Friday, September 29, 2017

Cooking with Wine

When your recipe calls for wine, what do you use?

First of all, let’s get the obvious initial thought of using cooking wine out of the way.

Please do NOT use that cooking wine that you find at your grocery store, no matter what.
This type of cooking wine has been severely processed with amazingly high amounts of salt and additives – it will, unfortunately, ruin your meal.

Your selected recipe deserves the proper wine to allow your taste buds to thank your decision.

Some long-standing advice from chefs and wine connoisseurs has been to cook with wine you would drink. You can prove them right or wrong, but have fun doing it!

Create your meal with joy and relaxation so you can intuitively appreciate and enjoy the wine that you chose to flavor with.

"The main thing is to have a gutsy approach and use your head." – Julia Child

Absolutely Julia!

Keep it simple and try not to overthink your choice of vino.

When recipes call for a red or white wine without a hint for the meal, then all you have to do is experiment. Stay committed to the recipe! Don’t skip to another one that looks easier.

Most recipes want to give you the freedom to choose for your own palate, so please don’t be intimidated by that.

You will also come across recipes that have specific wine recommendations – and they are a pretty safe bet – unless they state a “cooking wine” as we mentioned in the beginning.

Helpful Tips for Choosing a Wine to Cook With

If your dish calls for red wine, start with some basic reds that contain low tannins such as a Pinot Noir, Burgundy or Merlot.

This is because the higher the tannins, the more you risk your dish turning out to be too bitter to tame.
The longer the wine is cooked with your meal, the less alcohol “taste” will be detected.  This goes for whites or reds. Your level of cooking with wine will evolve into an art, your palate will guide you to gratitude each time.

If your dish calls for white wine, choose dry and remember that white wines already contain low tannin levels.

Your dish will highly approve of white Bordeaux, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or a dry Riesling.

Select any wine containing recipe and have fun with it!

"The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It’s doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile." – Julia Child

Friday, September 22, 2017

How Does Wine Affect Sleep?

Two Life Essentials: Wine and Sleep

How do they mix?

Does wine really promote sleep?

Let's break this down and look at what is involved with sleep and how wine is connected to our nighttime slumber.

First of all, here's a tidbit of anatomy and physiology.

In our brain lies a tiny but powerful little gland called the pineal gland. Its main purpose is to secrete melatonin for the regulation of your sleep pattern. 

Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in animals and regulates sleep and wakefulness.
Melatonin is also produced in plants where it functions as the first line of defense against oxidative stress.
Notably, high melatonin concentrations have been measured in popular beverages such as coffee, tea, wine, and beer, and crops including corn, rice, wheat, barley, and oats.(Wikipedia)

With this information, one would assume that having a glass of wine would increase melatonin enough to help you sleep like a baby.
Due to certain grape skins containing higher levels of melatonin, it is reasonable to think that wine improves sleep.
Wine definitely acts as a sedative on our nervous system, one of the main reasons a glass of wine is poured upon walking in the door or at happy hour after a long day at work. 
RELAX is our commonly spoken lingo as if demanding ourselves and those around us to do just that and we know it's easier to do with a glass of vino.

Seem too good to be true? Possibly.
Obviously, there are other factors involved as the hours unfold as one prepares for bed and attempts to get a restful nights sleep.

How many glasses have you had?
Each person has their "sweet spot" for any altering substances, from medications to alcohol. 
Knowing your relaxed buzz state and realizing when you have had your limit is key for allowing wine to help promote your sleep. 
The 2 drink rule is very ideal for most individuals...this allows you to relax and actually sleep very well.

How much water and food have you had?
Feeling that initial sip of wine hit your stomach after a long day can be bittersweet. 
Drinking water along with your wine and staying hydrated all day long can only help your system handle the alcohol to your advantage.
Eating is equally important so you minimize or eliminate any negative effects.

Are there any underlying health conditions?
If you experience uncomfortable symptoms after drinking wine you may have an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed.
Common symptoms for an overtaxed liver are night sweats, restless sleep, irritability, rashy skin, headaches and severe cravings for wine.
Supporting your liver is critical for supporting your body's ability to detox.
Add fresh lemon to your water every day and drink herbal liver teas including green tea. Pay attention to your body so you can drink successfully.

How late are you drinking wine?

The earlier you consume wine in the evening the better chance it will positively affect your sleep.
Drinking wine right up until bed will interfere with your sleep cycles and you will more than likely notice a restless, disturbed sleep...even if it appears deep.
Dialing in what time you need to stop drinking is critical if you want restful, productive sleep.
Let's remember that melatonin is stimulated by darkness and certain red wines, but light and too much alcohol suppress its release. 
An example of this is how you can work a night shift or travel late, your pineal gland is very sensitive and obedient to your habits.
Your lifestyle heavily influences when your pineal can release the sleep-promoting hormone. 
This is clearly why sleep masks and blackout curtains for daytime or restless sleepers can be a fantastic health saving solution.
The screen light on any device (phone, iPad, computer, iPod, etc) also interrupts the pineal gland as well. 

So it makes sense that if you struggle with falling or staying asleep, the combination of sipping wine while you are staring at a screen right before bed is not going to help you.

Are your stress levels mild or severe?

Each happy hour or evening is different...a variety of emotions can be at play anytime. 
It comes down to are you relaxed or stressed? 
Like a grapefruit, when squeezed, what comes out? Grapefruit juice.
When you are squeezed, meaning stressors, what is coming out?
If you are calm at the core, drinking wine will be beneficial.
If your stress levels are severe, be aware that drinking wine or any alcohol can increase your negative moods.

What type of wine are you consuming?

Ever notice that after drinking certain red wines you literally feel like you could go to sleep?
It's because the grape skins of some red wines have a significantly higher concentration of melatonin.
So if you want are consuming wine in the evening to promote sleep, try one of these red wines first.

Here is a list of wines with the highest melatonin content:

Cabernet Sauvignon 
(Cabernet Sauvignon has 75 times more melatonin than Cabernet Franc)
Cabernet Franc

Wine can absolutely affect your sleep.
Now you have some tips on how to dial in your favorite kind to do the trick.

Cheers and Good Night!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Cheap Wine vs Affordable Wine

Cheap Wine versus Affordable Wine

Cheap can be great when it comes to finding sweet travel deals and your favorite shoes or clothing bargains.
But we have all tried the cheaper route many times for whatever reasons.
Lessons were learned, especially when we tried cheap furniture, mattresses, toilet paper, or paint!
Honestly, more than not our choices ended in disappointment.

Understanding that all of us want to purchase or invest in affordable products that yield satisfaction, please add wine to that list.

We drink wine not only for the enjoyment factor but clearly for the taste and total experience as well.

When you see cheap wine proceed with caution. 
It's like choosing to walk down a dark alley over a well-lit street. 
It may turn out just fine, but why would we risk it?

When it comes to being cheap with your wine, is it really worth it?

Here we mean "cheap" is a bottle of wine that goes for $5 or less.

What is the new buzz at Target stores?

While you fill your red cart you can now choose from five different types of California Roots wine.
This line of cheap wine recently launched for only $5 a bottle right at Target.
Again we would proceed with caution.

The big question is WHY? Why is it so cheap? 
Where is it made? What is it filled with?
What do we know about this wine?

If you have had the chance to visit or live near a Trader Joes, you have more than likely opened a bottle of a Two Buck Chuck with excitement. 
A bottle of wine for just under three bucks? Why not!
After the first sip, you are quick to realize why it is so cheap.
But at least with Charles Shaw, we have history and a solid understanding of the why and how behind this wine.
Obviously, there are enough wine drinkers that appreciate the taste and ease on their pocketbook.
In regards to the new cheap wine at Target, we will definitely keep an eye on the reviews as we have an interest in this new trend.

Now you may have found a cheap wine that tastes great, looks right, doesn't give you a headache, hives, sinus congestion or leave you with a hangover.

If it lets you have a nice time and you are satisfied...consider yourself lucky.
Most wine lovers will find that cheap wine just won't do.
Affordable wines are that you can trust are the goal. Being able to enjoy a wine that is exquisite but doesn't hurt your pocket book.

Here are some of our top favorite affordable wines for your next wine shopping trip, whether they are for you or a gift. 
Yes, we really like Chilean wines!

2015 Cousino-Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley Chile $15

2014 Tinga Reserve Pino Noir Limari Valley Chile

2015 Odfjell Orzada Malbec Lontue Valley Chile

2011 Primus Carmenere Colchagua Valley Chile

2015 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere Rapel Valley Chile

2014 Peter Zemmer Alto Adige Pinot Grigio

2014 King Estate Acrobat Pinot Gris Oregon

2016 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay California

No more disappointment with cheap wine when you can thoroughly enjoy affordable wine!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Why Is Wine So Fun??

Why Is Wine So Fun???

Wine is like a pair of black shoes - it goes with everything!

And we can never have enough of either of these!

But seriously - wine has become synonymous with the important  arenas and special occasions in our lives!

From Happy Hour and Dinner Parties to Picnics and Gift Giving - 
Wine is there!

You can easily enjoy music and art while sipping on wine!
Try out your local wine bars and search for festivals in your area.
Go out with friends and family for painting and vino.

Wine has also become a staple for those that are active!
There are ongoing wine runs, walks, hikes, bike rides and fishing events that include wine.
You can even sip on the grapes during or after yoga!
Earn that wine!

We can all agree to some extent that we start our days with coffee and end them with wine...check out your local coffee and wine shops.
Have fun creating a wine environment in your home with some unique decor and evidence that vino is a part of your life!

We can't ignore Mom's Night Out evenings - these truly are an event.
A special holiday really.
These rewarding times can be at a wine bar or favorite restaurant/club, a movie theater that serves wine, a professional wine tasting or the fun of drinking different wine at someone else's home. These don't need to be fancy, just special time with girlfriends along with some good vino spells AHHHHH!

You can announce to the world your love of wine with your lifestyle!
You will find hats, tank tops, tee shirts, hoodies, leggings, key chains, blankets, jewelry, backpacks, purses, wine decor, bumper stickers and more!

Weddings, bridal and baby showers, birthdays, special occasions, family time and holidays all equal drinking wine!

Wine is a must for romantic dinners and picnics as well as your simple relax time.

Draw your bath or hang your hammock and enjoy your favorite wine. 

Sporting events and game days - have your beer on hand but don't forget the wine!

Vacations and last minute trips easily call for wine.
Wine tours and tastings are always worth the trip!
Make this a part of your next adventure.

Make your own wine - classes and kits make it easy to learn and how fun it is to enjoy your own!

Wine is the perfect gift.
Choose from wine bottles and accessories, to wine decor and cheese boards.
Gift giving becomes simple even for the person who is always hard to buy for.

Home delivery has become more popular as well.
You can try different types from pale the various regions and start making your favorites list. Try reds, whites and roses and even paleo and low tannin wines to prevent headaches.

When you pick out your next pair of black shoes...remember the wine!

This is why wine is so fun!

Enjoy Sharing the Wine!