The Budget Smart Girl Newsletter-December 2011

Another year almost over and the last newsletter of 2011. This one is holiday focused-

Bargain Wines

Some of you who followed my column over at Garden and Hearth might remember Natalie MacLean who is a wine expert. She’ just written another book, this one’s titled Unquenchable and devoted to bargain wines. I asked her to share with us some of her suggestions for great wines for the holidays and here they are. Be sure to check out her Web site at

2010 Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio, D.O.C., Alto Adige, Italy: Fresh and alive like spring white linens blowing in the breeze. Lime and lemon zest. Mouth-watering and medium-bodied. Pair with: seafood chowder. $15.95  Score: 88/100.

2010 Konrad Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand: One of my favourite Sauvignon Blancs, and it’s incredibly well priced. Herbal and zippy but not too grassy. Terrific acidity for food. Love it! Pair with: sea bass in a citrus sauce, pan seared chicken with a creamy tarragon sauce. $17.95  Score: 90/100.

2009 Montes Carmenère Alpha, Colchagua Valley, Chile: Yes, yes, yes! I am referring to the wine: this is simply amazing for the price. The total package. Packed with gorgeously layered fruit yet there’s acidity and elegance. Pair with: Korean ribs, herbed steak. $19.95  Score: 92/100.

2009 Château Rochecolombe , A.C., Côtes Du Rhône, France: Tremendous quality and taste for the money. Black raspberries and cherries with smoky cedar notes. Full-bodied and smooth. Gold Medal at the 2010 Concours Général Agricole in Paris. Decant for 1-2 hours. Drink: 2011-2015.  $14.95  Score: 89/100.

2007 Terre Nere Rosso Di Montalcino Campigli Vallone Pierina, D.O.C., Tuscany, Italy: Satin smooth and enticing. Juicy with black cherry. Pair with: beef stew, lamb stew, dishes featuring grilled portobello mushrooms. $17.95  Score: 89/100.

Gloria Ferrer Brut Sparkling Wineméthode Champenoise, Sonoma County, California: I’ve been a fan of this bubbly for years: It’s beautifully made and so refreshing. The price is an absolute steal. Get a case for the holidays. $21.95  Score: 90/100.

Chocolate Event and Giveaway on Twitter

I just received information about this event which takes places on Twitter to night-

 (Tuesday, 12/6) Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker will be giving away 5 Everything Basic Baking Gift Sets as part of our Holiday Recipe Exchange, on Twitter, from 7-8 PM EST. With all the baking products you need to whip up this holiday season’s masterpiece, the baking set is perfect to use during the holidays or as a great hostess gift. Please feel free to invite your readers to participate for a chance to win.
Cohosting with Scharffen Berger Chocolate @ScharffenBerger  will be our panel of baking experts: Babette Pepaj of @bakespace, Matt Armendariz of Matt Bites @mattarmendariz, Jamie of My Baking Addiction @bakingaddiction and Susan Whetzel of @doughmesstic.
It should be an excellent opportunity to exchange holiday recipes, gain inspiration and useful tips, and chat with baking aficionados and dessert lovers.

A Snack and Gift

I forgot to include this one in last week’s gift guide. Great for the holidays and for gift giving too-

·Need a hostess gift in a snap? Bring a box of Nonni’s Biscotti with you. Nonni’s traditional recipe use real eggs, butter and gourmet bittersweet chocolate to give each biscotti a light, crunchy texture that is delicately sweet. They make the perfect complement to any desert table, when served with coffee, or a special treat the host can save just for herself in eight delicious flavors including Orginali, Caramel Latte, Cioccolati, Decadence, Limone, Toffee Almond, Triple Milke Chocolate and Turtle Pecan.

Unexpected guests? No problem! set out a plate of Nonni’s Biscotti Bites for guests to nibble on. These mini-versions of the beloved classic provide a unique eating experience crafted with the finest, all natural ingredients available in three delectable flavors: Almond dark Chocolate, Caramel Milk Chocolate and Classic Almond. 

Need a delicious snack on the run? Each Nonni’s Biscotti is individually wrapped making it a great treat to throw into your purse for a delicious treat as you run errands before hosting or attending a holiday event. Baked with high quality, natural ingredients and half the amount of sugar compared to other cookies, they’re also a guilt-free snack.

More Pies and Turkey

And if you didn’t get enough pie and Turkey at Thanksgiving, I received these two recipes last week that I thought I’d share with you courtesy of Thai Kitchen

Thai Kitchen® Coconut Pumpkin Pie
Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
   1 frozen unbaked deep dish pie crust (9-inch)
   3 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
   1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
   1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin 
   1 can (14 ounces) Thai Kitchen® Coconut Milk

Place frozen pie crust on foil-lined baking sheet.

Mix eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt in large bowl until smooth.  Stir in pumpkin.  Gradually add coconut milk, mixing well.  Pour into pie crust. 

Bake in preheated 425°F oven 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.  Bake 55 minutes longer or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.
Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to serve.  Garnish with whipped cream and sprinkle with additional pumpkin pie spice, if desired.  Store leftover pie in refrigerator. 
Makes 8 servings.
Thai Kitchen® Red Curry Turkey Pot Pie
Prep Time:  10 minutes 
Cook Time: 40 minutes 
Makes 8 servings.
   1 can (14 ounces) Thai Kitchen® Coconut Milk
1/2 cup water
   2 pkgs. (.87 oz. each) turkey gravy mix, such as McCormick® Turkey Gravy Mix
   1 tbsp Thai Kitchen® Red Curry Paste
   3 cups cubed cooked turkey 
   2 cups frozen mixed vegetables  
   1 refrigerated pie crust (from 15-ounce package)
MIX Coconut Milk and water in large saucepan. Add gravy mix and Red Curry Paste; stir until well blended. Bring to boil on medium heat, stirring frequently. Stir in turkey and vegetables. Return to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes. 
SPOON into 9-inch deep-dish pie plate or 2-quart baking dish. Top with pie crust. Seal edges and cut several slits on top. 
BAKE in preheated 425°F oven 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.   
And finally
Here are some articles I found on the Web-
Jewels for the Holidays
Jewelry under $100
How to Make Perfect Pie Crust
Do It Yourself Home Energy Checks
Party Dresses Under $50
The Best Instant Mashed Potatoes…so glad my favorite brand was the winner, it’s the only one I’ll buy-
Buy It or Make It…I often ask the same question and here’s the response about mayonnaise-
Happy Holidays.


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