Monday, March 12, 2012

Sangria to Celebrate One Year of Blogging

       I can’t believe I have been blogging for One Year!  It is kind of a milestone.  I am glad I started and pretty sure I will continue another year. It has been fun and hopefully you have enjoyed some of the recipes and maybe tried a few out for dinner at your house.  I do wish my photos had improved more and that I had time to post more often. .  Still, I started this blog to share the recipes I had developed or tried with friends and it has been great for that!  I know there are lots of great ways to stage food in natural light or lighting tricks after dark but honestly, I am just sharing what I cook for dinner and I usually have a table full of hungry diners waiting for to eat. I don’t want to take the time to set up photos better, I want to cook and feed people and then share the recipe. So I suppose for what I aim to do, this blog is just fine. I wish I was reaching more people but I am always thrilled when someone comes up to me and says’ “I tried the recipe on your blog and we loved it!” or when I see another comment or like!

A huge thank you to everyone who reads my humble little blog and extra appreciation for those who have commented or follow it or like it on fb!! You all are the greatest!!!   I would love to hear from you if you have suggestions for improving my blog and recipes. Are the easy to read and follow? Are they the recipes you are interested in?   I know I have a long way to go and I have appreciated all I have learned from fellow bloggers and the encouragement from those who read my blog. Thank you!

I was hoping to cook something wonderful  this week end to post for my one year Blogiversary, but  I have not done any cooking this  week. Instead, I have been sick the whole week with the flu and have not done much beyond sleep, cough and sip on water. It has been long week but I am finally feeling a bit better. It has been extra difficult to be stuck in bed since the weather has been ridiculously nice- in the high 60’s and 70’s under sunny blue skies.  Happily, the nice weather lasted longer than my flu and I was able to enjoy some slow strolls in the sun over the weekend.  I know we could have more heavy snows at any time but it was delightful to enjoy spring-like weather.

One of the special treats was this beautiful little crocus right outside my front door! It is the first flower I have seen this spring and just like last year, it is in my own front yard.
You know, living here in Colorado I have come to really appreciate spring and all the seasons with their changes. We live in a flowerless winter expanse that makes me long for the first flowers of spring.  Back in California, we had flowers year round and that was one reason I loved SoCal. But here, the first flower is as welcomed as Christmas morning because there is such flowerless anticipation. I love living in four distinct seasons and that is one thing I love about Colorado!


The warm almost-spring weather inspired me with a celebratory recipe for my blogiversary: Sangria!  We love the fruity, refreshing taste of sangria, especially when we cook out on the grill.  Sangria is our friend's sam favorite drink to order so we have tried it at several different restaurants. We have asked servers for the recipe plus I asked numerous friends who served it what they liked in their sangria. It seems pretty simple and most are some variation of this basix recipe. Feel free to play with this as everybody seems to come up with their own twists :-)

Fort Collins is known for its micro-breweries and beer enthusiasts but I think everyone can enjoy dry red wine infused with citrus and berries that can be turned up a notch with some brandy or triple sec or mellowed with ginger ale and fruit juice. If there are those who do not drink wine, I like to make a well-marked non-alcoholic version of this by substituting some tart red juice (cranberry-grape, perhaps)for the wine/brandy  and omitting extra sugar. Tonight, we skipped Brandy since we were all tired and one visitor had a long drive home later.

By the way, there is an excellent syrup you can use to flavor sangria- Monin Red Sangria Mix Syrup. When we have some of this on hand, we like to use it instead of other sweeteners.
Red Wine Sangria

1 Cup Orange juice (or lemonade)
¼ cup sugar or honey ( more or less to taste)
3 ½  cups nice dry red wine- I prefer cabernet sauvignon , shiraz or a fuller bodied Zinfandel like Gnarly head Old Vine Zin, but I am not a wine expert!!
1/2 – ¾  cup Brandy (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon ( and perhaps a lime)
1 orange sliced
1 lemon sliced, Meyers are great!
Pinch of cinnamon

     Other Fruit options- Choose 2-3
1 small can of pineapple chunks with juice or fresh pineapple
1 cup strawberries halves or quarters, or raspberries
1 cup pitted sweet cherries
1 cup ripe peach slices
1 Cup sliced ripe pear
1 sliced lime
2-3 cups ginger ale (to be added at serving if desired)

Earlier in the day or even night before serving
In a small saucepan, heat orange juice and sugar stirring until sugar is dissolved. You may skip this step if using honey. Set aside to cool.
In a large pitcher, add wine, brandy, juice of lemon, lime, cooled orange juice and fruit. Cover and refrigerate for 3 or more hours for optimum flavor.
To serve, you may add ice to the glasses, if desired and a splash of ginger ale and then fill with sangria and garnish with fresh fruit slices. Repeat as necessary J
This should make enough for 6 people.


  1. I toast to you with non-alcoholic lemonade since I am underage - my heartiest congratulations :D

    Choc Chip Uru

    1. Thank you! I think the non alcoholic version I mentioned ( use a red juice like cranberry-grape, etc) is quite tasty and usually serve it too for my underage or non-wine drinking guests :-)

  2. Congrats on the one year blogoversary. In reading this I am thinking that I need to update my blog. It has been about two years and there have been some changes in things that are available, but I am not a programmer. One of the things I was asked about is a print button so a person could print the recipe.
    Anyhow your sangria does look delicious and I love the Sunset photo. Thanks for stopping by my blog also!

    1. Thanks Tina. Yes, I have been noticing those print buttons popping up on other blogs. I wonder if there is an easy way to do it here on blogger. I will have to check. Yes, learning about webpages and such has been fun and they do make it very easy to get started but there are lots of extras that I still need to figure out.

  3. Well done on reaching such a great accomplishment! That's fantastic that you've stuck with it, hopefully its as much fun now as it was when you started :)

    That first flower of the season is breathtaking!


    1. Thanks!! I do have a good time still. We now have four little purple flowers and the good weather is holding for the time so they are pristine. I imagine you are surrounded by beautiful flowers all the time. I do long for a vacation to someplace like where you live around this time of year :-)

  4. Happy blogiversary! That sangria sounds scrumptious. What a way to celebrate.

  5. Congratulations! :) What an achievement.

  6. Thank you Kiri, I do feel good that I kept at it a year. I hope I can do it for another now. I like having my recipes online, I can send people to my blog when they ask for one. It is so much easier than sorting through my documents, maybe finding it and then printing it. It also is forces me to think about what I am doing, and write it down so I can make the same thing twice :-)

  7. Happy Blogiversay! You picked a good way to celebrate, keep it up! :)

  8. Thank you!I am looking forward to trying out some of your cooking over an open fire recipes this summer, I hope. I so enjoy your stories and photos about dinner at your house. It just looks and sounds so wonderful to be a guest with your family :-)

  9. Happy Blogiversay! It's such an achievement! And what a fab way to celebrate! The sangria looks so good!

  10. Happy Anniversary! Way to celebrate in style! :P That's quite the view to enjoy as well, you're a lucky girl!

    1. Thank you Jeff!! It was a tasty celebration :-)Yes I am incredibly lucky to live here, on the very edge of a bustling university town at the very foot of the Rockies. On one side is a quaint old town (Disneyland's main street was modeled after some of it!) with all kinds of restaurants, bars and a fun music scene and on the other, all open space and parks and trails! 20 years since I moved here from Long Beach, Calif and I still pinch myself!

  11. Happy 1st Blogiversary Denise! Very delicious Sangria to celebrate your big day. I used to take pictures of food right before dinner time too, but then I got so stressed out that I realized I can't do it and there is no natural light too. So my family ends up eating at least 1-2 recipe a week that's cooked and photographed in the morning. I promise them that I can cook "fresh" one next time I cook, but first time recipe on blog is always pre-cooked dinner. I am thankful for them accepting... Only I get to try tasting when it's hot. =P

    Such a lovely shot of flowr and I love the sunset picture! Wish to visit Colorado one day!

    1. Thanks so much Nami. You have been a great help to me in keeping on with this blog. Your encouragaement means so much! I think your idea with cooking in the morning is brilliant-- many foods can re heat well so why not? I am starting to get up earlier since I take care of my mom and she needs help in the mornings so this could work! Thanks for the tip.
      You should come out to Colorado. It is so lovely here! The mountains are spectacular. If you come to visit you all can stay in our humble little home if you like. It is not fancy but we have a big family room downstairs that could accomadate you. And my daughter could practise her Japanese with you, she getting out of practice since it has been a couple years ago that she took it at school. Just let us know if you want to come visit. We can cook together :-)

  12. Congratulations on one year!

    I love sangria and will follow your recipe next time I make it. Looks very good!