Category Archives: Guest Posts

How to Stay Fit…and Still Drink Wine

Look at me! I’m blogging! Hard to believe my last post occurred almost a month ago, who let that happen? If you could freeze this sentence in time you’d see that as I write this, I sit in the middle of a newly-laminated living room among freshly painted walls and a bright white ceiling and lovely natural light beaming through our temporarily-bare windows and…$#*% everywhere.

There’s a bit of a situation at home base. We decided to remodel our tiny space before we eventually leave it for good. Do you know the best way to clean your house? Answer: Tear it DOWWN. Really. Just start pulling boards from your walls and don’t feel surprised when you see the photo your spouse sends you of the massive mound of dirt (See also: Newly discovered planet where it appears living organisms could safely dwell.) he swept up after he ripped out the carpet.

Until this past weekend there was no way I was pulling our oven away from the wall to Dawn dish soap the crap out of it. But look at me twice: Did it! The upside and downside: We’re going on day 4 of no oven because we still need to install the flooring underneath it. This means lots of salads and grilling and picnics (both indoors and out). This also means I’ve had to get creative at cooking my eggs. FYI: Cooking eggs over-easy in the microwave is a ridiculous concept to tackle, especially before 7 AM.

In related news: Wine. There’s been that over here too. I know, you didn’t see that coming. I’ve got that post – so cleverly titled “A Wino’s Wine List: Part 2” – coming at you next week (see Part 1 here). But in the meantime, I was luckily contacted by Fix several weeks ago regarding an article they wrote for their fun site, called “Skinny Wine: Keeping Fit While Still Enjoying a Glass…or Two.” They thought that post might be a good fit for this blog and, truth be told, it took me weeks to read over it and get back to them. Typically these kinds of things end with me saying “thanks but no thanks” because the content rarely fits what I rant about here. But this one makes all kinds of sense! I think you’ll agree, unless you’re only here for the housecleaning tips and flawless child-rearing lessons. In which case, you really need to look into using a different search engine.

So without further disjointedness, I bring you the real portion of this blog post, written by food and wine writer Maggie Unzueta, who you can also find over at In Mama Maggie’s Kitchen (I’ll bet her kitchen doesn’t look like a cross between Home Depot and an episode of Hoarders.)


Skinny Wine: Keeping Fit While Still Enjoying a Glass… or Two

Any good dieter knows to stay away from wine when trying to shed the pounds, but we all know that’s not always a realistic option. With so many amazing wines out there, it’s hard not to have a glass of wine or two after a long day of work from time to time. Instead, let’s look at how you can modify your wine-drinking habits to avoid gaining weight.

What’s the Whine About?

In case you don’t know why you should limit your wine when you’re trying to lose weight, it’s simply because our bodies digest alcohol differently than food. Excess alcohol (or ethanol) is sent through a complex metabolic process. This involves the liver, which potentially can be harmed if too much wine is consumed. The body will burn the alcohol first as energy and store other nutrients as fat.1

Know Your Limits

For safety reasons, drinking too much alcohol is not recommended. We often hear the phrase: “Everything in moderation.” The same applies to wine. With wine calories varying from 110 to 300+ for just four ounces, you should determine your calorie budget before hitting the wine bar.

Photo Credit:
Photo Credit:

Some restaurants serve six- to eight-ounce glasses of wine. So when you think you’re just having one, you could possibly be having two glasses of wine. Try using this general rule: For every ounce, calculate 25 calories. Next time you are eating out, try to gauge how much you have been poured by ounces, and from there you can estimate the calories in your glass. If you’re not sure how to measure ounces, ask the waiter or bartender how many ounces they are serving. They usually know.2

Calories, Calories, and More Calories

Knowing the caloric content in wines is the key. The highest-calorie wines tend to have the highest alcohol content. Most red and white wines range anywhere from 110 to 175 calories per four-ounce glass, but there are some sweet wines that go up to 300 calories per glass. If you are at home, you can easily search online for the exact calories. If you are hanging out with friends, it might be a little more difficult to figure out the calorie count. Since most of us tend to prefer one wine varietal to another, here is a breakdown of calories by wines to help you:

Wine from Least to Most Calories

To compare, here are the caloric contents of other adult drinks:12 oz wine spritzer: 100-120 calories

  • 12 oz wine cooler: 215 calories
  • 12 oz can of beer: 146 calories
  • 2.5 oz shot of rum, vodka, etc: Approximately 100-120 calories

Sweet wines like Port, Tawny Port and Banyuls not only have very high alcohol levels, but they also hit you with high sugar carb calories. That’s probably why these wines are normally served in relatively small amounts.3

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

When you go to a wine bar, it‘s standard to order a cheese plate with a variety of cheeses, nuts, and dried fruit. Translation: fat, calories, and sugar. With 650 calories per serving in a normal cheese plate, this is not necessarily the healthiest option on the menu. Yes, there is the matter of pairing delicious cheeses with wines. You can’t argue against that, but you can pair wine with healthier alternatives.4

Healthy Snack Options with Wine

If you are going out for a happy-hour hangout, one very good tip is to eat something before you go out. It will prevent you from overindulging and from having more than you should.5

Burn, Baby, Burn

We all know that exercising is a great way to lose weight. It’s also the best way not to gain weight while drinking. Don’t worry. You don’t have to be a gym rat to have a glass of wine. Here are some examples of typical 30-minute exercises for a 125-pound woman, and how many glasses of wine she can have as a result.

Half Hour Till Wine

In short, the more you exercise you do, the more wine you can have. Also, know that alcohol causes dehydration and stunts muscle growth. Drink plenty of water to keep your muscles hydrated and your organs functioning normally. Although we do burn calories doing activities like gardening and walking to and from the car, we don’t burn enough to consume even one glass of wine guilt-free.

Other Tips and Wine Bits

  • One of the easiest and best ways to cut down on calories is to make a wine spritzer. Take half a glass of wine and pour it over ice. Top it off with club soda. Club soda has zero calories. A typical wine spritzer is roughly 100-120 calories.6
  • Be a wine snob. Most studies show that people buy wine according to price. If you pay for an expensive glass of wine, you are more likely to have only two unless you are related to Donald Trump.7
  • Drink water in between drinks. Water has zero calories and will make you feel full. Not only that, but it will also help lessen the next day’s after-drinking effects.

There are plenty of ways to keep from adding the pounds while still enjoying the wines you love. It does not have to be a dieter’s downfall. Additionally, wine is good for blood circulation and has stress-relieving benefits. Just for those reasons alone, you should not let the fear of adding weight stop you from drinking a glass of wine. Cheers!


You can view the article at its original source here.

Liebster Award Q & A!

About 37 sleeps ago, the very kind Julia over at Grace Makes New nominated me for a Liebster Award and I am just now pulling my head out of the barrel and getting to it here on the blog. This is Julia: What the bleep’s a Liebster Award? you ask. A Liebster Award is a blogging award given to and by fellow bloggers in order to recognize and discover more fantastic blogs out there (and there are a LOT, I know this because it took me over an hour just to narrow it down to 11 of my own nominations).

So here’s how this is going down: I’m going to answer the 11 questions Julia gave me and then I’m going to make up 11 questions of my own (I promise to do this before I pour the wine) and subsequently nominate 11 other bloggers to answer said questions on their blogs. I found my victims nominees on Bloglovin’, which is a pretty handy blog subscription site where you can save posts from all your favorites. The requirements? They must have 100 or less Bloglovin’ followers. Ready? Let’s do this! Liebster Award My Questions

1. What made you want to start a blog?

Between designing workouts for my clients, raising children and figuring out the wine industry, I kind of felt like things needed to get written down somewhere. Maybe people read it, maybe people don’t. But $#@! needed documented before my head exploded. Okay, okay…the real reason: Writing was my first baby. Fitness, health, wine, entrepreneurship and child-rearing were born two to three decades later. Here’s where all my babies play together.

2. What do you mostly blog about?

All of the above-mentioned things. Some months I’m heavy on the health and fitness posts, others I’m consumed with winery happenings. The parenting theme is always peppered throughout because, quite frankly, little people are always in your business.

3. What are your goals for 2015?

Come out alive. Wear more dresses. Tear out the carpet. And maybe squeeze some camping in there somewhere.

4. Favorite flavor of ice cream?

I’m a frozen yogurt girl. Not for health reasons really, I just prefer the taste. Unless it’s gelato or green tea flavored, then I’ll eat any of it. I recently concocted an Orange Chocolate Chipotle flavor of frozen yogurt using our Chipotle Jalapeno Wine. It came out really well. I’ll bet at your house you don’t have to tell your 3 1/2 year old things like “No sweetie, you can’t have this frozen yogurt because it has wine in it.”

5. What are three things you never leave the house without?

A wine bottle opener, water and my Fitbit.

6. Have you ever traveled outside of the US? If so, where?

I’ve been to Cabo, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun. I don’t know why Mexico ended up on my radar but I can confidently tell you I’m a-ok with not going back and my gastrointestinal system thanks me for that. There are some places I’ve got my eye on: Chile, the country side of Italy, Europe and Australia. The first two are mostly wine-oriented and by far the highest priorities.

7. Do you have a “life quote”, something that perfectly articulates your view on life?

“You have to do what scares you in order to know it can’t hurt you.” Except when it comes to snakes. Just$#@! run.

8. Do you have any siblings, or are you an only child?

I have two older brothers. I’m the youngest and the only girl. Which saved me from a lot of curling iron fights. Sisters are a different level of crazy. My brothers just did normal things like throw me down the stairs, lock me in the clothes dryer and shoot me with BB guns.

9. What is your regular order at Starbucks?

Although I’m not a Starbucks regular, I order a skinny latte at the coffee shop. I usually get asked if I’d like a flavored syrup in it to which I say “Yes, the flavor that tastes like a skinny latte.”

10. What is the best vacation you have ever had?

The best as a kid was Kaui with my family. The best as a 21-year-old was Vegas for my dad’s surprise 50th. The best as a non-married mid-20-something was San Fran and Sonoma/Napa with my present-day winemaker. The best so far as a wife and mom was Westport, WA. Later this year I will certainly have a new best with my entire family: Maui.

Westport Winery
Taking a mommy break at Westport Winery.

11. What is your favorite place to shop?

The grocery store. Seriously, I hate shopping so much. I will basically buy everything at the grocery store or online. Stitch Fix has saved me. Without it I would surely still be walking around in breast milk-stained t-shirts and a crap-ton of stretched out yoga pants.

Now it’s time for my own nominations, so line it up, ladies!

I hereby nominate:

Wine & Butter

Here’s my list of questions for you all to answer:

1. What is your favorite part about blogging?

2. What is your favorite blog post you’ve written?

3. If you could have any occupation right now, what would it be?

4. What is your favorite kind of workout?

5. What is your favorite recipe, healthy or unhealthy?

6. What, or who, inspires you most?

7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where and why?

8. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

9. What’s your best piece of advice for your younger self?

10. What book(s) are you reading right now and if you’re not a book reader, which blog/magazine/etc. are you currently loving?

11. If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would you want to be cast as you?

Thanks for playing!

Jalapeno Wine Infused Potato Soup

*Special Guest Post Edition!*

Today marks a blogging first for me – we have a guest poster! I’ve decided we should all extend the “guest post” idea to our daily lives. I’d like a guest cook, a guest housekeeper and a guest bill-payer, please? Email me if interested…

Until then: Michelle at WineDineDIY is here with a delicious recipe that may not be trainer approved but it IS winemaker approved. It sounds pretty incredible and I can’t wait to try it. So….soup’s on!

Jalapeno Wine Infused Potato Soup

I’m being scandalous today! Yep, I’m posting a sinfully rich recipe on an otherwise healthy blog. Sorry Crystal, it HAD to be done because… butter.

Jalapeno Wine with Soup Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1 bottle Potter Wines Premier Jalapeno and Grape Wine
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1 cups of fat free half and half
  • 1 cups of skim milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Optional :

  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

First up let’s prep!

Get a large pot, spray with cooking oil (I like PAM) and line it with the strips of bacon. Get ’em crispy on medium high heat. Set aside. Once it’s cool, crumble.

Meanwhile: Dice the potatoes, onion, carrot and celery.

Okay, let’s cook!

Step One: After having prepared the bacon, reserve a small amount of bacon grease in the pot, reduce heat to medium, and add the diced potatoes and veggies (onion, celery, garlic and carrot) and stir the veggies in the grease. I know, I know.

Add the entire bottle of Jalapeno Wine! Oh, yes I did!

Jalapeno Wine Recipe

Add Jalapeno Wine

Bring to a gentle boil and stir occasionally as the wine won’t be enough to cover the potato and veggie medley. The wine will boil down in about 15 minutes.

Step Two: Add chicken broth just enough to barely cover taters and veggies. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes (contents should be tender). Turn heat to low.

Step Three: In a separate medium pan melt the butter over medium heat, whisk in flour, whisk in milk and half and half and keep whisking until thick and creamy. Add to large pot with potatoes and veggies and stir.

NOTE: This is a super thick soup. If you prefer to thin it a bit, just add an additional cup of milk and another cup of FF half and half when you are whisking in the milk to the butter and flour.

Step Four: Add salt, pepper and red wine vinegar and bacon. Stir.

Optional: Fully load your soup by stirring in sour cream and cheese.

Finally: Add chives to garnish before serving.

I think we can all agree that this is worth being a little bit naughty for! Moderation, right?

Soup Paired with Potter Wines Riesling

Pair with Potter Wines Idaho Riesling!


Michelle Leonardson lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband Nick and giant dog, Lindsay.  She blogs about her favorite interests: wine, food, and do-it-yourself projects.  Connect with Michelle: