Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stonebrook Winery

We are so lucky to live in Northern Kentucky.  We have several vineyards close to us and had the opportunity to visit the Stonebrook Winery today. 

StoneBrook Winery is located in Camp Springs, KY which was once commonly known as the "Rhine of America." The Camp Springs region was once the premier area for grape growing and wine making before the onset of Prohibition. Vineyards like StoneBrook are Renewing the Rhine of America in Historic Camp Springs. .
The farm has two farmsteads. The original built in 1871 has several buildings constructed out of fieldstone by German craftsmen. Several of these buildings including the main house remain functional today. The other farmstead that was part of a division of the farm was built in 1890. This farmstead remains much as it was in the late 1800's.

Today, the 1890 era house has been remodeled into a winery and tasting room. And the out buildings provide a glimpse into the lifestyle of the early inhabitants. Many of the tools and household items used in the late1800's are on display in the tasting room.

We had a tour of the property in a horse drawn carriage with one of the owners as our guide.

We all enjoyed hearing about how the farm has been in operation for 134 years.  About 6 years ago they began the winery and with research discovered that their ancestors had also had a vineyard.

 We then settled in to the tasting room for a sample of the wines, at 6 tastes for $5 I think it is a bargain.  I already drink some of their wines, my favorite is the Cranberry, and I have tried Blackberry and Strawberry.  Today I tried Pear - a nice light and refreshing taste, Elderberry - it was a heavier bodied wine with more of a red wine texture (delicious), and a Chambourcin, similar in taste to a beaujolais nouveau.  Terry also tried a Honey Mead (too sweet for me) a blueberry and a raspberry.  We had a bottle of the Cranberry in the fridge at home so we didn't buy any today, but I can certainly recommend them all. 

They have tastings every weekend, and said we could come with a group and bring snacks, they would conduct the tasting for us and if we wanted we could purchase a few bottles to share with our friends.  They also have dinners on Fridays and Saturdays that book way in advance, I would love to do that too, but will have to try to find a good date to go.

I love being able to support local small businesses, and enjoyed meeting three generations of this family.  What a wonderful fall afternoon and a great little get away!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Just Stuff

So, I did the benefit at Turfway on Sunday and felt like the show was poorly advertised and run.  Very low attendance to the point that about 2 hours in the Silpada vendor packed up her stuff and left.  While some of the vendors and customers were very nice, what is up with people coming to a show where shopping is the theme and acting rude to the vendors?  I didn't go into the street, hold a gun to your head and make you come to this paid to get in knowing it was a shopping event.  If you don't wear/buy/like what I am selling smile and move on, oh and your kids don't make jewelry like mine after one day at a bead store.  How would you like it if I showed up at your job with my kid and said see...that's just like you do when you play (insert your job here).  My guess is you would be somewhat offended that I even suggested a kid could do your exact job.  I don't expect everyone to love my jewelry, but show a little respect for the work it takes to not only make all of it , but take time out of my life to show up to these events and sit all day hoping to make back the money I spent on a booth space.

In all of this my booth looked great:

Ok, so I got that off my chest!

My next show is December 5th at Dixie Heights High School in Crestview Hills Ky.  There will be 120 vendors and the cost is $3 to get in but you get a raffle ticket.  It is from 9 - 2.  come and finish your last minute Christmas shopping!
So, I read a book last year called Drunk Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair by Laurie Perry.  Between laughing out loud and seeing part of myself in her writing I became a fan.  She has a great blog called My Crazy Aunt Purl which is also hilarious.  She recently posted on her fear of having people over to her house and the urgency to clean the house...calling it  the Messatorium.  OMG!  Thanksgiving is coming and that describes what is going on with me right now!  My Dad and Stepmom are coming on Wednesday and all I can think of is how the heck am I going to get this mess cleaned up?

The dining room table is covered in beads and I have orders to fill, but I can't serve Thanksgiving dinner on TV trays (plus I'm using one as an end table)., the cat peed on the carpet on the basement landing and I need to deodorize it again, all my bead show set up is in the living room foyer and don't even ask me about  the clean laundry pile in my bedroom!  Now I know they love me, but I am embarrassed to have them see this mess.

Of course, am I cleaning the house now...NO ... I am blogging and checking my facebook pages, shopping on line for Christmas gifts, reading my favorite blogs and e general goofing off.  Oh and Laurie has a new book coming out in February Home is Where the Wine Is .I can't wait to read it.

I just finished reading a new Kate Jacobs book  Comfort Food loved it!  And I saw she has another new one called  Knit the Season
which I also can't wait to read.  I loved the first two.  The Friday Night Knitting Club and Knit Two.  But I have to admit, these made me laugh and cry. 

So I guess I better quit goofing off and get back to work...I'll post again soon.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Great Weekend with Great Friends

So we went to Charlies Hideaway this weekend on Lake Kincaid.  Mary Lou and Chuck have been trying to get us to visit for months.  It was a perfect night, clear and just cold enough to enjoy a bonfire.  Several other couples joined us including Rob and Susan.  We brought our son Justin, and there were 4 dogs there too.  Justin was in heaven when he sat on the couch with a dog on each side.
We all brought goodies to eat. Susan brought a delicious Fondue.  I never really had fondue before, but this was great.  She got a package from the Party Source and added garlic and wine.  We all dipped our bread and oohhed and ahhed over the warm bubbly mixture.  Mary Lou had chips and salsa to munch on while we waited for the turkey tenderloins and the rosemary potatoes to finish cooking.  Mary Lou used fresh rosemary from her garden.  As Rachel Ray would say  'Yum O"!  I brought 2 bottles of Cranberry Wine from the Stonebrook Winery.  It is just up the street from where we live and I love supporting a local vineyard.  I also brought the Oatmeal Cherry Toffee Cookies  I had  left and some hot chocolate mix and butterscotch schnapps to drink by the fire.

Terry threw in his fishing gear and saw a lot of fish, but didn't catch one.  He did enjoy sitting by the lake and enjoying the peace and quiet.  Later on by the fire we looked at the stars and tried to figure out what we were seeing.  Terry's boyscout skills kicked in and he identified quite a few.  Mary Lou cracked me up when she came out wrapped up in a blanket, she looked like a nun.  I kept calling her Sister Mary Lou of the Forest.  The night had to end, but a great time was had by all.  Lot's of laughter, good music, great friends...what more can you ask for on a beautiful fall evening.

So today I had to buy more cookie ingredients, but I forgot oatmeal, so I'll be back tomorrow to pick that up.  I also decided to make my Italian Meatball Soup.  No self respecting Italian would claim this, but my family loves it.  It is a mis-mash of several recipes including Minestrone,and a Tortellini Soup.  Like my other soups, a lot of what goes in the pot has to do with what is in the cupboard.


1 quart Chicken Broth (don't have it use Beef instead)
1 14 oz pkg of frozen meatballs
1 large can of Italian style diced tomatoes
2 cans Cannellini Beans
1 can Kidney Beans (drain all the beans)
1 small can tomato paste
1 pkg frozen spinach
1 pkg frozen peas and carrots
1 can green beans (drained)
3/4 cup orzo pasta
1 lb Italian sausage (I usually use turkey sausage)
2 pkgs of the Italian dressing mix (you know the dry stuff...I buy the store brand instead of the name brand)

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Brown the sausage.

 If you are in a hurry use a soup pot, but I often put this on in the morning in my slow cooker so it is ready when we get done at work.  I add all the ingredients into the pot and stir adding the frozen meatball and spinach last.  If I am using a crock pot I wait on the pasta and cook it and add it right before serving,  I have also substituted cheese tortellini for the pasta.

After all is heated thru, serve with shredded Parmesan and/or Romano cheese and a hunk of Italian Bread with butter.  Nothing better on a cold night.

I hope you love this as much as my family and friends do!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hey! Look over here!

So, you haven't seen me in awhile....I've just been busy and overwhelmed!

The last 2 Saturdays I had jewelry shows.  I did quite well, but because of that I have been making jewelry like crazy!  I want to thank my hosts of the 2 events for inviting me.  Candy Walls of Longaberger Baskets and Joyce Bridgeford of the Forest Park Womens Club.  Candy put on a nice event at the local VFW and between the customers, herself and the other vendors there I had a successful event.  Joyce put on the Forest Park Womens Club Art and Boutique event at Winton Woods High School.  I hope to be a vendor again next my same spot.

This Saturday , November 7th, my friend Paula Provenzano has a few of my pieces with her at Seasonably Chic an event by Cincy Chic  at the Phoenix Hotel in Cincinnati.  It is an opportunity for early Christmas shopping with local boutiques and businesses.  Paula has put together some fabulous gift baskets and if you buy a gift certificate for a service too you get an additional discount on the basket.  Make sure you get downtown to see her.

Today was a slow day at work and I am exhausted, so I left a little early to indulge the "Martha" in me.  I decided to bake cookies, bread, make pumpkin apple butter and at the last minute make chicken tortilla soup.  Now, if I was truly having a Martha moment I would have planned ahead.  It takes time to grow and harvest  vegetables, cherries, oats, wheat, apples, pumpkins, milk cows and churn butter, and get the eggs from the hens ( and kill and roast one for the soup).  Add to that forging my own utensils, pots and pans and making the bowls and cups...well, I just didn't think far enough in advance!  I know, I know...Martha is ashamed of me.

So I guess she just was my inspiration.  It started with a post about making apple butter, which I know my husband loves.  I'm more of an instant gratification kind of girl, so I didn't want an 11 hour project.  No apple peeling and cooking, straining and mashing.  I went to my favorite recipe source All and hunted for a recipe that would be easy to get all the ingredients and prepare in a few hours.  Here is the recipe that caught my eye:



  • 1 (29 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, combine all ingredients. Simmer,uncovered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Pourinto freezer containers. Refrigerate up to 1 month or freeze.

Of course I can never just look at one recipe, after all I used to buy and read recipe books like other people read paperbacks!  So I started looking for a cherry crisp recipe, and I saw several that I will try soon, but these cookies made my mouth water!  All my favorite things, cherries, chocolate, toffee chips and oatmeal, so I printed out this recipe too!



  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup toffee baking bits


  1. Sift together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl,cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth.Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually stir in the sifted mixture, thenmix in the oats, cherries, chocolate chips and toffee bits until evenlydistributed. Divide the dough in to 3 portions and form them into logs,about 2 inches in diameter. wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate orfreeze until firm.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets orline them with parchment paper. Slice dough logs into 3/4 inch thickslices. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookiesheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to coolon baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to coolcompletely.

I had a plan to make pork chops for dinner, but the husband had some dental surgery yesterday and I didn't think that chewy food would be a good idea.  I am standing in the grocery store on my Blackberry trying to find a soup recipe like the one I knew I had at home for Tortilla Chicken Soup.  I never follow the exact recipe, it's more of a guide, but I was franticallly trying to remember the ingredients.  After reviewing a few, I had a general idea of what I needed and headed into the store.  Here is my recipe for the soup I made tonight, just remember, I often change a few things here and there depending on what is in the cupboard at home.


1 Roasted Chicken from your local grocery store
2 pkgs. taco seasoning
1 pkg. ranch dressing mix
2 cans black beans
1 large jar salsa
1 quart chicken broth
1 bag frozen corn
2 cans kidney beans
1 can chili beans

Shred the chicken and place in a large soup pot with all the remaining ingredients.  Cook on low for about an hour, stirring occasionally.  Serve with sour cream, tortilla chips and cheese!  Perfect for a chilly winter night.

I get home, spread all my ingredients out and decide what to make first....bread!  Yes I know, it wasn't on the list, but with my handy dandy bread machine and a few ingredients I knew that apple butter would taste extra good on home made bread.  I threw the ingredients in and started on the soup.  Open cans, pour in the pot, strip chicken and add to the pot and finally add the spice packets.  Turn on low and start the next thing.  Get out the next pot and put in the Pumpkin Apple Butter ingredients, stir, cook on medium heat until it bubbles and then turn down and let cook for a few hours.  Uh oh!  What is wrong with the darn bread's mixing, but not stopping to let the dough rise!  So I shut it down and let the stuff rise, punch it down, let it rise again and set the machine to bake.  Probably won't be the best I've ever made, but slathered with Pumpkin Apple Butter I bet it will taste perfect!

On to the cookies!  So the butter needs to be softened.  Do I wait, no I nuke it!  Oops!  To much, so now I have to wait for it to go from a liquid back to a semi solid so I can cream in the sugars.  Once that happens I follow the recipe and realize I have to chill the dough before making the cookies.  I always hate how the dough looks when you have to make "logs" out of it.  There is something just wrong about 5 logs on a cookie sheet.  Five logs with chunks in them!  Mother's  you know what I'm talking about!  But I did it and put them in the freezer.  About 30 minutes later I take them out and slice and bake them.  In my oven they need 15 minutes of cooking time to look done to me.  They smell fantastic!  I following the instructions and let them cool for 5 minutes and then move to the rack to finish cooling, but anyone who knows me knows I can't wait to taste them...heaven in my mouth!  The perfect combination of flavors.  I now have a new favorite cookie.

Terry is on his way home and can't wait to see what I was up to today!  I am sure he will be in agreement with Martha that "it's a very good thing!". 

On a side note....what's up with Martha going on Rachel Ray?????  I am not usually home when Rachel is on in our area, but I was today and they are advertising that she'll be on the show next week.  I am sure it won't live up to my flying across the stage, a knife fight, forks stuck in someones eye, wrestling for cookware.  No it will be all nicey nice and civil.  I will just have to envision thought bubbles above their heads with what they really want to say inside!  hee hee...that may be funnier than anything that happens on the show!

Hope I will have time to post again soon, with Thanksgiving coming up I'll have to blog about my turkey adventures!  My Dad and Stepmom are coming to visit my son, so I am cooking this year again.  See ya soon!