Snack Time!

Check out this fun snack I picked-up the past weekend at a wedding shower. The wedding shower was at The Little Traveler on Third Street in Geneva.

After the shower they gave all of us a coupons to enjoy some shopping. I grabbed these dark chocolate covered Cabernet grapes that I am pairing with a local Cabernet Sauvignon. Perfect combination!


Traveling Murphy

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Garden Done!

We had great weather yesterday to spend the afternoon in the garden. We planted our five plots with peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, onions, green beans, kale and herbs!

We celebrated with some wine in the garden and now we just wait.

What did you plant?


Traveling Murphy

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Cooper’s Hawk Wine Dinners

*Please note you must be a Cooper’s Hawk Wine Member to buy tickets for this event. If you have a friend that is a member you can attend as their guest.

My husband, Mike and I have been going to the Cooper’s Hawk monthly wine dinners off and on for about three years now. We started attending because my mother-in-law purchased the tickets for us as a Christmas gift (I am a huge supporter of experience gifts). Our first couple of years we attended the dinners at the Arlington Heights location because the ambiance of having a wine dinner in a wine cellar shaped like half of a wine barrel…well it is something magical. The location made you feel like you were deep in the heart of Napa Valley.

ch arlington heights

When the Cooper’s Hawk opened in St. Charles (Illinois) we were over the moon. This meant we could attend the wine dinners without having to plan ahead of time to leave work early and make the trek all the way out to Arlington Heights. It makes for a much cheaper Uber ride. Plus, we get to see all the smiling faces we spend so much time with during our wine tastings.

One of my favorite parts about attending the wine dinners at the Cooper’s Hawk in St. Charles is the intimate setting. The events team is able to actually slow down and talk with everyone without delaying other people’s meal. The barrel rooms that the dinners are hosted in are all different sizes.

Dinner and Service

When we walked into the restaurant they directed us to the barrel room where the amazing event staff and a glass of wine greeted us at the door. They have assigned tables, so as long as you do not have a large group you will walk out meeting new friends. We have attended four of these wine dinners and have made new friends every time!

CH setting

There will be a short introduction in the beginning just so everyone can meet the staff and understand what they will be eating and drinking. I do want to note that even if the wine they are serving is not the wine you are used to drinking the event staff will try to get you a different one. We always run into the issue that the first one or two wines are white wines and Mike will not drink white wine. The staff is great at offering a red selection they have in the room as an alternative. But I want to caution you that the chefs have chosen these wines because they pair with the menu. Give it a shot!

CH main

The team will make a short introduction of each course which will allow you plenty of time to make friends at your table. Throughout the night, part of the management team will come around to talk to your table about the experience and answer any wine questions you might have. Make sure you take the time to talk to the team. They are a wealth of knowledge about Cooper’s Hawk wines and foods.

Check out photos from some of our past wine dinners at Cooper’s Hawk:

Barrel Reserve Release Party – Click Here

Mardi Gras – Click Here

Adventures in Red – Click Here

ch wine

A little more about what I find so unique and valuable with my Cooper’s Hawk Wine Membership.

  • Every wine club member who signs up for the two bottle membership receives two complimentary wine tastings a month. This is unique for most wine clubs in Illinois. We always use the complimentary wine tasting as an excuse to get us in the door and then we turn it into a date that includes lunch or dinner. This is a bonus since the food is so delicious. Click here to see the menu.
  • Wine Club Trips – Wine club members are able to sign-up for unique wine trips across the county and also internationally. One of the upcoming trips that I was so close to talking my husband into signing up for was the Spain trip they are taking in May. What I found to be the coolest part is anyone that has been enjoying Cooper’s Hawk dining for at least a couple years will remember Chef Matt’s Cheese Plate (no longer one the menu). When I called to acquire information about the Spain trip, the travel agent who organizes the trip says if I book that flight I will be flying out with Chef Matt. How cool is that! Club members are joined by the team that creates the Cooper’s Hawk experience. Click here to see the upcoming trips.
  • I wanted to circle back and make sure the last thing you remember about this post is the wine dinners. Check out the menus for the upcoming wine dinners. The menus are so creative and maybe the pairings will have you reconsidering your red wine or white wine allegiance! Click here to see the upcoming dinner.

Traveling Murphy

Please note this was not a sponsored post. I wrote this after having such positive experiences when I attended the dinners. No one paid for my tickets or compensated me for this post. The opinions are my own.

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Wine Pairing: Apothic Crush


I first tried Apothic Crush at a local wine walk and knew I had to spread the word. This red wine has the perfect chocolate and caramel finish that pairs perfect with these chocolate covered almonds. What are you drinking tonight?



Traveling Murphy

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Coffee Cheers

Good Morning!

I am spending the morning blogging but I had to get it started right with a homemade blueberry muffin and some coffee…or maybe it was wine. Haha

Have a wonderful weekend with those you love!


Traveling Murphy

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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter from the Murphy family!

We are spending the afternoon trying out some new quiche recipes. Broccoli, cheddar and bacon or ham, onions and peppers…so many options! What is your favorite ingredient combination for quiches?

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Ravinia…The Next Foodie Destination

Ravinia just announced the 2018 Concert Schedule. My husband and I are so excited to see Sugarland on the schedule in August. It looks like Mike and I might just have to do a Murphy road trip to Ravinia this summer. Click here to view the full summer schedule. 


When most people picture Ravinia they are picturing folding chairs and picnic blankets filled with cheese boards, mini cupcakes and all variations of wine. We had our first Ravinia trip last summer and while the lawn is filled with the typical concert goers, the best view can be found in the Ravinia restaurants.

Ravinia sent out a press release announcing that they would be finishing their Dining Pavilion in 2018. The renovation that I am most excited for is the redesign of a current space to create a free-flowing small plate and bar service. This way guests can eat and still have enough time to mingle before the concert. Here is a link with all of their dining options. 


When we visited Ravinia most of our conversation on the ride home revolved around the people watching. The team at Ravinia gave us a mini tour while we visited and one of the big things coming is a newly built veranda that will add 80-90 seats under a retractable roof. This is BIG news for all of us people watchers. You will want to check this out!


Here is a link to check out my photo album from the #FoodieChats preview night last summer. Click here.

If arriving early for a sit-down meal is not how you want to get your Ravinia experience started then consider ordering a PICNIC BOX. The talented chefs will have food prepared and ready for you when you arrive. I also saw a stand where visitors could rent chairs and tables. The team at Ravinia make it so easy for concert goers to just hop on the train without having to carry all of the accessories.


The Metra Union Pacific North (UP-N) line will drop guests off right at the gate for the concert venue. Click here for more information on using the Metra to arrive at Ravinia. Click here for more information on Metra Union Pacific North line.


Ravinia offers the full experience for all foodies. It does not matter if you want to bring a picnic basket or get there early to experience the dining pavilion, it is easy to see while thousands of people come back every year. Start planning your trip today. Click here to view the full schedule.

Ravinia Festival 
200 Ravinia Park Road
Highland Park, Illinois 60035
Website  – Facebook PageTwitter PageInstagram Page

Special thanks to Ravinia Festival and #FoodieChats for hosting our visit for purposes of this review. All opinions are Mike’s and mine.

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Thank You!

Thank you everyone for your patience. While I have not been as active on the blog I have still kept my social media moving and up to date date. I am excited to announce that my weekly blog posts start again this month.


Here are some of the upcoming events I will be attending and then covering. 

March 13 – Cooper’s Hawk Barrel Reserve Release Party (Website)  

March 16 – Adult Easter Egg Hunt at Cantigny Park (Website

March 30 – Over-21 Easter Egg Hunt at August Hill Winery/Illinois Sparkling Co. (Website)

April 11 – Sycamore’s Taste of Spring (Website)

Let me know if there is a wine or foodie event I am missing. I will see if I can get it on the calendar.

Keep your eyes on my blog….the ever popular Summer Wine Festival blog post will be coming out this month!


*** Please note most of these events are not sponsored. I am choosing to attend them on my own dime and time then share the experience with you.

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Traveling Murphy’s Wine Advent Calendar – UPDATED

A couple years ago I posted this blog post that paired a homemade wine advent calendar (not the $99 one you buy with half bottles at Cooper’s Hawk) with a date idea. Well, I wanted to edit the nightly activities a little so that even single people could get in on the fun. We can all have fun drinking wine and getting in the holiday spirit.

All bottles will have the date you are supposed to drink them and also have a small activity or date night to go with it. So open a bottle of wine and see where it takes you.

25 Days – Open the bottle, play some holiday music and put up your Christmas Tree! (If you already have your tree up then start putting up the crazy snowman collection or little village.)
24 Days – Melt some white chocolate chips, pop some popcorn and combine for a perfect snack to enjoy while watching a Christmas movie.
Movie Suggestions: The Family Man or The Holiday
23 Days- Do not wait until the last minute, get those Christmas cards out!E-Cards count this year since we are all so attached to our phones.
22 Days- Make a Sangria with the wine of the night!
21 Days- Holiday Food Showdown! Pick your favorite holiday dish and challenge your partner to a competition to see who can make it the best. This is a great event to do with a friend if you do not have a significant other. 
20 Days- Put on some holiday music, pour some glasses of wine and make dinner together.
Dinner Suggestion: Spaghetti with Homemade Meatballs
19 Days- How well do you know your wine? Create a mini blind wine tasting to see who can name the most wines. Take three bottles of wine and put them in paper bags so no one knows which one is which.
18 Days- Pour some wine and grab your favorite board game for a night of competition. A couple of our favorites include Catan and Phase 10. This would be a great night to invite over a group of friends! More wine. 
17 Days- Pick up one of the gingerbread houses or villages from the store and spend the night decorating.
16 Days- Make some cinnamon rolls for breakfast and pair it with a Riesling or Ice Wine.IMG_2703
15 Days- Monday is Movie Night! Surprise your spouse with your favorite Christmas movie.
14 Days- Grab a roll of cookie dough from the store or pull out the family recipe and make some Christmas cookies. We all know cookies pair perfect with a glass of wine.
13 Days- Buy some glass ornaments and write your memories for this year. Mike and I started this tradition nine years ago and we love doing this together every year. This is a great tradition to start with the kids or even just yourself. So many little things make up your great year so remember them all. 
12 Days- Tonight is the perfect night for some Spiced Wine! Heat it up and pour it in a cute holiday mug. Great excuse to use those boot mugs we all have from Christkindlmarket.
11 Days- Let’s create some popcorn garland for the Christmas tree!
10 Days- Load up the car. We are going to look at all the Christmas Lights and do a scavenger hunt. When you come home warm up with a nice glass of wine.
9 Days- Christmas movie marathon! Stay in your pajamas all day and enjoy some wine.
Movie Recommendations: Love Actually, The Family Stone and The Drummer Boy
8 Days- Let’s finish our holiday shopping early. Go shopping as a couple and then celebrate finishing your list with some wine!
7 Days- Today is perfect for ordering pizza and wrapping a couple gifts. I recommend a bottle of Pinot Noir for this pairing
6 Days- Put on some holiday music and make a romantic dinner. Make sure it pairs with the wine of the night!
5 Days- Pour a glass of wine and watch a holiday movie on tv. I keep the Hallmark Channel on 24/7 from November 1st through December 25 so that I am always in the holiday spirit. 
4 Days- Let’s wrap all the gifts!
3 Days- Exchange ornaments!
2 Days- Fashion show! Let’s try on some outfits and see what we are going to wear tonight and tomorrow.
1 Day- Merry Christmas!

Some of these things will not work for your schedule but you can save them for days that will. The point is to have fun this holiday season.

Wine Tip – Please support your local wineries! #ShopLocal
Check out this website to find the closest Illinois winery. 

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Food Tip for Perfect Mashed Potatoes

Does anyone else have issues with their mashed potatoes appearing gummy? I learned a little trick this weekend to make sure your potatoes stay fluffy.

Food Tip- Bring the milk to room temperature before you mix it with the potatoes. It has also been recommended to make sure the butter is melted before you add it. 

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