Monday, June 27, 2011

Good Wine, Good Times

Hi friends! :)

Happy Monday, right?!

If you're having a case of the Mondays, you might want to scroll down to the bottom of this post, and get your dose of happiness first, then come back and learn about my weekend.  Ok, go!!

{Welcome back if you're just joining me again, and I hope you are now feeling very heart-warmed and a little bit happier!}

Anyway, I wish I could say that I have lots of fun pictures from this weekend, but I only have a couple for you (2 is better than none, right??).

So, Friday night, Justin & I had a little date night again, which included a trip to one of my new favorite places - Lynfred Winery.

I became a "member" at the Roselle Lynfred location when I went there with my wine club last month.

We figured out that the Wheeling location is actually closer to our new apartment, so we headed up there to enjoy a tasting and pick up my monthly bottle of wine.

We sampled 7 different wines, and picked up a bottle of the Chardonnay and the Tempranillo, which were our favorites of the bunch.

If you live in the Chicago area and haven't checked out Lynfred yet, I'd highly recommend.

They are *very* generous with their tasting samples (a tasting is only $7 for members/$9 for non-members), and it makes for a great date night or girls night out! :)

In keeping with the wine theme, Saturday night I met up with some of the girls from wine club for an "around the world" party at my friend Christina's brand new home.

This was not like the "around the world parties" I remember from college, where you'd go from room to room trying a different drink or shot.  There was really nothing international about the whole business, other than maybe your speech when it was all done.

Our wine club "around the world" party was a really cool idea -- we each brought an appetizer or a dessert from a country of our choice, and then brought a bottle of wine from that country.

Some of you might remember from Friday that I planned to bring baked brie & lemon bars (France, duhhh) along with my wine.

I did get all of the stuff together for the brie, but for some reason, when it came down to it, I was really not in the mood to bake the lemon bars.

In true lazy form...I went down to a bakery in Skokie, Sweetie Pies, to pick up some french-esque desserts (thank you again, Yelp!, you never fail me!).

I ended up with some of these cute little cake balls, which I'm going to refer to as "bon bons," because it sounds more French.

The cakes were all either vanilla or chocolate, covered with white chocolate or dark chocolate, and I'm pretty sure there was a little cream involved.  They were literally melt in your mouth good.

I will definitely be heading back to Sweetie Pies, because their desserts were a hit, and they had free samples.

{In case you haven't caught on, it really doesn't take much more than some free samples to gain my loyalty.}

Since I have been so scatter-brained lately, I was a terrible blogger, and I forgot to take pictures of the food before the festivities started.

I did, however, capture the aftermath:

The spread included: Mini-quiches, crab salad + cucumbers, pita bread + vodka sauce with feta, poutine, bacon-wrapped dates, baked brie (remnants on the bottom right), the "bon bons" (pictured just to the left of the water bottle, haha), and lots of wine!

The baked brie I make is SUPER easy.

Jessica's Easy Baked Brie: 

The ingredients involve: 

1 cricular wheel of brie (I like alouette double creme baby brie)
1 roll of crescent roll dough (8 rolls)
1/3 cup apple butter (or you can use jam)

To make the cheesy goodness: 

Step #1: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Step #2: Take an ungreased cookie sheet and mold together the edges of 4 crescent rolls (so 4 triangles) to form a rectangle-type shape.

Step #3: Place the wheel of brie on top (in the middle, roughly) of the crescent-roll base.

Step #4: Spoon your topping (either apple butter or jam) on top of the brie top.  {You can always add a couple more spoonfulls, if you're feeling really jammy!}.

Step #5: Mold together the edges of 2 more of the crescent rolls, and place on top of the brie + apple butter.

Step #6: Pull up the edges of the bottom dough, and form the pastry all together around the brie so that it is well-covered (you will still have 2 more crescent rolls left to use if you see any brie peaking out!).

Step #7: Bake the brie in the oven for 11 to 13 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.

Step #8: Remove from oven, let it cool for just a few minutes, and serve it up! You can eat the cheese with any kind of crackers served on the side, or, if you're like me, all by itself! :)

I had an absolute blast enjoying all of the goodies and trying the various wines on Saturday night!

It is always great to spend some time with my wine club girls, and I was so happy to finally be able to see my friend Christina and her fiance Matt's new home -- it is so beautiful and really makes me look forward to owning my own home someday! :)

Before I get back to my studying for the day, I wanted to give you all a quick heads up that I have a guest post up today over at my friend Jenny's blog - Fitness Health & Food.  I'm talking a little bit about myself (always fun), and giving you another great treadmill set & my newest playlist.  Ch-ch-check it out! :)

Also, for your Monday dose of happiness, you should check out this new blog I found, based on a book called "The Happiness Project." The author, Gretchen Rubin, embarked on a year-long project studying various theories on how to be happier.

The site and book offer a lot of great insights, including this video I stumbled upon today, which brought tears (happy tears!) to my eyes.

I'm not sure if it was the sentimental message, or some friendly female hormones, but this one really got me choked up.

The video was a great message for me to hear, especially right now as I have been wishing away the days of bar exam studying h-e-double-hockey-sticks.  What a wonderful reminder that every day is a gift - that is why it is called the PRESENT! :)

Have a great afternoon & evening, everyone.

I'm serving up some brain food tonight, and I might try to throw a little Bachelorette action in there somewhere! :)




  1. HI! Just found your blog after reading your guest glad I did :). I'll be back for sure!

  2. Aww thanks!! :) Glad you stopped by!

  3. I love the idea of an around the world wine party! :) Such a great way to get together with the girls :)

    I'm also a big fan of baked brie, nothing tops brie expect when it's all gooey and warm :)

    I'm sending you a big HUG and all sorts of positive vibes - I can only imagine how tough it is to be studying so long and hard for the bar. I know you can do it! :)

    Thank you so much for putting together such an awesome guest post! It was so helpful to me and I know FHF readers loved it! :)

  4. Thanks for the wine props - we think you're the tops! - Your friends at Lynfred