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For years my friends and family have asked me for my recipes for dishes I serve when I entertain. I have sent out countless emails with recipes for this and that. I thought it would be easier (for me) to place my recipes on a central location, like a blog, so I can share them and invite feedback from those who have tried them. Every recipe will include a picture of the dish, taken by mePhoto Wallpaper Mural Non-woven 10132_VEN Modern Room Abstract Abstraction 3D Mo. Most of my recipes originate from another source, like Bon Appetit magazine, Saveur magazine or a website, however, the recipes are altered to my liking. That is what make these dishes Personal.

More importantly, I want to show my readers that you do not have to sacrifice taste for nutrition. All of my recipes have nutritional value, are low in calories, and taste delicious. Don’t take my word for it, try the recipes and tell me what you think.

How do I keep my weight down, maintain a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol level? The answer is simple…I eat well and exercise. It is a lifestyle change I made a decade ago, when I noticed that my clothes were “shrinking” and my physical stamina had lessened.Photo Wallpaper Mural Non-woven 10152_VEA City Panorama from the River View City

Gwen’s Lens is a view of eating through the lens of my camera. As a photographer, I am documenting the process to prove to the naysayers that it can be done.  I eat well, meaning, the food I prepare is nutritious and delicious. I joined a gym. I am conscious of my caloric intake and make sure the intake vs. calories burned is in ratio. It’s not hard. It becomes second nature in no time. Hopefully, these recipes will encourage and inspire my readers to change their cooking habits, change their food choices, read labels and take the stairs.

I look forward to hearing your opinions on this blog and most importantly, on the recipes you try. Did you alter them in any way? Please share. All of my recipes can be improved upon. My feelings will not be hurt.

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Photo Wallpaper Mural Non-woven 10229_VE Horse Galloping on the Beach nature lanThis wine is a must have for all red wine lovers. It is smooth and subtle. Perfect to sip while watching TV or great with a bold pasta dish like my Baked Cavatappi. It is also a perfect compliment to beef, poultry and, of course, the hearty pasta dish.

Its composition consists of 96% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Malbec, & 1% Cabernet Franc. This might not mean much to you but the subtle percentages in grapes and detectable. The more you drink Merlot, the more keen your taste buds will become to the differences in the grape variations.

The winemaker, SIMI, is part of the Russian River Valley appellation. I mention this because I have never tasted a bad wine that originates from the Russian River ValleyPhoto Wallpaper Mural Non-woven 10372_VEN golden and Red Mandala mandala india h. Of course, I have not tasted every wine from this region, however, these wines have never disappointed. If you are new to wine, start by asking your local merchant for wines from this California region.

For more information about this wine and winemaker, visit their website: Photo Wallpaper Mural Boy Girl Room Art WALL DECOR Cartoon Wild Animals POSTER

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Am I a Master Sommelier? Yes.

No I’m not. But I probably know more about wine than most. I am an Oenophile. I enjoy wine as much as I enjoy my meal.

My wine curiosity started about 25 years ago.  I had no idea how or where to go to learn about wine. One day, while working in Philadelphia, I attended my first wine dinner, held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I was hooked. I learned so much. I did not know that wine was a living organism…that it tastes different from day to day. I did not know that wine tours almost surpass visits to Disneyland. I did not know that global warming may have an impact on wine production.Photo Wallpaper Mural Non-woven 10569_VEA Dew on Flowers abstract art nature flo (Oops, that statement was political. My bad!!!) I did not know that all 50 states produced wine. Alabama appellation??? Anyway, that evening showed me that I had a lot to learn if I was to become even remotely familiar with wine.

I started my wine education in my backyard, Long Island. Long Island is becoming more and more respected for producing serious vintners. Many 90 point wines (Wine Spectator’s flagship wine rating) are produced 90 minutes outside New York City. Regardless of what you’re told, tasting is the best way to become knowledgeable about wine. In my case, many Long Island wineries still offer free tastings, in spite of the incidents chronicled in the PHOTO WALLPAPER MURAL Milan Street Canal Boat WALL ART DECOR Paper Poster Photo Wallpaper Mural Non-woven 0061770D13 Multicolour Powder Explosion some years ago. Appreciating the complexities of wine takes time. It takes lots of practice. I’ve been at this for 25 years and I’m still learning.

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There are long-held steadfast laws regarding when to drink what with what, like white with poultry and red with beef, however, many restaurant sommeliers are loosening those rules, allowing the palette to dictate what to drink with what. I think a nice French rosé, such as the Mas Fleurey Côtes de Provence would go nicely with lemon-herbed roasted chicken. Ultimately, you will decide what you will drink with what.Photo Wallpaper Mural Non-woven 10703_VEA Pink Tiles Mosaic Pattern Mosaic Tiles

Seek out your local wineries. Wherever you live, there is wine produced there. Support those wineries. Their wines will probably surprise you.Photo Wallpaper Mural Non-woven 10746_VEA bluee Leaves nature pattern leaves tree

Periodically, I will add posts, introducing to some and presenting to others, wines that I find noteworthy. I am not partial to region and I am not a snob. I have no problem recommending $7 dollar wines. If it’s good, it’s good.Photo Wallpaper Mural Non-woven 10859_VEN Lighthouse Lighthouse Beach Sand Yello Bottom’s up!

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