wine wednesday: grill and chill your reds

I am thrilled that I get to share this series with you! One thing I love about summer is all the BBQs, and since 4 of July is right around the corner, I figured I’d start with the basics: burgers and dogs.

Now feel free to fancy up the burgers/hot dogs with cheese and other accouterments, but at the minimum, you’ll have ketchup and mustard on hand.

bbq spread

TOP GRILL TIPS

  1. BUY GOOD MEAT! The better the quality, the better the burger. This also goes for the ratio of meat to fat. Chef (and I can vouch too!) says 80:20 is what you should look for on your ground beef labels. That way the burger will be juicy and not dry.
  2. SEASON YOUR MEAT! You don’t need to get fancy, but a good dose of S&P is key!
  3. TOUCH YOUR MEAT! And by meat, I mean the stuff that’s on the grill. Once the burger starts cooking, it will firm up. The firmer the burger, the more cooked.
  4. LET YOUR MEAT SIT! Don’t throw it on the bun right away. By letting the burger rest on a plate for a minute it allows all the juices to settle and stay in the burger. You don’t want a one bite in all the juice is on your plate situation.
  5. GRILL YOUR BUNS! Butter isn’t necessary and Chef didn’t use any…but hey I’m from the Midwest, so I’d add a little butter or EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

LET’S TALK WINE PAIRING

In general, I think red meat needs a red wine. With summer temps already getting up drinking a red on its own isn’t my cup of tea unless I’m in a very air-conditioned space. So solution is to CHILL YOUR REDS!!! Now I said light-medium bodied reds because anything too tannic/grippy (think big Cabs/Italian/Bordeaux Blends) won’t be your best call. But those wines that are smoother tend to chill up nice and easy!

I chose a ZWEIGELTan Austrian red that will work perfectly for this scenerio. Be the unsung hero (but actually people will be talking because they’ll love it so much) and bring a few bottles pre-chilled to your 4th of July party. It pairs perfectly with the burgers and hot dogs, steaks too! If you can’t find a Zweigelt, I suggest getting a Pinot Noir, Gamay (Beaujolais), Sangiovese or any other smooth light-medium bodied sipping vino.

Enjoy your 4th!!

wine wednesday: summer sips

Where did this year go?? I mean more than happy to welcome SUMMER but my God! I haven’t even made 4th of July plans yet (better get on that)…speaking of- if you’re doing something rad, I’ll happily provide the party with some fantastic summer-approved sips!

Anyway, besides rosé, you can likely find me sipping on:

summer wine

ORANGE WINE

Like I said, usually a little more full bodied, these wines attain their orange-y hue because the winemakers leave the grape skins in contact with the juice for a limited amount of time (similar to the process of making rosé) They tend to be a little funkier and (in my humble opinion) more fun to sip than your average crisp PG or Sauv B. My favorite right now is THIS BABY (2016 Jolie-Laide Pinot Gris) from a really fun California winemaker!

PÉT NAT aka PETILLANT NATUREL

Hellooooo easy-money-drinking! These effervescent wines go with everything: a tan, the beach, lobsta, sunsets, front porch swings and date nights. Fab on their own too, these are less bubbly than a traditional sparkling wine and are likely unfiltered (it’s ok you’ll live I promise–look at me, I had 2 glasses last night and live to tell the tale!) The rosé versions remind me of a yummy Italian soda, you know those Pelligrino ones? Only there’s alcohol wooohooo. PARTAY. I was drinking THIS or try THIS

CHILLED RED WINE

THIS IS YOUR POWER PLAY!!!! Chill down your Pinot Noirs, Gamays, Grenaches, Sangioveses, Beaujolias..any light-medium bodied red can be served with a chill. Seriously refreshing AF. Perfect with grilled steaks and burgers. I was drinking THIS in my video, how can you say no to that simple label?!

Bottom line is: these are all easy drinking, mood lifting, fun vinos to bring to a BBQ, summer bash or open with friends (or yourself!). Any favorites? Share below in the comments!!

cheers to you!

a heartfelt thank you to YOU!

I started this blog almost a year ago as a place to share my insight on all things food/acting. And while it’s morphed into more than that, hello wine videos, I wouldn’t have been able to grow without your feedback and support.

Now that the layout is set, I am exciting to bring even more content- like how to do different neighborhoods 3 ways (solo, girls day, date), where I’m craving to eat (LA/Chicago/London/plus more cities included), and fun collaborations with different actors/bloggers/creators!

So since I can’t make everyone an aperol spritz to celebrate, I figured I’d give you my recipe so you can make one yourself. It’s easy AF and extremely refreshing. You may or may not be transported to the South of France/Italy while drinking.

Cheers friends!

APEROL SPRITZ (makes one)

-3oz bubbles

-2oz aperol

-splash chilled sparkling water

-orange slice to garnish

Fill glass of choice- I usually use a wine glass- with ice. Combine all listed ingredients and stir. Another option is to fill a pitcher with one bottle of bubbly and add approximately 16 oz of aperol. Then just pour mixture into a glass with ice and serve. Super easy for parties! Sip and enjoy. 

 

As always, if there are certain topics you want me to cover, comment and I will make a post!

xxNP

 

making “me” time

And just like that, it’s the first day of Spring!

Growing up I learned that Spring was all about rebirth; plants and animals coming out of hibernation as the frost melted away into sunshine and warmer weather.

blooms at Lake Elsinore

And while warmer weather might not be there for everyone (just come visit Southern California to get your dose!) there are hints of Springtime popping up everywhere:

ps loving the portrait feature on the iPhone 7!

…Like poppies! Popping up (can’t help myself!) throughout the parks in California. Known as a “super bloom”, the wildflowers are extra happy and vibrant this year because of all the rain we got during winter–see we really did have seasons this year!

..We also “sprung forward” so the days are feeling longer and the nighttime slump comes later.

…There are lots of “spring cleaning” ads. Having been in my new space for a little over a month, I’m taking the time to clear the clutter and get rid of excess stuff I haven’t touched in months.

…It’s March Madness! My Dad is in his, damn I can’t even remember how long he’s run it, but he’s the ring leader (call him the “commish”) of a big NCAA basketball tournament pool. His emails bring me joy everyday. It also helps that my alma mater, UNC, is still in the running and Villanova (last year’s champs who beat us) are already out. YES!

…Pastel colors are everywhere! Stores are gearing up for Easter (hello Reese’s and Cadbury chocolate eggs!) and flowers are blooming.

wildflower cluster

So back to flowers and “me time”. Over the weekend, I decided to drive out solo to Lake Elsinore and see the colorful blooms. Man, did I feel like I was in Oz (not just how colorful, but lotssss of other people had the same idea).

cactus meet flowers

Wanting some time with little human interaction to reflect, soak up the sun and take some pics, I took a slightly steeper path, made it to the top and spread out my things.

alllll by myself (and loving it!)

I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS. For everyone!!!! Making time for yourself-even if it’s just 15 minutes and at your kitchen table- it is so vital to staying grounded. For re-centering, rebirth (hey, hey, Spring connection) and refocusing on you. What brings you happiness and what you need to let go. I’ll write more on this later in the week and the steps I take, so look out.

sunny selfies

In the mean time, on the first day of Spring. I dare you to take some time for yourself. JUST FOR YOU. Because at the end of the day- even with girlfriends, boyfriends, moms, dads, spouses, family, coworkers, etc. If you aren’t making yourself whole and happy it’s going to make it damn challenging for the rest of your circle to bring you that fullness. Find it in yourself. I promise it’s there.

You can start small and:

…buy yourself flowers

…get whipped cream on your coffee

…read the comics AND the sports section from a real newspaper

…sit an extra 5 minutes in your car to listen to your favorite song (again)

…take a walk around your block during your lunch break, or when you’re home from work

…smile

…stay longer post workout to stretch a little deeper or dip into the sauna if that’s available.

Whatever you choose do it for you!

Wishing everyone a great start to their week. Let me know how you take your “me time” in the comments.

xo N

whiskey wednesday: irish coffee

It’s almost the DAY!!! And there’s truly no better way to kick off your weekend/Friday/St. Patrick’s Day than with an Irish Coffee.

So maybe lose the booze before work…save it for 5PM and you need a pick me up…but if you’re lucky and have the day to celebrate here’s how you should make yours:

IRISH COFFEE (Serves 1)

4-5oz brewed hot coffee

1-2oz Irish Whiskey

dash of sugar

splash Bailey’s (optional)

1oz whipping cream

splash of maple syrup (more if you wanted sweeter whipped cream)

Place 2 metal bartending tins in your freezer (this can be omitted if not adding whipped cream). Brew your coffee any which way you please. Add coffee to a mug and sprinkle a dash of sugar. Pour 1-2 oz of your Irish Whiskey and stir. If you’re adding Bailey’s, do so now. In the meantime, take 2 bartender tins and pour your whipping cream and maple syrup in, toss in a protein mixer, close tins and shake shake shake. Top fresh whip cream onto coffee. ENJOY! (do a jig!)

PS if you want to add DONUTS to the equation, use this recipe!

PPS definitely add the donuts

PPS that is all!