FASHION

FASHION
FASHION

BEAUTY

BEAUTY
BEAUTY

FOOD

FOOD
FOOD
copyright: journospeak. Powered by Blogger.

ST. IVES APRICOT OIL SCRUB - APPLICATION & REVIEW



Skin Care is something which should never be compromised on. With the Winter months, my dry and parched skin needs even more TLC. So when I was sent a brand new skin care product to review, the timing could not have been more perfect. Thank you St. Ives and Influenster for sending me the St Ives Apricot Oil Scrub. the name St Ives is synonymous with my teenage years, like so many others. Who can forget their scrubs and masks. For years, I had not used their products, so it felt good to go back to my early days , of skin care and beauty.

St. Ives Apricot Oil Scrub is an oil and scrub in one product. As someone with dry skin I am always skeptical of physical exfoliants, whether or not they are too harsh for my sensitive skin.  But the idea of oil in a scrub seemed interesting.


PRODUCT CLAIMS: 
Suitable for all skin types
Paraben free
Made with 100 % Natural Exfoliants
Non Comedogenic
Does not contain any animal products

APPLICATION:  

Shake the bottle well. Dispense product on your hands.


Apply the product in a circular motion on dry skin.





Add water and continue massaging to emulsify. product will turn milky white. Rinse thoroughly.


REVIEW : 
I used St.Ives products after many years, as i had mentioned earlier, but I loved their quality. I have used many drugstore scrubs over the years, and have ended up with over dried or irriated skin. My skin is dry and sensitive. St. Ives Oil Scrub had very fine natural exfoliants, which did not iiriate my skin. I massaged the product as they had instructed, and my skin did not feel dry and taut when I had rinsed my face. The oil in it , is what keeps the skin quite hydrated. I love facial oils, and I feel this product was a good balance between an oil and a scrub. As I have dry skin, I try and use exfoliants once a week, although the product claimed it was safe to use a few times a week. If you see the picture below, its how my skin looks after I had washed the scrub off. My skin did feel a lot clear. I was having a problem with breakouts after I returned from my beach vacation. This product did a good job in unclogging my pores and drawing the impurities out. I tried this product for a few weeks, before I decided to review . The packaging of the product was slender and very travel friendly.


DISCLAIMER : 
I received this product for  free from Influenster and St. Ives for testing purposes.

Photograph Courtesy : Deabshish Dasgupta . Send us an email if you want your pictures taken, for an upcoming Blog Post or a special occasion. 

MIAMI - KEYWEST VACATION VLOG &TRAVEL PLAN


Time for another Travel Post. Me and my family are avid travelers .But the blog probably has only 10 percent of our travels listed. I have the best of intentions to write about all my travels, and maybe some day I will. My Husband is an amazing Trip- Travel Planner. People follow his tips, and ideas, and there are some punters who even try to take credit, by copying his plans, and calling them their own. Thats another reason I should be writing more about all our amazing Holidays.

The Midwestern Winters are known to be harsh. So a sunny weather, and the beach always seems to be a better idea.Mexico, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rice have all seen us in the months of December along with the Sunshine State.

This time around, we had our daughter with us. We decided to limit our holiday to Miami and Key West. Check out the Vlog below to enjoy our vacation with us. 



If you are planning a similar vacation, here is a complete Travel Plan : 

Day 1: Flying to Fort LauderDale from Kansas City. 
Fort Lauder Dale is less than an hour from Miami Beach,a nd tickets can often be found at a better deal . 

Day 2: Driving to Key West and Exploring Key West 
Breakfast at our Hotel in Fort Lauderdale
Drive to Key West (Stop after 7 mile Bridge for photo op)
Lunch at Sloppy Joe's 
Walking around Duvall Street 
Sunset Celebration at Mallory Square 

Day 3: Cruise to Dry Tortugas National Park and Christmas dinner at Key West
Take the Yankee Freedom Ferry to reach Dry Tortugas National Park. Its home to the maginifient Fort Jefferson. Ticket reservations required. Brekfast and lunch are served on the cruise. Spend a lovely day, exploring the fort, snorkelling along the corla reefs , and sparkling blue waters , and some quality beach time . Its 70 miles from Key West 
Christmas Dinner at Cafe Sole, Key West. 

Day 4: Exploring Key West and Drive to Miami 
Breakfast at the Albury Court Hotel (where we stayed)
Walk up to Southernmost Point of mainland US (Photo Op)
Mile Marker Zero- End of US1 (Photo Op)
Drive to Miami (41/2 hours)
Reached South Beach, and checked into our hotel - Harrison Hotel (Booking.com Drama)
Dinner at Joe's Stone Crab . Reservation and dress code recommended. 

DAY 5 : 
Cuban Breakfast at Las Olas Cafe, South Beach, Miami 
Beach time  at South Beach 
Cuban Lunch at Versailles Restaurant, Little Havana, Miami 
Exploring Little Havana , Miami (Azucar Ice Cream Co. , Domino Park, El Credito Cigar Company)
Dinner at CJ's Crab Shack, South Beach 

DAY 6 : 
Lunch at Little Haiti - Chez Le Bebe 
Back to the Beach - South Beach 
Dinner at Michael's Genuine Food and Drink . Reservation and dress code recommended. 

Day 7 : Flying back to Kansas City 
The only pity is that the airlines lost my daughter's stroller, which was a gift from my parents. 


Hope all of you loved our vacation vlog and travel plan. Dont forget to Like our Youtube Video and Subscribe to our Channel, so that you can be notified whenever a new video is uploaded. 

Florida Look Book and Detailed Restaurant Reviews of our Florida Vacation coming soon on the Blog. Stay Tuned. 












CHILI CHICKEN - THE INDO CHINESE CLASSIC




Chili Chicken is an iconic part of the entire cult of Indo-Chinese Cooking. From the road side fast food stall, to authentic kitchens of China Town, Chili Chicken is omni present. Having grown up in Kolkata, India, I share an undying love for this classic. Chili Chicken and Hakka Noodles are a match made in heaven for any Indo Chinese lover.

India has had its share of Chinese immigrants. They brought their Cantonese cooking, and it adapted over the years in the various China Towns across Indian Cities. This strain of Chinese cooking, is very different from the Chinese food we get across our local Chinese takeouts spread across North America. It s a part of our nostalgia, its something we hold on to. Its something which is very difficult to not love.

What exactly is Chili Chicken? Chunks of skinless boneless Chicken thigh are crispy batter fried. Then cooked in an aromatic blend of chopped ginger- garlic, onions, peppers, soy sauce and chilies. The trick to a great Chili Chicken is cooking it on high heat, and in the right wok. It can turn from a delicacy to a mushy mess in no time, if you over cook it.

There are as many variations of the basic Chili Chicken recipe, as there are Indo-Chinese food connoisseurs in town. Every household might add its own special touch. My Husband has its own trick with it. We love it and keep demanding that he make it more often. Its the perfect home cooked Friday Night dinner .

If you don't prefer chicken, then you can substitute it with the protein of your choice. The cooking time will vary according to the protein. If you are cooking with prawns, then the cooking time with reduce, when you are frying your protein, and a meat tenderizer might be useful, if you are cooking with skirt steak.

Hope you enjoy making it at home. Be sure to write to me when you do.



CHILI CHICKEN :

Ingredients :
Chicken Thighs - Boneles & Skinless - 1 lb
Egg : 1
Salt : To Taste
Sugar : 1 tsp
White Vinegar : 1 tbsp
Soy Sauce : 2 tbsp
Sambal Olek : 1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp
Dry Red Chilies : 10(Cut the number by half if you are also using Fresh Green Chilies)
MSG(Ajino Moto ) : 2 pinches
Chicken Bullion : 1 cube
All Purpose Flour : 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup
Black Pepper - Gound : 1 tbsp to 2tbsp
Canola Oil (for frying chicken and for gravy)
Sesame Oil
Red Onion : 1 large (Cubed)
Red Bell Pepper : 1 large : Cubed
Ginger : 1 inch Piece : Finely Chopped
Garlic : Half a large garlic : Finely Chopped
Shitake Mushrooms (Optional)
Corn Starch (Corn Flour) : 1 tbsp
Plain Water (Room temperature) - for Gravy and for making corn slurry
Red Chili Powder (or Paprika) : 1 tsp

Procedure:

Cut the chicken thighs in 2 inch chunks.

Make a dry rub of all purpose flour, a pinch of MSG(ajino moto), black pepper and a cube of chicken bullion.

Crach an egg in a bowl and whisk it. Dunk the chicken pieces first in egg and then in the dry mix. Keep aside. Heat Canola CaOil in a non stick pan. Fry the chicken in batches, till they are golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.



Finely chop  the ginger and garlic. Cube the red onion and bell pepper. If you have green chilies, you can chop them too.

We had soaked some dehydrataed Shitake Mushrooms in warm water. Drain the water , before you cook them.

In a wok or non stick pan, first add canola oil.

Then add some toasted Sesame Oil.

Add a teaspoon of plain white granulated sugar and let it caramelize .



Add in the cubed onions first, then the chopped ginger- garlic and chilies. We had messed the order a bit, but the taste didnt compromise .




If you are using MSG(Ajino Moto), add a dash of it now.

A dash of good black pepper powder.

Mix Mix Mix

Soy Sauce goes in next. Go easy on it .

Some Sambal Olek. Adjust acccording to heat preferences.

A touch of Red Chili Powder (or paprika if you want cut down on the heat, yet want the color) .

White Vinegar helps to tie in all the elements together.


Half a glass of water, to make a gravy .

Add in your fried Chicken Pieces and Shitake Mushroom(if you are using it).

Make a slurry (runny paste) of Corn Starch(Corn Flour) with plain water. Mix well, as it tends to clump. Add it to your gravy to thicken it. Make sure you stir well.




SEPHORA PLAY NOVEMBER '16 - REVIEW


November was one of the months, where I was really looking forward to Sephora Play Box. The sneak peek which had come in my email, had me anxious with excitement almost. Glam Glow, Laura Mercier  and Caudalie are three brands I had been meaning to try out for a long time. My last Sephora Haul, had me reaching out For Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation. Click Here to read a complete review. But I was yet to try my hands on products from the other two brands.

The theme of this month was - Glow Getters(Best in Glow). Products which help you retain a healthy glow in your skin, despite the harsh Winter temps.

Glam Glow Masks have been loved an draved about all across the beauty world, for the last few years. Its available in quite a few formulas, depending on the skin type and the type of treatment it offers. As I have dry skin, Glam Glow Thirsty Mud Hydrating Treatment was sent in my box. The Sephora Play boxes are often sent out with some variations, depending on skin type. In this month, there were a few variations of the Box items. But there was a Glam Glow product in each box.

As the name suggests, its a hydrating mask. You have to apply a thin layer on your face, and keep it for around 10 to 20 minutes. I wiped it off with a warm wash cloth. Maybe I was a bit heavy handed in my application, but the sample tube, only lasted me for two applications. Glam Glow Masks are known to be on the expensive side. Felt good to finally try out a product from this cult line.

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick have been quite a favorite of the beauty world for the last few years. I am personally not a fan of cream or stick eye shadows, as I have very oily lids, despite having dry facial skin. Maybe thats why I never purchased it myself. The color sent to me was Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in  Rose Gold. I have a warm complexion and have a weakness for everything rose gold. The color swatched well, and had quite a shimmery payoff. The product glides on easily over the lids, and I used my fingers to blend it. Paired with some thick eyeliner(which is a part of signature look), its a good shimmer product. Although its a good product, and in a trendy color, I feel the color washes me out. I would have loved the formula in a different shade, maybe a brownish copper, or a plum.

I love Pink Lipsticks, but I am not a fan of pink lipglosses. The next product was the Sephora Collection Ultra Shine Lip Gel in Pin Up Pink. I love the Sephora Collection Matte Lipglosses and swear by their color pay off . But this shade reminded me of my teenage years somehow. Maybe beacuse I am more of a Matte lip color person. Its a nice bubble gum pink and would be great for Spring - Summer.


Caudalie was the third rand which I had been lusting for in this box. I have read so much about this skin care brand from the Bordeaux region of Framce, and their luxurious spas. Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet came in this pretty pink tube. caudalie claims to harness the anti xidant powers of wine grapes, in their skin care line. And its quite evident in the name itself.  Dont get me wrong, but there was very less product in the pretty pink tube. It was a gel moisturizer and claimed to be easy on over sensitive skin. I must say, it was a very luxurious product to use.


Cover FX Illuminating Primer was another product in the November box. I dont use primers regularly, so these boxes are a good way of trying them out. Its a silicone free illuminating primer, which has a light tint to it. I used it below my regular foundation routine, for a few days. and quite liked the finish it gave off. Its a good product to use, under your foundation if you are getting your pictures taken. It gives off that subtle glow without making your face look like a disco ball. As I have dry skin, I could do with all the glow at this time of the year.

Last but not the least, was the perfume sample of the month. Maison Margiela 'Replica' Lipstick on is a good unisex perfume. The brand asks its patrons to layer perfumes to create your own signature scent. It reminded me of creating your Bespoke Scent with Jo Malone.


KEEMA PIE FOR CHRISTMAS



Wish you a very Happy New Year everyone. Now that the dust has settled in, and everyone is getting ready to get back to their school and work schedules, I knew I have to put on my writing hat again.  I have been a bit irregular with my Bogging Scheds the last few weeks. And I am having typing, as many of you might know that I had to undergo an Emergency Hand Surgery. On the path of recovery  with all your good wishes, which are always such a strength.This post was supposed to go Love on Christmas Day, but as I forgot my laptop while on my Holiday. this stayed back in the drafts.

Without much further, let get talking about Food. Keema Pie is a favorite in our household for the last few years. Guests who have eaten it at our parties, keep requesting for it. Its the ideal main course for any special occasion you might be hosting. So its ideal for a Christmas Party or a New Year Eve Home party.

What exactly is a Keema Pie? For starters, its a savory pie and not a sweet one. Borrowed from Greek, Keema means Minced Meat in Indian Cooking. Keema usually referm to minced Gaot Meat, but can also refer to any meat of choice, which has been coarse minced. We had been to India a few years back, and eaten at a restaurant which had introduced a Bengali fusion menu. My husband liked the idea so much, that when we were home, he came up with the idea of cooking Keema in a Pie. The idea was to introduce a Bengali element in the well known British classic -  Shepherd's Pie.

Its hearty, its got an element of spice, it pleases one and all. Mildly spiced goat mince, layered under spicy mashed potatoes, encased in a pie shell of flaky puff pastry. Baked to a golden perfection. Its a brilliant play of textures, in every bite. It pairs lovely with some Single Malt or Red Wine.

KEEMA PIE : 

Ingredients : 
Goat Keema : 1 lb
Puff pastry Sheets - 2
Potataoes : 3- 4 large
Ginger - Garlic Paste : 2 tbsp
Chopped Ginger - Garlic - 1 tbsp
Cumin Seeds : 2 tsp
Salt
Canola Oil : 2- 4 tbsp
Onion - 1/2 large - Paste
Onion : 1/4 large - chopped
Frozen Green Peas : 1/2 cup
Sharp Cheddar Cheese - 1 cup - Grated
butter - 1/2 stick

Procedure: 

Pre - Heat the oven to 350 F.

In a non stick pan, heat some canola oil. Crackle some cumin seeds.


Add onion- gonger - garlic paste, and roast it till its light golden.


In a different sauce pan, boil the potatoes. Once they are done, let them cool.


Once the onion paste has caramelized, add in the goat mince. Mix well. Add salt .


Once the goat meat has almost cooked, and all the liquid has dried up, add in the frozen peas and chopped cilantro. Mix well. Cook for another five minutes. Take off flame and keep aside.

In a different pan. add in chopped onions, ginger, garlic, cumin seeds, and fry them to a light golden.

Transfer them to your peeled, boiled potatoes.


Season with salt and half a stick of room temperature butter.

Mash everything.


Now comes in the Final Assembly.


Use the first sheet of Puff Pastry to line the Pie Pan.


Add in the layer of Keema Masala, you made earlier. Smooth it out with a spatula to get an even layer.


Cover it with your layer of Masala Mashed Potatoes. Smooth it with a spatula again.


Sprinkle grated sharp cheddar cheese over the masala mash .


Cover it all with the second sheet of puff pastry. Puff Pastry is very delicate, so be careful to not snag or tear it.




Crimp the edges with a fork.


Snip off the excess puff pastry hanging on the side.


Make three small slits on top of the pie so that the steam might escape while the pie is being baked.

Bake at 350 F for around 40 mins, or till the crust is golden brown.

Bon Appetit !