Wine 101

Wine 101-1
Before I begin this post, I just want to let you know that I am not in any way a wine connoisseur or in any level a sommelier. I do however have studied wines, spirits, and beers. This made me like wines even more now that I know a little bit more about it. Alcohol beverages is so much more than just drinking. It is about connecting and socializing with other people, where you can make memories that you can look back to in the future.

In this post, I am going to share with you some basic wine information that I have learned. And hopefully you also learn a thing or two from this post!

Wine is made out of fermented grapes, not the grapes that we buy from the grocery store but actual grapes that are specifically not for eating but for drinking. There are thousands of different grapes all around the world that is used to make different blends of wine.

To break it down further, the simplest way to explain this is that red or black grapes are used to make red wine while green grapes are used to make white wine. There are many other factors as to how to get the the sweetness or the dryness of wines. But to make it simple, White wines are the lightest and the Red wines are the boldest.

You probably often hear the saying “Wine is an acquired taste.” People who are not accustomed to wine will not like it or will only drink it on certain occasions. From my perspective, you have to ease your way into the world of wine by starting from light wines and work your way up. I started off drinking moscato which is a very sweet white wine. It is made from the Muscat grape hence the name, and it was originated in Italy. You might have seen the pink moscato bottles from store and the difference of the two is that it is mixed with merlot to give it that color. Other pink wines are not mixed like that but I’m not going into detail about that right now. To give you more information about wines, its alcohol percentage does not go up to 16% although you will see other wines that do have higher percentage but the average is this. If the alcohol percentage goes even higher, it turns into a brandy.

If I do drink moscato now, it tends to be a little too sweet for my palette has changed. You will notice as soon as you try other blends, your palette will change and you will understand more about the aromas and the taste. I still do enjoy sweet wines and my current favorite is Rosé. It is easy to drink and it has the aromas of berries and roses. Sounds good right? You can drink it any day of the year and I love pairing it with chocolate!

For me, it is important to know these types of information so that I can fully understand the concept. You appreciate more what you have in your hand and soon enough you will be one of those people who enjoys a glass of wine. I have more exciting things to say but this is it for now. If you want to know more information about wine please subscribe to my e-mail newsletter to help you get updated with my next post. Until next time!

 

xoxo

Jaime

Easy Pistachio Cupcake

As a young kid, I always thought pistachios are only meant to be eaten out of its shell. Little did I know, you can use pistachios in a lot things! My two most favorite pistachio desserts are Gelato and French macaron. It is absolutely one of the greatest invention ever! 🙂

Pistachio Cupcake

But then I stumbled upon this recipe called Pistachio Cupcakes. Well… I love cupcakes and I love pistachio, I think its meant to be! So I went to the grocery store right away to grab the ingredients  and I was really excited to make it. Just sharing this out to you right now makes me want to have a bite of that delicious cupcake!

I usually make cupcakes from scratch, but for this recipe… no need to do that. This is a very easy recipe that even non-bakers can do without failing. Why is it sooo easy Jaime? Glad you asked! It’s because I used cake box mix and pistachio pudding mix! I know it’s better to make it from scratch but I made a few alterations with the recipe and you wouldn’t even notice it came from a box!

Hope you enjoy! xoxo Jaime

Easy Pistachio Cupcake

Ingredients (Makes 24 cupcakes)

    For Cupcakes:

    • 1 box of white cake mix
    • 1 cup milk
    • 2/3 cup melted butter
    • 4 large eggs
    • Green Food coloring
    • 1 box of pistachio pudding mix
    • Chopped roasted pistachios (optional)

    For Buttercream Frosting:

    • Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Buttercream Frosting

    For Toppings(optional):

    • 7 oz White Chocolate Chips
    • or Chopped Pistachios

    Instructions

    For Cupcakes:

    1. Combine cake mix, milk, melted butter, and eggs.

    2. Add in pudding mix and combine well. Fold in pistachios if desired.

    3.Fill cupcake liners about halfway full with batter. Bake as directed on cake mix packaging.

    4. Let it cool.

    5. Put buttercream frosting on top.

    6. Topped with desired topping of your choice.

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    Chocolate Dipped Caramel Apples

    Almost every year during the fall season, I would make something useful with the apples that we picked from a local orchard. One of the things that I like to do is make chocolate dipped caramel apples.

    Caramel Apple

    This caramel recipe is so creamy and smooth, I can’t get enough of them! My dad and I love anything sweet and we would always fight who gets the last piece 🙂 .

    About a year or two ago, I made over 40 caramel apples for an event I was hosting. It was a thank you gift for all the guests that came to the event. Everyone can’t stop talking about them and some wanted more! That was a proof that the recipe was a hit and so here is the recipe that I used. I added a few tricks that I learned throughout the years and I hope you enjoy! xoxo Jaime

    ***CAUTION: Make sure to not touch the caramel with your bare hands as it might burn you.***

    Chocolate Dipped Caramel Apples

    Ingredients (15 apples)

      For the caramel apples:

      • 1 lb. brown sugar
      • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
      • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
      • 2/3 cup dark corn syrup
      • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
      • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
      • 1 tsp. molasses
      • 1/4 tsp. salt
      • 13-15 medium Granny Smith apples
      • Caramel Apple  sticks (I bought mine at a local baking store)
      • various toppings (Chopped walnuts, pecans, butterfinger, reeses, etc.)
      • dipping chocolate (Milk and White)

        To get the wax off the apples:

        • Hot Water
        • Vinegar

        Tools that you need:

        • Big Saucepan
        • Bowls
        • Clean Towel
        • Candy Thermometer (Very Important!)
        • Plastic wrap
        • Ties
        • Spatula
        • Baking Sheet
        • Foil

        Instructions

        To get the wax of the apples

        Boil water and place it a bowl with a little bit of vinegar. Apples have wax coating in them and this process will melt it off so that the apples can stick to the caramel. After that, make sure to use a clean smooth towel to wipe the water off. Make sure that it is completely dry as to water will also make it non-stick.

        For the Caramel Apples

        1. Put sticks in cores and place on a baking sheet in the fridge to chill. Prepare all toppings in bowls and have them ready to go.

        2. To prepare caramel, combine first 8 ingredients in a big non-stick saucepan. Stir with over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves (no crystals are felt when caramel is rubbed between fingers), occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush or scraping with spatula, about 15 minutes.

        3. Attach a clip-on candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat to medium-high; cook caramel at rolling boil until thermometer registers 236°F, stirring constantly but slowly with clean spatula and occasionally brushing/scraping down sides of pan, about 12 minutes.

        4. Pour caramel into a bowl. Submerge thermometer bulb in caramel. Cool to 200°F, about 20 minutes. If it cools too much just heat it up a little.

        5. While caramel cools, line 1-2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or buttered foil. Set up decorations and melted chocolates.

        6. Holding stick, dip 1 apple into 200°F caramel. Lift apple out, allowing excess caramel to drip back into bowl. Turn apple caramel side up and hold for several seconds to help set caramel around apple, twirling it a bit to even out any heavy-looking drips. If needed, gently scrape the bottom of the apple to remove excess caramel. Place coated apple on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining apples and caramel, spacing apples apart (caramel will pool a bit on foil). If caramel becomes too thick to dip into, gently heat in microwave, or add 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream and briefly whisk caramel in bowl over low heat to thin.

        7. By the time you have dipped all the apples, the first ones should be ready partially set enough to add toppings. If not, chill in fridge for a few minutes. Lift 1 apple from foil. Using hand, press pooled caramel around apple.

        8. Dip caramel-coated apples into melted chocolate, allowing excess to drip off, then roll in nuts or candy. Another option would be to drizzle melted chocolate over caramel-coated apples and sprinkle with decorations. Chill until decorations are set, about 1 hour. Cover; chill up to 1 week.

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        Easy Microwave Fudge

        You can make fudge using your microwave?! Yes! So good and so easy to make!

        Now there is the oh so good, basic chocolate fudge. But there are so many other things that you can add to make your perfect fudge. The main key ingredients for an easy chocolate fudge are: condensed milk, chocolate chips, and vanilla extract. You can always use different types of chocolate such as dark chocolate and white chocolate chips. You can also add walnuts in to the mix! But have you ever heard of a “Cookie Butter Fudge”? Instead of eating by the jar guiltily, you can eat it as a fudge anywhere and anytime you want!

        Cookie butter is a very popular item that you can get from Trader Joe’s. Now there are places that doesn’t have Trader Joe’s in their area. Don’t you worry! You can always get it online or if you have the patience, make your own delicious Cookie Butter!

        cookiebutter.jpg

        All you need for this is a microwave and a bowl. No special tricks needed here, it’s very simple!

        Cookie Butter Microwave Fudge

        by Jaime Ausan

        Ingredients (48 squares)

        • 1 cup Cookie Butter
        • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, salted
        • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
        • 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

        Instructions

        Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray the foil with a non-stick oil spray.

        Melt the Cookie Butter and butter together in a large bowl for one minute and stir. Repeat the process until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the microwave and stir in the vanilla using a rubber spatula.

        Add the sifted confectioners’ sugar and stir until completely combined. If you want to add walnuts, make sure to just fold it in the mixture.

        Place the fudge into prepared baking pan, smoothing the top with the back of a spatula. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until the fudge is firm to touch. Cut into small pieces. You can store the fudge in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

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        Big Move

        Hi! My name is Jaime Ausan. A few things you need to know about is me is I grew up in the wonderful country of the Philippines. When I was eighteen years old, I moved to the USA in a small town called Fort Wayne, Indiana to be with my mother and my step-father. Fast forward to 6 years later, I decided to move to Viva Las Vegas! I already have family and friends living in Vegas, making my decision pretty easy. That’s only a few things that you need to know about me. Along this journey, I will share you my life, my hobbies, and things that are exciting. This is going to be my online journal and I guess for you to see as well 😉

        If you want to hop along this journey, please feel free to do so and maybe someday we can be friends! 🙂

        That’s it for now loves.

        xoxo
        Jaime