Wine A Bit: Grandfather Vineyard and Winery

Grandfather Vineyard and Winery

We spent a weekend in the NC mountains

recently to escape the heat, enjoying the scenery.

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While we were there,

we took some time out

to wine a bit.

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If you’re in the area, we recommend a visit to

Grandfather Vineyard and Winery

in Banner Elk!

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The terraced mountain vineyard and winery

is nestled right on the Watauga River.

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It’s true, you do feel better

if you wine a bit :)

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There’s plenty of seating to

enjoy a glass outside. . .

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Kick back and

listen to the water.

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Pull up a chair and enjoy the lower humidity

and cooler mountain temperatures.

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There are 4-legged ambassadors

at the winery to greet you. . .

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A chair with a view, a dog and

a glass of wine is my recipe for relaxation and

guaranteed to lower your blood pressure :)

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I hope you’re enjoying a getaway

this summer and staying cool!

Where are you planning to escape to this summer?

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Thank you for your visit!

Waffle Fry Burger Bites!

Waffle Fry Burger Bites

Waffle Fry Burger Bites are perfect for patriotic noshing since we pledge allegiance to small bites, allowing us the freedom of snacking over the long holiday July 4th weekend!

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They’re good anytime in the summer too for a small bite to satisfy a burger craving, if you want to save calories on bread, or for those that are Gluten-Free since the waffle fries are the bun!

I found this idea for the ‘fry’ bun on Pinterest so I can’t take credit for this fun fry-burger-bite idea :)

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I used Ore-Ida frozen waffle fries for the convenience. I did have to pick through the bag to find the right size ‘buns’ but that means there are more fries for snacking, not a problem for a French Fry-oholic :)

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Follow the direction on the package for baking your frozen fries in the oven. I baked my fries 15 minutes at 425 degrees F instead of 450 as directed on the bag.

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 Top your fries with your preferred burger toppings or allow your guests to build their own! We made these several times of the course of the weekend, making our hamburger paddies and baking our waffle fry-buns as needed. Caramelized onions are a delicious addition too along with bacon.

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Tying the Knot: Mikasa Cameo Platinum Dinnerware

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I’m at the table with a processional

of white porcelain dishes courtesy of

Cameo Platinum Dinnerware by Mikasa.

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Bordered with a simple and classic platinum band,

Cameo Platinum Dinnerware

sets the stage for elegant dining.

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Described as ‘unrehearsed glamour’,

I had a little bridal inspiration

with this processional of white porcelain

dinnerware at the table.

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An accent plate, bordered with a graceful flourish,

 is topped with duo of napkins. . .

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A metallic silvery overlay, as a sheer veil

and married with white linen napkin

and silver napkin ring.

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 I added a bit of the garden to the table for

alfresco dining with some hydrangeas and ivy.

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Ivy which symbolizes eternity,

fidelity and wedded love and hydrangeas

for a pop of color and something blue.

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With a nod to a bridal gown,

pearl-trimmed napkins are used as placemats,

as a delicate layer to dress a light blue tablecloth.

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Cameo Platinum is also available in a square shape

for a modern version of the traditional dinnerware.

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Mint Julep Cups are serving

as vases for hydrangeas. . .

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And a silver candelabra is softened

with some additional ivy sprigs

‘tying the knot’ on candles at the table.

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Orion Crystal Iced Beverage Glasses with their

etched bases lend an elegant and graceful shape. . .

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And Wallace Tatum Flatware is a handsome companion

to the dinnerware and contrast

to the delicate pearl trim of the placemats.

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You can see all the Cameo Platinum options by Mikasa here:

 http://www.mikasa.com/source?src=MARYMBLOGMKCP201

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Cameo Platinum Table Details:

*Dinnerware/ Cameo Platinum by Mikasa

*Flatware/ Tatum by Wallace

*Stemware/  Orion by Mikasa

*Mint Julep Cups/ Towle

Napkins / Pier 1 Imports, several years ago

Napkin Rings/ Pottery Barn, several years ago

Tablecloth/ HomeGoods

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*Lifetime Brands’ products have been provided free of charge in exchange for promotional consideration.

Mikasa Cameo Platinum Dinnerware

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Red, White and Blue Transferware

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Sending a little red, white & blue

your way with transferware, flowers,

and flags on Independence Day!

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And with Hydrangeas, Coleus

and Caladiums.

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Wishing you a Safe and

Happy Independence Day!

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Long May She Wave!

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Setting Sail for Independence Day

Setting Sail for Independence Day

We’re setting sail for Independence Day

onto a sea (or lake :) of Red, White & Blue

for the holiday weekend!

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Spending time with family. . .

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Flying our Flags. . .

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Boating. . .

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And enjoying 

the fireworks!

Independence Day Berry-Lemon Sparklers!

Grab a cup and help yourself

to a Berry-Lemon Sparkler!

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Paper sails were hoisted from

scrapbook paper with bamboo knot pick masts

for nautical rope napkin rings. . .

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And can be used to

mark place settings. . .

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Or decorate a regatta of

Red Velvet Cupcakes

for a sweet and patriotic bite!

Red Velvet Cupcake Sailboats

 If you want to set sail with some other

 patriotic table inspiration,

click on the links below:

A Star-Spangled Celebration

A Star-Spangled Celebration

Long May She Wave Patriotic Table

Long May She Wave

Celebrating the Red, White & Blue Patriotic Table

Banner Yet Wave:

Celebrating the Red, White & Blue!

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Setting Sail Table Details:

Rope Cocktail Plates/ Pottery Barn

Salad & Dinner Plates/ Mikasa Jet Set Blue

Stemware/ Mikasa Swirl  

Flatware/ Towle Living Everyday Nautical

Sailboat, Chargers & Placemats/ HomeGoods

Rope Napkin Rings/ Bed, Bath & Beyond

Napkins/ World Market

Quilt/ Kohl’s

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Wishing you a Safe & Happy Independence Day. . .

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With Liberty & Potato Salad for All!

Setting Sail for Independence Day with a Regatta of Red Velvet Cupcakes!

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Freedom Fries: Guilt-Free Oven Crisp Egg White Fries!

Freedom Fries

 My name is Mary and I’m a French Fry-oholic.

I don’t have a sweet tooth, I have a potato tooth.

Feel free to check out my board on Pinterest:

You Say Potato, I say Kryptonite :)

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Freedom Fries were inspired from Food Network Magazine’s tip on Faking your Fries! Guilt-free fries, baked not fried, and dipped in egg whites and whisked with herbs or spices. The egg whites dry out in the oven and make the fries extra crisp, without excess oil.

A tip every French Fry-aholic needs!

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I did a little experimenting, just in time for Hot Dog and Burger Season and the July 4th holiday!

One egg white per two medium potatoes seems to be a good ratio. Whisk the egg whites until frothy and add your seasoning. I used our favorite Garlic Pepper Seasoning Blend, a combination of sea salt, pepper, garlic, sugar and other spices.

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In doing my French Fry research : ) I also read a tip to soak your cut fries in ice water for 30 minutes to 2 hours prior to baking, to rid some of the excess starch from the potatoes that causes overbrowning. I soaked them 2 hours.

Rinse your potatoes after soaking and pat dry with a towel before dunking them in your seasoned egg white mixture.

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Spread your fries out on your baking sheet so they aren’t touching and they bake, instead of steam, for crispy fries. I lined my baking sheet with parchment for easier clean up. You can add some additional seasoning to your egg white-dipped fries if desired before baking them in the oven.

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Bake at 425 degrees F, turning once or twice. Spritz fries with olive oil or canola cooking spray and add additional seasoning if needed when turning.

Cook until golden, about 30 minutes.

You can find a printable recipe, here.

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Wishing you the Freedom to eat your Fries,

Guilt-Free. . .or not :)

Guilt-Free Oven Crisp Egg White Fries

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Independence Day Berry-Lemon Sparklers!

Independence Day Berry-Lemon Sparklers!

I have a Sparkling Cocktail for your

 Independence Day Celebration,

along with a quick & easy DIY Party Cup!

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I found Party like it’s 1776 Americana cups at Pier 1 Imports. Fun for your Independence Day celebration, elevated with a Dollar Tree glass candleholder, as a July 4th cousin to the redneck wine glass or  stemmed solo cup  :)

Use Liquid Nails or a similar silicone adhesive like E6000 to adhere the cup to the candlestick. Liquid Nails says the cure time is 16 hours, I allowed 24 hours to be safe.

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Independence Day Berry- Lemon Sparklers,

adapted from EveryDay with Rachael Ray

Makes: 8 servings

Prep: 10 mins

Ingredients

1 1/2 pints mixed berries, plus more for garnish

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 cups lemon juice (from 8 lemons)

Ice

Sparkling wine like Prosecco or Cava, chilled

(substitute seltzer for a non-alcoholic version)

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Directions

In a medium bowl, mash 1 1/2 pints berries with the sugar; let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water, then strain into a large pitcher, pressing with a spoon to extract any juice. Stir in the lemon juice and 2 1/2 cups more water. I used frozen, thawed berries for easier mashing.

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Add ice to cups and fill half to three-quarter’s full with berry-lemon mixture. Top with sparkling wine and stir to combine. Garnish with berries and a sparkler on the side!

 A strawberry on the side of the cup holds the sparkler.

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Light and serve!

You can find a printable recipe here.

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Wishing you a

Sparking Independence Day Celebration!

DIY July 4th Party Cup

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