One of the iconic winemaking families from the Valley, the Cakebreads, shares its recommendations. (copyright Rawpixel.com/stock.Adobe.com)
IDEAS & TIPS FOR 2018
Food and wine pairing for New Year’s Eve
(StatePoint) To create a delicious and memorable experience at your holiday gathering, seek some inspiration from the vintners and chefs of one of the most impressive wine and food destinations worldwide, Napa Valley.
One of the iconic winemaking families from the Valley, the Cakebreads, share its recommendations.
When it comes to red wine, the fresh, fragrant aromas of red and black cherry, raspberry and tea-leaf spice found in the 2015 “Two Creeks” Pinot Noir (SRP $44) can provide an elegant accompaniment to your meal. This cool-climate Pinot Noir complements seared tuna, roast turkey, pork tenderloin and hearty root vegetables.
For your white wine, consider the vivid creamy aromas of green and golden apple, pear and citrus with supporting scents of oak spice found in the Napa Valley Chardonnay 2015 (SRP $40), which pairs nicely with chicken, shellfish, seafood and grilled salads.
Both wines are produced at Cakebread Cellars, a family-owned winery since 1973, committed to craftsmanship. Their premier culinary program makes cooking and pairing wines easy. Take a cue from their playbook by enjoying the Chardonnay selection with their recipe for harissa spiked roast crab with spicy red pepper sauce.
• 3 large Dungeness crabs, cooked, cleaned and cracked
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 1/2 tablespoons whole spice harissa spice blend (a mix of ground dried chilies, cumin, coriander and garlic)
• 3-4 cloves garlic, mashed
• 2 tablespoons orange juice
• 1 tablespoon lime juice
• 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
• 1 cup mayonnaise
• 1/3 cup roasted red peppers
• 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
• Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
• Place crab in the bottom of a large casserole dish, large enough for all crabs to fit in an even layer.
• Crack all leg shells. The body should be broken up into about six smaller pieces, so that the marinade can seep into the meat.
• To create the marinade, in a small bowl, combine the olive oil, harissa spice mix, mashed garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon of orange juice and 1 teaspoon of lime juice, and stir.
• Pour marinade over the crabs and toss with your hands to evenly coat. Be sure they are well coated.
• Place in the middle of the preheated oven. Roast for 10-12 minutes. Flip once or twice, so that the crab cooks evenly.
• While the crabs are roasting, place the mayonnaise, red peppers, hot sauce, 1 tablespoon of orange juice and 1 teaspoon of lime juice in a blender jar. Puree until smooth.
To serve, place casserole in the center of table for guests to help themselves, and pass bowls of the red pepper sauce. Serve with lots of napkins.
Celebrate with sparkling wine
(StatePoint) With New Year’s Eve here, it is time to celebrate, and sparkling wines go hand-in-hand with special occasions. If you are looking for something new to serve this year, consider swapping your usual bubbles for Cava, a delicious and wallet-friendly Spanish sparkling wine that is made using the same traditional methods as Champagne.
One Cava producer offering top-quality sparkling wines is Poema. Their wines are made from sustainably farmed grapes, and are available at affordable prices. Their Poema Cava Brut (SRP: $12.99) is a fine choice for your cocktail hour. Its fresh citrus and granny smith apple aromas and toasty notes are a good match with light tapas, oysters and seafood. It also makes for delicious sparkling cocktails, such as the “Belle of the Ball.”
• 4-ounces Poema Cava Brut
• 1/2-ounce Belle de Brillet Pear Liqueur
• A splash of orange liqueur
Chill Cava and Pear Liqueur beforehand. Then, pour both ingredients into a flute. Top off with a splash of orange liqueur.
For those who like things a little bit sweeter, there is Poema’s Cava Extra Dry (SRP: $12.99). Served as an aperitif or paired with passed appetizers and starters, its crisp aromas of green apples, limestone and spring flowers offer a trace of sweetness that is well balanced by a crisp finish.
‘Healthy’ resolutions worth giving up
(StatePoint) While most New Year’s resolutions are well-intentioned, sometimes they look better on paper than in practice, actually doing more harm than good. Here are five so-called “healthy” resolutions worth giving up in 2018, as well as better solutions.
Resolution 1: I’m going to take up permanent residence in the gym. Working out is an important piece of the weight loss puzzle, but moderation is key. Studies suggest that too much exercise can lead to a number of issues like hormonal imbalance, fatigue, insomnia and even depression. Many people also report experiencing a drastic increase in appetite after extreme bouts of physical activity, which can lead to overeating and negate the weight-related benefits. Plus, if you exercise so intensely that you’re injured or sore for days, it will be difficult to sustain this otherwise healthy habit.
Resolution 2: I’m saying goodbye to fats completely. Fatty foods have gotten a bad rap. The reality is there are good fats and bad fats. In humans, fat helps support normal growth and development, provides energy, allows for proper cellular function, provides protective cushioning for organs and helps with absorption of certain vitamins. Bad fats are found in foods like meat, butter, lard, cream and trans fats (found in baked goods, fried foods and margarine) and can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Aim to replace these with good fats, which are associated with a decreased risk of chronic disease. Good fats include plant-based oils like olive and canola, avocados, nuts, seeds and dairy, since these also offer the nutrition your body needs.
Resolution 3: I’m going to skip breakfast to cut calories. According to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, if you’re skipping breakfast, you’re doing something wrong. Research shows breakfast helps support brain function, energy and mood. Research suggests that people who eat breakfast consume fewer calories throughout the day, weigh less and have fewer risk factors for heart disease. Just a few reasons to load up in the a.m.
Resolution 4: I’ll just crash diet to lose the weight. Crash diets don’t work and many people who do them end up just gaining the weight back.
“Sustainable weight loss should not involve hunger or deprivation,” says Mandi Knowles, dietitian for South Beach Diet. “Your weight loss efforts should include sensible changes that are easy to follow.”
Find a weight loss plan that’s convenient and lets you know with confidence that you are losing weight the healthy way. Plans like South Beach Diet teach portion control through a low-carb, high-protein approach with meals delivered to your door.
Resolution 5: I’m going to stop snacking. Snacks can account for more than a quarter of one’s daily calories. But if you munch on nutrient-dense foods (high in vitamins, minerals and fiber and low in calories), you’re more likely to maintain a healthy weight, according to the “National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.” So, snack wisely.
For more weight loss tips, visit palm.southbeachdiet.com.
Organization tips for busy families
(StatePoint) Hectic mornings, piles of homework, endless events, practices, games and school conferences; when you’re a busy parent, day-to-day tasks can consume your thoughts and energy. Stay organized and sane by following these simple tips to beat the rush.
Communication is key when it comes to organization. Stay in sync with your family by using a digital calendar. Smartphone apps such as Hub allow multiple users to share to-do and shopping lists, appointments, commitments and more. In addition, many apps have messaging capabilities to ensure users can share specific details and instructions (“Bring treats for the holiday party Tuesday”) and last-minute changes (“Grandma is picking up the kids today”) with one or more family members.
If your family prefers a physical calendar, incorporate it into a complete “home command station” in an area everyone passes, like a nook in the kitchen or a corner in the family room. Build out the space as the central location for organization. Use chalkboard paint to create a reusable messaging wall for daily assignments and appointments. Include a shelf or cubby with an inbox and outbox so permission slips, bills and important documents don’t get lost.
Make this station even more useful by adding a dedicated space for children to do homework. Include a desk, computer, school supplies and a bright desk lamp. Encourage success by posting recent “wins” nearby, like that aced spelling test or impressionist masterpiece. Utilize file cabinets, labeled folders or pouches to separate print materials and USB flash drives by subject, so homework can be handled with less stress.
Modify meal prep
Before heading to the market, map out meals for the week that share common ingredients to increase efficiency and reduce waste; then create a shopping list packed with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Maintain a consistent supply of fresh, delicious produce with subscription boxes or community-supported agriculture membership.
Prep breakfasts and lunches the night before to save time in the morning and ensure your family consumes healthy, whole foods, versus pre-packaged convenience foods.
Smoothies provide a nutritious breakfast or snack at home or on-the-go. Prepare and freeze individual servings of chopped fruits and vegetables in resealable bags. When you’re ready to use, place the frozen produce into a high-powered blender, such as the Vitamix A3300 Ascent Series blender, add almond milk, soy milk or water and blend on high until the desired consistency is reached.
For lunch, prep power-packed meals with items like almond and seed butters to provide protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Mix unsalted, roasted almonds and canola oil in a high-powered blender to create homemade almond butter; or blend sunflower seeds, flaxseed, sesame seeds and sunflower oil for an allergy-friendly no-nut butter. Pair these delicious spreads with jam on whole-wheat bread for a twist on a traditional lunchbox favorite.
Steps to a healthier you this New Year
(StatePoint) Want to make resolutions you’ll keep this new year? Think simple, sustainable changes. Follow these four steps for a healthier you, inside and out.
Stick to your workout
After the holidays, the gym is filled with people who have resolved to incorporate exercise routines into their lives. Come February, the novelty of the new year wears off, life gets in the way and, according to “U.S. News & World Report,” 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of the month.
Instead of jumping from no routine to a seven-days-a-week commitment, introduce workouts to your schedule in small doses. Dread cardio or weight machines? Find something that you’ll look forward to, like a cycling class, yoga or outdoor pursuits. Choosing activities that you enjoy will increase your chances of sticking to your resolution.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Americans are falling short of their fruit and vegetable intake goals, and most eat only half the recommended amount of fiber. To increase your consumption of essential nutrients, create a grocery list packed with fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains.
Plan meals for the week to ensure you stick to a whole-food menu. Keep ingredients on hand for meals you can make in a pinch, so you’re not tempted by fast food on a busy day. Try frozen salmon fillets, which you can cook without thawing, or eggs, low-fat cheese and veggies for a quick-baking frittata.
Freeze individual servings of chopped fruits and vegetables in resealable bags to create quick and delicious smoothies each morning in a high-powered blender, such as the Vitamix E310 Explorian Series machine. For a satisfying, energy-boosting snack, use your blender to pre-make dried fruit chia bars or white chocolate peanut butter energy balls.
Stress can have adverse effects on minds and bodies, as insomnia, weight gain, anxiety and depression are all potential related risks. While it isn’t always avoidable, simple changes will help you manage tension.
Sometimes, stress can be solved with some “me time.” Treat yourself to a massage or manicure, soak in a hot bath, or unwind with a nature walk. Connecting with others can help, too. Plan a brunch with your best friend or a date night with your significant other.
Feeling overwhelmed with work and family life? Build out a to-do list or calendar to feel more in control of your busy schedule, then cross items off the list when completed.
A sunny outlook can affect your wellbeing. Keep a gratitude journal by writing down something good that happens each day. On bad days, you’ll be forced to focus on the positive aspects of your life.
One of the best ways to improve your happiness is by giving others a boost. Volunteer with a charitable organization or donate to a favorite cause. Practice doing something kind daily.
Winter wellness tips
(StatePoint) A busy lifestyle and cooler weather can take a toll on the body, especially for those who suffer from chronic aches and pains. Whether the cause of your pain is due to injury, stress, or poor sleep, there are many ways to feel better while avoiding future pain.
To stay well this season and naturally manage muscle pain, consider these tips from professional ballroom dancer Tony Dovolani, who’s no stranger to the subject of pain management.
• Stretch. Stretching is not just for before or after a workout. Stretch throughout the day to keep blood flowing, particularly if you have a job that keeps you sedentary.
• Eat right. Your diet should include lean protein and healthy carbs. “And I eat my vegetables, too!” says Dovolani. “Mainly spinach, string beans and broccoli.”
Figure out which vegetables you like best, and be sure to incorporate them into your diet.
• Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Water is necessary for muscle repair. Drink water throughout the day and especially when you’re active.
• Apply heat. Heat is a timeless remedy, and it’s clinically proven to relieve pain associated with muscle tension and stress, helping to relax muscles and improve blood flow. The increased blood flow restores oxygen and nutrients to inflamed areas to help accelerate healing.
“After every rehearsal and performance, I use heat to soothe aches and pains and improve blood flow to my neck and shoulder muscles,” says Dovolani, whose pain relief routine includes using The Sunbeam Renue Neck Wrap. “It’s great for providing relief to the back of my head, neck and shoulders.”
Because it features an adjustable neck collar that contours to the shape of the neck of the user, it can provide high-level, concentrated heat for targeted relief.
Update your home office for greater productivity
(StatePoint) If you work from home, you likely spend a lot of time in your home office, which makes its design just as important as the rest of your home. If it’s not up to par, it’s time to bring new life to the space.
A few easy updates will help you feel more comfortable and inspire you toward greater productivity.
1. Let in light. Update your window treatment to maximize natural light and get more direct sunshine, and swap out drab lamps for eye-catching fixtures that offer brighter light. Make sure your office is a well-lit place where you can see what you’re doing without straining your eyes.
2. Update your tools. Having up-to-date tools makes working in your home office that much more efficient and enjoyable. Swap out older tech with newer tools offering the latest advancements, such as Casio’s HR-170RC next generation compact printing calculator. It has a host of features, including two-color printing (red/black), a tax calculation function, a clock/calendar and a power adapter.
3. Decorate. Ditch the bare walls and add an interesting focal point, whether it’s a tapestry, cool shelving or an art print that matches your interests and inspires you creatively.
4. Go green. It is said that certain plants and flowers can promote health at home. Add some plants or fresh cut flowers to your home office to reap the benefits.
5. Get organized. Flight clutter and make important items and documents easier to locate with organizational tools like filing cabinets, folders and bins.
Be more creative in the New Year
(StatePoint) Those with creative or artistic aspirations know that consistently staying motivated and inspired is easier said than done.
Whether you’re a songwriter, a poet or a visual artist, these tried-and-true habits and new tools can help you to create your best work in the new year.
A little bit of me-time goes a long way. Carve out some space each week for your own pursuits beyond the time spent working on projects. Learn where and when you do your best thinking, brainstorming and reflection. Is it on a morning walk through the park? Do you need complete silence? Don’t be afraid to request some solitude from loved ones. This may also be a good opportunity to disconnect from your devices for a bit. Leave your phone off or at home so you aren’t tempted to distract yourself.
New technology can actually inspire you to be more creative, revolutionizing the way you plan, design and write by hand. For example, many creative people are turning to devices called eWriters, electronic tablets which combine the functionality of notepads, sketchbooks, memo books and more, and which offer unique features you don’t get with traditional pen and paper.
For example, Blackboard by Boogie Board is the first ever writing tool featuring Liquid Crystal Paper for a comfortable, natural inkless pen on paper-like writing (and erasing) experience with no lag or delay. Its transparent writing surface allows users to write on any document, photo, map or digital screen, and several templates are included, such as lines, grids and more, which is ideal for collaborative editing. A free app makes saving, organizing, searching and sharing work, doodles and edits easy. Because it works on a replaceable five-year battery, users don’t have to worry about chargers or outlets, making it a convenient tool to use wherever inspiration strikes.
Set up a work space
While you should be prepared to create wherever the spirit moves you, having a dedicated workspace at home is a good idea. Be sure it’s comfortable, away from distractions and brightly lit. Make it a space you want to spend time. Add flowers or plants, artwork and other items that inspire you.
Who do you most admire? You may get inspired by learning more about your greatest artistic heroes. Read their biographies to learn what made them tick and how they spent their days.