Monday, December 17, 2012

Recipe: Butter Chicken

I have been asked for this recipe numerous times so, at long last, I decided to post it since I made a batch last week. However, because I'm not used to taking pictures for recipes, I forgot to take a photo, so the only picture I have is from the very first time I made this dish. Butter chicken isn't the most appetizing looking dish but it sure does taste good. Enjoy!

Butter Chicken

 Adapted from Trish Magwood's Butter Chicken


  • 1 cup (250 mL) yogurt, fat-free Greek style
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (10 mL) cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons (10 mL) minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) kosher salt
  • 3 pounds (1.5 kg) chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • Fresh lime wedges
  • 3 tablespoons (50mL) butter or ghee
  • 1 cup (250 mL) cashews, ground to a paste
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) cumin seeds, whole
  • 1 serrano chili, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can - 213mL tomato sauce
  • 2 cups (500 mL) heavy (35%) cream
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) fresh cilantro, chopped roughly


  1. Combine yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, cayenne, garam masala, turmeric, garlic, ginger and salt (to taste) in a medium bowl. In a re-sealable bag, add chicken and cover with yogurt marinade and squeeze juice from half a lime over top. Seal bag and toss to coat chicken. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  2. In a high-sided sauté pan, heat butter or ghee over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic, cumin seeds and minced chili and cook until fragrant. Add tomato purée and cashew paste. Season with salt, stir and lower heat to a simmer. Add cream and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and blend until smooth (an immersion blender is handy here).
  3. Add the chicken and all of the yogurt marinade to the sauce. Stir to coat chicken with sauce and simmer on medium for 25-30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves. Serve with basmasti rice and naan.
  4. You can also cook this in a slow cooker on high for 5-6 hours.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

25 Days of Christmas challenge

I saw this Christmas challenge on Happy or Hungry and, like Lindsey, thought I would consolidate the questions into one or two posts. I am going to do 1-13 now and hopefully will post the last half next week.

1. Your favourite Christmas movie
I will generally watch pretty much any Christmas movie but my favourites are "Scrooged" (who doesn't love Bill Murray?!) and "Love, Actually". My husband and I have a tradition that we watch "Love, Actually" every year.

2. Your 2012 Christmas wish list
This year my wish list consists mainly of beauty products. Makeup, nail polish, skin care, I'll take it all. :)

3. When/how did you learn that Santa wasn't real?
I don't remember the specifics but I think I was around 8. Nothing traumatic stands out in my mind so it was probably just a general awareness.

4. Favourite Christmas song?
"Silent Night" gives me goosebumps and I love to sing "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey while dancing around the house.

5. Best gift you've ever received
My husband is a pretty good gift giver - one year he got me tickets to see Serena Ryder in Banff. As a kid, I LOVED my Walkman.

6. Your favourite ornament
We've started a tradition of giving M. a new ornament every year and I think my favourite is the one from her first Christmas. It's a ceramic disk with a painting of a baby girl's head along with her name and the year.

7. Most memorable Christmas
My family is pretty big on getting together at Christmas so all of them are pretty fun and loud. However, one year A. and I stayed in Vancouver by ourselves and had a low key Christmas and that one definitely stands out to me.

8. Post a picture of Christmas decor

 This is from a couple years ago but is generally what is looks like when my family gets together. Over-the-top, I know.

9. Easiest person to buy for
Right now, probably M. because she will love whatever we give her. Oh, to be a kid again.

10. Favourite holiday scent
Mulling spices are a clear winner for me - cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, love them all.

11. Favourite Christmas tradition
Stockings, definitely. As a kid we were always allowed to open those as soon as we woke up.

12. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
I am, 100%, a brown paper packages tied up with string kind of girl.

13. Favourite Christmas book
Ooooo, tough one. As a kid I loved "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" but "Twas the Night Before Christmas" is also a tradition in our house.

Your turn. :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Julep Maven program

As I mentioned in my "what the nail" post, I recently signed up for Julep's Maven program. Julep is a subscription beauty box service with a twist. Instead of 4 or 5 deluxe samples from various brands, Julep sends only their own products; always two nail lacquers, a nail/hand related product (eg. grapefruit body lotion, warming foot scrub, cuticle oil, etc.) and an extra treat (eg. polish remover pads, DIY cabochon ring, etc.). When you first sign up there is a short quiz which will determine your style and then every month, your box will be tailored to your individual style. (I'm an American Beauty and so far, I've loved all of the polishes I've received.)

There are several things that are a little different about the Maven program that I really like and that I think set them apart from other subscription services. 1) You are never stuck with a style you don't like. When you receive your monthly email with the various options, you can either stay with your own style or switch to a different one that you like better. 2) You aren't locked in every month. If you happen not to like anything on offer that month, you can skip! 3) You can send your monthly box to someone else as a gift! Have a friend with a birthday coming up? A Maven box would be a fantastic gift. 4) If you purchase a monthly Maven box, you can add-on 3 additional products at drastically reduced prices. eg. A $14 bottle of polish will only be $4 if you add it on to your Maven box.

Aside from these great options, Mavens also get access to a monthly secret store that offers great deals and, occasionally, Julep sends out mystery boxes to lucky recipients (would include extra items on top of your Maven box).

All in all, I have really enjoyed receiving my Maven box each month and appreciate a company that tries to make their customers feel special. The cost of the monthly box is $19.99 USD and includes free shipping!

Below are some photos of the polishes I have received over the last few months. They are all lovely.

 | Glitter pots - one of the special extras I received |

Interested in becoming a Maven? I'd love if you used my referral link - click here! AND until the end of December you can receive your first box for a PENNY! Use the code COLOR2012.

NOTD: Essie

I'm loving this combo - it's perfect for the holiday season!

For this manicure I used Essie's Mademoiselle and Set In Stones. Mademoiselle is almost my exact nail colour so I used three coats to get a more opaque effect. Then, on top, I used one coat of Set In Stones.

So pretty.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Today would have been my Dad's birthday - his 58th birthday. Instead of celebrating with family, I am remembering and holding my loved ones just a little bit closer.

| My Dad holding M. at her baby shower - August 2009 |

Photo by: Shandie Poitras

Monday, December 10, 2012

TAG: What the Nail?!

I was at home with M. on Friday and, while she was napping, had the time to make a fun video. I decided to do the "what the nail?!" tag since I love to change up my nail colour on a weekly basis. I recently signed up for the Julep Maven program (separate post to come) so my polish collection is rapidly expanding. Could be a problem...

2013 Calendar Round-Up

Can you believe that it's almost Christmas?! I honestly don't know where this year went but, frankly, I'll be glad to ring in the new year.

As usual, I have gathered a selection of calendars that will pretty up your wall for all of 2013.

Here are a few of my favourites:

 | Jonathan Adler can make anyone smile. |

 | Love the food photography from whimsyandspice |

| Such a pretty addition to your home from Mipiacekatedesign |

| Clever take on the zodiac from bialakura |

| This cute Star Wars calendar from loopzart would be a great addition to any office |

| And finally, the winner of my affections, is the Cities calendar from Rifle Paper Co. |

Which one is your favourite? Do you buy the same calendar every year (like my step-dad with his Dilbert desk calendar) or a different one?

Friday, December 07, 2012

GlossyBox Canada November 2012 Unboxing

I was at home with M. today (she's sick) so I finally had time to do an unboxing video for the November edition of GlossyBox. (And I could even shoot it in daylight!!)

Were you happy with this month's GlossyBox? What was your favourite product?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Benefit They're Real! mascara review

In November's TopBox I received a sample of Benefit's They're Real! mascara. I'd never tried it before but had heard a lot of raves from beauty bloggers that loved it. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to try it out.

The brush is plastic with well-spaced bristles and a mace looking ball on the tip of the brush. I like that it doesn't get overloaded and goopy.

Here are my natural lashes pre-mascara. They are an okay length but pretty light so I definitely need mascara.

And here are my lashes post-mascara. Can I just say, wow?! These aren't curled - I don't even own an eyelash curler - and this is only one coat! Even after only one use, I am sold.

The only thing I'm not sure I like (but may just take getting used to) is that application is a touch uncomfortable. I'm sure it's just the way the wand is engineered and how the bristles grip my lashes, but it's definitely a different feeling than the average mascara. All in all, I'm impressed and would re-purchase.

Monday, November 19, 2012

TopBox November 2012 Unboxing

So, apparently I've gone insane and have decided to expose myself to the craziness that is YouTube. That's right, I've uploaded my very first video - an unboxing video for TopBox to be exact. Enjoy and please let me know if you have any feedback.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Ok, I'm going to get all mushy for a bit and gush about my husband. I'm also going to admit that I'm a giant jerk and I'm proclaiming it to the world (or the three people who read this blog). And here's why...

August 30th was our fourth anniversary. We generally don't go crazy with anniversary gifts and if you asked me what the traditional presents are for 4 years, I'd have no idea. This year I got A. the 2nd season of Walking Dead on Blu-Ray because it was something he'd specifically mentioned wanting. He seemed happy with it and we went on our merry way. He did say that I'd have to wait until September 8th to receive my gift because it was "on its way." No problem.

September 6th rolls around and he says he needs to take M. to the mall to "pick something up." When they get home, M. presents me with a box and says, "we got you a necklace!!" (Girl can't keep a secret.) And this is when it all went to pot.

I opened the box and see what looks like a black dog-tag on a simple chain. Fairly unremarkable but I could see there were some small characters engraved on the face. A. explained their meaning and I proclaimed it "nice." Ouch, right?

Want to know what the engraving is? Those two lines are the longitude and latitude of the place, the EXACT spot, where we met 7 years ago - Camp Julien in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Since that night, I have worn this every single day and every day I think about how I should have been more grateful and excited. So, here's me, hanging my head in shame and shouting my thanks to the world. I love you A!!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

August GlossyBox and Fall Luxe Box

Today was a good mail day. I have been obsessively tracking both my GlossyBox and Luxe Box and, as fate would have it, they both arrived in my mail box today! I thought since I was able to open them both at once, I would post the comparison here. Keep in mind that they are different price points so, naturally, the products will be of differing quality.

Let's start with GlossyBox. I have been received this box for about 4 months now and have generally been pleased with the samples I receive. GlossyBox does tend to be more drug store brands, which some people don't like, but I don't mind it because I'm more likely to buy a Biore facial wash than a $100 cleanser. Call me cheap. I love the high end samples simply for the chance to try them but, for me, GlossyBox is a more practical option.

 This month's samples arrived in the standard GlossyBox packaging - a good quality light pink box with black tissue paper and a pink ribbon. I've been saving these boxes for use come Christmas.
 Befine Fine Food Skin Care - 5 single size samples that will invigorate, protect and detoxify your skin. I especially love clay masks so I'm looking forward to trying that.
UPDATE: I've been using the cleanser and the night cream for the past couple of days and LOVE the night cream. It's a nice texture, not too heavy, doesn't leave my skin oily, and smells amazing!
 Biore Make-Up Removing Towelettes - 10 pack. I liked the cleanser I received last month and I like towelettes for their convenience factor so I will definitely be using these.
 Sebastian Potion 9 Lite. A good addition to the shampoo I received in a past box.
UPDATE: Like all other Sebastian products I've tried this one has a nice scent and really does seem to leave my hair feeling softer.
 Layla Smalto "Bijou" nail polish. I've never heard of this brand before and I LOVE the purple colour. Can't wait to try it on my toes.
 Elastoplast SOS Blister. Can never have too many band-aids. The card says this is a full size travel pack but it would have been nice to receive more than one.
 Trend Trunk Mystery gift card. This card could be worth anywhere from $5 - $250 at Trend Trunk which is described as being a "social marketplace which allows you to buy, sell and donate your amazing new and pre-loved fashion!" Interesting concept but not sure if I will use it. Adds no value to the box in my opinion.
 Kryolan for GlossyBox lipstick in Glossy Pink. My one gripe with the boxes I've been receiving is too much lipstick! I generally don't wear it and would much prefer a lip gloss or balm. Most of the tubes I've received have been pink (as is this one) and 50% have been frosty which looks TERRIBLE on me. If I have to receive a lipstick I'd rather get something like a universally flattering red. Lipstick colours are so subjective to the wearer. That said, this is actually a decent colour (seems most people got this same one - not sure if there were alternate colours) so I might wear it.
UPDATE: I've been wearing this every day and am quite impressed with it's staying power. Even after eating and drinking, my lips have a nice colour to them.
All in all, I continue to be satisfied that I'm getting my money's worth from GlossyBox.

Next up is Luxe Box. In the spring, Loose Button decided to change the format of their beauty box from a monthly offering to a seasonal box. The price increased to $26/quarter and was to include 7-8 high end samples. There was a lot of negative reaction to this change but I was looking forward to something a little different from the rest of the boxes. After months of waiting, my first seasonal box finally arrived.

 First, the packaging. What an improvement over the old, flimsy black boxes. This box is a lovely cream colour with the Loose Button logo embossed in gold. Feels luxe!
 Inside the products are wrapped in a silky piece of fabric and Luxe Box is embossed in gold on the inside of the lid.
 The product card envelope is sealed with a monogrammed sticker and I must say, I loved this personalized touch. The simple addition of a sticker made it seem like this box was packed specially for me.
 Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray. I really like Moroccanoil products but tend not to purchase them for myself so I'm excited about this sample. Especially since I just ran out of hairspray.
 Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner. I have never used liquid eyeliner in my life and I'm sure it will take some practice. Reviews have said this eyeliner is great for staying put so I look forward to trying it.
 Loose Button Exfoliating Pad. That about says it all. Might toss in the shower.
 China Glaze "On Safari" nail lacquer in Adventure Red-y. Another awesome addition to my polish collection. I've actually never tried China Glaze (I'm normally a Revlon girl) but I've heard great things about it.
 Vichy Proeven Daily Dark Spot Corrector. I like Vichy so I'm willing to give this a try. Not sure that I have "dark spots" per se but I'm up for anything that will even out my skin tone.
 Benefit Stay Don't Stray primer. This may be the product I'm most excited about. I've never used primer before but I generally end up with raccoon eyes by the end of the day so I'm hoping this will help.
Madonna Truth or Dare Eau de Parfum. Probably the sample I'm least excited about. I'm pretty picky about perfumes because I'm sensitive to scent so I tend not to wear them a lot. (That, and my work is a scent-free environment.) Also, I HATE the packaging. The box is fine but the sample itself is in a glass tube with a stopper (hard to get out) and a rounded bottom! It doesn't even stand up on its own. Will be going into my give away pile.

So, this being the first seasonal box, I am fairly pleased. There was a good variety of brands and products but I actually thought there would be another full-sized item. I'm looking forward to seeing what Loose Button comes up with for Winter.

Were you pleased with the samples you received this month? Which beauty box is your favourite?

Monday, August 27, 2012

"The Heart and the Bottle" by Oliver Jeffers

M. received a lovely book for her third birthday called “The Heart and the Bottle” by Oliver Jeffers. I was unfamiliar with Jeffers’ work before seeing this book but knew that the gift giver was a big fan of his books. The first time I flipped through the book I thought the illustrations were wonderful and that the story was cute, if a little sad. Obviously, I wasn’t paying attention to the message in the illustrations.

Last night, M crawled into my lap and I convinced her to let me read “The Heart and the Bottle.” Lately, she has been obsessed with Madeline and only wants to read that book over and over again. While I was reading I pointed out things in the illustrations and asked M. questions about what she saw. As we turned the pages I finally got the true meaning of the book and broke down crying.

Essentially, “The Heart and the Bottle” is about a little girl who is endlessly curious about the world around her and experiences these things with (who I take to be) her father. (As an aside, while I was reading reviews most people take the older man to be her grandfather and Jeffers has said he prefers to leave the interpretation up to the reader. So, father fits my personal experience better.) One day the little girl runs to show something to her father and finds his chair empty. At this point she decides to close her heart in a bottle so she can’t be hurt again. She grows and loses the sense of wonder at the world, only feeling the weight of her heart. It is only when she meets a little girl (who probably reminds her of herself) that she tries to free her heart.

M. wasn’t sure why I was crying (I just told her it was a sad story) so I’m not quite sure what she got out of the story aside from enjoying the illustrations. Either way, I think this book is a great addition to any library, young or old, and provides a great message about loss and grief.

{Image sources: LittleElfMan & where is my tomato}

Monday, June 25, 2012

Scenes from my weekend : June 23 & 24

This weekend was supposed to mark our first camping trip of 2012. While, we did get out to Kananaskis Country for one night, the rain and damp ended up being too much for us and our friends so we packed up on Saturday and headed home. I'm sad we didn't get a full weekend out at the beautiful Mount Kidd RV Park but I'm happy I got to sleep in a warm bed and we still had fun exploring the small towns near the city on Sunday.

Stunning drive but the weather definitely had us worried for our camping prospects. This is why most people in Alberta camp in RVs.

 On Sunday we took a drive South of Calgary down the Cowboy Trail. There has been so much rain (and mountain run-off) that the rivers and streams are swelling their banks and flooding roads.

Just a quick pass through Black Diamond.

We headed down to Longview to pick up some of their famous beef jerky. The first kind we tried was Sweet with Heat - so good!

It was still a little early for dinner so we popped in to Ian Tyson's Navajo Mug where I had what was possibly the best London Fog of my life.

We debated Mexican or local homecooking for dinner. The Heartland Cafe and their awesome food won out. I had bacon-wrapped, mushroom-stuffed bison meatloaf with house-made tomato-peach chutney. Yum!

We ended the evening with a quick swing at the park. I can't believe she's big enough to sit on the big swing now. *sniff*

How was your weekend? Did you attempt to camp in the rain?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Scenes from my weekend

This past weekend was very kid-centric - Saturday was spent cooking and baking and Sunday we hosted the (early) 3rd birthday party for our Birth & Babies group. All the kiddos were born in July but with birthday parties galore, camping, and other scheduled events, we decided to have a party for them in June. Can you believe that our little group has continued to get together monthly for 3 years?! Love them all!

 M. turns 3 in July and the theme for her party this year is "ice cream social." I worked with my amazing friend Laurel, who is a graphic designer, and she came up with an awesome invitation.

Someone has decided she's a baby again - she rides around in her baby stroller and occasionally sucks a soother (even though she never did as an actual baby!). The thing that makes it funnier (to me anyway) is that she always wants to wear her "woman" shirt. Sorry kid, you can't be both. :)

I made cupcakes for the party - not bad if I do say so myself.

 I also made dried strawberries (which look NOTHING like the picture on Pinterest but were still yummy) and roasted chickpeas. The chickpeas didn't really get crispy though. Tips?

Every year we do a book exchange (which makes M. very happy) so I put out a basket to collect the books. This year we gave "Henri's Walk to Paris" by Saul Bass and received "Leonardo, The Terrible Monster" by Mo Willems.

I think the cupcakes were a hit! :)

How was your weekend?