Category Archives: Food & Drinks

Understanding Australian Wine

Australia is on the rise as a producer and exporter of fine wine. This large, southern hemisphere nation experiences seasons opposite to those in the United States and includes more than 50 designated grape-growing regions with varying conditions and climates. The large variety and high quality of wines produced in Australia have helped the country rise to fourth place on the list of exporters worldwide. Since the 1960s the Australian wine industry has blossomed, achieving critical acclaim and recognition around the world.


Aussie vineyards tend to be clustered around its most populated areas in the southeastern and southwestern coasts. This by no means indicates that their expanse or variety is limited, however; almost 400,000 acres of land across four of the nation’s seven states are devoted to vineyards that collectively produce over a million tons of wine grapes of almost every type. Production has boomed in the last ten years, with more than twice as much output compared with a decade ago. As the industry has grown in size and stature, its approach to winemaking has shifted. Whereas most Aussie varieties used to be made with a blend of grapes from different regions, the industry today tends to focus more on regional specialties.


Chardonnay and Shiraz are currently the most popular varieties from Down Under, but others including Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Merlot, Grenache, and Semillon, are current standouts among the field of Australian wines. Varying soil types and weather conditions across the wine-growing regions make the growing of many different kinds of grapes possible, including sparkling varieties in cooler, coastal climes and Muscats in the warmer inland regions. As this country’s viniculture has gained respect worldwide, the focus on fine wines with at least an 85 percent concentration of grapes from a specific area has increased. The narrower the geographic area designated on the wine’s label, the higher the price.

Notable Varieties

It’s not surprising that Shiraz, having been grown in Australia for almost 200 years, is one of its finest products. Penfolds Grange, a blend of grapes from a number of regions including Barossa, is the premier Aussie Shiraz.

While there are over 1,000 small family wineries in Australia offering many unique and high-quality wines, the best vintages tend to come from the large producers. Tyrell’s, for example, offers some of the country’s most distinguished wines. Their star is their Vat 1 Semillon, dry with notes of buttered toast and honey.

Australia is also known for its dessert wines, known as “stickies” in local lingo. Two standouts in this category include the Muscat and Tokay from northeastern Victoria.

This industry’s accomplishments seem all the more spectacular when considering the fact that the country in which it’s based has not one native variety of grape. As the profile of Australian wine continues to rise, it should be on every oenophile’s radar.

Top photo: otavio_fonseca/Flickr

How to Make the Perfect Cheese Plate

A cheese plate can make or break any at-home happy hour. Whether you’re entertaining family or friends, everyone loves a well-rounded cheese plate with unique flavors and perfect accompaniments. But creating the perfect cheese plate is harder than it may seem. Mix the wrong stinky cheese with a fruity wine and havoc will reign. In order to learn How to Make a Cheese Plate, follow the instructions below.


  • Breads: Make sure to include different types of breads such as a sliced baguette, bread sticks, and crackers.
  • Condiments: The condiments can vary from vegetables, preservatives (honey is delicious), or tangy mustards.
  • Meats and Nuts: A good mixture of salty meats (such as salami), pistachios, and dried fruits can really add flavor to your cheese plate.

Types of Cheese:

  • Fresh and Mild Cheeses: These cheeses are not aged and very fresh. Examples include Ricotta and Buffalo Milk Mozzarella.
  • Bloomy Rind Cheeses: These molding cheeses are often creamy. The most famous cheese in this category is Brie.
  • Mild Semi-Soft to Semi-Firm Cheeses: These basic cheeses serve as a good foundation for a cracker and fruit combination. Examples include Colby and Monterey Jack.
  • Boldly Flavored Hard Cheeses: This sharp cheese category includes Gouda and Cheddar.
  • Cheese with Dominant Presence: These powerful cheeses can be extremely delicious with the right accompaniment (such as dark chocolate). One of the best examples from this category is Muenster.

How To Make a Cheese Plate
via Cabot Creamery

Top photo: kevinchin5/Flickr

Inspirational Ideas for a Hip, Happy Ice Cream Shop

Ice cream shops are no longer a staple in every town like they were a few decades ago. They became a dying breed; that is, until they were reborn as gourmet shops that offer a lot more than your standard ice cream flavors at a much steeper price. Creating the perfect quick stop shop involves a bit of creativity in order to keep attracting business, and we have some highly valuable, inspirational ideas for the ice cream shop your neighborhood needs.

Attractive Presentation

Of all of the ice cream shop supplies that you’ll need, the cups and spoons will be one of the most important in setting the theme for your shop. Customers love attractive packaging, and they will quickly choose a shop with boutique style offerings over one that uses boring Styrofoam cups if the product quality is about the same. Having a unique style, like brightly colored spoons and bowls and themed paper cones will make a lasting impact on your customers. This form of branding is important.

A Wide Assortment of Flavors

Traditional ice creams and gelato products come in a wide variety of flavors and combinations. You can generally guarantee that the more flavors a shop has, the better business will be. Ice cream is all about variety, and this variety also increases the chances for up-selling, as some customers might opt for a double scoop simple because they can’t choose one flavor.

Extreme Style

Traditional businesses tend to keep their decor minimal, but an ice cream shop caters to the fun side of life, making plain and unexciting the last things you want your place described as. For a fun and funky environment, you can style your ice cream shop after an old 1960s soda shop, brightly colored to put everyone in a good mood. Or, your ice cream shop can be given an incredibly modern feel that makes customers feel like they have just stepped into the future. The style of your shop will help it achieve brand awareness with first-time customers, as they will always remember “that one cool, hip ice cream shop” they visited.

Ice cream shops require a lot of supplies to start up, but the focus should also be placed on what the customer sees and interacts with. If a store doesn’t make a lasting impression, customers will easily opt for another place of business in the future. An ice cream shop should offer much more than ice cream — it should provide a fun environment that takes its customers down memory lane to revisit the excitement from their childhoods.

Top photo: Joel Kramer/Flickr

Staying Active and Energized with Yoplait Plenti Yogurt

Maintaining an active lifestyle is hard work. While there are many healthy living writers and experts out there who will happily maintain that there is no better way to start the day than with a rigorous workout routine, that has never been me. No, when I embark on a several-mile-long walk/jog, dare to hop on a mountain bike and will my legs to pedal enough to make it uphill, or trudge through a new workout, you can be certain that a lengthy pep talk immediately preceded me finally deciding that maybe doing something good for my overall health and well-being wouldn’t be the worst thing.

Motivation is fickle, but one of the best lessons I have learned over the last few years is that it is when you struggle to get started that you most likely need to do it anyway. So I take that walk, get on that bike, go that extra mile, or do that round of squats — and I make sure my body has what it needs to bring me through it.

Food is fuel, and while fresh fruits and veggies are great for you, getting enough protein can often be overlooked. As your body builds and breaks down muscle, it needs protein in order to build them back up again. Lately, I have been getting the extra boost of protein my body craves at snack time with new Yoplait Plenti yogurt.

Plenti yogurt

Plenti is a new Greek yogurt with plenty of good stuff (ha ha, get it?) mixed right in. Gluten free and packed full of whole grain oats, flax, and pumpkin seeds, it is a wholesome, high-protein snack that keeps my energy high when I need it most. I can’t tell you how many times my husband and I have been on one of our epic treks through the woods around our neighborhood, miles away from our house, only to have my mood suddenly regress to a toddler’s — I’m hungry, I’m tired, can we go home now? Not only does it put a serious damper on the good time we could be having together (not to mention the fact that an internal pep talk was probably needed in order to get me to agree to a several-mile-long trek through the woods), but I get really irritable when I’m hungry or don’t have the energy I should, and who has time for that?

Plenti yogurt

What I like most about new Yoplait Plenti yogurt is its texture. I love yogurt, but I am not typically a fan of Greek yogurt due to what I have experienced to be a very grainy texture. I am very texture-oriented when it comes to any and all foods I eat, and up until trying Plenti I thought I disliked all Greek yogurt. In fact, I fully anticipated to take one bite of this and hand it off to my husband to finish. But because of the goodness mixed into Plenti, the texture was more layered and not the least bit grainy. This was the first cup of Greek yogurt I started and finished. Bravo, Yoplait!

By putting more in, Plenti helps you get more out — a more substantial snack with nutritional benefits so that you have more energy to do more things that will make your happy (or make you happy in the long run).

Plenti yogurt

Plenti yogurt

You can try Yoplait Plenti in eight delicious flavors: Vanilla, Strawberry, Blueberry, Black Cherry, Raspberry, Peach, Coconut, and Spiced Apple. Find a store near you and follow Plenti on Instagram!

How do you keep your energy up to make it through a busy day?

Rethink Your Sports Drink with Athlete- and Kid-Friendly BODYARMOR

I received a 6-pack of BODYARMOR SuperDrink for review. Incentive was provided and opinions are my own.


There are a lot of sports drinks out there, but many of them don’t provide much more than a big dose of artificial ingredients and enough sugar to classify them as “adult drinks.” While water is always best for hydration, sometimes you’re craving something that packs some flavor and real electrolytes and vitamins, especially if you live an active lifestyle — and that goes double when you’re the parent of a pint-sized athlete.

BODYARMOR is a new natural sports drink that has appropriately distanced themselves from the traditional sports drink market. The SuperDrink has more potassium-packed electrolytes than any other rival sports drink, and is made with coconut water and vitamins while being low in sodium and containing no — that’s right, absolutely zero — artificial ingredients. Imagine that!

BODYARMOR nutritional information

We had the opportunity to try a 6-pack of BODYARMOR SuperDrink and were really impressed with it.

My fiance has high blood pressure and is on a mild water pill to help control it. When he took a look at the nutritional information of BODYARMOR, he practically squeeled with excitement over the fact that it contained so much potassium. When you are on a water pill, it can drastically lower your potassium levels and result in mild-to-moderate muscle aches. He was excited to have another option for meeting his daily potassium requirements, other than supplements and of course, a lot of bananas. Needless to say, he has been hogging all the drinks!

We also feel confident that BODYARMOR is a perfectly acceptable hydration option for active kids and young athletes. Each 16oz bottle contains two 8oz servings and are convenient to throw into your sports bag and bring along to practices and games to sip on throughout the day for superior hydration.


BODYARMOR has the investment power and notoriety of Kobe Bryant behind them, as well as a roster of top-performing athletes like Andrew Luck, James Harden, Mike Trout, Kevin Love, and more. We think this SuperDrink has a bright future ahead of them as they encourage athletes and parents alike to question, rethink, and upgrade their sports drink.


BODYARMOR comes in 7 refreshing and great-tasting flavors: fruit punch, orange mango, strawberry banana, tropical punch, lemon lime, mixed berry, and grape.

You can purchase BODYARMOR now at your local Target, Wegmans, Sunoco Convenient Mart, or find your local retailer here. Be sure to head over to to print your coupon for $1 off 2 bottles of BODYARMOR SuperDrink.

How to Begin Your Search for the Best Fresh Seafood Online


Seafood is a delicious delicacy that is more traditionally served during a romantic evening for two or to set a classy theme at a special or otherwise important party. Though mostly reserved for special occasions, seafood can be served — and served tastefully — during any occasion that could use some significant livening up. No matter if you are interested in lobster, shrimp, crab, or any other food from the ocean, seafood has a taste that is unique and memorable. Fresh seafood becomes even more attainable when you find a place that can sell it to you for significantly less than you would pay in a specialty store, such as online; though finding a place that sells premium seafood over the Internet can be easier said than done. The level of quality and price of seafood varies drastically, especially online, which is why you should look around before you start spending your money. Here are some of the best places to look when you are interested in buying seafood online.

Family References

Do you have people in your family who enjoy seafood? If you do, there is a chance that some of them have ordered it online. They might be able to give you the name of a site that sells high quality seafood at affordable prices. It never hurts to ask. After all, you have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by discussing this with the members of your family. If you are lacking enough references, you can also ask your friends to weigh in. Between all of these people, the odds of you coming up with a few good online seafood dealers is pretty good.

Browse the Internet

You might as well take some time to explore some of these online seafood companies yourself. While it is always nice to get references from people in your life who you love and trust, it also helps to look at what each company has to offer. By doing this, you may discover that certain online seafood dealers are considerably cheaper than others. You may also find that some companies will offer great introductory deals as a way of attracting new customers. You work hard for your money, so there is no sense spending it when you do not need to. The key to finding cheap fresh seafood online is being patient and looking at all your options.

Celebrate National Doughnut Day June 5 with Free Doughnuts from Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin Donuts

There are many reasons to count down to Friday, but now you have one more. Friday, June 5 is National Doughnut Day, and two of the most crave-worthy names in doughnuts are celebrating with a free tasty treat of your choice!

Here are the specifics of what you need to know before running out to score your free doughnut tomorrow:

Krispy Kreme

Whether you stake out your local Krispy Kreme location waiting for the “hot” sign to light up so that you can sink your teeth into a fresh Original Glazed® right out of the oven, or are more of a jelly-filled or powdered doughnut lover, you can pick up your favorite at Krispy Kreme absolutely free. No exceptions. No sneaky fine print. Walk in, name your pleasure (perhaps a new peach pie doughnut or lemon kreme cake available now for a limited time?) and walk out. Free and clear.

Dunkin’ Donuts, on the other hand, are running their National Doughnut Day promotion a little differently. Participating Dunkin’ Donuts locations will be offering guests a free doughnut of their choice, but there are some exclusions and fine print.

Dunkin Donuts

Most notably, Dunkin’ Donuts will only be giving free doughnuts to customers who first purchase a beverage. That beverage can be anything you’d like in any size, but a beverage must be purchased in order to qualify for a free doughnut. Additionally, the free doughnuts up for grabs exclude the new cheesecake squares and croissant donuts.

13 Inspired Food Bars for Your Rustic Outdoor Wedding

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with MODE.

wedding food bars

Posting has been extremely light around here over the last few weeks, and I assure you that I have some very good reasons. The happiest of those reasons, though, is that after a 3-year engagement and 9 1/2 years together, my fiance and I are getting married this summer!

You would think that after such a long engagement that we would have our minds made up about what our perfect wedding day looks like. And you would be wrong. In fact, I’m pretty sure our inability to truly make decisions is what contributed to us having such a lengthy engagement. After looking into the traditional ways in which couples usually go about planning and executing their big day, we settled on a complete DIY event right in our very own backyard. For us, getting married in the space we live in and have shared so many great memories in is perfect. Going the DIY route means that there are more plans, preparations, and projects than ever, and we’ve only got a little over a month to go.

In what is perhaps the most perfect timing ever, Woman Tribune has partnered with MODE to put together two unique collections of ideas and money-saving tips for wedding season.

If you’re a couple after our own hearts, big on DIY and the rustic outdoors, check out 13 Inspired Food Bars for Your Rustic Outdoor Wedding below. We’ve scoured the wedding blogosphere for the most unique ways to display and serve your delicious treats.

Please note: If you are running an ad blocker on your browser, you will have to disable it in order to see the slideshow.

Check out 13 Inspired Food Bars for Your Rustic Outdoor Wedding

by Woman Tribune at Mode

For even more DIY wedding ideas, check out 20 Free Wedding Printables for the DIY Couple.

Heart on a Plate: 14 Heart-Shaped Chocolate Desserts

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with MODE.

14 Heart-Shaped Chocolate Desserts

It’s never a bad idea to whip up something sweet for your sweetie. But let’s be honest, on Valentine’s Day it’s just a little more important to do something extra special to let your significant other know that you love and appreciate them and all you face together throughout the year.

We’ve partnered with MODE to put together a recipe collection full of decadent, mouth-watering heart-shaped desserts featuring the number one flavor of Valentine’s Day — chocolate, of course!

You can check out our collection Heart on a Plate: 14 Heart-Shaped Chocolate Desserts below. Please note: If you are running an ad blocker on your browser, you will have to disable it in order to see the slideshow.

Check out Heart on a Plate: 14 Heart-Shaped Chocolate Desserts

by Woman Tribune at Mode

What is your favorite heart-shaped chocolate dessert from the collection? Will you be making anything special for Valentine’s Day?

Blueberry Lemon Bread Recipe and U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council #LittleChanges Sweepstakes #IC #ad

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. I received a stipend to facilitate my purchase for my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.


Another new year is upon us, and with it comes a new set of resolutions that will hopefully stick longer than they did last year.

Among those who make New Year’s resolutions, it is major lifestyle changes that sit atop most lists — eating better, being more active, and seeing the number on the scale steadily decrease. Where most go wrong, however, is setting goals that revolve around the big picture, rather than the little things that can be done everyday in order to achieve that end result. By making little changes in your daily life, you are more likely to stick with your New Year’s resolution and see it through, ultimately becoming that healthier, more active version of yourself that you’ve long envisioned.

Eating right and maintaining an active lifestyle are very important to me, but they haven’t always been. Growing up, I came to affectionately refer to myself as the “fat kid” of the family. While I wasn’t obese, I was overweight, especially when compared to the rest of my family who have always been very thin. I was never made to feel badly about myself, though. My grandmother and aunt were always very dedicated to making sure that I had a positive body image as I grew into an adult, but about four years ago I was faced with the harsh reality that I was no longer just overweight, and I was anything but healthy.

Lying on a gurney in a hospital emergency room after suddenly fainting and hitting my head on a brick wall while out with my fiance one night, I was made painfully aware that my irregular blood sugar levels and then-200 pound body would in time making me yet another type 2 diabetes statistic if I didn’t drastically change the way I was living. So that’s what I did. I changed. I changed nearly everything about the way I was living my life. I began eating healthier, understanding the types of carbohydrates and sugars my body could easily process, and on a schedule that would keep me fueled and energized throughout the day; and for the first time in my life, I began really exercising.

Now 65 pounds lighter (and thinner than I have been since my freshman year of high school) and healthier than I have been possibly ever, I am more of a believer than ever in the little things. It is the little changes you make and the effort you put into yourself each and every single day that really adds up to a healthy, functioning body that you look good and feel even better in.

Sometimes the little changes you can make to achieve a healthier lifestyle are as small as a blueberry.

We all know that blueberries are delicious, but these little blue dynamos pack huge nutritional benefits. One serving of blueberries (one cup) is just 80 calories and contains 3.6 grams of fiber, as well as vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. Low in calories and high in vitamins and nutrients, blueberries are a simple way to help meet your nutritional needs.

Blueberries are convenient and versatile, whether you’re snacking on them by the handful, topping yogurt or cereal in the morning, adding them to salads in the afternoon, or enjoying them with ice cream at night. They are an effortless and delicious addition to so many different meals, regardless of the time of day or year. Blueberries are in season domestically until September and then imported from South America during the winter months, making them attainable year-round. And if you happen to live in a rural area like I do, it’s always a good idea to keep a bag of frozen blueberries on-hand, which I like to pop into the blender with a handful of kale and spinach for a healthy smoothie that doesn’t taste like kale or spinach.

Blueberries are pretty much expected in pancakes, muffins, and waffles, but it’s January and I live in Pennsylvania. As much as I love a hearty, comforting meal, I could really use a break from below-freezing temperatures and snow — even if it’s just a mental vacation I am taking.

So I got some beautiful, fresh blueberries and lemons to make a sweet quick bread that will satisfy any sweet tooth without the density of a dessert, and bursting with flavors that remind me of summer.

blueberry lemon bread

Sweet, blissful summer… I miss you. Please come back to me.

blueberry flour bath

blueberry lemon bread ingredients

blueberry lemon bread mix-ins

Aside from the blueberries and lemon which are a must, I added chopped walnuts and white chocolate chips, but you can add any mix-ins your palette desires.

I can’t get enough of it. I have been munching on this bread for breakfast, mid-day for a snack, and at the end of the night for a light dessert.

blueberry lemon bread

This is a really delicious bread, and I am so excited to share the recipe with you.

Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Bread

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 1 8x4 inch bread loaf

Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Bread


  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 8x4 inch loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, beat or combine melted butter, sugar, lemon juice, and eggs.
  4. Combine flour mixture with egg mixture alternately with milk. Beat or mix until combined.
  5. Fold in blueberries and lemon zest, then walnuts and chocolate chips (or the mix-ins you've decided to use in their place.)
  6. Bake for 65-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  7. Cool bread in pan for at least 10 minutes.

For even more recipes highlighting the delicious versatility of blueberries, from salads and dessert bars to pizza and even burgers, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council has you covered with unique flavor pairings and serving suggestions.

U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council Little Changes Sweepstakes

Little Changes Sweepstakes

From now until February 16, head on over to the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council Little Changes Sweepstakes to enter for a chance to win an unforgettable trip for two to Los Angeles, California for the Little Changes Kitchen Challenge alongside actress, author, and TV host Alison Sweeney.

Runners up have a chance to snag one of four $500 Whole Foods or lululemon gift cards for a refreshed pantry or new workout wardrobe to help you make the little daily changes for a healthier lifestyle. When you choose to make little changes, you could end up winning big!

The sweepstakes ends February 16, so head on over to the sweepstakes website and enter your name and email for a chance to win.

Connect with the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
Facebook · Twitter · Instagram · Pinterest

What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate blueberries in your diet? Have a favorite blueberry recipe to share? Leave it in the comments, we’d love to see it!