Apr 26, 2014

Radiant Orchid

I was lukewarm about the Pantone color of the year, Radiant Orchid till I walked into Sephora. That place knows how to make you love stuff you didn't ever love before. Here are some pieces in this beautiful shade to get you ready for Spring/summer 2014!

Maybelline Fuchsia Flash

Julep Kessie - a hot metallic fuchsia!

Michael by Michael Kors East West tote

Zara Wool Trousers

Bauble Frontal Necklace

Apr 22, 2014

Mushroom Stuffed Shells

This recipe continues my journey through multi-step dishes.  Though there are multiple steps, I had the pasta in the oven in 45 minutes, I swear. Maybe not a weeknight meal but definitely something to savor in the weekend!

The dish has three components -

1. Shell Pasta

2. Filling

3. Béchamel sauce

Ingredients -

For Pasta -

Jumbo shells - 10
A few herbs

For filling -

Olive oil - 1 tablespoon
Onion - 1 medium sized
Mushrooms - sliced - 1 cup

For white sauce -

Butter - 3 tablespoons
Flour - 3 tablespoons
Milk - 1.5 cups
A squeeze of tomato paste if you are adventurous like me!

Misc -
Parmesan cheese - 1/2 cup shredded
A little panko crumbs to give the dish some crunch.

Method -

1. Preheat the oven to 350F

2. Cook the pasta in boiling water with some salt and little herbs thrown in. (I will introduce flavor anyway I can) Drain and set aside when done.

3. Heat the olive oil in a pan and sauté the onions first and then the mushrooms till both are browned. Add herbs, salt, pepper.

4. Now the sauce - the one thing I'm scared of but it came out perfect and lump free. Of course I think it's because I followed Gordon Ramsay's method.

Step 1 - Melt butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. I just used my pressure pan.

Step 2 - Add in flour and mix in with the butter till it forms a pasty mixture. Allow to cook for about 5-6 minutes.

Step 3 - Add milk in half cup increments and whisk well till it forms a lump free smooth sauce.

Bam, you are done. Now I added salt, pepper, herbs, nutmeg and tomato paste to give it a tang.  You can add cheese or something else if you fancy.

5. Ladle the sauce on the bottom of a a baking dish. Fill the shells with the mushroom onion mixture and line them up on the sauce. Ladle more sauce on top of the shells and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

6. Add the mozzarella cheese and bake for another 10 minutes.

Voilà. Done with the most delicious and amazing pasta dish ever! You can add in broccoli or spinach as filling or some other type of cheese on top. Endless variety. Don't be scared by the steps, this one is worth the two extra pans!

Apr 21, 2014

Crave/Save - Sophie Hulme Mini Tote

I've been drooling over Sophie Hulme bags for quite some time. They have all the things I love - clean lines, a structured shape and interesting detail. At $800 the bag is a luxury item for sure.

Sophie Hulme mini tote bag - $780
If you are only looking for the style and not the name, checkout this AWESOME look for less option for the Sophie Hulme bag!! Steve Madden's Bboxer bag is strongly inspired. It has the same structure and lines and the gold metal plates on the handles. Perfect dupe without being a total ripoff, don't you think?. Buy it here for a $78

Steve Madden bBoxer bag - $78

Apr 19, 2014

Cake Eggs

Wishing everyone a happy easter. In the spirit of all things cute and fluffy and easter-like, I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest. This was the perfect recipe to pleasantly spend a rainy, grey afternoon.

It's a cake!! Baked inside an eggshell!! So you give someone a basket of eggs and they crack the egg open to reveal a cake inside. Logical? No. Cute, lol, definitely! 

Ingredients - 

This is a long enough process, so just get a cake mix for the inside. I used Trader Joes vanilla bourbon cake mix and threw in some peanut butter chips.

For the outside - 6 eggs.

Oil - a teaspoon

Method : 

1. Prick a small hole on the bottom of the egg and drain out the contents. 

2. Rinse the eggshells in hot water and then allow to soak in cold salted water for about 10 minutes.

3. Drain the water and pour a little oil into the eggshell and swish it around.

4. Now pipe the cake batter into the hole in the eggshell and fill it up half way.

5. Place in a mini cupcake tin in a bed of aluminium foil to prevent tipping. Bake for 12-15 minutes (or the recommended cupcake time on the box)

6. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes and scrape off any excess cake on the surface of the egg shell. 

Voila - fresh cake eggs are ready to pleasantly surprise your loved one!! I'm sure this will be a huge hit with the kids. I had a lot of fun trying out the recipe and hope you will too!

Apr 10, 2014

Crave/Save : Anthropologie Veranda Sandals

Anthropologie's Veranda sandal is the little black dress equivalent of shoes. Classic, clean and fun! Love them. They retail for $110.

For essentially the same shoe but with a fully synthetic upper, checkout the "Must Have Buckled Sandal" from Forever 21. The same design but at only $32.80!

Apr 8, 2014

Mushroom Manchurian

Today's dish is a favorite of yesteryears! I haven't had this dish in so so long and the incessant rain kept reminding me of this dish, lol. Anyway, it has a few extra steps but the end result was so yummy that the effort is absolutely worth it.

First step is dipping the mushrooms in a batter and deep frying them.  Second step is to stir fry them with onions and peppers in a sweet and hot sauce.

Ingredients : 

For batter - 

Flour - 5 tablespoons
Cornflour - 3 tablespoons
Water - 3/4 cup
Ginger paste + Garlic paste - 1 teaspoons
Cayenne powder - a pinch
Salt - a pinch

Mushrooms - 225 grams -  quartered.

For Manchurian - 

Oil - 2 teaspoons
Onion - 1 sliced finely
Sugar - 0.5 tablespoon
Peppers - I used yellow - 1 small cubed
Soya sauce - I used Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce - about a tablespoon. Adjust to taste.
Sriracha - a dash
Ginger + garlic paste - 1 teaspoon
Tomato paste - 2 teaspoons
Green onion - a teaspoon

Method : 

1. Mix the batter and adjust the water such that the batter covers the mushrooms evenly.

2.  Dip the mushrooms in the batter and drop them in hot oil with a spoon. Deep fry them for about 30 seconds. Overcooking them will cause water to seep out of the mushroom and cause the oil to splutter.

3. After cooking them (they don't get brown), let them rest on a paper towel.

4. Now heat the oil and fry the onions with a bit of sugar. Add the peppers and continue frying them and add the rest of the ingredients of the manchurian.. 

5. Lastly add in the fried mushrooms and toss till coated evenly with sauce. 

6. Serve hot with a garnishing of green onion slivers.

This goes excellently with fried rice. If you make a little more gravy, you can also eat it with rotis. You can just enjoy them as-is as an evening snack! 

Apr 6, 2014

Haircut and Mini Haul!

I got my hair cut at Ulta for the first time today. I hear that the money you spend at the Salon adds to your Ulta points and that's awesome. I had the 20% coupon, so I bought a few things and a haircut, all at 20% off.

First I got this beautiful beautiful blush that I've been eyeing for the longest time. It's the Toofaced Sweetheart blush in Something about Berry. It's a blush and highlighter combo, so it gives this beautiful glow on the cheeks. Ulta has 21 days of beauty where there are deep discounts on some products and a few days ago, this blush was at 50% off. It was only $15. And then I had to redeem some points, so I ended up getting this beautiful blush for less than $10. Super score, right? The offer is over now but you can buy it here for full price if you love it a lot!

Next , I was on the lookout for a crease color in a nice brown. My Naked 3 has a deep mauve which works great but I was looking for a brown that would be a fit with any lid color. After much swatching, I found this - Nyx Dance the Tides. This is the most perfect crease color for us tan-skinned ladies out there. You need to get this and I'm sure it would be very similar to MAC Swiss Chocolate. And it's a steal at $4.99. Buy it here!

Showgirl, Dance the tides, Mademoiselle

I also got a purple-shimmer eye shadow to co-ordiante with my N3 palette. The palette is lacking a rich vibrant purple which would have complimented all that pink beautifully! This one is the Mademoiselle baked shadow by Nyx.

The last eyeshadow purchase was a risk but I got home and put it on immediately and I love it. It's this shimmery coral-copper shade called Showgirl. It just gives this vibrant pop of color on the lids without being too out there. I love it! Buy it here.

Mademoiselle, Showgirl, Dance the tides.
Bottom row - Fizzies lipstick.

I've heard excellent things about the Nyx butter lipsticks, so I got a fun pink-coral color for spring. Very moisturising. I got the shade Fizzies.

Lastly I got the Urban Decay de-slick setting spray. My forehead is SO oily and I'm hoping this would help my makeup last a bit longer. I will report back once I use it a few times.

So I guess I have spring-ready makeup and clothes. Now if only the sun came out soon! LOL!

Apr 3, 2014

March Favorites

March flew by, didn't it? How can we already be on the fourth month of this year without a teeny but of sunshine in sight? UGH. Anyway, here are some stuff that made the month of March very enjoyable!

Beauty -

I still love the MUFE Pro finish powder foundation and NARS Creamy concealer. You can read about them here. Two other things that I love are the Maybelline Color Vivids Fuchsia flash lipstick and the Maybelline Chiffon Chic nail polish. Both are pink with a blue undertone. This pink was something I shunned because I felt it was too cold but with this year's color theme being radiant orchid, my eyes have been opened to how beautiful they can look. Speaking of radiant orchid, the Maybelline Fuchsia flash is an exact dupe for the Sephora Radiant Rush Matte lipstick (which is not matte at all, lol)
The Organix Kukui oil was a random purchase in my quest for a lighter oil to use everyday after shower. I only wash my hair twice a week and the rest of the days, I don't like using a heavy oil weighing my hair down. This oil is light and easily absorbed and works perfectly in taming my frizz.

Home Decor -

I've been loving this little salt cellar I got from World Market to hold my jewelry. It's SO cute! I'm on a decor overhaul, so hopefully I'll have more favorites to share next month!

Scents and Candles  -

I've been using a new body polish from Sonia Kashuk which I've been enjoying a lot. It's heavily fragranced but I love the scent. The granules are really minute, so the scrub isn't harsh on the skin. Great product overall.

And this Lilac Blossom candle from BBW is SO beautiful!

I also LOVED the Cherry Blossom candle.

I've been using this lavender and chamomile pillow mist from BBW for the last month or so and whether it puts me to sleep or not, I find it really relaxing and light.

Fashion -

I recently got two striped button downs and I love both of them. One is the Old Navy striped white shirt and the other is the Gap striped chambray shirt. The ON shirt is SOOOO soft too.

Kitchen and Food -

Caramalized onion dip from Trader Joe's. I love this stuff. I typically refrain from snacking but recently I've been having a couple of multigrain crackers with this dip and I'm not hungry till dinner time.

Cuisinart 3.5 quart slow cooker - this is the perfect size cooker for two people plus a little leftovers. I'm making oatmeal in it every week coupled with a few weeknight meals. Great purchase.

TV -

Doctor Who

Ok. This is more of an obsession than a favorite, lol. I steer away from shows that are revamped from their 1960s versions because I'm afraid I've missed the story. BUT - Doctor Who is something you just can't avoid if you are a nerd. I finally decided to watch it to see what the fuss was about. I started with the ninth doctor and I liked the story but was meh about it. (I KNOW). And then the tenth doctor came in. Davind Tennant, OMG. He is such an amazing actor and Moffat and Russel Davies are SUCH amazing writers. There were so many fantastic episodes. I'm done with the fourth season and have said a very tearful goodbye to Ten. I'm now watching Season 5 with Matt Smith who is super cute. I'm yet to see if I will love him as much as I love DT. I cannot believe there is a show in this world that can replace Sherlock as my all time favotrite TV. Amazon prime has the show in HD if anyone is interested. You will not regret it, I promise.