Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wine Rack in the Amana Colonies

    This wine rack was upstairs at the Ackerman's Winery in the Amana Colonies. They also have a wonderful collection of homemade wines for which they have won many awards. Something else that was very neat, was the Blues Brothers statues. Elwood is in the downstairs museum and Jake on the main floor. They have a lot of gift ideas including wine glasses, wine and cheese. All kinds of unusual things. Check that frog on the right side of the wine rack, he is about knee high and is also for sale. There are just all kinds of things, I doubt you would find any where else.

  Elwood is in the basement guarding some kegs of wine in the picture below. Empty I think? There's only a window to view and separate the viewers and the camera from Elwood as he is seen frozen in motion, holding a bunch of grapes in his right hand.
JAKE is ON the MAIN FLOOR - I didn't get a picture of the statue that is there.

If you come to Iowa the Amana Colonies has alot of unique wine shops. The Ackerman's Winery is just one of them. You will also find some very unique restaurants like "The Ox Yoke Inn" with traditional German plates including Chicken Schnitzel and J├Ąger Schnitzel. Another of my favorites is Kasseler Rippchen that's German for smoked pork chops and there's the Amana Ham. "YUMMY"! There's alot of gift shops that are also very unique and have neat things like wine glasses and beer steins. There is even a woolen mill and a blacksmith shop and several antique stores.

    There is not just winerys, there is also a beer brewery, "
The Millstream Brewery". Its great tasting beer and ale serves the beer drinkers taste buds well. All the winery's and the Millstream Brewery let you sample till you find just the right blend of brew. So I highly recommend taking a day to enjoy the Amana Colonies. There are also bed and breakfasts like Aaron's Cloister Haus that can be really fun to stay at. They also have the Amish feel to them with antiques and traditional food. Although there isn't much for the kids, it will bring the kid out in you.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Martini Toast

Every Holiday deserves the right drink for the holiday toast. Wine is very nice but I think thanksgiving deserves something with a little more thought behind it. Now I usually prefer the traditional martini recipe with the gin and dry vermouth decorated with an olive. But I decided to try a little something different for the holidays, so I purchased two bottles of Harry and Davids White Chocolate Martini Mix. One to experiment with and one to take to the Thanksgiving celebration.
First I tried just the gin but nay that was very bitter and not too good. Then a little vermouth better but it needs something because it’s still not that good. So I thought maybe a little fruity flavor. So I tried some with some raspberry vodka and a dash of black raspberry brandy shook it up with some crushed ice, decorated a martini glass with margarita sugar. Poured it in to the martini glass and topped it with whip cream. Now that’s good enough for the Thanksgiving toast and I would highly recommend it for your Holiday toast as well.

Oh and you might want to try a chocolate cherry on a tooth pick instead of the traditional olive. Just watch that really make their taste buds beg for more. I know it makes my mouth water just thinking of it. Maybe just a piece of dark chocolate would do or even a mint chocolate. Got any ideas leave me a comment.

Friday, November 4, 2011


   Cheers to the Thanksgiving season. I look back on all the wonders of Fall. All the beautiful colors and the smell of falling leaves in the air. Now that Halloween is behind us, what will we do with all this left over candy? Well, I need to hide most of it from Lisa or she'll eat it all and be mad at herself.

I like the holidays but some how it always leaves a kind of empty feeling in my soul. Because I'll miss Summer, for instance like the memories of our garden when it was just some little sprigs popping out of the ground. To when the tomatoes, squash and peppers all had to be gathered up and prepared for the chilly winter ahead, that's just peeking its wintry head around the corner.
   This wasn't our garden, ours was much better! This is from the House on the Rock in Wisconsin when we stopped there for the tour on our way north for Lisa’s Dirty Girl 5k in August. In fact those aren’t even tomatoes they're some kind of exotic plants in their green house when you first enter the House On the Rock.

We went north again in October to Ashland Wisconsin. Where Lisa ran a 13.2 mile half marathon. That's alot! Wore me out just watching.

      Then we went site seeing with her brother, Derek and his wife, Kim. Some of the sites were just absolutely breath taking like the picture below. That's Lisa on the right side on the board walk, enjoying the fresh air off the lake and an awesome view of Lake Superior.

    On the way back we stopped at a fun little road side wine and cheese shop.Where we got a bottle of cherry wine from Orchard County Winery. That’s Me in the picture to the right. Enjoying a yummy goblet of some of the semi dry cherry wine from Wisconsin. I'm in our back yard and it was a cool Saturday afternoon but the wine helped to keep me warm. MM Yummy that's good stuff. We should have gotten some Wisconsin cheese to go with the wine. Oh well, I’m sure we'll be going back again next year some time. So till next time, have a toast for the fall of 2011 and have a good turkey day.