what we currently love about chutney

  1. How he sees me off and says “bye” every morning by perching himself up and onto my legs. He looks into my eyes and it makes my heart melt.
  2. The way he crunches on his carrots. He munches so hard it makes his eyes close.
  3. How he hops like a bunny- we’ve been taking him into the hallway to play fetch since it’s been so cold outside. The carpeting in the hall allows him to hop at full speeds and it’s the most adorable thing. He is small but boy is he fast.
  4. The way he snuggles up on the couch with us and takes my husband’s spot whenever he gets up.
  5. He has this game which he’s made up all on his own- whenever my husband comes in from taking out the garbage, Chutney freezes and almost pretends like my husband can’t see him?! Which is really odd because my husband is looking right at him. He then growls and barks at the new garbage bag and my husband- he is so scary:) I think he is actually scared of the garbage bag and this is how he copes with it.
  6. He follows us around wherever we go, waiting outside the bathroom when we are inside, and if we happen to be in separate rooms, he checks in on each of us periodically.
  7. He gently requests to be placed on the bed when I am in it- by placing his paw on my leg and making eye contact.
  8. He waits until I’m awake to eat his breakfast and waits for daddy to come home every evening before he eats his dinner- no matter what.
  9. He keeps me company by curling up on the bathroom mat while I take a bath- and then stands holding onto the tub’s edge to see how my bath is going.

It seems like there is something new to love about him every single day- he is just that lovable:) Happy Friday everyone!

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chutney the snow puppy

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I’m bored- can we go outside?!
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Ok you have your snow boots on! Let’s go!! I’m ready
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I am panting with excitement!!
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I will just perch up on this snow drift and stalk this squirrel…
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How do I look??

 

 

blizzard brownies

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I am calling these blizzard brownies because we saw Valerie Bertinelli make these on her show on the day of the blizzard. Needless to say, I kindly asked my husband to please make us a batch. Not soon after, these ooey gooey brownies came out of the oven and into our mouths. These are hands down the best homemade brownies I have had from scratch. We tried to be good so we froze half of them. Well guess what is being thawed out as we speak? hmm… I wonder what I will be having for dessert tonight (and breakfast tomorrow morning)…

 

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A cup of mocha coffee with marshmallows

 

Recipe courtesy of Valerie Bertinelli

Ingredients
Brownies:
Cooking spray
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips

Icing:
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon brewed coffee
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions
For the brownies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line an 8-by-8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs two sides of the pan. Coat the parchment and sides of the pan with cooking spray.

Combine the butter and chocolate in the top of a double boiler and melt over medium heat. Set aside to cool slightly. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until pale yellow. Add the granulated sugar, espresso powder and vanilla extract to the eggs and whisk until fluffy. Whisk together the flour and salt in a small bowl.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake until the batter is set and cracked on top, 30 minutes. Remove to a rack and let cool. (yeh right) 

For the icing: Whisk together the buttermilk, coffee, confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder until smooth.

Remove the cooled brownies from the pan by using the parchment overhang to lift them out. Pour the icing over the top and spread with a small offset spatula. Let dry. Cut into squares and serve.

my world.

  1. Tamasha- Despite having read not so stellar reviews, we decided to go see this Bollywood film. I am not a huge Deepika fan, but have to admit that she has come such a long way with her acting skills. This movie proves it. Both she and Ranbir Kapoor have powerful roles that do the film justice. The story line of this film- which is centered around loss of identity in an attempt to live according to societal conventions- is nothing like your ordinary romantic Bollywood romance- even the songs are well placed and make sense in the context of the film. One such song has been on repeat on my Ipod for the past several weeks. Well done AR Rahman. This movie definitely left me thinking about all the “shoulds” we all face.

2.  Black Opium-  I have found my new favorite winter signature scent. I love how warm and at the same time sweet this smells. Here are the notes: Mandarin, pink pepper, pear, orange blossom, jasmine, coffee, patchouli, cedarwood, and vanilla. This is a confident scent, great for work, or after work fun- all you need is this and a pair of high heels- hello date night:) I love how different it is from anything else I currently own.

3. Nutri Bullet-   Though this isn’t a new item in our home, I have recently been using it every day again. It makes breakfast fuss free and portable. I like to make my smoothies using greek yogurt,almond milk, kale, berries, and sometimes half a banana to make it creamier.

4. All the stars in the heavens- I am only about 50 pages in but cannot put this book down. Trigiani’s writes with amazing visual imagery which I love. My favorite read of hers is still the first one I read of hers, The shoemaker’s wife. 

5. Lush BB Seaweed- Loving this mask! Works really well for sensitive skin. It has aloe vera, fresh rose petals, and ground almonds in addition to seaweed. I think this is by far my favorite mask by Lush. I like to use this twice a week.

6. Indian for everyone- In an attempt to do more clean eating, I find myself going back to the recipes in this book more and more. You can see some of my faves here. Indian food is comforting, healthy and makes me happy.

 

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7.  myfitness pal- This is not a new app to me, but I am back on it. Though it’s not always fun to count calories, it definitely keeps me in check so that I am aware of exactly how much I am taking in. My favorite part is that it also keeps track of my steps and I can log daily exercise. I feel motivated to keep going and monitoring progress is so simple. I also love that I have my sister as a partner in crime with me on this food/ health journey.

 

 

9 orange is the new black My husband and I are totally hooked to this show. We have been watching at least an episode every day and can’t stop talking about it afterwards. All the actors are phenomenal, the issues are very real, and the story line has been unfolding in such a suspenseful way that it’s addictive! I am definitely a Modern Family kinda girl, but I do love me some drama.

10 bath and body works sleep body cream- This has been my go to post shower body cream. I love the subtle scent, easy to use tube packaging, and the non great hydration it provides. I am a huge fan of bath and body works body creams. I also like to use it as a hand cream right before I go to bed.

 

 

13. SK-II facial treatment essence I received a sample of this as part of an Asian skincare set Sephora offered a few months ago. I went through the entire sample size and was very pleased. I plan to use this for a few more weeks before doing a full review. It makes my skin baby soft but I am curious to see if it will help with hyperpigmentation and post acne marks.

14. OPI gel manicure in black cherry chutney I am loving this color for the winter especially because it goes with everything. I know gel manis aren’t the best for nails, but I really enjoy not having to do my nails every week.

 

 

a cozy night in

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With the storm approaching, I am so looking forward to being trapped indoors:) Home is my favorite place to be, even more so when there is a blizzard so I have a valid reason for curling up on the couch with my boys. Here are some things to make your cozy time at home even more cozy.

#1 put on a pair of comfy pj’s- We all have that pair of pajamas that are super soft and comfortable pajamas that are just begging to be worn. I love these and how cute are these for Valentine’s Day?! 

#2 light a fire- No fireplace? no problem! just click here and if you can link it to your TV, you’ve set the perfect ambiance for a cozy night in. 

#3 curl up with a good book-  I love to curl up with a great read when it gets cold outside. If you want to unplug, turn off your technological devices. Facebook can wait. 

#4 have a netflix marathon- If you’re not into reading or just not in the mood, how about a New Girl or Mindy Project marathon?

#5 make a comforting meal- Try this orzo recipe or if you’re feeling lazy, order a pizza and call it a night! 

How do you like to have a cozy night in?

 

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kala channa (black chickpeas) and a cold remedy

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My better half has been sick for over a week now. He’s been bravely fighting this cold/flu virus without a single complaint. This morning I think he called it a “nuisance” when asked how he was feeling. That is the extent of how far his complaining will go, I have learned. I want to be like him when I grow up:)  I thought some home remedy in the food department was in order so I broke into my beloved Indian slow cooker cookbook and made him kala channa, or black chickpeas. I remember my mother would make this for my sister and I when we were sick. I loved having a bowl full of this over white basmati rice. I remember how soothing the warm broth tasted as it soaked up all that yummy rice.

Notes:  If you plan to make these, keep in mind that they have to soak overnight. The skin is super tough and I found that even after soaking, they needed to be in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes. Anupy Singla’s slow cooker recipe can easily be used here. Just cook the channa in the pressure cooker in order to soften them. Then make tadka as you would for any daal or sabzi, and add to the channa. I like to cook these together for at least 15 minutes on low covered. The broth is quite healing, especially when you or a loved one is under the weather. Mission accomplished? I sure hope so.

Have a healthy, happy day everyone.

Dior Professional Finish Fluid Foundation Brush + Diorskin Nude Air Serum SPF 20= a match made in heaven

In case you hadn’t already read my rave review of the Diorskin Nude Air foundation, you can read this review here. I still consider this to be my all time favorite foundation for every day, since it provides buildable coverage, is super light weight, has a powdery finish and just makes my skin look healthy and glowing.

I didn’t think this foundation could get any better until I recently purchased the foundation brush that is recommended to use with it. Ever since I got this brush, I have not gone back to applying this foundation with my fingers or my Real Techniques beauty blender. This foundation makes the application even more smooth! I didn’t think it was possible, but the combination of the soft bristles of this brush and the liquid-like texture of this foundation are truly a match made in heaven. The best part is that this foundation, when applied with this brush, does not look cakey. It actually doesn’t even look like I have foundation on my face. I like to apply the foundation directly onto my skin and then I smooth it out with the brush. The tapered shape is perfect for covering all the angles and curves of the face and application is not streaky whatsoever!

I highly recommend this brush, especially if you already own this foundation. I’m also curious to know if anyone has tried it with other liquid foundation. I would love to know how it works to apply these as well.

grown up grilled cheese

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This grilled cheese sandwich is the perfect weeknight meal in a pinch, a quick working from home lunch, or even a comforting late night snack. The stars of this grown up classic are the onions- caramelized to perfection with a hint of tang thanks to the balsamic vinegar. I like to balance out the sharpness of the cheddar with equal amounts of monterey jack.

recipe inspired by a cup of jo

ingredients: 

(For the caramelized onions):
• 2 tsp. vegetable oil
• 1 large onion, thinly sliced
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1/8 tsp. black pepper
• 2 tbsp. sugar
• 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

(For the grilled cheese):
• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 4 slices bread
• 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
• 1 cup kale leaves

Instructions:

Cook onions at low heat for 10 minutes. Add sugar and cook for another 5 minutes. Add balsamic and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Then add kale and cook until kale has slightly wilted.

Slather one side of slices of bread with butter. Place the slice buttered side down onto pan. Add half the cheese combination and top with kale and onion mixture. Then place the other slice of bread on top buttered side up. Press down slightly and cook until the bread is toasted and golden. Flip once and until both sides have toasted and cheese has melted. Serve immediately!

*makes 2 ooey gooey sandwiches 

 

 

 

 

making the time to relax & a lush haul

It wasn’t until recently that I realized how important is is to make time for myself- and to just unwind and relax. It sounds simple enough, but I had spent way too long busying myself with things I “should” be doing, from taking endless yoga, cycling or pilates classes, to doing more work after work, to book clubs,to all kinds of social obligations- all AFTER a long yet fulfilling day of work! I think my mind set has changed over the past few years now where I don’t feel guilty about not doing something all the time and I actually feel like I can give the best of myself when I feel good.  When I feel my best, I find that I am able to do all that I possibly can for those around me.So in order to feel rested and relaxed, I like to make the time to do pamper routines at least once a week. My favorite way to do this is by taking a fizzy, colorful, warm bath. LUSH is the place to go to stock up on little bath luxuries.

If you know someone who is in need of a little pampering, even if that someone is you, go ahead and indulge in a pamper night. You’re worth it!

Here is what I picked up. I know it’s a lot but I know this will all be put to good use, and that feeling of complete relaxation is truly priceless.

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left to right: rose jam bubbleroon, sex bomb, karma
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left to right: butterball bath bombs, honey bee
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kalamazoo face wash, bb seaweed fresh face mask, sexy peel soap, the kiss lip scrub
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top: floating island bath melt bottom: tisty tosty bath bombs

List of products and links:

tisty tosty bath bomb – An enchanting, rose-scented spell for lovers

sex bomb bath bomb – Brazen jasmine flirts with your senses

butterball bath bomb – Beautiful butter cream hydration for dry skin

honey bee bath bomb- Warming honey-toffee hugs for a soothing soak and soft skin

floating island bath melt – Creamy lemon and sandalwood luxury

karma bubble bar – Mystical bubbler with refreshing patchouli and lemongrass

rose jar bubbleroon – Rosy bubbles for the softest skin

kalamazoo beard and facial wash– For washing furry faces (for the hubbie)

the kiss lip scrub– Sweet smooches

sexy peel soap – Super citrus soap, bursting with fresh a-peel

bb seaweed fresh face mask – Soothing, smoothing seaweed mask

 

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tonight’s blissful combination- tisty tosty  bath bomb plus floating island bath melt

 

How do you like to relax?

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