Where Whine Meets Wine

Simple and Impressive

For a fantastic dinner, first you start with…

One very delicious margarita.

Next you get the main course going…

Yes, it did taste as good as it looks!

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 lb)

2 tbs butter, melted

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp brown sugar

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tbs worcestershire sauce

2 tbs orange muscat wine (you can use 2 tbs frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed)

1. Heat oven to 375. Brush whole chicken with butter; sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, pepper, and half of the ginger (1/2 tsp). Place chicken in shallow roasting pan. 2. Roast chicken uncovered for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the other half of the ginger (1/2 tsp), brown sugar, soy sauce, worchestershire sauce, and the orange wine. (Don’t forget a sip for yourself, you know, just taste testing.) 3. Remove chicken from oven. Brush mixture over chicken. 4. Return to oven; roast uncovered 20 minutes. Brush remaining mixture over chicken and squash; cover loosely with foil, and roast 30 minutes longer. (Until thermometer reads 180 and legs move easily when lifted or twisted.)

While the main course is going, you get some sides together:

Really yummy ears of corn.


Watermelon, Cantaloupe, and Strawberries. Served with an incredibly delicious cream cheese fruit dip.

And it was fantastic! We’d had so many grey days that I need a meal to make me feel like it was summer- and this did the trick! And I loved it so much that I’ve decided not to wait until Thursday to share it!

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Ok, so some of you may remember this year’s Christmas cookies, or my first Gluten Free Christmas cookie experiment. Thankfully there were only a couple of batches that went to the birds (literally). If you are gluten free, then you know sometimes cooking gluten free is a bit of an experiment. Especially if you’re like me and tend to make up your own recipes. Thankfully, in the last year, there’s only been one meal that I would consider inedible. And hubbyman still ate it. After the first cookie flop and my heart sinking to my toes (it’s a yearly tradition that I have done since being a little girl.). I mean like real disappointment. Not only are Christmas sugar cookies a tradition, but the kids and I love to make them during other times of the year. Dinosaurs and trains are not just for Christmas! So I needed to figure out how to make them work! I opened a million and two windows of baking gluten free tips and read and read and read… and picked a couple things and decided to go from there. Thankfully, the next batch turned out perfect. I’m not sure what exactly made them go from flop to perfection, but I am so glad they did! So, if you’ve been looking for a fun cooking expedition to go on with your kids- this is it my friends! If your household does wheat/gluten then by all means use any old sugar cookie recipe! If you’ve been looking for a good gluten free recipe- here you go!

trains, turtles, strawberries, bears, snowflakes... there were some actual Christmasy ones in there too

Ok, let me preface this by saying that these do take up some time, say an afternoon, or an evening. That said, they are not difficult to make. Really, the kids have so much fun with the cut outs and decorating… we made three batches this year!

my sous chefs!


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 large egg

2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour

1/2 cup tapioca flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cream of tartar

  • Beat powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, almond, and the egg. (With an electric mixer or by hand) And then stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I wrapped it in saran wrap and put it in the freezer for an hour. I put away all the ingredients and did kitchen clean up, by the time I was done and the oven was hot, it’d been an hour!
  • Heat oven to 375. Lightly grease cookie sheet. (I used a spray)
  • Divide dough into sections. I just grabbed a size that looked like a snowball to me (apparently I really am a northern girl). I kept the rest of the dough in the freezer. Roll out until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick, on a lightly floured surface. And then cookie cutter time! Sprinkle with granulated sugar or leave plain to frost and decorate!
  • Bake 7 minutes, or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool. (They must cool before frosting!)
  • Repeat!

Note: It really seemed to make a difference that I kept the dough in the freezer in between batches. Especially after being rolled out and cut, the dough then gets really soft and squishy and you don’t want the flat sheets of flop that I made- so keep ’em cold!

soooo many cookies


If you’re needing a frosting recipe, all I do is take about a cup of powdered sugar and add one tablespoon of milk. (That was really technical, I know.) Mix. Add more powdered sugar if it’s too runny and more milk if it’s too thick. You can always add food coloring as well. And then decorate with sprinkles or whatever your heart desires- before the frosting sets!

*Sorry the pictures are not terrific… my lens was dirty and I didn’t know until it was too late! Hubbyman cleaned it, so here’s hoping for some better pictures in 2012!

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I Was Feelin’ Saucy

So I went to a cousin’s graduation party over the weekend, and my aunt sent me home with TONS of food!! So yesterday as I was looking through all the leftovers and trying to decide what kind of meal I could make with it- and really not wanting to have to go to the store… I had a gallon bag full of veggies (broccoli, carrots, cherry tomatoes, peppers, and celery) but no meat. Suddenly, I remember that when I was separating chicken to put in the freezer, one of the bags had been leaking so I’d rewrapped it it another bag…which meant I did have chicken after all. So I decided on a stir fry. I should mention that this was what I wanted because I was sent home from some BWW (Buffalo Wild Wings) sauce that I thought would be perfect for a stir fry!

So I cut up the chicken in stir-fryable pieces, threw them in the pan, and then realized I’d forgotten the container of sauce on my Auntie’s counter! Shoot! I was so disappointed. And I knew that I’d just thrown out the last of our very expired teriyaki sauce last week when I cleaned the fridge out! So just when I was contemplating running to the store after all (or more likely, sending hubbyman to the store)…I thought I’d just look up some stir fry sauces and see if I could happen to have the ingredients. Turns out, I didn’t. But I had similar ingredients. It turned out AMAZING. Hubby was so impressed!! He even asked that I make it in bulk and freeze so that it can be used again and again! I’d call it a success!!

So as I cooked the chicken, I got out all the veggies (leaving out the celery) out, and began to throw together the sauce. True to my normal form, I don’t have exact measurements for you, but hopefully close enough! And it’s all about taste anyways! So if you like more of one ingredient, and less of another- do that!

4 chicken breasts cut into strips

as much and many veggies as you want (I did throw the tomatoes in, but not until the very end)

sauce: 3/4 cup soy sauce (our favorite brand just went gluten free! so exciting!!), 1/2 cup sunflower oil (you could use olive oil, or if you had some- sesame oil would be perfect), 2 1/2 tsp (ish) ginger (I may have used a little more, but I like ginger), minced garlic (about 1/4 tbs), some toasted sesame seeds, and some crushed red pepper (maybe a little too much but it just swooshed on out of the jar), about 1/2 cup of brown sugar and maybe a tbs or two of honey (because that’s all I had.) Oh yeah, and a couple pinches of corn starch to thicken it up. See, I told you it’s not exact, but it was good… maybe next time I’ll get specifics.  I also took pictures, but for some reason they’re not wanting to upload…so I’ll have to add them as soon as they do! Ok, so still can’t find my camera (boo!), so I had to use my phone…so they’re small and not great quality, but they’re there, so there you have it!

I may have had some swooshing out of the toasted sesame seeds as well...


It looks like we’re going to have our first sunny day in weeks today! So I’m hoping to get out and enjoy it!!

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Spicy Mama

You would think my husband would know my cooking by now, right? You would think that after all these years he’d know to take a “taste test bite” before he starts shoveling it in like someone who’s never tasted the wonders of food before. Well, apparently, when hungry, that goes out the window. I had gotten this amazing cheese at the grocery store and was excited to try it out! I made “macaroni” (or my homemade version of) for the kids and so I was able to pull this amazing dish out of the leftovers that are currently taking over my fridge. Which brings me back to my original point- the food shoveling. You see, the cheese I used was cheddar. Habanero cheddar. And since both hubbyman and I are spice enthusiasts, I thought this would be a great way to spice up plain ‘ol macaroni. (pun not intended, but what a happy coincidence! *wink*) I was so excited to see his expression! Unfortunately, he though it was just plain and shoveled it in, only to have his mouth catch on fire, and exclaim, “What did you put in this?!” I’m not sure if he thought it was another prank or not (see here, here, and here), but I just about cried because I’d been so excited about my new twist on a classic that I did not see this coming at all! I probably should have gone with it being a prank.

Spicy MamaRoni

noodles (I used rice)

Parmigiano Reggiano (or whatever kind of parmesan you have on hand)

Habanero Cheddar (for a little kick but less overall spice, you could use pepper jack)



flour (I used coconut flour)


cracked pepper


seasoning salt

It’s really, really, really simple. Boil your water, cook your noodles, and while noodles are cooking in a sauce pan over med. heat cook 1 cup of milk, 2 tbs butter, and 2 tbs flour. Bring to a boil, about 2 min. Add in cheese. O used about 1/2 cup of the habanero cheddar and 1/2 parm. Add in seasoning (I just used pinches of mine because the cheese already had so much flavor). I also added in about a cup-cup and a half of cubed chicken, because I had it on hand. I think it would be really great with spinach and maybe even broccoli. That’s how I’ll try it next time. I garnished with some diced red onions that needed to be used up and it added a nice crunch!  This was seriously, so, so, so good! And once he knew it was spicy, hubbyman also agreed it was good. And he had some for lunch the next day and declared it really good. As in something he’d like to eat again…when he’s been properly informed of the spice factor.

(end note: I highly recommend going to your local grocer and get the most flavor infused variety of cheese you can find, and then coming up with ways to use it! Put it in a recipe that you already make that maybe could use a little excitement!  Plus, cheese freezes pretty well, so cut it/shred it up and freeze it in “this is how much I’d use before it goes bad” amounts!)

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I’ve been working through a post about WHY we eat and cook the way we do…but it’s not quite *there* yet. So, until it is, just know, my recipes will be gluten free, or how to make them gluten free… And usually, easy. I really enjoy cooking, but mainly only have time for easy. And I want to share recipes that other people would actually use- within the amount of time a normal parent has to get dinner going and on the table! That being said, I’m going to share 2 noodle recipes. Each are good, easy…and gluten free. Hubbyman even made the noodles yesterday!

Version 1 (from Gluten Free Italian)

  • 2/3 cup brown rice flour *
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch (plus extra if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 lg egg
  • 1 lg egg yoke
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tsp for cooking the pasta
  • 1 tbs water

Combine the rice flour, tapioca starch, xantham gum, and salt in food processor and process to mix. Combine the egg, egg yoke, and olive oil, and water in a small bowl, and whisk.

With motor running, pour the egg mixture over the flour and pulse until the dough forms into a rough ball. (If it’s too wet to roll out, add about 1 tbs tapioca starch; if it’s too dry, add a few drops of water.)

Turn out, crumbs and all, and pat together into a disk. Cut the dough in half and work with one half at a time. Enclose the other one in plastic wrap. Place the ball of dough between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll into a very thin, even rectangle approximately 10×12 inches, turning the sheet of dough several times. Repeat with 2nd ball of dough.

If using immediately, peel off plastic, and cut into strips of desired width. Lay strips on clean kitchen towel and let dry slightly, for about 10 minutes. If freezing the dough, leave the sheets inside the plastic wrap and cut later.

to cook: bring 2 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add 1 tsp of salt and the pasta. Stir occasionally, until pasta is al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain and toss with butter and Parmesan (3 tbs butter and 2 oz Parm), or sauce of choice.

*Italian cooks say you should be able to read a newspaper through it- hubbyman says then put a light behind it! We used white rice flour instead of brown, because it’s what we had! And no food processor, because it was less to clean! We also doubled the recipe and rolled out the two extra sheets and froze. They thaw in about the time it takes water to boil. This time we used it in a pasta salad and it was so good!

Version 2:  (my version)

  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 3 tbs potato starch
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 1 1/2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs

Mix dry ingredients together. In separate bowl beat eggs oil, then mix with dry ingredients. Work dough into a firm ball, kneading for 2 minutes. Roll out as thin as possible (using potato starch instead of flour to prevent sticking). Cut in size/shape desired.

Salt boiling water with 1 tbs oil and add noodles.

*these ones came out very thick. I’m not sure if it was because I didn’t roll them thin enough or just how the noodle is. (my first attempt at pasta and my only try with this recipe) Would make excellent noodle for soup! (reminds me a lot of traditional chicken noodle soup noodles) And they were so, so, SO yummy!


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food glorious food!

I don’t especially like when hubbyman has to work late. But… sometimes I appreciate that it gives me extra time to get things done, because I like to make the most of the time he has with us! And if you read yesterday’s post you know I am undertaking the project of “The Love Dare” on my family. Yesterday’s dare (on top of continuing the “not saying anything negative”) was to do something kind. Well, I’m at home all day with 3 little ones and the puppy… and I was a little tempted to just say the not saying anything negative thing was kindness enough! Instead, I put my kindness into “man language.” Also known as food. A language my husband, and even my children, recognize as love. I’d gotten a wonderful magazine (Disney FamilyFun) from my aunt with “ways to jazz up dinner” by Andrew Zimmern (from the TV show Bizarre Foods). And two caught my eye: Korean Fried Chicken Fingers and Chinese Peanut-Sesame Noodles. I opted for the first, but I’m hoping to try the noodles this weekend! While Erik came home earlier than anticipated and I started it a little later than I’d anticipated… it was still a hit! While fried of course isn’t the healthiest of choices, it’s better for you (and tasting!) than mcnuggets! The kids really LOVED it and so did the adults. So much in fact, I’m tempted to make it again tonight! And maybe you should try it too! Here’s how:


  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup minced scallion
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 8 lg boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each sliced lengthwise into three strips

Side note: I didn’t have everything to make this recipe “exact” (and it just might kill me to follow a complete recipe word for word) used 1/2  cup minced red onion (because that’s Erik’s favorite so it’s what we had) and I didn’t have white pepper so I just used my black pepper grinder. I also used sea salt instead of table salt. Oh, and I used boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of thigh (again because it’s what I had!)

In a  large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the chicken and marinate it in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, but as long as overnight.   (I suggest overnight or a few hours. I only did maybe 1/2 hr and it was still really good but I’d like to give the flavors longer to set in next time)


  1. Oil for frying
  2. 1/2 cup flour
  3. 2/3 cup corn starch
  4. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  5. 1/4 tsp salt
  6. 1/2 tsp pepper
  7. 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  8. 3/4 cup cold water

Side note: I used veg. oil, but plan to try sunflower oil next time! And the flour I did 1/4 cup almond meal flour (because it’s just so yummy!) and 1/4 cup all-purpose gluten free flour. Again, I also used sea salt instead of table salt.

Fill a heavy, deep pan with 2 inches of vegetable oil and heat it to 350 degrees. combine the dry ingredients for the batter. Quickly whisk in the water until the mixture is evenly blended.

Use tongs or a pair of chopsticks to dip and coat the chicken in the batter. Fry the strips in batches of 6 for 5-7 minutes, then drain on paper towels.  (I found that about 6ish minutes was a good time. And once you put them in, let them settle, and then scrape them off the bottom. If  you wait to long they stick and removing them pulls a lot of the breading off. Also I’d just the next 6 strips in the batter while the other batch was frying.)

Heat the oil to 380 degrees. Fry the chicken in batches once more until crisp, about 60-90 seconds. Place the cooked chicken fingers on fresh paper towels and sprinkle them with salt. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

*If you were in a time crunch and didn’t mind using the extra oil, you could have a second pan set up so that after you drained the chicken you could immediately move it into the hotter oil.

The chicken would be good with rice or any kind of potato, or really any vegetable for that matter! I made mashed potatoes but forgot all about them! (Guess what we’re having tonight?!) And for the dipping sauce we used sweet and sour. (the recipe suggested it) Although really any kind of dip you have or enjoy would be good with this, I would think. It did also suggest a dip you could serve with it for a spicy kick…but I didn’t have most of the ingredients, and Miss E is allergic to most of them anyways. Plus I kind of shy away from recipes where I’d have to buy a lot of ingredients that I wouldn’t know what to do with other than this one recipe. (Although I do admit it does sound good.) So for the bold, here you go:

Spicy Korean Red-Pepper Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup Gochujang (Korean red-pepper paste found in Asian markets)
  • 3 tbs ketchup
  • 1/4 agave nectar (or in a pinch, corn syrup)
  • 1 tbs dark sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs lemon juice

Mommy’s Helper Note: I like to make things the kids can help with and the kids LOVE eating things that they’ve helped to make. While they obviously can’t help with the raw chicken or the frying… I did put the chicken in a ziploc and had them help me pound them with a rolling pin (not necessary but thought they’d cook more evenly if they were uniform and I knew the kids would enjoy the activity). And I always let them help me “unload”  all the ingredients into the bowl for the batter.

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