Homemade Strawberry Milk

Strawberry Milk

For as long as I can remember, I have been a strong believer in buying fruits and vegetables only when they’re in season. I think it stems from having grown up in India in the 80s and 90s, long before advances in genetics and farming practices enabled us to have whatever produce we desired when we desired it. In my mom’s kitchen, dishes were seasonal – sauteed peas, tomato soup and spinach and carrots will only be had during winters and the aroma of mangos and freshness of cucumber will only grace the dining table in the sweltering summers.

Now, being in the US, I wait all year for it to get warm enough for all the wonderful summer fruits to make an appearance at the farmers’ market. Even though J and I are not huge fans of strawberry fruit, we love the flavor in breakfast and dessert. But, all of us who have bought the juicy, red, picture-perfect jewels know how quickly they perish.

Chopped Strawberries

This was why I started looking for a quick and easy recipe for strawberry milk that doesn’t require too many ingredients or fancy kitchen gadgets. It lets you enjoy the wonderful flavor without setting a deadline for you to finish a pound of fruit and is makes for a great solution if you end up with a batch of tart strawberries. My search for the recipe ended here.

I had to boil the liquid for close to 20 minutes to bring it to the desired consistency and I blended the mixture before straining it since I didn’t want to waste the fruit and pulp.

Strawberry Milk 2

The end result was every bit as delicious as it looked. Give it a try and share your experience with me.

 

Spring is IN!

One of the many ways in which I celebrate the end of dreary, snowy and blowy winters is buying all new nail color for an all new season. The flowers, new leaves and warm temperature inspire so many irresistible shades and including them in your manicure caddy is a quick and easy way to feel like a whole new you.

This was going to be a ‘top five nail colors for Spring’ post. But, my favorite makeup brand Estee Lauder’s Pure Color range deserves a post of its own. So here are the top 10 new shades (five bright hues for day and five sultry ones for night) from Estee Lauder that you must try (or lust after) this season. At $20 each, they are a little bit on the expensive side, but they’re versatile enough to carry you through Summer.

Estee Lauder Pure Color: Top 10 shades for Spring.

Estee Lauder Pure Color: Top 10 shades for Spring.

1. Dilettante
2. Absinthe
3. Coral Cult
4. Insatiable
5. Narcissist
6. Viper
7. Explosif
8. Black Turquoise
9. Enchanted Garnet
10. Purple Velvet

Which one’s your favorite?

Beauty Review: MAC Studio Moisture Cream

A few weeks ago, I shared with you my list of essential makeup items. Each item on that list has made it to a permanent spot in my makeup bag after much research, testing, discussions and expenditure.

Of these, perhaps the most difficult to find was the moisturizer. For years, my skin either got too oily or extremely dry during winters because of the moisturizer. There were even a few times when I applied my whole makeup, and while putting on the finishing powder, I’d realize that my skin was flaking. Then I’d have to remove all of it and start again. Only to find out two hours later that my face is in desperate need of blotting paper.

Finally, a couple of months ago, while visiting the MAC store in New Delhi, I tried the Studio Moisture Cream.

MAC Studio Moisture Cream, 1.7 oz (50ml) - $32

MAC Studio Moisture Cream, 1.7 oz (50ml) – $32

I love their Studio Moisture Fix SPF 15 for summers. But, my skin needed something richer for winters. The answer came in the form of the Studio Moisture Cream. It provides just the right amount of moisture and is a particularly good base for makeup. It doesn’t weigh your skin down or make it dull or oily. I have been using it for about a month now and haven’t seen a difference in the “healthy radiance” of my skin, as claimed by the description on the MAC website.

It is kind of expensive, at $32 for 1.7 oz (50ml). But, you only need a little bit at a time and a jar will easily last you about five months. And I believe that a great moisturizer is definitely worth splurging on since it can really make or break your look. No amount of professional brush strokes or 100s of bucks worth of makeup will make a difference if your skin isn’t moisturized properly.

So go ahead. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

xo

Color ’em nude!

As a fashion enthusiast, the Oscar season is one of the most exciting times of the year for me. Right from the time when new collections hit the runway in September and then early February, my friends and I start predicting which gowns will make it down the runway. And my list almost always has the most vibrant and colorful picks.

Therefore, you can sense my disappointment with this year’s red carpet rundown. Agreed, there were some stunning gowns on the red carpet. Naomi Watts in that stunning Armani Privé and Charlize Theron’s all-white fabulousness were not lost on me. But, I really wished the stars had been more adventurous in their choice or color.

I, for one, have never owned (and hopefully, will never own) an all-white or all-neutral outfit. So, I decided to explore other ways of incorporating the trend in my wardrobe and I realized that bags it will be. Seeing that I am on the lookout for a new cross body bag, here’s are some interesting ones I came across recently.

NudeNeutralBags

1. Rebecca Minkoff Cross Body Clutch – $195
2. Alsace Cross Body Bag – $195
3. Lauren Ralph Lauren Cross Body – $198
4. Sophie Hulme Mini Envelope Bag – $495
5. Salvatore Ferragamo Mini Bag – $595
6. Snake Trim Boxy bag – $45

I love the high end ones, but it’s great to have the option of a stylish bag under $50, like no. 6.

Which one’s your favorite?

Quick and easy!

I am constantly looking for simple recipes for lunch. And by simple, I mean simple enough to make at 7 in the morning since J likes to take lunch from home a couple of times a week, rather than eating out every day.

While usually we make salads, today I wanted to do something different and whipped up a sandwich. It’s really easy to make and has basic ingredients that all of us will have at home.

Ingredients

Eight slices of wheat bread
Carrots (grated) – 1/2 cup
Lettuce (grated) – 1/4 cup
Roasted peanuts (crushed) – 2 tablespoons
Mayonnaise – 3 tablespoons
Lemon juice – 1 tablespoon
Salt and black pepper to taste 

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Use as a spread to make a sandwich.

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The spread tastes better if you refrigerate it for a couple of hours. You can also make it the night before and prepare the sandwiches in the morning.

I crush peanuts using a mortar & pestel because I like to have that crunch and texture in the spread. A blender will grind them too fine.

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You can also substitute the mayonnaise with hung curd to make a healthier sandwich.

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Try this recipe and let me know what you think.

Oscars Red-Carpet Predictions

It’s that time of the year again! Tonight when the Hollywood glitterati come out to strut their stuff for the big night, I’ll be more interested in seeing who wore what, than who won what. (P.S. I’m rooting for Zero Dark Thirty for best picture!)

Here are some of the looks from the recent fashion weeks that I feel deserve to shine on the red carpet tonight.

Christian Dior Spring 2013 Couture

Christian Dior Spring 2013 Couture

This couture gown will be perfect for someone in the new crop of pre-teen and teen starlets in Hollywood. It’s not grown up, yet has that bit of personality and edge.

Elie Saab Spring 2013 Couture

Elie Saab Spring 2013 Couture

Elie Saab Spring 2013 Couture

Elie Saab Spring 2013 Couture

Elie Saab Spring 2013 Couture

Elie Saab Spring 2013 Couture

I loved the Elie Saab Spring Couture show and felt at least 10 of the gowns would be perfectly at home on the Oscars red carpet. They were plain gorgeous and showed everything from white to red, blue and black. These three gowns show a good range of what to expect. Beading, satin and lace are all on trends right now and will definitely be seen tonight.

Atelier Versace Spring 2013 Couture

Atelier Versace Spring 2013 Couture

As always, Atelier Versace would be the choice of a star or starlet who prefers edgy gowns and had the poise to carry it. Selena Gomez surprised with a look from this show a few days ago. The same impact could be created tonight.

Chanel Spring 2013 Couture

Chanel Spring 2013 Couture

Delicate, yet unconventional. I can see a Keira Knightley or Emma Stone in this gown.

Jenny Packham Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear

Jenny Packham Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear

Another show that had numerous red carpet-ready looks. This one stands apart because of it’s color and grace. Also a standard and safe choice for those who want to steer clear of the worst-dressed lists.

Marchesa Fall Ready-To-Wear

Marchesa Fall Ready-To-Wear

A red carpet favorite, Marchesa’s Fall 2013 show had fewer than usual pouffy gowns. That’s not to say they were any less beautiful. Many of the tinsel town ladies must be lusting after these looks. The trick, however, would be to arrive on the carpet without any creases after that limousine ride.

Giambattista Valli Spring 2013 Couture

Giambattista Valli Spring 2013 Couture

A classic Giambattista Valli look. This or its variations will make many a fashion critics snap in appreciation. Just what a lady star wants on the big night.

Naeem Khan Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear

Naeem Khan Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear

Naeem Khan Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear

Naeem Khan Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear

One of my favorite designers, Naeem Khan’s recent show wowed me to no end. These two looks are quite different – the blue velvet with gold embroidery is royal and opulent, while the white sequined number is classic yet glamorous. Both will make excellent choices to make a strong impact.

Oscar de La Renta Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear

Oscar de La Renta Fall 2013 Ready-To-Wear

This youthful collection will be right at home on the red carpet on a fresh-faced, early-20s starlet.

Reem Acra Fall 2013

Reem Acra Fall 2013

A beautiful look for a tall lady star. Minimalist in black and white, yet attention-grabbing with in all the right ways.

Valentino Spring 2013 Couture

Valentino Spring 2013 Couture

Valentino and red carpets go hand in hand. This collection had some gorgeous red gowns. Those or this black number would make the perfect strong statement for Hollywood’s ravishing beauties.

Alexander McQueen Pre-fall 2013

Alexander McQueen Pre-fall 2013

The post will be incomplete without red carpet powerhouse Alexander McQueen. Although not everyone’s cup of tea, McQueen gowns are a permanent on the best-dressed list. Let’s see which queen walks away with the honor this year.

Which ones are your favorites?

Makeup Essentials: Seven wonders

I absolutely love makeup. From trying out new products to watching “how-to” videos on YouTube, I spend hours on it. After much research and experimentation, I have realized that there are seven products that are must-haves and when in a hurry, I can rely on these to complete my look for day and for night.

7-wonders

1. Mac Studio Moisture Cream – $32
2. Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Mousse – $34
3. Clinique Color Surge Eyeshadow Quad: Spicy – $27
4. Mac Pro Longwear Eyeliner – $19.50
5. Estée Lauder Sumptuous Bold Volume Lifting Mascara – $22
6. Bobbi Brown Blush: Nude Pink – $25
7. Elizabeth Arden Color Intrigue Effects Lipstick – $20

For someone who has a lot of experience with makeup, these seven can make the perfect little makeup kit. And for someone just getting started with it, these are the essentials that you need to get your hands on.