Wine Pairing Party

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Every now and then, I like to have a wine-pairing party to try new wines as well as new appetizers that might go with them. 

Your go-to food pairings are always a variety of cheeses, crackers, grapes, nuts, and olives. But be adventurous and try a few of the recipes below!

Pair with a Mascato D' Asti or a Dry Rose.

Pair with Pinot Noir or Gamay

Pair with a Pinot Grigio, a Dry Riesling or a Gewurztraminer

Pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot

Pair with a Dry Rose or a Chardonnay

See more wine and food pairing ideas HERE.

Chicken and Dumplings

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Comfort Food Deluxe! 

6 cups water
6 chicken thighs, with skin and bones
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup frozen peas
1 medium onion, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cubes chicken bouillon
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dumplings:
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk, divided
3 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, place chicken in water. Add carrots, celery, peas, onion, thyme, oregano, and bouillon. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Bring to a boil and cook on low heat for 25 minutes. 

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the dumplings. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups milk, stirring gently to combine. Set aside. 

Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool on a plate. Remove the skin and bone from the chicken. Shred and place the chicken back in the pot. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup milk and flour to form a paste. Slowly add it to the broth and whisk to combine. 

Drop tablespoons of dumpling dough into the simmering pot. Add parsley and salt and pepper. Cover the pot and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to set uncovered for 12 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Glazed Sweet Potatoes

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Here's a recipe for you to try when you want something a little different for supper. Great with Salmon or Rice and Barley Pilaf with mixed vegetables.

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, and diced into 2" cubes
1/3 cup Russian salad dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons parsley
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, pour dressing and oil over cubed sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir well to coat evenly. Prepare a square baking pan with cooking spray and place mixture in pan, spreading to edges. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tender. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Julie Arduini's Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ by surrendering the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the contemporary romance series SURRENDERING TIME, (Entrusted, Entangled, Engaged,) as well as the stand-alone novella, MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN. She also shares her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. Her latest release, YOU’RE AMAZING, is a book for girls ages 10-100, written with her teenaged daughter, Hannah, and is book 2 in their SURRENDERING STINKIN’ THINKIN’ series. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities.

Julie's Latest Book Release - Restoring Christmas


Holly Christmas left Geneseo Valley and her family’s holiday tourist attraction, The Christmas Mansion, as soon as she graduated. Now both her parents have passed, and Holly returns when her uncle needs her help running the mansion. On Holly’s first day back, a blunt middle-schooler proclaims Holly hates Christmas. His comment forces her to reconcile the past while planning for the mansion’s future.

Kevin Holt is invested in offering hope to students with challenges. His best friend’s son is in Kevin’s class, and Nathan needs guidance. Their community project placement at The Christmas Mansion is an opportunity to make a positive difference. When Nathan blurts out his thoughts to the beautiful co-owner, Kevin wonders if he has what it takes to help restore the mansion to its former glory, mentor Nathan, and convince Holly Christmas she’s exactly where she needs to be.
 Buy the book HERE.

Julie's Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

These were a favorite snack growing up when I visited my best friend’s house. I don’t love bananas, yet these are just a hint of banana against the gooey chocolate chip. My son still asks for these, and he’s 21.

1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ¾ cups unsifted flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sour milk
1 cup mashed banana
2 cups chocolate chips

Cream shortening. Gradually add sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in separate bowl. Add alternately with sour milk and bananas to shortening mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoon on greased cookie sheet. 375 for 10-12 minutes.