Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Oh, and Wine Wednesday

Well, as most of you know, it is No Spend Month, so I don't have as much wine laying around the house as usual.  My wine cellar is empty.  And by wine cellar, I mean the Cool Select Pantry Drawer in my fridge where I normally keep between 0 and 1 bottles of wine.  But I was reminded that it is Wine Wednesday, and I can not neglect my duties.  However, I totally slacked and forgot to take a photo of my most recent selection, so you guys are going to have to deal with an empty bottle.  It's fine, just pretend its artsy.  Plus, it gave me a chance to play with my new camera.  Please forgive me for not instantly being an amazing photographer, but the last time I took a photography class I was 17, and these newfangled digital cameras are complicated!  I'm working on it.

Look, I even went outside for this one!  Yeah, I know it's overexposed.
So, this is a really great and very inexpensive wine.  Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio.  It's everything you love about Pinot Grigio and nothing you don't.  It's well balanced, crisp, not too sweet.   It's also usually between $5.49-$7.99, and probably one of the best wines in that price range.  It's a great everyday wine.

Wine:  Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio 
Year: ?
Region: South Eastern Australia
Purchased From: Target
 Price: $5.49
Verdict: 4/5
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What to do when you are waiting for an important phone call that you may or may not be getting

Today, there was a possibility that I would be getting a sort of important phone call between 11-12.  But it had not been confirmed that I would actually be getting that call.  So I spent an hour feeling like a teenage girl who is hoping her sort of boyfriend would call, carrying my phone around the house with me and checking it every 3 minutes to make sure the volume was up and I had no missed calls.  What should you do while waiting for an important call that you may or may not get?

1.  Practice talking a bit just to make sure your voice is working correctly.  "Hello!  Hellloooooo?  Hello."

2.  Watch funny video on youtube so that you sound super relaxed and friendly when they call.

3. Turn off music to watch video.  Leave it off in case they call.

4. Make sure all communications went though.  Send follow up email.

5.  Decide they are never going to call if you just sit here in silence.  Turn music back on.

6. Realize you are starving because your vegan/gluten- free dinner last night was not filling at all.  Decide to fry an egg.  Think that if they are going to call at all, it will probably be while you are in the middle of frying an egg anyway.

7.  Send your boyfriend status updates via text and email every ten minutes throughout the hour.

8.  Waste time on the internets.

9.  Check email again.

10.  Watch the clock turn to 12:01.  Think of various ways things could have gone horribly wrong and assume that you will never hear from them again.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Changing Perspective

I just made myself some hot chocolate.  Hot chocolate, people!  It is actually cold here in the desert.  Ok, cold might be an exaggeration compared to some places, but I will tell you that it is currently only 6 degrees warmer here than it is in Fairbanks, Alaska.  That is sort of cheating, it is really warm in Fairbanks right now. But, it's eleven degrees colder in Portland right now than it is here.  And it's snowing.  Wait, what was I talking about?  The point is that its sort of cold here, but you won't hear me bitching about it because I would take this over 110 degrees any day.

This is exactly the kind of photo my angsty teenage self would take.  We didn't have instagram back in those days, you whipersnaper!   I had to wind the film myself!

I have been in a bit of a funk recently, and having a hard time keeping my negative thoughts at bay.  I've been asking myself what would make me happier.  One of the things I have been missing about Portland is that I could walk out my door and walk down the street, and it would almost always make me happy.  It could be walking through the hills of my SW Portland neighborhood and looking out over the city and Mount Hood, or it could be the Portland Waterfront, only a few blocks from our apartment near downtown.  It could be the nighttime treks that we took home after a night out, after the streetcar shut down.  It could be walking down NW 21st, popping into shops and cafes.  It could be the Irvington neighborhood in NE Portland, while I marveled at those huge, old houses, wondering who used to live there.   No matter where it was, I loved being there.  And I haven't found that feeling in Phoenix.  But I have to admit that I haven't been trying very hard to find it either.

So far the best part about Arizona is the sky

 So today, I decided it was time to try a little harder.  I took a short walk in my neighborhood to let a little sunshine in and try to clear away the cobwebs.  I realized that the awe of everyday beauty was sadly lacking in my life.  So I gave myself an assignment to try to find something beautiful or interesting.  Although I didn't quite recapture the everyday beauty that I used to find in Portland on this particular walk, I did see a few things that I found instagram worthy.  And when I stopped to check the mail, I got a letter from my BFF. Then at the end of the walk, I saw a beautiful hummingbird.  So I ended the walk with my spirits significant;y lifted, and I felt like I had successfully completed my assignment.

Speaking of that hummingbird, I tried tot take a photo, but that thing was fast.  I am so excited because soon I will be able to take photos with a REAL CAMERA!  K got me a super awesome camera for Christmas  but it arrived damaged and needed repairs so we had to send it off to Canon to get fixed up.  I just checked on the status and it should be here tomorrow!  So, these may be some of the last iphone photos you have to endure.  But probably not, I bet I will still sneak an iphone photo in now and then.

Zoomed in close up of the hummingbird

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wine Wednesday: King Estate 2011 Domaine Pinot Gris

 I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday season.  K and I have had a lovely and quiet staycation where we did very little of anything, but we make some pretty fabulous dinners.  This Wine Wednesday is the perfect time to feature our Christmas wine, the 2011 Domaine Pinot Gris from King Estate.  Awhile ago I featured the King Estate Signature Pinot Gris on the blog.  The Signature is my go to bottle, but the Domaine is really something special.  It is harder to find and slightly more expensive, for good reason.  The Domaine is made entirely from grapes grown on the Estate, and is 100% organic.

  I feel lucky to have found this here in Arizona.  K and I found a store called "Total Wine" which is basically a grocery store of wine (and other booze).  They have a huge selection and very good prices.  Wine heaven!
So when I saw this bottle on the shelf, I was pretty excited.

This is a lovely wine, smooth and fruity - I actually almost feel like I can taste peaches or pears.  It doesn't have that sharp acidity that you sometimes get with white wines.  It is crisp and really just a perfect white wine, in my opinion.  In the past I have preferred the Signature to the Domaine, but I guess 2011 was a good year, because I actually think it is better than the signature right now.

Wine:  King Estate 2011 Domaine Pinot Gris 
Year: 2011
Region: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Purchased From: Total Wine
 Price: $20
Verdict: 5/5
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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Quick Tip: Cleaning a Crock Pot Disaster

Yesterday I narrowly avoided a Crock Pot disaster.  I decided to attempt to make some overnight oatmeal - which turned out OK - but I ended up with a Crock Pot that had oatmeal completely burnt into the pot.  Curiously, the oatmeal itself wasn't burned,  Anyway, I was a little dismayed when I saw this:

You need a chisel for that gunk!

I quickly did some googling and found a solution:

 I added one cup of vinegar to the pot, then filled with water to about an inch over the burn line.  I set it to warm for two hours and let it percolate.  Then I just scrubbed it out.  most of it came out easily, but there were a few stubborn areas.  I used a scraper like this and the rest came off pretty easily.

Sparkly Clean!

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