Ten Gallon Hat Winery

I finally went to my first winery! After attending multiple wine festivals and tastings, I finally went to a winery. My friend got me a gift certificate to Ten Gallon Hat Winery, and before I knew it, its expiration date was quickly approaching. Unfortunately, she was not able to go with me, but dad was happy, and more than willing, to substitute.

So, February 10th, after work and running some errands, we drove about 15 minutes over the DE/PA line to Ten Gallon Hat Winery. Its pretty well hidden. Despite how small the building looks on the outside, its a spacious beauty on the inside. Dad and I walked down the steps to a room with a bar and a bunch of high top tables. Each table and corner bar supplied with mini saltine and chocolate chip morsels, to compliment the wine.

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We were given a list, with a descriptions of each wine, and a pencil to check off our choices. We were able to each choose six wines to sample, so between the two of us, we covered the 13 options. While dad was more set on the reds, I was counting down to the fruit wines.

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First came the reds:V__DAE2

  • Merlot- This was so-so. Its pretty hard to mess up a merlot.
  • Zinfandel- I’ve had white merlot, but never a red zin. It was sort of dry like a zin, but with a deep flavor typical of a red.
  • Barbera- This, in my opinion, was the best red. Cedar was the scent that stood out to me. I don’t mean it was like sipping on bark. It was mellow and there was something calming about drinking this wine.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon- Dad’s a cab guy, so he was looking forward to this one, and wasn’t disappointed. He rated this as his highest ranking of the red and whites.

Followed by the whites: Admittedly, neither dad nor myself are much fans of white wines.V__55CE

  • Chardonnay- It just sounds so fancy, doesn’t it? But, unfortunately, it was much too dry for my liking.
  • Pinot Grigio, AKA “The Sheriff’s Daughter”- Based on the description, I expected a citrus and fruity wine with a bit of a dry bite. But, alas, still not my fancy…
  • Riesling, AKA “The Preacher’s Daughter”- We had finally hit a white wine that tickled my fancy with its mild sweetness.
  • Moscato, AKA “The Farmer’s Daughter”- I’m not a moscato chick, typically. But this and Riesling were the best whites, in my opinion.

And, lastly, the fruits:

  • Blackberry- This was a dark wine, deep with flavor, but no incredibly sweet. I feel like this would be a good wine for someone who is a Cabernet drinker…
  • Red Raspberry- This was the one I was looking forward to the most. After my girlfriend’s wedding two years ago, I fell in love V__08E7with raspberry wine. The bartender spooned some chocolate semi sweets on a napkin and poured us our wine. The first thing I noticed was the pieces of actual raspberries in the wine! Well, that’s a good sign… real fruit… I thought to myself. Dad thought this was the best of the fruit wines. Although, this was an enjoyable wine… what was up next, blew me away.
  • Cranberry- Although I enjoy cranberries and cranberry juice, I did not have high expectations for this wine. Its cranberries… I mentally prepared myself for a tart wine. Boy, was I wrong! After our first few sips, the bartender brought out a wedge of lime to squeeze into the glass. In a nutshell, I bought a whole bottle, and dad and I finished off 2/3 of the bottle that night. Wow, just wow! I can’t even explain how delicious this one is! It’s been months since we’ve had this wine, and I still rave about it!

The fruit wines stole the show for me!

As I talked with Sheryl, one of the bar tenders, I had mentioned I was curious about what was done with all the corks. She filled a whole bag with corks for me to take with me. (I have one of those iron cork holders to hang on my wall and in need of more corks.) Dad and I headed back up the steps to the entertainment room, where were heard music playing. With our wine glasses and an uncorked bottle in hand, dad found us a seat, and I ordered a bowl of Lobster Bisque and a cheesecake.

I had just gotten my first pay check from my new job and was too excited to celebrate with dad. With all the endorphin flowing, I introduced myself to the musician playing, Matt Santry, and offered to get him a glass of wine, while dad and waited for out order.

Matt sat down with dad and I, and the three of us, sipping our wines, discussed music, life, performing, wine, and more. It was pretty cool. My dad must have liked the guy because suddenly dad became my wing man, trying to find out all sorts of information about Matt’s relationship status, past, and so on! I have to say it was pretty cool and quite the bonding moment for pops and I. (But, sorry ladies, Matt’s engaged.)

As Matt  took the stage, our food arrived. The bisque was served with a few homemade croutons. The cheesecake elegantly served with a pool of raspberry syrup and a white chocolate swizzle.

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We left the winery in a great mood and a bit of cranberry wine left. Guess who’s got limes in the fridge, now? This chick!!!

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Salud!

Out of Bed, Sleepy Head

I’ve got anxiety, yes I do! I’ve got nerves, how bout you?

Have you ever met someone who has the ability to walk into a room and change the entire mood? I compare it to ancient Native American … they would not look into mirrors or take pictures at the risk of having their soul taken from them. Its kind of like that… This person walks into the room and I feel like my soul gets sucked out of me. I know that this feeling is something I allow to happen and that I allow this person to affect me this way.

With a heavy chest, I grabbed a sugar free chocolate pudding and topped it with multigrain Cheerios and pralines and headed to my room to write and to separate myself for the trigger to my anxiety. I did feel a little silly eating this, since I just had a bowl of Arctic Zero before Barry left, but it was satisfying and a call with my grandmother finished up my night with a smile.

WP_003339I needed caffeine, protein, and stay power when I woke, this morning. After struggling at 11am to even roll out of bed, I gave a chance to a unique sounding yogurt: Alpina Revive Honey nonfat Greek Yogurt with Chai Spiced granola, and crawled back into bed with it and a mug of eggnog coffee. I’m usually not a fan of honey yogurt but this was very good, not sweet but not tart. I think the best part of the granola was the pistachio and hemp pieces and the combination of spices. Every now and then, I’d bite into a piece of crystallized ginger, which would take me by surprise. I probably could have done without that, or at least maybe smaller piece, but overall, I was pleased.

It took a lot to get me out of bed, finally. I curled into a ball under the covers on the couch. Hugging my knees to my chest for hours with absolutely  no drive to do anything. I did not have an appetite, in fact, I actually felt sick to my stomach (not from the yogurt).

After conversing with my girlfriend Maggie, I broke our plans to go to Zumba (which probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do). I need Zumba! With these late, restless nights, late night mangia, NCLEX paranoia, and just overall drama at home, I was in desperate need of some nervous energy-burning cardio. She knew something was up and came to visit me after she got off work. I broke into the last bottle of wine from trip to San Jose…

After watching a cooking show with some spectacular grilled cheeses, I really got in the mood for one! But after being in a ball for a few hours, and after a glass of wine, my nervous belly ache went away and hunger kicked in! Dinner was half a roast beef, swizz, and tomato grilled cheese with spicy brown horseradish mustard on Multigrain Fiber One bread. I’ve been thinking about KFC slaw for days, now, and with wine brain, Frank and I hopped in the car to get him a pot pie, my little brother some fried chicken, and me, cole slaw! I may still have been intoxicated in the car when I flipped myself over and asked Frank if this was illegal.

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Mom arrived home and I told her how the tension was affecting me. Things got pushed aside as we watched Chopped and enjoyed a bowl of Arctic Zero topped with Kashi and jimmies. That just wasn’t good enough. Continuing with drunken hunger and energy, I grabbed a sweet, nutty, crunchy fix: Lil Drums Vanilla with Caramel Sauce, topped with peanuts. I love these things!!!

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The night continued with well mannered conversation and shared favorites with salsa: Extra Dark Sourdough pretzels (why must they be so good?), sliced bell peppers, and deseeded cucumbers.

Shout Outs

Shout Out to my mama:

I finished up my Zumba class, last night, and found a voicemail on my cell from my mom, raving about the meatloaf! About 9 years ago, my mom had the gastric bypass surgery and ever since, she has had a difficult time holding pretty much any real food down. Its amazing, really. You would think her body would crave protein, but the only foods that settle are things like chips and pizza. Its pretty bizzare.

So one of my nutrition goals is to cook food that my mom will and can eat. She devoured last night’s Honey Mustard Crusted Poultry Loaf! I think the trick with her is lean protein. When I cook soy products for her, she enjoys it. Last nights meatloaf was super lean!

Then, she began to tell me how much mashed potato she ate! She couldn’t believe it, either, that is was cauliflower!

At this time I was in the Walgreens, grabbing a bottle of water, crying in the middle of the story. I felt like such a goof, but I had never heard my mom talk about my cooking like this!

I also mentioned I dropped dinner off to Barry at work, last night, and he sent me this:

“Dinner was excellent hun. It was finished before you text me. Superb!”

The time that elapsed between me dropping it off and texting him was under 15 minutes! Haha! I think he was just hungry! Haha!

Shout Out to all you carb-counting, comfort food loving followers! This is for you!

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  • 1 medium cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced garlic*
  • 2 tsp Brummel and Brown light butter spread
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp low fat original creamer
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • sour cream, fat free cheddar, real lean bacon crumbles (optional)

In a microwavable bowl, add a splash of water, about 1/4 cup, and the cauliflower, cover with with plastic wrap, and microwave for 9 minutes. Carefully, spoon the cauliflower into a food processor and add all the other ingredients. Whip it up and occasionally vent the processor to relieve the steam pressure.

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*If resources and time allows, roast the garlic before adding it to the mix.

MMMM! For a carb-lover, such as myself, I was in heaven with its garlicy, creamy, potato faker goodness!

Shout Out to my girl, Alex!

Every week, you read about my time at Zumba. Well, now its time to meet the girl behind it all! Alex kicks some serious Zumba ass and I love her classes. She incorporates, not only Latin-style dances, but Indian and hip-hop. Having such a variety of styles, music, and Alex’s personality, keeps me coming back every week!

I asked her after class if I could share her Facebook page with you, so if you’re in the area, look her up, and come join the party!

After dinner, last night, I suited up and headed to Zumba. You know I’m about to go hard when the pink pre-wrap headband  comes out!

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Zumba with Alex always send me home hyped with energy and good vibes, and I sleep like a rock!

WP_003277And Alex must have worked me hard, too, because I was hungry when I got home! Yay, for Special K Chocolatey Strawberry 90 calorie cereal bars!

throwback to sophomore homecoming 2006

On the Food Front:

Shout out to my Sista from Anotha Mista (literally):

Caterina is my step-sister, Frank’s daughter. I recently found out that she began cooking. Growing up, I was always the one in the kitchen, but now, Cat has her own recipe blog with wordpress.com. Enjoy!

Soon enough, we will be teaming up for a “Sisters Who Cook” post. Keep an eye out!

As I laid in bed, last night, my tummy began to growl and I snack on a handful of pretzel sticks, which was quickly followed by a mild tummy ache. Maybe it was the duck tongue on the episode of Chopped I was watching. Either way, I tried my best to settle both my belly and my mind…

Yesterday, Barry bought me Kashi’s new cereal: Heart to Heart Nutty Chia Flax! This, topped with flax milk and a handful of freeze dried strawberries, hit my breakfast tooth, this morning. Its like cheerios with a sweetness with flax and chis seeds stuck to each “O”!

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After a late night and a very early morning, thanks to my brothers alarm buzzing for 40 minutes, I laid back down to see if a mid morning nap could happen. It didn’t, but I did give me the motivation to get myself up and going. I got changed, and took advantage of the nice breeze and went for a nice brisk 2 mile walk up to the store, where I, of course, took advantage of the discount produce!

Shorty after arriving home, I wrapped three dill pickles in some lean turkey lunch meat to replenish my sodium electrolytes. My walk made me feel a little less guilty about sitting on my tush for the next hour studying.

The tummy began to grumble, again, about 2 hours later, to which I responded with POPCORNERS (its terrible how good these are). I, then, realized a better, crunchier, more refreshing option! I felt like a genius! Celery!

WP_003278This leads me to admitting a very serious problem: My name is Sammy Bundo, and I am a salsa addict.

Yes, we know I’m a dancing fool, but I am referring to salsa of the chunky variety, especially the homemade stuff! “How filling and refreshing and yummy was my celery and salsa,” you ask? Yummy enough to account for majority of the missing salsa from this jar! New favorite health snack! 

Lunch time was not the last appearance of salsa for the day. After dinner, snacky Sammy kicked in and nibbling ensued. I introduced dad to the snack, and he couldn’t believe was good it was! We wound up finishing the celery and a bell pepper, that we used for dipping. The jar is almost empty! I’m serious when I say try this combo! It feels like your chewing and chewing and its sooooo good!

So, Tuesday was meatloaf, and potatoes, and tonight’s comfort food was pasta! Dad and I are both suckers for scallops, so when I came across this at Trader Joes, I scooped it up!

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Saucy Scallops with Mushrooms in an Emmental Cheese sauce! I didn’t know what emmental cheese was, but I was sold! (Emmental cheese is a swiss cheese, by the way).

I threw this in the skillet with salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, additional mushrooms and peas, and reduced fat Parmesan.

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MMM! The sweet peas and scallops with the earthy tones of the mushrooms was absolutely delicious with the creamy white white cheese sauce! While pops prefers pasta, I topped a bowl of Fettuccine Tofu Shirataki Noodles with the saucy mix, and served both up with a glass of wine that I had gotten on my trip to San Jose and some garlic toast.

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WP_003279The wine was a Rose wine from Napa Valley, CA called Ménage à Trois. It was a complete combination of sweet and dry and refreshing and tart! Perfect for what a rose should be! We actually finished the bottle of wine, which is probably why I had the munchies. The wine was delicious! I’m going to keep an eye out for it on the east coast.

Continuing our guilt-free snacky adventure as we watched our Redbox movie, Flight, I serve up a big bowl of the Chocolate Peanut Butter Arctic Zero, sprinkled with Chocolate PB2, multigrain cheerios, for crunch, and jimmies!

The remainder of this night, I plan on sleeping, hopefully, and studying away.

Big news: I scheduled the date, time and location of my NCLEX exam! I had a hard time clicking ‘confirm,’ I was so scared! I can do this… maybe the munchies were wine induced and nerve-related… who knows, but please keep me in my prayers!