Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What's Aunt Janae Doing Now?

Well, the most awesome thing EVER. She is "Texas Bound". My uncle got a job in Fredericksburg, Tx (right outside of Austin). They left San Diego on Monday, and should be arriving in Fredericksburg today if they haven't already. They will be only 3-4 hours away from me now. An awesome way to start off 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dr Visit Update

While the swelling had gone down in my knee and thigh, it was still pretty bad in my shin, ankle and foot. I officially have a cankle. I took pictures when they unwrapped the dressing - but it's so gnarly that I will only show them to those who request to see them. So, no xrays today. Nor did they remove the stitches. I'm to go back in 2 1/2 weeks - Thursday, 1/15 - almost a month from the accident. He will remove the stitches and do x-rays... then determine if I get a cast or boot. So for now, I'm walker bound - no walking on the right leg - with elevation as high as I can stand it.

P.S. I was informed by the Dr's Assistant - who participated in my surgery, and he re-dressed my leg today - that I didn't "break" my leg, I "busted" it!

My 'boys

I'm so sad that it has taken me 2 days since the horrible game against the Eagles to acknowledge them. As par after a terrible loss, I can't listen to the news commentary nor have I been able to read my favorite sports blog "No Joshin'". The game wasn't even over yet, when one of the announcers was asking if Wade Phillips will still have a job. I will leave the dissection of what happened to a team that at the beginning of the season had Super Bowl talent to the "experts". All I know is that I'm sad that the Cowboy football season is over, I still {heart} Marion Barber and Tony Romo. Win or lose, I am and will always be a Dallas Cowboy fan!

2 Weeks

Wow. It's hard to believe that my accident was 2 weeks ago. It really just seems like last week. I have been home from the hospital since 12/19. Today is my first time to leave the house. I have my first follow-up Dr visit for my leg. I can't wait to see how it looks once he removes the dressing on it. Right now, I just have a splint with gauze and ace bandages. Dr didn't want to put a cast on it due to swelling. The swelling has gone down considerably. My legs actually match each other. For a while, the right leg was humongous. So, the questions of the day are 1) will I get a cast; and 2) HOW MUCH LONGER BEFORE I CAN WALK ON IT??? Stay tuned.. visit is at 8am this morning.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well, I have to say this is the most stressfree Christmas I think I have ever had. I am a last minute shopper, so I'm always going, going, going until Christmas Eve dinner with our family friends. Not to mention, planning the menu for Christmas day.

This year, I ordered a couple gifts online, and had Ryan buy my nieces clothes from The Gap. If I had been out shopping, OMG! I spend way too much money on so many things I don't need to get.. especially when I shop for food.

Ryan got home from Lubbock last night. He fixed the family size Stouffers Lasagna (thanks Wendy and Shawn) - and we watched "Charlie Wilson's War". Today, my brother is bringing a ham, and my dad is bringing potato salad..

I am extremely blessed. My family and friends have been amazing this past week. I was not able to buy presents this year, but I send out my love and overwhelming appreciation to them all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A New Perspective

Having a broken leg is crazy. I've taken so many things for granted - going to the bathroom, taking a shower, fixing a sandwich, doing laundry, putting on my pants, etc. I have mastered going to the bathroom on my own with a walker, but that's about as far as it goes. I can also make my own eggo waffle using a toaster.

During the day I sit in a old recliner we moved out of my bedroom into the living room. Thank goodness I never sold it. We keep water, meds, face wipes, antibacterial soap, magazines, books, phone, PC, etc all near me. I am so blessed with family and friends. Everyone has been so amazing, bringing me food, doing my laundry, doing my dishes, taking out the trash, washing my hair, etc.

Stayed tuned... I will blog more once I get my pictures downloaded.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Texas Ice

Is a bad, bad thing ! I apologize to my faithful followers for not posting anything since Monday. Unfortunately, I had a "little" accident during "icey" road conditions on Tuesday morning. See attached article - while my name is not mentioned - I'm in the accident where "airbags were deployed", and I was the one taken to Presbyterian Hospital in Rockwall with a broken leg. I am home and doing ok using a walker. I will blog more soon.. and of course, I have pictures!!!

P.S. Car is totalled.. and unfortunately, NO, the Nickelback CD did NOT eject when the airbags were deployed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

CD Stuck in the CD Player

I made it all the way to Lubbock listening to all my favorite CD's - Lyle Lovett, Billy Squier, Prince, Old Madonna, etc.. and not one got stuck. The first CD in on the roadtrip home - Nickelback's - All the Right Reason's... Stuck in the player. Let's see how long it takes to release it.

Graduation - "Chic Choo" Award

Goes to these pink shoes! You guys know how much I {heart} all things pink.

2nd Place goes to these "red boots were made for walking"

While the simple black pump was the preferred choice of most of the graduating class, some chose to really make a statement.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Graduation Countdown - 1 Day

Hitting the road. I'd like to say this might be my last trip to Lubbock for a while, but I doubt it. Ryan plans on living in Lubbock at least until August 2009 when his lease is up.
Let's see which CD gets stuck in my CD player this time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ho Ho ...


My neighborhood is filled with "inflatable" decor. Most are in people's yards, so I like this Santa on top of my neighbor's house. Although, something just doesn't seem right with Santa flat on his face on the roof.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Graduation Countdown - 5 Days

I can't believe it's almost here.
The most ask question in the last 6 months...
"What are you going to do when you graduate?"
That's a lot to think about.

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Christmas Tree

Pictures were taken with my treo. Not the best quality.

My Dream Ride...

I do not know who this car belongs to. I drove by it yesterday, and had to turn around to get this picture. All I keep asking myself is "why?"

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shimmery Holidays

I love that I bought 2 of these reindeers last year after Christmas (note pricetag still on) at Pier One for like 10 dollars each. I haven't decided where to put them yet. I placed one on the table to take a picture of it, and it actually makes an awesome center piece. I was going to put them both the hearth of my fireplace but they do not stand out there. Stay tuned for more pictures I finish my decorating.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Graduation Countdown - 10 Days

I came across these things of Ryan's from his childhood while I was organizing my garage last weekend. I can't believe 22 years goes by so fast.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What's Aunt Janae Been Up to Lately...

Just climbing a tree with Sparky Valentino, her llama.

Have you ever wondered?

What really happens under those tarps? And why does it take 2 guys to hold them up?

Have you ever wondered what football players do during a game when they need to pee?
Well, I had the luxury of sitting right behind the Cowboys one year and discovered to my dismay that they pee in plastic bottles under a tarp...
I didn't take these pictures - they were taken this year at the Thanksgiving game by a friend who wishes to be anonymous for obvious reasons.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cruffles aka Cake Balls

Wendy made these for Thanksgiving using the DMN recipe below. They were delicious.

Cake Balls – Dallas Morning News
1 (18.25-ounce) boxed cake mix plus ingredients called for on box
1 (16-ounce) can prepared frosting
Almond Bark Coating or Confectionery Wafer Coating (both recipes follow)

Bake the cake according to package instructions. While warm, crumble the cake into a bowl with a hand mixer to a fine texture. Mix in frosting to make a paste, using 3/4 to a full can of frosting, according to taste. Chill the mixture for at least 2 hours.

Using a melon baller or your hands, form the mixture into 1 ½ -inch balls. Place the balls on wax paper; freeze at least 6 hours.

Working in small batches, remove the balls from the freezer and dip the balls into warm, melted Almond Bark Coating or Confectionery Wafer Coating, using toothpicks or forks to manipulate the balls. Remove the balls. Place the balls on wax paper to harden.
Makes about 30 cake balls.

Almond Bark Coating: In a double boiler, melt one (20-ounce) package vanilla- or chocolate-flavored almond bark, stirring constantly. Or, in a tall, narrow container, microwave almond bark for 45 seconds on High (100 percent power). Continue to heat in 15-second intervals, stirring between intervals, until melted; be careful not to scorch.
When almond bark is melted, stir in 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. If desired, stir in oil-based coloring drop by drop until you achieve the desired color. See "Where to find supplies" for purchase information.
Confectionery Wafer Coating: Melt 48 ounces confectionery wafers in double boiler or microwave oven per instructions for Almond Bark Coating. Omit oil. If desired, stir in oil-based coloring drop by drop until you achieve the desired color.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Day - Digging up Turkeys

Dad (Pat- not Kenny Rogers) in the tractor, Roger ready in the pit, and Uncle Bill on the sideline.
Here is the footage from Thanksgiving 2008.
That is Uncle Bill with the shovel (want it noted that he NEVER digs out the turkeys. Maybe he wanted to look good for my blog. Oh wait, he doesn't know I have a blog.

We Now Interrupt This Program..

(This is my first video - using my cellphone. I apologize, it's not the highest quality . Click on the arrow to listen )

This is Shawney and Bill. Our own Irish piano bar without the piano. Believe it or not, they weren't even drunk. Shawney doesn't drink..just loves to sing.

I have alot to learn on videotaping - like to NOT TALK while I'm filming. Bare with me, I am new to all of this.

Oops - My Bad.

I thought they were finished. So, you missed the part where Shawney turns around and points to everyone singing names like flanigan, hanigan, sheninagan really fast. (ok, so I may not have the names right..but if you have ever been to a irish pub, you know what I'm talking about).. ok.. so now they are finished.

Back to the Digging...

Aluminum siding - almost to the turkeys
Turkeys look awesome. They are normally squished.
Doesn't everyone transport their turkeys in a golf cart to the table ?

Ready for Carving - where's Ryan ?

Thanksgiving - Carving Turkeys

(Now this is my 2nd attempt of videotaping. Again to listen, click on the arrow)

This is Ryan and Brian (a family friend - new to our Thanksgiving) both carving turkeys for the first time. I am using the video recorder from my Sprint Treo - so it's not the sharpest video or it could be that I'm not a very good videographer. As you will see as I take a bite of turkey and lose focus of the carvers. (Also, I think I had a couple beers already because I found EVERYTHING soooo funny!!! )

Turkey Carving Accomplished!!!

Make A Wish!!!

Our first time turkey carvers finish the job flawlessly.

Friday, November 28, 2008

My Thanksgiving Menu

As you know, my Dad and Bev handle the turkeys so everyone else brings side dishes and desserts. My contribution this year:

Thanksgiving Eve
Addictive Corn Dip
Tortilla Rollups
Pumpkin Fudge
Thanksgiving Day
Tee's Corn Pudding
Classic Green Bean Casserole
Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Addictive Spicy Corn Dip

(Picture to be posted soon)

2 cans Green Giant Mexicorn
16 ounce Light Sour Cream
1 cup mayo
1/2 bunch of cilantro
4-5 chopped green onions
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese

Drain corn; mix sour cream, mayo, cayenne pepper and cumin. Add chopped green onions, cilantro and grated cheese. Chill ofr a least a hour before serving. Serve with corn chips, lime flavored tostitos, or wheat thin crackers.

(Note - use grated cheese - not finely shredded. Also, to make it less spicy - substitute a cup of sharp cheddar for the pepper jack cheese)

Tortilla Rollups

I used 2 different flavors of wraps (Jalapeno and Spinach). I bought a tub of chive and onion cream cheese for the jalapeno wraps and a tub of jalapeno cream cheese for the spinach wraps.

Sprinkled them with paprika.

Pumpkin Fudge

I got this recipe from Southern Living. I wasn't sure how I'd like pumpkin flavored fudge. OMG!!
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup melted butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate morsels
1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir together first 6 ingredients in a 3 1/2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, until a candy thermometer registers 234 degrees (soft-ball stage) - about 12 minutes.
Remove pan from heat; stir in remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour into a greased aluminum foil-lined 9-inch square pan. Let stand 2 hours or until completely cool. Cut fudge into squares.

Campbell's Green Bean Casserole

2 cans (10 3/4 ounce each) Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cans of cut green beans (I used Green Giant)
1 can (6 ounce) French's French Fried Onions ( 2 2/3 cups)
Stir soup, milk, soy sauce, black pepper, beans and 1 1/3 cups onions in 3 quart casserole
Bake @ 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until hot. Stir.
Top with remaining onions. Bake 5 minutes more.

Tee's Corn Pudding


1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 large eggs
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup butter, melted
6 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
Combine first 4 ingredients -sugar to salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, whipping cream and butter. Gradually, add sugar mixture, whisking until smooth; stir in corn. Pour mixture in a lightly greased 13X9 inch baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown and set. Let stand 5 minutes.
Makes 8 servings.

This is a Southern Living recipe. This was my first time to make a corn pudding. It turned out great, and it was delicious for such a simple dish.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

I got the recipe from Paula Deen. Most recipes I've tried of hers have been awesome. This one was a little disappointing. While the trifle turned out pretty, the taste was a little flat. Definitely not "decadent" which is what I expect of a Paula Deen recipe.
I might make it again, but if I do - I am changing the recipe. Instead of using vanilla pudding mix, I am going to use cheesecake pudding or even Philadephia's cheesecake filling mix. I am also going to add caramel and nuts... because c'mon, ALL awesome trifles have caramel.
If you'd like the recipe, just goggle it. I'll post it when once I've found the right flavor combo. Of course, this will probably be around this time next year. I'm done with pumpkin for a while.

Ok, so now for some tv trivia.

So, who thinks of Rachel on "Friends" when they heard the word "trifle"? When she added the ground beef, I just died. It was classic.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I saw this tree yesterday in a shopping center parking lot.
It was all I could do to not take some limbs for a Thanksgiving centerpiece. This picture doesn't do the berries justice - they are a gorgeous orange color.

Pass the "ground" turkey, please...

For the last 15 years or so, Ryan and I have spent Thanksgiving at Dad and Bev's. They live on about 15 acres in the country. Thanksgiving at their place is buffet style with tables set up outside to accommodate about 30 people. (It gets a little tricky when it's cold and rainy - thankfully, it's a gorgeous day today - sun is shining - and I think it's going to be in the 70's)
On the Thanksgiving Eve, Dad digs a hole (pit) in the ground - starts a huge fire, and once the coals are burned down - gets the John Deere Tractor , moves the coals, places a piece of aluminum siding down - puts 2 big 28 pounder turkeys wrapped with many rolls of heavy duty aluminum foil on top - then puts another piece of aluminum siding on top... then gets back in the tractor and puts the coals back on top. Then 12 hours later - back in the John Deere Tractor to dig up the turkeys. This is quite an event EVERY year. I have many pictures that I will post soon. Here is a picture of the fire from last night.
(Did you think I was going "healthy" on Turkey day - Heck No!!!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Graduation Countdown - 20 days

Dec 13th will be here before we know it. It seems like once Thanksgiving hits - the rest of year is a blur with all the holiday activities, and this is a BIG activity right smack in the middle of it all.

I can't believe 4 and 1/2 years have gone by. It seems like it was literally just yesterday when I drove him to Lubbock his Freshman year.

I'm feeling very introspective and weepy today. Probably because he is coming home tonight for Thanksgiving. It's funny, when you raise your kids - doing laundry, cleaning up after them, cooking dinner, etc. are chores every parent dreads doing. When your kid goes off to college, it's like you can't wait for them to come home so you can do their laundry, clean up after them, and cook all their favorite foods. What's up with that? Ryan won't be home until almost midnight, but I plan on having cheese and corn enchiladas ready and waiting - fresh out of the oven. Isn't that what any normal mom would do?

Sweet Nothings

Here is a new cupcake place that just opened in Frisco. Check out the website below.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

True Blood - Season Finale

I'm sad. Tonight is the last night of the first season. Good news- there will be a 2nd season starting in Summer 2009. (Which seems so FAR away). While the interpretation of the Charlaine Harris books were a little "over acted" in the first season, I still couldn't help being excited about watching this show on Sunday nights. What will I do now? I guess I could get caught up on "Desperate Housewives".

Banana Fudge Supreme

I was skeptical at first when I saw "Trainer Bob" recommending it on Biggest Loser.

Oh my GAH...................

With a little squirt of whipped cream in a can (15 calories), this is an awesome dessert.

So awesome, I even thought for a minute how I can serve this on Thanksgiving - but "low calorie" is not appropriate table talk at our Thanksgiving.

Weekend in Sports

Tech lost to Oklahoma - 65-21. What a hard game to watch. I couldn't believe this was the same team I watched play Texas and Oklahoma State.

While Tech was playing, the Dallas Stars lost to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 2-1. Poor Stars - just can't seem to rally this season.

On the other hand, my 'boys won today beating San Francisco. The Cowboys were favored to win, but 1st quarter looked a little shaky. They pulled it out during 2nd quarter... beating the 49ers 35-22.

The Giants and the Redskins won today. Giants leading the division with the Cowboys tied with Washington. The Eagles seemed to have lost their mojo.. so not really worried about them.

Cowboys play Seattle on Thanksgiving. They should win -but they are still very unpredictable. The Giants and the Redskins play next Sunday. Next week will be one step closer for the Cowboys to make the playoffs - depending the outcome of these games.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


"Twilight" is the most awesome love story ever. The movie ROCKED!!! Totally Rocked. It made me flashblack to when I was young. We didn't have a movie even close to this caliber. We had "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (not a love story) - then "Sixteen Candles".. a love story sort of. (I have to admit- I did "heart" Jake Ryan).

"Twilight" absolutely held true to the book. The movie was just as good if not better than the book. Wow... I can't wait to see it again. That's all I can keep saying is "wow, wow, wow".

I totally recommend it even if you haven't read the book. Once you see it, you will want to read the book. Stephanie Meyer is a great story teller. I've read all 4 books - and they just got better and better.

Cranberry Margarito

That's correct. MAR-GA-RI-TO!!! Where tequila meets mojito mix! Awesome combination.

I made these last year at Christmas. They were a big hit. They are pink and extremely festive. Be sure to use FROZEN mojito mix - usually found with in the freezer section with juices.

P.S. Drinking 2 of these during the Texas Tech game help to "numb" the blow

Texas Tech vs Oklahoma

Kick off at 7pm.

Friday, November 21, 2008

To My Blog Followers

Hello! Thank you so much for reading my blog. I started in July as a whim, and it has become so addicting. As I stalk other blogs, I get more and more ideas. So, this is definitely in a very preliminary stage and will continue to evolve.
I recently added MAP LOCO - it's at the bottom of my blog. It tracks "visitors". It's exciting because I see my blog is being read from coast to coast in places I know for sure I do not know anyone. So, I just want to throw a couple of things out there...
1) I'm not that "jazzed" about my new blog layout. It's brighter and cleaner - that's for sure. If anyone has any recommendations of page layouts, I'd love to hear from you. Here are a couple of the websites I've come across so far:

2) I would absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear from you.. so please comment if any of my blog postings are interesting to you.

Thanks to everyone who reads. While I live a very simple and quiet life, I do have my "i love lucy" moments.. and it's so fun to share.

Scentsy & Pampered

Have you heard of Scentsy Candles? They are "wickless" candles. I suppose you could say one more step towards a "greener" environment - although, I still light real candles with wicks, and I have a duraflame log burning in my fireplace as we speak. But I digress.
Scentsy Candles rock. Don't you just love the light show? Basically, it uses a 25 watt lightbulb to melt "scented" candle wax that comes in bars with 6 divided sections for $5.00 or one pound bricks for $20.00 There are so many scents - it's hard to decide. The wax melts, but doesn't burn your skin. It can be re-used until the scent fades.
For those of you here locally that are looking for something different to give for Christmas, I will be holding a "Scentsy Party" on Dec 7th @ 2pm.
I am combining it with a Pampered Chef party which also has some awesome new stuff - like Bamboo bowls and spoons, a trifle bowl with a separate stand and lid for easy storage and transporting, a mix and chop that rocks, stoneware with 'stoneware' handles not the metal ones, 3 different sizes of ice cream scoopers, an ice cream sandwich maker, and so much more.
You can check out the websites for Scentsy and Pampered Chef by clicking on their names in red above.

Recycle Update

Step one - recycling paper goods - still committed. Doing pretty good about not throwing paper in the trash - (although still guilty at work - so need to work on that next week)

The thing that has been weighing on me lately is plastic bags. I am used to seeing people in Whole Foods bring in their own bags, but at WALMART??? It's like hitting me in the face. I suppose, it's time to forego plastic bags. Now, my dilemma is what bags do I buy ? What bag says "I'm cool and trendy"? Check out the website below. I found out about these from Daily Candy.

OK.. so do I get the trendy cute bags for 24.99 or do I go for practicality - and buy the black Walmart bags for .99 cents each.

Don't Cry Over Spilled...

...RED wine
You may be saying to yourself, "I don't see any red wine in these pictures. Am I missing something?" No, you are not. This is a "pseudo" reinactment of actual events.
Here's what happened.
In the wine glass pictured below, was a 1/2 glass of RED wine. As I got up from the love seat (not pictured - but to the right of the wine glass), my arm "inadvertently" KNOCKED the glass over - causing RED wine to spray all over the living room carpet along the length of the sofa which IS pictured here. As any wine lover can imagine, this was horrific - hence no time to even think of taking pictures at a time like this. I immediately got a wet rag and proceeded to dab the stains - one teeny tiny stain at a time - when I remembered that I had Clorox Oxi Magic (not to be confused with OXI-CLEAN-they are not the same thing)- which has always gotten RED wine out of my shirts.. surely, it will do the same for my carpet???

...and as you can see - O.... MY.... GAH................... CLOROX OXI MAGIC is AWESOME.. (she says in her OPRAH voice) not one RED wine stain anywhere. True Story!!!

Dallas Stars Lose 6-3

My view from the nosebleed section.

The wine tasting was the highlight of the evening.

Barefoot Wine was the sponsor.

I like the Chardonnay, Merlot, and Chardonnay Champagne.
The flavors available were Pinot Grigio Champagne, Shiraz, and Sauvignon Blanc.
The Shiraz was good but I prefer their Chardonnay over the Pinot and Sauvignon.
I got to enjoy a free 15 minute chair massage from Corinthian Wellness Spa .
My friend, Terry got her eyebrows threaded for free from Styles of India. I got a coupon for a free Eyebrow Threading to use at any of their locations in the D/FW metroplex.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wine Tasting & Dallas Stars Hockey

Who knew these 2 things would go together?
- Event will occur from 5:30 – 7:30 in the Admiral Meeting Lounge
- Guests will need to enter through the SOUTH EAST PLATINUM ENTRANCE, this is just down from the box office
- Tickets will be located just inside this entrance, so DO NOT go to the box office
- You will pick up your tickets and then head straight up the elevator to the ADMIRAL LEVEL – once you get off, you will immediately see the event
- We will have a few door prizes and you must be present to win – prizes given away around 7:15 ish
- Your tickets will be stamped for the Platinum Club access so you will be free to roam around the platinum level the entire night
- The event will conclude around 7:30 (game time)
- No ticket sales will be available at the game
- All tickets must be purchased by 5:00 on Wednesday Nov 19

I'm heading out with my friend, Terry for a wine tasting before the game. I think it's sponsored by the Stars, but do not know for sure. Will definitely update tomorrow. The Stars are playing the Chicago Blackhawks. Go STARS!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Oak Leaf Wines - Article from Dallas Morning News

$3 Wal-Mart wines hold their own in our taste test
12:45 PM CDT on Tuesday, October 28, 2008
By KIM PIERCE / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News Kim Pierce

With more than two dozen comments about Wal-Mart's Oak Leaf Vineyards wines on The Dallas Morning News Eats blog, most of them positive, we knew we had to put them to the test. Could a $2.97 bottle of wine really taste better than swamp water? And would it "fool" experienced wine drinkers?
As it turns out, the wines are better than you might think. The chardonnay won a gold medal at both the 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (chardonnays under $14.99) and the 2008 Florida State International Wine Competition. The Oak Leaf merlot and cabernet sauvignon earned bronze medals in the San Francisco contest.
Just in time for the holidays, we put Oak Leaf wines to the test with Dallas wine drinkers. We assembled a tasting panel in the upper sanctum of Adelmo's that included friends and regular customers of the restaurateur with a range of tasting expertise, from casual drinker to a former wine-and-spirits store owner.
The four wines were bagged and numbered before the tasters arrived. The score sheets asked tasters to rate the wines on a scale of 1 to 10, to circle the price at which the wine would be a bargain and to add comments.
"None of these are American," declared former Monticello Liquors owner Danny Chen just before their identities were unveiled. "The two reds were French." He liked the first and third wines, he said.

Just in time for the holidays, we put Oak Leaf wines to the test with Dallas wine drinkers.

"I liked the second one," said his wife, Celeste Chen. "I'd buy it right now. Do you have a case?"
"In the restaurant business," said owner Adelmo Banchetti, "you get to where you taste for, 'Can I sell it?' " For these wines, the answer was yes. He wrote in his tasting notes that No. 2 has mass appeal. "It would be the perfect house wine for most restaurants."
Then we unmasked the Oak Leaf Vineyards wines.
*No. 1: a pinot grigio-chardonnay blend
*No. 2: chardonnay
*No. 3: merlot
*No. 4: cabernet sauvignon
The panel was surprised and amazed to learn of the $3 price point. "That's a helluva deal," said Mr. Banchetti.

Everyone agreed the wines would be a bargain at three times the price and ideal for holiday entertaining. The wines don't say Wal-Mart anywhere, but if you're afraid friends might recognize the label, just put them in a nice carafe. No one will be the wiser.
Kim Pierce is a Dallas freelance writer.

The wines are made exclusively for Wal-Mart by Oak Leaf Vineyards in Ripon, Calif. Oak Leaf is part of the Wine Group, the country's second-largest wine company, according to a company spokeswoman. Some of its brands include Concannon, Corbett Canyon, Fish Eye, Big House, Herding Cats, Pinot Evil and Inglenook. O at Home featured Oak Leaf in its summer edition.
The Oak Leaf wines continue in the super-value mold of "Two Buck Chuck," wine made in 2002 by Charles Shaw for Trader Joe's, the California-based discount gourmet retailer, which sold them for $2 a bottle.

Oak Leaf wines are made by Turning Leaf Vineyards winemaker Mario Pulido. They are nonvintage, which gives the winery greater leeway in using grapes. Most are on the low side for alcohol, about 12 percent -- not a bad thing for a party wine.

Oak Leaf wines are available for $2.97 a bottle at Wal-Mart Supercenters.
Kim Pierce

Tasters were asked to rank the nonvintage Oak Leaf Vineyards wines on a scale of 1 to 10 (best).
They were also asked at what price the wines would be a bargain: $5, $10, $15 or other. The tasters agreed that Jack Zahniser wrote the best tasting notes, so they're included here.

Oak Leaf Vineyards Pinot Grigio
Rating: 5.8
A bargain at: $10
Tasting notes: Nice nose, crisp initial taste. A bit weak on the mid-palate. A little lime, kiwi, rose petal. Nice pool wine, with a bumpy finish.

Oak Leaf Vineyards Chardonnay
Rating: 5.9
A bargain at: $10 to $15
Tasting notes: Close nose with pineapple, cream, a bit of eucalyptus (ever so slight). Nice color, with a clean finish.
Oak Leaf Vineyards Merlot
Rating: 6
A bargain at: All over the map, from $5 to $30
Tasting notes: Blueberry-strawberry, lively red fruit. Nose is an earthy European terroir. Color is clean and clear. Short burst of a finish with lingering aftertaste.
Oak Leaf Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
Rating: 6.6
A bargain at: $5 to $30, with most at $10 or $15
Tasting notes: Muted black berries. A bit cloudy. Earthy terroir of a European nature. Soft finish that lingers. A wine that grows on you. Has an aged quality, but also feels young.

Kim Pierce

Adelmo's owner Adelmo Banchetti
Dallas real estate agent Joe Akers
Former Monticello Liquor owner and Dallas real estate agent Danny Chen
Dallas homemaker Celeste Chen
Dallas software implementation specialist Kim Tham
Dallas architect Jack Zahniser

Cinnamon + Sugar Brioche Toast