Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Wind down this month with a wine tasting event. Whether you decide to visit a local winery with friends for an afternoon of perfect pairings or you choose to host a blind tasting party in your own home, At Home Tennessee’s Stephanie Alexander has all kinds of tips, from adorable cork place cards to tasting techniques.
Text Stephanie Alexander, event planner| PHOTOGRAPHY Phindy Studios
FLORALS Terry White, The English Garden| VENUE The Winery at the Belle Meade Plantation
This month is all about wine. When planning your tasting party, you’ve got multiple options—we’ve provided tips for two versions of a wine tasting event here. The first type of wine tasting is one in which you and your guests visit a local winery. The second type is a blind-tasting party hosted at your home.
If you’re lucky enough to live close to a winery, you’re in for a treat. You can gather several close friends and schedule a tour and tasting and let the experts handle all the details! If you visit a local winery, you’ll get to taste wines that are exclusive to that location as well as enjoy an expert-guided tasting. If you’re new to wine tasting, this can be a great way to spend time with friends and learn together.
This month’s party took place at the Winery at Belle Meade Plantation. The winery opened November 2009 and offers tastings seven days a week. Located in the heart of the city of Belle Meade, the winery’s grapes are grown in Hampshire, Tennessee, south of Columbia. Keg Springs Winery has produced award-winning bottles and its talented wine maker, Brian Hamm, is also at the helm of crafting Belle Meade’s wines.
Meet the Wines: An Overview of the Winery at Belle Meade’s Bottles
•Blackberry A deep, dark, sweet wine with pronounced berry flavor, this wine is a perfect companion for flavorful cheeses, pork tenderloin or ribs, a full-bodied steak or as a reduction for a sauce. It also makes a great ingredient for a host of unique recipes, such as Easy Blackberry Cake, available on Belle Meade’s website.
•Muscadine is a traditional Tennessee wine that was made on the plantation for more than a century. Muscadine is a true American grape and is recognized today for its high antioxidant qualities. Many muscadine vines still grow wild along the fencerows surrounding the plantation. This wine is best served chilled on a front porch while rocking!
•Carriage House White Made from a Tennessee-grown grape, Carriage House White surprises you upon opening with the aroma of apple pie and citrus. Once on the tongue, the fruity characteristics continue as this semi-dry, full-bodied wine offers a crisp taste of Tennessee. Serve as other whites with seafood, chicken, nuts and cheese or as an aperitif.
•Blush The best of Tennessee grapes joined to create a blush that makes an ideal light sipping wine as well as an accompaniment to a wide range of foods. Serve slightly chilled at your next picnic, or dress it up this fall with Thanksgiving turkey.
If you don’t have access to a winery or would rather host a party in your home, hold a blind tasting for your friends. To start, find a fabulous wine-themed invitation to send to your guests. Because of the nature of wine tastings and the discussions they evoke, keep your guest list small, between six and 12 people. Also, on your invitation ask each guest to bring one of their favorite wines to the party.
You may want to limit the wines you will taste to a certain type. For example, sample all whites in summertime or specify that the bottles brought should be organic. Or try some of these fun suggestions:
Grape Geography If you want to taste wines from a certain region, such as South America, make sure to specify that on your invitation.
Budget Bottles Try putting a price limit on the bottles your guests bring. It’s fun to see what $15 or less tastes like!
The great thing about wine tasting parties is that they can be relatively easy to organize. Keep the food selection simple and allow the wines to be center stage this evening. Do serve light hors d’oeuvres that pair well with the type of wines; experts recommend providing snacks like fresh breads, artisan cheeses and crackers to help clean the palate between wines.
If you have a plethora of wineglasses on hand, the best option is to allow the guests a different wine glass for each type of wine. Another option is to rent inexpensive glassware from a party rental company to ensure that each guest gets a fresh glass for each wine. On the other hand, if you do not have enough glasses, provide a bucket that guests can pour their wine into between tastings.
Once all the guests have arrived, cover each wine bottle label (do-it-yourself instructions follow), affix a number to the bottle and set the wine bottles in numerical order.
Pass out your guests’ wine journals, which feature a wine tasting grid (instructions to follow), or provide simple notepads or scorecards with a wine tasting grid. Encourage your guests to take notes so that they can compare with other guests after the tasting.
Once everyone has sampled all the wines, it’s time to reveal what each one is!
Ask participants to write down the name of the wine next to a number in their journal. Also, have everyone vote on his or her favorite wine of the night. Give a small gift to the guest who brought the evening’s favorite bottle!
For Do it Yourself tips and more, pick up the August issue of At Home TN!
Monday, August 30, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
At Home Tennessee writer Mandi Gaskin discovers that all you need in life is laughter, family and a good map.
Text Mandi Gaskin | PHOTOGRAPHY courtesy Mandi Gaskin
As I write to you at this very moment, I am unable to bend my legs or walk without looking like I have been on a horse for 12 straight hours. Why, you ask? Allow me start from the beginning.
Like many of our fellow Americans, we have been cutting back during this recession and getting back to the basics. After all, isn’t that what life is all about— the simple things? And so on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, my husband Ashley and I decided to get creative and go old-school by having a family picnic in the park (just call us “The Cleavers”). We packed up baby Rinks and Buddy Lee the dog and headed off for a day of family bliss. We had a wonderful lunch of crustless pimento cheese sandwiches courtesy of yours truly (a.k.a. June Cleaver) while conversing about how pleasant it was to stretch out under the summer sun. In fact, we were so proud of ourselves for being thrifty that we thought, “Why not stretch out our family fun and go on a stroll on one of the nearby trails?” So once again we packed up Rinks in the stroller and Buddy Lee on the leash and off to the woods we went. You might even say we had a pep in our step; enjoying the scenery and smelling the fresh scent of pine, while appreciating the simple things in life that money can’t buy. Sure, there were hills that were at least 45 degree angles, but I welcomed the challenge since I am still trying to lose the last 15 pounds from pregnancy (or maybe from my excessive love of chocolate chip cookies). We were having great conversation along the way, so good in fact that we looked at the time and realized we had been walking for an hour and were on our third mile.
And as Paul Harvey puts it, here is the rest of the story:
2:15 p.m., Mile 4: I casually start to wonder when this trail is going to end and begin looking around for any signs of an exit. I don’t see one, but I decide not to panic because we are still appreciating the beautiful scenery on our blissful family outing.
2:33 p.m., Mile 5: We look at each other nervously as there is clearly no immediate end in sight, but neither of us wants to admit it, so we mumble something about needing some exercise and laugh uncomfortably. I look ahead to see the next hill coming up, which is starting to resemble Mt. Kilimanjaro.
2:48 p.m., Mile 6: My legs are in the third realm of hell, so I start pleading to God that if he would miraculously send a cab then I will never swear again. (He didn’t, so the hell with that.) The once beautiful scenery now looks uncannily like the forest in Hansel and Gretel, minus the breadcrumbs, which I would have willingly paid $1,000 dollars for at that very moment.
3:05 p.m., Mile 7: Ashley starts getting Walker’s Delirium, as I have now named it, and begins ranting on about how the trees are really alive and naming off flowers that look like trumpets. I know this should cause me to worry, but my big toe is starting to go numb and I am pretty sure it’s bleeding through my sock which of course conjures my inner hypochondriac telling me that surely it will have to be amputated.
3:23 p.m., Mile 8: At this point Rinks has practically spent a full day of daycare in his stroller as he has already played, napped, eaten lunch, had a snack and then fallen back asleep. Again.
3:41 p.m., Mile 9: Ashley starts negotiating who would be the first to be sacrificed for food so the rest of us could survive. Buddy Lee wins by unanimous vote (our apologies to PETA).
4:04pm, Mile 10: Like a veil unfolding from the heavens, we see civilization sprawling out before us and we practically start hugging and crying. But since we can’t really move at that point, we just give each other knowing smiles. Because we know that when nature calls again, we will be heading straight for the nearest Chili’s.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
While shooting our September home we couldn’t help but be amazed by the level of detail and artistry overflowing from Norbert and Sheryl Putnam’s Jackson, Tennessee home. Especially interesting were Sheryl Putnam’s hand-stitched designs and heart-warming accessories. The designer, who started her own company in 2002, says “I believe all women would like to do something creative with their life, they just don’t know where to begin.” As an antique collector and shop owner Sheryl has been involved in everything from upholstered furniture to sewn lavender pillows to vintage fur vests. Her most recent success, however, has been her prayer pockets. You can find these and other terrific pieces at Sherylputnamdesigns.com.
Truly a woman of many trades, it would only make sense that she find such a creative counterpart in her husband Norbert Putnam—life-long musician and producer. For the full story on this famous duo be sure to pick up a copy of our September issue or subscribe online at athometn.com.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
"The perfect dress for almost any occasion and any season." -Suzanne Bishop from Frankie and Julians
Ali Ro Dress
available at Frankie and Julian’s,
Rick Owens Biker Jacket
available at H. Audrey, Nashville
Frye Vienna Lace Up Boot in tan
"A great piece of jewelry is always a best splurge because it not only can make an old outfit look and feel new and exciting again, but it also can put an exclamation point on a fabulous new outfit. This statement piece can be worn in the day paired with comfy jeans and a white t-shirt, as well as in the evening with your favorite little black cocktail dress.”
-Debbie Swacker, Mam’selle
Virgins, Saints and Angels Magdalena necklace
available at Mam’selle, Jackson
For these Stylish Splurges and more, check out the August issue of At Home TN magazine!
Thursday, August 5, 2010
My grandmother makes the best peach cobbler. Not too doughy, not too sweet. It is absolutely delicious! Peach cobbler is one of hubby's favorite desserts, and it was time I learned how to make it!
So, this weekend after we went to the farmers market, I made Peach Cobbler with her. And now, lucky for you, I am sharing her recipe with you!
Maw-maw's Peach Cobbler:
3/4 stick of butter
1 cup sugar (divided into 1/4 cup and 3/4 cup)
3/4 cup of self rising flour
3/4 cup of milk
Peaches (amount varies, depending on personal preference)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Start by boiling water and dropping in peaches for about 2 minutes. This makes it easier to peel the skin off the peaches.
2. Once the peaches are done, remove the skins an cut into pieces
3. Mix 1/4 cup sugar in with the peaches. This makes some juice.
4. Put butter in a dish and put in the oven until melted.
5. Mix in a separate bowl flour, sugar (3/4 cup) and milk.
6. Pour mixture in the bottom of the dish with the butter in it. Make sure to put your dish on a cookie sheet in case anything bubbles over in the oven.
7. Spoon in peaches in an even layer
8. Bake in oven for about an hour.
I like my peach cobbler warm and topped with ice cream! My Husband likes to add a little bit of cinnamon to his.
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010
We want to know: what are our readers up to?
We love to hear from our readers, so we want to make our blog more about our readers!! Send us your pictures from the weekend, thoughts on articles, recipes you love... you name it, we want to know! You might just end up on our blog!!
Maybe you had a party inspired by our Entertaining expert Stephanie. We want to know what you did and see pictures. Did you read about something in At Home TN and really enjoyed it? Let us know.
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Are you a TN blogger? Shoot us an email. We might feature you as a guest blogger or highlight your blog on our blog and facebook!
Send pictures, blog addresses and everything else to Nikki at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are looking forward to hearing from you!
Monday, August 2, 2010
Through August 28
Shakespeare on the Square
Market Square Stage,
Through September 6
Birds & Bees Exhibit
Garden and Museum,
World’s Longest Yard Sale
Corridor 127, Jamestown
International Rock-a-Billy Hall of Fame, Jackson
Cocktails and Couture
Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville
Hohenwald Invitational Golf Tournament
Hohenwald Municipal Golf Course, Hohenwald
Elvis Week 2010
Graceland and other
Smokin’ in McMinnville Barbeque Cook Off
McMinnville Civic Center, McMinnville
Auction for the Arts
Macon County Fairgrounds, Lafayette
Can You Dig It?
Hands On Regional Museum,
Johnson City, 423.434.4263
Ryman Auditorium, Nashville
Art After Dark with Beale Street Caravan
Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis
Bessie Smith Heritage Festival
Bessie Smith Cultural Center, Chattanooga
Hallowed Ground: A Lantern Tour of Stones River National Cemetery
Stones River National
Irwin Tools Night Race
Bristol Motor Speedway,
Butterfly Fund 5K Walk/Run
Cherokee Boulevard/Sequoyah Hills, Knoxville
East Tennessee Irish
World’s Fair Park, Knoxville
Davy Crockett Celebration
Davy Crockett State Park, Limestone
August 25- September 4
Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration
Historic Celebration Grounds, Shelbyville
Nashville’s Music City Annual BBQ Festival
River Front Park, Nashville
A Fine Wine Affair
Knoxville Jazz Festival
Krutch Park Extension,
4th Annual Home Design and
Knoxville Expo Center,
Happy Days Festival
Main Street, St. Joseph
Ryman Auditorium, Nashville
7 Bridges: The Ultimate Eagles Experience
Carnton Plantation, Franklin