Tag Archives: greek yogurt

It’s OK…To Act Like A Healthy Living Blogger!

Awhile back I wrote a post about healthy living blogger stereotypes “It’s OK!” to break. You guys gave me tons of great feedback – in fact, my girl Kelly even wrote her own take on it today! But there’s also lots of healthy living blogger stereotypes that I will be the first to admit I help perpetuate. After all, stereotypes exist because there are enough people out there to bring them about in the first place! So here are the ones I’m partially “responsible” for keeping alive…

I’m obsessed with brussels sprouts. You knew baby cabbages would get the first mention, right? Lay ’em on me. I could sit down with a bowl of roasted brussels and just eat them all day. My digestive system would hate me but my taste buds would looooove me.

Raw to roasted!

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Chobani and Physique 57 in NYC – Again!

During my August NYC trip for BlogHer ’12, I had two very important “firsts” – my first Physique 57 class (followed by a second a day later, holy addiction) and my first trip to then-new Chobani SoHo. I knew I wanted to experience both again during my NYC day-trip last week to tour the Elvis Duran Show, but would I be able to fit both in one afternoon? OBVIOUSLY.

Chobani SoHo

Kaitlin was super-excited for her first Chobani SoHo trip since she is a fellow Chobani fanatic! We arrived at the store after doing some fabulous shopping near the Elvis Duran studios (everything was grouped nice and close together) and found a sweet employee posted-up outside handing out samples of the PB&J creation (creamy PB, Concord grape jelly, sliced red grapes, peanuts, plain Cho).

Clearly everyone loved the samples - just one left!

Clearly everyone loved the samples – just one left!


No we did not plan our matching jackets and bags.

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Chobani Chow Time!

I’m back from the 2012 Healthy Living Summit in Boston! And so concludes my four weekends in a row away from home (though I’m going back to Boston this weekend on a day trip…I can’t seem to sit still). I will be posting about HLS itself soon, but firstly I wanted to recap my favorite part of the weekend: a tasting dinner I was invited to by my favorite Greek yogurt producer, Chobani! It was heartwarming to hear all my blends at HLS saying how excited they were to see me attend the dinner, and read about it afterwards, because they knew and event like this was just so ME. We may have just met in person, but my blends know Cait Plus Ate!

The dinner was held at EVOO, a classy and creative American restaurant in the same Cambridge neighborhood as our hotel. My invite promised a custom dinner complete with Chobani incorporated somehow into each course, made by their Chef Peter McCarthy.

Other bloggers, members of the Chobani community team, and I dined in a private room set up with two tables like the one above. I was pretty hungry upon my arrival, but luckily some of my favorite apps were already out for noshing.

Crusty bread and wonderful CHEESES.

Candied nuts and pickled veggies, including the good old standby, PICKLES.

I ordered a glass of red wine to pair with my cheeses of COURSE, and one of my seatmates, the beautiful Brittany (I’ll forgive her for being a Gator), got a glass of a tasty Muscat (you can read her recap of the event here...her pics put mine to shame!)

I adore her new short haircut! She’s from the same town my grandma lives in and I travel there each December, so we’re hanging out this year for sure.

My first app plate, and I noshed on more cheese and bread between courses! Red wine brings out my cheese cravings!

I was seated at a table with some pretty awesome ladies, including Rachel Wilkerson, who I  have always wanted to meet! I love her snappy style of writing and she is the definition of #sorrynotsorry to me (it’s even on her header). I was also happy to have more time to talk to Lauren, whose blog I’ve been reading for a couple years now, since I’d only briefly met her the day before.

Lauren and I – I have the pencil skirt version of her H&M dress!

Theodora made frequent visits to our table, and Ashley was kind enough to share her seat!

My other seatmate, Meghann, was kind enough to let me try a sip of her Jalepeno Margarita. Mmm! I hope she doesn’t hate me after using this photo!

Ashley, Courtney, and Lauren!

I had been a bit worried that Chobani with every course would be TOO much Greek yogurt for one meal, but the printed menus placed at each setting were immediately reassuring to me. I could see that the only thing I might get too much of during this meal would be delicious, local cuisine!

We were welcomed to the dinner by members of the Chobani community team, and were shown the cute “icebreaker cards” placed on the tables – not that we chatty bloggers needed them!

I still enjoyed checking out the questions Chobani had come up with. If you could be any flavor of Chobani, what would it be?

Meghann ponders the answer to this pressing question…

I had to restrain myself from filling up on bread and cheese, but it was worth it once I saw the first course – heirloom tomatoes, yogurt gelee, spearmint, basil, EVOO, and coarse salt.

The yogurt gelee was so beyond interesting! It reminded me of the Greek yogurt version of Jello – a really fun texture. The olive oil was so perfect with the tomatoes and basil. OMG, that basil! So freaking delicious – fresh from Eva’s Garden in South Dartmouth, MA. And the tomatoes were grown in CT – represent! I appreciate the effort put into listing out the source of each ingredient on the menu. Also enjoyed having some veg power incorporated into the meal!

What a beautiful dish! The second course certainly boasted the best presentation of any of the others. Pictured above is the lobster-vanilla yogurt succotash. May sound strange, but the subtle touch of vanilla was simply perfect and tasted so very natural. Nothing like an artificially flavored vanilla dessert, but REAL vanilla from the bean. It paired perfectly with the sweet local corn from Kimball Farm in Westford, MA. They also provided the zuchinni, which was so fun to eat thanks to the fact that it was spiralized! I was inspired to have a little more fun with my lobster friend.

At least any lipstick I left on him wouldn’t show up (if I wore lipstick).

Oh yeah…the lobster! How have I not commented on it yet? Well the meat was fresh and plump. Captain Marden certainly knows how to catch a good sea crustacean.

Before this dinner, I told anyone who would listen that what I was REALLY hoping for was an entree that would incorporate some kind of Greek-style cucumber yogurt sauce, perhaps over some salmon. What I received was even better – the third course consisted of seared yogurt and spice sous vide lamb loin with crisp eggplant and raita.

By then I’d ordered a second glass of wine, a boozy (in a tasty way) 2009 Zinfandel by Edmeades in Mendocino County, CA.

Most assuredly my favorite course of the event. Though the lamb was not as medium rare as the wonderful version I had recently at Millwright’s, the middle was still a nice pinkish-red hue. The sauce was so very amazing and everything I’d hoped for, but I’m pretty sure I most enjoyed the fried eggplant, coated in a grease-less breading that didn’t overpower the veggie’s taste.

While waiting on dessert, we learned more from Chobani about the company’s appreciation for the networks of bloggers (pat on the back) that they’ve built since starting just five years ago. Can you believe that in that short period of time, they ended up getting as far as sponsorship of the OLYMPICS?! In fact, Chobani only started incorporating traditional marketing methods (commercials, magazine ads) into their advertising plan a year ago. It’s not often that you come across a business that utilizes new media marketing to that great of an extent for that long.

At this point I was pretty full (I wasn’t even able to finish the second or third courses…too much cheese! :-P) but I of course found room to polish off about half of the dessert, a nectarine-basil crisp with frozen berry yogurt (the chef used Chobani Strawberry). The crispy topping was sooo warm; I love trying desserts with contrasting temperature components because they only make the experience of eating them that much more of a tastebud party (cheeseball). The frozen yogurt melted into the crisp and the warm nectarines beneath it until I didn’t know which ingredient began where, but that didn’t really matter. What mattered was that I stopped when I was just the right amount of satisfied, proved to myself that I can still attend these kinds of events and stay in control, and ENJOYED myself.

So fantastic to meet and hang out with Heather. She is so fun and I could listen to her NOLA accent all the live long day.

I’m so glad Chef Peter McCarthy had a chance to come into the dining room so we all could thank him for a job well done and compliment his cooking skills! He said the restaurant already uses yogurt in some of its dishes, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to include it in each course, but that some concepts had still been new to him. I couldn’t tell at all!

We mixed and mingled for a bit longer, then caught cabs back to the hotel. After all, it was 10PM, AKA my bed time.

Jazz hands, Theodora! Jazz hands!

Thank you to Chobani for getting us together for this event, and thanks to Chef McCarthy and the rest of the EVOO staff for a fantastic meal!

What’s your fave way to eat Greek yogurt (if you do)?

Which dish would you have most liked to try?

Have you ever used Greek yogurt in a unique way? Tell me about it!

YogaWorks and Chobani SoHo

In case you missed it, check out my first recap of my BlogHer 2012 weekend in NYC, published yesterday – Physique 57 and girl time with some Fitfluential Ambassadors at Agave NYC!

Another workout-and-food pairing to share with you all today from this past weekend’s trip to NYC for the BlogHer conference! And really, what two things go together better than moving and eating? NYC resident and fellow Fitfluential Ambassador Meredith of Dare You To… (her blog has a great concept, check it out) tweeted me about meeting up while I was in town at literally the EXACT same moment I was going to tweet her about the same. Talk about being on the same blend wavelength! We made plans to spend Sunday morning together before I headed back home to CT.

Photo courtesy of Meredith, because I looked beyond awkward in my pic of us.

I proposed using the free class cards to YogaWorks that we’d received at #fitblognyc. They were recently expired, but the manager of the YogaWorks Westside studio, Laura Henry, was kind enough to let Meredith and I come in to use anyway! I selected Pilates Fusion 1 with instructor Lindsay Ashmun, partially because I enjoy pilates and partially because it was the earliest class offered on a Sunday morning (9am start time) and I am a grandma who likes being up early.

Of course Meredith and I showed up (I was late…I apparently think that 65th Street reads 56th Street) in the same Sweaty Bands headband from our Fitness Magazine Meet & Tweet swag. I wore my Reebok crops for the second day in a row #sorrynotsorry and was totally envious of Meredith’s ADORABLE Zella workout top. After seeing hers and the top Heather got at the Zella Day of Movement at Nordstrom, I think I need to head to my local Nordstrom Rack ASAP so I can get in on the Zella action.

It’s probably just me being a tourist, but I was super in-awe of the digital lockers in the locker room! I just set up a code, put my belongings inside, and used it again to get them out after our class. I felt like I was in some sort of Charlie’s Angels movie, entering a secret passcode to access whatever top-level secure item I might have been in search of. Yes I am a nerd.

I’ve never taken a pilates class that utilized equipment other than a mat, and was intrigued when we used the same blue bands we used in Physique 57, the above pictured foam rollers, a contraption I’m going to call a thigh ring, and a couple of yoga blocks.

Showing off the band and thigh ring…did I mention I’m a nerd?

The class itself was a bit disappointing. I felt bored during some of it because though I have not done a lot of pilates recently, I did do a great deal of it during my senior year at Uconn and I think my accumulated experience kept me from feeling challenged. That being said, there were a couple points during the class that definitely felt like tests of strength (especially the back work on the floor – swimmers NEVER get easier for me). The class may have been a bit too easy for me, but everyone is different. Lindsay’s class was a level one and I definitely think that she kept it there – an instructor who teaches a beginner’s class at a level above beginner is not thinking of her clients, who likely are showing up expecting a basic level workout. YogaWorks offered a level one Pilates Fusion class, and they delivered! Next time, I will make sure to select a class more fitting to my level.

I adore the company’s green and purple color scheme (the Barney lover in me?) and the lamps in this waiting area felt so calming and zen.

I did enjoy using the blue band – such a great way to switch up resistance training, and so easy to modify to fit each class participant’s level. I was not a fan of the foam roller at all though. I felt like it hindered my movements when we were using it during the ab and back work on the floor. Maybe I wasn’t using it correctly?! Since I am not a runner and do not have any injuries that tend to flare up on me (knock on wood), I’ve never found a need for the foam roller and am not experienced with it. I know that many bloggers out there are in love with them and would probably have appreciated using it in the class more than I did!

Despite the fact that I selected the wrong class to try, I have to say that the YogaWorks studio was gorgeous and the instructor, Lindsay, was incredibly skilled and taught an appropriate level of class to her clients. Thank you Laura and YogaWorks for hosting Meredith and I!

I made it! MECCA!!! 😛

Once I heard Chobani was opening a store in SoHo, I vowed to make a stop there while I was in town for BlogHer. Goal accomplished! Meredith and I took the subway downtown and decided to turn our visit into a sampling lunch of four Chobani signature creations. You guys know I’m all about sampler platters and trying as many different varieties of food/drink as possible at all times, so this was the perfect plan for our visit! And you know what made it even more perfect? Coupon Caitlin got to use coupons for both Meredith and I to get two free signature creations – thanks Chobani for handing them out at the Physique 57 event! I have more to use for next time I’m in town too!

Bloggers love Chobani!

I loved the Dark Chocolate + Pistachio creation I’d tried Friday at the WellAndGoodNYC Physique 57 event so much that I opted to get it again. Yup, that’s how you KNOW I love something – if I pass up something new to have it again! It’s pictured at top in the photo below, and the other three creations we tried, in a clockwise direction, are:

  • Fig + Walnut: dried Turkish figs, clover honey, walnuts
  • Plain + Cucumber: cucumber, sea salt, mint, EVOO, served with pita chips
  • Toasted Coconut + Pineapple: pineapple, toasted coconut, Turkish hazelnuts, light agave nectar

HOLY CRAP. They were all SO GOOD. This was an amazing lunch and the best part is that all of these combos can be re-created at home! The Fig + Walnut was just too fabulous, I loooove figs and Meredith has been “obsessed” with them (her words not mine) lately too. I informed her she needs to find a restaurant that serves figs on a pizza ASAP…preferably with gorgonzola cheese involved. My favorite by far was the Plain + Cucumber, not a surprise since I’m such a savory/salty food addict. I’m pretty sure I ate all the pita chips, oops! The mixture reminded me of my beloved Greek specialty, tzatziki sauce. The EVOO really added an extra special richness to the mixture. Finally, the Toasted Coconut + Pineapple was enjoyed by Meredith and I more than we both had anticipated. She and I agreed that the coconut being toasted (and not just shaved in its “snowy” form) enhanced the creation and gave that satisfying crunch that makes any yogurt mess better.

Photo courtesy of Meredith. Each signature creation looks like this when it’s served, and the little glass bowls are either re-used by Chobani in the store or are yours to take home!

Lucky Meredith even got to go to an event the very next day (AKA last night) at Chobani SoHo to sample any of the creations she hadn’t tried yet. Definitely jealous of her status as a New Yorker and her access to a never-ending list of restaurants! I had such a wonderful time hanging out with her – of course we never ran out of topics to chat about. I even found myself having to reel myself in off of tangents (that I’d wandered to 10-15 minutes before) to get back to original points I was (trying) to make. It’s OK, we covered a lot more that way 😉

My workout and lunch with Meredith on Sunday were the perfect way to end my trip to NYC. After I got back to my hotel and grabbed my bags ($14 to hold them downstairs for me, seriously Hilton?), I hightailed it to the train station, where I arrived at the perfect moment to catch the train to New Haven.

But I’m going out of order here. My next post will recap ALL conference-related activities from the entire weekend (Thursday-Saturday). Get ready!!!

Have you ever taken a fitness class that ended up being at a level that was too low for you? How did it turn out? 

Are there any restaurants on your must-visit list that are at a place you’d need to travel far to get to? Have you ever gotten to visit one of those? Another for me was Pure Food & Wine!

Tell me YOUR own Chobani signature creation that you make at home…or any yogurt mess!

Physique 57 and Agave in NYC

I’M BACK from an amazing, fun, informative, delicious, burning, sweaty, faaaabulous weekend in New York City for BlogHer 2012! I took the train from New Haven on Thursday afternoon and spent my first nice, long weekend in NYC (and am now convinced there’s no other way to do it…see ya, stressful day or one-night trips). I got home last night with so many memories, informative tidbits, freebies, and photos that I felt like both my mind and bags were going to explode – in a positive way. I’m so excited to recap and share everything with you guys, but as I learned Saturday in an intimate small-group writing session called Tightening Your Prose, most blog posts are too long. SO I am going to be using about four posts to recap my BlogHer 2012 NYC weekend. I wanted to start with my favorite part of it all, because that makes sense, oui?

Rocking my #RBKFITBLOG Reebok top and #fitblognyc Sophia Kashuk bag + Sweaty Bands headband!

I was invited by Physique 57 and Well and Good NYC (a cool site that delivers the latest in NYC health and wellness) to join other healthy living bloggers, including Fitfluential Ambassadors, for a Physique 57 class with the workout’s co-founder, Tanya BeckerI’ve heard nothing but love for Physique 57 from some of my favorite celebrities (KELLY RIPA) as well as friends, and was so pumped to get the chance to not only try the workout, but learn from Tanya herself.

Gina and I

I took the subway over to the SoHo studio location with Gina of Running to the Kitchen, who was also staying at the Hilton New York (where BlogHer was held). She is a fellow FitFluential Ambassador and though we had not met before that day, we had plenty to chat about and I enjoyed hanging out with her! Her food photos and recipes are TO DIE FOR. Go check them out!

Wanna look at the camera, Caitlin?

Upon arrival, I received a complimentary bottle of Chobani water (I adore the packaging and 10% of proceeds from this water’s sales benefit the Shepherd’s Gift Foundation) and a pair of the signature Physique 57 black socks. All the classes take place in blue carpeted rooms like the one pictured below, so these particular socks are essential to a successful workout because they have special padding on the bottom to keep your feet from sliding about.

Left to right – Well and Good NYC co-founder Melisse Gelula, Tanya Becker, Natasha (Social Media for Physique 57), and Tanya’s amazing assistant and instructor-in-training.

Each student’s “set-up” includes a set of weights for upper body, a thick square mat, a band, a ball, and a longer/thinner mat (which comes out later).

Ready to go! Smiling because I’m not yet BURNING.

The class went in the following order: quick cardio warm-up, series of upper-body weights (lighter weights, MANY reps), lower body barre and floor work intervals, abs, stretching. But it’s really SO much more than that! I couldn’t get over what an effective workout this was. I love variety and I love unique. Physique 57 is both of those! The movements we did on the barre and floor were some that I recognized and had experienced with from pilates, but some were exercises I’d never seen or done– but will CERTAINLY be doing again, given what a burn they ignited in my quads, calves, abs, and glutes.

Gina, Melisse, Ashley, Theodora, me, and Meghann showing off our Physique 57 socks!

Tanya was such an amazing instructor. It’s hard to believe she recently had TWINS! I feel so lucky to have been able to learn from her, especially since I hear her classes at the NYC studios are impossible to get into. I also adored the Lululemon top she and Theodora were both rockin’.

Me and Tanya!

Also jealous of Theodora’s sparkly headband!

My fave photo – group shot of the class attendees and Tanya! I WOULD wear my Fossil watch during a workout.

We were also treated to samples of two signature creations from the first and only Chobani cafe,located in NYC’s SoHo neighborhood, as well as coupons for free full-size creations if we visited the store (which I promptly did yesterday…but that’s another post).

Bloggers gathering to give Chobani its photoshoot moment.

The two creations I tried were Pistachio + Chocolate (dark chocolate, clover honey, Turkish pistachios, orange, fresh mint) and Blueberry + Power (blueberries, walnuts, chia and hemp seeds, light agave nectar).

Blueberry + Power on top, Pistachio + Chocolate on bottom.

I really liked both of them, but the Pistachio + Chocolate stood out to me because of its unique flavor combos! The pistachios gave a satisfying crunch and I’m already a big fan of dark chocolate in plain Chobani. And can you believe this was my first time having chia seeds?!I know, I’m an unconventional blogger 😛 the truth is I wasn’t a huge fan, they just seemed kind of there (except when they got in my teeth, which made them kind of an inconvenience). I do know they have a lot of nutritional benefits though! I think the Blueberry + Power didn’t stick in my mind as much because I often do similar Greek yogurt combos at home, so it wasn’t different.

Selfie with the chia.

Gaga for Greek 😉

THANK YOU to Physique 57 and Well and Good NYC for having us bloggers to the event! I’m so glad I got the chance to come while I was in town for BlogHer ’12. In fact, I loved Physique 57 so much that I went back the very next morning to use one of the two free classes I received at the Fitness Magazine Meet & Tweet!

I was lucky to have another fantastic instructor, Lindi, for my second class. Her energy was incredible and I enjoyed the fact that a Mixed class was available because I had Intermediate modifications shown to me to use, but I couldn’t do them in every case, so I reverted back to the Beginner modifications when needed.

Another Reebok outfit from #RBKFITBLOG, of course! Had to get the Physique 57 socks in the photo too!

I will so miss doing Physique 57 at the studios, but I did receive copies of The Physique 57 Solution Book and the Classic 57 Full-Body Workout DVD at the Well and Good NYC event. I plan to do the DVD and review it with a comparison of it and the studio experience. I already flipped through the book and am really interested in the exercises explained inside – in fact, my dad (who just did his first yoga DVD a few weeks ago, YAY Dad!) is excited to use the book and give them a shot too! It’s like having a Physique 57 encyclopedia in my home! Best part of all? My second free class doesn’t expire until the end of January – oh yup, I’ll be back.

I got my silly on with the Physique 57 mural. She adorns each studio’s wall and is called Gorgeous. Well, I was feeling pretty Gorgeous myself after my second Physique 57 class in 24 hours – or at least my butt certainly was – so I strutted my stuff with her before I departed the 57th Street studio. Who rocks the pose best?

Back to Friday’s class with Tanya…afterward, I was psyched to not be the one picking the restaurant for once, and joined the Fitfluential ladies at a Southwestern spot Ashley chose called Agave.

We were seated outdoors (FAVORITE) at a brown paper covered table in a quaint, serene corner. Patterned pillows lined its benches and I had to snap a Instagram photo of the beautiful scene.

The company I dined with and the conversations held were even more beautiful. I felt at home and at peace the entire time as I chatted with and learned from this group of inspiring women.

One of the funniest and most real bloggers I know, Cat. I feel so lucky to have been able to see her while in town! She has the most interesting life ever. And is a genius in the kitchen.

Where bloggers are around, cameras and phones are found 😉 Cat doesn’t look impressed.

Spending time with a bunch of girls who are interested in the exact same things as me is my ideal way to spend a Friday night! There is never enough time to say what I want to say!

Rockin’ a second round of margs with Theodora.

Loved meeting and sitting next to Erika of A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss. Her transformation is inspiring and she has an amazing energy! She also let me try a sip of her spicy margarita – a friend indeed 😛

It blows my mind how much we bloggers can learn from each other! I can’t wait until all of us can meet again. Thank you for a fabulous  night out, ladies!

Gina, Meghann, Sabrina, Ashley, Theodora, me, Erika, and Cat!

Want to see more pics from the event? Check out the photo gallery posted on Well And Good NYC!

Have you ever heard of or tried Physique 57, either at a studio or with a DVD?

Do you have any Chobani signature creations that you like to make at home?

Have you ever gotten to hang out with “blends”, and if so, did you have a thousand things to talk about? I’m gonna guess yes.

Sonoma: Free Wine Tastings!

I’ve mentioned before that my favorite liquor store is located in my hometown, Sonoma Wines & Spirits. They often offer free wine tastings (I’ve attended a couple on Saturday afternoons), which always impress me; I usually end up taking home a bottle! The owner and employees are friendly and personable, and the store is even pet-friendly! Sonoma has quite a Facebook presence and use their page to let fans know about both free tastings and affordable wine and food events. That’s how I found out that this past Monday through Wednesday, they were holding free in-store wine tastings from 2-5 and 5-8pm!

The offerings for each tasting.

So I made plans to do what any blogger would do: work out, and immediately follow up the gym with a wine tasting. Maybe it’s the opposite of hydration/recovery, but it sure was fun!

Monday night’s tasting was hosted by 2fly Wines, a company that holds a special place with my family since the owner, Chris Didden, is also the president of the pool club we belong to. He was inspired to join the wine industry after a trip to Australia. Now he sells quality, delicious wines from there!

I met my mom at Sonoma since she is a big 2fly fan as well. The wines being poured that night were a bit out of our price range, so we didn’t buy any of those, but the mom did pick up a bottle of one of her favorite reds.

Mom venturing outside of her comfort zone and trying a white.

The 2fly wines being poured were: K1 by Geoff Hardy Gold Label Arneis 2009 (white), Brookman Wines Chenin Blanc 2008 (white), Conte Estate Middle Tatta Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (red), and Diamond Collection Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (red).

I rarely meet a red I don’t like, so when wine tasting, I actually find it more intriguing to try different varieties of whites since there is more “suspense” over whether or not I will enjoy!

Verdict: I really enjoyed both whites! They weren’t overly sweet, which is what often turns me off to having a glass of white wine.

The real star of the show, though, was the Siraz Cabernet blend (above left). I love the idea of blending two different types of reds since I like most types. It’s like creating new flavors! I would have loved to bring a bottle home, but it was just too expensive. My mom called it “something special”.

Post-workout wine? Why not!

On Wednesday night, I made my way back to try some wines poured by Scott of Franklin Fine Wines. I really enjoyed talking with Scott and one other fellow taster about the wines we were trying, as well as Franklin and its recent merger with Hartford Distributors. Also, these wines were much more affordable, so I ended up taking home a bottle.

Wednesday’s lineup.

I sampled Dr. Peter Poontinger’s German Riesling, Rocland Estate‘s Duck Duck Goose Chardonnay, Rocland Chocolate Box Dark Shiraz, and Three Crowns’s 1830 Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon.

German Riesling

Rieslings are tricky business for me. Too sweet, and I can’t stand them. I don’t think I could ever even drink a whole glass. However, for sipping or tasting, a riesling that isn’t overly sweet is something that I can enjoy. The Dr. Peter Poontinger brand was very enjoyable! And at only $10 a bottle, it was a wine I could see my mom and dad enjoying in the summer months. My co-taster actually ended up taking a bottle of this home with him.

The Duck Duck Goose Chardonnay, named for the Rocland Estates owner’s daughter’s favorite game (and my favorite as a child too!), was the best white I’ve tried in awhile! It was well-balanced and again, not too sweet. My co-taster (wish I’d caught his name!) said that he could see it pairing well with Thai food. Duly noted! I bought a bottle of this to bring home for my dad. He is quite the chard lover.

Bring on the red!

Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy the Malbec Cab at all. I just took a sip and said – meh. However, I LOVED the Dark Chocolate Shiraz! Make no mistake, this wine doesn’t actually contain any chocolate, but I love the name as well as the bottle’s design. It tasted delicious – too bad it was the most expensive bottle of the bunch! Still not bad though, $17, but there were other cheaper options, and I’m a bit cheap.

My two favorites of Wednesday evening.

And what’s wine without food? I came home after both tastings and dove into delicious dinners.

Monday night: Giovanni’s take-out.

Giovanni’s Brick Oven Pizza, where my sister is a waitress on her school breaks, makes the best salad with grilled chicken that I can find at any restaurant. The key is they shred and marinate the chicken. I love how they offer baby spinach, and plentiful veggies! I also had an un-pictured slice of their wonderful Veggie Special pizza.

Wednesday night’s feast!

In honor of Hannah being home from school, my dad grilled filet and my mom made baked potatoes. Leftover green beans and corn bread joined my plate. And you know I put Mariah’s Chow Chow Relish on my potato skin!

After dinner snack of Yoplait Greek and Uncle Sam Strawberry cereal

Thanks to Sonoma for hosting so many free and fabulous wine events!

Red or white wine? What do you think? Or are you a wine hater?

Definition of Random

Happy to say that I was in a better mood yesterday – thank you for your de-stressing tips! This post is pretty random, but I have a lot of thoughts floating around in my head today.

I had a good day at work yesterday and an interesting class (Law, Business, and Society – we learned about torts and product liability) at night. Something I learned involved the famous lawsuit in which a woman was initially awarded $2.7 million in damages from McDonald’s for the third degree burns she suffered from as a result of spilling their 190-degree coffee on herself. I always thought the reward was ridiculous, but after hearing the full story from my professor, I’m actually changing my tune a bit. Turns out McDonald’s knew about their coffee being hot enough to cause 3rd degree burns within several seconds, but opted not to decrease the temperature after deciding that the money they would continue to pay out in settlements to people with burns was worth spending, compared to the money they’d lose in profit if they made their coffee the same temperature as everyone else’s. And that is why the punitive damages amounted to $2.7 million – because that is the amount of profit McDonald’s was making on its coffee in a single day. The punitive damages had a meaning and sent a message, which is indeed a function of punitive damages. So maybe the award wasn’t so ridiculous after all – what do you think? You learn something new everyday!

In other news, Faith Hill had her big comeback into country music at the CMA’s on Wednesday night. I was a bit annoyed when I was watching my DVR recording last night, and she started singing OneRepublic’s “Come Home” for her performance. I LOVE OneRepublic and their first album is one of my favorite albums of all time (and it has that song). I’m going to make an assumption (so that may make an ass out of me, but I digress) that many people watching the CMA’s didn’t know that she is not the original singer of this song because they may not know OneRepublic’s first album very well. If you’re gonna make a comeback, make it with a new song! Now many people probably don’t realize she’s covering it!


I have so many posts that I have been planning for you guys! I have all these backed up food photos that I want to post today, but hopefully soon you guys will be seeing posts on:

For now, just check out some pictures of food I’ve been eating.

Fiber One whole wheat english muffin, topped with banana and Cinnamon Raisin PB

Saturday’s breakfast – this is my favorite plate ever from my childhood 🙂 and my favorite breakfast that I hadn’t had in FOREVER! Also, I finished that jar of Cinnamon Raisin Swirl yesterday morning. Sad – but I did open a jar of Mighty Maple today!

Packed salad and fruit/cottage cheese while I waited to get my car check-up.

Had egg whites and Moe’s black beans as my protein in the above salad beast.

BBQ chicken and veggie pizza slices.

I came home for dinner Monday night and was surprised to find Giovanni’s pizza waiting for me – PSYCHED. I love their pizza. So thin and crispy!

Moe's black beans + pico de gallo

Needed a little somethin’ on the side.

Roasted brussell sprouts and whole wheat pasta

Tuesday my mom surprised me with those brussells and like the nerd I am, I was psyched. On the spaghetti we put the bruschetta-flavored oil dip mix that I got at the AppleFest. It was just as good as the sample I had there!

Meatloaf, pico, roasted brussells, and broccoli

Tonight I had an awesome dinner – the above (baby) plate, eaten with my (baby) fork, plus more meatloaf and some kalamata olive bread I got at the farmer’s market recently.

Yoplait plain greek yogurt and Uncle Sam strawberry cereal

Just finished off the above snack – dumped the yogurt out of the container into the cup and mixed with the cereal.
I’m headed to Group Step after work today – can’t wait!

What’d you have for dinner last night?