Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My favorite and not so favorite bronzer-Part1

Hello lovelies,
hope you all having an excellent day. I got back from vacation ( which was AMAZING, I 'll write about it in not very far future!). I noticed that I've been very lazy on terms of blogging in the past few days. and I don't have any specific reason for that! me here just trying to survive my sugar free challenge, now on my 10th day and still doing well ( I wrote about it here), since I started my brain feels like to be in hibernated mode.! Honestly people, no sugar is HARD. enough of that now let's talk about some other sweet stuff like bronzer.
I have light-medium skin tone but I easily get tan during the summer even when I use SPF 60+!! I don't use self-tanners or anything in that category but I use face bronzer pretty much every day. they give a  really nice glow ( not disco-ball glow) to the skin and specially in winter times it gives a illusion of sun kissed face.
There are so many bronzers out there like cream ,powder bronzers or matte,shimmer ones and each in different color range. the best one out for you is basically depends on your skin type and color. here are some of the ones that I loved and at the end ( well in the next post)  the ones that kinda disappointed me :)


Just one quick note: when we apply bronzer we should have a sheer tint, a nice sun-kissed glow; not have like an orange, carrot color or burned toast or even disco ball ( and believe me I've seen that). so be careful because  I think no  one wants to look like a Oompa Loompa (expect Snooki and her followers) ;) apply with light hand and build it up gradually and don't forget to BLEND:)




Hands down the best cream bronzer I ever tried ( it has a hard creamy texture) . it's a matte color and you can use it with  light hand or build it up depending on the level of tan you want to get. when I got it I used it with my mac116 brush, it applies nicely but the brush shred ( that's why you see black hair on the bronzer, I should have take them out before the photo!!).


but now I find the perfect applicator for that and it is a small kabuki brush by ecotools. I scroll it on the product and take the excess out on the back of my hand then apply it to my face ( basically to hallows of my cheeks, my temples, under jawline and lightly on the nose). you could use this also all over the face to dark your skin tone a little.just remember when you do dark your face  like that don't forget to even out every other part of your skin that is exposed.


My 2nd favorites are : 


Hoola by Benefit because it is matte color and it blends very nicely. 
Contouring blush & bronzing powder by e.l.f : I don't care that much for the blush but the dark contour color is pretty, soft and pigmented with a very soft tiny shimmers. oh did I mentioned it was 3$. so what not to love :)
Maybelline bronzer in color sunlight ( # 10) which as you can see I almost ate it. the color and shimmer just come in  good proportion.when I get tan it's little bit light for me and it does not show but it's perfect for  winter times.
I wrote the post and discovered that it was too long so I'll post it in 2 parts, stay tuned ;)
Hope this was helpful, wish you all a great Wednesday
Mania

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bye Bye Sugar

*


If you know me by now you know that I have a sweet tooth. my most favorite thing to eat in the world is cake and  I can say I have at least one piece every day ( and sometimes even more). I know it's not good and I am not talking about gaining weight or stuff like that because of my workout routine I don't gain weight but this level of sugar is not healthy at all. 
So when I heard about this I thought it might be a good opportunity for me and I signed up for One Month Sugar Free Challenge organized by Fuck cancer. I love a good challenge, making new habits and breaking old ones ..., maybe after a month I would have control over my sugar addiction. A lot of people complain that sugar makes them sick, tired... but it does not do any of those to me. so I will see after this month if I feel any better without sugar or not.   
The challenge is to eliminate sugar for 1 month starting from June 20 and by any chance if anyone had a slip up, it is ok just they recommend to donate 1$ to Fuck cancer. fruits and handy natural sweeteners (like Stevia and Agave) are ok and honey is definitely a NO. I read al the labels now and I am really suprised by the amount of  sugar in everything. 
Today is the 2rd day of the challenge and yesterday afternoon I really could feel the lack of sugar in my body.it was really hard and I barely could do anything.  I did take lots of snacks with me today like pistachio, almonds, fruits so maybe today will be easier. I just hope I don't develop another addiction by the end of the month ;)


So what about you, do you have a sweet tooth ?!
Hope you all have a great Tuesday
Mania
*  source: http://dessertsplease.tumblr.com/

Monday, June 20, 2011

Menu Plan Monday


Hello lovelies :)
Hope you all had a great weekend, recharged and ready for another week.Here weekend was amazing weather wise and we enjoyed it to the max :) yesterday I was talking with my hubby about our weekly menu and he suggested that this week we should not cook anything !! apparently he got tired of me cooking every night :) we will still eat of course, but  not cooked stuff. sometimes it is good to take a break from the kitchen and since we don't have kids, that would be very easy for us.
So for lunch today we are having cheese & cucumber sandwich. yesss very high gourmet meal ;)
This Friday is La Fête nationale du Québec which is celebrated annually on June 24, St. John the Baptist Day. we will go camping this weekend for 4 days with our friends and I am so exciting for that.It is a very beautiful place which I never been and we have hiking, kayaking, swimming ... on our activity list. 
So that's for today post, wish you a great week.
Mania

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Simple cardamon biscuit

Hi lovelies , Hope you all had a great week so far. I baked a new biscuit past weekend which was absolutely delicious. the special ingredient in there is cardamon spice which smells really really good, but it has strong smell so be careful about that. In Persian it's called ( شیرینی‌ سپهسالار) but I have no idea what to name it here, so I call it "simple cardamon biscuit". now let's get to the recipe :
Ingredients :
3/4 cup butter at room temperature
3 cup of flour
2 eggs
1 1/8 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup yogurt 

1/8 cup warm milk ( not hot )
1 teaspoon of yeast
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of cardamon powder


First mix the milk, yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a cup and let the yeast works its magic for about 10 minutes.

Turn on the oven to 350 F and in bowl mix the butter with powdered sugar till they become soft ( for about 4-5 minutes).
Then add the eggs one by one and mix between each for about 1 minute. add the cardamon, yogurt, baking powder and salt and mix for few minutes to get the all well mixed. add the milk+yeast mix and flour to the rest and mix for few minutes. 
Now the dough is ready, and it's time to put in the oven. take a baking pan and lightly grease it. you could use a spoon and put a spoon of dough on the pan and press it with a back slightly. or you could use those cake icing tubes which I did. just leave enough space between each so they don't stuck to each other.
Cook them for 20-25 min in the oven or till the top gets golden.
It has a soft, fluffy texture with the scent of cardamon that goes perfectly with tea :)




Have a great Thursday everyone,
Mania

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Personal Trainer


This post is something that I've been meaning to do for a while. as you know I do workout quite often and I really enjoy it. it's not something that I must do, it is something that I LOVE to do. and I am not absolutely a diet person, I can not ban myself from eating something because I know myself very well and if do so, I go crazy. so if I feel like eating a cake, ice-cream, cheese-burger with fries,... I'll eat it without any regrets :)
I know a lot of people do not need to workout to keep their weight constant or stay in shape but to me doing regular exercise is not about staying thin or stuff like that. it is important to stay healthy and it definitely have a huge impact on your day to day activities.   
So to me everyone should do exercise but I don't walk around tell people that ( even my close friends)  because it's non of my business. but just to make that clear; no matter you're thin or overweight or normal, you need to exercise regularly due to health reasons.
so back to the subject of personal trainer, and why I think it's important to have one:
I consider myself a good researcher, I basically can dig anything out and I know if I want to write a routine for myself I just need to Google that. and believe me I used to do that. but sometimes you feel you're doing a really hard workout but do not see the results as you expected which was the case for me. and the reason for that is maybe that kind of workout was not suitable for you or you're maybe doing it wrong ( even just the tiniest details).
So that's why the role of a personal trainer becomes important. a personal trainer is someone who knows what works for you ( well not all of them , there is always a good and a bad in everything).  I had about 3 of those for the past 2 years and the last one who I am still working with, actually was the best for me. 
The first 2 ones, well they knew what they were talking about but honestly the program they gave me was not for me, because I absolutely hated the routines and did not keep up with them. 
so when I talked with my latest one, I told her the story and told her I need something short and effective. I don't want to live in the gym basically ;) I don't care about weight loss because it will come eventually. I just want to get rid of that "jigily movements" in my body and make stronger muscles. she did a fitness test and gave me a routine which takes about 40-45 minutes including the warm-up and short breaks between each sets.  it involves weights and fitness ball which was little hard for me at beginning but I got used to it very fast. I do the routine 2-3 times a week for 2.5 months now. 
It's been about 2 weeks now that I am getting so many complements from people that I don't know ( in the gym ) and they are like " wow you look good... or you lost weight .." stuff like that and all I can say at that moment as response  is "...... since when you noticed that .." which I don't really say and just reply .." OH thanks, that's very sweet of you !!" but I think they read in my face and add .." I take the same class as you ..". so all these comments made me think that the only difference in my workout routine was my new program and damn it's been working :) and I finally find my perfect personal trainer.
on the side note: some people are just so nice, honestly a simple nice complement can make people's day. you never know :)
so I just wanted to share this taught with you and if you 're doing your workout but don't see your preferable results maybe it is better to consult a professional. and just as final notes, be honest with them and tell them exactly what you want to achieve; tell them your habits on eating, workouts.. (even if sometimes they are embarrassing). and if you don't feel comfortable with something tell them because there might be huge chance you skip that step. sorry about this long rambling post :)
Oh and one final thing, if you are in Montreal area and looking for a good personal trainer let me know because mine did an amazing job. 
Have a great Wednesday everyone :)
Mania 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Physicians Formula: Eye booster,eyeliner-serum review



Few months ago I came across this product at pharmaprix and it was on sale for 10.99 $ ( I think reduced about 30% or something). On the package it says it is a eyelash serum and eye-linear at same time. And I thought I should give it try and  got it in color black.

It is like a marker but with a softer applicator. I am a little clumsy in eye lining thing but felt really comfortable while applying it. No mess, out of line, too thick, too thin problems at all. It applies perfectly and very smoothly.

Now there are 2 different categories to look at:
Long lasting ( up to 24 hr as claimed on the package): Important point to consider is that is NOT waterproof  or water-resistant (although it claimed to be water resistance on the package!!) so if you have teary eyes like me (usually in the afternoons or due to allergies) it will wash off. But other than that it is quite long lasting but definitely not up to 24 hours.


2nd point is its lash boosting claim, well I used it for a month and half every day and it did not affect my lashes, I read reviews online and  for some people would work and some not. Actually on its ad says “100% of women noticed longer lashes”  to me that is a very bold statement to make, nothing is 100% and it definitely wasn't the case here either.
On the leftL'Oreal Linuer Intense Eyeliner Carbon Black
On the right: eye-booster by Physicians Formula in Black
The color black is little bit like gray-blackish and compared to L'Oreal Linuer Intense Eyeliner Carbon Black. 
However the application to me is much better than the loreal one.I have it probably for more than 2 months and used it quite often but it is going strong and no signs of drying so far. I definitely would repurchase it again (actually I did and this time in ultra-black color). it is a good eye-liner but it does not stay up to 24 hr and it may or may not boost your eyelashes ( so keep that in mind). 

That was my takes on this product. Have a great Tuesday everyone :)
Mania

Monday, June 13, 2011

Menu Plan Monday



Hello lovelies,

I hope you had a great weekend. in Montreal it was grand prix weekend and the city was on fire. outdoor concerts, crowds...we had a blast.but now back to Mondays' subject and what to eat this week.  so let's get down to it:

Monday : Calzone
Tuesday : Oven-fried chicken
Thursday : Tomato cheese toast
Friday: stuffed chicken breast
I  also participate in Laura's Menu Plan Monday post. as the week progresses I will update this post with the pictures and if you like to know more details about any of the recipes please let me know ;)
Have a great week everyone :)
Mania


Monday (inside was a mix of eggplants, red bell pepper and ground  beef..was YUM)

Tuesday

Wednesday


Thursday ( I also used some left over from calzone as topping)
Friday we were invited to one of friends house for dinner :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Shepherd's pie

Hello lovelies,
on today's post I will write about one of the best meals that I made recently and all I wanted to say was" where have you been all my life?" . it so delicious and easy. 
but before going to the recipe I wanted to tell you something. I did the most idiotic thing few days ago. let me begin the story by this: it was Thursday and again that time of the month for me. I was so sick so I just worked half day and came back home to rest. as I was lying on my bed I thought I kinda pass my time on the internet and took my phone ( now I was lying and holding my phone up in  the air ) and start to play. thing led to another and somehow I decided to go to my Picasa online albums ( don't know why) and saw some old albums that were there ( just for sharing with friends or family) and I thought to myself let's delete those I have them on my computer and I know nobody wants to see them. so I start deleting one by one and by mistake I deleted my blogger's album ( about 500 photos). at first I did not understand what I just did. but after I was finished deleting looked at the remaining albums and then it hit me. then I went to a huge panic and kinda screaming at myself. did a little research and yes I deleted all the photos of my blog and there is nothing I could do about them. they are all gone :( 
I am still mad at myself and all I did in the past few days was going back at my posts one by one and inserting their pictures. an even the saddest part is that some of the old ones, I don't have the pictures anymore.so that's why I did not post anything since Thursday, I was being busy cursing at myself and uploading old photos ;)
So back to the subject of this post, here is the recipe and I highly recommend trying this :) 

Ingredients for the filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter  
1 large onion (chopped finely )
2 medium carrots ( peeled and chopped finely) 
2 pounds ground beef  
salt and black pepper  
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour  
1 tablespoon tomato paste  
1/4 cup heavy cream  
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth ( I did not use this one and it ended up fine, so it's your choice) 
3/4 cup beer (or non-alcoholic beer would also be fine) or dry red wine ( I used wine) 
2 tablespoons soy sauce  
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves ( I did not have fresh so used dry ones) 
1 cup frozen peas (or mixed veggies of your choice)
Ingredients for the topping:
2 1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces 
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
1/3 cup heavy cream   
1 egg, beaten 
2 green onions sliced
First start by making the filling: heat the butter in a large skillet at medium temperature and when it become hot add the onion and carrots, and cook for about 8-10 minutes so they become soft. 
Then add meat, salt and pepper. let them cook and break up the meat with wooden spoon until they get browned about 10 minutes. 
Add the flour and tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute. 


Add cream and cook for about 1 minute. Add broth, beer ( or wine), soy sauce, and thyme and simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick but still saucy, for 15 to 20 minutes. 
Remove from heat, stir in peas (or mixed veg), adjust seasonings, and transfer to broiler-safe 2-quart casserole dish.
For the topping: 
Before starting the topping, heat up your oven to 350C . then cook potatoes in a large sauce pan with  1/2 teaspoon salt and enough water to cover them over high heat. when the water starts to boil reduce heat to medium cook them for about 15-20 minutes. Drain potatoes and return them to saucepan, and mash them with butter and cream until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.


Over the meat put a layer of sliced green onion ( you could skip this step, I added it because I like the taste of mashed potato with green onions). then spread potatoes over the filling, using spatula to smooth top. Brush with egg and bake until filling is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Turn on broiler and cook until top is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. 


Remove from oven and let it cool around 10 minutes. then it is ready to serve.


    
Comment: you could make this ahead, just prepare the meat but stop right before adding the peas. then store it in a airtight container and keep it in fridge for maximum of 2 days. when you want to cook the pie just reheat the filling, add the peas and continue the rest of the steps. 
Hope you try this recipe and enjoy as well.
have a great Sunday everyone
Mania

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Orange Almond Cake

Ok, you must figured out by now that I have an obsession with Almond in baking. I just love love love it in all forms like ground almond or paste or essence. it add a special taste so I try almost any recipe that I come across and has some sort of almond in it. this was one of them. this is a gluten-free cake also. I made this to our weekly group meeting and everyone was going crazy over this cake. so it must be pretty good ;)
now let's get to the recipe :
Ingredients :
2 large oranges which have been boiled
6 eggs, lightly beaten
250 gr of ground almonds
250 gr of caster sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Comment:I boiled the oranges the night before and allowed them to cool overnight before I prepared the cake the next day
Boil the oranges, covered with water in saucepan for 2 hours.

Fist thing first put the oven at 350 F and grease your pan. I used a regular 9 inch round pan.
let the oranges cool ( or do the same as I mentioned in comment up there).once they cooled, cut them and remove any pips and chop into rough pieces, including the rind.
put the orange pieces in a food processor and press its bottom 2-3 times then add the eggs and mix them well together again with food processor. 
Mix the ground almonds, sugar and baking powder in a bowl and add the orange mixture to the bowl and mix all together.Pour the batter in your pan and bake for 45 mins to 1 hour.
Once cooled turn it out on a cake rack and dust with icing sugar.
Enjoy!
Mania


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Spice of Life



Last week I was reading my June issue of Chatelaine magazine and I came across this section which was interesting to me and decided to share it with you :
"Turmeric (زرد چوبه), a staple in Indian, Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern cuisins, might help regenerate brain cells, making it a promising new treatment for strokes. researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA found that a chemical component of the spice may help improve muscle control and movement in people who have had strokes"
This spice was actually was one of the first spices that I got to know. it is quite popular in our cuisine and it is used all the time. apparently it has so many health benefits like: anti-inflammatory, liver detoxifier,ability to removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain, ability to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors and so many more. 
So try to introduce it to your recipes, but if you want to use it as medicine don't forget like any other thing it has some contraindications. so to take it as medicine always consult a doctor.  
Hope you all have a nice healthy Tuesday
Mania

Monday, June 6, 2011

Estée Lauder gift with purchase at The Bay 2011

Another gift with purchase time; this time for Estée Lauder at Bay stores.




So if you had something in mind, it's a good time to check your Estée Lauder counters at Bay stores ( from May 25 till June 9)
Happy shopping :)

Mania

Menu Plan Monday


Hello lovelies,
I hope you had a great weekend. here was sunny and we were outdoors mostly. did some reading, relaxing and enjoyed a company of good friends. so it was all good :)
It's Monday again and time for another weekly menu. so let's get down to it:

Monday : vegetarian pizza
Tuesday : Hamburger
Wednesday : Bass fish with mushroom 
Thursday : stuffed chicken breast
I  also participate in Laura's Menu Plan Monday post. as the week progresses I will update this post with the pictures and if you like to know more details about any of the recipes please let me know ;)
Have a great week everyone :)
Mania
Monday ( hubby requested sausage so it wasn't completely vegetarian)

Tuesday ( oh & I baked the bread myself)

Wednesday



Sunday, June 5, 2011

Skillet Lasagna

Last week was a very busy week for me, specially Friday when I didn't sit behind my computer even for a second. so I missed my Friday post but will do it next week. now let's go to the main subject of today:cooking.
I cooked this meal last week and it was really really good. It's some kind of a lasagna without the use of oven and also so easy. these quantities are enough for 4-6 people so you could adjust them as you wish. now let's get down to cooking, shall we.
Ingredients:
1 can of diced tomatoes  
 Water  
1 tablespoon olive oil  
1 medium onion, minced 
 salt pepper  
3 medium cloves garlic , minced  
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes  
1 pound 85% lean ground beef  ( you could adjust the meat depending your taste, I used less)
1 cup of cut vegetables ( I used mushroom, thinly sliced zucchini and red & yellow bell pepper)
 lasagna noodles , broken into 2-inch lengths ( enough to cover the whole surface of your skillet)
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce   
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
 Ground black pepper   
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil   

First pour a can of diced tomatoes with their juices into a measuring cup. Add water until mixture measures 1 cup. pour them into a pan and put it on medium heat. let it cook for about 5 minutes.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat when it gets hot add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for about 5 minutes until onion begins to brown. add garlic, herbs and pepper flakes and cook for about 30 seconds.
Add ground meat and cook, breaking apart meat, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

Add the vegetables and cook for about 1 minutes.  then add half of the diced tomatoes to the skillet and mix them with the rest. let them cook for 2-3 minutes. 

Then remove the skillet from heat and mix half of the mozzarella cheese with it and mix. 
Then cover the meat with pasta but do not stir. 
Pour diced tomatoes with juices and tomato sauce over pasta and season with pepper.  Cover and put the skillet on medium heat and bring to bubbling simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and let it cook until pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.
The final step is to sprinkle the rest of mozzarella cheese on the top and cook for 5 minutes or till the cheese starts to melt.  sprinkle with basil and serve.

As I told you this was really delicious and I am sure if you try it you will not get disappointed. now I am off  to gym for some Sunday morning workout and hope you all have ( or had ) a great Sunday.
Till next time :)
Mania

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lobster Roll

Hello lovelies, hope you had a great week so far. today in the recipe day I like to post kinda main course meal that I made 2 nights ago and it's called lobster roll. I am not a big fan of the whole lobster, to be honest its whole image freaks me out. so I did not buy a fresh ( I mean alive) lobster before and I still don't see it in me. but I love the meat so I buy the meat only from time to time and here is one of the ways that we have them.the quantities that are listed was enough for about 2-3 people so you could adjust depending on your need.
Ingredients:
8 ounces cooked fresh lobster, cooled and refrigerated
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
1 rib celery, finely diced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped chives ( I did not have fresh ones so I used dry instead)
1 scallion, finely chopped, 
2 soft sandwich rolls ( or hot dog buns) 
Lettuce and pickles for sandwich
First start by cutting the lobster meat into about1-inch sections and put them in a bowl;

them mix the  mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper. add in the diced celery, lemon juice, chives, and scallion and well blend it.


I personally like to put it in the fridge for about an hour or so, and then use lettuce and pickles in the the sandwich roll with the lobster mix. but the meal is ready right away and you could have it :)


Hope you try this and enjoy as well,
till next time :)
Mania