Saturday, December 31, 2016

Ready to Stock the Bar and Fridge? Here are my latest finds

I hope your holiday season is going as well as mine. I have been spending lots of time with family and friends.

Get out the basket…
We’ve all seen those standard fruit, cheese, and meat baskets passed around during the holidays and other occasions throughout the year. The cheese is simply “cheddar,” or something just as generic. I was happy to hear from Murray’s Cheese about their selections, which are anything but ordinary.

They sent me The MVP: Most Valuable Player. It includes: tasty Murray’s Gruyere, tangy Humboldt Fog, mild and delicious Grazier’s Edge, and hearty Point Reye’s Bay Blue cheeses, as well as an excellent Prosciutto San Daniele and a lean Creminelli Wild Boar Salami. The Pistachio Cranberry and Olive Oil Crackers were a perfect accompaniment, and the buttery Marcona Almonds are addicting.  

One of the other things I love about Murray’s Cheese is that they let you build your own basket from all these interesting ingredients. Definitely give them a try for your next gift giving.

Grab the Little Black Dress…
If you haven’t tried LittleBlack Dress Wines yet, you should. I sampled and enjoyed their Diva Red. It was quite fruity and not too dry. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is also a bit less dry than most, retaining its dark raspberry notes.

A different kind of red…
Pinot Noir is far from my favorite wine, but I did a double-take when I tasted the 2014 from AdlerFels. It’s unlike any other I’ve tasted. This Monterey, California, selection is light and filled with blackberry, cassis, and other dark fruit.

International wines…
Some wines from around the globe I would definitely recommend you stock up on.

Astoria Caranto Pinot Noir carries the more traditional oak and dryness of a pinot noir, but it’s smooth enough that you don’t need a big steak with it.

La Cana Albarino is an easy drinking white, with light citrus and a bit of acid.

Luna Nuda PinotGrigio is something I could drink all the time. It’s very fresh and filled with fruit.  

One 8 Distilling…
I didn’t have a chance to visit One8 Distilling on my trip to Washington, DC, but they sent me a box full of samples of their spirits to try out. The company’s name comes from it’s opening date, January 8, 2015. Despite only being open two years, they have quite a selection of gin, vodka, and whiskey.

I’m not a huge fan of barreled gin (I think the spirit should have enough flavor on its own, as their Ivy City Gin does), but the One 8 Untitled No. 1 had a fairly short (3-10 months) aging in old bourbon barrels so it doesn’t lose its juniper and spice. I also recommend their White Whiskey, and their District Made Vodka, which is made from rye and uses Russian Distilling.
                                                                                                                                                              
Experiment with cocktails…
There’s more to life than gin & tonic, Captain & Coke, and Bloody Mary’s. You need to mix it up a little and why not do some mixing with something healthy?

Natalie's Orchid Island Juice Company has a selection of all natural juices that mix very well with your favorite spirits.

We paired the sweet Honey Tangerine with tequila, the tart Strawberry Lemonade with vodka, Orange Beet with gin. Their newest flavor, Pumpkin Apple Spice, was excellent with whiskey. And, of course, you can mix the Orange or Lemonade with endless possibilities.

What a great combo…
I was excited to try Belle de Brillet Pear Liqueur, which is a blend of cognac and fresh pears. I was not disappointed. This is a perfect after dinner drink with or without ice, or mix it in some cocktails such as these:

Spiced Pear Affair
.75 oz. Belle de Brillet Pear Liqueur           
1.5 oz. Premium Reposado Tequila 
1 oz. Lime juice 
.75 oz. Agave nectar        
Dash cinnamon and cayenne     
Cinnamon and sugar, for garnish
Shake with ice and strain into martini glass, rimmed with cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Snowy Pear Lager
1.5 oz. Belle de Brillet Pear Liqueur
4 oz. Winter Lager
1 oz. Apple cider
.5 oz. Lemon juice
Apple slice and cinnamon, for garnish
Shake together Belle de Brillet, cider, and lemon juice. Strain the mixture into a glass. Add beer. Garnish with the apple and a shake of cinnamon.

Healthy frozen vegetarian…
I’ve tried and enjoyed cedarlane frozen meals before. They had sent their delicious breakfasts to me in the spring. This time I was able to taste two of their gluten-free vegetarian options, the Three Layer Enchilada Pie and the Chile Relleno. Both were flavorful and very filling, and under 400 calories for a complete meal.




Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Boyne Mountain Includes Spa and Zipline

It was my final day at the Boyne Mountain Resort with my friends Brittany, Angela, and Kylie. We continued having a great time until the very end.

After packing up our large three bedroom suite, we filled up during our final breakfast at Everett’s. I would miss the comfort and selection of this restaurant in the Main Lodge.

The grounds of the Boyne Mountain Resort in Boyne Falls, Michigan are beautiful and very easy to navigate. Could imagine it is also a fun family atmosphere in the summer, but on this Sunday, we saw a lot of people coming to enjoy the winter sports for the day.

We split up from that point. The younger women were going off to zip line through the snow. Angela and I were heading to the spa.

The Spa, Salon & Fitness Center at Boyne Mountain is quite big and has everything you need for relaxation, as well as fitness classes and workout equipment.

Angela and I were there early enough to enjoy the steam room, sauna, and whirlpools, which are complimentary to those using the spa facilities. We also had a chance to chill in the relaxation room with some tea.

The Spiced Rum Pudding Body Treatment (similar to the Caramelt Me Away) at the Boyne Mountain Resort Spa was heavenly.

It included a milk soak, exfoliation, and oil massage using sweet swelling and moisturizing spiced rum pudding products.

We met up with Brittany and Kylie after the spa. They had lots of fun ziplining.  We picked up some fudge for the road at Kilwin’s before we left.

It had been an amazing trip to Boyne Mountain in Michigan. Even though we spent three full days, there was still things – such as ice skating at Fat Tire Snow Biking – that we didn’t get to.

People don’t always look to the Michigan for snow activities, but this resort has been recognized as having some of the best terrain in the Midwest, with seven terrain parks and 415 skiable acres.

It’s a great place for a family getaway and I hope to be back some day.

Ready to hit the slopes? There’s snow at Boyne Mountain at least four months out of the year. Check out all the late winter and early spring deals on their website.

A special thanks to Get Outfitted for the great ski clothes delivered directly to our resort.