Monday, September 30, 2013

Wine and Cheese Pairing with Two Buck Chuck

Using the same wines from the blind wine tasting activity I did in the previous post (View Here), I brought out a cheese plate to pair with each wine.

Cheese and Wine is a classic pairing and taste even better when consumed together. The key to pairing wine and cheese is marrying the texture, acidity, flavor and fat content of the cheese to the flavor profile of the wine.

The following wine and cheese pairings are based upon different wine guides I found online.  Here is a link to a guide I found to be the most helpful: Wine & Cheese Pairing Guide 

Below are my suggested cheese pairings with Trader Joes' Charles Shaw (Two Buck Chuck) Wine:

1. Chardonnay & Brie Cheese

2. Sauvignon Blanc & Goat Cheese

 3. Cabernet Sauvignon & Sharp White Cheddar Cheese

4. Syrah & 1,000 Day Old Aged Gouda 

5. Sparkling Moscato & Blue Cheese
(this was my favorite pairing!)

If you would like to create these cheese tags, here is a link to a PDF of the cheese tags I created: Printable Cheese Tags.  I printed these circular tags on cardstock, then cut and taped them to wooden skewers.

All the supplies: wines, cheeses, crackers, salami and grapes were all from Trader Joes that served around 10 people at a total of about $45.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Inexpensive Blind Wine Tasting

One of my friends invited a couple of us over to her place to watch the Emmys and I insisted on bringing some wine and cheese for the night.  While shopping for the wines at Trader Joe's, I came across their Charles Shaw wine selection or what it is commonly known as Two Buck Chuck, named for their $2.49/bottle price tag.  Immediately, I decided to add a little entertainment to the night by incorporating a small blind wine tasting activity in addition to a wine and cheese pairing with bottles of Two Buck Chuck.

I will share more about the wine and cheese pairing in the next post.

Trader Joes' Charles Shaw Wines have about 10 different varietals, but I purchased a total of 4 bottles: their Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  A majority of my friends enjoy sweet wine, so I also purchased a bottle of Zibbibo sparkling Moscato which was only $2.99!

A blind wine tasting is a fun way for your guests to hone in on their wine knowledge as they try to guess what wine varietal they are drinking.  It is also interesting to see the reactions of your guests when they find out what they actually tasted.  I mainly wanted to shock my guests by unveiling that the wine they were drinking was actually Two Buck Chuck and that I only spent a total of about $13 on all 5 bottles.

Set Up:
I disguised the label of each of the bottles with card stock, as normal printing paper was too transparent. Then I glued on numbered tags, which I created for each of the bottles.  Here is a link to a PDF of the tags you can print directly onto regular copy paper and cut and paste onto your bottles of wine.  Blind Tasting Wine Tags  If you feel like the bottle will give away too much, you can wrap each bottle with aluminum foil to camouflage the exterior.

*Make sure to number the wines starting with white wine, then red wine and end with dessert wine,  then going from sweet to dry. 

Your guests only need to taste the wine, so pour about a 2oz serving.  I also recommend having water crackers available to help your guests clear their palate for the next tasting.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Easy DIY Streamer Backdrop

Nowadays, photobooths are essential at any party. Booking a professional digital photobooth can take up a great majority of your budget.  Creating your own photobooth is very easy and most importantly, cost effective. Streamers are great for decorating a space at a party. They are not only colorful and versatile, but they are only $0.89 a roll!

Here is a quick and easy DIY streamer backdrop you can put together costing only $5 for a photobooth or dessert/buffet table display !

This is a backdrop layout for a group photo of about 5 people.

To get started, you will need:

-At least 3 rolls of streamers (81 ft ea.) in whichever color(s) that match the theme of your event
-Masking Tape (got this purple masking tape for $2 at Michaels using a 40% off coupon)

First, roll out at least 5 feet of the masking tape, sticky side out about 6.5 feet or taller off the floor (it helps to have a second person on hand). Secure the long piece of tape by taping it with two smaller pieces to the wall. 

Secure the strip by placing a piece rolled up masking tape to the back in the center of the strip.

Next, cut up strips of the streamers about 4.5 feet long and stick them along the sticky side of the masking tape one by one, partially over lapping the previous strip.


I wanted to add some textured fringe strips so I skipped a couple sections to add those pieces later on.

To add some pieces of fringe, fold up a strip of the streamer leaving at least 1 inch of space to secure it to the sticky masking tape. Using your scissors, cut small slits to the right and left side of the rolled up strip.

To firmly secure the streamers, run a strip of the masking tape, sticky side down to the top and bottom of the backdrop.

Lastly, cut off the excess ends of the streamer. 

And...VOILA you're done!

Using masking tape for this backdrop also makes for a very quick and easy clean up without taking off any paint or leaving holes in your wall!