Wine for a Cheer Road Trip

As our first all-star cheerleading season comes to an end this week with a trip to the Platinum Nationals in Rochester, New York, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about our recent road trip to Erie, Pennsylvania for the
Lake Erie Cheer and Dance National Championships.

Our Little Winds are a mini-prep team; nearly all the girls are in their first year and it’s been a learning experience for the 6 to 9-year-olds. This was the first time we traveled this far from home for a competition and they were so excited to stay in a hotel! Plus, one of the girls on the team celebrated her 8th birthday and we had the opportunity to have lunch and cake together as a team with her.

I absolutely hate driving. I don’t mind long car rides but I really dislike being the driver. So, this trip was about three hours and 45 minutes and, man, it felt like forever — that is until I started to see an exciting sight out my windows. On either side of New York State Thruway were vineyards are far as the eye could see. It was almost like seeing cornfields spread out for miles but it was grapes. Now, the grapes are still dormant in Upstate New York but my mind could imagine how beautiful this sight would be come later spring and through summer and fall.

When I first spotted the grapevines, I was curious. What winemaking region is this? Part of Niagara? Something else? Then, I told myself maybe it was where grapes are mostly grown to make jelly and jam. I could not have been more incorrect. It turns out we were driving through Lake Erie Wine Country, the largest grape-growing region east of the Rockies. It extends roughly 50 miles from Chautauqua County in New York to Erie County in Pennsylvania. The farther we drove, the more vineyards we saw until we started to see many blue signs noting the names of the different wineries we could visit.

I made a mental note to stop on the way home and see what this region is all about. Since we left Sunday morning, many of the wineries in Pennsylvania were not open but just outside of Fredonia, New York, we stumbled upon Liberty Vineyards and Winery in Sheridan, New York. After a warm welcome from one of the owners, my daughter and I surveyed the scene. They were having an Easter-themed tasting complete with wines paired with Peeps, dark chocolate and milk chocolate eggs and jelly beans. I was mainly interested in what they were known for and wanted to taste the wine not the candy! But, they were smart and provided the candy to my 9-year-old along with a bottle of grape juice!

I tried wines from various profiles, including a Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Diamond Select, Red Blend, Fredonia and Sparkling Riesling. My favorites were the Diamond and Fredonia, which I could imagine having with dark chocolate, pizza or a burger. In addition, I tried their best-selling Reds, Whites & Blues, which is a sweet rose they use in their popular sangria recipe.

We left with seven bottles of wine for about $100, as well as a fun bottle stopper we won after Lucia chose a plastic egg from the basket. We also learned enough about the region for me to want to make another trip back with my husband. It looks like there is a lot to see and taste in this area, which to me is a well-kept wine secret in New York State!

Oh, and about that cheer competition? Those Little Winds won the national championship! Their winning routine is below:

CNY Storm Little Winds gave a flawless performance to become national champions in their class at the Lake Erie Cheer and Dance National Championships April 6.
resolutions

Wine for Resolutions

The start of a new year means rededicating yourself to whatever dreams, goals and objectives you want to achieve. For me, a new year happens twice annually – fall, when school is back in session, and Jan. 1. This year, my New Year’s resolution is to attempt to establish realistic goals that I can reach over the course of the entire year, or at least that is my overarching commitment to myself.

Looking back on 2018, I did pretty well with my resolutions. Did I reach them all? Nope. But, I did meet three of the four, with the fourth one coming in halfway! This year, I have many goals, big and small. I’m sharing them here in case they are inspirational to you, as you think about what you want to be in 2019.

  1. Become a certified personal trainer. OK, this is the biggest goal I have and one I’m calling my “stretch goal.” I really want to do this. I love working out, I love people and I love to teach. This is a way to combine all three. But, to get here, there are steps along the way. I need to complete a course successfully, but before that, I need to choose the course from the many out there. But, before that, I need to find time in my schedule to do this, both the course and then the actual training. So, this one will be a process. But, I’m committed to trying!
  2. Finish Jon’s Christmas stocking. Those who know me know that I am an occasional cross stitcher. Due to the intermittent nature of my cross stitching activity, it often takes me years to finish projects. I’m halfway through my husband’s Christmas stocking that I started a year ago. I’m going to attempt to finish it by Christmas 2019.
  3. Read 30 books. Last year, I read about 30 books, give or take but I really didn’t keep careful track so I’m not positive. It could have been more. This year, I am tracking it, listing each title in my bullet journal as I finish it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll read 40!
  4. Read the Bible. I haven’t read the Bible cover to cover since college. This year, I’m going to do it again. Each evening, I’m reading a chapter until I’m done. I’ve started with John, and will follow with the rest of the Gospels before methodically moving through all the remaining books. Chunking this goal down makes it doable!
  5. Post 24 blog posts. This is also an attainable goal. It requires me to post at least two blog posts a month and since I usually do at least three to four, I think two will be just fine! This post is one of 24!
  6. De-stress with a bath and/or massage twice a month. A friend and co-worker reminded me at the end of 2018 of the importance of self-care. I’m considering myself reminded and am committing to it in this way. Even if I only do this once a month, it’s one more time than I did it in 2018!
  7. Gain five pounds. The elusive 100-pound goal weight is in sight now that I’m nearly 96 pounds. It’s been a long time coming for this hard-gainer but I think 2019 is my year. I need to make sure I hit my macros, workout consistently and progressively and drink ALL the water.

I have seven goals, my lucky number. I wrote them in my bullet journal/planner but documenting them here is extremely therapeutic, as well, and makes them more real somehow. I’m excited to have a mix of super attainable, practical goals along with those that are a little more challenging.

Since Christmas, I’ve enjoyed 10 wines (it was my two-week vacation so I had more time to sip!). Of all the bottles we opened, the one that spoke to me most in terms of resolutions was 2015 Mystic Red from Auspicion Vineyards. I want to believe that 2019 will be an auspicious year for me and the play on words reminded me of that favorable feeling. Funny enough, that was my least favorite wine in terms of taste! That prize goes to a 2013 red blend from the Tuscany region of Italy. Bottled by Monte Antico, it’s a combination of grapes from a variety of vineyards and it’s in the true Tuscan, light-bodied red style.

Come to think of it, none of my resolutions involve wine. Might need to add a bonus goal at some point this year. I’ll keep you posted. Cheers!

dumbbells on a rack

Wine for Workout Woes

New season means new busyness and with that comes a few new workout challenges. Recently, I’ve been finding that I’m absolutely exhausted. I mean, I’m so tired I nearly fall asleep reading aloud to my 8-year-old. How is that even possible? At first, I chalked it up to change of season, being really busy and stressed at work and general busyness at home. Then, I thought it might be the fact I seem to get up around 3:30 a.m. and then proceed to keep waking up every 20 minutes until it’s time for me to get up for real around 4:45 a.m. But, last evening I was scrolling through the Train with Lyzabeth secret Facebook group timeline and came across a challenge another girl was having – she was sore and super tired all the time.

There was a lot of advice shared, including my own about how to beat soreness and keep lifting (make sure you get at least eight hours of sleep, take glutamine, lift lighter and stretch). But, it was Lyzabeth’s comment that made me rethink what’s happening with me. She said “make sure you’re getting enough calories to fuel your workouts.” Wow. I’m not sure I am doing that! It’s especially challenging when I am so busy at work running from meeting to meeting, drop-in visitors to my office and impromptu discussions with colleagues about various projects. I have been finding it difficult to eat lunch let alone squeeze in a few extra snacks.

What’s more, my latest macro breakdown is for 2,046 total calories per day. I have been as high as 2,400 and maybe that is a better choice for me. At any rate, to increase the calories, I have to eat more. Plain and simple. Thus, I need to find a way to figure out how to do that. This weekend, as I meal plan and grocery shop, I’ll be scouring Pinterest for some easy snacks and in-between meals that I can grab and go. My goal has got to be to eat more, then we can see if it improves my fatigue.

Being so tired in the evening makes it difficult not only to get things done that I need to do, but also hampers my “wine time” with my husband. I’m just too tired to enjoy a glass. He brought home a couple bottles to choose from for #WineWednesday and we enjoyed one, leaving the other for #ThirstyThursday, which never happened. I was asleep by 8:30!

Tonight, I hope to make it to that glass of wine. We have The Dark by Cosentino Winery, which is a red blend from the Lodi region of California. Hopefully by enjoying The Dark, I can find the light. Cheers!

P.S. For those who are interested in my fitness journey, please follow my Instagram at @prchick75 where I include stories and posts from my gym sessions and various musings about curve building, hard gaining life.

wine bottles in a rack

Wine for a “DelMarVa”cation

This summer is rapidly coming to an end in Central New York. When the New York State Fair commercials begin in earnest, that’s when you know. Or, if you ask my son, you know when the cicadas (or “summer sounds,” as he calls them) reach their fever pitch decibel levels. Whatever the sign, it’s now the latter half of August, and back to school is only weeks away.

Every summer we go on a family vacation. Most of the time we head south to Delaware to visit family. While there, we try to do a few other sightseeing activities, picking different things to do each year. This past year, the husband and I escaped for an overnight in Frederick, Maryland, a location chosen for its close proximity to Maryland and Virginia wine country.

The Frederick Wine Trail includes about a dozen or so wineries nestled among horse farms and countryside. We visited on a Wednesday and quickly realized that in Maryland, many vineyards are closed for tastings during the week. We did manage to make two stops, however, and they were both well worth the time.

Elk Run Vineyard and Winery

Elk Run was our first stop, mainly because it was the first one we came to along the route. Thankfully, they were open! It was a casual, friendly atmosphere. Someone was actually replacing ceiling tiles and someone also was doing office work at a table just near the tasting bar. I got the impression the winery didn’t get many weekday visitors, particularly on a hot summer day in early August! Carol Wilson was a wonderful hostess pouring wines, explaining how they were derived and patiently answering our questions. She even provided us with a wine trail map and a few suggestions for other places to visit. Her friendly dog laid at our feet the whole time.

We enjoyed a couple of the wines we tried and were pleased to hear that the vineyard can ship to New York State. But, we did purchase a few bottles to take home. Among our selections: Annapolis Sunset, a sweet, off dry white wine perfect for easy drinking on the back deck at sunset. In fact, we purchased two bottles of that and have already enjoyed one with friends. At nearly $15, the price point is reasonable and well worth it for the taste. We also purchased a Chardonnay, as well as

Linganore Winecellars

Travel five more minutes down a couple of old country backroads and you land in the driveway of Linganore Winecellars, another vineyard open for tasting during the week. We were immediately greeted at the door and brought to the tasting bar where we tried some excellent wines and learned of a few wonderful places to eat in Frederick, too. One of the winery’s staff members spent time in the Finger Lakes at a vineyard we knew well so we were curious to try the wines here to see if any reflected the New York style.

In fact, there was a Cayuga White blend that we tried to see if it tasted like the wines we know and love in Central New York. We definitely could taste the Cayuga grape but the tell-tale green apple taste and smell was missing. It always fascinates me how different soils and weather environments can completely reimagine how a grape tastes and how the wine will turn out. Their reds were very good, which surprised me a bit. I tend not to like red wines from the east coast, at least so far in my travels. But, these were really yummy and interesting. Among our selections: Seventh, Retriever Red, Revolution and a port/dessert wine, Abisso.

America’s Oldest Vineyards

Since we were in Frederick, only about 30 minutes from the Virginia wine country, we decided to try to venture over and hit a few wineries there before heading back to Delaware. We probably could have spent a week there, there were so many vineyards. We ended up taking a few tips from our bed and breakfast hostess, as well as the first winery we visited and jumped around to hit three vineyards, all with unique wines and styles. In Virginia, wineries are organized into clusters by geographic area. Each has its own “personality” and growing characteristics. We strategically hit a vineyard from three of the six.

Otium Cellars

horses on a farm in Virginia

On the recommendation of our bed and breakfast hostess, we started our next day’s adventure at Otium Cellars in Purcellville, Virginia, part of the Snickers Gap Wine Cluster. What a great vineyard and winery! Tucked back with a horse farm adjacent to the tasting room, it was a beautiful place with a knowledgable hostess at the tasting bar. We t

ried many different wines made in the German tradition, which is one with which I am familiar. We purchased a few of our favorites, including: Dornfelder and Merlot, and we left with a pair of glasses, too, which have become our go to for our evening wine selections.

8 Chains North

Next up was 8 Chains North, along the Waterford Cluster, and another recommendation from both Otium Cellars and our bed and breakfast hostess. This one didn’t disappoint either, however I felt it was challenging trying to learn more about the wines, their background and origin. In fact, the wine that was listed as the most “famous” from this vineyard was not included on the tasting list. Luckily, when I mentioned it, we were allowed to try it. We ended up purchasing two bottles! This vineyard was interesting in that it was importing grapes from Washington State and making wine that otherwise would not be available from a Virginia vineyard. We left with: Loco Vino and Pink Link Rose. Another interesting fact about this winery? Every year, members of the wine club come together to create a unique blended wine. They try a bunch of different wines and then make a collective suggestion to the winemaker, who then creates the wine exclusively for the club. Very cool!

Hillsborough Vineyards

Hillsborough Vineyards, part of the Loudoun Heights Wine Cluster, was not on our original list but its website said it offered light fare and as it was after noon, we were starving. Alas, when we arrived, we were told that the food is only offered on weekends. Still, as long as we were there, we tried their wines. Many of the reds were a bit too much for me but my husband really enjoyed them. We did end up purchasing a few here so it wasn’t a wasted stop, despite the lack of food! Many of their wines are named after gemstones. Among our selections: Opal, Bloodstone, Moonstone and a White Merlot that I felt rivaled those from California. We also received a set of glasses, which was a nice touch.

Although we were not able to truly delve into all that Virginia wine country has to offer, we learned a lot from the ones we were able to visit. For example, most, if not all, vineyards in Virginia do not distribute their wines beyond their region, preferring instead to make just enough for the annual visitors who venture through the wine clusters. In Maryland, we learned that while those vineyards don’t tend to distribute to retailers outside the area, they are able to ship their wines and New York is one of the states to which they are allowed to ship, which is a bonus for us!

If you ever find yourself in this part of the country, I encourage you to visit a few of the vineyards. The wines are delicious; the drive is gorgeous and the hospitality can’t be beat. Cheers!

maria, lucia and christopher smiling and eating ice cream

Wine for “Almost” Spring/Summer

I’m on a roll now! The weather turned gorgeous this week. I’m feeling a bit more like myself. In this post, a short one for #WineWednesday, I wanted to share my top 5 spring/summer wine choices. Cheers!

  1. Sauvignon Blanc – I enjoy those from New Zealand, although I have enjoyed a few from other regions, as well.
  2. Chablis – I seldom write about this one because it’s rare that I find a good bottle but when I do, wow! I forget how much I love it. My favorite pairing for Chablis is sushi.
  3. White merlot – This one is often overlooked but very enjoyable particularly if you have guests who are not used to drinking wine. It’s essentially a blush, which has wider appeal.
  4. Riesling РOf all the whites, this one is my favorite. I love the German Rieslings and those inspired by that region, particularly the Mosel/Saar River area. Try Hermann J. Weimer from the Finger Lakes region in New York state..
  5. Red blend РRed blends tend to be easy-drinking and often fruit forward, making them ideal for nights by the campfire. You can find inexpensive ones at most local liquor stores, including Lucas Vineyards Tugboat Red and Red Truck wine. Any red blend will do!
  6. BONUS: Champagne/Prosecco – Who doesn’t love a good bottle of bubbly? It makes any ordinary day/evening a real treat!

What are some of your favorite summer wines? Comment below! I love new ideas!

person pulling a friend up a hill as the sun sets

Wine for Motivation

It’s been a while since I posted. Seems that happens every spring. This spring, though, is different because it’s been a rough one weather-wise and in terms of all the activities. It’s been snowing in Syracuse since last October. Yesterday some of us woke up to a few inches on the ground! Today, May 1, the weather is supposed to be sunny and mid-70s. Let’s hope we’ve turned the corner.

Because, honestly, I think not having the nice spring weather has hurt my mojo. I never realized how much I counted on spring fever to propel me through the end of the school year. Believe me, I could have used that extra spring in my step this year. Between performances and birthdays, we have First Communion and graduation, two things that don’t happen annually. Plus, work got nuts with a crisis university-wide, in addition to all the normal end-of-the-academic year craziness. Somehow, I’ve managed not to go crazy myself!

This morning, as I grabbed my usual coffee at Starbucks I reflected with a friend on how unmotivated I am. I have so many things to do and work on, some exciting projects and even things at home, such as spring cleaning. None of it is really being done. Not that I’m not working at all but it’s just not my normal pace. I need something to jump-start my energy levels and get me motivated!

My gym time is still going strong; I started a new fitness challenge this week, with a personal goal to really focus on progressive overload. That’s the idea that you lift heavier each time you do the workout, making more impressive muscle gains. I had gotten lazier about that so it’s time to redouble my efforts.

I’m still enjoying my wine but even that isn’t exactly a motivator. For example, the other night we had Walking Dead wine! I mean, Walking Dead? That doesn’t scream high energy! It wasn’t bad but a little on the fruit-forward side so it was a better sipping wine than anything else. Apparently there is a whole line of them; we had the red blend.

This weekend is a birthday party and my daughter’s First Communion; next weekend is Jon’s graduation from his master’s program and the remaining May events include science fair and open house, as well as a few other activities for the kids. The pace isn’t slowing any time soon. Hopefully my spring fever will kick in.

What motivates you when you’re in a slump? Share below! I need all the help I can get! Cheers!

Wine for Daylight Saving Time

It happens twice a year – we change the clocks either forward or backward as part of daylight saving time. Neither is optimal in my opinion. No matter what, everyone is always off for at least a week and it’s rough going. I am a proponent of just changing them by 30 minutes and leaving it. No more changing it twice a year. Just deal with the daylight as it comes. But, that’s just me.

Usually, I’m pretty grouchy about daylight saving time weekend but this year, I am in a much better mood. That’s because I needed that extra hour. Badly. Heading into the weekend, I was woefully behind in everything – my work, my school work, housework, life’s errands – you name it. Try as I might, I just couldn’t get ahead. It was really weighing on me. So, I embraced the extra time this weekend and never looked back.

Friday night, the girls and I went to a colleague’s home for wine, dinner, snacks and good conversation and fun. Oh, and we also did some lesson planning. But all in all, it was fun. Saturday, after normal chores, such as grocery shopping and taking the cat to the vet, we turned the outdoors over from spring/summer to fall/winter. That means, pulling what was left of the garden and flowers, putting toys and things away and cleaning out the garage so I can start parking in it overnight again (frost and snow is NO fun at 5 a.m.).

We also had to rake the backyard and we STILL have leftover tree in our yard from when it fell a few weeks ago. I did the raking and Jon did the wood/tree pickup. All afternoon we worked. I filled about 10 bags of leaves and Jon made a pretty good dent in the tree branch cleanup. We were both tired and sore by the end of the day but we found time to do school work, watch a few episodes of Stranger Things and then I turned in around 10.

Sunday was church, and then the rainy weather made it an inside day. I made beef stew for dinner, as well as squash, sweet potato, carrot, white bean soup for lunches and stuff during the week. Dueling crock pots on the countertop made for a wonderful smell! I finished grading and prepping for class, did laundry and cleaned.

Now, as I sit here writing this post, my boy is in the tub, the girls are chilling and Jon is doing schoolwork. I feel caught up and in a much better place than I was at the start of the weekend. Thank goodness for daylight saving time in 2017!

What kind of wine goes with daylight saving time and fall/winter preparation? I am enjoying The Dark at the moment, a fruit-forward red blend from Cosentino Winery in Napa Valley, California. It’s easy drinking for the relaxing Sunday evening ahead. Plus, the name of the wine is appropriate for daylight saving time – it was dark at 5 p.m.! Maybe my productivity will continue and I’ll actually work on Christopher’s Christmas stocking. That’s fodder for another post. Cheers!

Wine for Friday the 13th

There are a few each year – months that include a Friday the 13th. I’m not that superstitious when it comes to the number 13. I think it’s because back in high school, I was ranked 13th in my graduating class and I experienced a lot of success from that, including getting into SUNY Geneseo. What’s more, I’ve never exactly had a “bad” day on Friday the 13th so it doesn’t scare me as much as it frightens some! So, today is Friday the 13th and it made me think about the kinds of “scary” wines you might try to celebrate.

  1. The wine that you don’t think you’ll like. Last night, I had a 2011 Tobia Seleccion Rioja¬†that my husband purchased. We were both wary of me trying it because it includes the dreaded Garnacha grape, which I typically don’t enjoy at all. But, as a red blend, there was only five percent of Garnacha so I figured I’d give it a shot. Not gonna lie, I tasted it a little bit. The bitterness and sort of peppery mouthfeel was real. But, I didn’t hate it! I enjoyed a glass before bed and it wasn’t as “scary” as I thought. Try something you don’t think you’ll like; you might surprise yourself!
  2. The questionable wine.¬†We’ve all done it. That one bottle that just sits there but probably shouldn’t. Or the wine that arrives after spending way too much time on the UPS truck. Or the wine that was stored improperly. It’s always a crapshoot when you open any bottle of wine, really, but when you know the path it took to your glass was tainted, it’s even more “scary.” Open that bottle. Take a sip. You just never know! And, it beats dumping a perfectly good bottle of wine.
  3. The wine you got wasted on last time.¬†Those of us who have ever had too much to drink probably can name the exact beverage that did them in. And many of us can not only name it but will add that they can’t smell it or drink it without remembering that fateful night. But, these drinks come back to haunt us when we least expect it. Instead of turning up your nose, take a deep breath and sip. Nothing better than a nip of the hair of the dog that bit you!

Wine is never “scary” if you embrace the qualities that make it the mysterious liquid that it is. This Friday the 13th, step out of your comfort zone. Cheers!

meal-planning

Wine for Meal Planning

For as long as I can remember (at least since I’ve been a “grown-up”), I’ve planned my weekly meals. Somewhere along the line, it just seemed to make sense, given a busy work schedule. In the beginning, I even selected meals based on what was on sale at the grocery store, visiting more than one to save every last cent! Nowadays, I’m not quite that comprehensive, though if I had more time, I sure would be!

It was a gorgeous Saturday afternoon this past weekend, so I took advantage and sat on my deck with a Red Blend from Winc, while the kids played on the slip n’ slide and planned out meals. I typically use Pinterest as my “go to,” reviewing recipes I’ve pinned along the way. Lately I’ve been bored with reviewing those and have ventured back to my cookbooks, which prior to social media, were heavily used!

This week, I have two recipes from the Go Red for Women cookbook, as well as a few from Pinterest. I try to vary the main protein source so we don’t get bored, so chicken, sausage, beef, pork and vegetarian are the main buckets. Then, I try to include something we all have had before and like, as well as new recipes, when I can find them. As I was making my grocery list over the weekend, I thought perhaps sharing some tips would be helpful for people attempting meal planning themselves. Here goes:

  1. Always be clipping and saving. That goes for coupons and recipes. I am constantly reviewing savings apps, such as Ibotta, as well as digital coupons and direct mail coupons, saving those that make sense. If you still get a newspaper, the Sunday coupon section is also a gold mine. As for recipes, during down times I’m always reviewing Pinterest for new recipes and pinning them to my boards. I also subscribe to several eNewsletters that include recipes I can pin or save for later.
  2. Try to keep sales and seasons in mind.¬†I try to align my meals with what’s on sale or in season. This not only keeps cost down but also tastes the best! Right now, for example, is the best time for those pork/apple combination dishes. Apples are fresh in Central New York! All summer, long we do lots of vegetables since our growing season means we have lots of fresh produce to choose from. When Wegmans has different types of seafood on sale, I leverage that, too, since often seafood is quite expensive!
  3. Think about schedules.¬†I take the time to review our weekly schedule so I can align meals with what’s happening each evening. If, for example, it’s a busy lesson night for the kids, a crock pot meal works best. Also, if a meal needs prep the night before, I make sure I have time the night before to do said prep!
  4. Make a list.¬†My grocery list is very Type A. I list everything in the order in which it appears in the store. If you think I’m crazy, imagine going grocery shopping with three kids in tow. It reduces the opportunity for error to at least go in order! Even then, I always forget something! On one side of my list, I list the days of the week and the meal per day. On the other side, I list the groceries needed.
  5. Be flexible.¬†Even though I have my meals planned and groceries purchased, sometimes you need to know when to move things around. If you no longer have time to make a recipe or just don’t feel like eating it, move it to another day. It happens. Sometimes, we’re forced to eat something else simply because I forgot to buy an ingredient or the ingredient wasn’t as fresh as we had hoped. Even remembering to take something out of the freezer can make or break dinner for the evening!

These are just a few of my tips. Meal planning is a way of life, to me. Once you get into it, you can’t imagine not doing it. In fact, on weeks when I’ve completely thrown it out the window due to stress or unforeseen circumstances, I find we eat a lot less healthy and it’s a lot more annoying to get dinner on the table. So, for me, meal planning is a sanity-saver. Maybe it will be for you, too. Cheers!

Wine for the Perfect Pizza

Full disclaimer: My loving husband suggested this blog post topic as a tribute to his excellent grilled pizza he made the other night!

Pizza and wine are like peanut butter and jelly. They just go together. In fact, I first started enjoying wine in college while scarfing down slice after slice of Mama Mia’s pizza in Geneseo, New York. Still today, I really don’t enjoy pizza without a glass of red. And what’s great about pizza wine is that you can go sweet or semi-sweet or even dry and seldom can you go wrong.

The other night, my husband grilled a pizza for us. It’s been a while since he did it, actually. I was reminded of one of the first meals he made for us when we first started dating. He made a grilled pizza with pesto sauce and all kinds of goodies on top. Yum! But, then, he started to get a bit sour on the whole grilled pizza thing. Sometimes the dough would stick to the grill, or it would burn before the toppings were set. One thing after another and lots of cursing… you get the idea. So, it had been a while.

This time, he used dough from Nichols, a local supermarket, which sources dough from DiLauros Bakery on Syracuse’s North side. It turned out to be the perfect density for a grilled pizza. He added some yummy pizza sauce, pepperoni, peppers and onions and it made for a crispy, Italian style pizza that we all enjoyed.

We had a 2016 Monarch Glen Merlot with our pizza, but I have to confess I ate the last leftover piece just now with a Swedish Hill Viking Red and it was heavenly. I added a salted dark piece of chocolate and it was the finishing touch to what was a long first day back at work and school after being away for a week.

The next time you have pizza, whether it’s homemade or takeout, remember the red wine! And if you need a few more ideas, easy-to-find selections that pair well with pizza are Lucas Vineyards Tugboat Red and Red Truck wine. I typically find them in most local liquor stores. Cheers!