Pumpkin Wine and Other October Adventures in Vino

Every now and then I get the urge to lay some pictures on you. I know it’s hard for you to imagine me not running off at the fingers but I feel like October deserves less talk, more do. Less stress, more friends. Less complaining, more celebrating. Less quitting, more focus. Less depressing media, more pretty pictures. So I have those for you – the pictures, at least. It is no secret that my love for writing does not directly correlate to my photography skills. I once read that in order to have a blog everyone wants to read, you need damn good photos. *awkward moment of reflection* Looks like I’ll never be featured on Yahoo!

A little explanation about the pixels your eyes are about to dilate over: My winemaker and I have been up to a few things this month in the world of wine. We kicked off the month elbows-deep in grapes and peppers. We participated in the always-enjoyable Eagle Food & Wine Festival. From there we took a little write-off weekender with friends to Walla Walla wine country (Fact: My taste buds haven’t come home yet). Last but not least, we’ve got our annual Pumpkin Wine release coming up next weekend! What more appropriate way is there to wrap up your child’s trunk-or-treating excursion than with a bottle of festive vino? Wayyyyy better sugar high, folks.

Here’s October according to my camera:

2015 Grape and Pepper Harvest

Feast your eyes: Our local growers supplied us with over 1,000 lbs of peppers this year. Half of which went in the smoker for our Chipotle Jalapeno Wine.
Feast your eyes: Our local growers supplied us with over 1,000 lbs of peppers this year. Half of which got a  spa treatment in apple wood smoke for our Chipotle Jalapeno Wine.

SmokingPeppers2.jpg

Pretty clusters all ready to go
Pretty clusters all ready to go into the crusher. I’m cheating a bit here by adding last year’s photo. Funny thing: All Syrah grapes look the same! And this year Yours Truly didn’t get any photos before they went into fermenters. Yet you still love me. You can read all about what Syrah harvest looks like for us here.

Eagle Food and Wine Festival

This was our second year at this event. You can read my recap of our lovely first experience last year here. This year we were paired alongside Bardenay Eagle Restaurant and Chef Travis, who is definitely a culinary inspiration here in the valley.

EF&W1.jpg

I don't know how Mary, the savvy organizer of this tremendous event, gets the weather right every time.
I don’t know how Mary, the savvy organizer of this tremendous event, gets the weather right every time.

EF&W3.jpg

This event is to-date my favorite because of the wonderful people who attend (foodies and winos are good people!) and because so many of the friendliest people we know in the wine industry also participate. It ends up feeling like a family gathering with the best food and wine in town.

To get your hands on tickets and keep tabs on the restaurant/winery line-up in 2016, visit eaglefoodandwine.com.

Walla Walla Wine Country

I don’t even know how to give this place enough credit. The charm, the scenery, the food, the bed and breakfasts, the red, RED wine. Wine so big and bold we could chew it. To me, that is a very welcome thing. I am already planning our next trip.

*Disclaimer: These photos don’t even begin to capture all of the wineries we went to nor do they sum up all of our favorites. They are photos I took either the first day before my wine-euphoria superseded everything else, or the second day before things got a liiiiittle uncoordinated (but still so, so good).

Ah, L'Ecole. Where the host knew our names, our website, our agenda before we even shook his hand. Where the reserve tasting tour of this old school house made us swoon, and where the French very much left their mark many moons ago.
Ah, L’Ecole. Where the host knew us all before we even shook his hand. Where the reserve tasting tour of this old school house made us swoon and where the French very much left their mark many moons ago.
Their barrel room. I know...hideous, right? Pfft...
Their barrel room. I know…hideous, right?

LeCole5.jpg

"Hmm...do I like the 2003 or the 2007 better?" These are choices we should be faced with EVERY day, friends.
“Hmm…do I like the 2003 or the 2007 better?” These are choices we should be faced with EVERY day, friends.
My winemaker. Probably hating that I took this of him but good thing great wine makes caring about that trivial stuff a low priority.
My winemaker. Probably hating that I took this of him but good thing drinking great wine makes caring about that trivial stuff a low priority.
Walla Walla Vintners. Wait until you see this next one...
Walla Walla Vintners. Wait until you see this next one…
...Exactly. 'Nuff said.
…Exactly.
A fun pit stop before lunch.
A fun pit stop before lunch.
Then there's THIS guy. At Sleight of Hand Cellars.
Then there’s THIS guy you may recognize. At Sleight of Hand Cellars.
We wrapped our wine tour up with a glass of this scenery, at Pepperbridge.
We wrapped up our wine tour with a glass of this scenery, at Pepperbridge.

2015 Pumpkin Wine Release

This is a fun one, friends. If you get into the fall season at all you probably embrace the pumpkin theme as a backdrop for life right now. Our Pumpkin Wine runs with that. As with any vintage of wine, every year is completely different and it typically takes two years from start to bottle, plus a lot of extra steps (we roast every pumpkin before throwing them into fermentation). This year the result is a sweeter, spicier wine than last year’s (think clove and pumpkin pie spice, not hot sauce).

This specialty goes for $20/bottle. Email me at crystalpotter@potterwines.com for pre-order info or come down to either of the farmers' markets in Boise on Saturday, October 31st.
This specialty goes for $24/bottle. Email me at crystalpotter@potterwines.com to order or come down to either of the farmers’ markets in Boise on Saturday, October 31st to pick up a bottle.

This is a very small-production run which means we sell out before Thanksgiving. We’re debuting it on Halloween day at The Boise Farmer’s Market and the Capital City Public Market.

Pumpkin pie in a bottle!
Pumpkin pie in a bottle!

Happy October wine-ing!

Get Fit in 4 Months: Month Two

Did you hear that? I’m talking about that shrill screeching-halt sound that was life a few weeks back. No? Just me? That’s encouraging, actually. Hopefully if you didn’t hear that sound it means you’re still spinning the wheels of Month One, waiting for me to get my arse back in gear and post Month Two because it’s been sliiiightly longer than I promised it would be. And that’s why we don’t make promises around here, folks!

In a nutshell, I had a teeny-tiny set-back this past month. Let’s just say even smart phones can’t do what this thing does for humans and let’s just say it’s implanted in my rib cage (In other news: Side boob is the new black). I’ll blog about it another day but let’s also just say I’m doing A-OK and there is no emergency. There was no emergency in the first place. This is all a bunch of fanfare in order to make sure my heart doesn’t pull a big fat Montell Jordan disappearing act. In fact I’m back on track, working out again and enjoying a mostly adequate degree of normalness in my life (Translation: Usual chaos; See also: WTF?).

At any rate, I’m a bit behind on my prep for Maui but in all honesty I’m not entirely concerned. Part of what I enjoy about what I do is being able to make health and fitness work for myself and others long-term and being realistic about goals. So yes, while my goal is still to look great in a bikini I also feel like right now my goal is just to rock some scars on the sands. And to drink pineapple wine.

With all that said, here’s how Month Two is gonna work: You’ll still do everything you’ve been doing in Month One to the best of your ability, then you’ll add in the below things to mix it up even more. At the speed we’re working you’ll be more fit just in time for the holidays. Please realize this means that you will have to hunt a bit harder for a more hideous outfit for the ugly Christmas sweater party you may inevitably attend. Don’t show up looking fantastic and expect people not to roll their eyes at you and invite you next year.

Get Fit in 4.jpg

Get Fit in 4: Month Two

*Disclaimer: Please remember I’m giving you MY plan for MYSELF, which means you may have to tweak a few things if you’re already doing them/they don’t apply/you have an alternate method. I’ll give suggestions for options where I think they might be necessary but otherwise try to focus on keeping true to yourself and finding areas you can improve on that are similar to what I’m tackling in this guide. Also, this is meant to escalate in baby steps, meaning each month will become more focused, particularly the last month where I’ll be in small-detail mode. Oof!*

  1. Lift heavier.

Now I could give you the scientific way of doing this, based on percentages of the amount of weight you currently lift. Or I could do what people who live in the real world do and tell you to pick up a weight that is 3-5 pounds heavier than what you’re currently lifting. So for example, in Month One I was doing bicep curls with 12lb dumbbells. In Month Two I picked up 15lbs instead. Whatever the exercise, you should feel like the last 2-3 reps are challenging enough that you can’t do any more. Just doing basic squats without weights? Then now’s the time to do weighted squats. Want to make jumping jacks more challenging? Add some 5lb dumbbells and do overhead presses while you jack your feet in and out. See where I’m going with this? Go there.

2.  Add in some yoga.

You might skip over this paragraph because you think yoga is too simple and it’s not going to make a difference to your body. Listen, stubborn face! Yoga can give your body the balance it needs between sweaty workout sessions. It can help your muscles recover faster, train your body in different ways and all those downward dogs and planks do some nice shoulder sculpting. I admittedly don’t do yoga on a regular basis but I like to add it in when I’m really trying to shock my muscles. Try doing yoga once a week in Month Two. And avid runners: This is pretty much a must for you.

A great resource to try: Yoga with Adriene

3.  More core. I repeat: More core.

Are you feeling a bit lighter and stronger after Month One? Now’s the time to start waking up the abs. Reducing belly fat is the first step in uncovering abs, which is mostly done through diet. But after adding more cardio and watching your diet more carefully the first month you should be noticing some smaller belly benefits right about now. Try to do some ab work at every workout (some forms of yoga are good for this as well). If you’re going out for a run, finish it up with 5-10 minutes of core moves. Make your stomach and back work harder during your strength and HIIT sessions. Some oldie but goodie moves to incorporate are supermans, bicycle crunches, reverse crunches, leg lifts, crunches on a stability ball, and planks.

Sick of planking? I guarantee you haven’t done them all. Just check out 25 Plank Variations You Absolutely Have to Try.

That’s it! There are only three things to add in this month but compounded with last month I think you’ll find this makes sense. Month Three will be a bit more challenging as we reel things in even more and I give you even more specific goals to hit.

If you are following along and would like to “weigh in” on how you’re doing, I’d love to hear about it!

The Tuesday Tank: Thursday Edition

It’s been a while. The Tuesday Tank is among my favorite post types to write yet somehow four months have gone by since the last installment. And here I am, two sleeps past Tuesday. Unforgivable. The upside: I have lots to distract you away from my lameness with.

I’m feeling a tad unfocused lately, how about you? I’m hearing talk of pumpkin-everything and I’m still over here racking my brain over what I’m going to do with all these $#@! tomatoes. Don’t RUSH me! I froze my butt off working the farmers’ market last Saturday and on Sunday the kids and I lathered up with sunscreen and waded in the river. Mother Nature is about as decisive as a 2-year-old. But in general, the mornings are cool and the days are warm – it’s the best of times. I’ve almost stopped white wine consumption completely, yet I’m a bit unsettled with everyone cheering for snow. Let’s live in the moment, can we please? Stop talking about winterizing our gardens and keep drinking margaritas for another month. Then we’ll re-evaluate. Deal? And don’t even mention Christmas to me. I’m just not that kind of girl.

Now that we’ve settled that drama, let’s see what the world has to say according to 10 links of web stuff. Some of my latest faves, to be exact. Here’s what’s trending according to my preoccupied brain.

The Tuesday Tank

~Some of these are actual fears of mine. Others are just nonsensical. Things That Will Happen If I Don’t Take My Phone Out Right Now. I mean, how will I remember my to-do list if I don’t text it to myself?

~Dear 32-year-old, Don’t waste calories on sub-par wine. Love, You + One Year. Watch How to Age Gracefully and get more real-deal advice (I’m kind of in agreement with the girl with the hashtag vendetta).

~Stitchfix is my Plan B, which often becomes my Plan A because Plan A would require me to shop on my own. I would rather do 1000 lunges. Sick, I know. And apparently I’m not alone. Read: Is Stitchfix Worth It? Then head on over to my referral link to try it!

~Ever wonder why your own 6 ounce pour doesn’t look like the bartender’s? Turns out it’s just you and your flawed wine conspiracy theories again. Wine by the Glass: Do Women Get Less? The answer might surprise you.

Photo credit: Sophisticatedignorance.net
Photo credit: Sophisticatedignorance.net

~I want to be informed but I also don’t want to hate the world upon waking. Can we skip that part of the morning newscast? Why yes, yes we can. Skimm it and you shall come away with hope still intact. Because laughter is important always. Even when everyone is freaking nuts and viral cat videos are making headlines everywhere.

~Soooo this looks like a serious new addiction waiting to happen. And soreness. Lots and lots of soreness. If you’re into that sort of thing. A client of mine highly recommends these Booya workouts and I happen to know she has good taste in workouts.

~I’m going to add an 11th tip to this list on my husband’s behalf: Strap bottle rockets to the back of the kids’ bikes. Reference: 10 ways to make driveway bike riding more fun for kids. I swear I’m going to try one of these with the kiddos before summer ends. Particularly #7 because it may be the only way our car and the dog gets washed.

~I don’t have anything intellectual to say about this – but you should watch it anyway. Particularly if you think beer is God’s gift to mankind. Laugh: Watch Australians Try American Alcohol Like Four Loko and Bud Light.

~From time to time I want to go on a tirade of all that is wrong in the fitness industry but I’ll let this woman do it for me. From meal plans to MLMs to the latest and greatest energy drinks to supplements; Nothing will work better than eating whole foods and exercising. And I’m the crazy person!

~Do not keep reading if you are in the waiting room at the doctor’s office/about to pick your kids up from school/at your office computer/doing anything anywhere where someone might witness what’s about to go down. When I’m Gone will get you. Do what my step son does and pretend there’s a dust storm in front of your face.

Now you know. Go do!

Potter Wines 2015 Calendar of Events

This post was originally written back in March of this year, when August seemed so very far away. Fast forward to today and it’s time to start thinking about 2016 (business-wise, that is). I’ve updated our Calendar of Events a bit and will continue to do so as we book events for the holidays as well as solidify our indoor market dates. Remember: To be absolutely certain where we are during any given week, check out our Potter Wines Facebook page.

***

‘Tis the season! As in, wine event season. My winemaker and I had a brief break in wine events (Jan/Feb/March are typically slower months in the wine industry) which allowed us to focus on a whole host of other projects, many of which you’ll see introduced throughout 2015. In my mind, this “break” meant we would be caught up on business paperwork and home projects…HA! You silly, silly girl with your free thinking!

Nevertheless, we have a LOT in store for you this year. As soon as we launch our next project you can bet I’ll be running off my fingers right here. But in the meantime, if you’re local to Boise, are new in town or are planning a visit, here’s where you can find us for the next seven months. Some dates are tentative and we are always adding events as they come up. So if you want to be completely sure whether we’re at a specific farmer’s market or venue on a specific day, your best bet is to check our Facebook page.

And remember, you can ALWAYS find us and buy online at www.jalapenowine.com!

Potter Wines Calendar of Events (Through October 2015)

March:

  • Sunday the 15th: Fred Meyer Tasting. 12 to 4pm (Located at Glenwood and Chinden in Garden City)

April:

  • Thursday the 2nd: First Thursday at Gallery Five18. I will be pouring our Jalapeno Wines as well as our Riesling and Jalapeno Lemonade by the glass. Come visit me and see some terrific local art! 5 to 9pm, located at 518 S. Americana Blvd.
  • Saturday the 4th: Opening day of The Boise Farmer’s Market! We made our big debut at this market last year, we’re more than thrilled to return as members. Open 9am to 1pm, located @ 10th & Grove Streets
  • Saturday the 11th: The Boise Farmer’s Market (see above for times and location).
  • Saturday the 18th: Opening day of The Capital City Public Market! This is our first appearance at this market, we’re excited to add it to our 2015 line-up. Open 9:30am to 1:30pm. located downtown Boise on 8th street We’ll also be at The Boise Farmer’s Market (see above for times and location).
  • Thursday the 23rd: The Oak Tree. A special Mother’s Day event with giveaways, raffles, massages and wine! 5 to 8pm, located at Americana Terrace, between the river and the entrance to Kathryn Albertson’s Park.
  • Saturday the 25th: Both The Boise Farmer’s Market and The Capital City Public Market (see above for times and locations).
Boise Farmer's Market
The Boise Farmer’s Market; Photo Credit: BoiseFoodieGuild.wordpress.com

May:

 

Capital City Public Market
The Capital City Public Market; Photo Credit: Idahostatesman.com

June (Idaho Wine Month):

  • Thursday the 4th: First Thursday at Boise Art Glass, 5-9pm. Yes, we love pouring here so you’ll find us here often. This place is a blast!
  • Saturday the 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th: The Boise Farmer’s Market and Capital City Public Market
  • Sunday the 14th: Savor Idaho. This event is always top-notch, on beautiful grounds (at the Idaho Botanical Gardens) and loads of fun. Get your tickets fast though before they sell out, because they will!
  • Monday the 29th: Bodovino, 5-7pm. Join us for tastings to celebrate Idaho Wine Month. 404 S. 8th St, Boise 83702
Savor Idaho
Savor Idaho; Photo Credit: Savoridaho.org

July:

August:

September:

September events are loosely scheduled due to unforeseeable harvest times/travel. Check out our Facebook page for updates.

Boise Art Glass
Boise Art Glass; Photo Credit: Basilhaydens.com

October:

Eagle Food & Wine Festival at Banbury Golf Club
Eagle Food & Wine Festival at Banbury Golf Club

This takes us to the busy holiday season, where we’re adding events frequently and will be in at least one of the indoor markets on Saturdays. Watch for another update to this post sometime in October (which is also about the time I’ll be telling you all about our nifty Christmas gift boxes…ooooh, aaaah!).

Get Fit in 4 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide

As I write this post I’m sitting here drinking the World’s Most Gargantuous Cup of Unsweetened Iced Tea. What I really want is coffee. As it is, it’s already mid-afternoon and I know a coffee would seriously screw with my sleep cycle even more than the 24-hour non-drowsy allergy pills I’m taking already do. Turns out, while incredibly efficient at putting a stop to my hacking fits, marathon snot-blowing pity parties and blood-shot peeps (I cannot count on all my appendages how many times the hubs has asked me “Are you high?”), allergy meds can make normal nightmares feel like a meditation retreat. I mean, has anyone else dreamt about witnessing a car run over a polka-dot dress-wearing ghost in a cemetery conveniently located next to the haunted mansion where “babysitters” are watching your two precious offspring who each suddenly know how to break into things with crowbars? Now I know how M. Night Shyamalan gets his material.

Nevertheless, I’m on a mission. In fact I’m on Week 3 of a mission. In approximately three months I’ll be on the sands of Maui with my whole family, dancing to the tune of whatever-the-heck-I-want-to. In a swim suit. The kind of outfit I haven’t worn since I was pregnant in the biggest of ways and taking my then-toddler to mommy-and-me swim lessons. So there’s that. And of course it involves a two-piece which I purchased during my pre-allergy medication status when I was questionably delirious. So let’s just say some things need to happen if that whole bikini-on-the-beach situation is going to play out well.

Now let me be clear, I’m the type of person who will wear that swim suit regardless of whether I put myself on a 4-month fitness program. I’m happy either way. But hey, just for fun – because it’s part of what I love to do for money – let’s see what I can accomplish in four months, shall we? And maybe you follow along because you’re interested too. Because you won’t say it out loud but you’ve gained a few pounds this summer and you feel like maybe you’d rather be in a better place fitness-wise (and all of your people want you to stop talking about how icky you feel). And the holidays are around the corner (yep, I said it) and you’d like to lose some lb’s before that. Or maybe you’re where I’m at and you feel healthy overall but you want to take it to the next level – just for kicks.

But hold the phone: You’d also like to keep some wine in there somewhere because life is hard and diets suck. I’m with you. In fact I’m so with you that I’m three weeks ahead of you just to be sure it’s going to work. You see, I put myself on my own Get Fit in 4 Plan at the end of July and I’m happy to say I’m down three pounds AND still drinking wine (although not as much – I gave myself an intervention *sigh*). But I’m not just looking to lose a few pounds. I’m looking to see what I can accomplish in 120 days. Why? Because everybody needs a goal or we get complacent.

If you’re feeling like it’s that time for you but don’t know which actions to take in order to begin, follow along. I’ll be posting this as a series, so in a few weeks I’ll give you the Get Fit in 4: Month Two plan I’ve designed for myself. No diets, no shakes, just some accountability to and for yourself. That’s going to be the HARDEST PART in this, folks. Losing accountability is ridiculously easy, that’s one of the primary reasons I’m employed. So you’re going to have to dig deep and stay committed – because all the flakes are still waiting for the “right time” to start.

Get Fit in 4: Month One

*Please remember I’m giving you MY plan for MYSELF, which means you may have to tweak a few things if you’re already doing them/they don’t apply/you have an alternate method. I’ll give suggestions for options where I think they might be necessary, but otherwise try to focus on keeping true to yourself and finding areas you can improve on that are similar to what I’m talking about in this guide. Also, this is meant to escalate in baby steps, meaning each month will become more focused, particularly the last month where I’ll be in small-detail mode. Oof!*

1.  Limit yourself to one glass wine/night, Sunday through Thursday.

Okay let’s chat for a moment. I’m admittedly not perfect and obviously the wife of a winemaker, so I enjoy my wine. Typically I try to limit myself to one glass of wine a night on the week days (for lots of reasons encompassing my health, my ability to appreciate early mornings a tad more, the quality of my workouts, etc.). However, sometimes summer happens. Suddenly I’m drinking two glasses a night and the calories begin adding up. I’m no longer a cheap date and Mint.com tells me we have exceeded our wine budget. Boo! I’m back on track and, funny how this happens, it appears that even on the weekends where I’ve allowed myself more than one glass of wine I’ve been stopping around two or three simply because that’s all I want. Tolerance is a silly beast that way. If you find you’ve been throwing back a bit more alcohol than usual this summer, now’s your time to start taking it down a notch (but still enjoy a lovely glass of Petite Syrah/beer/etc.). I’ll be dialing it waaayyyy back in about three months, so let’s save the drastic measures for then, shall we?

2.  Log your food as often as possible.

Remember what I said before about accountability being critical in this step-by-step process? This is one of those things. I don’t typically log my food every day or count calories because, frankly, it’s time-consuming. But it’s also incredibly effective if you want to really see where your calories are going and be honest with yourself about how much you’re eating. Usually my M.O. is to log my calories for a few days whenever I feel like I’ve gotten off-track. It always opens my eyes to where I’ve been sneaking in the excess. Right now though, I’m going on three weeks of logging my food MOST days of the week and in addition to adhering to step #1 up there, I believe this is what’s caused a 3-pound weight loss already.

The easiest way I’ve found to log my food is to use the My Fitness Pal app on my phone. It’s free, and once you know how many calories you should be aiming for each day (check out the handy calculators at Freedieting.com), it’ll help you track what you’re putting in and what you’re putting out (through workouts and daily activities like walking). It’ll also give you a great idea of macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats) so you can see if you’re overdoing it on the breads and cheeses and under-doing it on the lean proteins (a key issue most of us face). Lastly, it has an impressive database of foods and you can always scan a barcode if you’re eating something store-bought. Here’s a screenshot of what the Diary section looks like:

My FitnessPal Screenshot

3.  Run or simply workout more.

If you like to run and you’re not doing it already, start. This is one of those things that as soon as I start doing it again I instantly lose weight thanks to the calorie burn it provides. If you’re already running a lot, change this to weight-lifting or high intensity interval training (HIIT) or even fast walking or hiking if running is too hard on your joints. Basically, whatever you’re not doing enough of, do more of this month to get a bigger calorie output. I’ve been really great about my strength-training and HIIT sessions but as the temps reached triple digits this summer I let running drop off. I keep my runs to about 3 miles now because I find I’m a much better and faster runner when I do shorter distances. Keep in mind you only need about 30 minutes of high-quality cardio to see some benefits, so squeeze it in where you can. Or, perhaps you’re not working out at all. Here’s your kick in the @$$. Aim for at least 3 days a week. Don’t tell me how hard it is – I’m aware.

4Watch portion sizes.

A no-brainer, right? Not so much. Turns out “watching portion sizes” is too vague for most of us Americans. “I’m watching this portion size become unmeasurable” seems to be our general attitude. I’m not saying we have to weigh everything and become obnoxious to our family and friends. I’m saying maybe we don’t have to eat EVERYTHING on our plates. Or mayyybe we don’t need seconds. Even too much of a healthy thing is no longer a healthy thing. If a portion of peanut butter is one tablespoon – how often do you just eat one tablespoon? I already know that answer because I have lived that answer (Ahem: Post-pregnancy #1 and my affair with nutella/peanut butter/bananas).

5. Take a new fitness class.

Oddly enough, this one is proving to be the hardest for me to do this month. It’s a time thing, as I’m sure most everyone understands. I did manage to sneak away from my chaotic schedule one day for a noon Pure Barre class and was immediately thankful I had. Trying new fitness classes breaks up the ho-hum of a fitness routine and also helps shock our bodies into Go-Mode. I’m hoping to visit “the barre” again in the next couple weeks (for those of you interested in the Barre movement, check out Purebarre.com).

6.  No food two hours before bed.

This one really works for me. If I can give my digestion that two-hour head start before I lie down for the night it helps me feel lighter and ready for breakfast the next morning. This applies to beverages as well. Soooo, basically just some good ‘ol fashion H2O, friends. I know this one is difficult sometimes when we’re rushing around with the kids or getting home late from work or going out to dinner with friends, so just employ it on the nights you can. Extra credit: Follow my steadfast rule and ALWAYS drink warm lemon water upon waking. (Check out this post for further explanation).

So there’s the first installment of Get Fit in 4! Are you in?

A Wino’s Wine List: Part 2

You know what goes well with Wednesday? A wine list! Turns out a wine list also  goes well with remodeling seeing as how we’ve managed to acquire a few new favorites in the last three weeks over here. Since we started Project Snow Job (aptly named because as you well know if you’ve ever remodeled – one task quickly prompts another one you didn’t see coming), I have made a point to keep track of the wines I’ve been enjoying whilst dining on our beautifully executed new flooring – golf claps to my winemaker. There have been one or two disappointing ones as well (wines, not winemakers) but I won’t mention those because I try to only share lovely things that don’t make me sob over money calories wasted on bad wine. And to be fair, not all wines taste delicious paired with fresh paint and air compressor dust clouds.

A Wino’s Wine List: Part 2

(For Part 1, check out this post.)

  • Weingut-Heinz Riesling Hochgewachs
From the Rheinhessen region
From the Rheinhessen region

My niece got to spend the first month of her summer in Germany and upon her arrival back home she greeted us with some wine from her travels. I was very excited to try it but also a touch skeptical about German Riesling, only because I had anticipated it’d be syrupy-sweet. I should know better than to judge, especially since we make an off-dry Riesling ourselves. And the Germans do know Riesling. This one was light, dry (not super sweet) and sparkling-like. It went well with fireworks on the 4th of July during 100 + temps. And then the following week it went perfectly with a dinner-time picnic in our front yard (which consisted of store-bought sushi) while our house was in the initial phase of Let’s-Tear-Stuff-Down-And-Not-Get-Tetanus-While-Doing-It.

  • Charles Smith Boom Boom Syrah
boomboomsyrah
Photo Credit: johan-p.blogspot.com

This one’s actually not new to us. This is the second bottle of wine my winemaker and I bought at a restaurant back when we were dating (if you’re curious about the first bottle we had together you should ask him, he likes that story). We enjoyed it then and we buy it often as our go-to “cheapie” Syrah. Not that it’s Trader Joe’s cheap, but the price point is accessible for sure. This time we drank it with grilled-everything and paint in our ears.

  • Rodney Strong Sauvignon Blanc
Photo Credit: kitchendoesnttravel.com
Photo Credit: kitchendoesnttravel.com

You may know by now that we’re not huge white wine drinkers, but we do enjoy them now and again. It was HOT the week we brought this out. Honestly I could have poured the entirety of the cold bottle over my head and called it a day. Again, completely doable price point and goes well with homemade fish tacos while day dreaming about walking into Home Depot and actually getting some friggin’ help next time.

  • 2013 Fortuna Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
Photo Credit: Cellartracker.com
Photo Credit: Cellartracker.com

You know me and my subscription services. I even subscribe to one that sends wine picked out according to my taste profile. “Yah Crystal, that’s called a wine club.” And you’re right, except it’s more than that. Tasting Room is an online service that will send you an initial tasting kit where you’ll rate each wine you receive (it’s super cute – little mini bottles that really should go in my purse for emergencies) and from there you’ll be sent 6 or 12 bottles (your choice) every 3 months (or every other month if you chose) of wines the folks running the wheel think you’ll love. I was admittedly a cynic but was very happy with my commitment when we opened this first bottle of red. And the kicker: Each wine averages about $12/bottle before shipping. Want a free tasting kit to try it out? Tell ’em I sent you by using this referral link.

And if you’re curious, here are a few pull quotes from my red wine taste profile:

You like wines with substance and depth. Wines worth contemplating. (Odds are, you prefer PBS to TLC.) Whatever the grape, you enjoy a red wine you can chew, regardless of fruitiness, earthiness or body.

You like …

… wines that are red, first and foremost. From there, they need to show a range of flavors, offering depth and complexity, rather than display a single characteristic. The more nuanced, the better.

How to order wine …

I like big, fruit-driven Cabernet and Malbec, but also lighter, earthy Côtes du Rhône reds. Light, fruity Pinots aren’t my thing.

Where you’ll find great value
for the money …

Malbec from Argentina should be your stand-by value wine. When you want to make a French connection, head to the Côtes du Rhône.

Photo Credit: Cellartracker.com
Photo Credit: Cellartracker.com

Here’s another Tasting Room find. This is actually the first wine we drank on our new floor, so it makes sense that this wine tasted just right, as its description on my account profile reads: “Elegantly structured and beautifully balanced.” The wine is, too. I hope you don’t just come here for the jokes…

  • Russell Creek Syrah

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We actually ordered a case of this off the Russell Creek website a while back based on our friends’ recommendation (and the winery was having a big wine sale, which I’m a sucker for). It didn’t disappoint with it’s lovely oakey-ness (which I’m also a sucker for). The even better news: We’re headed to Walla Walla wine country in October and looking forward to hitting this place up in person with our friends. You know, because it’s “research.” Pretty sure we paired this with a juicy helping of “It’s Friday!”

If you have any wines you’ve been loving this summer, do tell!

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.)

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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: Fix.com
Photo Credit: Fix.com

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
Source: Fix.com

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
Source: Fix.com

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
Source: Fix.com

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!

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You can view the article at its original source here.

Savor Idaho: Recap

Aspiring and professional winos, entry-level and expert foodies: If you weren’t at Savor Idaho last Sunday you missed out! Although, tickets sold out early once again so even if you wanted to be there maybe you couldn’t, which means your lack of attendance may not have been extreme poor judgment on your part. Let’s go with that. Because I do like you and want to continue to believe you’re a good decision maker.

Potter Wines returned for our second year as Savor Idaho vendors. Before that, my winemaker and I had attended as consumers for numerous years and from that perspective we knew someday when we opened up shop we wanted to be a part of this event. So, armed with Riesling, our “hot” wines, the Jalapeno Wine Lemonade and our Booth Babe, Tony – we took to the gorgeous Idaho Botanical Garden for another top-notch event.

Photo courtesy of Idahobotanicalgarden.org
Photo courtesy of Idahobotanicalgarden.org

If you’re unfamiliar with this occurrence, Savor Idaho is a wine and food event which highlights a noteworthy selection of Idaho wineries and restaurants. You purchase your ticket (well ahead of time, in case you skimmed over the above and didn’t catch that important piece) and once inside you are greeted with a commemorative wine glass and a handy food tray. These two things are imperative to your experience at this event and will be attached to you at all times. If you can’t handle that part I’m afraid you do not qualify as a potential attendee. Please spend this next year practicing at home and try again in 2016.

You will be exposed to all the wine you can drink and a vast array of food from chefs who know what they’re doing. Each winery is typically paired alongside a restaurant or caterer, which makes a lot of sense both for consumers and vendors: With all that wine to drink people need access to good food or else things get sloppy (no rookies, please). And it makes for some great networking on our side of things, too.

This year the format was a bit different than last and the Idaho Grape Growers and Wine Producers Commission did a fantastic thing in teaming up with the Boise Co-Op Wine Shop to sell select wines by the glass (or Jalapeno Wine Lemonade). The fun and hip Bodovino was also there this year to pour samples of rare and “experimental” wines which we wineries weren’t already serving in our own booths. So naturally, this was a perfect fit for our Pineapple Jalapeno Wine.

Pineapple051215

We set up our booth quickly. Thanks to showcasing our products at two farmers’ markets every Saturday, we’ve become quite efficient at this. Here are a few photos of the calm before the wine-loving storm. Setup1Setup2.jpgSetup3.jpgVendor booths take up a good portion of the grounds at the garden, so while you sip on Idaho wine and sample Idaho fare you also get to wander around one of Idaho’s most impressive attractions.

The first hour of Savor Idaho is reserved for V.I.P and trade (media/buyers/growers/etc.). So before that kicked off we walked around to visit some of our favorites. These include, but are not limited to, Mouvance, Telaya, Hat Ranch, Williamson Vineyards, Fujishin, Cinder, and Coiled.

After chatting for a while with everyone I realized I was really slacking on my photography duties. So I snapped a few photos before we returned to our post.

Calm1.jpg

The Boise Co-Op Wine Shop set up in the Cottage to sell bottles (and pouches!) of wine as well as select wines by-the-glass.
The Boise Co-Op Wine Shop set up in the Cottage to sell bottles (and pouches!) of wine as well as select wines by-the-glass.

Once back at our booth, we spoke with many individuals from the media/trade and as we approached 2 pm, when the public was due to enter, we glanced over and watched this line grow by about 20 people a minute.

WaitingLine.jpg

Let the games begin!

From 2 to 6 pm we poured for, laughed, and spoke with some returning but mostly new faces. Many had heard of us before although most were new to the Jalapeno Wine Lemonade since we just released it earlier this spring.

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We were also paired up with possibly the most fitting restaurant/caterer there, Kanak Attack. They were sampling their seriously delectable pork street tacos, which went un-shockingly well with our wines and lemonade. Happy people = happy vendors!

KanakAttack2.jpg

Pretty sure I went home smelling like street tacos, sunscreen and lemonade. Perfection on a Summer Sunday!
Pretty sure I went home smelling like street tacos, sunscreen and lemonade. Perfection on a Summer Sunday!

Rumor was the Wine Shop sold out of all our products, which we confirmed later was true. No complaints there.

We want to give a big shout-out to Moya and her team at the Idaho Wine Commission for putting on another terrific event! Sometimes it takes a village to bring the right people together and Moya’s village is the kind you could confidently leave your first-born with and they would return your baby to you with an enviable work-ethic, above-standard expectations and impressive hygiene. Pretty sure that’s who I want running this show.

See you next year!

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The Breakfast Grub

I don’t know about you but when things get chaotic I turn to food. Not so much the eating of it, but definitely the making of it. I think we all have certain rituals that comfort us and mine seems to be concocting recipes. Specifically breakfast recipes.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. You thought my comfort ritual was drinking wine. Well, that too.

While I’m not the world’s most enthusiastic morning person, I’ve learned to embrace the earliness and enjoy it for all that it stands for – a new day, a new start, no phone calls, no talking, hot coffee, and the calm before the “MomMomMomMomMom!” storm. So it’s only fitting that my favorite meal of the day be breakfast, since I truly believe that first nosh sets us all up for how our bodies run themselves the rest of the day. Yet even I get bored with breakfast, which is basically what happened here. Nutritional boredom + chaos of life = new recipes. It’s what I do!

The first recipe was inspired by busy mornings. The ones where we find ourselves rushing out the door 10 minutes late again and realizing we haven’t eaten yet. If you have all these ingredients ready you can throw this green smoothie together in a snap, pour it into a sealable drink container and blow that lemonade stand. (Ha, get it? We make jalapeno wine lemonade? Alright, nevermind.)

The second recipe was inspired by the farmers’ market we’re at every Saturday. Gathering up our produce and various other items from the farmers themselves every week makes me even more stoked about food. However you don’t need a farmers’ market to pull this one off. It’s about as easy as licking the wine drops off the bottle. But that’s still wayyyy more fun. Still, you’re gonna enjoy this one.

Here’s what we’re dealing with:

Blueberry Banana Coconut Green Smoothie

Smoothie1.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 banana (I prefer them frozen, as pictured above. You can freeze the entire banana with the peel on, nuke it for 15 seconds and then pull the peel off, or you can peel the banana and freeze it in slices.)
  • 1 cup your choice of milk
  • Handful of spinach OR some basil, either fresh or frozen in cubes (I found mine at Trader Joe’s). If using fresh basil, all you need is a few leaves.
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder OR 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt + 1 Tbsp honey (While it is convenient, I don’t use protein powder regularly so a container lasts me up to 6 months. I often use Greek yogurt if I have a little more time to spare.)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Throw everything, except the coconut oil and honey if using, in a blender. 15 seconds into blending, add the coconut oil and/or honey and immediately blend for 30 more seconds. This keeps the coconut oil and/or honey from hardening back up with the ice cubes.

GOOD morning!
GOOD morning!

 

Spinach and Mushroom Scramble

(Makes about 2 servings)

Fresh from The Mushroom Ranch at The Boise Farmers' Market
Fresh from The Mushroom Ranch at The Boise Farmers’ Market

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs or 6 egg whites, or any combination you prefer (I used 3 duck eggs, which are much larger than chicken eggs.)
  • Big handful (about 1 1/2 cups) fresh spinach
  • Your favorite mushrooms, about 3-5, sliced
  • Green onion, 1 or 2, chopped (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp milk or water
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite shredded cheese, or crumbled goat cheese (I’ve used both shredded mozzarella and fresh goat cheese in this recipe and I don’t have a favorite – they are both delicious.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp butter or cooking spray

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, saute the spinach and mushrooms together in either butter or cooking spray. Stir occasionally for 4 to 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs (or whites or combo of the two) and milk or water with a small amount of salt and pepper. Stir in the green onion.

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Once the spinach is wilted and the mushrooms are lightly browned, pour the egg mixture into the pan.

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Let the eggs do their thing for about 20 seconds, then begin scrambling once the edges start to set.

This was the last photo I had time to take before the scrambling. Over-cooked eggs ruin mornings, therefore no camera was involved in that process.
This was the last photo I had time to take before the scrambling. Over-cooked eggs ruin mornings, therefore no camera was involved in that process.

Using a spatula, push cooked portions of egg toward the middle of the pan, allowing the uncooked egg to flow out to the hot surface. When the eggs are almost completely set, sprinkle cheese over the top. Cover the pan and turn off the heat.

When cheese is melted, you eat!

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My job is done here, the rest of your day is up to you and your best judgment. Godspeed!

 

 

 

 

 

Jalapeno Wine Lemonade Release

I’ve been waiting a couple weeks to write this post because while we unofficially released our Jalapeno Wine Lemonade Party Pouches at the farmers’ markets a couple weeks ago, we couldn’t call it official until our labels came in. You were first introduced to Lyle in this post where I shared the makings of the label with you and asked you to weigh in on his name. Well, here we are friends. Lyle is live!

The banner you'll find at our booths at both markets. How can you not stop and look at this guy?
The banner you’ll find at our booths at both markets. How can you not stop and look at this guy?

Last Saturday was Lyle’s debut and let me tell you a little something about this learning curve thing – it’s a $#@!

We weren’t completely sure what the turn-out would be at the markets because of the long weekend. Do most people leave town? Or do they go downtown? You’d think we’d remember from our experience at The Boise Farmer’s Market last year but in all honesty…we barely remember last harvest (and the only reason we do is because when you practically get water-boarded with grape juice you never forget it).

So my winemaker and our favorite Booth Babe Tony (it’s a term of endearment at this point) prepped the lemonade the day before, as usual. Rest assured this is a weekly thing and the party pouches are indeed fresh when you buy them at the farmers’ markets and will last quite a while in the refrigerator or freezer. Although…WHY? No one puts Lyle in a box.

On Saturday morning we arrived at the markets fully equipped, or so we thought. Turns out the stormy day we were all promised was actually gorgeous and people were all about loving on some farmers’ markets. Lyle was flying off the tables.

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Jalapeno Wine Lemonade

"Is there really WINE in that lemonade?"
“Is there really WINE in that lemonade?”

We sold out of the party pouches by noon at both markets, but we still had samples to give out.

"You put the wine in the lemonade and drink it all up. Doctor!" You're welcome for putting that version of the song in your head all day.
“You put the wine in the lemonade and drink it all up… I said Doctor..!” You’re welcome for putting that version of the song in your head all day.

So although we ran out of the pouches (don’t worry, we’ll make more, it’s what we do) we were still able to give people a taste. Which meant we ended up telling them how to make their own. Which meant our bottles of Jalapeno Wine started to fly, too. Which takes us back to that learning curve thing. Our takeaway: When life gives you Jalapeno Wine Lemonade, you make more Jalapeno Wine Lemonade. It’s the Law of Alcohol and Demand.

And in case you are available and looking, here’s Lyle’s personal ad:

LemonadeLabelBack

For an updated list of market dates and upcoming events, check out our Potter Wines Calendar of Events. To purchase the party pouches you can contact us directly, visit one of the Boise farmers’ markets, or stay tuned for the ability to purchase it on our website, www.jalapenowine.com, very soon!

Can't we all just get along? Where wine, fitness, and child rearing come together.

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