Category Archives: Friends

CK Mondavi + Risotto

Since meeting Robin last year, I’ve really gotten into wine. And by “really gotten into wine” I mean I actually pick something other than a Riesling when given the option! Robin’s super knowledgeable and has taught me a lot about different types, the way they’re made, how different regions affect taste, etc.

So when I was recently given the opportunity to try four different kinds of CK Mondavi wines, I jumped on it! And I invited Robin over for a personal tasting.

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Before I share more about the types of wine we tried, I have to mention a few special facts about CK Mondavi. CK Mondavi is the only American made/grown win in the “supermarket wine under $10” category, AND it’s sold nationwide in every US state. If you’re “really into wine” like me, this is the perfect time to try CK Mondavi wines because a percentage of each bottle sold between May-August is donated to Intrepid Fallen Heroes (up to $50,000), an organization that supports the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families.

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Robin and I had the pleasure of trying the following CK Mondavi wines: Blonde Five, Chardonnay, Scarlet Five, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Our thoughts…

Blonde Five – very fruity with a sweet aftertaste. This was Robin’s favorite out of the four we tried. We thought it would pair well with white meat, fish, and summer vegetables.

Chardonnay – a little oaky with a mix of fruity and citrus flavors. We both liked this one and thought it was fairly refreshing. This wine would pair well with a heartier meal – pasta and a creamy cheese sauce perhaps.

Scarlet Five – a full-bodied and well-balanced wine with hints of cherry and plum. Surprisingly, this one was my favorite. I loved the bold flavor and aftertaste. This wine is special as it based on five red varieties – Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec. Personally, I think this would go with any food pairing!

Cabernet Sauvignon – slightly more full-bodied, oaky, with hints of lemon. Again, this wine was also refreshing but a little bolder than the Blonde Five. This would pair well with some chicken/seafood and creamy pasta.

Overall, we were fans of all the wines and agreed that we could see ourselves buying a bottle…or two…in the future.

Not only did I try the wine, but I cooked with it as well! I made what is quickly becoming mine and Vishnu’s favorite homemade meal – risotto. It’s rich, creamy, and delicious. And when you use a good wine, it increases the flavor so much!

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A quick tip for cooking with wine – pick something you like to drink. I’m not a pro by any means, but that always works for me.

This particular risotto was made with the Chardonnay, shitake mushrooms, and basil walnut pesto. I honestly could’ve eaten the entire batch myself! It would pair perfectly with a side salad and a glass of wine for the perfect summer meal. You could also serve it with baked chicken/fish for some extra protein.

One more tip – remember to be patient when making risotto. This is a dish that can’t be rushed. When the recipe says to allow all the liquid to absorb before adding more, make sure the liquid is absorbed! Just trust me on that!

Shitake and Basil Walnut Pesto Risotto
Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
10 ounces of shitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
2/3 cup Chardonnay (or wine of choice)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2/3 cup basil walnut pesto
½ cup parmesan cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and butter and allow to melt. Add shallots and mushrooms and cook until shallots are translucent (about 5 minutes).

In a separate saucepan, heat broth over medium heat.

Add rice to shallot and mushroom mixture and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add wine and allow to cook for another 3-5 minutes until wine is absorbed. Keep your eye on the rice and stir frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Add 1/3 cup broth to rice mixture and stir until broth is absorbed (don’t stop stirring!). Repeat until all the broth has been incorporated and absorbed. Turn the heat down to low. Fold pesto and parmesan cheese into the rice mixture. Adjust seasonings as needed. Enjoy!

Basil Walnut Pesto
*Note: this pesto will be a little thicker than usual because it is being added to the risotto.

1 cup basil leaves
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
juice of one lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Add basil leaves, walnuts, and parmesan cheese to food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add lemon juice and olive oil and process until the mixture is creamy in appearance. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

If this doesn’t make your mouth water, I’m not sure what will!

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I hope you enjoy lots of wine and delicious homemade meals (made with wine!) this summer.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Less Than 48 Hours in Atlanta

Vishnu and I made a quick trip to Atlanta this weekend.  And by quick I mean it was less than 48 hours.  But I’ll take what I can get!

We drove to Atlanta on Friday.  The 11 hour drive actually flew by as we were doing some prep work for Roshni and Samir’s wedding!  We got to Vishnu’s parent’s house at 8 pm.  After eating dinner, we sat and talked/watched TV for a bit before heading up to bed.

Our friend Anil’s wedding was Saturday morning, so we got up, got ready, and got going!  The wedding and reception were both so much fun.  The whole day felt like a college reunion of sorts.  Lots of eating, dancing, laughing!

On Sunday it was a little hard to rise and shine…my legs and feet were killing me!  Dancing in ~4 inch heels for hours makes for a rough next morning!  Regardless, we wanted to spend as much time with Vishnu’s parents and brother as we could so we sucked it up and got up pretty early.  Then before we knew it, it was time to head to the airport.

I’m not going to lie – this trip made me really homesick.  As much as I love living in Miami, there is nothing like home!  Thank goodness I’m going back in a short 2.5 weeks!

Now for some pics from the weekend…

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Wedding Weekend on Amelia Island

Annnnnd we’re back from wedding event #3 of the year!  As expected, it was an absolute blast.  The weekend was one big college reunion!  While it was great catching up with people we haven’t seen in years, I (and I think Vishnu would agree) am entirely exhausted!  Totally worth it though!

My plan for this post was to share some pictures from the weekend, but let’s just say someone changed a setting on the camera that caused 95% of the pictures to come out a little blurry.  And let’s just say that someone is me. Oops!  Lesson learned.

Anyways, here are a few decent shots we were able to get.

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How fun is this setting?!

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Most of these pictures are from the first event of the weekend (the garba).  Not sure why we didn’t take more pictures at the wedding itself.  I think both Vishnu and I are still getting used to our SLR.  I, for one, was afraid I was going to drop it or lose it.  And to be honest, we didn’t even bring our camera to the reception (the last two pics were clearly taken with an iPhone).  When Vishnu asked me if we should or not, I said no because I knew we would both want to dance.  It’s a little hard to boogey with that thing hanging around your neck!

I promise we’ll take better pictures at the next wedding we go to…which is only a little over a month away!

And finally, congratulations Naveen and Shaylee!  Everything about this weekend was beautiful, and we feel so blessed to have been a part of it!

My Husband Likened Me to the Queen and Other Happenings

The other morning (I think it was this past Sunday), Vishnu and I woke up and chatted for a bit before starting the day. During the conversation, we somehow started talking about kings and queens. And here’s how that went…

P: You’re the king of my heart! Am I the queen of yours?
V: Of course.
P: It’s like I’m Queen Elizabeth and…you’re Prince Phillip?! Hahahahaha. (obviously kidding)
V: OMG! You ARE Queen Elizabeth. And I am your humble servant. That’s it. That’s our relationship. Hahahahaha.

And then we started our day.

While I’m pretty sure Vishnu was joking, I would have to say that I don’t think the power balance in a relationship is ever 50/50. Maybe it’s just me, but I think in any given situation, one person dominates (even if it’s just a fraction more). For example, when it comes to deciding what we eat at home, how and when things are cleaned, and our finances, I am the one in charge. Of course, I consult with Vishnu, but in the end, he usually defers to me. And in situations having to do with our cars, major purchases, and any medical type stuff, he’s the go to person. And when it comes to the everyday issues, it boils down to who has more time (usually me). This system works for us.

Anyway, don’t let his comment fool you…he IS NOT a servant.  Anything but if I do say so myself!

Moving on…

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I was gifted something pretty amazing this past week by Vishnu and my in-laws.

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For the past two weeks, we’ve had two boxes sitting in our bedroom that I was told were off limits. We received the “final” package this past Monday, and that evening I was allowed to open my gift while Vishnu and my in-laws watched (via Facetime).

We had been talking about getting a DSLR camera for a while now but decided to wait since they are pretty expensive. Well, my amazing in-laws decided that we shouldn’t have to wait and bought me (us) one! I think they’re secretly hoping we’ll become really good photographers so that when we have kids we can share all of our frame worthy pictures with them! Not that anyone said that directly…

I’ve had a lot of fun playing with the camera over the past few days and am really excited to learn more.  I may even take a class at some point.  For now, I’m going to read lots of “tips and tricks” post/articles and watch as many instructional videos that I can.  Expect more pictures from here on out!

Thank you, mom and dad!!!  Y’all are too awesome!  And by the way, the other two packages contained a cute camera bag and a cleaning kit (gifts from Vishnu)…thanks, babe! #soblessed

In other news, my friend Shelly was given two tickets to see Hillary Clinton speak at the University of Miami and asked me to be her date!  What an amazing and unique opportunity!

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To be honest, I’m not deeply familiar with Hillary’s political views so I can’t comment on them (nor do I really want to).  However, I respect her as a female leader and all that she’s accomplished with regards to women’s rights around the world.

Thanks for taking me with you, Shelly!

Well, I think I’ve said enough for today.  Have a wonderful weekend and do something fun!  We’re going to the beach tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And I’m Just a tad bit excited.

Do you think it’s possible for a relationship to be 50/50?
Any recommendations for photography sites or videos?
Weekend plans?

Chicago + Las Vegas

Last week was such a great week, both professionally and personally.  It was also exhausting.  My body is definitely craving some normalcy, mostly in the form of sleep and homemade meals!  One more mini-trip to go and then we’re home for an entire month and a half before we have to fly again.

The first part of last week was spent in Chicago where I attended a workshop called Fierce Conversations.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember that I attended the same workshop while I was with my last company.  I plan to blog more about my takeaways (some of which are the same as last time) in the next couple of weeks.  Overall, I left the two days with lots to think about in terms of how I communicate.

The highlight of my stay in Chicago was eating dinner at a restaurant called RPM with two of my best friends.  The food was absolutely amazing, the ambiance was very chic, and my co-diners were pretty great too!

I wish I had better pictures to share, but trust me on this…the next time you’re in Chicago, make reservations and GO.  You won’t regret it!

We ordered a number of dishes to share.  After looking at the menu, I really don’t think you can go wrong with any of the items.

Personally, we went with the…

  • Burrata – OMG!  This was the creamiest, richest, silkiest, freshest burrata I have ever had.  In fact, my mouth is watering right now!
  • Cremini mushroom pizzettes – The subtle truffle flavor took this seemingly simple dish to another level.
  • Truffled garlic bread – Apparently, we have a thing for truffle!
  • Eggplant parmesan – This was one of the best eggplant dishes I’ve ever had.  I think the eggplant was fried because there was a little crunch as you cut through the layers.
  • Donuts with Nutella and mascarpone cream – These were essentially fluffy pillows dusted with sugar.  Airy, light, and the perfect ending to a delicious (and filling) meal.

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And Vegas – oh what a weekend!  It was seriously one of the most fun trips I’ve ever been on, and I’m not just saying that because I helped plan it!

I’m going to oblige by the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” mantra but will share some details in case anyone reading is planning a trip out there in the near future.

  • We stayed at the Aria Resort and Casino.  I highly recommend this hotel – beautiful, great restaurants, and nice casino.  Not to mention that the beds are the comfiest things I’ve ever slept on!
  • As far as nightclubs go, we went to Tao (at the Venetian) and Hyde (at the Bellagio).  Good choices for our group since everyone wanted to dance to top 40/hip hop type music.
  • We gambled at the Aria, the Venetian, and Excalibur (where I won lots of $$$!!!).
  • We also went to Platinum Entourage one afternoon to get blowouts.  We thought this would be a fun alternative to getting manis/pedis, which it was.  Everyone’s hair looked fabulous and sexy!
  • As far as restaurants are concerned, we ate most of our meals at the Aria.  We did, however, venture 3 miles off the strip one night to eat at Firefly.  This was the perfect place for a large group because the entire menu is made up of shareable tapas.  And the sangria…so good!

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If you’re planning a trip to Vegas, especially a bachelorette party, don’t hesitate to email me.  After 4 months of planning, I have lots of suggestions and ideas!

Have you been to RPM?  Thoughts?
Any fun Vegas stories out there?  Feel free to share. :)