Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Wines

Meals would not be complete without the accompaniment of a good glass of wine.  I know my favorites will be on the Thanksgiving table this year. Below are some old time favorites along with some new ones I tried over the holidays.  The below wines should be within most everyone's price range.  Here's a toast to you and me!

Red Favorites:

  • 2007 Trentatre Rosso (TJ's @ $6.99)- this wine is a mixture of 33.3% Cabernet, 33.3% Merlot, and 33.4% Montepulciano, hence the name!  I usually always pair my reds with red foods, but this one is just FABULOUS with or without food!
  • 2006 Tres PinosTierra Roja (TJ's @ $4.99)- very berry, light tannins and very good by itself.  This is one of my most favorite wines at TJ's.
  • 2006 Vintjs Cabernet Sauvignon (TJ's @ $4.99)- Black cherries and plum flavor with a slight spice.
  • Parados Winemaker's Select Red (WF @ $5.99)- this wine is a mixture of 40% Sangiovese, 20% Malbec, and 40% Tempranillo. Berry flavors that go down flavorful and continue to leave a superb after taste!
  • 2008 Menage a Trois Red (Total Wine @ $8.99)

White Favorites:

  • 2008 Panilonco Chardonnay/Viognier (TJ's @ $4.99)- this is a great balanced wine that has the citrus and dry flavors of the chardonnay and the very light sweetness of the viognier.  Very easy drinking wine with or without food.
  • 2008 Contadino Pinot Grigio (TJ's @ $4.99)- sparkling pinot grigio. Very light with citrus
  • 2008 Parados Chardonnay (WF @ $5.99)- pear and apple flavors with a very light oak flavor. 
With dessert my parents opened their bottle of 2006 Shafer Firebreak dessert wine.  This dessert wine is fantastic, but sadly can not be purchased anywhere but the Shafer winery in Napa Valley, CA. The dessert wine is made up of 100% cabernet sauvignon and smells like sweet berries and plum.  It hits the tongue and immediately you get a spicy kick that fills your mouth with berries and plum flavors.  This dessert wine is sweet, but the alcohol content makes this wine more of a wine than a pure sugary dessert port.  Because of the balance of flavors it makes this wine extremely appealing to all palates.  

As far as the TURDUCKEN and the caramelized mashed potatoes recipe go, the recipes turned out amazing.  I put a tiny bite more half and half in the recipe than it called for, so the mashed potatoes turned out slightly more watery than expected, but they tasted GREAT and made an excellent, thick dressing for the turkey and the turducken!  The Truducken was amazing, juicy and full of spicy Cajun flavors. I def recommend a TURDUCKEN more than a regular Thanksgiving turkey.  The flavor and tenderness of the turducken was beyond the tenderness of a normal Thanksgiving turkey.  Even if you marinate a turkey for days, it will not turn out with the flavor that the TURDUCKEN had!!

I also made spinach artichoke dip and it was healthier than normal.  I used just a little bit of mayo and more sour cream and tons of spinach and artichokes.  It was fantastic and better for you than normal spinach/artichoke dip.

Pictures of our Turducken!!!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Body Heart-Pumpin'

As we all know eating right is about 80% of your fight to get fit and healthy and the other 20% is working out!  Working out is a crucial part in preventing disease and injury because it keeps your heart healthy, your body fat in check, your bones strong, and your energy level high!  Factoring in ALL of these benefits leads me to one class that will kick your butt, but will be SOOOO worth it in the end.  The class is called Body Pump! This class mixes cardio with weight lifting.  We start off each class with a light warm up and then move into squats that make your legs shake (and this is just the beginning of the 1 hr. class).  After squats we move into arms and then back to legs with the excruciating leg lunge on the stepper.  By this time your legs are shaking so badly that it is hard to balance, but the instructor pushes you through regardless of how tired you are getting.  We then move onto triceps and biceps, shoulders, and back!  We end the class with push-ups and crunches.  By the end of the hour you feel full of energy and wide awake, but already feeling the tiredness of your muscles!

After hearing this description you are probably doubting that you can even make it through the entire hour; however, this is only my second time taking this class and I have made it through each time.  Yes, I am sore for about 4 days after-wards, but it is well worth it!   On the other hand, you might know you can get through the hour class but you just don't enjoy class sessions.  Well my friend, I thought I hated classes too and thought I would get a better work out on my own.  I used to find myself going through the same ol' boring routine everyday and never really getting a good workout in the gym.  That is when I realized that I need the motivation of a class instructor to push me and get me to where I want to be!!

If you belong to a gym I would advise you try out a few classes and see what you think.  They are fun and keep you moving, when otherwise you would quit.  My two favorite classes are Zumba and Body Pump.  Zumba is a dance class that mixes Latin and contemporary dance moves into a full hour of cardio.  It finally makes working out for a whole hour fun!!!

So if you are looking at trying to get into shape start by cutting down on your portions and adding a little bit of a work out to your daily routine.  Working out does not mean going to the gym.

Working out could include any or all of the following:
    1) taking the stairs instead of the elevator
    2) parking your car the farthest away from the store as possible
    3) walking laps around the mall when the weather isn't nice
    4) doing crunches/sit-ups/lunges in front of the TV
    5) brush your teeth standing on one leg
    6) walk your dog(s) for 30 mins.
    7) kick your legs back and forth while you sit at your computer
    8) curl milk jugs or dumb bells at home
            .........and so many more.

There are many ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
So jump start a healthy lifestyle TODAY!!!! 

What are some ways you incorporate exercise into your daily routine?

What are some tricks you have for cutting back on how much you eat?

What are some fun classes you have taken at your local gym that you would recommend to others?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Beginning of Blogging

FOOD, FOOD, FOOD. I feel like as Americans we live day by day by asking ourselves, "So what is for dinner?", or "Where are we going to eat tonight?", or "When is our next meal?" I know that in my family this is definitely the case at home and on vacation. We live for the next meal. My husband and I especially have a deep love for food. We try to incorporate our healthy, organic, all natural, no preservative lifestyle into our daily meals and I have to say that we do a pretty good job of it (not perfect, but who is)! My husband is an amazing chef and I will be getting ideas from him as well. However, my focus is not just on recipes, but on products you can find at Trader Joe's (TJs) and Whole Foods (WF). I got this idea one day when I started researching WF and TJ's products online. I realized that foods, wines, ingredients etc... were not readily available, so that is where I got the idea to blog all the healthy foods, tasty wines, and amazing recipes on my own personal blog!!

Since we are two days away from Thanksgiving, I will start by talking about the traditional and non-traditional dishes we will be serving at our Thanksgiving dinner. This year my mother discovered something new and exciting and we are all ready to dig into the NEW Turducken. Now, I am sure you are all wondering what the heck a Turducken is, so I will tell you. It started in Louisiana and then spread throughout the deep South. Being born and raised in Georgia, I am very eager to try this turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken--Turducken. You can read more about the history here: Turducken Wikipedia . I can't wait to write the reviews on how it tastes, but I can only imagine that the fats from the duck are going to make the whole thing tender and very juicy, not to mention all the spice rub! As far as the other dishes go, we are going to have my grandmother's cornbread dressing, green beans, sweet potato souffle, chocolate pecan pie, ice cream, caramelized mashed potatoes (a new recipe I am eager to try), and more.

What are some traditional and non-traditional things ya'll have on your Thanksgiving table?  I want to hear all about them!

Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Mashed Potato Recipe

As I set out to gather ideas, ingredients, products and more, I look forward to my next post and hearing from all of you!

Let me know your thoughts on the Turducken and if anyone has ever had one before!