Peanut Butter Protein Balls

If you are anything like me, I am always looking for ways to make things that will save me time during the week. I always need something quick to grab that will also keep me on track with my goals. This is one of those fun easy ideas that has saved me more times than I can count. These are sweet, salty and a great way to satisfy a snack craving or give you a quick burst of energy before a workout or when you are dragging your way through the afternoon. What are your favorite snacks?



1 Cup Rolled Oats

1 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Shavings

1 T Chia Seeds

1 t Coarse Salt (I like pink, grey or Kosher)

1 ¼ Cup Natural Peanut Butter (I usually use Justin’s smooth, but use your favorite!)

½ Cup Maple Syrup (the real stuff!)

3-4 T Unsweetened Dried Bing Cherries

½ T Vanilla

In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients (oats, coconut, chia, and salt). Add peanut butter, maple syrup, cherries and vanilla and mix well. Divide the mixture into 12-24 balls. (I tend to like making them smaller so I can manage the portions). Place them on a parchment paper lined sheet and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Enjoy!




Need a quick and easy dinner? Try Sole!

Whole foods had a sale on dover sole, and it looked fresher than any other in the case, so I picked some up. I hadn’t had sole in twenty years, so I was excited to try it. I had to come up with a quick dinner and since the filets are thin it cooks quickly. Don’t get over-sole-d (sorry!), though, you don’t really need a full half pound per person. I used about 2/3 lb for two.

Filet of sole used to be on menus all the time, the intro to fish dishes since it didn’t taste “fishy”. It was one of my first big attempts at fancy dinner back in the 70’s. I think the recipe was from Simca’s Cuisine or Mastering the Art of French cooking. Julia Child or her partner in crime created it and it was sole wrapped around spinach. I don’t think I have ever had more dishes in my life. Including Thanksgiving.

My sole is quick and easy, so don’t worry.

Put about a half cup of flour on a plate. Sprinkle the flour with salt, pepper and paprika.

Heat a pan on medium high heat with a little grapeseed oil, enough to shimmer. Place the coated sole, in the pan taking care not to overcrowd. After a minute or two flip over and cook the other side till just undercooked.

As the filets are finished, remove to a hot dish and keep warm in the oven.

Clean the pan with a paper towel.

Melt one or two tablespoons of butter, swirly in a tablespoon of mustard and a splash of white wine. Sprinkle in a tablespoon of capers.

Put the fish back in the pan to coat with sauce. I used Fallot Dijon Provencale, which is infused with red pepper and garlic. Serve with steamed broccoli or the fancy cauliflower which I used.

Filet of Sole Dinner

Note: The products are some I like and I didn’t receive compensation or product for those in this post

Celebrate Spring with this Easy Salad

Sometimes you just don’t want a heavy dinner to celebrate with family and friends. Here’s a recent celebration dinner we had when we had an early flight over the Easter. We still wanted to get together and have a nice meal, so we opted for an early dinner featuring salad. It turned into a riff on Salade Nicoise, with Chicken instead of Tuna. Simple, clean and worked remarkably well for six people.


Here’s how it’s done:

6 chicken breasts

½ lb of bacon, cooked crisp and cut into small pieces

Your favorite Teriyaki sauce

1 Pineapple

1lb haricot verte

1lb asparagus

1lb small mushrooms, halved or quartered

Chopped tomatoes

1 head Romaine

4c arugula

1 small package marble or fingerling potatoes

Olive oil


½ c blue cheese

½ c goat cheese

Preheat Oven to 375.

Preheat grill when ready to cook chicken.

Early in the day, marinate the 6 chicken breasts in teriyaki sauce (I prefer Soy Vay). Grill the pineapple.

image5Clean the greens and spin in a salad spinner. Wrap in a kitchen towel or paper towels until needed.

Toss cleaned, and quartered mushrooms into 1T olive oil and crush one clove of garlic over the mushrooms and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss.

Put mushrooms in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until lightly browned and slightly dehydrated.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the haricot verte, plunge into ice water to cool and retain it’s color. Drain with strainer, dry and chill.

In the same pot blanch the potatoes until fork tender, drain and chill.

Meanwhile, prepare a mustard vinaigrette:

½ c. Olive Oil

1T Dijon mustard

3T Red wine vinegar

Juice of 1 lemon

Mix ingredients in a small jar and salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare a large platter by pouring 1T vinaigrette in the bottom and spreading around with a paper towel. Layer the chopped romaine, top with arugula. Put a quarter of the haricot verte on each corner of the platter, fill in with potatoes, tomatoes (if preferred you can toss the vegies in the dressing first). Slice the chicken and pineapple and serve on the top or the side along with the cheeses.

image1Serve with French bread and good butter.

This turned into a fun and clean eating Easter dinner which can be used for small events throughout Spring and Summer. What could you celebrate with this salad supper?

Beef & Sweet Potato Dog Food

Beef & Sweet Potato Dog Food

If you’re anything like me, you love your furbabies! On and off for years I have been cooking for my Labradors. Now that spring has sprung and allergy season is here, the dogs in our world are especially itchy! Homemade dog food reduces their gluten intake and can help with allergies. It’s also a great place to “hide” medicine if you grind it up and add it to the food!

I try to use the cleanest ingredients for my pet food, so don’t go buying the cheapest, highest fat meat at the store. I also use a lot of wild game meat, typically the meat that is too chewy for people to eat like tendons, leg meat, neck meat etc. When using game meat, make sure to both freeze and cook to a high temperature to kill and parasites that may have been in the animal.

Junior Supervising

You want the basic breakdown of the food for dogs to be:

  • 30% protein (egg, fish, chicken, beef)
  • 40% carbs (brown rice, sweet potato, chickpeas, oats, etc)
  • 25% fat (chicken fat, pork fat, fish oil, coconut oil, canola oil)

I always try to add supplements like glucosamine, calcium (including egg shells) and for allergies a Claritin (vet recommended).

You will want to make sure that your dog is getting enough calories for their size. Junior is 83lbs and gets 1 ½ cups tightly packed food twice a day.

This recipe and process is not an exact science but you do want to make you’re your dog is getting enough calories/day based on how much exercise they get. Here is a guideline to how much your dog should be eating:

Weight in Lbs Calories/Day
5 185-235
10 305-390
15 415-530
20 515-650
25 600-780
30 700-900
40 860-1100
50 1020-1300
65 1240-1600
80 1450-1870

When I make dog food, I like to make A LOT so my recipe is bulk and will require freezer space. This is the typical mix of food I use after several times that the mix came out too smelly. I don’t like using fish in high quantities because it is higher in price and…fishy. Once we made fish, broccoli, spinach and egg dog food and the animals smelled for weeks. I also avoid using beans because just like in people, they make dogs fart…a lot!

When you’re done cooking, the food should look good enough for you to eat for dinner, it just might need some salt!

Junior licking the pans!

Beef & Sweet Potato Dog Food

  • 12 lbs ground beef
  • 8 large sweet potatoes
  • 15 large carrots
  • 16-18 cups organic oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Organic Oats, you can get a GIANT bag at CostCo)
  • ¼ cup Fish Oil
  • 3 Cups Coconut Oil
  • 1 Bottle of Glucosamine (I buy from Trader Joes because it’s the best price, but you can use anything)
  • ¼ cup Peanut Butter
  • 18 whole eggs

Set oven to 400º. Start simmering beef, coconut oil, fish oil and peanut butter in extra large pot or a few pots if you don’t have anything big enough. Grate both the sweet potatoes and carrots in your Cuisinart (if you don’t have a food processer, chop both veggies as small as possible). Add grated sweet potatoes and carrots to beef mixture.

Place the eggs, shells included, in Vitamix or Ninja blender and emulsify. It’s important to keep the eggshells for an extra calcium boost. Add Glucosamine and any other solid pills to the eggs and blend. Add egg mixture to beef.

Let the beef and veggie mixture simmer until beef is mostly cooked (about 20-30min). Mix in the oats and transfer to casserole or roasting pans and place in the oven uncovered. Cook for 45 min.

We used the sink to stir in the oats.

Once cooked, let cool for hours or overnight, then store the appropriate serving size for your dog in Ziploc bags. I typically keep 5-7 days worth of food in the refrigerator and freeze the rest. In the freezer the food keeps for at least 6 months.

All packaged in Ziploc Sandwich bags

Your furbaby will thank you!

Puppy Wagner chowing down

English Pea Soup

There is nothing like Spring. Everything seems to come to life overnight. One of the best things here in Colorado are the lilac bushes with beautiful pops of purple and white all over town! As Spring gets into full swing, I like to start bringing new and fresh flavors into my kitchen. We are not quite ready for the farmer’s market, but luckily Trader Joe’s has already shelled peas that were perfect for this soup. It is easily one of the easiest and best things I have made in a long time. Seriously, SO EASY. Inspired by Thomas Keller’s recipe, the color is just beautiful. Keller’s technique for cooking the peas is key here. You boil the peas in water seasoned with lots of salt and sugar. It ends up being almost all of the seasoning for the soup. The Vitamix makes this perfectly smooth and a lovely texture. As you all know, I am a big fan of homemade chicken stock, I replaced the water in the recipe with chicken stock, not necessary, but a little extra depth. The compliment of lemon creme fraiche really brought it to life. This is one that can be served hot or cold. I ate it both ways and it was great either way. If you are planning to serve this as a main course, the recipe serves two, if it is a starter, you could stretch to four servings, but it is easily doubled or tripled. If you use the shelled peas from Trader Joe’s, I think you need 1 bag per person for a meal. Toast up a little garlic toast on the side for a little crunch. I think this would be a great thing for a shower served in pretty vessels. I know this will grace my table again! If you are looking for something new for Spring, give it a try!


English Pea Soup

  • 2 10oz. Bags shelled English Peas (or 3 lbs shelled fresh peas or 3 cups frozen peas)
  • 3 quarts water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup water or chicken stock, add half a cup to start and more as needed
  • 4 oz. creme fraiche
  • Zest of one lemon, plus 1 TBSP juice
  • drizzle of good quality olive oil (optional)
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Pea Shoots or Chive for garnish

Bring water, sugar, and salt to a boil in a large pot. Add half of the peas, and boil for 6-8 minutes for fresh, or 4-5 minutes for frozen, or until tender.

Fill a large bowl with water and ice, and have it standing by when the peas are done cooking. Remove the peas from the pot with a skimmer or slotted spoon, and place them directly into the ice bath. This will stop the cooking, and help preserve their bright color. Return the water to a boil and repeat with the rest of the peas.

Drain the cooked peas from the ice water, and add them to a blender or food processor. Add ½ cup fresh stock or water, and puree until completely smooth. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add more water as needed. If you don’t have a powerful blender, you can pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve. (I did not find this to be necessary with my blender, but it might make a silkier soup). Use a scraper or rubber spatula to press all the liquid through. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. I added fresh cracked pepper at this point. You couldn’t see it, but I think it adds something. If the consistency is too thick, add more water to thin as needed. Optionally, stir in a TBSP or so of good quality olive oil, to enhance the velvety texture of the soup and add flavor.


Soup can be warmed on the stove, or chilled in the fridge before serving. When you’re ready to serve, whisk together the creme fraiche, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Serve alongside the soup, or drizzle it over to garnish (you can thin the creme fraiche with a bit more lemon juice, or water, to create a thin enough consistency for drizzling). Serve as is, or garnish with more olive oil & chopped chives or fresh pea sprouts. TA DA! The perfect way to impress your family or guests!


My Blue Apron Experience

I had the good fortune of being gifted a week of Blue Apron for Christmas this year! I had been interested in trying a meal delivery service like this for a while now. My first impression was really positive. I clicked on the link from my gift email and easily got setup and chose the meals I wanted for the week. My box arrived right on schedule and well packed. It was easy to sift through everything and get it laid out to cook when ready. All of the meals were really tasty! I give Blue Apron credit for coming up with new and interesting meals each week without repeating things.


The three meals I received were Baked Ricotta Cannelloni, Chipotle Vegetable & Farro Salad and Vegetable Fried Rice Bowls. In all three cases, the instructions were easy to follow and the ingredients were very fresh. I am a pretty practiced cook and the first thing I noticed was that it took me MUCH longer than the estimated times to complete these meals. While that didn’t matter on the days I was cooking, it would have been a bummer after a long day at work. If I had another set of hands, we may have gotten it done quicker. The other thing is that these recipes required ALOT of dishes; more than I think is really necessary. For example, in the vegetable fried rice, the recipe had you roast the cauliflower. While that tasted good with a nuttiness coming from the roasting process, however, if you cooked all of the veggies in one pan (like a wok), you could cut both the time and the dishes. They also wanted you to fry eggs for the top of the dish in a separate pan, which I skipped all together to cut calories, but I have just whisked and then cooked the egg in the same wok as the rest of the meal in my own version. I am certain the texture adds dimension, but as a home cook, I really want a way to find that dimension without making a mess of my entire kitchen. Same with the farro salad, you needed one bowl for the pickling of the shallot and radish, a pan for roasting veggies, pot for farro, bowl for mixing and mice en place bowls for all of the pieces. I have often made giant messes in my kitchen, but these recipes gave me a full dish washer everyday and for just one person, that is a lot to tackle.


Chipotle Vegetable & Farro Salad

Tucked inside the little bags labeled “Kick Knacks,” were the nutrition facts for these recipes. One things that really surprised me was that the Cannelloni had the least calories at 710 the Farro Salad & Fried Rice were both 760. That is way more calories than I regularly want in a meal. I usually target closer to 500 calories per meal. As I mentioned before, I left some things out to cut some calories.


Leftover Items – Plenty of Flavor, Less Calories

There were some things that were provided that you really didn’t need to use all of that were really high in calories (ie- sesame oil, cashews, eggs, and extra sauce). Some of those things really add a lot of punch without needing a lot of volume. The Cannelloni really was 2 servings, but I do think the other two recipes will stretch further, so I can save myself on some calories and get an extra couple meals for the week!


Roasted Vegetable Fried Rice

I will reiterate, I really enjoyed these meals! They gave me a new twist on things I have made in the past and got me cooking things I wouldn’t usually make. I learned to cook farro, which I love and have not made at home before. I can see Blue Apron being a great fit for a couple wanting to try some new things. I think I am a bit critical of recipes to begin with and am usually lucky if I follow it 80%. In these cases, I stuck pretty close to the recipes since I had all the ingredients. I might think about trying this again, but would really prefer something with healthier options.


Baked Ricotta Cannelloni

I think my favorite was the cannelloni and meyer lemon salad. The salad was the perfect compliment to the pasta dish. It felt fresh and comforting all at the same time. I also think that was the easiest of the recipes, though it did take me about an hour start to finish. Everything was enjoyable and it got me back in the kitchen and inspired again. I loved getting to try it out and may look for another version to compare. Let me know if you have tried it!


Kitchen Staples: Frozen Chicken Stock

We all have things that we always have on hand. The things that we can’t imagine cooking without. For me, I always have good olive oil, multiple kinds of salt, fresh pepper, balsamic and red wine vinegar, and homemade chicken stock. In fact, I even made stock one day when we were in the middle of moving just so I wouldn’t waste the bones and veggies I had in my freezer saved for stock. My BF loves to tell the story of the day I lost it making stock surrounded by boxes. 😉

I really can’t imagine being without homemade chicken stock. It is one of those things that does not even resemble canned stock. But, keeping it fresh is impossible. So, what do you do? Chicken stock freezes very well. I have tried it in many kinds of containers: take out containers, Ziplocks, etc. I always want to know what serving I have frozen, so I can throw it in to a recipe without thinking. I recently found a great solution for this. We have all seen silicone ice cube trays that are made for fancy big ice cubes for cocktails. It is the perfect thing for stock! Mine holds about 1/2 cup of stock and I ended up with a gallon Ziplock full of them for my freezer. I still like a gallon Ziplock to give me the option to make soup at a later date, but smaller portions make a difference for things like quinoa, sauce, or adding depth and flavor to anything. Try it out!


Green Smoothie Packs

I am always looking for ways to prepare for the week ahead and save myself some time. One of my biggest tips for success is making your morning as easy as possible with make ahead freezer Smoothie Packs. Our Vitamix is easily the most used tool in our kitchen. When both of us are home, we use it at least once a day. I like making green smoothies, but I hate making a mess in the morning. It always feels like a big to-do to get out a thousand ingredients, make sure things are fresh and pull it all together and then get it cleaned up before work. I was finding myself skipping it and opting for a yogurt that was quick and easy on my way out the door.

This is my solution; spend an hour to make 15 Smoothie Packs and stick them in the freezer. I find I don’t have to worry about wasting my fresh greens, I use almond milk or water and am on my way. Each pack makes two smoothies and I throw the extra in a Blender Bottle for the next morning. (Or great to share with someone else. :)) Let me tell you, that is VERY convenient on days when you need to be up and moving early. Those extra early days, I even grind my coffee beans the night before, set up my french press and fill the kettle with water to get myself a shot of caffeine without any fuss.

Now I know not everyone loves the idea of greens in their smoothie. I love that I can get a couple extra servings of veggies in before I start the day. We consider this about the Blue run version of green smoothies. My Green run starter version for newbies would use only spinach and ease into adding kale and other veggies. You will see that I include broccoli and carrots and I swear you will never know they are there. Sometimes I use the stocks of broccoli I am planning to cook and chop them into pieces, that way you are getting more bang for your buck. For a Black Diamond version, add Spirulina, Apple Cider Vinegar, or Cod Liver Oil (or all three!) This is a great way to hide healthy things in your diet, but beware, we have had a few versions that were a little too green.

In most cases, I hit up Costco and Trader Joe’s and get veggies that are already chopped to save some effort. One thing to pay attention to is trying not to let your frozen fruit melt as you build your packs. If you do, you end up with a giant fruitcicle in the bottom of your bags that can be tough to break up. (Trust me, I know!)

My mom makes her own non-green version, which we will share soon. Her’s are equally easy and super tasty!

Enjoy an easy way to get a healthy start to your day!


Green Smoothie Packs

Quart Size Ziplocks

Large Bag each Spinach and Chopped Kale

Variety of Frozen Fruit (4-6 Small bags)

Bananas, Sliced (Optional)

Bag of Broccoli Florets

Bag of Baby Carrots

Vanilla Protein Powder

Hemp/Chia/Flax Seeds (you can throw whole seeds into a Vitamix, for some blenders, use powdered versions)

Almond Milk


Lay out all your ingredients (pulling one or two bags of frozen fruit out at a time). Measure 1 cup of mixed frozen fruit and add to the bottom of your quart size bag. Put a couple broccoli florets and a few baby carrots next. Then add one handful of each spinach and kale. Next add 1 T of your choice of seeds and 1 scoop of protein powder. Carefully remove some of the air as you zip them closed. I tend to measure the ingredients that are high calorie and higher sugar and not worry too much about being exact with my greens. They are a great low calorie way to get lots of great things into your diet.


Put in the freezer as you complete them. (By putting the heavy ingredients on the bottom, when inverted into the blender, they will help push the greens down to the blades).


As needed, pull one smoothie pack out of the freezer and add to the blender. Add 1-2 cups of your choice of liquid. I like almond milk or water. Blend until smooth. Split into two portions, put one in a Blender Bottle in the fridge to be used the next day.

The great things about this is that you can use your favorite things! Whatever you prefer; throw it in! Get creative and adjust to your own taste. We started by replicating our favorite Whole Foods smoothies, and ended up removing the juice as we got used to drinking greens. If you prefer it, use a bit of juice too. All of these ingredients cost me about $25, that is less than $1.75 per smoothie! (The protein and hemp last through many more smoothies). Much better than the $8 Whole Foods versions. I always feel better and have more energy when I start my day with a green smoothie; I hope you enjoy too!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Winter has come again to Colorado! A lot has happened over the last year and we will have a ton to update you on, but for now I thought I would share a quick dinner that doubles as a great leftovers for lunches for the week. When weeks get busy it is always nice to have something healthy that packs a punch and makes life easier and this fits the bill. My great grandmother had a fantastic recipe for Hungarian Stuffed Peppers that has long been a family favorite, especially great for a cold winter’s night. The thing about that recipe is that it is not the lightest food out there. Stuffed with ground meat and rice then simmered in tomato sauce makes for a hearty meal that “sticks to the ribs.” I found a way to lighten it up a little and still get a lot of flavor.

Our Whole Foods always has a ton of sausages with great flavors. I have found that one or two of these really pack a punch and add just enough flavor without adding too much bulk. When you spend a little more on something that adds lots of flavor, you don’t have to buy much and can get a lot out of it. I have used their teriyaki pineapple, or barbecue bacon sausages that add some interest without me having to do a lot of work. For the quinoa, I like to use a rainbow variety that adds some interest and color and cook it in some chicken stock that I keep in the freezer to add flavor. It helps a lot to take that one extra step rather than just using water. I always keep chicken stock in the freezer, but broth would work too. By sauteing spinach, you can get some extra veggies and all those nutrients in and it cooks down to almost nothing in no time, in the same pan you used to cook the sausage and then just toss in the quinoa. Make sure you like what you taste and stuff in the bell peppers. Bake for 15 min and you are done! I just throw them into tupperware for lunch and it is grab and go. The other great thing about this is that you can always use it to empty your fridge and use stuff up! Be creative; anything goes!


1 Cup Rainbow Quinoa

2 Cups Chicken Broth

2 Sausages, Sauteed

1 Bag Spinach

1/2 Lemon

1 Shallot, thinly sliced

4 Bell Peppers, Tops & Seeds Removed

Prepare Quinoa in chicken broth. Saute shallot with the sausages (removed from casings and crumbled) until browned. Add spinach to the pan and squeeze lemon over the top and cover for 2 min. Stir the spinach into the sausage then add the quinoa. Taste and season as you like. Stuff the peppers and place upright in a baking dish. Bake at 375° for 15-20 min until peppers are tender. Enjoy immediately or as leftovers.


Enjoy the lead up to the holidays! One of my favorite times of the year! Happy cooking!


Thanksgiving Wines

Thanksgiving is one of those meals that it can be tricky to find just the right wine to fit the bill. Do you try to please everyone? Do you try to fit the foods? But there are so many! There are a lot of ways to look at it but the most important thing to keep in mind is that no matter what you are enjoying, you are doing it with those you love. That said, there are things you can do to make complement a great meal.

As many of you know, our family loves to cook. The wonderful man in my life has taken on the challenge of learning the nuances of wine to complement any meal and this year it was Thanksgiving. He decided to begin the meal with with Champagne to wake everyone up and start the celebration! In my opinion, it is a great way to begin any meal. We then have a white, a California Red, a French Red, followed by a number of Digestif options to round out the meal. It will be a fun experience to complement our lovely celebration.

If you are looking for a jumping off point to learn about wine I highly recommend Wine Folly. Both the book and the website are very accessible and very easy to read. I find a lot of wine resources very intimidating and over my head and this made me feel like I could understand and took my knowledge to the next level very quickly. Below you will find the pairings to accompany our menu described wonderfully by the aforementioned BF.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Jaquesson Grand Cuvée de Champagne, Cuvée N° 737, Extra Brut                      2009
Champagne, FRA

Champagne is a fantastic aperitif, and it helps to wake up the palate for other food and wine along throughout the night. Jacquesson is a special favorite of ours as it was introduced to us during a celebratory (and one of our earliest) date nights! This Champagne in particular is very dry and has intense structure and texture – but real talk: nothing gets things moving like the sound of a bottle of Champagne being uncorked to get a day of food and drink off to the right start.



Domaine Louis Michel “Montee de Tonnerre”, Chablis 1er Cru                           2012
Chablis, Cote d’Or, FRA

Chablis has had a bad reputation thanks to some mass-produced varieties which usurp the name, but French Chablis is in a class of its own. Traditionally paired with seafood, Chablis is a surprisingly wonderful Thanksgiving white wine, especially with turkey! Although Chablis is a chardonnay, they are notably different from the oak-forward chardonnays. It might be more apt to think of Chablis as a different varietal altogether. These wines are made almost entirely in steel barrels, are often very flinty and crisp, and much more pale and dry than chardonnay. The Montee de Tonnerre in particular derives all of its power from the very essence of Chablis; if your family around the Thanksgiving table were buttery chardonnays, this would be the distant cousin who lives in the lighthouse by the ocean in Nova Scotia.

Williams Selyem “Westside Road Neighbors”, Pinot Noir                                   2013
Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, USA

Williams Selyem produces some of the best wine in California – a title not easily won but certainly deserved. Pinot Noir, in particular, is its forte – produced in a Burgundian style that will feature a lot of light body, high acidity, and explosive cranberry and cherry. This wine is fantastic for cutting through some of the rich flavors of Thanksgiving, and pairs extremely well with other meats beyond turkey. The Westside Road Neighbors is a knockout fruit-forward wine with aromas and flavors that ought to rival even the best side dishes (consider yourself on notice, stuffing).

Paul Jaboulet Aîné “La Chapelle”, Hermitage                                                           1998
Syrah, Northern Rhône, FRA


Richer foods demand a richer wine – and texture is something to consider in this kind of pairing, so it’s great to be offering a much more powerful red counterpart to the Westside Road Neighbors as represented in this Hermitage (or Syrah blend). Considerably more powerful with crushed berries and grill roasted flavors, this wine ought to be able to stand up to a second helping of that smoked turkey this year with relative ease. While other wines might lose out to rich dishes, this Syrah ought to bring them down to earth.


Saison Dupont “Vieille Provision”, Belgian Farmhouse Ale                                 2015
West-Hainaut, BEL

Though you might not think it were true, one of the best pairings you can put together with pumpkin pie might very well be Belgian-style beer…if you have the room for it! The lightness of the beer ought to do a number to dessert stuck to the roof of your mouth – and its lightly bitter flavor acts as a capable offset to pie and other desserts.

Lagavulin 16 Single-Malt Islay, Scotch                                                                         NV
Islay, SCT

Figuratively liquid smoke without the fire in the strongest possible terms. If the smoked turkey hasn’t satisfied your smoke cravings, the Lagavulin will seal the deal. This 16-year old Islay will keep you intrigued even after the last dish clears from the table – as well as thankful for a Black Friday that doesn’t involve shopping.

Lorzenzo Inga “Gavi di Gavi”, Grappa Cortese                                                          NV
Piedmonte, ITA

A good digestif aids significantly in the process of digestion – so there’s more utility in this than you might realize! To reduce it down to its simplest terms, an after-dinner drink is anything following dessert and coffee, and grappa is really a standard-bearer of digestifs.

Amaro Montenegro di Bologna, Amari                                                                        NV
Bologna, ITA

For a lighter digestif, the Amari of Italy really will find room to spread its wings in the wake of a Thanksgiving meal. They help settle the stomach and start digestion well, and Montenegro is a light and citrus-forward way to finish without the bite of grappa or the smoke of scotch.