Simply Satisfying – stuffed Portabello mushrooms

grilled stuffed portabello
grilled stuffed portabello

This can almost suffice as a meal on its own, but giant portabello mushrooms are terrific as a side dish for grilled fish or steak, or as a vegetarian main dish because they have that meaty ‘steak like’ texture.  They’re healthy, filling and so satisfying.  Here is a recipe that’s not really a recipe.


Remove stems from mushrooms and reserve for another use, such as stock. Hollow out a bit of the mushroom taking care not to cut through the whole thing – just scoop out some of the flesh to make room for stuffing. Brush mushrooms all over with oil.

Prepare quinoa or rice (I recommend wild rice if you don’t want to use quinoa) ahead of time.  Wash 1 ½ cups of quinoa or rice & place in pot with 3 cups of water/stock (I like chicken or veggie ‘better than’ bouillon).  You’ll have more than enough – but more is always better.

In a separate pan with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil sauté the following vegetables (although you can improvise using whatever veggies you prefer).

I used what was on hand:

1 chopped onion, 1 chopped red pepper, french-cut green beans, sundried tomatoes & a few mushrooms (you can also use the stems which you must remove from the Portabello).  Just sauté with s+p (plus other spices) until tender but still slightly crisp. I then added cuban-style black beans, corn, peas & quinoa (you decide how much)  to the mix.

Place mushrooms, cut side down, on greased cookie sheet (or pyrex) in a 350F oven just until juices start to release, about 4 minutes.  Take out of oven.

Turn mushrooms and spoon filling.  At this point I added sliced green onions & feta on top (although parmesan would be nice too), drizzle with a bit more olive oil and cook mushrooms until tender, about 15 more minutes.



Weekend – Whistler in the Rain

Spirit Run & Just Plain Fun

whistler3It may have rained all weekend long but it certainly didn’t dampen our spirits. 

Overall View - from images
Overall View – from images
Room with a View - from balcony
Room with a View – from my balcony

I enjoyed a fabulous girls weekend with my sister & a friend where we stayed at the Pan Pacific Village Centre (right in the heart), a sponsor for the Whistler Spirit Run.

Nothing wrong with a little relaxation, a little shopping, lots of laughs, fabulous food, wine,  live music & finishing off with a relay run on Sunday afternoon which took place at Whistler Olympic Park, the real reason we went up in the first place.

That's the Spirit!
That’s the Spirit!

Since its inception 6 years ago, The Whistler Spirit Run has attracted people of all ages and built strong relationships. The run, part of the Vancouver Sun Run Series and Lower Mainland Cross Country Series, is a Cross Country and Trail running event featuring something for everyone. It is the realization of the late coach Frank Reynolds’ vision to have a mass participation cross country event while encouraging and supporting British Columbia high school and University athletes through charitable donations and scholarship programs.whistler5

It consists of cross country events of various distances for school and club teams, a fun 4x2KM team relay and individual competitive races with substantial prize money.

Sign me up again next  year!

Dee, Lisa, Deb, Tamara
Dee, Lisa, Deb, Tamara

IMG_20130929_121611Rogers Radio was also a sponsor so I ran as part of my sisters JackFM team – hence the vibrant orange t + jacket.

I must recommend Sushi Sen in Squamish for fresh + unique rolls.
I must recommend Sushi Sen in Squamish for the most delicious, fresh + unique rolls.
Two coneheads - at Sushi Sen
Two cone heads – at Sushi Sen


Vintage Words

Your dresses should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady. – Edith Head, legendary costume designer

Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress. – Coco Chanel

A woman’s dress should be like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.” – Sophia Loren

“What I really love about them…is the fact that they contain someone’s personal  history…I find myself wondering about their lives. I can never look at a garment…without thinking about the woman who owned it.  How old was she?  Did she work?  Was she married?  Was she happy? When you buy a piece of vintage clothing you’re not just buying a fabric and thread – you’re buying a piece of someone’s past.” – Isabel Wolff, A Vintage Affair 

Fall in love with our new “VINTAGE” board on Pinterest –

B well – be particular with the CARBS you eat

Little healthful tidbits that go a long way…the good, the bad & the plain ugly truth:

carbs2Don’t we know it by now! While carbs tend to get a lot of bad press (think the Atkins diet), they are an essential part of any diet if you expect to have energy and function at an optimal level. “Your body definitely needs carbs,” says nutritionist Kelly Aronica, who believes that they should make up at least 50-60% of the calories you consume daily. Why? Because glucose, the simplest type of carbohydrate, is the only thing that can be used to meet the energy needs of the body, support the brain and nervous system, and maintain a well-functioning digestive system.

How Carbs Can Help You Lose Weight

Though the body has a backup plan if no carbohydrates are eaten, it’s not perfect (hence why it’s meant as a backup plan). As Aronica explains it, if there’s a lack of carbohydrates, the body essentially converts protein and fat into glucose, which is what the body converts into fuel so we have energy. The problem is that this system is less efficient and slower than just consuming carbohydrates and, depending on your sensitivity level, it often leads to low energy and light-headedness. But that’s not the only reason to eat carbs.

As Aronica puts it, carbs are also needed because their presence lets the body know to release insulin, which is necessary to use the glucose to build muscle, energy storage, and even fat (if you have excess glucose). Now if the mention of fat made you start to believe all those anti-carb rants, then you need to remember that there’s a big difference between carbs that provide fiber, nutrients, and vitamins and ones that only supply sugar. Don’t believe us? Aronica points out that a recent study from the New England Journal of Medicine “showed that eating refined potato products, sweetened drinks, sweets and desserts, fruit juice, and other refined grains were linked to weight gain where high-fiber carbs were linked to long term weight loss.” So instead of banishing carbs from your diet, be more particular about the ones you eat.

Avoid refined carbohydrates (like white bread) and opt for the carbs that have high-fiber levels and a bounty of nutrients and vitamins, like folate and heart healthy omega-3’s. While most of the fibers in food aren’t actually digestible, they provide a lot of other important health benefits to keep you operating at your best and are a necessary part of any diet. To help you make better choices, we put together a list of the carbs that are best for your body.

Carbs with Lots of Folate

Lentils, 1 cup Cooked: 1 cup, 358 milligrams
Beets, Cooked, 1 cup: 136 milligrams
Brussels Sprouts, Cooked: 1 cup, 157 milligrams
Black-eyed Peas: 1 cup, canned, 358 milligrams
Chickpeas, Cooked: 1 cup, 282 milligrams
Okra, Cooked: 1 cup, 269 milligrams

Carbs High in Protein

Buckwheat Flour: 1 cup, 15.14 grams
Rice, Long-Grain, Dry: 1 cup, 15.00 grams
Soybeans, Boiled: 1 cup, 28.62 grams
Couscous, Dry: 1 cup, 22.07 grams
White Beans, Canned: 1 cup, 19.02 grams
Black Beans, Cooked: 1 cup, 15.24 grams

Carbs High in Vitamin C

Peaches: 1 cup, 235.5 milligrams
Red Peppers, Cooked: 1 cup, 232.6 milligrams
1 Papaya: 187.9 milligrams
Grape Juice, 6-fluid-ounce can: 179.5 milligrams
Brussels Sprouts: 1 cup, 96.7 milligrams
Peas, Cooked: 1 cup, 76.6 milligrams

Carbs High in Iron

Soybeans: 1 cup, 8.84 milligrams
Cream of Wheat Cereal: 1 packet cooked, 8.09 milligrams
Lentils, Cooked: 1 cup, 6.59 milligrams
Spinach, Cooked: 1 cup, 6.43 milligrams

 As seen on Yahoo shine!carb1

Don’t miss listening to “Transforming Health” with host Brad King for the most evocative and informative up-to-the-minute interviews with leading health professionals – Live every Wednesday @ 12PM-PST/3PM-EST on – #1 internet radio station in North America.

Here’s the link:

Personally speaking, what could be better than combining Art with Fashion?

making the best impression
making the best impression

Moving forward as we look back

Combining art & fashion with ‘Dior Impressions’ – a new design book about the ‘Master.’

Another fabulous coffee table book.  Whether cut with ballooning bustles or embroidered with a multitude of chiffon petals, Christian Dior’s dresses evoked the light, color and fluidity in the work of the French Impressionists.  And it wasn’t by chance.  A lover of both art and flowers, Dior found tremendous inspiration in the plein air paintings of Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.  ‘Dior (Rizzoli), a new book published to accompany an exhibition at the Musee Christian Dior in Granville, France, explores the 19th-century art movement’s role in shaping the fashion house – from Dior’s very first designs to a Raf Simons (the current designer) 2012 couture gown, the pastel colors of which recall a Monet canvas.  K.N. for W Magazine.

Natalie Portman models for Dior
Natalie Portman models for Dior

A little bit of fashion history: “The future has arrived and it’s all about dreaming of the past” the essayist and novelist Kurt Anderson once wrote.  This was true of the 2013 Fall shows.  Ideas from decades old collections showed up on the runways and felt entirely au courant.  This was particularly central to Raf Simon’s second ready-to-wear collection for Dior.  With a passion for art similar to Monsieur Dior, Simons embroidered early Warhol fashion illustrations onto dresses and embossed them onto clutches.

Charlize Theron wears Dior
Charlize Theron wears Dior

It doesn’t take a student of fashion history to understand the allure of a coquettishly punk cocktail number, nipped in at the waist in the most feminine, flattering way.  Fashion’s tendency to sample and recycle is certainly nothing new.  So, when it comes to reinterpreting sartorial history, Simons says “it’s important to think of fashion as part of life. The past can inform, but nostalgia should not be a part of it.

Taken from an article written by Karin Nelson – This Old Thing?

beauty cabinet essential – Geisha Inc.

A product review – with love from Vancouver, B.C.

001 (2)I’ve always held a fascination for all things Geisha.  In fact, I followed a few when visiting Kyoto many years ago & it was pretty obvious. I love the ancient tradition (their skill in dancing, singing and playing musical instruments such as the flute and shamisen), their alluring beauty and gracefulness. The white skin, the elaborate jet black hair, red painted lips & glorious silk kimonos.  They look like porcelain dolls.  I loved the book ‘memoirs of a geisha’ (couldn’t put in down) and the movie too.  But the closest I’ll ever get to a geisha now is by wearing Geisha Inc. liquid eyeliner.  Not the same, but a little bit goes a long way.

Liquid eyeliner is not the easiest makeup product to work with for us non-geisha type girls.  If you don’t have a steady hand it can get real messy real quick or can look way over the top. But then I discovered (okay I didn’t really discover it but I did find) a great liquid liner that delivers nice pigment with ease of use.  To be honest, the packaging is what sold me at first but the product happily delivers.  Bonus – the company is based in Vancouver, B.C.

 What is it?

Geisha Ink Liquid Eyeliner is a 24 Hour water and smudge-proof formula that delivers effortless and precise application with its revolutionary microfiber brush tip. This quick-drying formula helps create subtle to dramatic looks.  It comes in brown or black.

How to?

Shake liner a few times before use. Apply with enclosed micro-fiber brush to ensure precise application. Close cap tightly after each usage. Removes easily with warm water and/or regular eye makeup remover. For best result, use a eye primer or powder eye area prior to application.

Available at:

wish.list boutique
2811 West Broadway

Beauty Bar
2142 West 4th Avenue

 For more locations visit Website:

Style – putting the Passion back into Fashion

fun & flirty
fun & flirty


Some of the new selections offer easy volume, nipped-in waists and are covered in things we all love to receive… + baubles!

haute couture
haute couture
Jenny Packham
Jenny Packham

The dresses may be feminine and fanciful but the footwear is surprisingly utilitarian.   If Mary Janes or Ballet Flats are not your thing, opt for wearing heels or ankle booties.

Kate Spade
Kate Spade

To enhance the glamour, try wearing your hair off the face or pulled back into a chignon.  Hopefully these dresses will sweep you off your feet!dresses5Bella-Thorne-2013-Dance-Awards-Las-Vegas-portrait-cropped-230x338

Gwyneth Paltrow wears Isabel Marant - look at the shoes!
Gwyneth Paltrow wears Isabel Marant – look at the shoes!

Simply Satisfying – slow cooked Pulled Pork

Southern Comfort.  I have a sneaking suspicion that you can put a pork shoulder into a *slow cooker all on its own (with no rub, sauce, etc.) and it will still turn out pretty darn tasty…but why chance it.  pulled_pork_sandwich This delicious ‘once on occasion’ recipe (as filed under guilty pleasures or football games) was served on buns this past weekend (with other food like stuffed peppers, etc.) as a request. 

Pulled Pork

One 3 or 4 lb. boneless pork shoulder (boneless is easier for shredding).  Have butcher roll and tie for you if it doesn’t come packaged that way.

Combine the following dry spices and rub them all over the pork.  Make sure you get all surfaces well covered.  Place seasoned pork in a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 Tbsp. kosher salt

2 Tbsp. smoked paprika

1 Tbsp. black pepper

1 Tbsp. ancho chili powder (or any Mexican chili powder)

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. ground cumin

Next morning – remove the pork from refrigerator.

Put into slow cooker the following:

1/2 cup of water

1 cup of apple juice

1 cup of barbecue sauce (if you buy it try to get one with a smoky BBQ flavor – I like Kentucky wild whiskey or a wild hickory smoke).  See  homemade version below.

Juice of 1 lime

hot sauce, to taste

Add pork shoulder, cover & turn on low for at least 8 hours.

When done, remove roast from stoneware (slow cooker), and pull the meat into shredded pieces using two forks.  Pour out any liquid in the stoneware. Combine shredded pork with a chopped medium onion & put back into stoneware with about 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid & bit more barbeque sauce.  Turn on low for one more hour.  Keep warm until serving on hamburger buns or rolls.  Warm up extra BBQ for buns if needed.

*If you don’t have a slow cooker then put it into a covered roasting pan set on a low heat (250 F) for same amount of time.  Just be sure to check & baste periodically.

Homemade BBQ Sauce (great for ribs too).  A little more time but I promise it’s totally worth it:

2 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar

1 Tbsp. molasses

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. ketchup

1 tsp. yellow mustard like dijon, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder and kosher (or Lawry’s seasoned) salt.

1 cup chopped onion (optional)

1/2 cup strong black coffee

dash of Louisiana-style hot sauce

(makes two cups)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Whisk thoroughly or combine with a hand-held blender to ensure there are no lumps.  Simmer over low heat while stirring frequently for 1 hour (this pasteurizes the sauce). Cool for at least 1 hour before transferring to an airtight container for storage.  Store for up to 1 month in the refrigerator but you can also freeze what you don’t use.

This will feel like summer all winter long

Seen & Surreal – The Mystery of the Ordinary

Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” – René Magritte

MoMa’s “Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary.” On view from September 28th through January 12, 2014 takes a fresh look at early works by Belgian master René Magritte.  The exhibit features more than 80 paintings, collages, and objects made between 1926 and 1938.  If you live in or plan to visit New York during that time you can prepare to be perplexed by images such as ‘lovers kissing through gauzy masks’ & other intriguing pieces.

The son of a man
The son of a man

But surrealisly, how do you feel about Surrealism as an art form?  I remember seeing an exhibit on Surrealism at the Guggenheim many years ago that made me think “what was the artist thinking?” There has to be a story behind it (at least somewhat) but the dreamlike paintings were nonetheless beautiful works of art.  The mystery can be left up to the observer and it can represent many things to many people which is the true beauty of ART.

American artist Jeff  Koons (who owns several Magrittes) explains that Surrealism was the very first art movement that he really responded to and he feels that Surrealism makes people go inward – to dive into the muck and understand themselves – and then return outward with a new sense of self-acceptance.  He says “Art brings you in contact with feeling.  When you see a Magritte, you feel something; you have an experience that can be very, very strong.  He’s very poetic.  One of the beautiful things about his work is that it’s really made for the viewer to participate in.  It’s about creating a shared experience for you to experience this sensation.”(This as told to Lindsay Talbot).

It is what it is....what is it?
It is what it is….what is it then?

Similar to a good author or poet, you want to be drawn in and taken away to somewhere that’s anywhere but here…even if just for a little while.

Words….and their extravagance

You don’t have to be born beautiful to be wildly attractive – Diana Vreeland

Diana Vreeland began her now legendary 25 year tenure at Harper’s Bazaar, writing a column of audacious advice & extravagant ideas that helped redefine American women and 20th century fashion.

way ahead of her time
way ahead of her time – sounds like good practical advice to me!

A few quotes: “The bikini is the most important thing since the atom bomb”

“You gotta have style to get up in the morning”

“The first rule that a geisha is taught, at the age of nine, is to be charming to other women…Every girl in the world should have geisha training.”

There’s only one very good life and that’s the life you know you want and you make it yourself,” Vreeland famously said.  And she devoted herself to this infectious, all-encompassing idea that you could make yourself as interesting – as fabulous-as you wanted.  Why be boring? She also, luckily for us, never seemed to say anything that didn’t qualify as a perfect (not to mention totally Tweetable!!) little life quote.

What a life, what a fabulously stylish life!

dvJohn Esten is the author of “Diana Vreeland, why don’t you, Bazaar Years”