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.