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BROOKIES (BROWNIES + COOKIES) - FOR VALENTINE'S DAY


Valentine's Day is just around the corner. And this time its on a Sunday. Have you already made your plans? A lovely Brunch or a fancy dinner. Or maybe a night in with some chocolates and good wine. I haven't made any plans myself. But what I already did is that I Baked up a batch of the most awesomest of confections. BROOKIES. They are choclatey goodness to say the least. Brookies are a cross between Brownies and Cookies, as the name suggests. While the center is decadent and soft, it has these crisp edges. I must tell you, that once you have baked a batch, they fly off the shelf in record time. You and your Valentine can enjoy them with some god coffee to start off the day.



I first heard of Brookies from British Blogger and Youtube Lily Pebbles. She had a video and a blog dedicated to this wonder called Brookies. Then it became almost a viral post , being re-created by so many all across the globe. Its been more than a year that I had been contemplating making Brookies, but procrastination took the better of me, as always. Valentine's Day seemed like the perfect time. Me and my husband have a sweet tooth. We have a toddler at home, who loves her share of sugar. Whether or not we exchange gifts this year, we will surely be munching on these lovelies.

The simplicity of this recipe is what appealed to me the most. The ingredients are pretty basic. We mostly have these items laying around in our pantry any way, any day. Secondly, its Dairy Free. So if you have a kid who is allergic to dairy or if you are avoiding dairy yourself, this is a great alternative. While its great for Valentine's Day, it is also a good choice for party favors for a kid's birthday party. Or just to munch on with some extra dark coffee. Its my guilty pleasure. I can never have one of these. Its too good to resist. I challenge You to have one and to not reach out for another. Its a dare.


This recipe is pretty fool proof. Very hard to mess it up. When I tried it for the first time, I was a bit wary. What if it was a disaster. I say this because, like every other person, I have had my share of baking and kitchen disasters. This recipe called for a large batch of Brookies. I just followed the instructions to the T and I was surprised myself at how good they turned out. They almost looked straight out of magazine editorial. That's how good they were.

Lily's recipe asked for the batter to be scooped by a teaspoon. And her batter yielded 70 Brookies. Yes, you read that right. I used a slightly larger scoop, of a tablespoon, to be precise. I had about 50 Brookies. As I was following Lily's original recipe, it had measurements in a different unit. So I took the liberty of converting them to my convenient unit of measurement. See, I have made your work a lot easier. Go ahead and give these Brookies a try. You can thank me later, as compliments will flow in from all quarters.



BROOKIES: 

Recipe Courtesy : Lily Pebbles' Brookies

Ingredients: 
All purpose flour : 2 cups
Granulated Sugar (Caster Sugar) : 2 cups
Vegetable Oil : I used Canola Oil : 125 ml
Baking Powder : 2 tsp
Vanilla Extract : 2 tsp
Salt : 1 tsp
Eggs: 4
Icing Sugar(Confectioner's Sugar) 1/4 cup or 60 g (start with less)
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder : 3/4 cup
Parchment Paper

Procedure: 

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

In a large mixing bowl, mix sugar, oil and cocoa powder.





Add in one egg at a time.


Add in the vanilla extract, Mix well.

In a another bowl, sieve together the flour, salt and baking powder.

Add in the flour mixture to the cocoa mixture.



Chill the dough in a refrigerator for 4 hours after you have covered the bowl with some cling film.

Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.

Scoop out dough with a measure of your choice, either a teaspoon or a tablespoon. Roll the dough to a round.

Pour out confectioner's sugar in a dinner plate.

Roll the cookie dough ball in the sugar and cover it completely.





 Transfer the dough balls on to a prepared baking tray. Leave gaps in between as the Brookies will spread.


Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350F for 10 to 12 minutes. Let the Brookies rest for a minute in the tray and then transfer them onto wire racks to dry.

You will doing three to four batches of baking with the batter.

Dig into chocolatey goodness.

Bon Appetit !










CAJUN CHICKEN WINGS - SUPER BOWL SPECIAL


If the News Agencies are to be believed, then Americans will be having almost 1.3 billion Chicken Wings on Super Bowl . Add to that to the number of wings all of us have every Football Sunday. Football and Chicken Wings are like a match made in Heaven, aren't they ?!


Chicken Wings are pretty universal , I feel. They appeal to any one and everyone. I remember during my graveyard shift days in a large Television Network I used to work for. When the office car dropped me back at the apartment, I was half dead to the world. But more often than not I reached out for my phone and dialed the number of a late night food serving joint ,which not only made late night deliveries but also specialised in the Spiciest of Wings. The Eatery was called 'Slice of Italy,' and the Wings were called 'Super Spicy Wings.' Its almost a decade to this Food Memory but its still so fresh. Such is the power of Wings.

The absolute number of permutations and combinations that you can do with wings is just mind boggling. From Bone - In traditional wings to the more fancier boneless ones. Though I often wonder, if they are without bones, how do we call them wings. Won't they become Chicken tenders then.  Let me Not digress. Coming back to Wing Central. You can cook them in the oven, in your fancy non stick frying pan, or just dunk them in a hot bath in your deep frier. I personally prefer the last cooking method.With all these possibilities on how you can cook them, you can never have too many Chicken Wings Recipes. As they say, the more, the merrier.

While I love the traditional Buffalo Wings, or the Super Hot Blazing Wings, there are times, when I am looking for a different flavor profile. That's where my Husband comes in to the entire love story with Wings. Yes, I love my Husband and I love the Chicken Wings he makes. I could probably do an entire series on the flavors of Wings he masters in, but lets start off with the Cajun Chicken Wings. So if you want to be star of your Super Bowl party this weekend, go ahead and give it a try. Its a dry rub Chicken Wing, which everyone loves. You can adjust the heat level, by adjusting the amount of Cayenne Pepper in the recipe according to your preferences. The Paprika lends a more floral note rather than heat. You are all set for your Touchdown with your Game Day party guests.



CAJUN CHICKEN WINGS : 

Ingredients: 
Ice Glazed Chicken Wings(if using frozen) or Fresh Chicken Wings : 12
Cajun Spice Mix (He used McCormick) : 2 tbsp
Cayenne Pepper : 1/2 tsp
Paprika : 1 tsp
Parsley : Chopped : 1 tbsp
Canola Oil : for Deep Frying(Use Dried Parsley if you don't have fresh )
Deep Fryer

Procedure: 
Heat oil in the deep fryer .

Deep Fry the wings in batches of six.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the Cajun spice mix, cayenne pepper, paprika and parsley.

Toss the hot fried wings in the spice mix and mix well with a large spoon. Make sure the wings are coated with the dry rub thoroughly.

Serve and enjoy.

Bon Appetit ! 

OOTD : THE PLAID BLANKET SCARF AND THE SLOUCHY SWEATER










 If You have met me in the last couple of weeks, you know what a nasty cold I was battling. You might ask how and why I caught such a bad chill. Well, you have the answer in front of you. I was having these photographs taken when it was bone chilling cold. My husband, who was taking the photographs, was so kind to take these pictures, despite having his fingers freeze even under his gloves. As all of my Blogger buddies will agree, its a pain, to do Outfit Pictures right now in the Midwest. So when a few warm days came by recently , you cant say how lucky I felt. You might ask, did I squeeze in a few Outfit shoots. No, I didn't. My photographer was on a business tour.

Enough of ranting, lets get back to the outfit. I have been ODing on my Blanket Scarf, my MAC Mehr lipstick and my Rayban Wayfarer Sunglasses. So an outfit post featuring these three was long due. If you want a detailed review of the lipstick, I am wearing then click Here. Trust me, its the perfect Winter Pink.

There are Blanket Scarves in every possible store and every possible fashion website. I wanted one in the classic plaid shades of red, black and white. I found this beauty while browsing through the aisles in Target. yes, I know what you are thinking. we all get into Target for a gallon of milk, and come out with polka dotted plastic bags filled with so many different finds. The store never disappoints. I have been pairing it with so many different outfit combinations.

My favorite though is this Taupe Slouchy Sweater from Express. Its got a light gold sheen, running through, which perks it a bit. And its the perfect canvas, to play up the Plaid Blanket Scarf . I love the ribs running through the sweater. Although the sweater is slouchy, the ribs elongate the silhouette ,and don't make it look bulky. I paired it with a lighter wash skinny denim and some long black leather boots.

 Outfit Details: 
Plaid Blanket Scarf from Target - sold out. Similar HERE
Classic Rayban Wayfarers
MAC Mehr Lipstick
Metallic Express London Tunic Sweater in Cool Earth (Now on Sale. Go Grab it)
Light Wash Jegging from American Eagle 
Black Leather Boots from Steve Madden - sold out. 

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MAC MEHR LIPSTICK: REVIEW



I am usually not the person who jumps at every new Beauty Trend.But every now and then, there shall be a trend which shall tug at your heartstrings. And You give in. I know 2015 was all bout Kylie lips when it came to lip trends, but what tugged at my heartstrings was clearly MAC MEHR lipstick. Beauty Gurus and Beauty Editors across North America and Europe could not stop raving about this lipstick. I had seen swatches of it in some videos and read about in so many articles, that i would have probably recognised someone wearing it, even in a crowded space. As luck would have it, every time I went to a MAC Pro store or a MAC counter, it was sold out. The urge to own it, became even more stronger. I had almost given up the thought of having it, when I finally got it. The lady at the MAC counter in Nordstrom informed me that they had received a shipment of 25 tubes of the lipstick ,and 15 were already sold.

MAC is known for its collections which are created by its global artists. Not always are they part of the regular collection. MAC MEHR is one such color. It was originally launched in 2011 as a part of the Bollywood Collection designed by MAC Global Artist Mickey Contractor. For those of you, who don't know him, Mickey Contractor is one of the most famous Make Up Artists of Bollywood. He has been a part of MAC ever since MAC launched in India. I love Bollywood and when I came to know this fact, my excitement just heightened a bit.




MAC MEHR retails at $17 without taxes in North America. As its a part of the regular collection, it comes in the customary black bullet with silver detailing. MEHR is a MATTE finish lipstick. But its not Retro Matte like Ruby Woo. Despite being Matte, Mehr, is not drying on the lips and does not drag on the lips . Neither does it flake off, if you are wearing for long. It makes my lips look plump and flawless. The color pay off is brilliant and I loved how creamy it was, despite its finish.

Coming to the color, MAC decribes it as Dirty Blue Pink. Yes, my love story with blue toned lipsticks continue. If I had to describe the color in my own words, I feel its a beautiful shade of brownish mauvy pink. Its a statement pink lip, and not in the terms of Barbie Pink, I tell you.
Its a cool toned pink which pairs very well with warm undertones like mine. I am a C2 in MAC Face and Body or a NC 20. When you wear it, you are bound to be asked, what do you have on your lips. Happened to me every timeThe staying power of the color is pretty good . I have been currently ODing on it. So I have put it to test under extreme weather, read single digit F temps, in the Midwest. The color has performed well every time. Its such a grougeous shade of pink, which you can easily take from day to night. It pairs very well with MAC Lip Pencil in SOAR.

I am aware that some Beauty Gurus have called Rimmel Kate Moss 104 as being a drug store dupe of MAC Mehr. I own both the lipsticks, so I wanted to pint out that they are in fact not dupes. Rimmel Kate Moss is more neon pinkish and Mehr is more mauvy.



If I ever wanted to venture down the road of Kylie's lip trend, this would be what I would be sporting. I am definitely going to repurchase it when it runs out. A new must have in my beauty stash for sure. 

THINGS TO DO IN HANNIBAL, MISSOURI : TRAVEL

I have grown up reading the Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.The steamboats on the Mississippi, the caves, the fence are such literary memories which are difficult to forget. Its a bonus point that my husband has similar memories from his childhood literature. Our tastes in Music might not match, not our temperature sensitivities, but when it comes to childhood literature, we are clearly on the same page. Hannibal, Missouri, is just about 3 hours away from our home in Kansas City. And we have been planning forever to drive down there for a vacation. Finally we did make the trip this Christmas break, with our toddler in tow. The idea was to introduce her to the world of Mark Twain.

For the uninitiated, Hannibal is the boyhood home of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who wrote under the famous pen name of Mark Twain. The creator of such literary characters as Tom Sawyer and his best Huckleberry Finn. For a lover of Twain, this trip is like a dream come true. Hannibal, is the setting on which Twain has set most of his stories. He spent his childhood there, had his first job as an apprentice in a printing press and then became a river boat pilot on the Mississippi.  

I am sure all of you are aware of the history, let me take you through all that you can do in  a day in Twain Town. We had a toddler with us, so our activities were planned according to what a toddler could manage. Most of the downtown is accessible on foot. There are loads of restaurants and cafes all around. And if you do books from the museum, don't forget to get them stamped there. 


This is one of the properties of the Mar Twain tour. Most of the downtown is explorable on foot. It was a very very cold December day and we had a toddler who did not want to wear her warm hat. 
This was the childhood home of Samuel Clemens. The two storey home has been preserved mostly in its entirety with some furniture reproductions. But the cherry on the pie, is clearly the Fence of Tom Sawyer which borders the property on one side. Who can forget the iconic story of how Tom traded with his friends, to have them complete his chore of whitewashing the fence. I could not resist having a go at white washing. Too good to resist, I tell you. 






MARK TWAIN INTERPRETIVE CENTER: 
This is ideally your first stop at the tour, where you get your tickets. We had got a Group On deal, so make sure you look out for those , before you leave for Hannibal. This interpretive center is full of Twain Memorablia. It takes you on a chronological journey in to writers life, and even has the first editions of his famous work on display. I am not much of a fan of museums, but this town and it museums were a welcome change in how they gripped your imagination and tugged at your nostalgia strings.  





HOME OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN: 
This was the home of tom Blankenship, on whom Twain based the character of Huckelberry Finn. Its a tiny house for sure.  





BECKY THATCHER'S HOME: 
If we are talking of Tom Sawyer, then how can Becky Thatcher be far behind. Yes, the very same Becky, to whom Tom proposed marriage while in school. This was actually the home of Laura Hawkins. the childhood sweetheart of Samuel Clemens. Yes, you are right, Laura Hawkins was the inspiration for the character of Becky Thatcher. 




TOM AND HUCK STATUE: 
Its a beautiful statute at the base of the hill of the lighthouse. A great spot for some memorable photos with the fictional characters of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. 


Once you reach Tom and Huck's statue, you can see steps going up a hill to the lighthouse. You can either take that to the lighthouse,but if you have small kids like we had , you might want to drive up and take fewer steps. Once you are up at the light house, its a magnificent view of the mighty Mississippi. The river had flooded one of its banks, the day we were there. The railroad below and choo choo trains were a great delight for our daughter. The view was just too good, despite how bitterly cold it was. 





MARK TWAIN MUSEUM: 
The last property include din your ticket is this museum downtown. Its about two blocks away from the rest of the building so you might need to drive there, if you have a child with you. Parking is usually not a problem. This is a three storey museum, which takes you on a literary journey into works of Twain. The ground floor has a walk in cave, a raft on an artificial river and scenes play out from the film, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Our daughter spent her time riding the stagecoach which was there. The mezzanine floor has a giant Steam Boat Wheelhouse. You can take a turn, in trying to imagine how it felt like to be a steamboat pilot. The g;ass windows look out into to the Mississippi, which was super mighty. The final floor had the original illustrations for the works of Mark Twain. 


What did Tom tell Becky, when they were in the cave?
No, Not , I love You. 
" We ARE LOST ."
If you have read the books, then you know how important the Caves are to the narrative. There are two caves, the Mark Twain Cave and the Cameron Caves. The latter was closed during our visit. This is a ticketed entry and is not included in your Twain Tour I was earlier talking about. Its one of the oldest caves of the state of Missouri. As the caves feature so highly in his stories, it has been named in honor of Mark Twain. The tour started off with a short film and an orientation. Most caves I have visited, do not allow for flash photography, but the authorities here didn't mention any such restriction. I would recommend reasonable footwear as you are going underground. Its an hour long tour. The cave system is not as complex as something like Mamommth Caves, but the tour guides fill your time with so much literary history anecdotes, that it becomes fun with kids. The temperature in the cave remains at 50 F all year round, and it was a welcome change from the single digit temps outside. 

If you know me, I am a die hard romantic and love stories always get me. Despite the strong winds,and the bitter cold, we made a quick stop at the Lover's Leap. Its basically a ledge on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river and the town of Hannibal. A must stop for all photography buffs out there. 

Well, this is not exactly a tourist spot dealing with the literary history of Mark Twain. We needed to rst our tired and achy feet and grab a quick bite. We stepped into this quaint Coffee Shop downtown. The decor was quirky and eclectic. A hearty bowl of soup and some hot coffee for us. Milk Shake for our daughter and we could recharged our cells. When we were stepping out, after our well deserved rest,we saw that this was the FIRST COFFEE SHOP west of the Mississippi.