Wining Wife®

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Eat More Pie! Ideas for a Spectacular Pi Day

National Pi Day PiesIt’s National Pi Day y’all, and if you sit around and talk to my husband enough about pie, he is likely to tell you about the time he tried to teach a Furby to say “Eat more pie.” Today is a great day to follow that suggestion. Whole Foods is offering $3.14 off the costs of pies from their bakery and their take and bake pizzas. We’ll be picking up one of their pies…and taking advantage of a local Italian restaurant’s $3.14 Pi Day special. 

Meanwhile, there are lots of good pie recipes out there for those who want to make their own pie (something I’d totally be doing if I didn’t know in advance today was going to be crazy busy). Here are some of my favorite recipes – for National Pi Day – or any day.

Cooking Light’s Peanut Butter Pie

Peanut Butter Pie

Image courtesy of Cooking Light

I made this pie for the first time this past Thanksgiving. Cooking Light’s Peanut Butter Pie recipe was, I think, my second-favorite pie that I’d made. This pie was light, fluffy, and delivered that peanut-butter flavor that we all love to find in the middle of chocolate-peanut butter cups.

I did make some adjustments when making this pie. Every ingredient was organic, including the whipped topping substitute (they have a really tasty coconut-based whipped topping.) 

This pie is really quick to make – and the recipe makes two – so you can have one today for Pi Day and another in a few days (if your pie makes it that long). 

Coconut Cream Pie 

Coconut Cream Pie

Image courtesy of Cooking Light

Anyone who knows me knows that coconut cream is my absolute favorite pie. Why not make a coconut cream pie, like this one from Cooking Light, for your Pi Day enjoyment? I LOVE this recipe – especially since it uses a vanilla bean rather than vanilla extract.

You can leave off the meringue, if desired I did because I’m pregnant and in addition to avoiding wine, I should be avoiding meringue (and, well, puddings and custards if we’re honest – BUT – I figured the meringue was pushing it more.) 

Because many of the commercial brands of coconut have added preservatives, I chose to use an unsweetened brand that I soaked in a simple syrup before toasting. Let me tell you, that was delicious!

Yogurt Pie with Grape and Black-Pepper Compote

Yogurt Pie with Grape and Black Pepper Compote

Image courtesy of Bon Appetite

Before you write this off, stay with me for a moment. This pie was delicious. In fact, I’ll be so bold as to say this is a great ending for a meal that is delicate – like a whitefish main dish. It also would be great paired with a Riesling or even a Gewurztraminer or Ice Wine.

This yogurt pie from Bon Appetite is both unique and delicious. It comes highly recommended. I used Mi-Del’s organic ginger snaps for the crust, and they worked really well!

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Pie

Image courtesy of Inspired Taste

I haven’t tried this pie yet, but it looks amazing and I saw that organic strawberries are coming into the store now. I have some strawberries. I also have pre-made pie crusts and some of that coconut whipped topping I mentioned. This just may get made today. 

While Inspired Taste’s strawberry pie uses a homemade pie crust, I don’t see why you can’t use a pre-made one if you have one available. That way, you can focus only on making the inside of the pie – and that looks delicious!

What’s Your Favorite Pie for National Pi Day?

Please share your favorite National Pi Day pie recipes in the comments. I’m always looking for pies to pin to my Pinterest boards!


Creating a Monthly Meal Plan

MyGreatRecipes Monthly Meal Plan
*This post on creating a monthly meal plan is sponsored by my friends at

For the last couple of months, I’ve been working on a solution to the “what are we eating tonight?” problem. For a long time, I was putting together my family’s meal plans week-by-week. When we just had one fairly self-sufficient teenage kiddo, that worked well, but as soon as life would happen (and we all know life happens), I’d skip planning for that week. Sometimes, I’d skip planning for a couple weeks. Before we’d know it, we would be eating takeout too much, buying things we didn’t make at the grocery store, and turned out pantry into a hot mess. After our 2015 baby arrived on the scene, things were even more chaotic! Enter the idea for the monthly meal plan.

Every Problem Needs a Solution

I needed a solution, and for that solution, I decided that I would come up with a menu plan (and put together the shopping lists) a month in advance. I also streamlined the way I looked at the week, making it much easier to plan each day in the month:

  • Mondays are Meatless
  • Tuesdays are for Tacos (and other Southwestern/Mexican foods)
  • Wednesdays are for Wraps, Burgers, and Sammies
  • Thursdays are for Italian Food
  • Fridays/Saturdays are “Fabulous” (Asian foods, Indian foods, African foods, Mediterranean foods)
  • Sundays are traditional American fare

I look through the month ahead and note any holidays I’d like to cook for (i.e. Mardi Gras, Pi Day, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.) that require a special menu. 

But Where Do You Find Meal Ideas?

Some of my meal plan items are family favorites, some come from my extensive cookbook collection, and some come from blogs I follow. This is all well and good, but it’s not easy to search all of those places for recipes when I’m trying to get the menu planning task done. 

Recently, I became aware of the MyGreatRecipes app.  This is a visual app that allows you to search for different types of foods, pull up recipes, and share your favorite recipes. For example, if I want to plan a special St. Patty’s Day meal, I can search for such dishes, and get a list:
I like how the format is like Pinterest, since I’m a visual person. When you select a recipe and click on it, you can view the person’s rating of the recipe as well as related recipes. 

This makes it super-easy to find recipes for my meal plan.

Putting My Monthly Meal Plan Together

In addition to scheduling out meals, I also try to schedule out our month – that way, when it comes time to put recipes with days, I know whether there is a class for one of the small people, whether it’s a late-work day for my husband, or whether I’ll have a tight deadline for a client. I try to plan accordingly – simple or slow cooker meals when we’re going to need to eat later in the evening, meals with recipes my husband can follow easily, or planned take-out meals when things are going to be hectic for all of the cooking adults in the family. 

I have a special tab in my Outlook calendar for the menu plans. Here’s an example of how a month’s spread looks. The week of takeout had to do with us going on a short trip to tour a college for the teenager. 

I paste the link to the recipe in the comments section of the “event” on my Outlook calendar so the information is there and ready to go. 

Creating a Grocery List in Advance

It’s going to sound crazy, but the next step I take after creating my month of meals is to break down the month into weeks and create a shopping list for each week. This way, all I have to do is double check my pantry and print the list when we are ready for our weekly big shop. MyGreatRecipes makes it really easy to compile a grocery list in the app. 

How Do You Do Your Meal Planning?

Do you plan meals on the fly, by the week, or by the month? Share your thoughts in the comments section, and be sure you check out the cool new app at MyGreatRecipes

Guest Post: Autumn Brunch Pairings

Fall Brunch Wine Pairings

Today, we have a guest post provided by Jeriann Watkins, blogger at She’s talking about how to offer fall brunch wine pairings that will please all of your guests.

Summer gets a good reputation for social eating: picnics, baseball games, family reunions – these are all food-centric events that happen mostly in the summer. But fall is a wonderful time to enjoy delicious food and drinks with those you love. And what better way to do so than with brunch?

I’ve been hosting monthly brunches with several of my friends. We all take turns hosting and everyone brings tasty goodies to share. Below are some ideas for fall-themed brunches, complete with wine pairing recommendations!

Setting a Fall Tone

Fall is probably the easiest seasonal theme. The colors of the outdoors are the colors you can bring to your table, and conveniently, the seasonal produce matches the oranges and reds of the leaves on the trees. You can even dry leaves to use as decor. Mod-Podge leaves to the bottom of glass plates for some seasonal dishware that’s sure to impress. Be sure to use a thick lacquer and not to wash these dishes in the dishwasher though! My friend Rachel went above and beyond and got a wine barrel tasting table, which not only brings to mind bobbing for apples, but also provides a nice prep area for drinks!

Hearty Vegetables Make for Great Fall Brunch Wine Pairings

Autumn is not only when hearty squash and root vegetables are in season, but it’s when they taste the best. Personally, I think it’s because the best cooking methods for these vegetables involve prolonged amounts of heat, and they absorb that heat so well. Cutting into s steaming-hot sweet potato just isn’t as satisfying on a 90 degree day. Here are some of my favorite veggie-centric brunch dishes:

Autumn Hash with Sweet Potatoes and Peppers – This tasty dish goes great with a crisp white wine. That will enhance the heat from the peppers as well as contrast the sweetness of the sweet potatoes.
Brussels Sprout and Purple Potato Hash – I love Brussels Sprouts! I can’t think of a wine that wouldn’t go great with this, but I lean away from the sweeter ones here. A drier wine will highlight the saltiness and starchiness of the veggies. Gardener’s bonus: Here’s how to plant Brussels Sprouts and other veggies that pair with them for optimal autumn harvest!
Breakfast Burrito Bowl with Spiced Butternut Squash – This dish was made for sparkling wine, which in turn, was made for brunch. Whether you’re drinking it on it’s own or mixed with fruit juice, the carbonation of the sparkling wine will enhance the spices on your butternut squash. Yum!

Warm Wine?

It’s the time of year when a slight chill feels brisker than the full-on cold will in 3 months. Putting cold beverages in your body just may not seem appealing. There are great warm breakfast drinks like coffee and hot chocolate, which can be spiked with a liquor of your choice, and of course there are hot toddies, which are wonderful in the chilly weather. But what about warm wine cocktails? While it may sound strange, drinking mulled wine, which is really just spiced wine, warm is pretty traditional. Go ahead and give it a shot! Best thing is, if you don’t like it warm, this same recipe can be consumed chilled as well.

These are just a few ideas for autumn-themed brunches. Have some fall favorites of your own? Share in the comments!

2013 Dominos de Castilla Tinta de Toro

My_Wine_Awesomeness_box_is_hereI decided I would be adventurous; I decided I would try a subscription* to Wine Awesomeness, which I wrote about not too long ago.  The first shipment arrived, really quickly, and I was impressed. The wine was packaged very well, and it came in an attractive blue box. Upon opening the box, I found a selection of three wines (including the 2013 Dominos de Castilla Tinta de Toro I talk about here), chocolate, and a recipe book for making pizzas that pair with the wines. 

Wine Awesomeness's packaging and the 2013 Dominos de Castilla Tinta de Toro

I was super excited to try out the wines, but I decided that to do so properly for the purpose of reviewing them, I would make the suggested pizza recipes to accompany them. So, I whipped up some pizza dough almost as instructed to by the recipe book, and I put together the first sauce and topping for the pizza. The sauce recipe for the first pizza I made, “Paulie Gee’s ‘Feels Like Bacon Love'” makes 3-4 12-inch pizzas, depending upon how much sauce you like. This is perfect since the dough recipe makes four pizza crusts. A word to the wise, the recipe is missing the addition of water. I have included my modifications in the recipe, which I will share in a minute.

Wine_and_pizza_nightAbout the 2013 Dominos de Castilla Tinta de Toro

First, let’s talk about the wine. The first wine we tried was the 2013 Dominos de Castilla Tinta de Toro.  The book of recipes also includes information about each of the wines. This wine is from Toro, Spain, and is 85% Tinta de Toro and 15% Garnacha. I learned from reading the description that Tinta de Toro grapes are more commonly known as Tempranillo. 

The Dominos de Castilla region

The Castilla region of Spain is also known as “the Land of Castles.” The wine is described as a big wine with a lot of elegant dark fruit flavors and as a great peairing with smoked meats and cheeses. The winery’s profile on Winesellers, Ltd says of the region:

“D.O. Rueda stands 2,200 to 2,600 feet above sea-level and is located in the central area of the basin formed by the river Duero. The different grape varieties frown are irregularly scattered over the several municipal districts comprising Rueda Appelation but is known primarily for its fine white wines based on the Verdejo grape. There is only one D.O. in the region of Rueda which is “Rueda D.O.”.

“D.O. Toro is situated west of the Spanish Duero river valley near the Portuguese border. Toro appelation covers approximately 5,600 ha of vineyards at an altitude of 600 meters above sea level. At the end of the 19th century great quantities of wines were exposed to France during the phylloxera crisis, which did not affect the local vines as they were protected by the sandy soil. For this reason, the vines of other regions of Spain were replaced by vines from Toro. Today, Toro still has a number of very old vineyards with pre-phyloxera Tinta de Toro.”


Tasting the wine

The first thing I noticed about the 2013 Dominos de Castilla Tinta de Toro was that it had a really nice nose. I got anise, vanilla, and plum. When I then tasted the wine, I found it tart, acidic with some good degree of tanins, and that it was very young in flavor. Despite being young, it was well-balanced. It also had notes of dark and bittersweet chocolate. 

I found the 2013 Dominos de Castilla Tinta de Toro and pizza pairing spot-on. The pizza really brought out the wine’s pepper and green – maybe even ancho – pepper finish and it really highlighted the tannins in a good way. On the whole, I was really impressed with this wine and its quality.

Subscribe to Wine Awesomeness, and get your first month free

Trying the 2013 Dominos de Castilla Tinta de Toro made me excited to try the next wine in the box. I will share my notes on that one soon. For now, I can recommend this wine as well as the box. At $45 a month, it is a really great value. These are not your typical $15 wines. They have quality, and I’m sure if you wanted to cellar them, they would stand up well and develop complexity over time. With that in mind, you can do what I did and Become a member today and get your first month FREE at Wine Awesomeness! (Affiliate Link)

Meanwhile, enjoy this modified version of the pizza recipe that accompanies the 2013 Dominos de Castilla Tinta de Toro. 

*I took advantage of the free month offer in order to provide my readers with a review of this monthly subscription box service. 

Smoky Bacon and Black Pepper Pizza
Yields 4
This delicious pizza is the perfect accompaniment for the 2013 Dominos de Castilla Tinta de Toro. It has a great smoky flavor.
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For the Dough
  1. 5 cups organic unbleached bread flour
  2. 1 tbsp sugar
  3. 2 tsps table salt
  4. 1 package yeast
  5. 2 tbsp olive oil
  6. 1 cup water
For the toppings
  1. 8 oz fresh mozzarella
  2. olive oil
  3. 1 can (28 oz) Italian peeled tomatoes
  4. 1 large Vidalia onion
  5. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  6. 1 lb Applewood smoked bacon
  7. 2 sticks salted (yes, I know, but trust me, it's good)
  8. 1 tsp oregano
  9. 1 tsp basil
  10. 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  11. Ground pepper to taste
For the dough
  1. 1. Sprinkle yeast over 1 cup of lukewarm water and the sugar. Let sit for about 10 minutes. It will be ready when the yeast is all bubbly and the area smells kind of like a brewery.
  2. 2. Add flour, salt, and olive oil to the bowl. Mix with your hands until smooth. You may need to add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to get the right consistency for your dough. If your dough is too sticky, add flour one tablespoon at a time.
  3. 3. Turn dough out and divide into 4 equal pieces. Put dough into zipper lock bags and let sit out for fifteen minutes. Next, you'll want to refrigerate them overnight. You can also freeze dough pieces you won't be using.
  4. 4. Take the dough out of the refrigerator 2 hours before you plan to roll it out.
For the Sauce and Toppings
  1. 1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. 2. On your stove, in one pan, melt the butter. To the butter, add 3 tablespoons of flour. Once it starts to brown, add the chopped onion. In the other pan, fry up the bacon (you can also bake it). Drain the fat from the bacon.
  3. 3. When the onion is translucent, add the garlic, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Sauté until fragrant.
  4. 4. Add the tomatoes to the saucepan. Bring to a slight simmer. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until mostly smooth. Bring to boil and add crumbled bacon.
  5. 5. Shred the mozzarella. I used my food processor, so it was super-easy.
  6. 6. Put flour down on your counter or a large cutting board. Roll out pizza crust to desired thickness (12"-14").
  7. 7. Brush crust with olive oil - I used oil that was marinating the mozzarella for this.
  8. 8. Scoop sauce onto crust and spread around.
  9. 9. Add cheese.
  10. 10. Bake 10-13 minutes or until cheese starts to brown slightly. Grind black pepper on top, slice, and serve.
  1. To avoid killing the yeast, make sure that the water you use feels the same temperature as your pinky finger.
Adapted from Paulie Gee's "Feel Like Bacon Love"
Wining Wife®


Pinko de Mayo: La Vieille Ferme 2015 Cotes du Ventoux Rose

The La Vieille Ferme 2015 Cotes du Ventoux Rose has a lovely blush colorOkay. So, the roasted chicken I made to pair with this wine is seriously both the easiest roast chicken recipe and the best-tasting roast chicken recipe ever. Right now, just thinking of it, is making my mouth water. I’ll get to the recipe for it in a minute.  The best part of the chicken recipe is you can totally whip it up if you just happen to have a whole roaster chicken hanging out.  The second of the Pinko de Mayo wines we purchased from our local wine and spirits store was the La Vieille Ferme 2015 Cotes du Ventoux Rose. 

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Pinko de Mayo: La Valentina 2014 Rosé Paired with Chicken Pesto Pasta Bake

2014 La Valentina RoséIn honor of May being the month of Rosé wines, I figured I’d pick up three wines available for under $15 to pair with food and write about. These are wines you don’t need to cellar, but you can if you’d like. It’s nice, though to have wine on hand you can open up and drink at dinner on a Friday evening. And open up and enjoy is what we did. The first of the wines I paired up was the 2014 La Valentina Rosé, Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, and I paired it with a chicken pesto pasta macaroni and cheese dish. Believe me when I say it, this is not your average mac and cheese. You can find the recipe at the end of this post. 

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2007 Sebastiani Barbera and Orzo with Red Pepper Meatballs

2007 Sebastiani Barbera and PastaToday, my teenager played baseball, and we went to see him. It was the second game he was in, and he made it on base. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to make it all the way home before the last out of the game was called. (In his first game, he got on base, stole second, and ran in to score a run for his team.) We enjoy spending time watching him participate in his various sports (he also runs cross-country and was on his bowling team this year), but sometimes that means we get home a little later than dinner time. What happens when you want to have a home cooked meal, but it’s a little later and you don’t want to make everything from scratch? You cheat a little bit. 

I have a recipe for  you and notes on this great wine, but first, some pictures from the game!

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Pairing Suggestions: Bertagna Son Kissed Vineyard’s 2010 Sangiovese Rosé and Bratwurst

13103327_10103362033759499_7311497793501602554_nI’ve been struggling lately, as you can tell from my lack of posts.  It’s not that I’ve not had things to write about – I do have sewing projects to share with you. It’s more that after this latest move, it’s taken a minute to get my bearings about me and really process everything that’s happened in the past year. I’m fine, but I’ve been grappling with moving across the country, losing my older brother, and adjusting to moving from a momma of 2 to a momma of 3 after a rough pregnancy. All of that said, there are so many awesome things – I mean, I get to parent these awesome people, I’m married to my best friend, and we’ve got an amazing house to keep us busy for a while. 

Because things have been a bit rough, and because we’ve been working hard to set up house (the cookbooks are finally being unpacked and finding homes on shelves, we’re looking forward to getting some cubbies for fabric storage, and it will be great to finally decorate the kids’ rooms), dinners need to be easy.  You can’t get much easier than bratwurst. You simply pop it in the broiler for 4 minutes, turn, and cook for another four minutes. Throw it on a hot dog bun and add side dishes, and bam, dinner! For last night’s dinner, we added some whole wheat pita chips and some cucumber salad.  

What happens when you want something quick, but you still want wine (and a wine that will pair well with said quick meal)? You look through your wine cellar, of course. We still have a few bottles of Bertagna’s Sangiovese Rosé  left. This dry rosé  wine goes quite well with many different things, and due to its aging, now has a smokey bacon smooth finish. I am actually kind of sad that we have only two bottles left. But, it went perfectly with last night’s meal featuring bratwurst and sauerkraut. In fact, I strongly recommend this combination if you have or can come across a bottle of this Northern California producer’s wine. 

It’s Tax Time and Budget Wake-Up Call Time

Photo by:  Alejandro EscamillaHave you done your taxes? If not, don’t worry, I’ll be here when they’re done. 

There’s nothing like going through and analyzing all the figures during tax time to make you say, “Hey, we spent how much on what?” In fact, I’m thinking that a regular (weekly) analysis of our spending will help us stay on track for our financial goals. We’ve done well in a lot of areas. We cut back spending at thrift stores, on sewing supplies, on our entertainment expenses, alcohol, and on buying books. But holy WOW do we spend a LOT on food. Like a lot too much a lot.  We’ve even cut back on eating out, the past month excluded (because hey, who wants to cook in a half-packed and then half-unpacked kitchen?). But our grocery bill is still way too much each month. 

I know a lot of the standard tips – coupon, meal plan, shop the sales. And they are good tips! But I still haven’t managed to get my food bill down to a more reasonable figure. Here are some of the challenges:

  • I have food allergies. I can’t do conventional foods. I’ve tried. I break out in a terrible case of hives. I also have to have GMO free foods. I’m allergic to GMO corn, soy, and wheat. I wish I were making it up/overreacting, but the last time I ate Green Giant corn, my tongue swelled up. 
  • We don’t do many processed foods…so we tend to avoid the things that coupons are made for – boxed foods, many canned prepared foods and soups, frozen meals are all things that very, very rarely make it to our list. Pretty much the only processed foods here are snacks for the kids. I’d love some good kid-friendly snack recipes 🙂 (particularly picky toddler friendly ones). 
  • We’ve already pretty much cut out soda. Every once in a great while, we’ll treat ourselves to a bottle of Izze soda, but we have a Soda Stream. I’d love more recipes for it! 
  • I try to include fish twice a week. It’s hard to do when you’re also trying to be environmentally conscious/avoid factory farmed fish. It’s expensive! Ideas for how to save money while having a conscious in this respect would be great. We also don’t do the big fish (tuna, shark, etc) b/c I’m breastfeeding…and, well, mercury. 
  • We do beef once a week or so.  You know, to protect our hearts and all. It’s definitely cheaper in the food-run, but more expensive in the long run in terms of medical bills.
  • That leaves chicken and pork – both are expensive! I try to do thighs, but I’ll be honest here folks – I HATE them! Plus they’re high in cholesterol…which leaves roasting a whole chicken. And I do it, but I’d love to buy antibiotic/hormone free chicken breasts at a reasonable price! 
  • Being organic means there aren’t a lot of coupons out there. If you know a resource, please share it in the comments. 
  • We do meal plan. That really hasn’t made a big dent in our grocery budget. I’m not sure why not.
  • We just bought our house, and I’m excited to garden, but I don’t have a lot of uh…green thumb experience. Do you have resources? Favorite sites? Best things to plant for a novice food gardener?

Okay, so here’s the thing! I’m opening this up to your ideas. One lady in one of my Facebook groups suggested making a budget based upon caloric needs – which is a great idea – has anyone tried that? 

Please, please, please, share your ideas with me in the comments! I’d love to shrink down the grocery budget a good bit.

“Secret” Ingredient Chili to Knock Your Socks Off

ChiliOkay, so it’s been a little while since I’ve posted a recipe on here; it’s about time I did! I actually have two chili recipes. One, my seven pepper chili recipe, I’ll have to share later. It’s super spicy, and since I’m breastfeeding, and little man is not as much a fan of the spice as the rest of us, I won’t be making it for a bit. The other is a recipe I’ve been perfecting for a little while, and I’m ready to share it. It is delicious.

April_01__2016_at_0616PMYou see, a few months ago, I got the bright idea that perhaps I should do something to keep the heat in the chili (because, let’s face it, who wants chili that’s not very spicy?). This “secret” ingredient to my chili not only allows me to keep the heat, but it makes it so that the chili pairs really nicely with some of the richer wines in our cellar. In fact, the first time I made it, I paired it with a Chateau Ste. Michelle 2012 Cold Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has subtle notes of chocolate and nutmeg. 

Guess what I added to the chili?

I added chocolate and nutmeg. I know! It seems so crazy, but I was thinking if a Mexican molé is made with chocolate to help tame the spice and add richness, why can’t I add it to my chili. And, I’m sure there are like five thousand chocolate chili recipes out there that already exist. 

It's hard to think this big guy was once a picky eater.

It’s hard to think this big guy was once a picky eater.

Here’s a funny story before I get to the recipe. When my oldest son (that’s him in his bowling team photo) was much younger, say 5, he was an extremely picky eater. I taught him to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches based upon a suggestion from another mom friend, and that curbed a lot of the picky eating habits (if he didn’t want what I’d made, he could make himself such a sandwich). However, it didn’t curb all of the picky eating. He just wouldn’t eat any red meats or pork or chicken. He liked chocolate. So, when he would say “What’s for dinner?” I would say, “Steak.” He would respond with, “I don’t like steak.” I would respond with, “But it’s chocolate steak. You like chocolate.” Guess what? He would eat said steak. Then he would say “I don’t like steak; but I like chocolate steak.”

I added this dark beer to the chili in addition to the chocolate.

I added this dark beer to the chili in addition to the chocolate – and it made a nice beverage to enjoy with the chili at dinner!

Of course, there was no chocolate in the steak, or the chicken, or the pork. I lied to my kid. There it is. He found out about it several months later at my sister’s house in New Orleans. Her kids were all “That’s not chocolate!” And so, yeah, the spell was broken, but he would pretty much eat anything I made following that. 

So, I think of that story when I make this chili.  Of course, there is chocolate in this recipe. 

So this time around, I used canned beans. It made enough for 3 adult and 1 toddler-sized portions for 4 days. Crazy, right? I wanted to spend time unpacking and doing taxes instead of cooking, though, so that’s what I did. I served it over couscous with some cheddar cheese. 



Wining Wife's® "Secret" Ingredient Chili
Chili with the added benefit of chocolate added
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  1. 6 14 oz. cans of kidney beans
  2. 2 14 oz. cans of black beans
  3. 2 28 oz. cans of fire roasted tomatoes
  4. 1 12 oz. bottle of dark beer
  5. 1 bar of Ghirardelli bittersweet baking chocolate
  6. 1 lb. of pork Italian sausage
  7. 1 lb. of chicken Italian sausage
  8. 2 onions
  9. 4 cloves of garlic
  10. 1 packet of your favorite chili mix
  11. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  12. 1 tsp cumin
  13. 1 tsp nutmeg
  14. 1 tsp oregano
  15. 1 tsp thyme
  16. 1 tsp cilantro
  17. 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  18. 1 tsp sea salt
  19. 1 4oz can chopped hot chilies
  20. 1 bell pepper
  21. several grinds of black pepper
  1. Chop onion and sauté in 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Once onion becomes transparent, add garlic, seasoning packet, and other dried herbs. When fragrant, add the sausage and brown sausage. Deglaze pan by adding the bottle of beer. Cook until beer reduces, about 7 minutes. Rinse canned beans and add them to the pot along with the tomatoes, canned diced chilies, and bell pepper. If needed, add water or broth to pot until beans are just barely covered. Stir well and bring to a boil. Once boiling, break chocolate bar up and add to pot. Cook until beans are tender. Salt and pepper to taste and serve over couscous with cheese and sour cream.
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