little caprese treats.

These mini caprese treats don’t even need instruction!  As you can see, they simply consist of fresh mozzarella, sliced cherry tomatoes, and a bit of basil all on a toothpick!  Plus some fresh ground pepper.  So easy, and you feel like you’re in a classy restaurant when you’re eating them…

Mini Caprese Snacks

I am especially proud of these treats, because all of the ingredients are organic.  The fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes are from our farmer’s market across the street, and the basil was part of a lovely gift to us from a church family’s home garden.  Wonderful!


my favorite local wine bar.

Oh, how I love Screwtop.  I will need to force myself not to blog about this place constantly!  I go there monthly with a group of three girlfriends and outside of that, I try to go whenever else I can!  When I’m with these girls, we always order two bottles, eat lots of delicious appetizers, and just have the best time discussing life, love, and God.  It might be the best informal bible study ever.

Last night, the Wino Wednesday deal was $10 off Austrian wines, so we started with a Hillinger Pinot Noir.  YUM.  You can also find Hillinger wines at The Wine Cabinet in Reston.  We ordered a cheese platter with a swiss cheese, a peppery pecorino, and an “oh-so-lucious” creamy cheese, which came with honey!  I should have written down the exact names of these cheeses… I realize this list is somewhat vague!  (By the way, Gwyneth wrote a very informative newsletter on cheese this week.)

Hillinger Pinot Noir & Cheese Platter, taken with my iPhone

After that, we split the grilled cheese sliders, which are two heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches made with a blend of cheeses and served with some marinara sauce on the side for dipping.  GENIUS.  We also split a Burrata Caprese sandwich.  The highlight of this sandwich was the special Italian Burrata Fresh Mozzarella cheese!

What I REALLY wanted to share with you all was the second wine we ordered.  Next time it needs to be the first wine, and the focus of the meal!  We told the waiter we wanted a red wine that was full-bodied and interesting, and he said, “I have something I know you’ll love.”  After he walked away, we turned to each other and realized he was probably going to bring us something incredibly expensive that we would love!  Uh-oh.  Sure enough, the bottle was $50, so before we tasted, we told each other to STAY STRONG and just enjoy the taste!  It was actually the smell that made us cave (and then of course the taste was incredible too!).  Such a powerful smell of dark berries and spice.  Here it is, the Small Gully Mr. Black’s Concotion, a 2006 GSM (49% Grenache, 34% Shiraz, and 17% Mourvedre) from the Barossa Valley in Austrailia.  I will not forget you!

Small Gully Mr. Black's Concoction, a 2006 GSM from the Barossa Valley in Australia (photo credit: G. Heidel)