Wining Wife®

Because housework goes better with Malbec...

Month: June 2014

Steak in a Martini Glass

Steak in a glass cocktail

Steak in a glass cocktail

Yes, you read that right. Yes it sounds like an odd concoction, and it actually came about as a mistake. You see, the cocktail we originally intended to make was Bon Appetit’s Sriracha-Lada recipe that was just printed in the recent issue.

Well, to start with, we didn’t have Mexican beer. We had Blue Moon’s variety pack – the Summer Honey Wheat on hand. We also didn’t have Sriracha sauce, since I’m actually allergic to it (it’s a shame, because until I figured that out, it was a favorite of mine), but we had Tabasco sauce. We didn’t have Worchester sauce either – but we did have Pickapeppa sauce, which is what I use in place of the classic steak sauce. Here’s how the recipe unfolded.

First, Wining Husband, resident bartender, used salt to rim two martini glasses. Now, the original recipe has the drink in a pilsner glass. About 1 oz or so of lime juice was used – the equivalent of the juice contained in a small lime, squeezed into a shot glass. As I was chopping red onion for use in our dinner, I turned and noticed that Wining Husband had the 1/2 tablespoon out, rather than the 1/2 teaspoon. I mentioned it, but it was too late. He’d already added 1/2 a tablespoon of Pickapeppa sauce to the martini glass. He then added 1/2 a tablespoon of Tabasco sauce. He combined these three ingredients in the martini glass, and then added the chilled beer.

Now, there had been no ice used in the recipe, as there wasn’t room for it in the cocktail glass. He sat the cocktail down in front of me, sans lime wheel, and I looked at it, and finished chopping my onions. Then, finally, I tasted it. It was spicy, and a bit salty from the rim of the glass. I took a second sip.

“This tastes like steak in a cup. It tastes like a big, beefy, juicy, spicy and well-marinated steak,” I finally said. Wining Husband had a taste, and decided he would make himself the same, mistake beer cocktail.

Sometimes, when you make a mistake in the kitchen, it turns out to taste pretty good.



Book Review: Black Orchid by Abigail Owen (Book IV of the Svatura Series) and Giveaway

Blach Orchid Review Blog Tour Stop

Blach Orchid Review Blog Tour Stop

It’s my pleasure to review book IV of the Svatura Series, Black Orchid, by Abigail Owen here on Wining Wife as part of the Black Orchid Blog Tour. For those who haven’t read the series, here’s a quick recap of the first three books (don’t worry, I won’t give away any spoilers!).

Blue Violet by Abigail Owen

Blue Violet by Abigail Owen

These books are in the young adult paranormal romance genre – a popular genre for teenage girls and women alike. They follow the exploits of Ellie Aubrey and others. The series begins with the book Blue Violet, which follows Aubrey, a gypsy princess, and her twin brother Griffin as they deal with the aftermath of hiding for many years. She comes out of hiding to watch over another family who has similar powers to her own, and in so doing, meets Alex Jenner. Now Ellie and Griffin are not normal teenagers, they instead are part of a group of supernatural beings called the Svatura who were largely murdered by the Vyusher – so you can imagine things became quite complicated, especially as Aubury began taking more risks for the boy we all know she falls in love with.

Hyacinth, Abigail Owen

Hyacinth, Abigail Owen

In the second book, Hyacinth, we follow Selene, one of the Vyusher. She harbors a secret love for Griffin Aubrey. This, naturally complicates things as he is one of her family’s enemies. After things get complicated when Selene seeks out help from Ellie and Griffin, will things work out between her and her love?

The third book in the series, Crimson Dahlia has things get more complicated (doesn’t everything always escalate in the third book?) Lila Jenner leaves her family and everything she knows in order to start over – Ramsey Pierce lets her go. However, when an old enemy goes missing, Ramsey works hard to try to protect her and win her back. Will he?

Black Orchid, Abigail Owen

Black Orchid, Abigail Owen

That brings us to the most recent release (May 2014)  Black Orchid. Here is the synopsis provided by the publisher:


Adelaide Jenner feels nothing… she is completely numb inside. Her te’sorthene, her fated love, abandoned her and joined their enemy. On that day her sister turned off all Adelaide’s emotions in order to save her from a heartbreak that could push her over the edge of sanity. But great power wielded without compassion or love can only lead to pain.


Nate Pierce believes Adelaide used her extraordinary powers to deceive him all these years. So he destroyed a relationship he thought to be false and hungers for revenge. Now, Nate serves Maddox. He is unaware that his new leader is using him as a pawn in a bid to enslave all Svatura.


The only hope of finally defeating Maddox is for Adelaide and her sisters to combine their growing powers against him. But the the key to a Svatura’s power is the heart, and Adelaide’s is still missing.”

Now, while paranormal teen romance isn’t exactly my glass of Merlot, the book is a fun read. It transports you to a world where extraordinary powers allow the people in the world to have an amazing balance between ordinary everydayness and the magic that makes everything far more complex. It wraps the whole series up well, and gives the reader a satisfying feeling – unlike with some series where the ending makes you feel heartbroken. I highly recommend it to those who enjoy books like those in the Twilight series.

Buy Links

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository  |  iBooks  |  Kobo  |  Goodreads

Now for the moment you’ve been waiting for, my first giveaway. Enter for your chance to win a $40 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Giftcard or a $40 Book Depository shopping spree plus the first three books in the series given away as digital copies. Just click on the link below to find instructions on entering.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Bio

Abigail Owen, author of the Svatura series

Abigail Owen, author of the Svatura series

Award-winning author, Abigail Owen was born in Greeley, Colorado and raised in Austin, Texas. She now resides in Northern California with her husband and two adorable children who are the center of her universe.

Abigail grew up consuming books and exploring the world through her writing. A fourth generation graduate of Texas A&M University, she attempted to find a practical career related to her favorite pastime by obtaining a degree in English Rhetoric/Technical Writing. However, she swiftly discovered that writing without imagination is not nearly as fun as writing with it.

Social Media Links

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Pinterest

Wardrobe Planning When Your Body Has Changed

This sad little closet needs more clothes!

This sad little closet needs more clothes!

I just cleaned out my closet. I took everything that doesn’t currently fit me, and I put it in a giant tub. I know that goes against the rules of decluttering, but at the same time, my closet was already pretty minimal, and once I lose weight, I hope to fit back in some of those clothes again. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen, and the clothes are already culled for donation (except for a few items that were my grandmother’s, which I’ll keep).

This is just the surface of the tub I'm putting the clothes that are too small in.

This is just the surface of the tub I’m putting the clothes that are too small in.

The problem is, I have two pairs of jeans, one pair of black slacks, and two skirts that fit me, and a handful of shirts. My body definitely changed after having Baby Girl. The weight isn’t coming off as easily as I hoped – and while we’re looking into medical causes for that – I need, in a big way, to update my wardrobe. After all when you’re a size 18/20/22 depending on who makes it, a whole bunch of size 6/8/10/12 clothes won’t do you a whole lot of good!

I'm not sure I have enough sewing patterns. I think I need more.

I’m not sure I have enough sewing patterns. I think I need more.

I don’t want to spend a ton of money, and I want things to fit really well. It’s hard to find ready-made clothes that fit well post baby. It was hard after one, and it’s even harder after two.  That’s why I decided to make a commitment to sewing a large part of my wardrobe. I have a ton of sewing patterns and fabrics. Some things I’ll find second hand, and I’ll either upcycle them or wear them as is. I may purchase a few things that are ready-to-wear new, but I want to sew the bulk of my wardrobe. Luckily enough, it looks like Joann’s Fabrics is having some pattern sales in the coming weeks, so I can round out the patterns I have.

This is maybe a sixth of my fabric stash. It will be a neat challenge to use it in clothing construction. Of course, I'll sew up some things for baby girl too!

This is maybe a sixth of my fabric stash. It will be a neat challenge to use it in clothing construction. Of course, I’ll sew up some things for baby girl too!

Because my section of the closet is so sad and empty, I turned two my two favorite style books: The Lucky Shopping Manual and The Pocket Stylist. (These are affiliate links.) I’m making a list of the clothing that would make a good wardrobe, and then I’ll be matching silhouettes to patterns and fabrics. It’s going to be a LOT of fun!

I hope you’ll follow along as I revamp my closet. But I have to ask, what kind of wine goes with sewing? Post your thoughts in the comments.

Related articles

Become a Wine Expert in 5 Easy Steps

Tempranillo varietal wine bottle and glass, sh...

What are your favorite tips for becoming a wine expert? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Learning about wine is an intellectual pursuit of its own right. It’s fascinating just how many flavors you can get in wine and how complex a simple glass of alcohol can be. Many people feel intimidated by wine tasting, and they avoid trying different types of wine for fear of “not doing it right.” At Snooth, they published a list of 5 Tips for Becoming a Wine Expert. Namely, they recommend budding oenophiles to avoid snobbery, drinking wine in “squares,” learning about the varietals and producers, tasting blind, and being honest about opinions.


That’s all great advice. After all, by tasting all kinds of wine, you can find out what you like and don’t like – and you’ll find out that you like (or don’t like) wines that surprise you. I’d offer the advice that you need to come to your wine tasting with an open mind. Just because you didn’t like one varietal produced by a winery doesn’t mean you won’t like another. For instance, we really enjoyed Bargetto Winery‘s Chaucer’s Mead. We did not, however, enjoy other wines we tasted from them. They were fine, they just didn’t have the same effect on us as other wineries. Also, the quality of wine can change from year to year depending upon the weather and the grapes. Just because you haven’t liked one winery in the past, doesn’t mean you should avoid everything from them forever – you may be surprised. Not only that, but over time, your palate will change.


That being said, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to bring myself to drink mass-produced wines like Gallo, Wild Vines, and Franzia for the same reason I don’t touch Budweiser, Millers, or Coors.


What is the best piece of tasting advice you’ve received? Are there wines you won’t try?


How to Clean a Seriously Wrecked Kitchen

Big cooking days (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter) create HUGE messes in our household. You spend the entire day cooking – and trying to clean as you go – but naturally, you’ll wind up with something that looks like a bomb the kitchen. Sometimes, you get so busy feasting, that when you look back on your kitchen, it’s all you can do afterward to put food away and leave the kitchen for “tomorrow.”

Here’s our kitchen after Easter. It was a MESS. Normally, I don’t cook too much for Easter for the three – now four – of us, but with a baby and a ton of veggie backlog from our CSA, I decided I wanted to make a HUGE amount of food. Wining Husband, Tiger Boy, and I decided that we’d clean the kitchen “tomorrow.”

This kitchen is a mess!

This kitchen is a mess!

The first thing I do when tackling a wrecked kitchen is get all the dishes out of the sink and sort them by type – utensils, cups, glasses, bottles, plates, bowls, mixing bowls and food prep items, and finally pots and pans.

I get the utensils to soaking (remember, Easter was two days ago*), and I thoroughly clean the drying area. I clean the counter, then the drying rack, and make sure that I have a nice clean space for the dishes to dry. I also take a moment to clean the drying rack – because ew!

Now you might wonder why I’m not using a dishwasher – well, let me answer that for you in a sentence. Our dishwasher doesn’t drain properly. That creates a problem when cleaning up. By all means, if you have a dishwasher, use it. Remember, though, that knives, pots and pans, wine glasses, and fine china should not go into the dishwasher.

Clean off an area for the drying rack. Ah, that looks so much better already!

Clean off an area for the drying rack. Ah, that looks so much better already!

Once the drying rack is ready, I go ahead and tackle as many of the utensils as I can. I stuff that drying rack full! Once it’s full, if there’s enough room in the sink and I’ve cleared out all the knives (because nothing is worse than cutting yourself with a knife while doing the dishes because you forgot it was in there), I move all the mugs into the soaking side of the sink. Then, I move everything over closer to the sink to await its turn.

Once another counter space is clean, I clean that area while dishes soak and I’m waiting for the dishes in the rack to dry. I wipe down the washed dishes with a clean dishcloth and put them away, then set about the next load. Once all mugs and utensils are clean, I move on to bread plates, then bowls, then dinner plates. Then I move on to the food prep dishes. Finally, I tackle cutting boards and then pots and pans. The only horizontal surfaces left to clean in the kitchen are the oven, microwave, appliances, and immediate sink area.

Sort dishes by category, and wash from cleanest to dirtiest. As counterspace is freed, clean the counters.

Sort dishes by category, and wash from cleanest to dirtiest. As counter space is freed, clean the counters.

Once all the dishes are clean, I wipe down the cabinets with lemon oil, give the counters one more washing, and put all the dishes away. Then I clean the microwave, oven, and sink area. Finally, I tackle the breakfast nook, and sweep up the floors. All appliances get a good wipe down with a Clorox wipe.

Now, the kitchen is restored! Keep in mind, this isn’t a deep cleaning, it is just a cleaning to get the kitchen out of wrecked shape and into sanitary, cooking, condition. I’m glad I have leftovers, because I’m seriously beat.

It's clean!

It’s clean!


*Note – I wrote this post two days after Easter. I got busy taking care of a sick baby…and so now it’s just now being published! Oh, and we finally got a new dishwasher!

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