29 March 2014

wine tasting dinner: a bottle of red, a bottle of white

Welcome back! It's been a full week since I last posted, but this is a long one to redeem myself. Last month, the Sailor and I hosted an at-home wine tasting party. We won the tasting party at an auction back in the summer and finally put the event together this winter. If you've ever peeked at our wine rack or if you recall our experience at the Thirsty Owl, a local tasting room, you know we're not exactly connoisseurs. So it took us a bit of time to connect with the "wine expert" and then to plan the night. We went back and forth on a theme or region and whether we would do a sit down dinner or tasting plates to go with the wine. And then we finally devised a plan for a tasting menu. 

20 March 2014

Spring Spruce Up

Happy First Day of Spring...Here's to hoping that it finally starts getting sunnier, warmer and greener SOON!

Spring's arrival called for freshening up my beauty routine, wardrobe and home. All of the below are winners-- except for the Coach pumps... those are still on my wish list. Snake-embossed leather. It's on par with leopard print. 

Salvatore Ferragamo Signorina
   -Jasmine, blackcurrant and peppery scent
Lancome Star Bronzer, Bronze Lumiere
   - Silky-light powder for a sun-kissed glow

Coach Sloan Heel
Saucony Ride

Target Threshold Artisan Glass Lamp Base
Target Threshold Woven Lamp Shade 

15 March 2014

My bucket

Ever hear of How Full is Your Bucket? ...It's a quick read about the concept that our emotional reserves are filled or emptied based on human interactions, what others say and do to us. The goal is to practice the Golden Rule- Add to others' buckets in a positive manner, and focus on what's right. Maximize positive interactions to create positive energy that allows us to adjust, heal, be more productive and healthy.

10 March 2014

Weekend Update and Dinner Idea

Good morning! Great weekend over here and I'm bummed it's over. I hit the gym on Friday after work -- Friday nights are the best time to go-- the place is empty. Zoodles (zucchini noodles) and meatballs were on the menu for dinner, and then we settled in for the night to watch House of Cards. The zoodles - meh, they were okay. I definitely prefer spaghetti squash as a substitute for pasta. But back to the important stuff--I'm officially addicted to House of Cards now, so we stayed up waaaaay too late working our way through the first season.

It's. So. Good.
And, in case you've been unplugged, here's the premise:

Bad, for a greater good.
"Three Emmy Award wins including David Fincher ("The Social Network") for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series and nine nominations including Outstanding Drama Series went to this acclaimed political thriller. Lead Actor nominee Kevin Spacey stars as ruthless, cunning Congressman Francis Underwood, who will stop at nothing to conquer the halls of power in Washington D.C. His secret weapon: his gorgeous, ambitious, and equally conniving wife Claire (Lead Actress nominee Robin Wright)." 

Forget Forrest Gump and all those other movies. Remember her in The Princess Bride? And the rest of the star-studded cast? Billy Crystal, Fred Savage, Andre the Giant. Great movie!
Not the flowing locks she sported for the Princess Bride,
but I am so tempted to try this haircut...

We slept in on Saturday, which was such a treat. The yoga class I wanted to attend was cancelled, but it was a blessing in disguise. I got some much-needed rest, did some chores and was rewarded by getting to visit with family and the cutest kids on earth on Saturday night.

Sunday was expected to be warm (high-30s, low 40s) and sunny, so we headed over to Gore mountain for some skiing. The conditions were really good, but it was much colder and windier than we anticipated. Both of us have windburn on our faces. Wish it was sunburn...

On the way back home, we stopped at Oscar's Adirondack Smoke House in Warrensburg for some steaks, sausages and cheese.

The store has been around for 65 years and has been featured on Rachel Ray and the Travel channel. With both a local following and shoppers coming from out of the area, there's always a line. And it's always worth the wait!

Before getting this week started, I have a recipe success to share. My schedule was a little hectic this past week, so I improvised for my own dinners this week. But I made this soup, a variation of Chicken Tortilla Soup from Eating Well, that the Sailor ate a few nights (in a row, without any complaints, which means it has to be good!).

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Makes 8 servings
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large bell pepper, diced
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat and diced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/2 tablespoon oregano
2 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 c water
1  jalepeno pepper, seeds removed
1 15 oz can of corn
1 15 oz can of black beans
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Serve with:Shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
Sour cream or greek yogurt
Diced avocado
Toasted tortillas cut into strips or
  Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips

Heat oil in dutch oven. Add onions, carlic and peppers. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for two minutes or until vegetables start to soften.

Add whole chicken breasts, tomatoes, cumin, cayenne, peppers, corn, black beans and chicken breasts. Bring to a low boil. Turn heat down to simmer for 30 minutes until chicken breasts are thoroughly cooked.

Remove chicken with slotted spoon and shred with a fork. Return chicken to dutch oven. Continue to cook for 15 minutes.
Serve with toppings of your choice.


07 March 2014

Peppermint Bliss

Whoa, this week has flown by. First week of March-- OVER, which means we're that much closer to Daylight Savings time and spring (March 20)! Whether the calendar date shows it's officially spring or not, who thinks we'll still have snow on the ground that day? I do! I can remember getting huge winter storms on St. Patty's Day in the past.

Anyway, more exciting than the "official" first day of spring, we're also that much closer to shamrock shake season! With 73 grams of sugar and over 500 calories in a small, the real shamrock shakes are definitely an indulgence though. Last year, I perfected the healthier "lean and green" shamrock shake, and I can't wait to make it again soon! 

Speaking of minty goodness without the guilt...you can pass by the girls outside the supermarket and politely decline when your co-workers try pushing over-priced boxes of Girl Scout cookies. I'm going to make these Paleo Thin Mints this weekend. I'm pretty sure that because they're "paleo," I can eat as many as I want...

T-G-I-F! Make it a good one!