Michigan Wine and Steak Dinner

Here is a painting that I did a few years ago during a "Wine and Canvass" event.

A painting that I painted a few years ago during a “Wine and Canvas” event.

Being from Michigan’s wine country, there’s nothing better than a good red wine with a seasoned steak cooked over an open fire. We tend to choose a steak with extra fat marbled in the meat for tenderness and flavor when we grill.  Maybe you do too.  People often know how to choose a good steak, but they aren’t sure which bottle of wine will go well with their meal.  Yes, I said a bottle.  I’m not a fan of the plastic wine bags and boxes, although they do travel well and keep the air out of the wine.  We take a real bottle and cover it in a mesh bag to keep the bottle from breaking.  Wine will add depth to the flavor of your meal, and impress your wine loving friends (many whom don’t drink beer.)

Here’s an easy to remember rule of thumb.  According to Wine Folly, the fattier the cut of steak, the darker the wine (color=the amount of tannin).  Though I often limit myself to packing from the wine choices we have on our shelf, we do loosely follow this wine rule.  If I’m hitting the grocery store (Meijer’s) on the way to camp, I give some thought to what will pair well with our Saturday night BBQ.  Read on for a few really tasty Michigan wine recommendations.

Fall is a wonderful time to take a color tour in our area, and we often end up at a new winery for a tour and tasting.  Now that Mike has restored our vintage Mustang, we always want to take a drive – anywhere!  Lemon Creek Winery is one of our old favorites.  They make an award-winning, dark red Cabernet Franc that my husband loves.  It pairs really well with rich, red meat dinners.  If you like a dessert wine, their Cherry Wine tastes just like cherry pie so I serve it as a dessert.  Or with a dessert.  It went REALLY well with some not-too-sweet dark chocolate truffles last Valentine’s Day.

Tabor Hill is another favorite, local winery of ours.  They are known far and wide for their demi-sec red and white wines, which are both semi-dry.  People who say they don’t like wine, and those who are just starting to develop their pallet, often like these two wines which are served at the White House.  For those who have developed an appreciation for drier wines, the affordable table wines we like are Red Arrow Red and Pinot Gris.  The downside to camping with a white wine, like a Pinot Gris, is chilling it.  Pack your white wine in a “wine-cozy” to keep it from breaking.  This will also keep it cold when it is out of the cooler on the boat, or at the beach!

79300_a1_gSo how do I serve the wine in on a camping trip?  Our answer is plastic, collapsible wine stemware.   We have also packed the little wine glasses that you get during a winery tour, but they add weight and can break so we “rough it”.   You’ll need to pack a tool that includes a wine bottle opener and a separate pour spout cork.  If there is, by chance, any left overs the next day, add it to a stew.

Meijer stores carry all of the wines mentioned above. While you’re there, pick up some Faygo pop for the kids!  It’s fun to try new foods, so I’m always looking for something new to try.  Today, I happened to see a California wine called Happy Camper, and it sounds delicious!  Maybe it’s just the name?  Having watched this video, I’m ready to have a taste.  The owner says that KOA campgrounds and others carry it in their store.  I may give our local KOA a call.  Have you ever tasted Happy Camper wine?  If so, how did you like it?

I love to hear how people live.  Let me know what wines you like to bring on a road trip, or to the campground.  Do you use a river to keep the wine chilled?  What do you serve it with at camp?  Don’t forget to follow my page.  Happy Camping!


Hello WordPress Folks – Meet The New Kid

Hi, I’m Tammy, the new kid at  I moved here last week from Blogger, quite by accident.  I am looking to meet some new friends, and I’m hoping that you are kind enough to help me out.  My goal is 100 Facebook Page likes, 100 followers on Twitter, and 600 Pinterest followers.  Here’s my story:

I started a travel blog a couple of years ago.  I read a couple of books, learned some of the jargon and tried some of their advice.  I found out that I wasn’t very good at generating web traffic, or finding new readers, and I didn’t really get coding.  Yes, I had started a Facebook page and a Twitter account and a lot of other stuff that the books has suggested, but I wasn’t very good at getting folks to click and become my friends.  I listened to several podcasters, like Social Media Marketing, but I didn’t seem find the people I wanted to reach.  Blog failure wasn’t the worst thing.  I could still post road trip photos for grandma while I was on vacation instead of using Facebook and risking a home break-in.

Fast forward to last week Monday’s scout troop meeting.  I’m the volunteer who maintains our troop website via a professional service.  Our troop is considering moving the website to  I didn’t know what to expect from, so I decided to import my blog from Blogger and check it out.  I wanted some content to work with and shuffle around.

When I was blogging, I had followed the advice at Code It Pretty, but my blog never looked very great.  Instead of going this route, or reading books, I watched a few YouTube videos this time to learn my way around. is SO much easier than what I had tried to do!  I think my blog looks more inviting, but I still haven’t made any new friends.  I also have a lot to learn, as I am looking for ways to get Twitter to post a photo with my new post links and rich text recipes to show up on my Pinterest boards.  I am kind of Pinterest nut, with many boards devoted to camping and would surely love to add my tutorials and recipes to their lunchbox full of ideas.

As I was creating new blog categories, and filling in photos, I ran a crossed some recipe pics that I had meant to use in a post.  I guess I never got it done.  Have any of you ever done this?  Anyway, I decided to write a short post yesterday to add to my “Before You Go” group of recipes.  Maybe someday, someone would see it and add it to their campout menu.  Whatever.  Right?  So, here is the amazing part – people that I don’t know read my post AND LIKED IT!  Seriously!  A few WordPress folks, essentially, said “Hello” to me in the hall.  That’s amazing to me because that never happened on Blogger.  Ever.  So thank you for being friendly, and for stopping by.  Being the new kid kinda sucks, but I’m thinking, now, that maybe I’ll try sharing a few more posts about what I know – camping and cooking.

I’m hoping that by switching to, I’ll find new campers that have questions and new readers that will share their stories.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for stopping by and clicking around!  I hope you’ll introduce me to your readers, fans and people you know that enjoy road trips and the great outdoors.  Please leave a comment to keep the conversation going.  Newbie advice from bloggers would be appreciated.

Happy Camping!


South In Your Mouth

South In Your Mouth 2014-02-18 007It’s a dip, or a cheesy skillet meal, or whatever your family likes best!  Cheese is the main ingredient to this wonderfulness, and everyone loves it.  Make it in a skillet at camp, or at home and warm it up at camp in a crock pot.

This is an easy recipe to make, as it uses pre-cooked chicken.  You can whip it up in no time with a rotisserie chicken or leftovers turned into something you’ll love.

South In Your Mouth 2014-02-18 002South In Your Mouth 2014-02-18 001


If you are making this ahead of time, and have a Kitchen Aide mixer, here is a trick: use the paddle to shred your fully cooked chicken in seconds!


South In Your Mouth

2 cups of uncooked rice
2 cups cooked chicken (more or less is fine), shred or dice
1 jar Salsa Con Queso
1 bag frozen Broccoli or California Vegetables, thawed
1 bag of Scoops tortilla chips

In a skillet, cook rice according to directions. Add chicken and heat through. Stir in a bag of vegetables and heat for several minutes. When everything is steaming, stir in the jar of Salsa Con Queso. Stir constantly for 3 minutes over low heat. Serve as a casserole or in a bowl with tortilla scoops. Enjoy!

Let me know if you like it.  Happy Camping!