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CHERISHING THE CHERISH VOXBOX

This year's Mother's Day was extra special for me, as it was the first year, I could celebrate as a mother of two. To make the day even more special, our toddler daughter and her rescue Puppy brother had a little help from Influenster. Handpicked products, for the whole family, came in our mail, and as a family of four, we were so so happy and excited to put the products to test.

"Cherish Voxbox," was a special box of goodies, which were meant for families with both a human child and a furry child, and to me, that gesture sealed the deal. Do you want to know more about the goodies, then let's get started.

As I pen down this long due post on Summer Solstice, I could not stress more about the importance of hydration. As a Mom, I am always trying to encourage my children to keep up their fluid intake, when the weather is so hot and so dry. Mott's Sensibles Juice was an instant hit with our toddler. In fact, I had a tough time, saving it, until we finally got the necessary pictures done for this post. This might be an addition to the school lunch box, come August. That's a special request from the soon-to-be kindergartener.

Being pet parents, we have been hearing of Bark Box for some time, but had not tried the service ourselves. Barkbox is a monthly subscriptions service for your canine child, which comprises of toys and treats. I had been tempted to try it out, I must add, as I had loved the previews which the website showed, for possible monthly products. The next goodie in the box was an adorable  RollerBladeToy from BarkBox. An active pup is an understatement for my furry son and toys do not usually last long in our house. They mysteriously vanish. Does it happen in your family too? I loved the quality of the toy and how sturdy it was.

Dad had planned a beautiful Mother's Day weekend, and there was something special for him to try out too. My husband is more of an Eau de toilette kind of a person, but in Summer, he swears by layering it on with a good deodorant. But its always tricky to find a deodorant which does not stain the shirts. Dove Men's Care Stain Defense Dry Spray claims to be invisible on most known colors, and might soon become a Summer favorite in His side of the vanity.
Last but not the least, were two products meant for Mommy. Vera Wang's Embrace Perfume and Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Foam Conditioner. You can never go wrong with Vera Wang, can you? Embrace treads on the middle ground of floral and fruity notes, with tuberose and mandarin as some of its prominent notes.
I have dry and frizzy hair which is also colored. So I love a good hair care product which can deliver on its promise. In Summer, humidity play havoc and my hair become frizz central. Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal Foam Conditioner though sounded gimmicky, actually worked quite well on my textured hair. I feel its a good addition in one's travel toiletries bag. I am in India, on a vacation, as I type away this post, and I can tell you that Pantene has been a savior in taming my hair, in this crazy heat and humidity.

So what are your favorite self-care products, in Summer?


Disclaimer: These products were sent to me complimetary, for testing purposes, but the opinions are those of my own. 

LAVENDER LOVE : PANTONE COLOR OF THE YEAR












Pantone's color of the year is UltraViolet. But a more practical and wearable option of the color is surely Lavender. Whenever I hear the word Lavender, my mind wanders off to the lush Lavender fields of Provence. That is something which is on my bucket list, to visit Provence when the Lavender fields are in full bloom.

Coming back to things back home and everyday outfit planning, I wanted to incorporate Lavender in an outfit. Lavender has been big on the Spring Summer runways and we have seen celebs sporting this trend quite a lot. Pastels do have their own charm at this time of the year. With Trends, I believe in starting small. For instance, while you could invest a lot, and it could go out of fashion, in the next season. As I was planning an outfit around the Lavender trends, I realized that I have accessories with pops of Lavender and purple.

My outfit is a fresh take on your weekend outfit, in keeping it effortless. Being a mom, I often do not have the time, to go into elaborate outfit plans. Stylish, functional and simple is what I had in mind. I styled a basic round neck tee, in the shade Lavender. Paired it with my Ralph Lauren Sunglasses which are Purple and brown. My trust Denim Mini, black and brown leather slides and my Coach handbag which had pops of Lavender. Brown is a tricky color to pair with cooler tones, but I have paired brown in this outfit, along with Lavender. If you see the sunglasses, they have a touch of brown. So do the sandals and the bag has a cappuccino trim almost.

SHOP MY LOOK : 

TEQUILA SUNRISE : COCKTAIL PICK FOR SUMMER

Hello Summer! My favorite time of the year is here. Hope all of you had a great Memorial day weekend. We usually are known for our extensive travel, but this long weekend, we took it slow. Some quality time as a family was something we wanted to focus on, along with some great meetups with some great friends. When Summer meetups come to mind, I imagine some fun tropical inspired cocktails. If you switch up your make up when the weather change, should you also not switch up your cocktail choices. Well, I do.

Imagine the pool, some good friends, and a refreshing drink to sip on. We cant always travel to a fancy resort and order from the poolside bar, but we can whip up something fancy right in our backyard. Presenting to you - Tequila Sunrise. Not the Eagles' song, but the cocktail. Doesn't the drink just look Summer Perfect? I love those colors together. It always looks like a work of art, when Hubs whips up some. Tequila Sunrise is a cocktail which is made of Orange Juice, Tequila and Grenadine Syrup, unmixed. The color gradient resembles a sunrise and hence the drink gets its name. You can serve it with a garnish of Maraschino cherries.

I might have spoken earlier, on how much  Mixology is a hobby for me and Hubs. We love our cocktails and we love to re-create them at home as well. So over the years, we have curated our cocktail bar at home. Tequila Sunrise is quite a famous cocktail, and my husband has perfected how to make it at home. We have served it at a few dinners at home recently and our friends just loved it. Trust me, you can make it in a jiffy. Let's get mixing!


TEQUILA SUNRISE : 

Ingredients: 
Orange Juice: 3/4 cup
Tequila: 1 /12 oz
Grenadine Syrup: 3/4 oz
Maraschino Cherry : for garnish

Procedure: 

Pour the orange juice and Tequila in a glass of your choice.

Now slowly pour the Grandine syrup over the back of a spoon, in the glass. Allow it to settle at the bottom of the glass. Do this step slowly.

Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry.



WHOLE FOODS KCMO GRAND OPENING

What if I told you that you could sip on wine with your husband, at your next grocery trip? Listen to some jazz and chill out at the bar! Or the kiddos get to take a pick from a never-ending line of Mac and Cheese?  Yes, all this and more at the brand new Whole Foods, which opened in Kansas City, Missouri on May 23rd. They got your date night with hubs taken care of, while both of you tackle groceries. Even a fractured foot could not hold me back from attending their pre-opening party, held earlier in the week.


Whole Foods Market only brings forth the best of the best, so their customers can get the best quality in anything that they pick up, be it beauty products, or grocery items or even a cup of Joe. The 48,000 square feet grocery store features 200+ plus Kansas and Missouri vendors, the Fountain Room, the Allegro Coffee Bar and a Seafood Bar to name a few. Let's start with the Fountain Room, which has 22 different craft beers on tap, wine by the glass and handcrafted cocktails, and a full lunch and dinner menu. For me, that takes care of my next date night with my man.Or even Happy Hour with my girls ! That is the perfect example of adulting done right if you ask me.

Do you like your food hot or do you like your food cold? There are oven fresh pizzas, or oysters or Sushi to take your pick from if you should decide not to eat the Fountain Room.

 Their Seafood Bar is a first for Whole Foods Kansas City stores, which will be featuring traditional and rotating seasonal flavors. Offering in-house ceviche, poke and smoke salmon options, shoppers can create their own custom blend as well.


Food on a stick is always a good idea, isn't it? And if macarons were not decadent enough, then they were dipped in chocolate sauce, then dipped in crushed dried raspberries or sprinkles and passed on to you on a stick. Whole foods know how to party, family style, I tell you!

One section of the store which caught my eye was definitely the Cheese section. My dreams have so often featured the huge discs of Parmigiano Reggiano, finding their way to my kitchen. Whole Foods had a wedge of a huge disc of aged gouda, under a salamander. And the oooey-gooey cheese was paired with crackers and prosciutto for the perfect bite. There's a Certified Cheese Professional(CCP) always available in store to help you, make your next Cheese Board.

A Seafood Boil which stretched on for a mile almost and a never-ending array of Mac and Cheese which kept both parents and kiddo happy.

If cold libations or spirits are not your jam, then there's Coffee galore! I am a coffee drinker and I am often joking that there's more coffee in my veins than any other liquid. The Allegro Coffee Bar is a one-stop shop for an afternoon pick me up, or a morning fix. I opted for my Cold Brew while Hubs settled for his Capuccinno to round off the evening, as we enjoyed some fabulous Live Jazz.


Whole Foods Market is located at Brookside 51 in Kansas City, MO. Hope you are headed there soon, to make your grocery run more fun. Thank you so much Whole Foods Kansas City !

CHUKANDAR GOSHT: BRAISED GOAT WITH BEETROOT

Goat curry is a staple for the weekends for Bengali foodies. Whipping up a batch of fresh coat curry has this satisfaction which is quite unmatched, in terms of nostalgia. While everyone has their own version of a Sunday Goat Curry, I decided to switch things up a bit, this week. A few months back, a unique combination had caught my eye on my newsfeed. It was Sukanya Ghosh's Chukandar Gosht or goat curry with beetroot. It had been on my wishlist of recipes to try out.
I love my share of vegetables, but beetroot is not something which does not make it .way to my shopping cart, at the grocers. Winter childhood memories have their share of soups which my Mom used to make. When she used to add beetroots to the mix, the color took on jewel tones. Also enjoyed pickled eggs in beetroot juice at Phillipe's in Los Angeles. But, I personally didn't cook with it, ever since I started cooking. So thank you Sukanya for pushing me out of my comfort zone, with your unique Holi offering. I must add that my version of Chukandar Gosht is a bit different from her, both in terms of how we treated the ingredients and how he cooked it in general. Now I am inspired to try cooking goat with a combination of a few other root vegetables.

As I was researching this recipe, I came across the fact that it was originally made with Beef, and can be easily subbed with Lamb. My husband is a foodie himself and a great home chef. Almost a decade back, he perfected the idea of braising goat in the oven. Goat takes longer to cook, and the pressure cooker is an easier alternative. But for people like me and my husband, we do not like our goat cooked in pressure cooker. We slow cook it in the oven, after an initial step on the stovetop. My Le Creuset Dutch Oven(Linked at the foot of the post) is the perfect vessel of choice when it comes to cooking meat Indian style.
 
 
                                                                           
Be it Butter Chicken or Goat Curry, we have seen the difference it makes. And if you are cooking  goat curry for a party or for many people, try removing one of the racks of your oven and cook the goat curry in a large stockpot. Sudeshna of Cook Like a Bong had visited our home a few years back, and she has been telling me for years, that I should blog about these goat curry hacks with my readers.

Without much further ado, let's jump in the recipe.

CHUKANDAR GOSHT - BRAISED GOAT WITH BEETROOT :

Ingredients:
Goat Meat: 2 lb, cubed, skinless. Can be subbed with Beef/Lamb
Red Onion: 1/2: finely chopped
Ginger Paste:  1tbsp
Garlic Paste: 2 tbsp
Tomato: 1: finely chopped
Cumin Powder: 2 tsp
Coriander Powder: 2 tsp
Red Chili Powder: 1/2 to 1 tsp(according to heat preferences). Can be subbed with Paprika for reduced heat.
Cilantro: chopped, for garnish
Canola Oil
Birista/Fried Onion: 1/4 cup
Beet Root: 2, cubed.
Green Cardamom: 4 - 5
Cinnamon Stick: 1
Bay Leaves : 3
Cloves: 4 to 5
Mace: A few

Procedure:
Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
In a dutch oven, or a heavy bottomed vessel, heat oil, over medium heat. Add in the aromatics(whole garam masala and bay leaves), and a teaspoon of sugar. Once the aromatics get crackling and sugar is caramelized and not burnt, add the chopped fresh onions.

Give everything a stir and let the onion caramelize to light brown around the edges.

Add ginger and garlic paste, chopped tomatoes, blend of spices. Mix everything and let the masala fry up(without getting burnt). You can also cover and cook the mix for a couple of minutes for it to lose the rawness.


Next, come the mutton pieces and the beetroot cubes. Season well and mix everything.

Here comes my twist. I added in 1/4 cup of Birista, or fried onions at this phase. I used the store-bought version, as it was handy in the pantry. Feel free to make from scratch.
Cover and cook on the stove top for around 15 minutes.
Open the lid and add 2 cups of hot water, and put the lid back on. Put in the oven and slow cook for an hour, or till the goat is tender, but not mushy.

Reduce the gravy to being thick and dry. Season with freshly chopped cilantro.Serve with Naan or steamed Basmati rice.

Bon Appetit!

                                                                                SHOPPING :