Month: November 2010

traditional christmas card etiquette

In this day and age, women seldom have time to do most anything, while raising children and taking care of family. So, I quiet understand why some women choose the pre-printed photo of their family or children greeting cards and address labels,  to send as Christmas cards. I do want to say that although I am not knocking it or judging them, (seriously more power to you for being a super women), I truly miss receiving traditional Christmas cards with a small hand written note of meaningful wishes, from all those acquaintances who opt for the impersonal method year after year. So,  if you  happen to  be tired of sending   pre-printed greeting cards to family and friends  and long for some good old-fashioned card sending experience, consider the following pointers to make it all worth while. 1. It’s acceptable to send the pre-printed photo of your children during their first five years. Outside of that, it  becomes obvious to the recipient that  you are no longer making efforts to maintain true relations with them. …

survival guide for holiday eating

Yes, this article is necessary and in my opinion very timely.  I actually considered raising this red flag Monday before Thanksgiving, but I figured since the traditional Thanksgiving meal consisted of mostly healthy eats, I let myself and my readers slide. Ladies and some gents, take note this holiday season when it comes to (over) eating, especially when over 40.  There is no excuse in my opinion to binge eating during the holiday season and it really doesn’t matter how pretty that five layer chocolate cake looks. Keep in mind, plans to diet after the holidays is a myth and losing the 5 – 7 extra pounds, you put on every holiday season, is almost impossible when you are over 40. Even those who are conscious and consider themselves most savy when it comes to food and nutrition, often tend to slip during the holiday season.  So, for the sake of a friendly reminder, consider the following: 1. The key to surviving temptation is self-control and discipline. 2. While at a holiday gathering or dinner …

bypassing the black friday shopping frenzy

I think it’s hilarious to wake up at 4 in the morning, the day after Thanksgiving,  in order to go shopping for the best deals for the holidays.  I rather sleep in myself, if I didn’t have to go to work that day. But there are those who have made a tradition of Black Friday and will forego most anything to partake in the event.   So, while I sleep in and lounge around and munch on leftovers while watching classics and playing board games with family members (remember these are the things most women can’t do while playing host on Thanksgiving Day), more power to those who leave their families behind, while in pursuit of buying a Wii board on sale or cashing in on the discount coupons only valid at 4 in the morning. So, in light of those diehards, I have included  a MAP (I mean a site)  here which I think  is pretty useful in planning your very own Black Friday Experience. Have fun!

healthy thanksgiving recipes – pumpkin pie

I must admit, I am not a fan of pumpkin pie. I prefer more of a fruit based tart if I am forced to eat a pie like dessert. I say give me fresh fruit any day. But just for traditional sake, I always bake a pumpkin pie for my guests. In light of trying to stay healthy and watching my family’s calorie intake, I, once again, have opted for the following recipe which I found here. pumpkin coconut tart INGREDIENTS CRUST 1 1/4 cups white whole-wheat flour, (see Ingredient Note) 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (see Tip) 1 tablespoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 4 tablespoons cold reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel) FILLING 1 1/2 cups canned unseasoned pumpkin puree 3/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons dark rum 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 3 large eggs 1 cup “lite” coconut milk GARNISH 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut chips, (see Ingredient Note) or flaked coconut, toasted (optional) PREPARATION Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 11-inch …

healthy thanksgiving recipes – stuffing

Not a shocker to anyone in the U.S. trying to make it through the holidays without over eating or avoiding eating things that are not good for you. Although if you think about it, the Thanksgiving meal in itself is pretty healthy, based on today’s healthy eating standards.  But just in case you are thinking about how to add more to the healthy Turkey, Cranberry, sweet potato or green beans dishes, I have included a recipe for  stuffing which  I have found  here, that I plan to incorporate to my menu this year. Pear, prosciutto and Hazelnut stuffing INGREDIENTS 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced, cut into ribbons 2 cups onion, chopped 2 cups diced fennel bulb 1/4 cup minced shallot 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary 8 cups stale baguette, preferably multi-grain (not sourdough), cut into 1/2-inch cubes 2 Bosc pears, ripe but firm, chopped 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley 1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken …

thanksgiving table setting ideas

Most Americans take great pride in setting up the dinner table for the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. Why not? After all it is probably the most and sometimes the only time a woman has the chance to gather her family and friends around the table to eat at the same time. I am one of those individuals who take pride in setting up my Thanksgiving dinner table and would consider a different theme each year just for the fun of it. Since Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated during the  Fall, I have no trouble incorporating nature throughout the table decor. Just in case you are wondering what I am  going to do this year and even if you are not :), I am getting my table decor inspiration from the following photos and plan to include a bit of something from each suggestion to create an eclectic feel.  Let me know what you think?

hotel pick – The Gore – London

Of course there is nothing more prestigious than staying in a hotel with all the modern day decor and amenities while travelling for business. But in my opinion, there is nothing more romantic than staying in a boutique hotel while travelling with your spouse or significant other for a holiday (a.k.a. vacation). So, in light of romance, here is another one of my favorite boutique hotels, this time  in London,  which I think every significant other should keep in mind while planning a romantic getaway. The hotel is called,  The Gore, and for sure one of the most  beautiful and memorable hotels you will ever experience.  With only 50 rooms and in high demand, planning to stay in this particular property should be planned well in advance to ensure availability. Have a great weekend!

montreal canada restaurants and cafes

Although, (my favorite cuisine), middle eastern and Armenian restaurants and delis are top-notch throughout suburbia Montreal, and most definitely beat the quality served in the greater Los Angeles area, I am always in search of the best of the best international cuisines most anywhere I travel. Of course, searching for international restaurants throughout the city of Montreal is not difficult at all. Every corner and street has multiple cuisines to choose from.  This brings up another reason to visit Montreal. If you consider yourself a  gastronome guru, then the choices are endless while in Montreal. Here are some of my favorites and most recommended, outside the middle eastern and Armenian cuisine.  

experiencing france through montreal canada

Outside of Paris, my second favorite place to visit in order to get my dose of French essence is Montreal, Canada. Although most of my visits there revolve around   family, I manage to sneak in a day to escape the norm and traditions just to reconnect with the city, in my own way. It isn’t difficult to feel as though you are in parts of France, while in Montreal, because every where you turn there is a reminder of the French culture. Whether in street signs or billboard advertisement, architecture and cobble stoned streets,  restaurants and cafes, bookstores and more, the make up of the city exudes a more Parisian feel than most any other place around the globe which is influenced (previously colonized) by French culture. One of my favorite times of the year to visit the city is in the Fall.  According to family, Montreal seldom sees sun and is often times more cloudy and rainy than the locals prefer. Plus the humidity in the Summer months is most unbearable outside air-conditioned …