Wine Charms

On a recent trip to Charlotte, NC our hosts, Eric and Mike (the awesome guys behind this project), took us on a wine tasting tour through the Yadkin Valley. Before we left for our adventure, Eric recommended we stop by the supermarket to pick up pretzels to make an edible necklace with. Sort of like a candy necklace, but with a salty snack instead. Sure, the idea sounded a little kookie, but we were up for anything. I have to admit, this clever little project took me by surprise for more than one reason.

Edible Wine Charms by

Edible Wine Charms by

First, designing and creating the necklaces gave everyone (except the driver) something interesting to do in the car on the drive. Second, it allowed us to have our own tasty snack at the ready while we were tasting wine. Third, we didn’t have to munch on stale oyster crackers that every other guest that had visited the winery that day dipped their hands into.

While Brian and Mike were a bit sceptical of their new accessories at first, they quickly saw the benefit of having a snack right their around their neck. And at each stop, more and more strangers seemed to love the idea, commenting on how they wish they had one, too.

To make your own, you just need natural cooking twine, scissors and pretzels (we had a mix of Rold Gold Tiny Twists, Snyder’s Butter Snaps and Pretzel Crisps). Use your imagination to create a design that’s right for you, tie it around your neck and enjoy. Don’t worry what others might think, after all, you’re likely to be a bit tipsy from the wine you’re sampling.

SWWU TIp 1: Stay away from flavored pretzels as they might stain your clothing. Also be careful of salted varieties snagging silk or other delicate fabrics.

SWWU TIp 2: This would be an excellent activity for a group going on a wine tasting tour for a bachelorette party or wedding shower. 

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A Snack Worth Going Bananas For

I’m a big fan of bananas. Typically they’ll end up as a base for a sundae or sliced up and added to a piece of toast topped with Nutella. Of course, I always mange to let a few from every bunch I get over-ripen so they can be used to make the perfect banana bread. This past weekend I decided to try something new and baked up some lightly sweetened slices and ended up with a delightful afternoon snack. With crispy edges and a slightly soft middle, these tasty rounds can quickly become an addiction. See for yourself.

Baked Banana Chips

Baked Banana Chips by

Baked Banana Chips

Makes 4 servings

  • 4 bananas, sliced into thin coins
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire rack on top; set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine bananas, butter, salt and brown sugar. Toss to coat. Spread banana slices in an even layer on the wire rack over the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned and crisp on the edges (cooking times may vary based on how thick your slices are). Let cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container for storage.

Baking the Baked Banana Chips by

Baking the Baked Banana Chips by

SWWU Tip 1: These chips will crisp up a bit more as they cool. Be sure they are room temperature before storing to prevent them from becoming soggy. They’re best if eaten within a day or two of baking and taste especially good within a few hours of coming out of the oven.

SWWU Tip 2: These taste great on top of ice cream, yogurt or on their own. Enjoy!

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Putting Some Roots Down–To Snack On!

While spring is just around the corner (fingers crossed) our local farmers’ market is still just sliding by with what’s left of the winter picks. That means there are tons of potatoes and turnips, but not a lot of color. A giant pile of carrots did catch our eye though and we figured they could provide a pretty pop at a dinner we were hosting. We ended up shredding  them along with some scallions and transforming them into crispy cakes with a caramelized shallot crème fraîche topping. They were a big hit with our friends and we’ll definitely be making them again.

Carrot Fritters with Caramelized Shallot Creme Fraiche by

Carrot Fritters with Caramelized Shallot Creme Fraiche by

Carrot Fritters with Caramelized Shallot Crème Fraîche

Makes 18 fritters

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 4 large)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil, plus more for frying
  • 2 eggs
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 6 scallions, shredded
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 1 8-ounce container crème fraîche

1. Add the butter and shallots to a large pan over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and caramelized, about 15 to 20  minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside to cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1 teaspoon canola oil, eggs and a pinch each salt and pepper; whisk. Mix in the carrots, scallions, garlic and 1 tablespoon parsley and toss until combined.

3. Fill a large heavy-bottom pan with a 1/4-inch of canola oil and heat over medium. Once bubbling, add the carrot mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, and press down to form a cake. Cook for 1 to 3 minutes or until browned, then flip and cook an additional 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a rack lined with paper towels and continue until all of the carrot mixture is used, using additional oil as needed.

4. Transfer the fritters to a baking sheet (preferably one lined with racks) and cook in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp. Meanwhile, combine the crème fraîche, scallions and remaining parsley; add salt and pepper to taste. Serve alongside the heated fritters.

SWWU Tip 1: Make quick work of prepping your ingredients by shredding the carrots, scallions and garlic in a food processor fitted with the grater disk.

SWWU Tip: Fritters can be made up to one day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Just wait to heat them in the oven until just before you serve them.

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