Thursday, April 16, 2015

SPRING OOTD: FLORALS AND LEATHER

You can wear just a dress or you can wear a dress and pair it with leather. Now  that's what packs in a solid punch. Juxtaposing something super feminine with something masculine, gives it a greater dimension. Power dressing for sure. We have been doing this for years, and this spring such pairings are all over. Androgynous dressing, but with an edge Trust me, heads will turn when you make a similar pairing. I surely did see heads turn when I had picked out this Outfit of the Day recently. 

Ever since our Beach Holiday in the US Virgin Islands, for Christmas, I had been looking for an opportunity to wear all my summery dresses I had packed for the vacay. I had been shopping in H&M on what to wear for the holiday and had picked up a few Skater Dresses . Co-incidentally most of them were florals. I cant tell you how happy I was to find them. H&M was the only store which had some warmer climate appropriate clothing, in the the dead of winters in the Midwest. 

So when the days started getting warmer, I knew the time as right for me dish out those summery dresses again. Yes, Spring is finally here with a bang. Thank god for that. Flowers and birds all around. All the color gives everyone almost a new lease of life. A wake up call from the cold and long Winter which any of us had been facing all these months. 


It was my daughter's first Easter Egg Hunt in our neighborhood. While I dressed my daughter in a bright floral dress and warm tights and a warm jacket,  I went ahead to get adventurous. I decided to skip the denims and the leggings and get my pasty legs out for a dress.  

I decided to stay within the realms of the color Black ,with all that I was pairing, as the days still had a chill in them. Moreover since I was dealing with Prints on the dress, too many colors would have made look like I was just out of Woodstock. I chose a Skater dress as it has a flattering cut to hide any bloating or tummy flab. Black is an ever forgiving color in that same regard. 


I paired the super feminine black floral skater dress from H&M with my edgy black faux leather Moto jacket from Forever 21. This jacket is a pretty old one. But its one of hose wardobe staples which you can re-cycle every year with different outfit options. The Cherry Blossom flowers are off set beautifully against the black color of the dress. And the fact that the stripes of florals follow two directions in the dress, helps it to break the monotony of patterns. I paired it with black ballet pumps which I had picked up from Off Broadway Shoes a few years back. So the dress was the only new element which I co-ordinated with two items which has been in my wardrobe for long. 

For my Make -Up , I did my SPRING MAKE-UP ROUTINE , complete with Coral Lips. I did not use any heat tool to style my hair. This is just the natural texture of my hair which I wake up in. Used some hair Spray to keep the flyways and frizz in place. 



LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS POST:

SPRING MAKE UP ROUTINE: http://journotalk.blogspot.com/2015/04/everyday-spring-make-up-step-by-step.html




Sunday, April 12, 2015

DOUBLE CHEESE KANGAROO MEAT BALLS


Game meat is always fascinating. I feel there is a different thrill associated with it. Still remember my first experience of having Crocodile Meat Fritters at Jazz. So whenever Me and the Man get an opportunity to try out something new and exotic, we jump to it by all means.

It was a dinner date in the Winter of 2012 when I first had my eyes on some Kangaroo meat on a plate. But I was heavily pregnant at that time,so I had to give game meat a miss. It was an exotic dinner at KC's French Bistro LE FOU FROG . That was the only place in KC which was serving  Kangaroo meat at that point of time. As the man dug into his Kangaroo tenderloin, and I continued to give him lustful glances, I knew I had to taste it,when the time was right.


So while doing groceries at Sprouts one afternoon, a few different labels caught my eye at the Frozen Meat section: Venison and Kangaroo. 

I wasted no time,but picked up both. Venison Goulash post coming soon.

Yes, you are right. The Kangaroo was cooked that very night. No need to  waste time on that. I had already waited three years.

This Kangaroo meat was farm raised at the Durham Ranch in Gilette, Wyoming, It some of the largest exotic meat farms in the US. I had earlier tasted Bison meat from Durham Ranch, so I knew I could rely on the product with eyes closed. They offer a range of exotic game meat from Alpaca to Wild Boar.

While there are many tutorials or guides to help you cook an exotic meat, you tend to rely on your instincts a bit more. I asked the man how it had tasted. He remarked that it was a bit mature than Veal but tender than Beef. Nice !! The Durham Family Ranch website claimed that it tasted more like Venison and that any venison recipe could be substituted with kangaroo.

As the meat was ground, we decided to take the route of Meatballs. Once I had the meat out of the packaging, I noticed how red it was. Must be all those muscles which help the Kangaroo to hop around so much. I volunteered to make Double Cheese Meatballs and Debashish, my husband, offered to make a sauce for it. You could whip up these meatballs and serve them on their own, or add it your meat sauce and pasta or make a different sauce for it. Go easy on the ingredients so that you don't overpower the protein.


DOUBLE CHEESE KANGAROO MEAT BALLS: 

Ingredients: 

Meatballs: 
Kangaroo meat: Ground: 1 lb
Egg: 2 large
Creole Seasoning: 2 tbsp
Shredded Cheddar Cheese: 1 cup
Fresh Mozarella Cheese or String cheese: Cut into cubes
Red Onion: chopped: 1/2 large
Bread Crumbs: 1/4 cup

Sauce: 
Garlic Cloves: 4 to 5
Olive Oil: 2 tbsp
Parsley: 1 tsp
Salt and Pepper
White wine: 1 cup
Bell Pepper: 1 large: sliced (He used yellow)
Tomato paste: 2 tbsp

Procedure: 

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl mix in the meat, egg, chopped onion, shredded cheese, Creole seasoning and bread crumbs. Roll them in to meat balls of equal size.Do not over mix the ingredients and use a light hand when you are mixing them. Over mixing can harden he protein.






Cut the mozzarella or the string cheese into cubes. Put into a cube of cheese right in the middle of the meat ball and roll them in again in your hands to make a smooth ball. The idea is that when you cut in to the meatball, the mozzarella will ooze out. It works best with fresh mozzarella as string cheese can be sometimes tricky and might not melt uniformly.





Bake the meat balls in a pre-heated oven at 350F for 30 mins or till they are cooked through. Or you could brown them in a  pan and then bake them. The choice is yours.


SAUCE: 
In a separate non stick pan, add in the olive oil and mash the garlic cloves. Add in the garlic and peppers and saute them till the garlic turns aromatic. Make sure that the garlic doesn't burn. Add in the tomato paste and sautee for a couple of minutes. De-glaze the pan with the white wine and add in the meat balls.

Season with salt, pepper and parsley. We used dried parsley,but if you have fresh parsley, go ahead by all means.


Stir around a bit and let the sauce reduce till it coats the meat balls.


Serve hot with some bread or pasta. Pour yourself a large glass of crisp White wine to accompany your meal.

Bon Appetit !!!

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS POST: 

KANGAROO DINNER AT LE FOU FROG,KANSAS CITY http://journotalk.blogspot.com/2015/03/le-foul-frog-eating-out.html

DURHAM RANCH: http://www.exoticmeatsandmore.com/durhamranch.aspx

SPROUTShttps://www.sprouts.com/ 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

EVERYDAY SPRING MAKE-UP : STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL : BEAUTY





Make -up is always seasonal. Just like our wardrobes change with the season,along with our nail color, so does our make-up routine. Its time to do away with the heavier foundations of Winter and do away with the vampy lip colors. Its all about looking fresh and feeling fresh and letting the skin breathe as much as possible.

Every year there are new trends which emerge in Spring makeup. But some tit bits remain constant over the years. I have tried to tackle in the few basic elements of Spring Make up which have remained unchanged and which are my personal favorites. You can add to it to take it from every day to a party Make -up, simply by chnaging up the eyes. You could play with eye shadows to range from a  single color sweep, like a Champagne or a blush toned hue all over the eye lids for a day time look. Or could you play with some Vibrant colors, like blues and greens to pastel pinks and do a subdued smokey eye for the night outs.

A light foundation which is water based is a pre-requisitie at this time of the year. That helps it to take it to Summer and all the days at the pool. You could also substitute foundation for a good Tinted mosturizer or a BB Cream.Black eye liner and water proof mascara. Pastel pink blush and coral lips.

Let me take you through a step by step tutorial. Thanks to my Husband Debashish, for taking such brilliant photographs. May be next time, we will actually be able to a shoot a proper step by step tutorial.


STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL :

first I started off by moisturizing my face with some Lubriderm Moisturizer for extreme dry skin. This prevents the make up from sticking to dry patches. I dispensed some MAC FACE AND BODY FOUNDATION in shade C2 on the back of my hand. With a flat FOUNDATION BRUSH from REAL TECHNIQUES, I applied the foundation all over my face. It has light to medium coverage but you can build it up if you want to go heavier. As I have dry skin, I do not use a Primer, but if you have Combination to Oily Skin, then use a Primer by all means.


I took a REAL TECHNIQUES MIRACLE SPONGE and dampened it under running water. Squeezed out the excess water and dabbed all over the face to blend the foundation. This is what gives it the air brushed feel.If you have a beauty Blender, then use it by all means.



I used some L'OREAL DE-CREASE EYE SHADOW BASE all over my eye lids to prime them and blended it with my fingers. I was running low on my URBAN DECAY PRIMER POTION. That's my ultimate favorite. Although I did not use Eye shadow for this look, the eye shadow base, helps in keeping the eye liner in its place and also take care of the discoloration on the eye lids.





I dispensed some MAC PRO-LONGWEAR CONCEALER in NW20 on the back of my hand. This a a few shades lighter than my complexion and in a different undertone. But it acts as a concealer and highlighter. I used a DOMED EYE SHADOW BRUSH from REAL TECHNIQUES to apply the concealer from the inner corner to the outer corner of the under eye and tale it down in a triangle formation. This is what helps to erase dark circles and all signs of being sleep deprived mommy. If you have blemishes on your face which you want to concealer, then use a concealer in your exact skin tone match. Use a small DETAILING BRUSH to dab it on the blemish, then use your fingers to feather it out. I have some redness around my nose, so I use an exact skin match CONCEALER for those areas.



Coming back to the highlighting  role of the concealer, take it down the bridge of the nose and also on the Cupid's bow.


 Use the same damp MIRACLE COMPLEXION SPONGE to blend it out .



I used a large fluffy brush to dab on some MAC MINERALIZE SKIN FINISH NATURAL in MEDIUM all over my face to set the base. This is one of the setting powders I have come across, and help prevent shine on your face,which foundation and concealer can sometimes lend to, if they have a dewy finish.



I used a fine liner brush and MAC FLUIDLINE in BLACKTRACK to line my eyes. its a gel eye liner. Start closest to the lash line and then thicken as you go up. I use the same eye liner to line my upper lash line and water line. If you want to use a Pencil Liner, then use RIMMEL EXAGGERATE EYELINER.



 I used MAYBELLINE FALSIES MASCARA in black for my upper lashes. Start at the base of the lashes and then wiggle your way up. First coat the mascara on the upper part of the upper lashes and then repeat the same procedure from below. I take my Mascara for a few coats on my upper lashes as I am a mascara junkie.





For my lower lashes, I used MAYBELLINE BIG EYES MASCARA. This mascara comes with two wands on two sides for the upper and lower lashes. Its a good drug store alternative to the CLINIQUE LOWER LASH MASCARA. Both the mascaras I used are water proof formulas,which means they would need an eye make up remover to remove them. I used the NEUTROGENA OIL FREE EYE MAKE UP REMOVER.


 I used a MULTITASK BRUSH from REAL TECHNIQUES to pick up some MILANI BAKED BLUSH in DELICIOZO PINK. Pick up the blush and then tap off excess. This blush is very pigmented. Begin with less product always, as you can always build it up. Start from the apples of the cheek and take it outward in an angular fashion towards the temple.




I used NYX BUTTER LIPSTICK in FIREBALL. which is a very good CORAL color. Its soft and creamy and pigmented. You could also opt for a colored gloss at this stage and skip lipstick altogether.


I used URBAN DECAY MAKE - UP SETTING SPRAY all over my face to stretch the longevity of the make up. Its also ideal for sultry warmer days to prevent the make up from melting down. L'OREAL has a good drug store alternative to this spray.



I matched the coral of the lips to the coral of my nails. I used ESSIE'S SUNDAY FUNDAY.

So go ahead give it a go and feel free to tweak it to your preferences.

I shall be doing detailed tutorials on how to tackle Gel Eye Liner and also Reviews on the NYX Butter Lipstick next.





Tuesday, April 7, 2015

JERK CHICKEN SKEWERS


IF you're like me and my man, you will surely take home more from your holidays than just memories in the heart and in cameras. You will take home with you Inspiration. And if its Food, then foodies like us, will surely be Inspired to re-create as much as they can, from all that they have loved on their travels. Our last Holiday was at the Us virgin Islands for the Christmas break. An almost perfect Caribbean Holiday except for a hiccuppy start for airline messups. We had brilliant meals every day, but it was surely the last day of our vacation which packed the biggest foodie punch. We had spent the day at HoneyMoon Beach on Water Island in the US Virgin Islands, and eaten from the Dinghy shack on the beach. We had had Jerk chicken before. But then Jerk Chicken in the Caribbean is a whole different deal than the Jerk chicken which is served at a premium price in the Mainland. The Shack was just accepting cash and we nearly spent all our money on re-orders of Lion Fish Fritters and Jerk chicken Skewers. The sand on our toes, the sun our backs and the azure waters in front of us. 

It took us a couple of months to re-create this beauty at home. The man had picked some store bought Jerk Seasoning from McCormick. And he decided to cook it up. The grill was cranked up on a cold winter evening and the man set forth to making his masterpiece. 


Basically these are Kebabs which are marinated and seasoned with the Caribbean Jerk seasoning and then grilled or baked. And which desi foodie doesn't like Kebabs. I know we do. We could have Kebabs for breakfast,lunch and dinner. The JERK seasoning is a blend of a few spices,and is quite spicy. I guess its the spice quotient which strikes a familiar chord on the taste buds. The Man used boneless skinless Chicken thighs  and cut out long strips of it to fashion his kebabs. If you don't have a grill at home, you can bake these Kebabs in the oven and then put them under the broiler for a few minutes to get the char. We had some leftover Biriyani and with desi green salad, It was  a win win situation at dinner. Not only where we able to relive our vacation memories, but it was also a super tasty plate. 



JERK CHICKEN SKEWERS: 

Ingredients: 
Chicken Thighs: Boneless and Skinless: 1 lb (cut into broad and long strips)
Bamboo Skewers
Caribbean Jerk Seasoning:
Granulated Garlic
Granulated Ginger
Oil Spray

Procedure: 
Marinate chicken with the seasoning and granulated garlic and onion for at least a couple of hours. If you can marinate them overnight, then that would be awesome.




Soak the Bamboo Skewers in water for at least an hour. This prevents the skewers from getting burnt once they hit the grill or the oven. Thread through the chicken strips with the skewers. Spray them with oil and keep aside. If you are grilling them, then grill them for around 3-4 minutes on each side or till they are cooked thoroughly. If you're using the oven, then pre-heat the oven to 450F and then bake for around 10 to 12 minutes. Turn the broiler on for the last couple of minutes.






Serve warm or at room temperature.

Bon Appetit !!!

Get a taste of the islands on your plates !!