mango lassi

On my last recipe post I went on about the diversity of India and the endless regional cuisines found there. And now I'm posting about a drink easily found in every Indian restaurant in America (or at least Southern California + Tri-state area.) The mango lassi!

But I couldn't resist. Mango season is quickly approaching, I think, either way they're becoming cheaper here. So naturally since I have some mangoes in hand, making this drink is a perfectly delicious way of getting a serving of fruit. If you haven't had it before, you're really missing out. It's the perfect drink to sip on to cool off on a hot summer day. Or in my case a hot April day, as it's been hitting above 90 degrees (32.2 °C) this week.

***Basically, you'll want to have a 1:1 ratio of mango to yogurt for the texture typically found in restaurants. If you like your lassis a little thicker, like me, you can cut down on the yogurt. Conversely, you can also add a tablespoon or two of milk to thin it out. ***

***You can also add crushed ice if you fancy***

***I pictured two different types of mango, but didn't end up using the smaller, yellow mangos as it was my first time buying them, and the taste was just too different for me***

Approx. 2 cups of lassi
1 1/2 cups chopped mango (for me, this was 1 massive mango)
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt (remember, this depends on the amount of mango you have-- 1:1)
1 tablespoon brown sugar/ to taste

1 + tablespoons milk
Pinch of ground cardamom

Peel and chop the mangos. Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. So easy a caveman could do it. 

Hopefully your mangos are ripe and super sweet and 1 tablespoon of sugar is sufficient, if not you can obviously add more. But adding too much sugar will overpower the flavor of the yummy mangoes.

I like to serve mine over ice. Cheers!


sweater: zara, jeans: free people, shoes: target, bag: madewell 

Once again the blogosphere has convinced me to purchase something I wasn't really into before. After seeing a hundred and one big time bloggers wear Chanel espadrilles, they eventually grew on me. Of course, these target ones purchased at less than $10 are probably cheaper than just the tax on the real deal. Yay for frugal shopping! Although, Target can be a dangerous place for my wallet. I may go in for 1 thing, and end up leaving with $30 worth of stuff. Earlier this week I had to control myself in the aisle with the post-Easter sale items. I mean, Lindt chocolates at 30% off? How can I say no!

tea & biscuits at quarter after 4

 dress: little white lies, shoes: zara

I would definitely never describe myself as prim & proper. But something about wearing a  knee length dress and ankle strapped heels made me feel... more posh. And apparently British (well, the stereotyped American version.) I've been to afternoon tea a few times at tea rooms, and I gotta say, I prefer the finger sandwiches and scones and any sort of carbs over tea. I've got my sweet tooth to thank for that.

chaler payesh

So some background info on me. My family hails from Kolkata, pronounced in my Bengali accent, or Calcutta, pronounced in my American accent. It's the capital city in the state of West Bengal, located in northeastern India. That sounds confusing, but really it's because East Bengal is now the modern day country of Bangledesh.

While I love the typical Indian foods found in American restaurants-- saag paneer, garlic naan, murgh makhani, I also love the more traditional Bengali foods. Something many people may not realize is how incredibly diverse India as a country is. (It's embarrassing how many times I have been asked whether I speak "Indian"...which, you know, isn't an actual language.) And the Indian cuisine popular in American restaurants represents only a fraction of the foods found across India.

Maybe it's because I'm far away from home, maybe it's because I'm growing up, maybe it's because I'm learning Hindi at school. Either way, I've become more nostalgic about my heritage. So here's a classic Indian dessert, called "chaal-er payesh" in Bengali. Chaal means rice, and payesh is the name for this pseudo pudding-ish dish.

While I love my mom, understanding her cooking instructions can be a struggle. She just knows how much of an ingredient to put in a dish. I guess it's an intuitive skill that comes from experience. So instead I referenced a few recipes online (1, 2, and 3) to come up with this:

Chaler Payesh Recipe

1/4 cup white rice (Basmati was recommended, I used Jasmine and it was still delish)
4 cups milk (I used 1%)
6-7 cardamom pods
4-5 bay leaves
Handful of raisins
Handful of cashews--chopped
1/3 cup sugar

Makes about 6 servings (I ate this all by myself... some for dessert over the span of a week)

1) Place the cardamom pods + bay leaves + milk in a pot over medium heat, and bring to a boil. The bay leaves and cardamom pods are for creating an aroma. Just smelling the cardamom makes me automatically think of the finished product.
2) After the milk begins boiling, lower the heat. Now you have to wait for the milk to reduce to a little more than half its initial volume. Stir every few minutes as you do not want the milk to stick to the bottom. It took me around 2 1/2 hours for this to happen. I found this blogpost by Just as Delish to provide helpful tips for this step.
2.5) Soak the rice in water for about 20 minutes prior to dumping it in the milk.
3) Now increase the flame to a medium, but not high enough for the milk to boil. Add in the rice. Stir.
4) Around 5 minutes after adding in the rice, add in the sugar, raisins, and cashews. Stir.
5) Lightly stir every few minutes for the rice to cook and sugar to melt.
6) When the rice is soft and the sugar is melted you're done! The longer you wait, the more condensed your dessert will be (and in my humble opinion, more delicious).

End notes:
- Personally, I prefer this dish served chilled. Make sure you cover it up when you refrigerate it as you do not want it to dry out.
- I remove the cardamom pods and bay leave prior to eating... as they do not taste nearly as good as they smell.

adventures of huck finn

 overalls: american eagle, shirt: forever 21, plaid button down: nautica men's, shoes: converse, lipstick: chanel in Gabrielle

Even with pictures of girls in overalls spattered all over the fashion week street style feeds, overalls are still more "19th century adolescent boys playing along the Mississippi" than "popular spring summer 2014 trend." With my men's plaid shirt and converse, I think I probably fit better into the first category. But it's cool cause I have no problem admitting that I take sartorial inspiration from immature, little boys. Nbd.

I posted a bunch of shortall (which is still weird for me to say, or rather type) options a few posts ago. While I didn't try all of them on, these AE ones were perfect for me! My major problem when trying overalls in the past were that they were just too tight on the legs and midsection. While I can fully embrace the idea that all shapes and sizes are beautiful, it's harder to apply the same ideology to myself. Consequently I am pretty self conscious with emphasizing my midsection. These overalls may not be as flattering as say... a swishy maxi dress, they definitely do forgive more when compared to other shortalls. So even though I'm shorter than 5 foot 9 and heavier than 110 pounds, I too could wear some overalls. 

it was the best of times, it was the worst of times

It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.

Famous words from the only Dickens book that I've read and actually liked.

And how is that at all relevant about what I'm posting? I'm talking about food. On one hand, with all our modern day technology we're able to eat foods from all over the world, we're able to cut the time on cooking or baking with different appliances, we're able to have a plethora of recipes at our fingertips thanks to the internet. We have a deeper understanding of human physiology, of what our bodies need to be healthy.

But then there's the bad. Even with all this knowledge, obesity rates are increasing. Processed foods are becoming the norm. And going out to look for information on the internet can be completely chaotic.

I'm currently taking a phy sci class that's got me wanted to eat healthier, and reign in the amount of unhealthy foods I like to indulge in. Something I've constantly heard is how honey and agave are healthier alternatives to sugar. I use honey as a substitute in tea and smoothies, but have never really tried using agave.

I then decided to do a little research... which left me incredibly overwhelmed. On top of there being about 1,001 different conflicting opinions on agave, I'm left wondering if the writer's have alternative incentives to sharing their findings?

But here's the basics on what I found. In comparison to sugar, agave has less calories, has a lower glycemic index (meaning it will not cause your blood sugar to spike as fast), and is sweeter -- meaning you will have to use less to get the same amount of sweetness. On the other hand, agave is primarily composed of fructose, which in high doses has been linked to a multitude of diseases.

As my professor always reminds us, rather than avoiding anything remotely unhealthy, it's important to control what you intake. For instance, even though bananas are healthy, eating 4000 calories a day worth of them isn't. So small doses of agave once a week isn't going to kill me (I hope.)

P.S This isn't a proper recipe, but rather an excuse to try out food photography + introduce the idea of doing recipes on my blog.

The Drink

One of my favorite drinks to drink at Coffee Bean is their agave nectar sweet tea! Naturally, making it at home is immensely cheaper. Plus, it's incredibly easy to recreate. It has a distinct taste when compared to other sweet teas, and I must say I'm a fan.

Instructions: Instead of sweetening with sugar, sweeten your freshly brewed tea with about 1 + 1/2 tablespoons of dark agave per cup of water. You can add more or less depending on your tastes, but that's the sweet spot for me. Then refrigerate to let it cool down, and drink away!

I used the constant comment tea by Bigelow because it has a hint of orange rind along with some sweet spices, which I think works perfectly with the agave! Listening to the people of steepster, I steeped it for about 2 minutes before removing the tea bags.

yankee status

sweater: zara, jeans: free people, also sold here, sandals: birkenstocks

The odds were really out against these white jeans.
1) Wearing white jeans gives me cottage cheese legs. (Incredibly unflattering)
2) Jeans with two lone holes at the knees rarely match up with where my knees actually are-- a common struggle for the vertically challenged.
3) Free people jeans usually fit me awfully.
Despite these factors, I decided to bring these jeans into the fitting room with me, and boy am I glad. I could have never believed they would fit, but they do! And with the frayed hem and busted knees, they're pretty much perfect for the spring/ summer season. Outfits with a plaid shirt, with a black top, with booties, with strappy sandals, with a floppy hat, the list of possibilities never ends. 

P.s happy national siblings day!! Here's a shout-out to my little brother... who is not so little and now taller than me. 

god bless the denim jacket

crop top: asos, cardigan: madewell, denim jacket: j. crew factory, skirt: madewell, shoes: birkenstocks

When I went to class in this outfit, I heavily underestimated how cold it would be. Thankfully, I was in a hurry (what else is new) and forgot to take my jacket out of my bag from the day before. And the beauty of the denim jacket? It goes with virtually everything, and will save you from a strong breeze :)

What it doesn't save you from? Tripping and falling down while stepping off the bus. I've never possessed much grace, but it's been a while since I've taken such a dramatic fall. This happened...last Friday, and the leg and arm I fell on are still sore :(

valar morghulis

I've been a pretty inconsistent blogger lately. While perusing my archives, cause I'm vain like that, I realized how much more active I was on the blogosphere a year ago. Even though I'm not a professional blogger and this is just a mere hobby, there's residual guilt for neglecting my blog. I want to get back to being a consistent blogger. And now is as good a time as any. As people I think we continuously are on the search for excuses to justify new beginnings-- a new year, a new season, a new school year, a new job, etc. etc. But to hell with that, I'm starting fresh just because.

I was tempted to title this post "weekend warrior," or some random crap like that, because alliterations heavily appeal to me. A more appropriate title would be something along the lines of "weekly thoughts," hopefully the first of many.

I've been wanting with these Aquazzura flats for the longest time. And when I say wanting, I mean gazing longingly at them and acknowledging that they will never be mine unless a) I win the lottery b) miraculously manage to find them heavily discounted at Barney's warehouse. These Steve Madden flats form option c) buying a significantly cheaper rip-off of the shoe, made by the king of dupes (...and fraud). As soon as a coupon code comes around, I plan on snatching these up! Or contemplate snatching them up, as Steve Madden shoes aren't always so comfortable.
left: aquazzura, right: steve madden

GAME OF THRONES: I am ready for you... even if I barely remembered what happened last season since it aired about 10 bajillion years ago. I have flashes of Khaleesi with her dragons, the red witch birthing her demon spawn, and sadly the red wedding.

For a pretty solid refresher click here. Oh and you can watch this "trailer" on the first 3 seasons for some laughs.

How I Met Your Mother: Discussing the finale angers me. All I can say is that I wish the last few minutes didn't happen. Also, the regression of Barney as a character broke my heart. Legend... wait for it... dary it was not.

Were you aware that shortalls were a thing? Cause I was not. I just called them overall shorts.

I don't want to say that overalls have made a comeback, because the overall phenomenon of 2011 didn't completely die out. However, I would say that there's been a recent spike in overall popularity over the first few months of 2014.

I don't hate them, but I don't love them either. They're....interesting. I've been looking for a shorts version as I think they're more flattering, and are easier to style. Thankfully, their rise in popularity means there are way more options to choose from!
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

turtley for the turtle club

turtleneck: uniqlo, skirt: peter pilotto for target, coat: urban outfitters, socks: h&m, boots: hunter

Am I not tuuuurtley enough for the turtle club? Famous lines from The Master of Disguise, hated by critics everywhere. As to the word turtle, it's one of those words that sounds so strange when you say it repeatedly. Turtle. Tuuurtle. Turtle. Just sounds weird!

I'm not wearing green like the Master of Disguise, but typing out turtleneck triggered the memory. This certain turtleneck was my best friend for my not-so-spring break, and I think I wore it at least 5/7 of the days. Towards the end of break, it got rainy and thankfully a bit warmer-- just in time for those April showers. Thankfully, I will not have to experience any more of said showers since now I'm back in sunny but not so hot California. The not so hot part will be changing soon as LA will be getting hit with temperatures in the 80s next week! Wooo!!

P.s sorry if this post is more scatter brained than usual... I'm literally half asleep. Don't sleep and blog. 

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