Friendly Competition

Last night, my husband and I created a six week competition.  It’s based on things that we both feel we would like to add to our lives, better eating habits, consistent exercise routine, affirmations, (and blogging) etc.  The rules of the game reward you for each positive habit you execute.  There is also a BIG prize for the winner.  I do want to WIN!  I want the prize, the title and the gratification!  I’m diving in-  giving this competition my all.  I am considering a strategy.  As the “chef” of the house I am in an interesting position.  I’ve seen it before- those calculated players, the ones that set up their opponents, doing anything possible to see the other person fail.  I’m not that kind of person.  So even though I am in charge of our meals and the competition does have a weight loss category, I intend to play fair and do whatever I can to make our low calorie meals as delicious as possible.

This is quite a challenge.  I learned quickly that if you wrap anything in puff pastry, dose it with butter or smother it with mayonnaise, it will taste amazing!  Not the ideal recipe for a healthy diet and weight loss.   So, my side challenge is to create a myriad of luscious, delectable low calorie meals that not only help my husband and I drop some LB’s but that will also keep us excited enough to make it through the six weeks.

Tonight’s menu includes my take on Armenian eggplant caviar- a thick puree of roasted, eggplant, garlic, red peppers and tomatoes.  Served with crisp oven dried pita- the dip is thick and smoky ready to be dipped and licked.  Then I mixed cumin, garlic, parsley, onion and basil with ground turkey molded them on a stick and seared them in a pan.  The sexy sauce for the Turkey Lu Lu is Tzatziki.  Together it is quite the delectable dinner.  Eating with your hands and fingers is a super sexy turn-on.  Our eyes dart from the plate to the mouth, taking in the teeth, tongue and lips.  The more your mind sets on ruby red lips and pink tongues- the more one’s desire is elevated.  Watch out- a meal like this just might lead to additional cardio!  I suppose my only strategy now is to double up on the cardio!

To Love a Classic

Le BilboquetThere is no mystery to the fact that once you reach a certain age, say 30, you spend a good deal of your time trying to get back to the days before. Thanks to the help of many products, one may “zap crow’s feet” or “diminish fine lines” or “have the energy of a teenager”.  You may apply, swallow, eat, drink and breathe whatever it takes to be the younger you.

 

There is often so much pressure to be “new” that one forgets to remember that which is “old”. Today I lunched with my husband at Le Bilboquet.  A small, unmarked restaurant on the UES, a place where I once worked long before the need to fill any ridges. I entered the small restaurant.  While I looked around, I whispered to my husband “Bilbo has been the IT place for over 24 years”.  We drank wine and ordered.  After a few bites of my frisée au lardon salad and a taste of my husband’s hanger steak with pepper sauce, something inside me shifted.  Each bite slowly exfoliated a layer to my inner being.  That spirit which is adversely protected by trying to be smoother than yesterday.  Then it dawned on me, the red wine was made by vines planted over 300 years ago, and they still did their job; the wine was medium bodied, full of flavor and easily enjoyed.  The Tarte Tatin, an upside down apple tarte discovered in 1898, is to this day one of the BEST apple dishes in the world!  My husband smiled and devoured a fork full of the perfect bite with caramelized apple and vanilla ice cream.  I returned his smile because then I new, like the Tarte Tatin, the Steak au Poivre and Le Bilboquet, it is not always about how “new” and “shiny” you are, but how well you have lived! 

 

The NOW is what you are living.  I hope to be one of those French or Italian classics in 24 years.  I think today I will spend more time being the best me NOW and less time fearing the future.  Who knows- after 111 years someone might even say I am still one of the best Shani’s to this day!

 

This week in honor of the “classics” I am perfecting chocolate mousse.It’s my offer of admiration and gratitude for a place that will always be a heavenly institute in my book- Le Bilboquet!

Chocolate Mousse

 

 


Spicy Wings, Cleavage and Game 6

Ladies and Gentelmen, I am BACK!  I took some time to work over the summer and ignore the things I love most in life.  But now, I have returned to the kitchen, to listening to stories of romance and to writing.  So please reach out to me with any of your stories, any recipes or just to say hi!  While I spend my first winter in the cold in two years, I will be working on my cookbook.  So here’s a report from my first week –

New York, the state that brought us Buffalo Wings- from the city of Buffalo.  Although they originated up North, here in the city and around the world for that matter, glowing orange, spicy Buffalo Wings can be a sort-of religion!  You know the scene, you let them cool off enough to handle them, you pick one up, dip it into the blue cheese dressing, wiggling it around so that an actual chunk of blue cheese remains on top and then straight into your mouth!  HMMM spicy, creamy, juicy, yum!  In honor of New York and our Yankees possibly clinching the Series in five, I decide to make them at home.  Not only are they the perfect meal with baseball, making them for dinner would also make me a “Super Star” wife!  

I did all the research, prepped everything and gave it a go!  Monday night I baked the wings perfectly, did my best with the sauce and made the crudite’ with blue cheese dressing.  We had loads of napkins and a 52” screen T.V.  And then… wah, wah, wah.  Just as our team was in for a loss, so was my “Super Star” status.  Rather than feeling dissappointed, I became enlightened!  I realized, sometimes it is best to leave some things to the professionals!  It’s like pizza, we’re all trying to find the best in town, so why compete with the professionals when even they struggle?  So I’ve scratched Buffalo Wings off of my list of recipes for my “Seduction Cookbook” and replaced it with this recipe: 

Go Yankees!

  1. Invite significant other to watch game 6 of World Series.
  2. Have him meet at your place an hour before the first pitch.
  3. Wear something very low cut, with a super push-up bra- a pair of jeans and some form of heels.
  4. Drive, walk, take a cab or subway to the nearest Hooters.
  5. Order two draft beers and wings- Hooters Buffalo Style Wings are called Naked Wings- but it really doesn’t matter does it?  Just make sure they serve up enough punch that you will be inclined to drink lots of beer to put out that fire.
  6. Lick your fingers often, smile, laugh a lot and flick your hair- remember you are in the Hooterzone- you might think this is a bad idea, but it is not!  With all the fleshy stuffed t-shirts, orange covered ass and poufy hair- your man will be on stimulation overload!  And who will he reach out to touch? His awesome date that had the great idea to bring him there!  (Seduction Achieved!)
  7. Cheer on The Yankees!

Follow steps 1-7 and you too will win the title of “Super Star”!

Feeding Your Spirit

The word Spirit can mean so many things… it’s the charged energy you have for something, it’s that ghost you sense under the bed, it’s a lovely intoxicating drink and it is the true you- your soul.

Today I realized that I have been living with lots of Spirit- I am a big cheerleader for my friends, I have an open door policy with the ghostly spirits and let them visit when they want and I often enjoy the Spirit of Stoli.  But somewhere in this hot summer I lost contact with my spirit, my soul.  I honestly do not know what happened.  When I finally realized that I hadn’t seen it in over two months, I went looking for it.  It was a very sad sight, there it was on the floor, shaking curled up in a ball hiding, lost in the closet!  You cannot imagine how terrible I felt.  I had sensed something was wrong, I felt so lost and disconnected.  I have been so unbalanced and even bitchy!

When it dawned on me that my Spirit was lost, scared, unloved and in a dark place- I knew it was time to rescue it and bring us both back to life.  After my super bitchy morning, I called-in sick.  Really I was- one look at my spirit and anyone would say I was sick.  It was time to care and love for my spirit- time to nurture it back to life.  The first thing I did was put on some make-up and a cute outfit.  I headed out to my nail salon and got the mani/pedi works!  I decided that the next hour and half was for total enjoyment.  When they offered the $10/10 minute massage, instead of thinking about my budget, I said yes and I decided to actually enjoy it.

The Color is "Pinking up the Pieces"!

The Color is "Pinking up the Pieces"!

Cindy seriously hit a home run in those 10 minutes.  WOW I was feeling better!  From there I passed by my man’s work to get a real kiss- I owed him, remember I began the day as Ms Bitch.  I was feeling great!  It was time for me to pay it forward and brighten his day.  That was the anecdote to bring the color back into my spirit’s previous gray life.   The next bit of fuel was a yoga class.  I actually KNOW that yoga is not only good for me but that I also feel so amazing afterwards, yet it has been over a year since I have practiced!  After my class, I detected a slight grin on my spirit’s face and felt how proud it was of me and my choice.  A quick stop at Whole Foods and we were ready to put the final touch on the beginning of our recovery.

I made a simple salad of heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and tuna.  Funny how tuna is comfort food for me- guess that’s the California in me.  But the best was yet to come.  I turned on the oven, even in this heat, and baked up some delicious sweet cupcakes!  So far today I pampered my spirit with beauty and massage, I touched my spirit with a long kiss with the man I love, I honored my spirit with a yoga practice, I fed my spirit with a healthy dinner and now I am going to delight my spirit with mounds of vanilla frosting on chocolate cupcakes!

I swear I will never leave my spirit to whither and fade again.  I am back to writing, practicing yoga, dancing and cooking.  I can tell you this: “It is truly imperative to feed that spirit- every day, even a crumb or a leftover”!

Welcoming Summer

Appetite for Seduction

June 2009

Fabulous, Affordable and Sensual

How to Spend the Evening

New York has always been a magical place for me… something a bit like a fairy tale.  I was once again anticipating this feeling from my city that always impresses me.  I was leaving a sun drenched, laid back, beach town.  Life in PV was pretty easy going and simply lovely (Swine Flu epidemic included).  So I truly was quite surprised when I discovered that my social life in NYC was not what it used to be six months earlier.  Oh… BTW… there is a recession going on.  The trickle down effect has effected us all.

So I find myself in a city I love, with less money than usual.  I also remembered that the gluttonous days of taco tasting, Dorito eating, Corona chugging, mango margarita sipping, and cupcake testing just might have caught up with me.  I swear I wore a bathing suit every day!  The truth is… jeans are tighter than a bathing suit cover-up, pencil skirts are less forgiving than flouncy linen dresses and I really should have mastered the kilo to pound conversion.

That brings me to my new life.  Thank goodness I still have a hint of a tan!  I have heard that a tanned body looks 5 pounds thinner than a Casper  white body.  That calculates to a mere 10 extra pounds, a few hundreds of dollars a week less and all the desire in the world to feel great and enjoy any beautiful evening in the city.

This is what I suggest:

Save your money on buying new clothes to fit your slightly more robust body.  Instead hire a trainer!  Seriously the $75 per hour is WELL worth it!  Once you start pumping it up in the gym, you will feel sooo much better all around!  That’s how I feel!  Not too mention- we’re doing boxing moves that gives me so much pleasure!

Remember that the better you feel, the sexier you are!  If you feel good, you smile more often which is the first and easiest expression of sensuality.

May I also suggest making drinks at home and drinking them on the street?  Times are tough and here in NYC you will easily spend $30 on ONE round-trip cab ride, $12 on ONE drink and $4 on the coat check (Please, it’s still COLD here!).  With 3 drinks and the cab you are out $75.

Aphrodisiac Cocktail

Aphrodisiac Cocktail the "Ninny Kick"

The other night, my boyfriend and I fought back and made up a batch of Ninny Kicks–  an AMAZING drink with Pear Vodka, lime juice, jalepeno and ginger ale.  We put the cocktail in a large tupperware drink container, grabbed 2 folding chairs, 2 plastic cups, an I pod and the speakers, and walked to the corner of our block.  We do live in a super cool neighborhood so I put on a sexy black wrap dress (the wrap dress can “grow” with you, it is a very sensible buy) a pair of killer bright turquoise heels, did the whole glam make-up, hair thing and we situated ourselves along the side of the building on the corner of 1st and 2nd.  Ok, it wasn’t exactly a night at Pink Elephant, but it was super fun!  We had our own music, a great scene and a killer cocktail!

While you are sipping away… remember that ginger is an aphrodisiac.  Ginger first hits you at your sense of smell.  Its mere scent is commonly recognized as a sexual stimulant. This aroma is beneficial in increasing circulation, which is thought to make erogenous zones hypersensitive.  Use this in your favor by increasing the frequency in which you spend touching your partner.  By the end of the evening the level of sensual stimulation will have increased 3 fold.  First by the ginger’s circulatory effect, Second by the alcohol’s effect and Third by the satisfaction of having a fabulous time drinking a luxury drink while staying on your budget.