Living The Sweet Life: 1/1/10 - 2/1/10

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Ultimate Glamour Girl

I love Marilyn Monroe.  She's was so glamorous, you can tell she was a high maintenance "girly girl". Like all girls, she worked at it . She  didn't have the perfect life, or relationships, or body image.  It's pretty well known that she battled with her weight. By today's body standards I wonder what the paparazzi  would say?  Only fifty years ago she was the standard of beauty in a much classier time.


In Marilyn's day it was ok to have hips.

And natural boobs. 


This might be the cover of her fitness DVD if she were alive today.


Is there anyone that wouldn't be happy with this body and boyfriend?

I think she's beautiful.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Indian Butter Chicken

I love Indian food.  As a special birthday present I made a whole Indian dinner from scratch.   It took me two days to find just the right recipes and to shop for the ingredients, but it was fun.  The starter was Prawn Pekoras and Raita  Cucumber Dip.  The dinner was Butter Chicken, Basmati Rice, Aloo Gobi (cauliflower and potatoes) and Naan Bread.  The links are for the actual recipes I used  - you'll see they're all five star recipes.

This is the Butter Chicken recipe I used - I love, love, LOVE it!  It's adapted from an Indian cook book I "borrowed" from my Mom.  She ended up giving me the cook book because I kept if for so long  she had to find another one on Ebay. Sometimes daughters do that with things they really like - thanks Mom.  I find it interesting that "Butter Chicken" doesn't really have that much butter in it and the one cup of whipping cream is not that bad when you consider it's for the whole dish.  All in all another healthy chicken recipe.

Maakhan Murg (Butter Chicken)

4 chicken breasts, skinned
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. garlic, crushed
1 tsp. ginger, grated
1 tsp. green chili peppers, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 cup of whipping cream, or half & half
1 tbsp. fresh coriander

What to do:

1. Cut the chicken into bit size pieces.
2.  In saucepan fry onions in butter until golden brown.
3.  Add garlic, ginger, chili peppers, paprika and curry powder, fry for a few seconds.
4.  Add tomato sauce, salt and chicken and slowly bring to a boil.
5.  Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is nearly done, about 15 - 20 minutes.
6.  Add whipping cream, stir and simmer until chicken is tender.
7.  Garnish with coriander

I usually do steps 1-3 on the stove, then finish up in the slow cooker on low.  The house smells heavenly with the Indian spices.  If you want it to be at it's very best, cook it a day ahead and let the flavors blend overnight.  I really enjoyed getting my new Indian spices - you'll find when you get into it, you use the same ones over and over again.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

My New Cowgirl Chili

The other day my Dad told my Mom this was the best chili she has ever made. This was a huge compliament coming from him - they are few and far between. He seemed really surprised that the best bowl of chili was sitting right there in front of him. I have my own chili recipe that I make for my boys, they love it over rice with cheese and onions on top just like they do in Hawaii. Anyways I decided to try Mom's great new receipe. It seemed simple enough with nothing too out of the ordinary (except the coco).  So instead of using my world famous "Chilli -O Mix" from IGA, I was going to add the spices myself. Spencer came in the kitchen took off the lid when it was simmering and said, "This looks like real chili."  I said, "What does that mean?" He said, "You know, like cowboy chili."  I looked again and thought wow, he's right. Mine looks more like a pot of meat and beans - this had alot of nice thick sauce with beans poking out here and there. So, as it turns out Dad was right on the mark - and this really is the best chili ever, it's so, so good. It made me feel like I wanted to cook for a bunch of cowboys out on the range, circle the chuck wagons and eat off tin plates.

My New Cowgirl Chili

1 1/2 lbs of lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp. unsweetened Coco (I know it seems wierd)
1 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp ground corriander
1 tsp cummin
1 pinch of hot pepper flakes
2 - 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
2 green peppers, chopped
2 stocks of celery chopped
2 - 14 oz cans of kidney beans (undrained)

1.) Brown the meat, onion and garlic. Drain off the fat.
2.) Mix the spices and add to meat.
3.) Add the canned tomatoes, green pepper, celery and simmer 45 minutes.
4.) Add beans and simmer another 10 minutes.

* Taste the chili as it simmers, if you want it hotter add more spices to taste - be sure to keep a note of it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Paris Watercolours Made In America

You can have a beautiful Paris inspired watercolour Made In America. I'm in love with each and every watercolour by artist extraordinaire Carol Gillott. She lives in New York and paints her way to Paris two to three times a year for inspiration. You can even have commissioned watercolours done - with you and your pets in them. Her Etsy Store is wonderful and you can see what she is currently selling - you can also see what she has already sold by clicking on "sales". She also has a cute little blog called Paris Breakfast that is fun to follow with lots of her pictures of bakeries and cafes from her Paris travels.  She loves cookbooks, bakeries and cute shop windows - it's like taking a trip without leaving home!

Getting a few of these is definitely on my "to do list".
The problem is how to choose - just one.

She really does paint Paris Dreams 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Birthday Love Letter

This is from Spencer for my birthday.
All boys should learn how to write love letters - it will come in handy.
I like how diplomatic he is at the part where he says I get on his nerves....
"All in all" I love you too honey.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sew Your Panties And Hem Your Gym Pants

I joke in class about how I don't have anything in common with people that don't sew.  I do consider sewing a casing for curtains, being able to sew - because that shows there's some interest and that you even went as far as to thread the machine.  So if that's all you've done your my friend.  I do feel sorry for the girls at the gym though who have their gym pants too long and rolled up because they don't know how to hem them.  I'd cut them off with pinking shears before I'd roll them up - and no that is not an option.  So see even being able to sew a straight line means you can sew - it's a start.  You use a stretch twin needle by the way for all you gals running around with long gym pants.  Help with the pants is coming below.

Ok, so I saw these lovely vintage style panties - don't you think they're cute?  They're only (are you sitting down)  $260.00 at Lillie Boutique online (they do have beautiful things).  I think they mentioned something about the crotch in these being lined with gold.  Aren't you glad you can sew?  Panties might not be at the top of your sewing list, but if you wanted to - you know you could. I love, love, LOVE sewing!

I'm just kidding with you girls about your sad looking gym pants .  But really if you haven't hemmed them up yet give it a try it's really fast and easy.  I make my long gym pants into the Capri length all the time.  I've typed up some quick instructions for you on How to  Hem Gym Pants..  Just click the "read more" link below this sentence at the left.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"The Dress" Workout

Last October I set out the new fitness plan.I was thinking oh my god look what I ate this summer and oh my god Christmas is coming. I need to get back into a healthy routine again.

1.) Eat healthy and count calories - 1500 a day.

2.) Get back into yoga, Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

3.) Run (30 minutes) and weight train on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Tanya jumped on board and we were off.  October went as planned and so did the first part of November.  But, everything changed when Tanya bought "the Christmas dress".  The dress was a little tight in the bottom and a little big on the top - the same old story.  The plan was to take in the top and work off the bottom. 

That's when the new plan came into effect 6 days a week. 

1.) Yoga to warm up before #2

2.) Cardio - run or elliptical each day (alternate so we don't fall apart)

3.) Weight train each day, running laps between sets to keep the heart rate up

4.) Eat protein and vegetables - no white stuff, like rice, potatoes and white bread.  Fat and alcohol were out of the question.  Oatmeal and other healthy carbs in low amounts were ok, to keep us alive.

Tips:  There is no shame in eating tuna  and green beans straight from the can.  We also discovered carrots don't go bad in your purse after a few days.  When the girls at work are eating Christmas chocolates - crunch on carrots!  I always loved yoga but we really got into it each morning.  As it turns out yoga before running was awesome and has helped us out with our knee and hip problems that come and go when your a runner.

So, to say I'm exhausted after what we called "The Dress Workout" November through December would be an understatement.  I called it the "death workout" a few times - I am twenty years (+/-) older than Tanya so it was quite the marathon.  The big news is yes, she fit the dress and looked awesome.  Once we kicked into high gear - she lost 12 pounds since October and is still right on track.  We still have a bit of our booties but our boobs are pretty much gone. Tanya was pretty busty and was shocked as week by week they got smaller and smaller.   I think she puts stuffing in there now when she goes out because no amount of under wire is going to lift what's not there.

We sailed through and had a healthy Christmas but that's not to say we didn't get into the chocolate covered fortune cookies, shortbread and wine. So the new January (looking forward to summer) plan is the old sensible October plan - just with a little more yoga.  Like everyone we want to look and feel great for summer and time is on our side to just to eat healthy, exercise, and get into a good lifestyle groove.  Anyone who is healthy and fit works at it - it doesn't just happen on it's own.  You really do have to make it a lifestyle, and it changes at times, so you need to be able to adapt. 
I wanted to let you all know where I got some great yoga routines for my ipod.  If you go to itunes and search "yoga", scroll down until you see the "20 min yoga" podcasts, just click the subscribe button.  They have all sorts of routines to choose from and they're free - you can donate to help keep the poscast going.  You can also print out their pose guides, but the podcasts are really easy to follow on their own.  I'm actually breathing now while doing yoga instead of holding my breath!  Just plug your pod into speakers and you're ready to go.

The glorious pin up picture by the one and only Gil Elvgren

Monday, January 4, 2010

Winter Sugar Cookies

Ok with a project like these I can forget about the cold and the rain and the post holiday shopping hangover. I'm thinking I can make it to spring - gracefully. Sugar cookies with royal icing and tea every afternoon until March.

Oh yeah, the perfect winter afternoon baking - I'm in heaven.

Photo's from the wonderful Glorious Treat's Photo stream at Flickr

If you go and look at Glorious Treat's, be forewarned, you will want to
quit your job and open a cookie store.

If you like fancy baking sprinkles & sugars like I do, you have