my world.

As we say our goodbyes to the Summer and wait for a consistent Fall, here is a round up of what’s been happening and what I’ve been loving. These are some things that have made the transition from lazy summer days into early mornings a little more enjoyable.

blade runner – I wasn’t sure what to expect when we went to see this movie, but it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t feel like a movie. It was so well done that it felt like we were in every scene. The acting is superb and for someone who doesn’t usually enjoy futuristic sci fi movies, this was one of the best I’ve seen. I highly recommend watching this one in the movie theatre.

nest indigo- This is my favorite new scent. I realized how much I love it the other day when I found myself sniffing the clothes I had worn with this lingering scent on them.

spinach and artichoke lasagna- This is my all time favorite lasagna. I’ve been hooked ever since the first time I made it. If you are a lover of all things spinach and artichoke, give this one a try.

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darjeeling tea- A dear friend of mine recently brought back this amazingly delicious tea from India. Nothing can compare to the flavor of this darjeeling tea, no matter how many different kinds I’ve had here in the States. They are just not as good. I often look forward to having a cup of this when I get home from work.

FRESH Soy Face Cleansing Milk- This is my new go to facial cleanser for both the mornings and evenings. The texture is so soothing and milky. It never leaves my skin feeling tight, but incredibly supple and soft. I highly recommend this for anyone who has sensitive skin and enjoys a non foaming facial cleanser.

naked smoky eye pallete– I recently purchased this eye shadow palette, even though I wasnt in the market for one because Sephora was offering it a discounted price and I’ve heard so many good things about the Naked palettes. I’ve been using it every day since this arrived in the mail- and have been loving it so much. No wonder Naked palettes are so popular- the quality speaks for itself!

zara cardigan  There isn’t much that I needed to add to my fall wardrobe, but an oversized chunky cardigan was on my list. As soon as I saw this, I knew I would want to live in it. It is so soft and cozy. I don’t have anything in this shade of green. It feels like walking around with a warm blanket wrapped around me. Fall I am ready for you- I have my cardigan!

Elena Ferrante Neapolitan novels–  This is a series of four novels that is about two friends.  It follows their lives from the time they were little girls playing with their dolls, into adulthood. Their friendship is complicated, as most relationships with those we love tend to be. What struck me the most about these novels, was not so much the story line but the author’s skill in telling the story. I felt like I knew these two characters like they were a part of my life and truly missed them once I finished the series. I cannot wait for the HBO series to come out.

essential oils- I recently started using essential oils and have really been enjoying them. I like to add a few drops of either peppermint or eucalyptus oil to the floor of the shower. When the warm water hits the oil, it creates a wonderfully fragrant experience. The peppermint oil is especially helpful in alleviating my migraines.

laal ishq– I have been struggling to get this song out of my head. It’s no surprise that it’s been sung by Arijit Singh.

What has been going on with you lately? What have you been loving?

Sincerely,

Surleen

 

 

 

 

 

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salted peanut butter cookies

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Being married to a peanut butter lover has given me the opportunity to discover lots of different recipes in pb is the star.  Growing up the only time I had peanut butter was once in a while at school for lunch in the form of the class peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it. Peanut butter was just not something I craved or wanted in some form every day (like my husband does). He loves these peanut butter bars that I make, these peanut butter cookies, and now loves these super easy to make cookies! The only thing he says they’re missing of course is….chocolate. Next time I make him a batch, I might have to add some dark chocolate chips–yummm.

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These are so good that I already have my eye on one (or four) post dinner… They require very few ingredients- five to be exact, and four if you want to omit the salt on top. Make the full recipe though- you will regret making half because I assure you these will be gone before your cookie sheets have even cooled.

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Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups (335 grams) packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (450 grams) smooth peanut butter
Coarse-grained sea salt, to finish

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. I used a silicone mat- my new best friend.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the light brown sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla extract, then the peanut butter until smooth and completely incorporated; you shouldn’t be able to see any ribbons of peanut butter.

You can freeze the dough before baking these but I did not and they came out great. Scoop out the dough- I used a small ice cream scoop. Sprinkle the dough balls lightly with coarse-grained sea salt just before baking. Mine baked perfectly when in the oven for 16 minutes. When finished, cookies should be golden at edges.

Let them cook completely, if you can, before serving. There was none of that around our kitchen though. Warm cookies were eaten and peanut butter lovers were very happy.

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Sincerely,

Surleen 

overnight oats

As I start mentally preparing myself for back to school, which means back to work for me, I’ve been thinking about breakfast and lunch options. These overnight oats, lovingly made by my husband many times during the past school year, are one of my favorite school year breakfasts.

Since I’m not a breakfast person, I find these overnight oats are perfect to take with me to work. I like to have them as I settle into my work day and it keeps me going until lunch! (Also that second cup of coffee helps). The crunch from the apples and nuts along with the soft and creamy oats give this dish lots of different textures and flavors. I haven’t tried it but I’m sure you could enjoy this warm as well. I like it nice and cold. Trust me this is not that mushy oatmeal we all know and some of us (myself) hate!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup milk, plus more if needed ( I like to use soy)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 small Granny Smith apple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup nuts of choice ( slivered almonds and/ or walnuts are great here)

Method

In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight. You can also add some fresh berries in the morning when you’re ready to eat!

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recipe adapted from the pioneer woman

 

pizza parantha

This is the best of both worlds- when you are craving pizza and Indian at the same time, try this. It is one of the best Indian fusion dishes I’ve tried!

 

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recipe courtesy: manjula’s kitchen 

Ingredients

For Paratha Dough

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (maida or plain flour)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp yeast
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water (use as needed)

For Filling

  • 1-1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp dry basil
  • 1/2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms (finely chopped)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (finely chopped, adjust to taste)
  • 1-1/4 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)

Also need

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (maida or plain flour for rolling the paratha)
  • 2 Tbsp of oil (to cook parathas)

Enjoy!

 

Sincerely,

Surleen

cheesy broccoli mac & cheese bake

This is the tastiest mac and cheese I’ve ever had- thanks to this recipe in Laura in the kitchen, which my loving husband recently gifted to me. I had him mark the pages of the recipes he wanted me to try and this was among them. I will definitely be making this regularly! It came out delicious.

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Ingredients:

1/2 pound pasta of your choice

2 1/2 cups chopped broccoli florets

6 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used half of this amount)

1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 cups whole milk ( I used skim)

1 tablespoon dry mustard ( I used dijon)

2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano plus more for topping

1/4 cup fresh or dried plain bread crumbs ( I used Italian)

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Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter an 8×12 inch baking dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and broccoli. Cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta and broccoli and return to the pot.
  3. Add butter to saucepan over medium low heat and once it melts, add the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute to cook off the flour taste. Pour in the milk in a slow stream while whisking constantly. Cook and keep stirring until it has a cream consistency- 4 to 5 minutes. Add the mustard and cheddar, stirring in a figure eight motion, until most of the cheese has melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the sauce and half cup of the parmigiana to the pasta. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan.
  5. Either top with bread crumbs as it is, or mix with some melted butter and scatter on top of the pasta. I did not add melted butter and didn’t miss it. Add some grated cheese over the top.
  6. Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the top is golden brown and crispy, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes (if you can) before serving.

Enjoy!!

Sincerely,

Surleen

 

my world.

Here’s what I’ve been loving lately, as we wait for Spring to finally arrive…

We recently saw Rangoon in the theaters, and a few of the songs were great. I find them to be pretty addicting though, so listen in moderation:)

 

station eleven- This wasn’t a book I thought I would like but I couldn’t put it down around 100 pages into it. The “end of the world” concept doesn’t appeal to me, but the way this book switches between before and after the collapse, kept me interested. The premise is that a pandemic hits the entire world, and civilization quickly and abruptly comes to an end. There is a group of people called the traveling symphony, who go to the different settlements to entertain the surviving population. The connection between the characters and how all the author connects all the dots at the end is what makes this book special. Also worth mention is when breathe becomes air– really enjoyed this one as well.

Vanilla Pistachio candle- I love my bath and body works candles but there is something so subtle about this one that I just love. I purchased this from Anthropologie, where I always seem to find unique candles.

 drink chobani– This is my new favorite breakfast drink. I’ve been drinking special k for breakfast for a while now but when I saw that chobani came out with a yogurt drink, I thought I would try it. It has 14 grams of protein which keeps me going until lunch. It tastes delish and comes in different flavors- I have only tried the strawberry banana and really enjoy it.

 tocca simone– This perfume by Tocaa is spring in a bottle! I was in the market for new scent for the transition months into summer and this is so perfect.

Here are the notes:

Top: Crisp Apple, Fresh Picked Watermelon, Lemon, Calypsone  

Middle: Frangipani, Ylang- Ylang, Rose Petals, Freesia

Bottom: Creamy Lactones, Blonde Woods, Musk, Amber, Nirvanolide 

this sweatshirt-  I recently got this sweatshirt from Zara and can’t stop wearing it. I love the pink color, the fluffy sleeves and how comfy it is. I like to wear it with leggings on the weekends and with jeans to work (on a Friday). Zara has been killing it lately!

 

Sincerely,

Surleen

my world.

I want to say I can’t believe it’s already February but I honestly feel like the Holidays were so long ago. For once, I don’t feel like time is flying. Here is a roundup of what I’ve been obsessing over lately.

music:

 

 

beauty:

MUFE stick foundation:

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I’ve been using this foundation for the past few weeks now and have been loving it how easily it blends and how flawless the coverage is. I also like that the coverage isn’t too matte- I don’t like a very matte look during the winter months. This was a great find and I’m not sure what took me so long to try it.

too faced semi sweet chocolate bar:

unnamedI’ve had this eye shadow palette for a while, but I recently started using it more consistently. I love how many looks I can achieve with this, and it’s so fun to play with. It makes getting ready in the mornings more fun! See my review here. 

Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Powder Bronzer:

This is my go to bronzer- I use it every single day to give my face some warmth. I love the finish it gives- it never looks ashy and is pretty fool proof. I like to use a big fluffy brush or the brush it comes with.

fashion:

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Steve Madden studded buckle booties- I get compliments every time I wear these booties. They’re comfortable enough to wear all day and have a bit of edge with the buckles. I got them in the Fall from the Steve Madden store and wasn’t able to find the exact pair I have, but these are similar.

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ZARA check maxi coat: This is my new favorite coat- warm, long and trendy. I can wear this with leggings and a sweatshirt and still look stylish:)

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reading:

the night circusThis book was such a joy to read. It was a treat for the senses. I felt like I could smell the foods of the circus, see the elaborate tents, and feel the magic of the circus. Reading this book is like entering a fantastic world- a true escape. This book makes you wonder what is real and what is magic? What makes something real and what makes it a dream world? Highly recommend this one- a disclaimer though is that the plot is slow moving but worth your patience at the beginning of the story.

food:

I recently started making my own trail mix using just three ingredients in equal parts- almonds, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips. It is so delicious and easy to put together. I like to have it in the afternoons at work as a pick me up.

What have you been loving lately?

Sincerely,

Surleen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

baked eggplant parmesan

I’ve grown to like eggplant over the years- maybe it’s being married to an eggplant lover. It’s all about the texture for me, which actually might not be true since I love it mushy in the form of bhartha but can’t stand baba ganoush– you figure it out.

I have been using this recipe for so long now that I don’t think I can go back to the traditional method of frying the eggplant ever again. This is one of my husband’s favorite things that I make and I think that makes it even more special.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 medium eggplants, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 eggs (or 1 egg + 2 egg whites)
  • cooking spray or olive oil
  • 1 (25 ounce) jar of tomatoe sauce (homemade or store bought)
  • 2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 2/3 cup finely-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup  fresh basil (chopped or torn)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.

In a shallow bowl, whisk together Panko breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning and 1 teaspoon salt until combined.  In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until smooth.  Dip an eggplant round on both sides in the whisked egg mixture, then immediately dip it in the breadcrumb mixture until the eggplant is completely coated, then set on a parchment-covered baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining eggplant rounds until they are all evenly spaced on the baking sheets.  Bake for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until the breadcrumbs are toasted and slightly golden.  Remove from the oven and set aside.

Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of an 11 x 8-inch baking dish.  Place half of the eggplant in an even layer along the bottom of the baking dish.  Spread an additional 1 cup of tomato sauce evenly over the eggplant.  Then sprinkle 1 cup Mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauce, followed by 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, followed by 1/4 cup of the fresh basil.  Repeat with another layer of the remaining eggplant, then tomato sauce, then Mozzarella, then Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melted and starts to turn slightly golden around the edges, and the sauce is bubbly.  Remove and sprinkle with the remaining basil.  Serve immediately.

I like having this with spaghetti and my husband’s homemade cheesy garlic bread.  Yes, he makes his own bread- from scratch- and it’s divine.

 

Sincerely, 

Surleen 

 

 

baked french fries

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I have a serious love affair with the potato. You can give me one in any form- fried, roasted, baked, boiled…I love my potatoes and cannot be without them. If you know me, you know that potatoes are one of my greatest weaknesses. I cannot say no to a bag of potato chips. I will not be that person who says they want salad on the side when ordering at a restaurant- when given the choice of salad or fries, I will always pick the fries- and no, not the sweet potato fries.

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I’ve been making my own fries for years now by baking them. When I was younger, Mom would fry them up for us and I remember how addictive every last salty ketchup drenched bite was. Now that I’m older and try to be a little healthier, I don’t make the fried version. I actually don’t like frying food- (eating it is a different matter).

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IMG_4929 (1).jpgThis recipe has the extra step of par boiling the potatoes which I think is the reason why they come out so nice and crispy on the outside. So much so that you could even fool a french fry novice into thinking they’ve been fried.

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Ingredients:

2-3 russet potatoes

3-4 tbsp olive oil

salt

Method:

Heat oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut your potatoes to desired thickness and place in a large pot and cover with an inch or two of water. Set heat to high and set timer for 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes after 10 minutes.

Coat a large baking sheet with foil and  2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Drain your potatoes and immediately spread them on oiled baking sheet in one layer. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and roast for 20 minutes, until golden underneath. Toss potatoes around return them to the oven for another 5 minutes- 10 minutes.

Season with more salt while they’re hot and enjoy!

recipe adapted from the smitten kitchen 

 

 

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