Last Minute Pumpkin Bites with Cocoa Pebbles

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BOO! I don’t know about you, but when I think about Halloween, I think of chocolate and sweet treats galore. This year, we celebrated Halloween a little bit earlier and went on a pub crawl in Montrose. So we’re staying in tonight with a bowl of our favorite snacks and watching our favorite scary movies. As I’m prepping for movie night, I decided to whip up a quick Halloween treat that took me less than an hour to make! One of the best parts is that you can customize it with whatever your spooky heart desires. Here’s a quick recipe to make these super adorable pumpkin bites with Cocoa Pebbles!

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Anniversary at Harold’s in the Heights + Quick Life Update

Brunch at Harold's

Oh, how I missed this. Putting my fingers to a keyboard knowing that I’m about to write things that I love and that truly make me happy outside of my job. While my job is a huge part of my life, this past month I took some time to reflect that I needed to realize that it wasn’t my entire life. I get to come home to a wonderful boyfriend, my cute little corgi and to a home that is literally down the street and in the heart of Houston. Lately everything was fogged and my tunnel vision of keeping my job my number one priority secluded me from even thinking that I had the time to write here. I did have the time, but I didn’t find the motivation to “put a pen to paper” and let it all out. I had to remind myself that while I am lucky to have the job that I have, I should still appreciate the other aspects of my life.Read More

A Quick Go-To Lunch: Smoked Salmon Toast

Nancy Sparkles Smoked Salmon

A few weeks ago, I began my journey to a healthier lifestyle and the occasional weekly workouts. At this point, I’ve made smarter choices in what I eat and I started working out 2-3 times a week at our condo’s gym. The reason why I’m not on a strict diet and not attending any bootcamp-type classes is because I know myself best. By doing these things in the past, it was always easier for me to just quit or get too lax with binging thinking I worked hard so let me reward myself even harder. I’m now trying this new method that involves the slowest of baby steps, but 1000x more effective. Instead of buying lunch, I stick to prepped meals and we try to keep the snack section of our pantry as fully-stocked as possible. The biggest focus I have now are alternatives. Instead of munching on chips in between meals, I make my own fruit and nut bowl because the last thing I want is a single piece of string cheese considering my stomach was trying to tell me that I was hungry and not simply “craving” something. I’m also steering away from buying lunches and trying out new “quick” recipes that I can make in my kitchen when I go home for lunch everyday. One of my favorite go-to’s lately has been Smoked Salmon Toast.

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Louis Jadot at TABLE Restaurant- Burgundy Wine Dinner

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This Wednesday I had the honor of attending a fabulous Burgundy wine dinner for one of my company’s clients, TABLE Restaurant on Post Oak. TABLE Restaurant hosted a Louis Jadot tasting with Kobrand’s French Wine Specialist Thierry Plumettaz leading the dinner. All proceeds of the dinner went to the French-American Chamber of Commerce in Houston. Given that my last semester of college I spent every Tuesday tasting different wines from hundreds of varietals for my Wine Appreciation class, my expectations were pretty high. I was intimidated by the fact that there would be reds, which I find really hard to like, but to my surprise all of them made it on my “Need to Buy” list. Needless to say, with good wine there better be good food. Long story short, every single course felt like an experience that every wino should go through in their lifetime. I won’t consider myself an extreme wine enthusiast, but I do appreciate what a good wine is and the whole experience of drinking it. Prepare your mouths to water because these food pics are not for the faint!

Life tip: If you’re still in college and you’re able to take Wine Appreciation as an elective, TAKE IT. It will help you in your professional life more than you think it will. Trust me, you don’t want to be that person that just orders Moscato at a business meeting because that’s the only type of “wine” that you’re familiar with.

First Course
Roasted Beets Salad: Blue Heron Farm Goat Milk Yogurt & Cheese.
D&M Gourmet Blood Orange EVOO.
Pairing: Château des Jacques by Louis, Beaujolais Blanc 2012

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This particular dish I was the most hesitant from the beginning. My inner 5-year-old wanted to just ignore it and continue eating the complimentary bread because beets in my book were always a no in my book. However, I sucked it up and gave the tiniest of bites to the least intimidating beet (ignore my Nancy logic). First thought? Oh, this taste like potatoes! Second thought? This sauce makes the beet, haha. Needless to say, I took a few more bites and enjoyed what I had. It wasn’t  my favorite course, but I could definitely see why beet-fanatics would adore this dish. However, I will give it credit for being the prettiest dish of the night. The Beajoulais Blanc had a good amount of legs and had the most aromatic lemony/citrus smell. Shelf life is about 4-5 weeks, but really…you want to drink it as soon as possible. As fresh tasting as this was, I didn’t doubt that this fruit-forward wine would pair perfectly with salads and seafood.

Second Course
Oeuf Meurette: Poached Egg, Bacon Lardons, Caramelized Onion,
Salt Mushrooms, and Beaujolais Sauce
Pairing: Château des Jacques by Louis Jadot, Morgon “Côte du Py” 2011

OOPS, No Picture 🙂

You’re not missing out on the photo, just imagine a poached egg smothered and drowned in a dark brown sauce with bacon slices and mushrooms surrounding it. It’s not the most photogenic dish, but this was definitely one of my favorite courses of the evening. The amount of flavor in the Beaujolais sauce exploded in my mouth at first taste, I knew immediately that the actual dish was going to go perfect with the red that we had. This red had gone through standard fermentation which gave it’s neutral flavor with a slight bold edge. It had a tiny bit of tannins and wasn’t acidic at all.

Third Course
Slow Roasted Chicken With Beaujolais Wine: Fingerling Potatoes, Fall Vegetables
Pairing: Château des Jacques by Louis Jado, Moulin-à-Vent 2012

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This was my favorite dish from the entire dinner. First off, that guy was a master at carving a whole chicken. He did it so seamlessly, with no trouble and as my coworker pointed out…he used a spoon! My mouth was already watering knowing that this chicken was going to be as tender and juicy as it looked. As suspected, everything in this course was exploding with flavor and as tender as can be. The french really know how to do it well. The Beaujolais sauce really made this chicken as unique as it was, it gave it the perfect smoky and sweet flavor that a well-cooked chicken deserves. The red that we had for this dish really made the experience.

 

Fourth Course
Honey Caramelized Pear: Candied Pistachios, Vanilla Ice Cream
Pairing: Louis Jado, Meursault 2012
Louis Jado, Meursault 2013

IMG_1211 editThe pear was cooked in a way that I never thought possible. It was the consistency of a plum, but warm and full of honey notes. Also having the ice cream in a spoonful truly heightened the sweetness of the pear but mellowed out the tartness that seemed off for me at the beginning. All in all, this dessert was the perfect pairing for the Meursault. To make this experience a lot better and interesting, Thierry presented us with the same wine but from different vintages. I knew what was coming, but it was so much fun to see my colleague’s surprised faces and reactions by how different both tasted. The 2012 definitely had a more bold alcohol taste, but still very very fresh, while the 2013 was a bit mute, but had a small earthy note to it that made it incredibly unique.

Fifth Course
Lavender Sorbet
Pairing: Louis Jadot, Marc de Bourgogne “A la Mascotte”

IMG_1213 editIf you can imagine eating a candle, you can imagine eating this sorbet without the imaginable waxy taste. This sorbet was extremely fragrant and the taste was full of citrus notes. I loved it and it was unlike anything that I have ever tasted before. My only dislike from this dinner came from the brandy that was presented to us. It was musky and very smokey, making it exactly what I typically hate in any type of alcoholic drink. While this drink wasn’t typically what I would call my first cocktail choice, I could see why the citrusy of the sorbet would complement and balance the strong flavors of the brandy.

All in all, this was an incredible experience and I can’t wait to attend more wine dinners. What’s your favorite wine pairing? Let me know below!