Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Seedlings are Grounded!

My seedlings, which I lovingly grew from seed were placed into the ground this past weekend. It was one week past my intended planting day of Mother's Day. My husband plants my garden every year with direction from me :-)  for Mother's Day. This year, while visiting his mom the day before Mother's Day (as is our tradition), he was trying to imitate some martial arts moves that his younger brother was showing him. While he impressed his brother with getting the moves right, I knew that the old guy was going to be in no condition to be planting the next day. I was right.... as usual :-)  As luck would have it, there was even a late snowfall on May 16th that my seedlings missed, not being in the ground. Talk about thankful!

It took all week to get the husband back to normal. We were excited to get things started. We have the back garden along our fence that used to be just all tomatoes. No tomatoes this year!! That garden is in 3 sections. The first section has my 3 brussels sprouts seedlings. First time ever trying to grow these.

The middle section has a poblano, habanero, cayenne then another poblano. The cayenne had already grown a flower on it before we even put it into the ground. I did pinch that flower off. Those plants have some growing to do before they are ready to flower!

In the third section of our back garden, we have my 3 cubanelle seedlings.

And here's the entire back garden

Then we moved on to the garden right behind our house.

To the far left, we planted our herbs. The only thing that survived this past winter were my 3 huge bunches of chives. Goes to show, not much can kill those suckers! Rosemary, thyme, parsley, etc... didn't make it. We had to buy basil, parsley, sage, thyme, tarragon and marjoram. For some reason, cilantro and rosemary were not at the garden center. I still have to get those, as well as mint. 

Last, but not least, we planted the giant jalapeno seedlings. This is the first year that we decided to go with less and spread out the jalapenos.  We have 13 (don't ask why 13, it just came out that way) this year, when we usually go for 20+. We've never had a problem crowding in the jalapenos before, but the husband wanted to experiment. So why not see if our jalapenos yield as much or more than the past. It would be real sweet if it's more!

While the husband was planting the garden, I made up a quick snack. When he was ready to sit down (all right, he took a shower first), I brought out a tray of cheese and crackers, with some of our chives from the garden. I gave him a little dish of ranch dressing on the side. And brought out his favorite chilled Lynfred Winery Sangria Rouge Wine. It was like a taste of summer. Perfect!

And here we played with designing our cheese and crackers.

 Time to sit back and watch our garden grow!

Friday, May 16, 2014


It's no secret that I'm a long time fan of Lynfred Winery in Roselle, IL and their name came up in conversation as to where we could go and meet a couple (Steve and Kendra) who love wine and food like my husband and I. I had never met them in person, but talked with Steve before, who used to work in the telecom field. My husband, Glenn, had met Steve before on the job. During our conversations through work, we found we had a lot in common, food, wine and gardening.

We kept up the conversations after he left telecom for the insurance industry. Talk about getting together for dinner came about when we were discussing our seedlings and how they were growing. His through aquaponics, mine in dirt. Steve suggested going to one of the Lynfred Winery events and we decided to try the Sangria Wine Dinner at the Melting Pot. We were drawn in with the true words from Lynfred Winery...

The Chicago winter has been brutal and a taste of summer is what we all need! Join us for a Sangria-themed wine dinner at the Melting Pot Schaumburg!

The weather is still brutal. It's snowing. On May 16th. Crazy.
But, I'm glad we went to the dinner. I finally met Steve and his adorable wife and we had a great time!

We got to The Melting Pot at 6pm and were there until 9:30, way past my usual bedtime, but I digress. Our conversation flowed from food and wine to eagles and puppies to gardening. All the while sampling Lynfred Sangria wines and eating fantastic fondue.  What was on the menu?

Cheese Fondue – Cranberry Walnut Cheddar with Lynfred Sangria Rouge
Served with different types of bread cubes, apples, carrots and cauliflower.
This cheese fondue was fantastic. I hope I remember the ingredients they used to make it, which our super nice, bubbly and informative server did in front of us. The Lynfred Sangria Rouge, or the red sangria is what we called it, was paired perfectly with the cheese. My husband, Steve and Kendra all liked the Sangria Rouge as the best wine of the evening.

Salad – Strawberry, Mandarin and Almond Salad with Lynfred Sangria Blanc
My husband put fresh cracked pepper on his salad. I had to taste the pepper on the strawberries and mandarin oranges, and I really liked it! Goes to show, you can add cracked pepper to just about anything and it enhances the flavor. The Lynfred Sangria Blanc was my favorite wine of the evening. Light, fruity, and a hint of sweet, went very well with the salad.

Entrée -  Kiwi Lime Shrimp, Teriyaki Sirloin, Ahi Tuna, Honey Orange Chicken with TMP Grand Sangria
We all agreed the shrimp was the best in the entrée. Maybe it was because that cooked the fastest in the broth fondue and we were all hungry. But the kiwi lime shrimp was to die for. Though everything else was delicious as well. We all realized that the TMP Grand Sangria tasted quite a bit different than the first two sangrias. Then we realized that TMP stood for The Melting Pot. It was their sangria, not Lynfred. While it was good, we preferred the Lynfred. Are we spoiled? I would say so. Be that as it may, we thoroughly enjoyed the entrée.

Chocolate – Passion Fruit Yin and Yang with Passion Fruit Sparkling Sangria
So we forgot to take a picture of the coolest dessert ever. Forgive me, we were getting tired, and full. This dessert was so awesome. The two different chocolates, swirled to form Yin and Yang.  And the sweet things to dip into this decadent chocolate fondue, were too many. Let me see if I remember some of them... rice krispie treats, brownies, chocolate chip cookie bars, pound cake, strawberries and more. This alone could have filled us up easily, without dinner. It was the wow factor. And the pairing of the tart and effervescent  Lynfred Passion Fruit Sparkling Wine was of course, absolutely perfect to end such a wonderful evening.

Thank you, Lynfred Winery and The Melting Pot for a wonderful evening!