Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thankful & Movin' it!

There are many things that I am thankful for- beginning with my husband, family and friends; I never imagined Napa Adventure Boot Camp to be on the list. Almost 14 weeks ago, I embarked on a new challenge. I rise at 5am most mornings to meet my Boot Camp comrades, and sweat it out for an hour, all under the watchful eye of our fearless leader, Jeff. This time around, I was determined to get in shape once and for all.

Really, what was I thinking? I hate the cold, and love sleep. Why on earth would I want to get up early and run around a middle school play ground with 20 other women? Was it because I reached the “40” mark this year? Or was it because my love for food and wine was becoming an Olympic sport in its own right? Basically, I needed to start movin' it!

This year’s Thanksgiving Day began with Boot Camp. You know you have turned a corner, when you work out on Turkey day. I must have a screw loose. But the energy of my fellow campers, and the dedication of our coach, moved me to get up and go. For this gathering we were told to bring an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots, and if we dared, find a guest to bring, too. I tried for a week to convince the Tea Drinker to be my workout partner. I showed him my moves. Honey, look- can you do this? This is called a Sumo Dead Lift, or this is really hard- The Burpy- a painful combination of a squat, plank, and jump thrust into the air! My husband was not buying it. In the end, I found a willing friend to join me in the pain- she bought my enthusiasm. There is something rewarding and devilish about bringing a newcomer to Boot Camp. With sweat glistening on her face, I imagined my friend confirming to herself that she always knew that I was nuts. Cool. However, now my friend wants to bring me to her torture Pilates’s class. You know what they say about paybacks.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful that I ran through obstacles & hurdles, grunted through sit- ups, and complained about the jumping jacks. It was all worth it, especially knowing that the real treacherous sport was ahead of me - “Wine-ing and Dine-ing”...

Check out the madness- posted by Napa Boot Camp on You Tube
Can you find the Wife of the Tea Drinker?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

10 Questions for

The Napa Valley Register runs a business feature each Wednesday asking “10 Questions” of a local business owner. One of the questions always asked is- “What other business person would like to see featured?" This week’s business owner, Dawn Croft, Consultants 2 Business, answered...drum husband, Dan, The Tea Drinker, Drink The Leaf. It got me thinking. I have a few questions for him myself. So here we go—

1) How do your start your day?
Tea Drinker- It begins with my wife bellowing “TEA” from her bed, then shortly after...”CAFFEINE”, referring to black tea!

Wife-Oh. Okay, that’s true.

2) What’s your biggest challenge at work?
Tea Drinker - Day dreaming about which wine we will be having with dinner, and pushing my cat off the keyboard at least twenty times a day.

3) What’s your favorite memory from your trip to China?
Tea Drinker- While at a Shanghai tea shop, I stated to my wife, “Honey, I’ll handle this, my territory, I will order the tea.” One problem, the menu was in Chinese Characters. I faked it and pointed- ending up drinking a nice oolong.

4) What’s the strangest question anyone has ever asked you?
Tea Drinker-
“So, you’re steeping wine leaves?!”
I guess ,the causality of having your business in Napa Valley, if there is one!

5) Who is your ideal customer?
Tea Drinker- A REPEAT one.

6) Who is the CEO?
Tea Drinker- Is the correct answer my wife?

7) Are you ever going to clean the garage?
Tea Drinker- Yes, after my wife puts together the China Photo album.

Wife-Okay, fine!

8) Any tips for the first time tea drinker?
Tea Drinker- Yes, remember to add water.

9) What is your favorite quote?
Tea Drinker-“Drink the Leaf, Don’t Smoke It!” - anonymous.

10) How do you end your day?
Tea Drinker- Listening to my wife bellow…WINE TIME!

Wow, I feel much closer to my husband now. Thanks for reading and check back often.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Red Peony- Are you a contender?

It’s a very opinionated world out there. No doubt. It took me a few pleas to convince my husband to submit his teas for review. What if they don’t like them? he worried. Being in the wine business, you pray if they write about you, that it is all glowing and gushing; nothing less. I told him to not worry. Every day he went on I found him surfing their website morning, noon and night. Okay, now I was getting worried, too. I am the one that convinced him to take the leap. Seek someone else’s opinion. Not to just rely on what we think- What do we know? states on their website that they are a group of tea lovers and tea writers from all over North America. All the big tea producers are reviewed on this site, while Dan’s company consists of himself, his mascot, Little One, and an occasional plug from his wife on her blog! I was hoping I wasn’t setting him up to have his dreams dashed.

Not to worry. I was in Boston, sipping wine, I mean “working”, when I received the call. Drink the Leaf Red Peony was reviewed. And, it was a favorable review! Whew. I went back to my wine, gave him my congratulations, and stressed it was not a surprise to me. They are great teas that he took the time to personally select and review, and offer to his customers. Now, I just have to talk him through the waiting period of the other ten samples that are out there for review. Living on the edge of the the tea world.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Wine, Women & Shoe-less

“Hello. My name is Teresa, and I have Shoe Insecurities.” That should’ve been my opening line at this weekend’s Wine, Women & Shoes Auction held in Sarasota, FL. The weekend consisted of almost 500 women attending wine and shoe pairings, wine tastings, a fashion show, and wine dinners in beautiful homes along the coast. All the festivities benefited a wonderful local charity, Forty Carrots.

At the wine and shoe pairing seminar, I watched women attendees make their way to their seats adorned in amazing shoes, and it was all I could do to steady myself on my well-travelled dusty, but sensible Nine West pumps. Okay, right, focus. I was asked to discuss what type of shoe pairs with Chardonnay. Quick, think! As various brand names – Manolo Blahnik, Fendi, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Emilio Pucci- danced around my head and whizzed past me- all I could do was pray that no one was looking at my feet! My shoe insecurities quickly turned into shoe envy as the giddiness in the room came to an all time high as women complimented each other on their shoes. Then, I remembered I was really here to talk about the wine. Ah, yes, my comfort zone. Exhale. Maybe I could distract this crowd from looking at my feet by dazzling them with our wines. I launched into the history of ZD Wines, talked about the 2007 Chardonnay, recommended wearing lovely sandals (pointing at someone else’s feet) all while sipping this flagship wine! I heard a few –ohs and ahs, and was getting caught in the moment,and exclaimed triumphantly- “I would like to donate my shoes to the cause!” Hmmm, no takers…..

Darn. I would need to think fast. The next day was the fashion show, and you guessed it, I only had the shoes on my feet. Darn again.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kickin' Chicken & Poblano Pepper Chili

There is something about Fall that makes you want to curl up on the couch, with a cup of tea, and settle into a great book. I definitely enjoy taking this time to read through my stack of books, but flipping through cooking magazines takes the cake! My favorite cooking magazine is Fine Cooking, with Gourmet a close second. Over the years, we have worked out a pretty good system for all those recipes that you tear out of magazines. We go through the pile, pick one for Sunday's dinner, prepare, enjoy, and then vote if we feel it will make the cut into our Green Recipe Binder. We do not get attached or emotional( ie- we have been known to throw out an entire meal, and promptly order take-out pizza)- the recipe is either IN or OUT. This approach works for us. Instead of having a bunch of recipes that we are not passionate about, we have a binder filled with our favorites.

From time to time, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Food section has a recipe that peaks my interest. The Chili’s On article, by Amanda Gold, was a stand out for us, especially with cool dark evenings at our door step. We tried two recipes over the past couple of weekends. One was a hit, while the other one we felt needed a bit of tweaking! Chicken & Poblano Pepper Chili left us thinking about the next opportunity we might have to make this comforting and inviting meal…

Give it a try, and let us know what you think. We loved the consistency and simplicity of this chili, and you can’t beat the roasted Poblano pepper flavor. The recipe does not instruct how to roast the peppers. I put them in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes turning once, until the skin is black in spots. Then placed the peppers into a paper bag for a few minutes- locking in the steam - the skins will peel off easier after this process. We made this dish in less than an hour. Easy enough for a weeknight meal. And, of course, like most chilis, it tastes even better the next day.

Note: the link to the article -lists all the recipes, search down until you find the the right one for you!

Bon Appetit!