Wednesday, July 31, 2013

All You Need to Know: White Wine

The other week my friend asked if Joe and I would be interested in going to a 2 night wine tasting event that she found on Groupon. Of course, I said YES! Whites were on night one, Reds were on night two. Monday I was so excited to learn all about my favorite booze, white wine, and taste some good ones too. I was so disappointed when I was told no tasting would be happening. Apparently it's illegal in the small town of Middleton, WI to serve wine not at a bar. LAME!
 
We made the best of it though and absorbed some really interesting information. Here are the key highlights from night one, WHITE!
 
Lightest Grape to Heaviest Grape
Riesling --- Chenin Blanc -- Sauvignon Blanc -- Chardonnay
 
  • When the grape is light, it's also light in flavor and not harsh on the pallet. 
  • White wines never get better than the day they are bottled.
  • If the label says "Sauvignon Blanc," then 75% of the bottle is that grape. The other 25% is allowed to be any mixture of other grapes!
  • Fastest growing white wine region in America? IDAHO!
  • Perfect white wine serving temperature: 44-54 degrees. To get to this perfect temperature, pull white out 20 minutes pre-service.
  • Truly ORGANIC wine cannot be sold more than 15 miles from the vineyard. 
  • Organic GRAPES can make wine and then be sold on the market wherever.
Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc is my current favorite wine!

Now, my favorite..CHAMPAGNE! In 1520 the Monks created Sparkling Wine. Even though they created Champagne, when France trademarked the name Champagne, they were banned from using it. Fair? No. But I'm so thankful that they created it :) Bottles are stored at a 75 degree angle and 1 person turns the bottle of sparkling wine a 1/4 turn everyday! That's dedication.
 
The big daddy.
 
Perfect Pairings!
  • Riesling - Spicy food, Asian food, ham, bleu cheese
  • Chenin Blanc - Chinese food, white fish with lemon, seafood, mozzarella
  • Sauvignon Blanc - shrimp/oysters/scallops, turkey (think Thanksgiving!), garlic dishes, vegan dishes, goat cheese
  • Chardonnay - grilled anything, butter sauces, soft cheese like brie
  • Champagne - Asparagus, sushi, lobster, POPCORN!
 
You better believe I'm hosting a Popcorn Champagne Party soon. Or I'll just make Joe watch a movie with me and sip on some bubbly :)
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

First Published Article!

GUYS I'm SO excited about the following announcement! ... I got an article published!
 

Have an iPad or iPhone and looking for the latest in women’s health? Check out the July issue of the "Women’s Health and Wellness" Magazine for free! Many articles were contributed by talented, health-focused bloggers and my article was one that was published in this month’s issue! For your free trial download the magazine here: (use link) then click on SUBSCRIBE and then CURRENT SUBSCRIBERS. Enter in promo code: freebie1 to get the current issue for free; and do it soon because the coupon is only valid until August 12, 2013. Enjoy!
 
Link:
 
 
Yup, that's me, a published writer. At least that's what I'm calling it :) Check it out and let me know what you think!!
 
Tomorrow I will be posting all about white wine! Yesterday and today Joe and I attended a wine class and learned so much. I'm going to help you figure out how to pair things correctly and how to really 'taste' your wine. Stay tuned :)
 
Have a great night!
 
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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Big10K Recap!

This weekend Joe and I traveled down to Chicago to run the Big10K! It was hosted by the Big 10 Network and was kind of the "kick off" celebration for all things sports this coming year. Joe and I were supporting our beloved alma mater, Penn State. We were definitely outnumbered though. Illinois and Michigan State seemed to have the most fans there. Next year we definitely have to convince our friends to come out and enjoy it. The course was beautiful (and flat!) and the weather was perfect (60ish degrees!).

I was really worried about running it. I stopped running outside a few weeks ago because it just got too hot. I couldn't get up early enough to fit in more than 2.5 miles, soI just stopped trying. I also really got into the Focus T25 workout and wanted to give that my all instead of splitting time with running. I was convinced I was going to die on the side of Michigan Ave. Luckily I didn't! What I didn't realize was that although T25 is only a 25 minute workout per day, it really stresses High Intensity Interval Training. AKA, even though I haven't been running, my cardio stamina was pretty amazing. The only pain I experienced during the race was hip flexor related. But I've had bad hip flexors for years now. Race day was a great experience and I crossed the finish line in 1:03!!! So proud of that time because I didn't as much earn it, as I did steal it :)

Here are some pictures :)

Took the back roads down to Chicago, entering the storm!

Prepped and Ready!

Starting.

Joe did so good! Finished in 0:59!

We met through PSU Dance Marathon, so we threw our diamonds up!
Well deserved pizza :)

First deep dish experience...and it was a good one!
Have you ever ran a 10K? Have you ever had AMAZING Chicago deep dish?
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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Stuffed Sweet Potato Recipe

Yesterday I was craving a sweet potato for dinner. But I didn't feel like cooking up a piece of chicken or pairing it with a salad to fill me up. So I decided to give my hand at stuffing my own sweet potato. I mean, it's an all-in-one-bite-meal which are my favorite, so it couldn't go wrong. Here's the recipe I came up with, and man it's good!! In order to cut down on prep time, I purchased 4 microwave ready sweet potatoes from the grocery store.
Apple Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


Ingredients:

  • 4, microwave ready Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped Pecans
  • 2 small (or medium) Braeburn Apples
  • 1/8 cup Honey
  • 2 packets Stevia
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup Plain Non-fat Greek Yogurt

Directions:

  • Cook all 4 sweet potatoes in microwave according to directions on label. (or, if you're fancy, you can cook them in the oven at 425 for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until tender).
  • Heat chopped Pecans in a skillet over medium heat, making sure to stir them often so they don't burn. Cook for 6-8 minutes.
  • Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop pulp into a large bowl being sure to leave the "shell" or skin as intact as possible. 
  • Add apple, pecans, honey, stevia, cinnamon, nutmeg and Greek yogurt to bowl and combine with spatula. 
  • Once ingredients are well combined, spoon the mixture back into the shells. 
  • Place on baking sheet and bake on 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

These turned out so incredible! Joe-Joe was not a fan, but he doesn't like sweet potatoes to begin with so he's biased. Because I made 4, I have leftovers for lunch today and tomorrow! Win!

Let me know if you give it a try!
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

On Self-Doubt

Last night I was watching my all time favorite reality show, Extreme Weight Loss, and I got to thinking....what am I worth? The woman on the show last night had really low self-esteem and felt that she didn't deserve any of the good things that happened to her. Every time she would hit a goal, the excitement would quickly wear off and she would revert back to her unhealthy habits. But what did those unhealthy habits create? More feelings of self-doubt and sadness. So how do you break the cycle?

I can't say that I've ever suffered from low self-esteem. My mom and dad instilled in me the confidence I carry today. I am independent because my mom taught me how to be; I am confident because my dad told me every day how awesome I was. And I'm lucky for that upbringing. Many people don't experience that and I'm thankful everyday for where they helped me get to.

But that doesn't mean I don't suffer from self-doubt. I am a negative motivator and have been my whole life. I'm the person that says 'I won't get that job', because if I really don't, then I'm not as hurt. I'm the person who pretends they're confident with how they look, but in reality hates the way all my clothes fit. I'm the person with big dreams, but who stifles them so I never end up disappointed.

If you've never felt those feelings before, then good for you--but I don't believe you for one second. Everyone doubts themselves at one time or another, but I'm starting to think its what you do right after that doubt that counts. Does your doubt stop you from chasing what you want? Does it scare you into playing it safe? I'm done letting it creep into my mind. I'm going to work hard everyday to chase my dreams. Self-doubt is done from holding me back ever again. Because as L'Oreal says, "you're worth it." ;)

And with that said, I have a job interview today. Time to get after it!
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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Week 1 Update

In case you didn't see on my Instagram or Twitter, I started the Focus T25 Challenge this week!! Focus T25 is the latest creation by fitness expert Shaun T --the same guy who created Insanity. It's all about fast-paced routines packed with dynamic, hi-intensity moves designed for maximum effectiveness. This is perfect for me because the excuse that I come up with to not workout is time. Either in the morning before work I say that I'm too tired, or after work I have to grocery shop, cook and update the blog and nap haha. The entire week with T25 I couldn't come up with one good excuse NOT to push play. Here's what my week looked like!
  • Monday - Traveled home from PA, pushed play at 9pm because "it's only 25 minutes, I can do this."
  • Tuesday - Worked, grocery shopped, cooked, watched Extreme Weight Loss and pushed play at 9pm.
  • Wednesday - Woke up before work at 530am, pushed play for 25 minutes, made it to work by 730!
  • Thursday - 530am wake up for 25 minutes.
  • Friday - Worked, came home and did my double day from 4pm-5pm!

Each day that I tried to make up an excuse, the fact that its only 25 minutes pushed me through. And holy moly was I sore on days 3 and 5. Shaun works your abs in every single video, along with your hip flexors. Which are both good because I'm running the Big10K this weekend and I need those 2 things to be strong!

The other cool thing? I dropped 2.5 pounds :) No measurements because I forgot to on STATurday. But I'll definitely give some updates next week!

Don't forget, if you're interested in free coaching or motivation click below and you can sign up to be on my team! Or, if you want more information you can always email me at carpethesangria@gmail.com


Have a great week!!
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Zoo and Kittens

This past weekend was a whirlwind! Packed with Joe-Joe’s family fun, and seriously, that's not even sarcastic! Let me catch you up on what we did J

Thursday night we flew from Madison to Pittsburgh where we got side-tracked in Detroit for way too long. Because my dad is a pilot, I’m super understanding of delays, but it was still annoying. At least I wasn’t that guy yelling at the Delta Agent at the counter. How embarrassing. Anyway, we made it into Pittsburgh right around midnight and immediately fell asleep (after eating some Cheez-Its) when we got back to his mom’s house.
Friday was awesome. I had the one meal I was DYING to eat while in Pennsylvania, a Steak Salad TOPPED with French Fries. They don’t do that out here in Dairyland, so I welcomed the indulgence. After that, we headed to the petting zoo!!! Now, I know what you’re thinking… “Isn’t she like in her mid-twenties? She doesn’t even have kids, why is she so excited?” Actually, if you’re a girl you totally understand why I was excited. Petting zoo = cute animals = good (mostly clean) fun. I was able to feed a giraffe, baby goats, baby sheep, baby zebra and baby camel. Yes, you do notice a trend. I’m a sucker for the tinier version of any animal. All that excitement really tired us out, so we took a nap. Then rode some 4-wheelers like country folk do.
Here are some pictures of the zoo :)

Beautiful.

A little hesitant..

DA BABY!

Check out those feet!

ANOTHER BABY!

Terrified.

What my hair would look like without mousse.

This is what I feel like when I'm in my cube at work... haha

This has the weirdest tongue of all animals that I have fed.

Saturday was the most eventful day of the weekend. We rented some bikes at the state park and went on a 15 mile ride with some of Joe’s family. The scenery was beautiful until about mile 10 when we ran across a woman and her family in need of some serious help. She had run into a tree and flipped off her bike. Her wrist was completely fractured and going in 2 different directions (yuck, this is why I’m a dietitian and not a nurse), her chin had a large flap that was bleeding and most likely a concussion. We waited with them for the ambulance and I babysat their son in the car (because, well, it was a small child and I think all small children are cute. Most of the time they like me too which is just a bonus.) Fast forward an hour and we were back on the trail. Starvation had set in though so I was peddling my heart out just so that I could get some food in my stomach. Luckily, there was a graduation party that night and we filled my stomach with some really good picnic food. And beer.

View around Joe's House

KITTENS!!! Too bad they can't fly yet....
Sunday was the big day. It was my 5th family reunion of Joe’s that I was able to attend. So I know everyone really well. They like me too, probably because I give 100% during the annual whiffle ball game. His cousin's are getting to the age where they're having kids, so there were multiple nuggets running around. And yes, you guessed it, I played with them until they liked me the most. Overall it was a great day and great weekend with his family.
 
On Monday he flew to Philadelphia, PA for work and I came back to Madison. So I've been missing him this week... going to pick him up from the airport now though!
 
What are your plans for this weekend?

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The 5 People Most Annoying People You'll Meet at the Grocery Store

Yesterday afternoon I went grocery shopping after work. I should've known better since I was tired. But after the long weekend away I had no food! During my trip I ran into the 5 most annoying people you can meet at the store. Enjoy!


  • The Person Who Doesn't Bag Their Fruit: Do you know what was on that checkout belt before you put your apples down?
  • The Person Who Leaves Their Cart In The Middle of The Aisle: The worst. Excuse me while I glare. 
  • The Runner: BAM, right into your cart and scares the crap outta ya. 
  • The Extreme Couponer: Ain't nobody got time fo 'dat. 
  • The Check Writer: Could she BE any slower??

I only included 5 so that you all wouldn't think I was too much of a whiner. Please share your favorite annoying people that you run into at stores!

Luckily to combat all of this (which really isn't that big of a deal, so I shouldn't complain), Daily's Cocktails sent me my prize pack from Kait's giveaway!! I'm so excited to lay by the pool and sip some cocktails this Saturday!


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Friday, July 12, 2013

Probiotics



After talking about all the beneficial probiotics in my Shakeology to a few people, I got to thinking….who really knows that much about probiotics? Really, besides Jamie Lee Curtis or Erin Andrews advertising for the large conglomerate probiotic companies, do you think it’s something that’s worthwhile for you?

Personally, probiotics and digestive enzymes have been part of my daily routine for the past year. Through my cousin who fell in love with a supplement and how much it helped her irritable bowel syndrome, I decided that I should give it a shot. Truth be told, I didn’t know much about it either. But it worked for her so it had to work for me! And boy did it help.  I had just moved in with Joe-Joe and was, um, shy about using the restroom and had the age old problem happen. You can’t go when you’re not at your home. My probiotics and digestive enzymes were the only thing that calmed down all that  intestinal turmoil and got me  back into my routine. Sorry, super personal. Haha. But here’s the facts:
-          Probiotics are a bacteria. They help maintain the NATURAL balance of good bacteria in your digestive system (stomach all the way to the end).
-          The largest probiotic group is called lactic acid bacteria and it is found in the intestines. This is where the most well-known probiotic comes from—Lactobacillus acidophilus. Lactobacillus acidophilus is found in products like yogurt.
-          Probiotics are mostly used to treat diarrhea after taking antibiotics for an extended period of time. (Antibiotics kill the bacteria in your intestine as a side effect to what illness it is actually trying to kill).
-          More research is needed, but probiotics may help:
o   Treat IBS
o   Reduce bladder cancer recurrence
o   Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
o   Prevent and treat eczema in children
o   Prevent or reduce the severity of colds or the flu.

Are they safe?
-          Side effects are rare
-          Beware, probiotics are treated as a FOOD and not a DRUG. Therefore, the statements that manufacturers make on the labels are not monitored by the FDA for testing and approval.
-          Be aware that the specific strands of probiotics are noted on the packaging. There is no way to identify the safety of unidentified mixtures of probiotics.

Bottom Line:
-          More research is needed and the clinical effectiveness of probiotics to treat diseases is not proven.
-          MY OPINION FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: If you are at all suffering from digestive issues, talk to your doctor and give probiotics a shot.
Have more questions? Feel free to ask!
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Coconut Curry Chicken

After a weekend of less-than-clean eating, I decided it was time to hit the grocery store yesterday. So, I did what most people do and looked for recipes all throughout my lunch break. I decided on Masala Mushrooms, Artichoke and Spinach Stuffed Chicken, and Coconut Curry Chicken. Today, I'm going to share the recipe for Coconut Curry Chicken. Sorry to my mom, who is a self-proclaimed curry hater. I don't know how or why because I'm obsessed! I guess I'm just more adventurous :)
I originally adapted it from a recipe on AllRecipes.com. Here's my lighter version!

Coconut Curry Chicken
(About 6 servings)
 
 

Ingredients:
  • 1.5 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cubed into 1 inch pieces
  • 1.5 TBSP vegetable oil
  • 2 TBSP curry powder
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (13oz) can LITE coconut milk
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can no salt added, stewed and diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 oz) can no salt added, tomato sauce
  • 4 TBSP corn starch
  • 2 TBSP warm water

Directions:
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add curry powder and let heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add garlic and onions and stir so that they are coated with curry/oil mixture. Cook for additional 3 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add cubed chicken chunks. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  • Pour coconut milk, stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce into pan. Let simmer 30 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine corn starch with warm water (not hot, just luke warm) until combined. Slowly add this to large skillet so that the sauce will thicken.
  • Continue stirring until sauce has thickened, then remove from heat.


Serving suggestion: Serve over 1/2 cup cooked Brown Rice! OH SO YUM!!! And, a lot less calories, fat and sodium than you'll find at any restaurant in town.
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Sunday, July 7, 2013

WEEKEND RECOVERY STARTS NOW!

I know, 2 posts in one day, only hours apart? Lucky you!

Well, after all that partying, dancing, relaxing and overall merriment, I need to recover. I got way too far off of my usual meals and I definitely feel it in my energy level. Here are my three steps to recovery tonight, and my promise of what I'll do tomorrow morning!

Step 1: Focus T25 Alpha Cardio, 25 minutes of hard work.
Step 2: Shower and get into comfy pants.
Step 3: Recovery Shakeology Smoothie. My favorite blend so far is:
  • 1 banana, frozen, sliced
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology
Tomorrow morning I'm vowing to run 3 miles before work. And I'm counting on you all to make me do it!

What's your favorite way to recover?

Still interested in the T25 Challenge Group? Check it out here...


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Weekend Catchup!

Before I go on about what a good time I had this weekend, I want to remind everyone to count your blessings. A friend lost his younger sister this weekend, and my heart is aching for him and his family. Its a friend that I haven't hung out with for a few years, but my prayers and thoughts will be with him and his family during this difficult time. That's a loss that I cannot imagine. I immediately texted my brother and told him that I love him. Growing up my brother and I didn't always get along, and even now we're pretty opposite in areas like organization and clean closets (AKA I'm a mess, he's a clean freak!). But still, our lives were both shaped by the same people and we have a bond that nobody else can ever understand. From the time he hit me with a baseball bat, to the time he hugged me through my mom's cancer diagnosis I don't know what I would do without him. Losing him is something that I cannot imagine, and I'm so lucky to have him. I hope you might text your sibling today and remind them how much you love them.

Moving on, Wednesday night we went to the Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Thompson Square concert at Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI.  Silly us took the last shuttle into the city and MISSED the Florida Georgia Line set! I was so disappointed! Thompson Square was less than entertaining. They played only a few of their own songs and ended up singing covers of artists like Tom Petty and Rihanna. Two music artists that I don't really think belong together. But maybe that's because I'm a Tom Petty snob, haha. Luke Bryan, however, was as hot as could be. He has a great voice and played an amazing set!




You can see Luke Bryan, right? HAHA. Bad seats, good music.

This is in my friend's backyard. Cows and life size chess. #Wisconsin
Fourth of July Joe-Joe and I just relaxed, laid by the pool and took naps :) For dinner we rode our bikes to a local restaurant. I will never get tired of being able to ride my bike to get food! That does not happen where I'm from in PA!

Friday was wedding day for one of my best friends at work!! It was a beautiful ceremony in a hall by the lake, followed by amazing food, good toasts and even  better dancing. She really knew how to throw a good party!
Not a fan of red, so the waiter gave me 2 whites. Haha.




Beautiful view!!
The rest of the weekend Joe and I spent time by the pool. Last night I even indulged him and went to watch the UFC Fight at the bar. I don't understand why men like to watch other men beat each other up, but then again, he probably doesn't understand why I like to watch The Bachelorette. Fair is fair.

Did you guys do anything fun??
Have a great start to the week!
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