cut down onyour prep time! It has just enough heat to make it flavorful without overpowering more tender tastebuds. If you wish to warm it up more, use two cans of jalapenos instead of one jalapeno and one of green chilies.Recipe, En

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 1 small can green chilies, chopped
  • 1 small can jalapenos, chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup Mexican cheese blend, divided
  • 12 small corn tortillas
  • small can black olives for garnish


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Saute onion and green pepper in olive oil until tender. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired, and combine with chicken, green chilies and jalapenos. Combine flour and coriander in a sauce pan and add broth. Stir until smooth. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook until thickened then remove from heat. Add sour cream and half of the cheese and stir until smooth and creamy. Add 1/2 cup of the sauce mixture to the chicken mixture and combine. Warm tortillas and fill each with approximately 1/3-1/2 cup of the chicken mixture. Roll and place seam side down in a 13 X 9 baking dish lined with foil. Spoon remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. If desired, top with black olives. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until cheese is melted and enchiladas are heated through.

Top rated Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen returns for the end of summer

One of the most respected marzens in the world, Ayinger Oktober Fest-Marzen, will soon be hitting store shelves and taps across the nation. Available in (4) 330 mL bottles, single 500 mL bottles and 30 liter kegs, this beer is seasonal, so grab some while you can or you will be left waiting until next year to enjoy this brew.

Ayinger Brewery, founded in 1878 and located in the Bavarian village of Aying, 30 minutes from Munich, has earned a reputation for quality. Ayinger always represents a commitment to excellence, which shows up at competitions, on beer websites, in the delightful Ayinger beer quaffed at your local pub, or even in a discussions between other German brewers. Oktober Fest-Märzen is an honest märzen - full-bodied, rich lager with a malty bouquet and richness that stops short of sweetness. Color is deep amber-gold and the flavor is a perfect balance: malt backbone with depth & richness; complemented by perfect conditioning from long maturation; and alcohol of 5.8% by volume. Fest-Märzen is spiced with enough hops to make it snappy and thirst-quenching, but in the classic Bavarian style it's not highly bitter. Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen shows big bold flavors and clean purity while still maintaining perfect balance: we've never tasted any fall beer that can surpass it in comparison.

Munich's Oktoberfest began in 1810 when Princess Theresa married Prince Ludwig. The party lasted for days, and was such a success that it has become an annual 16-day celebration in Munich as well as in many other parts of the world. (To determine the start date of Oktoberfest, count backward 16 days from the first Sunday in October. In 2016, it starts on Saturday, September 17.) Starting in the middle of the 19th century, Bavarian breweries began to sell full-bodied, flavorful March (Märzen) beer, brewed and lagered to celebrate this famous Oktoberfest. In September and October, these rich beers fuel German beer festivals -- served in big mugs alongside sauerkraut, roasted

Merchant du Vin imports Samuel Smith's from England; Traquair House from Scotland; Ayinger and the organic beers of Pinkus from Germany. Our offerings from Belgium include Lindemans lambics, Green's gluten-free beers, Du Bocq and the Trappist beers of Orval, Westmalle and Rochefort.

Celebrate National Watermelon Day with delicious watermelon tomato gazpacho

Today is National Watermelon Day. If you didn't know that, don't feel bad. I didn't until a few weeks ago. Anyway, now we are all now in the know and it is time to figure out how to celebrate this yummy day! The following recipe is one that I adapted from the current issue of Better Homes and Gardens and is a delicious and unique way to incorporate watermelon into gazpacho. Enjoy!

  • 2 slices sourdough bread, crust removed and torn into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 5 cups watermelon, cubed with seeds removed
  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes, quartered and seeded
  • 1 medium size red pepper, quartered, seeded and roasted
  • 1 small white onion, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste
  • sour cream, for garnish
  • lime zest, for garnish
Combine bread, wine and water in a small bowl. Let stand ten minutes until all liquid is fully absorbed. Puree all ingredients, except those needed for garnish, in small batches until smooth. Combine the pureed ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well combined. Tightly cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days, until ready to serve. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and a little sprinkling of lime zest. For added color, consider garnishing with a small slice of watermelon on the side of the bowl.

*If this recipe sounds delicious, please visit Dayton Moms Blog and check out my watermelon salsa recipe! ~Aimee~

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Apple Pie is newest fall release from Oliver Winery

Oliver Winery, Indiana’s oldest and largest winery, will release Oliver Apple Pie, a delicious blend of Apple Wine in a 750 ml package, for a limited time this fall. Oliver Apple Pie features tart, crisp apple, soft vanilla, and comforting notes of cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg. The aroma is one of warmth and gentle, sweet spice, like bottling the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning!

“For decades, Oliver has made apple wine and cider. Our winemaker came up with the idea, and we were a little skeptical at first. But Apple Pie is a delicious wine,” said Chris Hibbert, Oliver Winery VP of Sales. “You can even detect creamy vanilla flavors on the finish. It’s apple pie ‘a la mode’ in a bottle,”

Perfect for sharing, the bottle’s red foil accents and custom pie-shaped label evoke fall nostalgia. “The wine and the package are classic,” said Winemaker Dennis Dunham, “This is a wine that is meant to be shared with others around the holiday table.”

The apple wine with natural flavors retails for $8 and contains 10% ABV. It will be available in stores in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Rhode Island, Texas and Wisconsin, as well as at the Oliver Winery Tasting Room and online at

Apple Pie is new to Oliver Winery’s portfolio, which includes BeanBlossom Hard Cider®, Bubblecraft, Orchard Stand, Oliver Sangria, the Soft Wine collection, The Vine Series®, an experimental 500 ml series of Pilot Projects, and varietals under the Creekbend Estate-Bottled and Flight Series labels.

About Oliver Winery & Vineyards
Oliver Winery is Indiana’s oldest and largest winery. Since the brand was founded, in 1972, Oliver has become known for approachable and satisfying wines that capture the flavor of high quality fruit. Bill Oliver, CEO and founding family member of Oliver Winery, continues to lead the brand he built as one of the largest and most modernly equipped winemaking operations in the eastern U.S. Oliver Winery is a world-class destination, offering best-in-class service, beautiful grounds, and an approachable wine experience to thousands of visitors each year. Creekbend Vineyard, the Winery’s 50+ acre commitment to the production of great wine from Indiana-grown grapes, has helped garner an even greater national reputation for the brand.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sugarland Distilling seeks to ramp up fall flavor with Pumpkin Spice Moonshine

Summer may be in full swing, but before we know it, the time to bring out our jeans, hoodies and flannels will be upon us once again. With that in mind, Sugarlands Distilling Company has announced the release of their newest moonshine flavor: Pumpkin Spice. The new 40 proof liquor is as versatile as it is delicious and will add a tasty kick to your morning coffee or as a base ingredient for your favorite fall cocktails. It is a smooth drinking shine that offers enough sweet to please your sweet tooth while providing a subtle, spicy kick. 

Available at the distillery beginning August 15 with wider distribution set for September 1, Sugarland's Pumpkin Spice Moonshine will be available just in time for tailgating, bonfires and your Halloween celebrations. Pumpkin Spice will be joining a celebrated line of spirits at Sugarlands Distilling Co. Since opening in 2014, the company has won 28 awards at domestic and international spirits competition. Each year the distillery hosts more than 1 million visitors who come to taste moonshine, take tours, and watch live Americana and bluegrass music on the Spirit Stage.

About Sugarlands Distilling Company
Sugarlands Distilling Company produces craft quality moonshine and whiskey. The distillery, in downtown Gatlinburg, is a popular attraction where guests are invited to taste free samples of authentic Sugarlands Shine, take behind the-scenes tours of the production, and purchase a variety of moonshine flavors, mountain merchandise, and apparel.

The distillery also offers live music, Appalachian storytelling, and outdoor adventure tours in the Sugarlands, an area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park historically known as “moonshiners’ paradise.” The company is East Tennessee-owned, with a focus on improving the local community through a variety of events and charitable giving.

Sugarlands Distilling Co. opened its downtown Gatlinburg distillery in March 2014 to perform the age-old craft of distilling fine Sugarlands Shine. Its authentic spirits, barn-house location, and first-class entertainment offer visitors the complete Tennessee moonshine experience. Sugarlands Distilling Co. is a proud, locally owned, community–minded, “give-back” brand.

Be sure to check out the first issue of Mega Bites Food Magazine, being published online August 16, for an in depth review of this new product!

Soda for breakfast? Kellogg Co says sure!

Recently, soda inspired Pop-Tarts have been popping up on store shelves across the nation. The two new flavors of the popular breakfast pastry were inspired by A&W Root Beer and Orange Crush. The A&W tart features a root beer flavored filling topped with white icing and red, orange and brown sprinkles. The Crush tart features an orange flavored filling topped with white icing and and orange swirls.

"We're always trying to surprise our fans with flavors they'll love" said director of marketing for Pop-Tarts, Angela Gusse. 

Have you guys tried these new flavors yet? If so, leave us a comment and let us know what you think!