Tuesday, January 28, 2014

HGTV Dream Home

See this house? It's going to be mine soon. Or at least that's what I'm hoping. No, I'm not buying it. I'm going to win it.

HGTV is giving away this "Dream Home" in Truckee, CA which is in North Lake Tahoe. It's two and a half hours from where we live in Mill Valley, and the town where many of our ski friends have their second homes.


I've been registering for the contest every day. Haven't missed a day, because what if that is day from which they pick the winner. That would suck.

I fantasize about throwing summer parties, spending Christmas in Tahoe with my family, and letting our dogs run like maniacs in the woods. Our tiny little bland condo in Mill Valley is the polar opposite of this home. It has no personality, warmth and style. We don't belong there, but we're stuck there.

See how beautiful it is? I can smell the pine trees.......

I know I am potentially setting myself up for disappointment. I'm sure they get millions of entries. I am sending telepathic energy to the random number generator which they probably use to select the winner.

I did win a trip to Egypt once. I was the big winner from KLIT radio in Houston, Texas back in 1989. I ran around telling everyone how I was going to win because Egypt was the last place I ever wanted to go. And I won.

Wish me luck! Watch for a housewarming invite soon. I'm going to win this thing.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

2005 Silver Oak Napa Valley

I got the chance to taste this wine yesterday in a blind taste test. The nose was earthy, and barn-like, with hints of hay. Not exactly my favorite scent. The flavor was similar, with just a hint of blackberry fruit.

The wine smelled like a pinot noir, but looked like a cab.

It was a cab. In fact, it was the 2005 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a bottle which retails for $125.

The wine was a bit too cold when Wilfred opened it for us to taste. As it warmed up the flavor of the grape came through a bit more. Of course at this point he had also revealed what the wine was. I thought it tasted better at room temperature, versus when he first opened it. Or did I think it was better because it was Silver Oak? I don't know.

This is one of the important reasons wine judges taste wine blind, you don't want to be influenced by a brands reputation and what you think it should taste like.

Wilfred rated the wine 88 points, which is not as high as you would hope, or expect, for a Silver Oak Cabernet. The 2009 Silver Oak Napa Cab is getting released in a few weeks. Wilfred gave it 91 points. I can't wait to taste this one.

And yes, this is a regular thing at our office. #BestJobEver

The Cable Car Cocktail

Living in San Francisco you're introduced to all kinds of cool things - including interesting, and tasty, cocktails! Who can pass up one called the Cable Car! It's the signature drink from celeb bartender Tony Abou-Ganim.

The Cable Car is Tony's signature cocktail which he created in 1996 as a signature cocktail for the Starlight Room, a stunning nightclub and cocktail lounge atop the historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco. Its name comes from the geographic location of its house of origin … One of the city’s landmark properties, the Sir Francis Drake is located along the world famous Nob Hill cable car tracks, and its Starlight Room is affectionately referred to as the lounge that can be found “between the stars and the cable cars.”

Cable Car Cocktail

Directions: In an ice filled mixing glass add Captain Morgan, orange curacao and fresh sour; shake until well blended. Strain into a chilled sugar-cinnamon frosted cocktail glass* and garnish with an orange spiral – (Orange spirals can be easily cut fresh using a citrus zester, also known as a channel knife). Mixing 2 parts fresh squeezed lemon juice with one part simple syrup will easily make fresh lemon sour.

Hint: To sugar-cinnamon frost a cocktail glass, first chill the glass, rub the rim’s circumference approximately ¾ inch in depth with a lemon wedge, then dip into a bowl of superfine sugar – (regular granulated sugar does not adhere as well).

Friday, January 24, 2014

Body Scan, Body Fat, BMI

One of the perks to the Jump Start MD program is you get a body scan on your first visit to tell you just how chubby you've gotten. Everyone wants to know how much their torso weighs, right? And yes, this is a perk. 'Cuz you don't get this at Weight Watchers.
I got my second body scan at my 6-week weigh-in on Tuesday. The InBody machine can magically weigh your body limb by limb. I now know how much each arm, leg and my torso weighs. Mine weighs 44 pounds in case you were curious. It was 46 when I started. I also know my lean body mass, body fat mass (ick) and more. The good news is I've lost weight. The bad news is I need to lose more body fat, and add more muscle. 

I'm sure you know what that means.

I have to exercise.


I was really loving the first 6 weeks of the program where they told us we shouldn't exercise while our bodies adjusted to the decrease in calories.

I guess the party's over. I'm going to have to move my limbs.

I'm going to need some motivation. And a plan.

Stupid muscles.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Creamy Scrambled Eggs

I've learned a lot of things on my new diet. In addition to drinking water I have to start my day with breakfast.

You're probably thinking "Uh, doesn't everyone eat breakfast?"

Well, I am not one of those people. My poor mom used to try desperately to feed me breakfast in high school. I would grab the toast and toss it in the bushes every day. I'm sure the birds loved the cold, soggy, buttery toast.

I'm just not hungry first thing in the morning. Or at least I didn't used to be hungry.

I now have to eat a protein packed breakfast every morning within 30 minutes of waking up. My choices are:  2 eggs or greek yogurt.

I like Greek yogurt about as much as I like goat cheese. (Which tastes like dirty old goat. Blech.) I cannot stand how tart and sour Greek Yogurt is. I'm shocked it's so popular. So, that leaves me with eggs. I like eggs. So I'm ok with it.

Here's my favorite way to make creamy scrambled eggs. I can't remember who gave me the tip to add a dollop of cream cheese, but it's yummy!

Creamy Scrambled Eggs
2 eggs
2t. whipped cream cheese
1t. butter
salt and pepper to taste

1. Crack eggs into a small bowl. Whip with a fork.
2. Melt 1 t. butter in a small frying pan over medium/medium-high heat.
3. Add eggs to pan. Gently stir with the fork a few times.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add the cream cheese when the eggs are about half way done.
6. Serve alone, or with one of the add-ins listed below.

2 sauteed mushrooms
6 cherry tomatoes cut in half
A few snips of green onion
A spoonful of salsa
Lawry's Seasoning salt


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Let's talk about water

One of the hardest parts of my new diet is the amount of water I have to drink each day.

We are supposed to drink 100oz of liquid - most of it water.

Prior to this diet, I didn't drink 100 oz of liquid in a week. Ok, that's a slight exaggeration. But very slight. I would have coffee in the morning and a glass of water with lunch, and a glass, or two, of wine when I got home. How was I functioning?

The first few days of drinking gobs of water was a major struggle. I felt like I was drowning! Plus the water bottle I was using was made of aluminum and I couldn't see how much I was drinking. I need to see progress. I guess I'm really goal-oriented. And just slightly competitive. Give me a challenge and I am all over it.

I got a nice little surprise from Don at Christmas. He gave me this nifty new water bottle which holds 32oz. and ice (big plus) and I just have to fill it 3x each day. My daily goal is to refill it at 10am, 2pm, and 6pm. Otherwise, I won't make it.

There are some benefits to drinking this much water. You get regular exercise walking to the bathroom. If you're like me, that means a trip to the ladies room about every hour. Apparently, all those years of not drinking water have caused my bladder to be the size of a pea.

The funny thing is, now that I've been drinking water like a crazy person for six weeks I'm actually thirsty for it! I'm pretty sure I have been completely dehydrated for most of my life.

My boss is also trying to follow the diet on her own, which includes drinking more water. She too was like me and thought wine was a great hydrator. She glares at me every day as she marches past my office with her water bottle. hee hee hee.

She won't hate me when she's skinny.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My new diet with Jump Start MD

I blamed my weight gain on being busy, too much alcohol, and menopause.

What I learned after joining JumpStart MD was that I was eating way too many carbs. Every meal included foods which were making me fat! Things like rice, carrots, bread, tortilla chips, popcorn, acorn squash, peas, corn, and potatoes. Ok, I know tortilla chips are not good for you, but I had no idea popcorn and carrots were on the naughty list.

This is me last November. Argh!
I managed to gain 20 POUNDS in two years. I had every size black pant in my closet to deal with my expanding torso! I finally couldn't take it anymore. I was busting out of my largest pants and I refused to buy the next size. It would be really embarrassing going to work in my pajama pants. Especially since I had maxed out the elastic on them too. How is that even possible?

I joined Jump Start MD right before Christmas out of pure desperation. I heard my favorite radio DJs on KFOG  talk about the program every day, raving about how easy it was to lose weight "because you get to eat real food." It sounded good to me. No funny pills, powders, shakes or cabbage soup.

Of course, I had no idea "real food" would mean I would be snacking on cottage cheese and celery every day, and that bread would not touch my lips for a very long time.

The good news is the diet really is pretty easy. And it's working! You eat a lot of meat, veggies, dairy, and no carbs. At least not in the weight-loss phase. You get to add some back in the maintenance phase - if you want. The diet is all about feeding your body more often and using the correct portion sizes.

I go to their Walnut Creek office for my weigh-in every Tuesday. Each week I sit down with a counselor and talk about how I'm doing, any struggles or events I'm anxious about. I get a B6 shot, they take my blood pressure and I get weighed.

I anticipate I'll hit the -12 lb mark today. Not bad for 6 weeks!

I have some great tips and food ideas which I'll share in future posts. My sister and boss have each started the diet on their own and they've lost 10 pounds!!! (yay, Kathy!)

Want more info about the program?  Click here: Jump Start MD Website

And......this ends my infomercial.

ps. Had my weigh-in today. I'm down -12.2 pounds. YAY!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Let's have some sparkling wine. In a can. Try Sofia Blanc de Blancs.

I bet you've been wondering where the heck I've been this past year. Well, I've been a busy little bee writing about cocktails, and wine and hanging out with Mr. Clooney. Yes, George! And Jeff Arnett who is the master distiller for Jack Daniel's, and Tito, of Tito's vodka. It was a crazy (fun) year.

I guess I had so much fun I forgot about the old blog here. 'Cuz I didn't write one single word. Not one. Not even. "Hello, still here. Just busy drinking wine."

So rude of me! It's like the neighbor you were friends with who suddenly went away. But was still there.

So let's have some bubbly to celebrate my return!

Here's a sweet little treat I discovered from my friends at Coppola Winery. It's sparkling wine in a can. With a straw. It's delicious and so fun for parties, hanging out at the beach, or just enjoying at home when you want some bubbly but don't want to open a bottle. It didn't bring me any luck yesterday with the Niners. But I don't think my choice of beverage had anything to do with us NOT CATCHING THE BALL IN THE END ZONE! Oh well.

Of course you know where to buy it (BevMo!) but I'll make it easy, just click here.

Happy New Year!

I'll be back soon.