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December 15, 2010

December 9, 2010

Perfect for NYE : Review of My Tasting at Roederer Winery

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting Roederer Winery in Anderson Valley about 2 hours North of San Francisco in the heart of the Norcal Wine Country.  I am not a big drinker, but those of you who know me, know I rarely turn down the bubbly. 

For some, Champagne is an acquired taste, and I guess it's one I have definitely acquired! I love the crisp, fruity taste, not to mention how the bubbles tickle your nose as you sip the luscious nectar.  I am one of those "Champagne Girls" who's goal is to let the world know..."You don't need a special occasion to drink the bubbles."  You could take that comment literally, but maybe I just feel this way, because I believe every day is a celebration!!!

Yesterday was truly a celebration, because my mother arrived in California for the first time since her college days.  Anxious to "wine and dine her" with all the best California has to offer, I planned a trip to Roederer Estate for a Champagne tasting.  I have become familiar with their wine, since their yummy Brut NV is available by the glass at nearly every eatery in Northern California, so I was exceedingly excited to taste the goods right from the source.

We entered the gates and we knew we were in for a treat.  The winding driveway paralleled the vineyards which stretched as far as we could see, leading us to the elegant tasting room, perched atop a hill with panoramic views of the estate.

Upon entry, we signed the guestbook and were warmly greeted by Jill, Roederer's sommolier and hospitality director.  After explaining that I own a wine bar back in NC, we were treated like VIPs.  We were even invited to take a peek into the adjacent bottling room before our tasting.

The tasting room was not busy, but coincidentally, the only other guests were a couple from Asheville, NC...less than an hour away from our home!  A tasting at Roederer is $6.00 per person and includes 8 1oz. pours (5 Champagne and 3 still).  You can also purchase your favorites by the glass. 

After the tasting, I purchased an etched bottle of Extra Dry which is only available at the winery and not nationally distributed...planning to save it for NYE!!! 

Brut NV 
All in all, Roederer is the best domestic Sparkling Wine I can remember tasting in quite some time and is a great deal at around $20. per bottle.  It just has that "real" french Champagne taste, and it figures, since Roederer is a branch off of the French house of Champagne Louis Roederer... maker of the famed Cristal Champagne.  I recommend this anyone looking for the perfect Sparkling Beverage to ring in the New Year.

Please check out their website to find a distributor near you!

December 8, 2010

Save 30% off Meals at Disney Parks

The Disney Parks Blog has posted a great money saving coupon on its site this morning.  This valuable coupon can save you big $$$ if you plan to visit Disneyland or Disney World 12/19/10-1/1/11!  Simply click the link and print the Dining Voucher to save 30% off the price of your meal excluding alcohol.  The voucher must be used before 12:00 noon or betweeen 3:00 and 4:30 pm and is valid at select restaurants within the parks.  Be sure to print out several, as the coupon will be taken by a Cast Member at time of redemption.

 Walt Disney World Resort Dining Discount Voucher

December 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday ~ Dreams DO Come True

So pleased to say "I'm Going!"  Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

December 4, 2010

A Christmas Eve Tradition: Lowcountry Shrimp and Corn Chowder

A Christmas Eve tradition in my family is to eat a seafood dish on Christmas Eve.  Keeping in touch with my southern, Lowcountry of SC roots, this meal can be anything from oyster roast to fish fry.  The clean up after both of the aforementioned can leave me with dreams of gruesome horrors rather than ones filled with fairies and sugar plums... not to mention, the smell of fish overpowers gingerbread and spiced apple any day!  lol!

Last year we opted for a Lowcountry Shrimp and Corn Chowder.  Although this is occasionally on the soup board at my restaurant, I never tire of its creamy flavor. 

I think we have adopted a brand new tradition in this chowder, and I think you'll enjoy it too!  I have adapted my recipe by making it quick and easy to make for all you busy moms.  Sorry I don't have a picture, but if you make this, please send pics to and I will post it here!  Enjoy!

What You'll Need:

  • 1 c. Chopped Celery
  • 1 c. Finely Diced Onion
  • 2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 8oz. Package Cream Cheese Diced
  • 2 c. Half and Half
  • 2 to 3 cups Unpeeled Cooked Red Potatoes(Not too well done)
  • 1 can (15oz) Mexi-Corn
  • 1 Lb. Fresh Raw Shrimp Peeled and Deveined
  • Salt and Pepper to Season to taste

What To Do:

  1. In a large stock pot saute celery, onions, and garlic in butter being careful not to burn the garlic.
  2. Add cream cheese and cream; and stir over low heat until cream cheese is completely melted.
  3. Add potatoes, corn, and shrimp.  Heat thorough, stirring occasionally and then serve. Remove from heat as to not overcook the shrimp.  Season with salt and pepper!  Enjoy!

December 2, 2010

Vivo brings Disney home for Christmas!

Christmas arrived early at the Walt Disney World Resort.  November 8, 2010 marked the kick-off the annual "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party" a magical Holiday celebration unlike any other. I will refer to this event as "MVMCP", an anagram adopted by Disney enthusiasts and trip planners.

The Magic Kingdom Park is appropriately host to this magical party.  MVMCP begins at 7pm, after the park has closed to regular guests.  Interact with your favorite Disney Characters dressed in their festive Holiday Attire as Cinderella's Castle gleams in the backdrop with it's "Sugar-Dipped" appearance, thanks to the Holiday Dream Lights.  As you walk down Main Street, you may even notice the snowflakes tickling your nose... YES, snowflakes!

There are parades to be seen, music to be heard, and yummy holiday goodies to enjoy.  I've been a little bummed that we will be missing the festivities this year, so I have put together a few recipes from Cafe Vivo, my restaurant,  to help bring MVMCP home for the holidays!  Hopefully those of you who are unable to make it to Walt Disney World this year will consider throwing together some of the following snacks and popping in some classic Disney holiday movies and enjoy some of my favorite Disney holiday specials at home!  Mickey's Christmas Carol is my favorite and is available from

Disney Animation Collection 7: Mickey's Christmas Carol 

At Cafe Vivo, my restaurant in NC, I like to feature Pixie-Dusted Sugar Cookies, Vivo's signature Hot-Chocolate, and of course Vivo's Homemade Spiced Cider, this time of year...and appropriately, you can find similar treats at MVMCP.  If you're not up for the challenge, stop by Cafe Vivo and we'll do all the work!

MVMCP Pixie-Dusted Sugar Cookies

What You'll Need:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


What To Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Vivo's Old-Fashioned Hot Chocolate

What you'll Need:

1 tbsp. DARK cocoa powder
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. water
1 c. milk
a bit of vanilla or peppermint extract, if desired
What To Do:
Combine cocoa, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Heat it on low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the paste from sticking to the pan. After about 1 to 2 minutes, add milk and vanilla. Mix it all together until it reaches your preferred temperature.  Be sure to top with Whipped Cream or Marshmallows.
Vivo's Spiced Apple Cider:
What You'll Need:
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced
What to Do:

Combine water and spices in a large Dutch oven; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Strain mixture discarding spices, return water to Dutch oven. Add apple cider, lemon and orange; cook over low heat until thoroughly heated. Serve warm.                                                                                                                                                      

December 1, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: YUM

French Toast Croissants with Organic Canadian Maple Syrup, a Fresh Berry and Custard Tart, Crispy Applewood Smoked Bacon and of course a Mimosa!  YUM!

Win Disney Movie Library, TV, and Laptop from Disney

Visit for a chance to win "The Ultimate Movie Night" from the site's Very Merry Christmas Contest.  The Grand Prize is a package consisting of a Disney Movie Library featuring 4 titles, a flat screen television, and a laptop computer.  There will also be a "Voter's Choice" prize of $1500.
A Very Merry Christmas Contest
Disney's Verry Merry Christmas Contest
All you have to do is vist the link to upload your favorite Holiday photo and choose a catagory that best fits your photo:  Scared of Santa, Silly Sweaters, or Christmas Moments.  The contest ends December 27 and winners will be anounced in early February.