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!

Jun 4, 2014

Juicy Summer Fashion

The last couple of years, we quenched our summer thirst for fashion with mint. While mint remains popular this year too, I've had my eye on something else a lot fresher - watermelon!! I love how playful and cute the print is and it's perfect for the summer to add to your casual wardrobe. Here are a few things I love!

Canvas slip-ons in our favorite pattern!

DV8 Raegen

If you have a little more money to spare, you could spring for these Kate Spade shoes.
Kate Spade Watermelon Flats

Try out this super cute Modcloth crossbody bag. The customer pictures feature really lets you see how great the size and strap length is.

Forever Fruitful Bag
Add a slice of fresh watermelon to your PJs for a refreshing sleep, lol.

Watermelon Slice PJ set

And to top it all off, a watermelon flavored lip balm keeps your lips happy through the summer.

The Body Shop Watermelon Born Lippy
I love how when summer arrives, the stores bring out such fun, quirky stuff. Are you planning to add something quirky to your wardrobe this summer?




Jun 1, 2014

An Indian Summer Salad and Mint Lassi

Trader Joe's masala burgers are my favorite "too tired to cook and too tired to go out" frozen food! Last night, I decided to amp them up a bit and threw together a quick Indian inspired salad to serve with the burgers and some fresh cold lassi!








Ingredients -

For the salad

Butter lettuce
Half a can of drained chickpeas or cooked channa
Cilantro dressing/ Coriander chutney with a little lime juice, vinegar and olive oil
Golden Raisins
Toasted cashews
Red onion cut into slivers
Curry powder
Salt and Pepper

For the lassi

Yogurt - 1 cup
Water - as needed based on how thick you like your lassi
Dried mint leaves
Salt and pepper
Sugar


Method -

Toss all the salad ingredients together in a big salad bowl. If you have the grill running for the burgers anyway, you could grill some vegetable to throw into the salad.

Grill the frozen burgers. I just used my griddler. Place in between two slices of bread, spray the bread with olive oil and grill again.

To make the lassi, blend the yogurt in with the water and rest of the lassi ingredients till nice and creamy.

Serve!

It was a great, light and fresh dinner for a super hot summer night. Something you definitely need to try if you love Indian food. You will not be disappointed!