It's January (again)! This is the month of goals, aspirations, re-starts and optimism. What I find challenging is the feeling that the goal post might have been moved, without my knowledge. It's similar to that missing sock that never emerges from the dryer...it's so clear that two went in so how is it possible that only one came out?
Plans, strategy, focus, commitment: these are all methods to accomplish a goal. But, what happens when the goal post shifts? My 2017 personal goal is to find peace with my aging body! I feel like the key might be the opposite of what is traditionally presented: eat better, work out more, sleep more. Maybe the key is to let the goal post shift. Rather than have some idealized vision of my body, maybe my goal should be to embrace each day with an acknowledgement of gratitude that just accepts my changing body.
So, I resolve to not beat myself up over the following things:
- Jeans that don't fit like they used to
- Hands that remind me of my grandmother
- Facial hair (!!)
- Adding 30 minutes to my alarm most mornings
I pledge to stop Googling every body ache, purchasing yet another cookbook (Paleo, AIP, FODMAP, Flat Belly) and running down the rabbit hole of remedies! Some days are just going to be rough and others will be amazing. I am going to make time to take time.
The really good news is that January only comes once a year!
It’s the January 4th, time to find that old paleo cook book, dust off the running shoes, and remember the directions to the gym…. At least that is the case for me. After a month long eating and drinking celebration of the holidays, it is time to get my mind and body back on the right track.
I am sure that most of us are having the same conversations we have every year, how can I be better, what are my New Year resolutions? Coming up with the resolutions are the easy part, let’s talk about the hard part, how do we stay on the right track all year long.
Here are a few steps to keep you moving towards your New Year goals all year long.
Start small – I want to get back into better shape, my goal is to be at the gym 5 days a week, but for the first few weeks I am going to make sure I make it at least 3 and then 4 then eventually 5. But starting off with too high of goals can discourage you quickly and you will stop before you begin.
Change one behavior at a time – I would like to have a cleaner and more organized room, my small behavior change to start is to make sure that my bed is made before I leave for work. While I will not accomplish my overall goal with that small behavior, it is the practice that will lead to success of my bigger goal of being cleaner and more organized.
Ask for support – I wrote down my resolutions and told them to my cousin who I live with, I told him to keep me accountable and don’t be afraid to remind me of my goals. Everyone needs a helping hand, Steph Curry needed Steve Kerr, without him they would be a playoff team, now they are a championship team.
Drink wine – Specifically Baldacci wine, it’s good for you and a healthy habit that will keep you moving right along with all your other goals!
If you need any extra wine or need some support feel free to give me a call here at the winery, I am your guy! Good luck to all on your New Year’s resolutions, 2017 is going to be an exciting year for the whole team at Baldacci Family Vineyards.
Christmas Eve at my Grandparents is the tradition that I look forward to every year. Having my entire family under one roof during the Christmas season is a Christmas blessing that we do not take for granted. With 19 grandchildren, 12 aunt and uncles and my grandparents, it is tough to get everyone on the same schedule, but this one is a cannot miss.
When we were young it was a big toy party! Everyone received fun presents, changed into their Pajamas and trolled around the house looking for someone to show off their new Hot Wheels or Teddy Bear.
Now with most of the grandkids well over the toy phase, the tradition has turned into a great opportunity for everyone to be together.
As my good friend Ferris Buehler once told me… “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Christmas Eve at my Grandparents is an opportunity for all us be together, to take time out of our hectic lives, stop, pause, and be thankful for all of our blessings. There is truly not better tradition in my eyes then Family during the Holidays.
Well, maybe not 50...more like 4 and it's about the day after, anyhow.
I love Thanksgiving! For some reason, I never cook a turkey at any other time of the year. I think the overall size of the bird is just too intimidating. Yet, the largesse is exactly what makes the day after so appealing. The next day repurposing, is the best!
Breakfast: Turkey Hash
This is easy and portion size is directly proportional to the morning's exercise. Chop up 1 cup of turkey and 1 cup each of any extra veggies. I had carrots, broccoli, and zucchini. I added about 1/4 cup of chopped white onion, too. Heat up a cast iron skillet, add a liberal spoonful of coconut oil and start with the onions and carrots. Turn to low, stir until soft, add the zucchini and broccoli. Stir until they are both bright green. Add the turkey until it's heated. Place in a bowl, add sea salt to taste and enjoy!
Post Breakfast: Turkey Stock
Bone broth is a cure all for so many things! Thanksgiving turkey broth has the advantage of additional flavor since the turkey was roasted or grilled with ample seasoning. I make the stock and then freeze it. This becomes my base for a quick mid-week soup, for supper. I just add veggies and within 10 minutes, I have a meal!
Lunch: Turkey Salad
After the excess of Thanksgiving, a nice light salad hits the spot. This is a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks: The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook. Go to page 224 and substitute the chicken with the Turkey.
1/2 cup Garlic Mayonnaise - I use Low fat Vegenaise with garlic that I crush into it
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tsp powdered turmeric
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 cups shredded chicken (use the leftover turkey)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbsp chopped parsley, for garnish
Combine the mayo, vinegar, lemon juice, turmeric, ginger and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the chicken (turkey), red onion, and raisins. Stir to combine and serve on top of your favorite mixed greens.
Dinner: Turkey Enchilada Casserole
Ok, this pretty much negates all of the lighter meals, from the day, but heck, keep the calories coming! There is always the weekend to exercise and a good movie and a glass of wine to close out the evening.
Napa is considered by many to be the mecca for foodies, and I would tend to agree with them. To live like a local though, you need to know which are which, and so I decided that with the start of the basketball season, I would give out some of my own awards to some of my favorite restaurants.
Rookie of the Year goes to a restaurant that is new on the block and has taken the town by storm. Located on the corner of first and Main street, Basalt has attracted many high regards for their wonderful food, fun cocktails and great atmosphere, after eating there a couple of times I think that it deserves all of that praise.
6th man of the Year goes to the restaurant Farmstead, like any good 6th man this restaurant does not get all of the big hype from the press, but works hard behind the scenes and is an integral part to the foodie scene in Napa with less fanfare then some of the main attractions. I have eaten everything off this menu and have always had a great meal! Chef Stephen Barber is a wizard with any sort of game or fish dish, with big hearty portions and tons of flavor in every single bite. Located in St. Helena, it is worth the drive even from Napa.
Comeback Player of the Year goes to Lucy’s, despite a change in ownership and chef they have not lost a step. Located in the Bardessono hotel this restaurant can fly under the radar but the fresh food and amazing ambiance makes this restaurant a homerun. Look out next year this restaurant is a potential to win the MVP award.
Defensive Player of the Year goes to Grace’s Table not on the main road and maybe not the first restaurant that comes to mind for most people, but it is a big part of what makes the Napa food scene so amazing. Michelin rated, this little restaurant on the corner brings down the house with amazing food at a great price with a warm and comfortable setting.
Coach of the Year is for Redd/ ReddWood, and really for chef Richard Reddington, who is the mastermind behind these two amazing restaurants, both located in the town of Yountville. Different styles and cuisine, but same great service, wonderful atmosphere, and food I promise you will always remember.
MVP- Ad Hoc. I think that there is a lot of great food throughout the valley, but dollar for dollar Ad Hoc is by far the best. I am not sure if it is the pre fixed menu, that everything is served family style, or because the portions never leave you hungry, either way, there are too many great things to choose from when it comes to why I think Ad Hoc is the real MVP of the food scene in Napa.
Local food awards from a local himself.
Living like a local, in any community, has its charms, practical solutions and insider tricks! I have lived locally, in the Napa Valley, since 1973. There have been many changes, but also, many constants. On the practical side of things, my favorite dentist, Dr. Rob Hampton, has been cleaning teeth AND creating amazing art since, well, forever. Other great artwork can be found high on the walls of the St. Helena Post Office or at Woodhouse Chocolate. The holiday window displays, by both Woodhouse and The Model Bakery, invite inspiration to both eat and create something!
The best places to grab a cool gift are Sportago or Lark Shoes. I know, shoes are risky, but the selection is amazing! Same with Athletic Feat...and for clothes, go to Lolo's! It's consignment, Napa Valley style. Top brands, funky knick knacks, and eclectic jewelry...which leads me to Sherri Gallagher and her beautiful handmade works of art.
Food is a whole other category. The Napa Valley has everything, truly, but as a local, we actually eat in as often as we eat out! Best fish is from Osprey Seafood, best kitchen gadgets are found at either Steve's Hardware or Shackford's and if you want to kill your meal, go to Sweeney's.
Best pull out for a kiss and a sunset is just past Viader Winery, on Deer Park Road. Best place to eat popcorn with a glass of wine is the Cameo Cinema and my favorite place to wear all white and drink a cocktail is playing croquet at Meadowood. Dr. Gold takes care of all our animals and Jake fixes all of our bikes.
So, next time you are planning a visit to the area, give us a call and we'll make a recommendation or two!
Garry the Grape is the tale of Garry, and his adventure through the 2016 growing season to fulfill his dream of becoming a Baldacci Family Vineyard wine, the best wine in ALL of the world.
Garry’s story begins in March. It was a cold night, the land was bleak, and the air was ripe with death. One cold spell or a lazy frost supervisor meant it was over before it began for our hero Garry.
“There were times when I thought I wasn’t going to make it. It got really cold out there, but I knew if I could stay above 32 degrees I would be a great candidate for BFV wine, and that is what kept me going.”
Winter was long, spring was longer and the potential of frost was ever present each passing day.
“My parents and grandparents never told me about a cold spring, all they could talk about were the heats in September and to conserve as much water as possible…”
Garry the grape made it through the Spring, and once again experienced a first.
“Rain? We had to go back to our great-great-great-great grandparents to figure out the translation, it was the drip from the sky… wow I like rain.”
Garry’s adventures through the spring into the summer were ALL focused on leaves and haircuts.
“I heard on the vine that two haircuts are another good sign that I had the potential to be a BFV wine. I worked hard to push as many leaves as possible and I tell you, it was worth it. That first haircut was amazing, tons of newfound energy, and after the second, I kicked it into another gear and started changing colors!”
Harvest was fast approaching, our Hero Garry had survived many trials and tribulations, but he was not safe yet.
“Some grapes get lazy at this time, they start to change color and they think that they are home free and destined for the picking bin. I knew better; ripen too fast and I would be a raisin, not up to BFV standards. Too slow and I would be cut on the ground before harvest began! I had worked all year, the 2016 growing season was awesome for me, I felt like I was in the perfect place to ripen, mentally and physically.”
The growing season was perfect in 2016, warm days in the beginning followed by a two-week spell of nice, mild temperatures. Garry timed his ripening perfectly, and harvest was only a matter of time.
“I saw my boys Michael, Ricardo and Rolando out there more and more and I had heard those were the guys that make the final call. They kept trying all the grapes around me and talking about ‘…sweetness, chalky tannins, berry development and brix…’ I really wasn’t too sure what they were talking about, all I know is the other day I was sleeping when I was awakened by big lights and someone tugging at me with scissors, and I thought, this is the day!”
Garry’s dream had become a reality. On the night of September 20, 2016 Baldacci Family Vineyards picked their first set of grapes, and our hero Garry made the cut. He had worked hard and the team at Baldacci appreciated his effort throughout the year.
“I knew I could do it the whole time! My parents and grandparents gave me some great advice before the season. I think that I stayed patient, didn’t get ahead of myself and just took it one growing degree a day at a time. Baldacci saw my hard work and brought me into the winery for some fermentation and extraction and I know they will not regret it.”
Stay tuned as our hero Garry travels from picking bin, through de-stemmer crusher and into the fermentation vat to make the full transition into wine!
Have you ever had so much fruit in your fridge that you didn’t know what to do with it? Were you worried that it would go bad before you could eat it? I have this problem more often than you’d think. One fruit in particular is apples. I LOVE apples, but from the combination of my mom and grandmother I always seem to have baskets full of them.
Last weekend I washed, peeled, sliced and froze all the apples I had. This is a great way to preserve any fruit you may not be able to eat or use before it rots. Yesterday I made Apple Scrapple for the team at work. This is one of my favorite fall desserts! The warm cinnamon apples with the cold vanilla ice cream will leave your sweet tooth satisfied.
First start off by smashing up graham cracker crumbs until they are nice and fine. Add half a stick up melted butter and a dash of cinnamon and brown sugar. Mix well until the graham crackers are all moist. Push down into a glass pan to create a crust. Place in the oven at 350 degrees to crisp up.
While the crust is baking add a couple handfuls of sliced frozen apples into a bull. Add the remaining stick of melted butter, lots of cinnamon and brown sugar for sweetness. Stir in oats and graham cracker crumbs. Add the filling to the pan and top with more cinnamon and graham crackers and bake for 35 minutes.
After letting it cool for 10 minutes, cut into squares and top with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.
You will definitely go back for seconds!
My love for cars came to me while playing with toy cars as a young boy, racing them through imaginary race tracks up and down the stairs. As I got older my interest for cars grew. My father started teaching my older brother and me how to change the oil on the family suburban as well as how to change the brakes and how to keep all the oil reservoir’s topped off. It was a wonderful learning experience that has stuck with me to this day. The fun really began when my older brother bought his first car! We did all the maintenances on it together and fixed it up real nicely.
Rims, lowering kit, intake and exhaust were all the things that were purchased and installed by us to make the car look nicer and drive a lot faster.
A couple years later and I was able to purchase my own car. I bought a 2003 Acura RSX Type-S. It only had 14,000 miles on it and I knew I bought it for a steal! I immediately started modifying the car the way I wanted it to look like with new rims and tires. I later installed a lowering kit to fill in the gap between my tire and the wheel well. My car looked and sounded just like I had wanted it too.
Then came the day when my heart broke…
My car was a sports car, manual 6 speed transmission. Like the typical 18 year old guy, I had a heavy foot and liked the adrenaline rush. I was driving along one day when I heard a big clunk noise and all of a sudden the car wouldn’t go anywhere. I was devastated, my transmission had blown and the clutch was burned. I pulled the motor out and had the transmission rebuilt. After reinstalling the motor it was like a new car again and I was able to get back in the driver seat and cruise down the road.
There once was a time when vehicles did not exist. All they had were carts and horses to transport things around. When I was young we had these carts called “guillain”. This was the only form of transportation, just a horse, a wagon made of wood, one axle, the driver and any supplies he needed to carry on the back. These horses and wagons were responsible for transporting supplies, food and people. I have some wonderful memories riding around in the guillain, but it also makes me appreciate the advancement of technology. Working at a winery, it is much easier to get around from vineyard to vineyard with a car or truck as opposed to a horse and buggy. Those were some great memories, but I am happy to be back in Napa with my truck!
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