Dec 7, 2014

Cranberry Apple Muffins

Holidays are here!! I came home with a large bag of cranberries and apples a few weeks ago. While the apples were over in an instant, the cranberries just sat there for days! After searching high and low, I came upon this amazing recipe for cranberry apple muffins. They are literally the best things I've eaten in quite a while!! I modified the recipe a teeny bit and soon, I had the most perfect muffins ever!

Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

Ingredients :

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
A dash of ground cinnamon
1 - 1/4 cup almond milk
2 eggs
8 ounces butter - melted
1/4 cup olive oil
1 - 1/2 cup fresh chopped cranberries
1 peeled and chopped honeycrisp apple (or another sweet variety)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar

Steps :

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Sieve together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground cinnamon.

3. Whisk together the almond milk, eggs, melted butter and olive oil.

4. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture. Add the apples, cranberries, walnuts and sugar and mix till combined and do not over mix!!

5. Bake for 25 minutes and voila, the most perfect sweet-tart muffins are your to devour!

I love the sweetness from the apples and the tartness from the cranberries. If you like to bake with fruits, this is definitely a must try recipe! Hope you enjoy the muffins.

Nov 27, 2014

Big Changes!

Hello there! Happy Thanksgiving! This year has been a roller coaster of sorts but I'm thankful for every single moment because the journey brought me to a fabulous destination. I'm thrilled to announce that we are expecting a baby in May of 2015! Husband and I are overjoyed and excited and nervous as all first time parents are.

First trimester has been um, interesting. I've been throwing up almost everyday. Everything in the world is a trigger and if you blog about food, well, good luck then. I couldn't even go through pinterest or read other food blogs, lol. I'm almost 14 weeks, so I hope to get back to food and cooking soon. My husband has been so supportive and has taken over the cooking. He is such a champ. Maddie has been an even bigger champ. She is super snuggly. While she is not snuggling with me, you can find her snuggled in my pregnancy pillow. She loves that thing, lol.

There is so much stuff to buy for the baby!! So far all I've bought is a cute 3 month outfit. I'll write more about what I'm buying once I start!! Here is an outfit picture I took last week! I'm not showing a lot yet. It will be fun to dress my bump moving forward.

I've gained weight all over, so nothing really fits. It's winter anyway, so I've been wearing sweater tunics and fleece leggings everywhere I go. I will need to start buying some maternity clothes soon!

We are also moving soon to a new place!! I'm so excited to decorate the house and get it ready for the baby. It will be fun to catalog the process in this blog.

Maddie at the new house!

I have some great recipes and some fun shopping to share. I look forward to blogging about them soon!! Hope you had an amazing thanksgiving day!!

Sep 14, 2014

Strawberry Cobbler

For the first time in history, today's dish was made entirely by the mister. I wasn't feeling my best and he made this to cheer me up. The house smelt like heaven and I was instantly transported to a better mood. So thank you, hubby!!

This is a cake like cobbler and the steps are so simple. First melt the butter in the pan while oven preheats. Second, pour in the batter. Third, pour in the cooked strawberries. Lastly, bake and serve. How much simpler can it get??

Ingredients -

Batter -

All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Whole wheat flour - 1/2 cup
Baking powder  - 2 tsp
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Salt - a pinch
Milk - 3/4 cup
Egg - 1

Strawberry mix -

Strawberries - 1 lb, hulled and chopped
Sugar - 1/3 cup
Cornstarch - 1 tbsp
Lemon juice or vinegar - 2 tsp (I used raspberry vinegar)
A pinch of cinnamon

For the pan -
Butter - 1/3 cup

Method :

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Cut up the butter into pieces and place it in a 9x13 pan inside the oven while it preheats.

3. In a sauce pan, cook the strawberry mixture ingredients for about 2-3 minutes. Just till the strawberries soften. Set aside.

4.  Whisk together the batter ingredients to form a smooth, lump-free batter.

5.  In the pan with the melted batter, pour the batter. Then spoon in the strawberry mixture evenly. No need to mix or anything.

6. Bake in the oven at 350 for 30-35 minutes or till golden.

Enjoy as is or with ice cream!!

 I'm so glad to have this recipe in my kit. So far I've made peach cobbler and apple cobbler with the same recipe with very few modifications. The recipe works with any fruit. I love to microwave the leftovers for about 20 seconds and I have a warm goey dessert to enjoy after dinner for a week.  I hope you enjoy the recipe too!!

Aug 28, 2014

Alaffia Skincare Review

I'm super excited for today's post! I was contacted by Alaffia to review a few of their skincare products and I'd like to share some of my favorite products from their line. You might have seen these products in your local Whole Foods or organic department. I have been trying to shop more in the natural products aisle over the last few months, so I was thrilled to receive these products.

Alaffia is a certified fair-trade, sustainable beauty company based in Washington state too. The company was created to help West African communities self-sustain by through fair-trade of their indigenous resources. I also love that the company provides pre- and post- natal care for women in West Africa, offers bicycles and school supplies to improve access to education and actively works against climate change by planting trees and building biogas units. You can read more about their work here!

Now onto the products!

African Black Soap -  My favorite of them all.  I absolutely love the tangerine citrus scent! The soap is moderately sudsy and cleansing. I used it on my face and to shower and I didn't break out at all. It's a multi-use soap, so you can use it as a shampoo or shaving cream too. I also love the pump. Very convenient and hygienic.

Multipurpose Skin Cream - Over the last year I've finally started moisturizing regularly. I've gotten rid of my reptilian skin patches. I switch out from lotions and light creams to heavier, oil based formulas for fall and winter. This skin cream is a mix of three oils - coconut, sesame and baobab. The cream is fragrance free, so you only get the scent of the oil. I would have loved a little fragrance, maybe the lavender just because I tend to apply body creams before sleep and it's a very relaxing exercise.
Though the cream has an oil base, it gets absorbed very quickly and doesn't leave any residue. I've also used the cream after shaving and on my elbows because they were looking a bit rough. I wouldn't recommend using this cream on the face if you have oily skin but as a body cream, it works great!

Bubble Bath - Mmm.. such a pleasant, calming lavender scent. As the weather cools down, a warm bath is a great way to help relieve stress and relax. This is a great product for that purpose. I also love that it's a nice generous size bottle too!

Lip Balms - I have the pure coconut and the coconut mint flavor and I've been alternating them over the last week. Both of them leave my lips feeling soft and flake free in the morning. I didn't see any white film or cast, so that is a definite plus!

If you don't have a whole foods or PCC or a natural store near you, don't worry. Alaffia is also sold in several online stores. Check out the green department of drugstore. com , Vitacoast and Amazon. I love that their ingredient list is so short and free of chemicals. The products all contain fair trade and natural shea butter which is a lovely product if you are looking for deep moisturizing. The products are a great way to enjoy natural skin care without breaking the bank. Most of the products are under $10 and come in generous bottle sizes, so they are definitely comparable to drugstore brands. If you are looking to add more natural products to your skin care regime (and why not!) definitely consider Alaffia. I'm definitely re-purchasing once my products run out and what a great added bonus that my money is going to help women in west Africa!

FTC disclaimer  - I was not compensated for this post. I was sent products for review and this post reflects my honest opinion. 

Aug 22, 2014

Sweet Strawberry Bread

I was looking to use up a pint of strawberries and my old strawberry cake came to mind. I decided to put a twist on it and make a loaf out of it! I had it as an evening snack with some low fat whipped cream. I bet a couple of slices would make a great breakfast!

Sweet Strawberry Bread (Adapted from AllRecipes)


Strawberries - quartered - 1 cup

All purpose flour - 1 cup
Whole wheat flour - 3/4 cup
Brown sugar - 3/4 cup
Baking soda- 1/2 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Cinnamon powder - a pinch
Walnuts - 1/4 cup chopped (optional)

Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Eggs - 2 beaten
Olive oil - 1/2 cup

Method -

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a clean bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.

2. Mix together the wet ingredients and add them to the dry ingredients.

3. Mix with a spoon till well mixed.  The "batter" looks crumbly and greasy and not at all fun looking, lol.

4. Bake in a 9 x 5 or an 8 x 4 a pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes. Check if done at around the 30 minute mark to avoid burning!

How simple is that!! Definitely try this recipe while the market's flooded with berries. I bet the recipe would work great with blueberries and raspberries too. I just love one pot, fruit based desserts like these. So easy and simple enough to whip up in an hour or less!

Aug 17, 2014

Whole Wheat Bread (No mixer required)

I've been baking a ton these days to pass the time, mostly cookies and bread. Today I made this whole wheat bread that was just so perfect that I needed to share the recipe. Don't be intimidated, it really is super easy and does not require a stand mixer!

I adapted the recipe to make just one nice fat loaf and not three loaves, because let's face it, two people and three loaves just doesn't work out well. I also added and deleted some ingredients and I'm very happy with the result!

Whole Wheat Bread (Adapted from AllRecipes)

Ingredients -

Water -  1.5 cups.
Yeast - 1 packet/ 0.25 oz
Sugar - 4 tbsp

Bread flour - 2.5 cups
Whole Wheat flour - 1.5 cups
Ground flax - 2 tbsp
Salt - a pinch
Olive oil - 3 tbsp

Method -

1. Microwave the water for about 30 seconds to get it warm but not hot. The yeast need to be alive and kicking in there.

2. Add the sugar and the yeast, stir and let it stand till bubbly and frothy. About 15 minutes.

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients.

4. When the yeast is ready, pour the sugar-yeast mixture and olive oil into the dry mix and mix the dough.

5. Once the dough comes together, knead in the bowl to make it smooth and moist.

6. Preheat the oven to about 250F and place the bowl in the oven covered by a wet dishtowel.

7. About 45 minutes to an hour later, the dough should have risen to double the size. Punch it down and knead a little bit more in the bowl.

8. Grease a 9 x 5 pan and shape the load into a rough bread shape and place in the pan. Cover with a towel and allow it to proof a little bit more. About half an hour.

9. Once the bread is nice and risen, bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 25 minutes.

10. Once baked golden, brush on a little bit of butter on the top to keep the crust soft. Allow to cook, slice and serve warm!!

The bread is very moist inside and soft and chewy. I don't like hard, dry breads, so this is perfect. I already had a sandwich and the bread was delicious. I'd definitely like to try making grilled cheese and french toast with it.

I really enjoy baking bread. I don't think I'll be doing it every single week but once in a while, it's a treat to eat homemade bread. I hope you'll try out this recipe too!!

Aug 14, 2014

Birthday OOTD and Makeup!

I had the best day ever and a huge thank you to my friends and family for making my birthday so special! I'm super excited about my outfit and makeup, so let's jump right in.

First, the dress. Everyone who reads this blog knows how much I adore structured dresses and Roland Mouret. So it's no wonder that I was counting down the days for the RM x BR collection to go on sale. I ordered a few dresses during the pre-sale and decided to keep this one. The shoulder straps really hang loose and I need to get them taken in but other than that, this dress is killer.

The dress fits amazing and is so flattering! While the dress is fitted, it's not skin-tight so I'm sure it will work great in a formal setting! I got cold, so I ended up wearing a denim jacket over the actual dress and it looked great as a casual outfit too. For fun, I also tried on a couple of tops over the dress and it looks like a high waisted pencil skirt under the top. I'm really happy that the dress is so versatile and so well made. Definitely buy it if you are looking for a classic fitted LBD. I got it in a size 8.

Dress - Roland Mouret for Banana Republic
Bag - Rebecca Minkoff Quilted Affair in Studded Scarlet
Shoes - Payless (so comfortable)
Necklace - Groopdealz (similar)
I paired the dress with my snazzy Rebecca Minkoff red bag. Since I had the bright red bag and a beautiful statement necklace up top, I decided to wear simple black pumps to complete the outfit.

A closer look at the necklace!

For makeup, I kept things soft and simple. I played up my eyes with a mini cat-eye and a shimmery pink eyeshadow. The whole look is very wearable for everyday. I have no patience for eyeshadow and I reserve it for special occasions but I wear the rest every time I wear makeup! I skipped the matchy red lip and opted for a matte pink lip to compliment the eye makeup. Here is a list of the beauty products I used!

Eyeliner - Kat Von D  tattoo liner (Best.Eyeliner.Ever. Does not smudge or budge!!)

Check out my instagram to catch a glimpse of my TARDIS cookie jar. I'm a major Doctor Who fan, so hubby got the perfect gift for me! I hope you enjoyed this outfit. I'll be back with more!!

Aug 10, 2014

Summery White OOTD and Rebecca Minkoff Bag.

I can't believe I've waited this long to write about my new bag. I had the major GRE in the middle, so I kind of waited to post about it. Now that the exam is over (and I rocked it ;) , here is my beauty in all it's glory.

I've been eyeing this bag for many many months. The bag retails for for $345, so it's always been a dream. A few months ago, while I stumbled upon a couple of colors for around $250. I decided to dig further and I landed on the Barney's Warehouse website where the bag had an additional 40% discount!!!!! You would think I'd pounce on it but no. I decided to sleep on it. Guess what happened next? I woke up at 3AM worrying that maybe the bag sold out, lol. So I woke my sleeping hubby up and informed him that I was getting this bag. It was on final sale and no returns, so I was super nervous about spending $160 on a never seen bag. There were two colors available - a bright red and a cobalt blue. I've been wanting a casual bright bag, so I went with the red.

After all the drama, I finally got the bag and it couldn't be more perfect. Though there is a mini version of this bag, this in itself is quite compact. I love that it can be worn as a shoulder bag or adjusted to be a crossbody.  It has a Chanel look to it and the studs are quite mild and not big or tacky. Love, love, love!

Today I decided to pair with another recent buy, a Gap dress that I scored for $25 and my trusty Land's End sandals. It was such a light, airy outfit and so much fun. I tried on the pretty yellow version of this dress in store but it was sold out in my size in the store and on the website :( So I went with the white version. 

Gap Dress (similar in sleeveless)
Lands End Sandals
Rebecca Minkoff bag
Lips - Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry

The 40% offer on my bag has ended and is available now for 24% at $259. But there is a white with rose gold hardware on sale for $158, a coral studded one for $197! If I find any other offer, I'll try to update here. Next week, I'll write about the Roland Mouret x Banana Republic dress that I got!! Oh yeah, I got it :D

Aug 3, 2014

Masala Stuffed Peppers

Just because you want a fancy dinner, doesn't need mean you need to put in a ton of effort. This is one of those recipes that you can easily whip up with what you have in the fridge. The steps are very simple and you can just throw the peppers in the oven and relax. I got the recipe from a friend and I modified it with things I had on hand.

Ingredients  - 

Bell peppers - 3-4

For the tofu scramble - 

Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion  - 1 - sliced
Garlic - about 3 cloves, smashed
Tomatoes - 3, ripe, diced
Tofu - 1 package, firm - 16 oz
Cumin powder - 2 teaspoon
Turmeric - 1 teaspoon
Garam masala - 1 tablespoon
Cayenne powder - 1 teaspoon

Uncooked brown rice - 1 cup

Method - 

1. Cook the rice in 3 cups of water till soft and fluffy - my brown basmati takes 15-20 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350F. In a pan, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic. 

3.  Once done, add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes. 

4. Crumble the tofu and add the spices and salt.

5. Once the tofu is cooked and browned, switch off the stove.

6. Slice peppers into two and de-seed them. Layer some rice and then layer the tofu on top of that. 

7. Bake the peppers for 20-35 minutes. If you want to add cheese, take them out 5 minutes early, add cheese and return to oven and bake till the cheese is melted.

I know there are a couple of extra steps in there but the rice and the tofu can cook at the same time. After that all you gotta do is bake the peppers! So easy to make it vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free. Hope you enjoy the recipe!!

Jul 24, 2014

The Ten Minute Chickpea Curry

When a thunderstorm decides to camp out in your city, a cup of chole can go a long way in warming you up. If you, like me, need a hurry-up version of a chickpea curry in 10 minutes, this is a great recipe to keep in your kit! As evidenced by the hasty instagram photo, this is not a planned food post. But the curry tasted SO good that I had to catalogue the recipe in the blog for future reference and of course to share it with all of you!

Ingredients -

Oil - 1 tablespoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Onion - 1 sliced
Turmeric - a pinch
Ginger paste - 1 teaspoon
Garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Cayenne powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Tomato sauce - 1 can (I used the organic kind from Trader Joe's. You can use tomato puree or chopped tomatoes but I like my curry really really tangy and the sauce gives me the tangiest flavor.)
Chickpea/ Garbanzo - 2 cans (With Sea Salt from Trader Joe's)
Garam masala - depends on the strength of your masala. I used about 1 tablespoon
Salt - to taste
Methi (Fenugreek) leaves dried - as garnish

Method -

1. Heat the oil in a pan and add cumin seeds till they sizzle.

2. Add the onions and fry till soft.

3. Add the turmeric, ginger paste, garlic paste, coriander, cumin powder and cayenne and stir to get an even mix. You can leave the onions as is but since I got the hand blender, I've been obsessed with it, so I went ahead and blended the onions into a paste. Took about 30 seconds.

4. Now add the tomato sauce and then the chickpeas. Once the mix starts boiling, add the garam masala and salt to taste. Let it cook for a couple of minutes. The gravy should look cohesive.

5. I usually stir in a little yogurt to tone down the heat and make it a little more creamy. You can add cashew paste or cream or coconut cream. Endless options!

6. Ladle the curry over a steaming bowl of rice. Garnish with some dried methi leaves and serve hot.

Squeeze some lime or make a quick yogurt dip if this is too much spice for you! You can also serve this curry with rotis, naan, poori, even bread. I love that such a yummy dish can be made in minutes with just a few basics from your pantry. Definitely try this and let me know how it worked for you!

Jul 19, 2014

Outfit Post : Weekend Casual!

Quite some time since I did an outfit post, so I have here not one but six posts!! These are the outfits I've been wearing over the weekend in the last month. Seattle weather has swayed wildly, hence the juxtaposition of the sweaters and gauze shirts.

Sequinned sweatshirt - Old Navy (from last year, similar)
Jeans - Gap
Shoes - Gap
Bag - Phillip Lim for Target (similar, similar)

Sweater - Kohls (last year, similar, similar striped)
Jeans - Gap Factory
Shoes - Gap
Bag - Phillip Lim for Target (similarsimilar)
Necklace - Forever 21

Shirt - F21 (similar)
Jeans - F21 (similar)
Earrings - World Market
Shoes- Gap
Bag - Phillip Lim for Target (similarsimilar)
Sunglasses - Rayban folding wayfarers

Top - BR factory (similar)
Jeans - Gap
Bag - Coach
Necklace - Old Navy (similar)
Shoes - Land's End

Top - Gap
Pants - Old Navy (Last year's, similar)
Shoes - Land's End
Bag - Phillip Lim for Target (similarsimilar)

Dress - Old Navy (similar)
Shoes - Nine West via Ross (similar)

I've been trying to get out of my comfort zone and introduce variety in my dressing. It's a lot of fun, digging out old pieces and mixing and matching! If you are like me and wear outfits on repeat week after week, I hope this post gets you to experiment a bit with colors and silhouettes. It's a lot of fun, I promise!!

Jul 15, 2014

Summer Trends 2014 - Co-ordinated!

I love when an old, almost vintage trend comes back in a new fresh way. I've been seeing co-ordinated tops and bottoms pop up all over the red carpet. In the place of matching suits and two pieces, we have crop tops and flowy tops coupled with skirts and slouchy pants. Some of them look like an american version of a lehenga, :)

The junior section is filled with crop tops and skater skirts which is great if you are closer to 20 than 30 ;) For me, I wanted a longer top with a midi skirt and I needed both of them to work separately too.

I've been looking for the perfect one that fulfills my conditions and found quite a few, so I thought I'd share it on the blog too.

JOA top and skirt

Lauren Conrad top, shorts

Asos - floral jacquard crop top, floral organza skirt

Joa skirt, top

Endless top, skirt

I love dresses but the biggest disadvantage is that there is not many ways to style them. I love how these pieces work separately and together. Definitely maximizes your return on the money spent. I hope we see more such fun trends this year. Is this a trend that you will jump on board with?

Jul 11, 2014

New Sandals for Summer and an OOTD!!

I think I finally found the remedy for my fear of high-heels. 3 inch heels! They are the perfect height to walk comfortably while also helping me look a teeny bit taller. Anything approaching 4 inches and I feel like I'm too high in the sky. For this summer, I was looking for some comfortable sandals. A couple of weeks back, I wandered into a Lands' End to escape from a downpour and of course started browsing the aisles. I happened upon these 2- 3/4 inch wedges which were around $60. Once the rain stopped, I walked out empty-handed because 1. I'd never bought anything in LE and 2. I wasn't spending $60 without even thinking about it or looking for a coupon and 3. They were heels!!!

Anyway, I kept thinking about the shoes and kept checking the LE site and what do you know, they went on sale for $27. I was SO excited and ran to the store the next day to get them. I got them in an 8W. Perfect sizing. Here they are in all their glory -

T shirt - Gap
Skirt - Old Navy - sold out (in black)
Shoes - Lands' End
Bag - Phillip Lim for Target (old)
Necklace - Old Navy in store (similar)
They are SOOOO comfortable. You know when you wear flats, your arch isn't very supported and you get this pain in the soles of your feet. No such problem here. My feet are well supported and I can run errands for an hour or two without any pain.

Even better, these shoes are on sale right now for $25. Seriously, go here and buy them right now. You will not regret it. They have them in a couple of other colors too.

I also love this peep-toe from LE. It has a similar heel and construction. Very comfortable and so cute!

I should probably buy these too. What shoes have you bought/been eyeing for the summer? Wedges or flats? Let me know in the comments!!

Jul 6, 2014

A Ten Minute Couscous salad!

Are you melting in this heat yet? I promised myself that I would NOT complain after that mammoth winter but man is it hot outside. I've kept cooking to a minimum with pasta salads and mixed rice combos. This couscous salad is a nice addition to the menu. It's super fast and full of flavor and does not involve anything other than boiling water!

Ingredients - 

Couscous - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup
Olive oil

Tomato - 2 small, deseeded and chopped
Roasted red peppers - 1 small, chopped finely
Onion - diced finely
Cooked chickpeas/garbanzo - 1 cup (I used half a can)
Avocado - 1 small
Mint - a few sprigs
Cucumber - (optional)
Juice of one lemon
Plenty of salt

Method - 

1. Boil the water in a pan with some salt and olive oil and turn off the stove once bubbling.

2. Add the couscous, stir and let it sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

3. You can add the above vegetables or you can choose whatever you have on hand. Just make sure that the flavors go together. If you are using something like zucchini or eggplant, sauté them a bit. Leave the onion, tomato, cucumber etc.. raw.

4. Remove the flesh from the avocado, smash slightly with the lemon juice and reserve. Drain the chickpeas and reserve.

5. Fluff the couscous and add in the raw/cooked veggies of your choice along with the chickpeas and avocado. Toss with salt and pepper to your taste.

6. Top with some fresh mint and serve.

It's a super simple recipe which you can customize in any way you like. I kept the dish mostly raw but you can easily stir-fry some vegetables and toss them up with the couscous. This recipe is vegan/vegetarian. If you are looking for a gluten-free option, try the brown rice couscous.

Jun 30, 2014

Dream Vanity with One King's Lane

I'm always decorating my dream home in my head (and in my pinterest!), so I was pretty excited when One King's Lane asked me to design a dream vanity mood board with one of their beautiful mirrors as the center-piece for their Reflect your Style campaign.

I like my decor to be elegant and as unfussy as possible. So it's always a challenge to keep it looking lux and colorful instead of drab and plain. Fun colorful accents are always the solution when I'm trying to brighten up a space! Pink and navy is one of my favorite color combos. They were the colors I picked for my first dance recital. And one of my wedding saris! The combination is so feminine yet grown up. The colors remind me of India and my colorful life back there.

Now, on to the vanity, I picked this beautiful mint/turquoise mirror as a centerpiece to the entire space. I added a beautiful rich, deep pink rug to offset the rustic white table and chair. To tie it all in together, I added this beautiful gold flower vase with some bright pink flowers.

I love to use the One King's Lane website for inspiration (and eye candy). You can click here to sign up if you're not a member. They also have  a great resource guide with detailed posts on interiors and decor and history of design around the world!

Just creating this mood board has inspired me to brighten up "my beauty corner"! Hope you had fun reading this post! Do you have a separate vanity? What colors would you pick for your dream vanity?

Jun 28, 2014

Baked Cinnamon Doughnut (Vegan)

If you've been following this blog, you almost knew this post was coming. I'm so easily suggestible when it comes to food and just looking back at pictures of the Voodoo donuts made me want one. With my eternal aversion to deep frying anything, I decided to try out a baked donut. I ordered a donut pan from Amazon and 2 days and 30 minutes after ordering, these beauties were on a plate in front of me :)

Ingredients - (Adapted from Ina Garten's Baked Doughnuts)

Makes 6-8 doughnuts

Flour - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
Salt - a pinch
Cinnamon powder - about half a teaspoon

Almond milk - 1 cup
Applesauce - 3 tablespoons (Can sub an egg for non-vegan version)
Olive Oil - 1 Tbsp (Can substitute with butter for non-vegan version)
Vanilla extract - a dash

Method -

1. Preheat oven to 350F

2. Sift together the dry ingredients.

3. Lightly whisk together the wet ingredients and add to the dry ingredients.

4. Mix till you get a smooth, thick batter.

5. Spoon the batter onto a greased donut pan. I have this Wilton one from Amazon.

6. Bake for 17-19 minutes. Allow to cool.

7. Now you can glaze it with anything you like but I just added a dusting of powdered sugar and that was good enough for me!

It's a super easy recipe and so customizable. If you don't have a donut pan, just pop them into muffin tins to get donut holes!! I'm going to spend the rest of the summer making all kinds of donuts :) Hope you enjoy the recipe!! 

Jun 20, 2014

BBW, The Body Shop and Old Navy Haul

It's been a while since I've done one of these. I recently took advantage of the Bath and Body Work's 75% off sale and the Old Navy 30% + Super Cash sale and bought a few goodies. The Body Shop also had a 50% off and free shipping sale and I took advantage of that too.

First up, Old Navy. Mostly I stocked up on basics like the 100% cotton PJ pants and three pack underwear. But I also got these beautiful pair of shorts that I'm obsessed with. I absolutely love the tropical print on them. We've been visiting the beach a lot and since I'm not much of a bikini person, I wear shorts and a tank top to beat the heat. I also have a couple of other denim and twill shorts from ON and they look and fit great! All of them are 3.5 inches long and size 8.
The cotton PJ pants have a sea-horse print and a floral print and the lounge shorts have a beautiful neon print on them. All of them are just so summery and cheerful. Love them!

Poplin PJ Pants in Coral Floral and Navy
Lounge shorts - in Tropical Sunset
Drapey Shorts in Pink Flower (Matching Bathing Suit)

Next up, I ordered a few items from The Body Shop during their half off sale. I got the Atlas Mountain Rose body butter, the Wild Rose caring hand wash and in a chocolate-induced trance, I also got the Chocomania shower cream. 

Atlas Mountain Rose Body Butter
Wild Rose Caring Handwash
Chocomania Shower Cream (Can't find it on the website but here is the link for the chocomania line)

The body butter is good and moisturizing. I find it comparable to the Trader Joe's coconut body butter and the only reason I switched was for a different scent. The scent is very pleasant and very rose-like. I don't find it artificial or weak. Same goes for the hand-wash. Very moisturizing and pleasantly rose scented. Now the shower cream! Like I said I must have ordered it in a trance state because I normally don't like food scents in my candles or bath and body products. It is very chocolatey smelling and lathers well. But it does feel like rubbing a brownie all over your body, lol.

Lastly, I wanted to check out the BBW 75% off sale. I also had a coupon for 50% off aromatherapy products, so I wanted to try the eucalyptus-tea line that I've been eyeing.

Eucalyptus Tea Body Cream
Moonlight Path Shower CreamJapanese Cherry Blossom Shower Cream
Apricot and Honey Body Scrub (Not on website but a few other body scrubs on sale)

I LOOOVE the eucalyptus-tea body cream. It has an herbal-tea scent to it that I personally love.
Moonlight Path shower cream is a very deep musky lavedar-y floral scent. Japaenese Cherry Blossom shower cream is fresh flora cherry blossom scent. both were only $3 each, so I stocked up! I'm also running low on my Sonia Kashuk body scrub, so I got the Apricot and Honey scrub from BBW. It smells fruity and juicy. Love it. The scrub was $4 which I thought was a great deal. I'm very pleased with the discount I got on the all the items! Definitely check out the website or your local BBW store for some amazing deals!

So that's it for the stuff I bought this month. A lot of bath and body for sure! I used a lot of massage oils through winter and spring, so I'm enjoying the lighter creams and lotions for summer. What have you bought this month?

Jun 17, 2014

Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Greek Yogurt-Peanut Butter Filling

How about another chocolate recipe? No one is ever really THAT tired of chocolate, right? I spent this afternoon in a pleasant haze of chocolate, coffee and peanut butter. It all started with spotting the Reese's Peanut Butter Oreos. While the idea was exciting enough to open the pack right outside Target, the cookies didn't live up to my very high expectations. Only one side was peanut butter and the proportions were just not right. 

Of course I had to come home to do some major research on a peanut butter-chocolate cookie. I decided on this chocolate cookie recipe from SmittenKitchen but I cut down the butter, replaced it with greek yogurt and made it more whoopie pie like. You remember a long time ago, I made pupcakes for Maddie with a yogurt-peanut butter frosting? I have to admit that I did taste it before I gave it to her and decided to dress it up a bit with cream cheese after googling a bit. The end result was a soft, pillowy chocolate cookie with a salty, creamy and very delicious yogurt-based filling.

Ingredients - 

For the Whoopie Pies -  (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Flour - 1 1/4 cup
Unsweetened cocoa - 1/2 cup
Instant Coffee - 1/2 Tbsp
Brown Sugar - 1 cup
Butter - 2 Tbsp
Greek Yogurt (with no liquid at all) - 1/2 cup
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Baking Powder - 1/2 tsp
Egg - 1
Vanilla Extract - a dash
Salt - a pinch

Greek Yogurt - 3 tablespoons
Peanut butter - 1 tablespoon - I used the chunky kind
Cream Cheese - 2 Tbsps
Honey - 2 Tbsps
Vanilla extract - 2 Tsps

Method - 

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Sift together the dry ingredients of the whoopie pie. 

2. Add the yogurt, vanilla, butter and egg and mix.  The mix is wet and definitely not a dough. Just sprinkle a little flour if it's too wet but only to make it workable.

3. Spoon a teaspoons of dough on a baking sheet lined by parchment. I got around 35 spoonfuls. Dip your finger in a little water and form them into rough circles and flatten them slightly but not too much. Bake for 9 minutes.

4. Allow them to completely cool.

5. In a bowl, whip together the ingredients for the filling. 

6. When the cookie is completely cool, spoon or pipe a little mixture onto one cookie and press down firmly with another. 

Obviously, having a hand mixer will make the entire process much faster and easier. I don't have one though and I didn't find it too hard. The whoopie pies are super chocolate-y with a creamy,salty peanut butter filling. YUM. I hope you enjoy the recipe! 

Jun 11, 2014

The Brownie Oatmeal

Apologies for another cooking post but I really haven't been too into shopping this month. I promise that this recipe is worth it!! Onto the post!

As I've said before, breakfast is my safe food. I like the familiarity of oatmeal every morning. It's one less meal I have to think about and plan ahead. But once you get creative with food, you just can't stop yourself from making good, better. This is an indulgent and delicious alternative to the plain old apple-cinnamon/maple-brown sugar oatmeal combos I tend to lean towards. 

We finished the batch of applesauce brownies a couple of days ago. I wasn't about to make another batch, so I had to improvise and introduce everything I love about a good brownie into my plain old oatmeal.

Ingredients -

Almond milk - 1 cup (you can use regular milk)
Steel cut oats - 1/2 cup
Chia seeds - 1 tablespoon
Unsweetened cocoa powder - 1 tablespoon
Walnuts - chopped into small pieces - 2 tablespoons
Dates - 2-3
Maple syrup - 2 tablespoons

Method - 

1. Heat the milk in a saucepan.

2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl and pour into the saucepan when the milk is warm. Reserve a few walnuts for the end.

3. Whisk and see that the cocoa is dissolved and there are no lumps.

4. Cook for 3-4 minutes or according to package instructions.

5. Transfer to a bowl and add maple syrup to taste. Sprinkle some more walnuts on top for presentation and serve.

I know how simple this recipe is but I wanted to share it anyway for all you brownie-craving girls and boys. We don't need a panful of them everyday when we can just put it in oatmeal, right?  If you are vegan, this is a great dish to keep in your arsenal. The recipe has everything that a perfect brownie has - rich chocolate taste, a natural sweetness from the dates, crunchy walnuts and did I mention the RICH chocolate taste? YUM! I hope you enjoy this recipe! Thanks for reading!

Jun 6, 2014

No Butter Cocoa Brownies!

I usually make any chocolate recipe with dark chocolate bars. I wanted to see how cocoa powder would work in a brownie and decided to try out SmittenKitchen's recipe! Of course I had to make some changes. I completely eliminated butter and used applesauce as a replacement. I also put in half brown sugar and half regular sugar. The result was a VERY chocolate-y bittersweet brownie. If you are a fan of dark chocolate, you will love this!

Ingredients -

Unsweetened applesauce - 10 tbsps
Sugar - 1 1/4 cup - I used half cup brown sugar and the rest regular sugar.
Cocoa powder - dark, unsweetened - 3/4 cup
Salt - a pinch
Vanilla extract - a dash
Eggs - 2
Flour - 1/2 cup
Walnuts - chopped - as preferred.

Method -

1. Preheat oven to 325F

2. Mix applesauce, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and salt in a bowl. Whisk till smooth and shiny.

3. Add in the eggs and mix.

4. Add in the flour, mix.

5. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 pan and sprinkle on the walnuts.

6. Bake for 30-35 minutes in the preheated oven at 325.

7. Ready to take out when a toothpick comes clean when inserted in the center.

8. Cool and serve with a dusting of icing sugar on top.

The brownies  have a lovely crispy exterior with a moist interior. These are not the sweety sweet brownies which I'm not a great fan of. In my opinion, the bittersweet taste really makes the chocolate flavor shine. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!