Vegetable Pulao

Veg_Pulao 5

Ingredients: (Serves - 2)

Basmati rice            --   1 cup
Water                         --   2 cups
Mixed vegetables --   1 cup, chopped
Onion                        --   1 medium size + 1/2 for garnishing
Green chillies        --   2 - 3
Coconut milk         --   4 - 5 tbsp, thick
Cardamom             --   2
Cloves                      --   2
Bay leaf                   --   1
Cinnamon              --   1 small piece
Cashew Nuts         --   as required for garnishing - I used ~10 - 12 cashews broken into pieces
Salt                           --   As required
Ghee                        --   2 - 3 tbsp

Veg_Pulao 6


Preparation:

Wash and soak the basmati rice for 15 - 20 minutes.

Thinly slice the onions and slit the green chillies. Keep aside.

Clean and Chop the vegetables. I used the frozen mixed vegetables and that includes carrot, beans, peas, corn and edamame.

Heat oil in a wide and tall vessel. Add the ghee. Fry the cashews, drain and keep it aside. Add the onions for garnishing. Saute and let it turn brown. Drain and keep aside.
Now add the the spices and saute for a minute, followed by the remaining onion and green chillies. Saute until the onions are transparent. Add the chopped vegetables and fry for 2 - 3 minutes until the veggies turn slightly crisp.

Veg_Pulao 1      Veg_Pulao 2      Veg_Pulao 3

Meanwhile in another pan, boil the water.

Drain and add the rice to the veggie mix and fry for few minutes - until the water in the other pan starts to bubble and boil. Pour the boiling water into the rice, add salt and coconut milk. Give a good stir. Once the rice starts dancing on top of the boiling water, simmer to medium low and close the pan with the lid.

The rice will absorb the water and will be cooked in 10 - 12 minutes. Open and carefully fluff the rice.

Veg_Pulao 4

Serve hot with raita or any curry of your choice and pappadam.

Born Pretty Store Stamp & Glitter Review and Nail Art


Born Pretty Store is an amazing nail art resource and one of my favorite online shops, so I'm really excited to be able to review some of their products for you today. I couldn't remotely fit everything into one post, so expect to see another Born Pretty review post from me soon!

Now that I have my stamping mojo well in hand, I was especially interested to review some of Born Pretty Store's stamping plates. You can never have too many good sources for plates, right? BPS has also started offering plates with larger, full-nail images, which is very exciting for those of us with longer/wider nails.

And since Born Pretty Store is the place to go for all kinds of nail art supplies, I wanted to highlight that in my review by adding another element to what would otherwise be a typical stamping manicure.




The stamps on my index and ring finger here come from the L003 plate, which, just to offer some perspective, is very comparable in format and image size to MoYou London's stamping plates: the images on this plate measure 1.6 cm x 2.2 cm, while MoYou's images are 1.5 cm x 2 cm.

This plate is fantastic quality: as you can see, the images transfered super clean and stamped for me without any issues. The designs on this particular plate are all pretty classic nail stamping patterns—I've seen similar designs here and there on other plates—but having all of these together on one plate is really nice. And there are no duds here: I would happily wear all of these!

Finally, you can't beat the price on these plates: $5.99 USD for a high-quality plate with this many large images is a great deal.


The triangle glitters on my other fingers are 3 mm matte black glitters that you can order in small pots of individual colors. For just a couple dollars you get more pieces than I think any one person could ever use:


As you can see in the photo, some of the pieces are stuck together in long clumps, but it was no problem for me to pull them apart with tweezers.

Like most glitter, you could probably adhere these to your nail just fine using only top coat. Since my nails are so curved, I opted to use a small dot of nail glue under these instead—I was concerned that the sharp corners of the triangles might stick up a little and snag on things or pull the glitters off entirely. The glue worked great: I wore this manicure for several days with no triangle casualties.


The polish I used for my base color is one that was already in my collection: Dance Legend Moorland. It looks lavender on its own, but all the black accents really pulled out the grey in these photos.



Overall, I'm thrilled with both the stamping plates and new glitter options Born Pretty Store is offering. Their products are always a great value, and with their cheap (or even free!) shipping, I feel like I would be hard pressed to find a better deal anywhere. The shipping does take some time if you live in the US, so that's something to keep in mind, but for me, the wait is worth it.

My blog also has its very own Born Pretty Store coupon code now, which you can find in the right-hand column next to this post—if you place an order, use the code SUZG10 to receive 10% off!

Disclosure: Some of the products in this post were provided by Born Pretty Store for my consideration. All opinions are my own. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.

Bright & Sparkly Stamped Gradient Nails

Gradients and stamping: they're my go-to techniques when I'm short on inspiration. So on those days when I'm feeling doubly uninspired, a stamped gradient must be the way to go, right? Right!



In additional to overall lack of inspiration, I also wanted to break out of my black & red rut leftover from the holidays, so I reached for some less wintery/holiday-y colors for this manicure. I love the brightness of the pink—it's making me crave summer weather already!


The base here is China Glaze That's Shore Bright and I sponged on the gradient with That's Shore Bright and China Glaze History of the World. Once that was dry, I stamped on the silver squares pattern with MoYou Fashionista Plate 14 and Zoya Trixie, which was my first and is still my very favorite stamping polish, even after all this time.




Thanks for looking!

Mushroom Fry

Mushroom 6

Ingredients(Serves 2 - 3):

Button mushroom --  12 - 15
Cashew Nuts             --  10, broken into pieces
Onion                           --  1 medium sized, chopped
Tomato                       --  1/2 of a medium sized, chopped
Ginger                         --  1 inch piece
Garlic                          --  6 - 8 cloves 
Green chillies           --  2
Curry Leaves            --  1 sprig
Turmeric Powder   --  ¼ tsp
Chilly Powder           --  1 tsp
Garam Masala           --  1 tsp
Mustard seeds          --  ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds              --  ¼ tsp
Oil                                  --  2 tbsp
Salt                                --  to taste

Mushroom 4

Preparation:

Clean the mushrooms, cut them and keep aside. I usually remove the skin, wash and drain it. It is better not to soak the mushrooms in water as they will become soggy at times.

Finely chop the onions, ginger and garlic. Slit the green chillies and chop the tomato.

Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Let it splutter. Add the cumin seeds followed by the curry leaves, green chillies, ginger and garlic. Saute for a minute.

Mushroom 1              Mushroom 2

Add the chopped onions and salt, saute until they turn brown. Add the cashews and tomato and saute until the tomatoes are squishy.

Now add the turmeric powder, chilly powder and the garam masala. Saute until the raw smell goes off. The mixture should be really dry at this point.

Add the chopped mushrooms and mix well. Reduce the flame to medium and let it cook without the lid. We just need the water coming out from the mushrooms, closing with the lid will add in the condensed water too which will make this watery.

Mushroom 3

It takes just 3 - 4 minutes to get it cooked. You can garnish with coriander leaves if you choose to.

Serve hot with rice or chapathi or any breads.

Mushroom 5

Cracked Wheat Upma / Gothambu Upma

Wheat Upma 2

Ingredients(Serves 3 - 4)

Cracked Wheat    --   1 cup
Water                      --   2 cup
Shallots                  --   2
Green chillies      --   3 or 4
Ginger                    --   1 tsp, finely chopped
Carrot                     --   ¼ cup, chopped, optional
Beans                      --   4 or 5, chopped, optional
Green Peas           --   ¼ cup, optional
Corn                        --   ¼ cup, optional ( I used 1 cup of mixed vegetables)
Curry leaves        --   1 sprig
Mustard seeds    --   ¼ tsp
Red Chillies          --   2
Salt                          --   to taste
Oil                            --   1 tbsp

Wheat Upma 3
Preparation:

Wash and drain the cracked wheat and keep it aside.

Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds and let i t splutter. Add the red chillies broken into pieces. Add thinly sliced onions, curry leaves, slit green chillies and ginger. Saute until the onions are translucent. Add the vegetables and saute for 2 - 3 minutes. I used the frozen mixed vegetables.

Now add water and enough salt. Mix well and let it boil.

Once it starts boiling add the cracked wheat, mix well, reduce the flame to medium low and close it with a lid. Let it cook.

Stir in-between once or twice, just to make sure that it doesn't stick to the bottom.

Give a good stir once done, to remove big lumps. Serve hot.

Wheat Upma 1

Silky Red Water Marble

I'm still here! Life got a little crazy on me and I fell super behind on my blogging, but I'm hoping that things are getting back to normal now. I've have time to do a few manicures, however, so let's get right to the good stuff, shall we?

One nail art technique that's always eluded me is water marbling. I tried it a few times several months ago with disastrous results, so I gave up on trying for a long time and resigned myself to longingly watching Instagram tutorials and feeling sad about my lack of skills.

I was feeling especially patient and ambitious recently, however, so I decided to give it one more shot—and I actually did it! For the most part! It's far from perfect, but I feel like I can call this my first-ever successful water marble.



I don't have any nifty video footage of the process—there are lots of other bloggers who can do that part way better than I ever could. But I started with a base of Zoya ZsaZsa and then used ZsaZsa and two new OPI colors, My Silk Tie and Dark Side of the Mood, to do the marbling. I also used Kiesque Liquid Palisade around my cuticles for the marbling part to help with the cleanup, and it was a total lifesaver. Marbling is messy work!



Dark Side of the Mood isn't quite as opaque as I'd have liked for this, but My Silk Tie worked really beautifully. I don't often all-out polish my nails with metallic polishes, but they're amazing for nail art: stamping, marbling, decorative accents, etc. I need lots more in my collection!



I love close-up shots of water marbles. Each nail is so different!


Thanks for looking!

Chilly Paneer

CP4a

Ingredients: (Serves 3 - 4 as starters):

Paneer(cubed)      --   200 gms  
All purpose flour  --   1½ tbsp
Corn flour                --   1½ tbsp

Onion                         --   1
Capsicum                 --   1
Green chillies         --   2 - 3
Garlic                         --   5-6 cloves
Soy sauce                 --   2  tsp
Chilly sauce             --   1 tbsp, I used green chilly sauce
Tomato sauce         --   1 tbsp
Vinegar                     --   1 –2 tsp
Pepper powder      --    ½ tsp
Coriander  leaves  --  3 - 4 sprigs , chopped
Salt                              --   as required
Oil                                --   as required

CP5a


Preparation:

Mix the all purpose flour and corn flour. Add salt and few tablespoons of water and mix well to make a semi-thick batter. Dip the paneer cubes in this batter and deep fry until it slightly turns brown. The paneer should have/only have a thin coating of the batter just to hold its shape.

You can omit the above step of frying, but make sure that you don't break the paneer cubes in further steps. Otherwise, store bought fried paneer works good too. I did not fry it this time, but it was the cubed ones from the store – so I could manage without breaking it.
 
Cut the onion and capsicum into small cubes. Slit the green chillies and thinly slice the garlic and keep aside.

CP2a

In a pan add 2 - 3 tsp oil and once it gets hot, add the green chillies and garlic. Sauté for a minute and then add the cubed onions. Saute until it gets transparent. Add the cubed capsicum. Increase the flame to high and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the raw taste of the capsicum is gone. You can see that the colour changes slightly when capsicum is done.

CP3a

Reduce the flame and add the soya sauce, chilly sauce, tomato sauce and vinegar. Mix well. Do a taste test and then add required salt. The sauces will already have some salt in it and hence make sure you do a test before adding the salt.

Add the fried paneer cubes and carefully mix well until the paneer is well coated with the sauces. Garnish with pepper and coriander leaves.

CP1a

Serve hot.

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