Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Swirl, Sniff, Slurp, and Swallow-How to conduct an Olive Oil Tasting

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carapelli for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
001950 CarapelliTastingProgram_9_28_11.pdf-1
I use olive oil almost everyday, but I have never experienced an Olive Oil Tasting?  Would you like to share my first one with me?  Carapelli sent me a bottle of  their extra virgin olive oil, along with the directions to conduct my very own “tasting” . 
Before we begin, pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into a glass.  Hold the glass in one hand and cover it with your other hand.  This will gently warm the olive oil.
When tasting olive oil it is all about the Four S’s-Swirl, Sniff, Slurp, and Swallow. 
1. Swirl – By swirling the olive oil in your glass, you release the oil’s "esters" (molecules that contain the aroma).
2. Sniff – Now inhale deeply. The aroma is the key to the fruitiness of the oil.  I smell a subtle fruity aroma. How about you?
3. Slurp – Sip the oil while “sipping” in a bit of air. This slurping action emulsifies the oil and helps spread it throughout your mouth. At first, I only sipped, but I didn’t get the full range of flavors and sensations as when I slurped.  To me, it has a full smooth flavor that is slightly fruity. There is almost a peppery taste at the back of my throat.
4. Swallow – Once you swallow the oil, it should leave your mouth with no aftertaste, and it didn’t.  I did feel a peppery sensation at the back of my throat, which is a sign that the oil is fresh.

So do you need something yummy to make with that olive oil?  There are lots of yummy recipes on their website.  I made this spinach salad.


For Salad:

1 (10-ounce) package spinach leaves
2 cups sliced Romaine lettuce
2 (11-ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup sugared almonds
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)

For Dressing:
1/2 cup Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Carapelli Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Cooking Directions
In large bowl, toss together spinach, Romaine lettuce, mandarin oranges, bacon (if desired) and almonds. In separate bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Just before serving, toss dressing with salad. Serve immediately. Serves 8.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes 


For Salad:

1 large package spinach leaves
2 (15-ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup sugared almonds***

1/2 cup feta
chopped red onion
1-2 chopped cooked chicken breasts
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)


For Dressing:
1/2 cup Carapelli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup Carapelli Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup sugar or Splenda
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Cooking Directions
In large bowl, toss together spinach, Romaine lettuce, mandarin oranges, bacon (if desired), chicken, cheese and almonds. In separate bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Just before serving, toss dressing with salad. Serve immediately. Serves 8.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes 


 ***Making sugared almonds is pretty easy and everyone is always impressed.

 Put almonds in a non-stick pan.  Add a few tablespoons of sugar (depending on how coated you want them) and turn stove on low.  Watch for when the sugar melts and turns liquid.  Then stir to coat the almonds.

Did you know you can bake with olive oil?  Here is a handy conversion chart from their site.


If you’d like a bottle of Italy’s Number 1 Extra Virgin Olive Oil, please use this $1.00 OFF coupon at  $1.00 OFF coupon at 

Sorry that this post is a little long-there was just so much good info that I wanted to cram in.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Linky # 17 Will linky for...Christmas Cheer

Thank you so much for stopping by last week and linking up-especially since I'm sure you were all busy making turkey and out black friday shopping.  There was a two-way tie for the most viewed link:
Pink Wreath by Queen B

And these hand-painted glasses by Charmed.

Here's some other fabulous stuff  I pinned from last week's party:
1. Uncommon Design Yarn Trees
2. Rae Gun Dinner Rolls
3. Crazy Wonderful  Bubble Magnets (teacher gift idea!)

Time to linky up-You know what to do (as always you only need to include your e-mail if you wish to have weekly e-mail reminder).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy 40th Mom and Dad

We have been crazy busy around here. My husband and I were gone for a combo 10-day business/ anniversary trip. Then, his family came for a 10 day visit the day after we got home. In the middle of all this was my parent's 40th Wedding Anniversary, which actually fell on Thanksgiving Day. My siblings and I got together and had each member of our the family do a scrapbook page.  There were lots of laughs and even a few happy tears as they read each page aloud.  Then we presented them with the family tree wall hanging.  I saw the idea idea on Pinterest. 

I was going to quilt each hand, until I remembered that I am not a quilter.  I just used fusible webbing to iron on all the pieces. See the scrap of fabric pinned on the tree?  It is for my niece that my sister is waiting to bring home from Korea soon. We are trying ever-so-hard to pray her home quick. (Update: my niece finally made it to her home about 5 months later!)

Parents are so hard to buy for and I think this would make a great Christmas Present.

I'm linking up here.

Crayon Freckles: The Best I Ever Blogged

i'm andie from Crayon Freckles.  i'm a Christian, stay-at-home, home-preschooling blogging momma.  i love doing new activities with my 3 year old son.  seeing that *ah-ha* look in his eyes when concepts become clear to him.  there's something to be said, too, about the value of our life allowing me to teach him....and him to teach me.
it may sound odd, but my favorite post i've ever done was based on a sad event.  it's a post that i cherish because it allowed me to see life events through  my son's eyes.  it reminded me of the innocence and faith of a child as i talked to my son about death. 
it was a post called {the fluttering of wings}

thank you to tara for allowing me to participate in this fun series!  and thanks to all of you for taking a few minutes to hear what i have to say.  if you stop over, leave a comment so i can visit you too!

Thanks Andie for sharing your favorite post.  If you'd like to share your favorite post, please leave a comment or e-mail me (

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pretty Organization

My kitchen utensil drawer was a disaster.  I could never find anything and some days I had trouble closing it. 
 Those days are over.  I was inspired by an idea I saw last year at tattertots and jell-o, it just took me a while to get around to it.  The canisters are from IKEA.  I cut out white magnetic squares.  Then I used my Cricut to cut out the letters out of black vinyl.  Easy peasy.
I think they are pretty and it is no longer an exercise in frustration every time I try to find a spatula.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Linky #16: Will Craft for Christmas Cheer

There were so many great projects last week. The most viewed link was submitted by The Pless Press:

I also loved this tool tote by Crayon Freckles, I really want to make one, so someone in my family needs to have a baby boy.

It's my favorite time of the year.  Sure I'm super busy-but at least I'm super busy doing fun things.  Christmas Crafting makes me happy-how about you?  Please link up whatever you've been working on.

(As always you only need to include your e-mail if you'd like an e-mail reminder, otherwise it is not necessary).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Do You Need a Vacation?

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of New-Skin for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.



As the mother of 3 very active kids I am in need of 2 things:


1. Something to cure all of our bumps, scraps and boo-boos (because we sure have a lot of them-a never ending supply).


2. A vacation.

product-family.png (2 documents, 2 total pages)

Did you know that New Skin products have been covering our owies for over 100 years?

Not only do they have the product “Liquid Bandage” that will help protect your wounds, but they even have a product that will help prevent and reduce scaring-the amazing Scar Fade Gel.  They even have Poison Ivy Treatment, for when you venture off the beaten path and find trouble.

New Skin wants to send your family on one of three amazing vacations:

-Skiing in Breckenridge Colorado

-Hiking in Yellowstone National Park

-Tour the Botanical Gardens in Atlanta, Georgia

Who couldn’t an excited 4-day adventure.  Our family would pick hiking in Yellowstone National Park-which one would you chose?

You can’t win if you don’t enter.  Just go to New-Skin sweepstakesand complete the entry form on the websites.  Then encourage your family and friends to visit your sweepstakes page and vote so you can earn up to five votes per day.  The more votes you have, the more chances you have of winning the adventure of your choice.  If you entered,  I will even vote for you.  Just leave a link to your sweepstakes page in the comments.

I hope you aren’t in need of any first aid today, but if you are, New Skin has you covered.  I am sure that we are all in need of a family vacation, so head on over to New Skin and learn more today.



Visit Sponsor's Site

The Best Thing I Ever Blogged: We Like to Learn as We Go

I'm so excited to be a part of The Best Thing I Ever Blogged About here on Tales of a Trophy Wife!

A few things about me - my name is Alexis.  My husband and I have been married for 2 years and we have a beautiful 8 month old girl.  We've learned a lot in the short time we've been married and thought it would be a good idea to write a book about all the things newlyweds need to know.  But I decided to start with my blog We Like to Learn as We Go to share the things I learn every day as a wife, mom, crafter, and cook.  It's a very fun journey!

Probably the best thing I ever blogged about was my Applique Fall Pillow.  I was so proud when I finished it!  It matches great with our living room and it was a pretty big hit among the blogs I linked up to.  It isn't my most viewed, but I definitely think it should be.  So here's my original post on my Applique Fall Pillow.

I was in the mood for more pillows in my house so I decided to make a felt flower pillow which I showed last week and then this applique fall pillow!  I love fall decorations!

I was inspired by a pillow I found on pinterest, but I wanted to make it more fallish.  So I looked up some fall leaves on google and came up with this design.  I love it and it matches great with our decor.  Here's how I did it.


Scrap fabric
Wonder Under
17 x 17, 17 x 12, and 17 x 9 pieces of fabric
White Thread
Construction Paper
16 x 16 pillow
Sewing Machine

I started with some scrap material that I thought went well together and a sheet of Wonder Under.  It's important that all the Wonder Under is covered (I learned this the hard way and some of it stuck to my iron...). Since my fabric didn't line up exactly, I just cut them all out individually.

Here's the example of the leaf I used.  I cut out the design on card stock first and made sure all the material was wide and long enough for it. I ended up using 15 leaves.

Here are the individual material pieces.  Then I ironed each one on the wonder under.  Then I peeled it off quickly so the adhesive wouldn't reapply itself.

Once you've pulled off the wonder under, use your pattern to cut out the leaves.  I also free handed a tree trunk.

Place all the items on the 17 x 17 piece of material and iron it again so that all the pieces adhere to the fabric.

Sew around each item with white thread.  You can use an applique stitch if you have it or a straight stitch.  For this project I chose just to use a straight stitch.  You can see an example of an applique stitch on my applique burp cloths.

Then get your 17 x 12 and 17 x 9 pieces and fold one side a half inch and then a half inch again and iron it down.  Then sew down the side.

Now take your finished appliqued tree and pin it right sides together to the 17 x 12 and 17 x 9 pieces so that the hemmed pieces are in the middle.  Place the smaller piece on the inside.  Then sew around the entire edge.

Stuff in the pillow and here you have your applique fall pillow!

Thanks again for the guest post Tales of a Trophy Wife!  I'm excited to see you all over at my blog for some more fun ideas!

- Alexis
A big huge thank-yo to Alexis for sharing her pillow (I heart cute pillows).  If you have a favorite post that you would like to share and toot your own horn, please write it up and send me the html code (  I will publish them in the order that I receive them.

Tales of a Trophy Wife

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's all gravy!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of GravyMaster for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.



Are you a gravy aficionado?  Do you prepare Grandma’s secret recipe each Thanksgiving?   Confession:  Even though, I’m almost 40 I cannot ever remember being in charge of the Gravy for Thanksgiving.  GravyMaster is coming to my rescue and providing the recipe for Perfect Gravy Every Time. Thanksgiving is saved!

GravyMaster  can not only be used to enhance the flavors of your holiday meals, but well as everyday meals as well. It is a seasoning and browning sauce that has been around since 1935. Do you remember your mother or grandmother using it or have you ever tried it? Please leave a comment and tell me about it.

GravyMaster is not just for gravies, but can also be used to kick up the flavor or any of your fish, poultry, meat, or vegetable dishes. It is also great for marinades and sauces.  It is also 100% vegan and Kosher and made from natural ingredients. The Gravy Master website has lots of yummy looking recipes that I will be trying. These Pork Chops in Apple Cider look too yummy not to try. Master the meal with all of their recipes.



So if you are in charge of the gravy this year or just in need of some new recipes check it out (and come back and tell me what you thought?)



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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Panel Pillow Pattern

How's that for alliteration?

Kelli from Random Thoughts of a Super Mom suggested that I should make a pumpkin pie pillow to go along w/ my turkey pillow. (She made a really cute pie t-shirt for one of her kids) What a great suggestion, I think it turned out cute.

If you want to make one, I traced the pieces I used to make a pattern for you. (PDF Here)
Iron some fusible webbing on the back of fabric.  Then cut out each pattern piece.  I was a lazy photographer, but here's all the pieces stacked on top of each other.
Then out of the same fabric as the crust, I made some pleats (I pleated every 1/2 inch) then basted it into place.

Next I sewed the pleats to the back of my pie and trimmed off the excess.
 Finally, I ironed the entire pie onto a green checked panel, made button holes and attached. I added a little bloom thingy for whipped cream.

I think they look pretty cute hanging out on my porch with my Be Thankful and my turkey pillow. I guess I'll need to come up w/ something for Christmas soon. Ideas?

Marriage Therapy

Our family is at the crazy hectic stage of life.  I joke that I'm not a "stay-at-home-mom", but more of a "drive-my kids-around-in-the-van-mom".  Somedays my most meaningful communication with my husband is in the form or a text or e-mail. Sad but true. 

My husband has an annual meeting that he must attend and so each year we gratefully leave the kiddos in the hands of grandparents (and sometimes even aunts and uncles) and take off to spend some time together-marriage therapy. 

This year's convention was held in Miami Beach and we stayed at the Surfcomber Hotel.  We arrived there pretty early (10:30 am) and so they of course didn't have a room ready for us yet, but they happily stored all of our luggage.  We went and relaxed by their heated pool (the beach is right behind the palm trees). I felt like an actually trophy wife.  They had lounge chairs and an attendant handing out towels and ice water w/ lemon.  (there is also a bar if you're interested in drinking tropical drinks by the pool) Later, after walking along the boardwalk, we both agreed that our hotel had the nicest "backyard" in Miami Beach.
  (view from my lounge chair-heaven)

While my husband was in meetings, (if wasn't out reading by the pool) I would sit here and blog. (I caught up on my family blog and added over 40 posts). They had super fast wi-fi (made me realize how slow ours is). 

The location was perfect. The hotel backs up directly to the beach and it is only a few blocks from the convention center and Lincoln Street (the shopping  and restaurant district).

Our room had a very comfy pillow top mattress with a down comforter and fluffy down pillows.  I had a great night sleep every night and woke up each morning to a complimentary light breakfast in the lobby. They also have a fitness center if you want to work off your breakfast.

To be balanced, there is some construction going on next door that at times was a little loud, but it didn't really bother us and hopefully it will be complete soon.

Overall, we had a clean, comfortable room and the staff was helpful and friendly and I would have no hesitations recommending it any of you in need of a warm tropical spot for your marriage therapy of your own.

I'll end this post with a funny picture:

Miami Beach loves their dogs.  Everyone seem to have one.  My husband took this pic of one wearing a diaper. Believe it or not, it is only the 2nd silliest dog we saw.  We didn't take a picture of the dachshund wearing jeans, t-shirt, and sunglasses.

Disclaimer: All opinions are 100% mine, but the Surfcomber Hotel did provide me with free Internet access while I was at their hotel.