Monday, April 23, 2012

Bridesmaid Proposal

We got engaged this last September, and we just booked our wedding for June 2013 so now that the wedding was booked, it was time to pop the question to my gals! You would think I was making an actual proposal! For some reason, I was so nervous to ask my best friends to be bridesmaids and I knew I wanted to do something extra special rather than simply calling them up.  I decided on a bridesmaid brunch where I would ask the girls on top of a donut.

 I wanted to surprise them with the bridesmaid proposal, so I invited all the girls to my house for a casual Sunday brunch. On the menu was baked french toast, Strawberry Buttermilk donuts, fruit salad, vegan pineapple muffins, asparagus quiche, raspberry tea cake, and my favorite- a mimosa bar.

I always get flustered when planning anything, as I always want it to be totally perfect. I need to work on relaxing more. I think I could learn a lot from my idol, Ina Garten. She makes entertaining look so relaxed and breezy. I always remember her advice in not trying to make everything from scratch.

ohhhh Ina. let me live with you in the Hamptons. please?

I made these donuts with my new donut pan from Crate & Barrel. {I was so excited when I first got it,  I whipped these donuts up at 1 in the morning the night I got the donut pan. That was a particularly craaaazy Friday night, let me tell you!}

I baked up the strawberry donuts the night before the brunch and made toppers to stick in them, asking my sister to be my maid of honor, and 6 friends to be bridesmaids. One lives out in San Diego, so with the help of her sweet boyfriend, I was able to Face Time with her and ask her along with the other girls. I also invited my mom and my fiance's mom.

It was actually super awkard when I asked the girls. I had hoped to do it right away, but I got nervous (whyyy?) and waited until after we ate. I came out with the big tray and just put it on the table and started crying (whyyyy?)  and couldn't even ask them. I had no idea it would be that emotional. But they all said yes nd it was cute. I'm glad I asked them in a fun way and made a party of it. It was a lovely day filled with my favorite meal (brunch food is the best) and mimosas, of course. Everyone had fun, except for Dexter who I think was a little sad he wasn't asked to be a bridesmaid.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake & Pale Ale

My first beer and dessert pairing was Bananas Foster Cake and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.What a combination this was. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is an obvious first choice for my first beer tasting. It's an American Pale Ale and is a great "gateway" beer into the wide world of craft beers. Easy to drink and very enjoyable, it paired wonderfully with the bananas foster cake.


A light, buttery cake baked on top of bananas, toasted pecans and a hit of rum. I used this recipe, and it turned out better than I thought I was capable of.


thoroughly impressing myself.

I served this cake when my fiance's family came over for dinner. They all loved it, and it even tasted great a few days later, warmed up with some vanilla ice cream.

i couldn't help myself

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cambridge Brewing Company

A few weeks ago, my work hosted a Grand Tasting at the Pinehills Country Club in Plymouth. There were so many great beers there, but unfortunately I only got to try a few as I was manning the raffle tickets at the door. I did get to try a brand new beer from The House of Shandy called Curious Traveler Shandy, that just tasted like Summer. I could definitely see myself getting into a few these on the beach this summer. So refreshing and delicious.

Shock Top just introduced a shandy as well, which is also really good!


Another few beers I got to try were from Cambridge Brewing Company. It was so cool --  I got to meet the brewmaster, Will Meyers, and hear his notes and pairing thoughts about the beers. Cambridge Brewing Company is the oldest brewery-restaurant in the Boston area and of the first in the US. Will explained to me how exquisitely their beers pair with food, which I definitely could tell when trying them.

The first beer I tried on recommendation of a coworker was the Weekapaug Gruit, which isn't even available yet. Will explained it was about a week shy of full fermentation (I hope I'm remembering his actual terms...) but he wanted to be able to share it at the tasting so he bottled some of it early in a growler. It was so good and as Will pointed out (which I totally noticed), a caramel flavor and then a sort of herbal tea flavor at the end, which I loved. It's out this month, so hopefully I'll be able to pick up more of it!

The second I tried was their Sgt. Pepper. I loved the name of it, first off, and upon trying it, was taken aback by how interesting it was. The notes of pepper were unexpected yet awesome, and my first thought of how wonderful it would pair with a lemony chicken.  Will said it's a great beer to pair with foods like goat cheese, poultry and game meat. He said the chef paired it with a rabbit stew and he said it was the best food and beer pairing he's ever had.  Their website describes the beer as:

Four fab peppercorns harmonize with spicy hops while rye malt and our Belgian yeast hold down the backbeat. This groovy farmhouse ale is a limited release, far out with food and guaranteed to raise a smile! 6.0% ALC/VOL.

Totally agreed! Hopefully I can get to the Cambridge Brewing Co. soon!


Friday, April 6, 2012

The Art of Beer Whispering

image from Society 6

There's a ton of literature out there explaining the proper tasting techniques when tasting beer. Anyone familiar with tasting wine, knows that you have to get all of your senses involved to appreciate the entire experience. In actually tasting a beer, as opposed to the ever tasteful art of shotgunning of a beer {I mean, I wouldn't know but I can guess)}, one can really discover the true depth of a beer, with all of its flavors and character. 

I also think it's important to keep in mind there are no wrong answers, or I'll just simply keep telling myself that. But seriously, I've always thought that everyone tastes differently - a beer too bitter for one person, might be sweet for another. And let's get real: it's beer. It's supposed to be fun. Here's a standard method of tasting beer as outlined on
  • Appearance
    • Color - one of the methods brewers use to describe a beer's color is the Standard Reference Method (or SRM). This method involves the use of spectrophotometry to assign a number of degrees SRM to light intensity.  hmm.. read this article to get down to the science of it. In real life, color descriptions will suffice (such as Dark Amber in color). But how smart would you sound describing a beer as 15 SRM?
    • Head- the foam on top of the beer
    • Carbonation Levels
  • Aroma (What does it smell like?)
  • Flavor (What does it taste like?)
  • Mouthfeel (How does the liquid feel on  your tongue?)
  • Overall Impression ( you like it?!)
Another way I found to go about tasting a beer a little less technically is called Beer Whispering, also from It seems like it creates a more memorable and abstract tasting experience, drawing upon more than just the liquid's characteristics. I like how this method really drives home the point, that there are no right or wrong tasting opinions and keeps it a little more open-ended. {Beer geeks, relax please.}
Beer Whispering
Express out loud what the beer has to say. Is it:
  • Happy/Sad?
  • What kind of aroma does it have?
  • Does it taste heavy or light?
  • Does the beverage inspire you?
  • Is it memorable?
  • What food would it best pair with?
I hearby declare this to be the new way I will drink beer from now on, by whether or not a beer inspires me. So profound. I love it.
Just to be clear and to wrap it up (you're welcome) don't ever shy away from stating your opinions about a beer. Your opinion and tasting notes are all that matters,anyways. It's beer - it's supposed to be FUN.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

For the love of beer

Did you know that the Pilgrims stopped at the Plymouth Rock rather than continuing on to Virginia because they ran out of beer?

So many styles.. so little time.

It's so important, an entirely new civilization was created due to a lack of it.

I can totally relate to this sort of love for beer. While I thoroughly enjoy it, and even work at a beer distributor, I’ve always wanted to further explore the different styles and history of beer. I thought starting this blog would be a fun way to try all the different beer styles and expand my beer knowledge (sure to be a grueling task).  Beers, especially the really heavy, dark beers can sometimes be intimidating, especially for the very devote Bud Light drinkers (I’m talking to you, Traci). 

I felt blogging about beer mixed in with my day to day life--whether it's paired with desserts or at a party I'm hosting-- would make it less daunting, while also highlighting the fact that beer is taken to a whooooole new amazing level when really, truly savored. {as all good things in life should be} So read on-- there are sure to be many delicious beers, sweet indulgences, run on sentences, ridiculous ramblings, and absolutely no misuses of there and their and your and you're (serious pet peeve of mine. your welcome.)