Bernie – Our New Shih-poo

Bernie Our New Shih-Poo

After losing Sprinkles, our much loved  shih-poo, it took a while to find another dog to be our inside house pet. Considering the circumstances of her death, we decided against another shih-poo. But the dilema then became what to get.

Living in what will be the basement of our home with 1500 sq ft for the 9 of us, a large dog inside could become a source of irritation – especially for those in the family that are not true dog lovers! So, while a big dog would probably not be the best for us right now, I knew I wanted some type of a poodle mix because any dog bred with a poodle will have little to no shedding.

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Sourdough English Muffin French Toast with Yogurt Sauce


Sourdough English Muffin French Toast with Yogurt Sauce

If you have ever made English Muffins, you know how easy they are to make. And Sourdough English Muffins are just as easy! Like most foods, once you taste the homemade version, it is hard to go back to store bought – especially when you eat them fresh and hot! While I use the Sourdough English Muffins for the following recipe, any will do.

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Veraison – the Grapes are Ripening!

montepulciano grapes showing veraison

Veraison has occurred – What an exciting time of year!

From now through harvest (and especially harvest itself) we really see and enjoy the fruits of our labor   ;)

You may have never heard of veraison and to put it simply, the grapes begin to change color which shows they are beginning to ripen.

According to  Wikipedia, veraison is:

 a viticulture (grape-growing) term meaning “the onset of ripening”. It is originally French, but has been adopted into English use. The official definition of veraison is “change of color of the grape berries.” Veraison represents the transition from berry growth to berry ripening, and many changes in berry development occur at veraison.

For us, it means we can eat ripe grapes again – no more green sour berries for us!  Since everyone else is also scouring the vines for the ripening grapes and quickly gobbling them down, the challenge at this point is to find the berries going through veraison before anyone else does!

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Hilde, Hildie or Hildy….

Hilde the Family Milk Cow

As I said earlier, during my absence from Cultured Palate, a lot has happened. So, I would like to introduce you to our new family milk cow. She is 1/2 Brown Swiss and 1/2 Jersey. The problem is the spelling of her name!

How would you spell it? Hilde, Hildie or Hildy?

My preferred spelling is “Hilde”!

So, while our family disagrees (playfully of course) about the spelling, everyone agrees that Hilde is possibly the best family milk cow we have ever had!

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Easy Shepherd’s Pie

easy shepherd's pie When we were first married, being the new bride and wanting to impress my husband with my culinary skills, I tried making a Shepherd’s Pie recipe from a vegetarian cookbook, Laurel’s Kitchen. It was a success – he was duly impressed! So, it was added to my arsenal of recipes.

Recipes, for me anyway, are a work in progress – ever changing. This Easy Shepherd’s Pie Recipe is now quite a bit different from that original recipe. The major difference is the introduction of ground beef. Thanks to the GAPS diet, I am now able to eat meat – and, it is delicious. If, however, you are a vegetarian, simply leave out the ground beef and you will still have a delicious meal! [Continue Reading]

Pellenc Wire Raiser

Pellenc wire raiserIf you remember, a couple of years ago we bought a Pellenc 4560 multi-function vineyard machine (i.e. grape harvester) which you can see in action here in this harvest video. Not only can the Pellenc harvest grapes, but with other vineyard attachments, it can be used as a pre-pruner and now, a VSP wire raiser.

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Eggplant Lasagna

Easy Eggplant Lasagna

I love lasagna!

And, do you what is better than plain lasagna?

Eggplant Lasagna.

I am confidant that  the following Easy Eggplant Lasagna Recipe is sure to become your new family favorite – it is ours!

Why? Well, number one – it tastes great! And, number two, like the name says, it is easy!

Really, who doesn’t like lasagna?

Think Garfield and his great admiration for Lasagna. Plus, Easy Eggplant Lasagna is gluten free!

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From Texas to Maine

Gateway ArchAs I mentioned last week in Oswald Vineyard May/June, a lot has happened in the past few months, one of which is a family vacation. As you might guess, we take very few getaway trips and when we do, we normally visit family in Georgia. Which, by the way Mom, we are planning to do later this summer!

Not that we need an excuse for a vacation, but if we did, the wedding of a niece in Maine was the perfect one. Years ago, when John had a “real” job, he had a 6 week business trip to the Boston area. Having only 5 children at the time, ages 8 mths – 7 yrs, we all went. The children and I did a lot of site seeing. We visited places like the Boston Children’s Museum of Arts and Science, Plymouth Plantation, and probably the highlight of the trip, the Armor Museum in Worcester, MA. Needless to say, we had a blast and made a lot of great memories which I wanted to relive now with the children still at home.

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Oswald Vineyard May/June 2014

Oswald Vineyard June 2014

When I last posted in March, Change is Good, I had no intention of continuing Cultured Palate. What you might ask, has changed?

Well, I am still very much enjoying being more concentrated on and more  accessible for my family. But, I have been touched by the emails, comments and questions about what is going on with us now. So, I thought I would revisit those of you who have taken the time to get to know our family with periodic updates.

A lot has happened in these few months – we have a new milk cow, took a 5000+ mile trip to Maine (in our 15 passenger van) and have a new vineyard toy imported from France – but, I will tell you more about all that later!

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Change is Good

Some of you may remember a saying about how God works with doors, windows and such. Well, I have a variation for you: When God closes a door, sometimes there isn’t a window to open.

That’s where I found myself over Christmas. I had gotten it into my head to move my blog to a bigger, better, faster server so as to accommodate the growing traffic I was experiencing. Well, the supposedly seamless transfer hit a glitch and my blog disappeared from the internet for about a week. As it started coming back, the pictures wouldn’t load right, the layout was squirreled up and some past posts were lost.

During this period in which I had absolutely no control over the circumstances, three proverbial light bulbs came on in my head. 1. To my humbling surprise, no one wrote or called saying their lives also went on the blink while my blog was down! ( a few people did subsequently write and I appreciate the encouragement – thank you!). 2. Many members of my family expressed their appreciation to have their wife and mother back full time. 3. My unrecognized elevated stress level dramatically dropped and I began sleeping soundly once again.

So…. It is not that I don’t care about positively impacting your lives – I do. But right now I see a tremendous value in re-simplifying my life and focusing more intently on my family. I plan to leave the blog up for a year (it’s already paid for) and for those who want to follow our family’s vineyard adventure, my husband started a facebook page, Oswald Vineyard.