At This Moment….is my Drink in Life blog series in which I share newly discovered things, projects I am working on and upcoming stories and blog posts. It has been a while since my last “At this Moment” post, and it’s time to get back to expanding on things I see, do, read, or taste, and share them so perhaps you may discover something new or inspiring. In turn, I hope that you will share with me what is grabbing your attention…at this moment.
With 2022 well underway I’m working on keeping some positive vibes and enthusiastic possibilities when it comes to the New Year. This includes wishes & dreams, goals & plans and Yes, some actual solid Intentions (not New Year’s Resolutions) floating around as well. A new year is inspirational. … so, where to focus this year?
From my blog content you have probably figured out that wine and wine related topics play a major role in my life and this includes wine education and that will continue. However, this year I am also going to be more focused on different ways to expand my horizons when it comes to spirits and cocktails, cooking and baking, gardening, reading, and travel, along with getting back to an overall enjoyment of wine.
After 2 plus years of wine education I have decided this year to put any formal study on the back shelf and turn my attention to certain aspects of wine that I want to learn more about and new things that capture my attention. This includes reading some of the wine related books that I have amassed over the last couple of years that seem to forever sit in the “I will read that someday” pile.
Instead of throwing a wide net over a large array of wine topics and regions, this year I am slowing down and really diving deep into specific regions. I’ll focus on regions within a particular country and through tasting and self-study immerse myself in the grape varietals that are grown there.
In an upcoming post I will also be sharing the ways that I have found that might help you expand your wine knowledge and enable you to continue growing your wine enthusiasm outside the classroom.
“Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying.”Amelia Earhart
Images of the Lake Chelan AVA in Washington State.
Last year I began a new series on the Washington State American Viticultural Areas, but as often happens other writing topics came up and this project got put on the back burner. This year I hope to continue with this educational series that highlights some of the states now 19 AVAs and share information about other Pacific Northwest AVAs in both Idaho and Oregon.
Stay tuned for an article on the Idaho Wineries in the joint Idaho and Washington AVA of the Lewis and Clark Valley as well as Washington’s Ancient Lakes AVA, Naches Heights AVA, Snipes Mountain AVA and more.
There is a lot to be said about home-cooked food, it is healthier, can help you save money, and it allows you to become a better cook.
I cook for my family regularly, actually between 5-7 days a week, we also dine out or order in sometimes, but no more than once or twice a week.
Though I’m not a professionally trained chef, I do have over 20 years of home cooking under my belt to include small meals for three and large meals for 30+ people. So this year I am challenging myself to not only continue making home-cooked meals, but to venture out and try recipes that I have always wanted to attempt at home. This includes more dishes from around the world and a year dedicated to mastering the art of pastry and baking.
Pastries and baking have not always been my strong suit but I am not afraid of failure and learning from my mistakes. My baking and cooking skills will keep growing as I try new recipes.
Recently I have been working on my home made pie crust, with each attempt it is slowly getting better and better.
So the challenge is on! Cook with confidence and Enjoy more home cooked food.
“You can conquer almost any fear if you will make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.”Dale Carnegie
These home cooking goals mean that I will be sharing more recipes on the blog to include cooking with a selection of delicious wines and spirits.
There will also be more food and wine pairings along with food and cocktail pairings both in the Drink In Life Book Club posts and on their own.
Another series making a reappearance will be my Wine Tour at Home posts (like this one about Armenia and this one about Alsace) which also include recipes that are paired with regional wines from around the world. I have some exciting ideas for this year that involve highlighting regions and wines from Italy, France and California with a few regional food recipes.
My reading list has grown exponentially this year with more non-fiction books about wine and cocktails, travel adventures and a new ever growing stack of cookbooks. The fiction novels that I hope to finish by the end of the year include some exclusively for The Drink In Life Book Club, and some that have been in my “Need to Read” book pile for far too long. In all, I hope to read over 60 books in 2022, and maybe even more if time allows.
I recently finished The Widows of Champagne by Renee Ryan which is the February Drink In Life Book Club title (Post coming next week) and now it is time to explore more about France during WWII and the Champagne Region in general. I have a number of books related to all things Champagne and Sparkling wine just waiting to be opened the next time I pop a bottle of bubbly.
Over the last two weeks I also read The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian, Midnight at the Blackbird Café by Heather Webber and because I wanted to finally read the book before watching the limited TV series, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. Both The Girls in the Stilt House and Midnight at the Blackbird Café are upcoming Drink In Life Book Club titles so I will be sharing more about them soon.
Station Eleven for me was a fantastic book although one that maybe a little difficult for some readers to read due to the current pandemic, but I am glad that I took the time to read this haunting and beautifully written story. The book in my opinion is far better than the TV series but I did enjoy certain aspects of that as well.
I am currently listening to or reading three books at this moment. I am almost finished listening to The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates on Audible and I love that I chose this audio version since the narration by Joe Morton is exceptional and his voice carries the full emotion of this story that is so disturbing, intense and moving. The Water Dancer and the other title I am currently reading, The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman are both upcoming Drink In Life Book Club selections. Stay tuned for more about these titles in upcoming blog posts.
Finally, I am slowly reading, The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. This baking reading assignment will soon include making something from this hefty 1063 page cookbook weekly, as I work my way through it’s impressive collection of recipes.
Last year kicked off the Drink In Life Book Club and related blog posts. Those posts initially included recipes provided through a collaboration with a Chef. As the collaboration ended it was requested those previously published recipes be removed from my blog. I’ve been amazed at the opportunity this has provided to challenge myself to create and find new recipes to fill in the old posts and bring exciting and delectable dishes to these pages. I hope that you will check back periodically to see what fun and delicious recipes have been added to the past book club posts.
The next Drink In Life Book Club post for February’s book, The Widows of Champagne has a decadent assortment of recipes that pair well with Champagne and Sparkling Wines.
“Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading.”Lena Dunham
Aside from a trip late last summer to the Umpqua Valley in Oregon and a fall vacation to Arizona and the Grand Canyon I like many others have not been traveling much. I do still have some past trips to recount including my final installment of our June Boise, Idaho getaway with a day trips to McCall and Payette Lake and a series of posts about travel destinations in Southern Oregon and the Umpqua Valley AVA. So, look for those stories in the coming months.
Also, Fingers Crossed we are scheduled to travel to Italy in the Spring to explore Milan, Bologna, Florence and the Tuscany country side. So, there will hopefully be many things to highlight and share from that trip.
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”Anthony Bourdain
Spring is just around the corner and I’m definitely hoping for an Early Spring this year. While I wait for Spring, seeds are being planted indoors to give the vegetable and herb gardens a head start when warmer weather arrives.
Each year I have different goals for our backyard garden and this year the emphasis is on growing as much fresh fruits and vegetables as we can to eat and to put up for next winter to fight the high inflation that is happening right now in the grocery stores.
This year I would also like to share more about edible gardening and growing herbs here on Drink In Life Blog as well as feature some of my favorite recipes from our yearly garden bounty.
In addition home Remodeling is also on the schedule for this year, to include a covered outdoor kitchen area and a complete master bathroom remodel. The additional patio has been poured for the extended cooking area, now we are just waiting for drier weather to get started on the next step. That is if we can get the supplies and fixtures needed for these projects due to supply shortages and delivery delays. Fingers Crossed!
“There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne.”Bette Davis
I typically have a list of wines and spirits that I am enjoying at this moment but most of those have been set aside for future stories and blog posts. I will confess that last summer when I first heard of a possible Champagne shortage I set out to build up our Champagne and Sparkling Wine collection. So, needless to say there will be plenty of bubbly posts joining the still wines, dessert wines and cocktail posts here and on my Drink In Nature Instagram and Facebook pages.
There are times when we all need a little push, a jolt or wake up call to ensure we don’t let life pass us by. Something to make us take those once in a lifetime opportunities when they are presented to us and to not forget to acknowledge our daily blessings .
After all, it’s up to each one of us to make our lives count, and to make the most of them as much as possible. No one else is going to do that for us.
I hope that you are faring well as we continue to navigate our way through these difficult times, and I would love to hear what you are doing to keep busy. Leave me a comment and tell me how you are doing. Cheers Everyone!
Images and content are ©Drink In Nature Photography and Drink In Life Blog.