Archive | January, 2017

Healthy Snack- Chia Pudding Pots

26 Jan

Today’s recipe is an easy versitile one, so easy I almost feel guilty for calling it a recipe. This is chia pudding which is actually super trendy these days, something I didn’t realise until I decided to do this post. 

Chia Pudding Pots


FunFact: I used to work at a health food store way back in the day. I’m talking wayyyy back. I was a university student and the owner was a nutritionist. The name of her business was “Chia Seeds” . She explained to myself and all the others who would be working there that the chia seed was small but powerful. It had so many benifits for something so insignificant in appearance  (it was a bit of a life lesson too)
So what IS chia?

Chia is the seed of the chia plant which is a member of the mint family. The seed is very tiny, like sesame seed size and it is rich in nutrients including omega fatty acids, some vitamins and minerals. 

Chia seeds have long been popular among the “health food” set but recently has become far more mainstream making a massive debut on pinterest(lol). Chia seeds can be added to smoothies, health bars and cereals. However,  a notable property of chia seeds is the fact that they become swollen and gelatinous once exposed to liquid. This makes for a great puddding. A healthy, nutritious pudding. 

I will be making 3 variations of chia pudding today ; vanilla spice, chocolate and berry.But really the options are limitless.

WHAT YOU NEED  (for each)

1) 1/4 cup of chia seeds (I used black chia seeds , yiu can use white ones if you like)

2) 1/3 cup of vanilla almond milk (or whatever type of milk you prefer)

3) 1 tbsp of honey – add it to your preference

4) 1/4 tsp of assorted spices– I used cinnamon and nutmeg

5) 1 tbsp of cocoa powder

6) Assorted berries– I had strawberries and blueberries 

7) Containers for storage (I used small jelly jars but for more practicality you can use small resealable plastic containers)

8) Blender/Nutribullet 

Ingredients 

WHAT TO DO 

 Pour almond milk into container and add honey and mix.

Vanilla spice

1) Add chia seeds and spices then mix in well.

Add chia seeds and spices
Chocolate

3) Add cocoa powder and mix

Cocoa added




Berry blast

4) Chop fruit and add a few pieces to the mixture and stir.

Add fruit




5) In your blender/nutribullet etc blend the fruit with a bit of water forming a slurry.- I did it separately for visual effect.

Fruit slurry


6) Place your mixtures in the refrigerator and let them sit for a few hours,  until a gelatinous consistency is formed. I left mine overnight. 

Your treats are ready to eat!

Ready to eat


These are great healthy “to go” snacks that you can make long ahead of time. You can play around and try a multitude of flavours. These would also make an amazing dessert for a dinner party. It’s different but tasty.

The chia seeds become fluffy and gel like and it truly tastes like a pudding. The different additions all go well with it because the chia seeds lend to sweet flavours.

Definitely try this one and definitely have an awesome day! 

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HOW TO MAKE A LUXURY PURCHASE

18 Jan

Chanel classic flap in black (large)




This blog is titled Poor Party Girl and my catchphrase is Entertaining and living fabulously on a Budget. One might think my goal is to always buy the cheapest versions of things and never making luxury purchases. But it’s not. In fact, my whole aim is to be able to live the way you want: travel, entertain, eat and shop no matter your budget. It’s about being savvy vs plain old cheap, it’s about saving here and there so that when you want to make a more expensive purchase, you can.

 
This brings me to today’s topic; making a luxury purchase. Let us begin with a definition of luxury. Luxury is defined by Investopedia as an item which is not necessary for living but is deemed as highly desirable. Luxury items are associated with a certain status as they often signify some measure of financial success. Additionally, some luxury items are subject to “luxury taxes” though it varies depending on where you live. Luxury items may be anything from private jets and recreational boats to designer handbags and shoes. For my purposes, I am referring more to smaller luxury items but certainly this can be applied to any luxury purchase.

 
Maybe it’s a Chanel classic flap in black caviar leather or perhaps it’s a pair of Valentino Rockstud heels… we all have those dream items. The ones that merely seeing a picture of them ignites a spark in our stomachs (no I do not mean heartburn, lol). We also have that moment when we see the price and get that sinking, dreadful feeling. 

Depending on our age and stage in life we have varied budgets, indeed there are things I can easily purchase now that four years ago, would have been a fleeting wish. However, we are all on some kind of budget and luxury purchases are often the last thing we think to buy and we often cannot afford to stroll into a department store and pick up the latest designer handbag. Oftentimes those who do find themselves either with significant debt or no savings. I’m sorry but I’m not going into debt over a handbag. So then, how do you make a luxury purchase while remaining on a budget?
I have some tips that I have accrued over time and inspired by luxury YouTuber Chase Amiee (a favourite of mine).

1)What Do You Want?
Make a list of all the luxury items you want. All of them: shoes, bags, clothes, car, boat, plane, basketball team. All of it.

2)What Do You Really Want?
Go through your list with a fine-toothed comb deciphering what you actually want. Do you really want those designer shades? Yes? then leave it. Do you actually want a Rolls Royce? No? then cross it off. What you should have at the end is a far more concise list of items that are more attainable and that you actually want to attain.

3)Prioritise
It may seem like an oxymoron to suggest prioritising a list of luxury items but you must do this. For example, if my list contains ten items I’m sure there are four or five that I want more than the others. Place these at the top of your list. These are the ones you will focus on first. By doing this you will find you may be able to narrow down your list even further.

4)Research
Research all the items remaining on your luxury list. Research the company, the reviews, the cost. Making a luxury purchase can be viewed as an investment and you don’t make investments without doing some background checking.

5)Refine your list
After doing your research you may find your luxury item dream list is even shorter or has somewhat changed.
A few tips to use when refining your list:

Resale

If for example, you like to collect designer handbags as fashion pieces you may want to purchase something from a permanent collection rather than a limited edition. Even though many of us make luxury purchases planning to keep them forever, these are the types of items people often sell. You will generally get better resale on a classic item rather than a trendy one.

Use

This is in the same vein as the previous tip. If you are spending two months’ worth of your salary on a pair of shoes, you want these shoes to last long and still look current. This is why choosing a more fashionable vs trendy style is better.

Quality

“All the Glitters is not Gold”. I swear, if I had a dollar for every time I saw that play out in real life, I would be able to buy all the items on my luxury wish list in one go. But I digress. Luxury items are often high quality, that’s what makes them so luxurious. All of the finest materials are used by the most skilled craftspersons to make your deluxe item. Wrong. Believe it or not, some brands charge disproportionately high prices for their items. I don’t get too upset when I get ripped off buying a drink at the gas station, but a luxury item is not the same as a $2 beverage. You want to make sure your purchase is what you are paying for especially if you plan to resell.

6)Make a Plan
 Now that you have your list that you have tweaked and refined it’s time to get your life in order. You need to find a method of going about making your purchase:


Set a Time Frame

You need to decide over what period of time you want to make this purchase. This is typical goal oriented behaviour, you set the goal and work towards it. An example is 1 year. You can decide that over the next 12 months you will save up enough for a bag.

Use milestones

This is another way of setting a timeframe. You may decide to reward yourself with a pair of designer boots you’ve been eyeing for months when you complete your Bachelor’s degree.

Start Saving


Start a luxury savings account

That’s right. Open a savings account dedicated just to your luxury purchase. Put a designated amount of money e.g $50 a month into your account and don’t touch it until you have saved enough to make your purchase. 

7)Making the Purchase
By the time you have saved enough for your dream item many weeks to months or maybe years would have passed. Reassess and determine if you still want to make this purchase. A lot may have changed. You may simply no longer want that item or there maybe something else you want more. You may decide to continue saing for a bigger purchase or even transfer the money saved to another cause e.g travel fund or mortgage payments.


8)Buy it and enjoy it

After much deliberation, planning, plotting, scheming and more deliberation you are ready. You have earned it and it will likely be another year or two before you can make a similar purchase. So do it and enjoy it. Walk into that store and let them serve you champagne and canapes. Have a glass of wine if you are purchasing online. Sleep with your item like it’s a teddy bear if you want to. Make your purchase with no regrets because you have worked towards this.

Hopefully these tips will inspire you to start working towards your luxury purchase whatever it may be. Have an awesome day!

Valentino Rockstud heel in black

January Cake

15 Jan

Today’s recipe is a two layered naked cake topped with sugared fruit and nuts. I called it January cake simply because it was made in January.It’s a white butter cake with minimal icing so it’s a light(ish), dessert great for after a holiday season of decadent eating and drinking.

This butter cake recipe is adapted from my favourite baking website, Joy of Baking. I added the strawberries and cut down on the sugar a bit. The recipe makes two 8 inch diameter cakes. However, I made 2, 4 inch diameter cakes and so I had excess batter.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Cake

1) 2 eggs, separated- Allow the whites to come to room temperature. 

2) 1 1/3 cups of flour

3) 1 cup granulated sugar divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup.

4) 1/2 cup butter

5) 1/2 cup of milk

6) 2 tsp baking powder

7) 1/8 tsp cream of tartar

8) 1 tsp vanilla extract 

9) Strawberries  (about 1/4 cup chopped)

Toppings

1)Assorted fruits- I used strawberries but you can use any berries you like.

2)Assorted nuts- I used almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts. 

3)Granulated white sugar- about 1 cup.

Frosting

1) 1 cup confectioners sugar

2) 1/4 cup butter 

3) 1 tsp vanilla extract 

4) 1 tablespoon of milk

5) Food colouring of choice

Ingredients 

Ingredients 

Topping ingredients 


Frosting ingredients 


WHAT TO DO 

Cake

1) Beat butter until soft then add 3/4 cup of sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract and beat well.

2) Keeping mixer on low speed, add flour and milk alternately beginning with flour. Add chopped strawberries and mix in gently with a spatula.Set batter off to the side.

Batter with strawberries 


3) In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.

4) Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.

Soft peaks

5) Add 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

Stiff peaks


6) Fold meringue mixture into batter careful not to deflate the meringue. 

Batter


7) Pour into baking tins and bake at 350 F until done.

Batter in tin


Baked cake


Toppings

1)Mix about 1/2 cup of sugar with a small amount of water until a thick syrup forms.

Syrup



2) Dip strawberries and nuts into syrup and allow to partially dry then roll into remaining sugar.

Sugared fruits

3) Set out to dry at room temperature. 

Frosting

1) Beat butter until smooth and creamy.

2) On low speed add the confectioners sugar.

3) On high speed add milk and beat until frosting is light and fluffy.

4) Add food colouring  (I added WAY too much).

Assembly

I intended initially to make a 3 layered cake but due to the narrow diameter , it wasn’t structurally sound,  Depending on the size of your cake you can do however many layers you wish.

1) Level the cakes using a sharp knife or cake leveler. 

2) Place a dot of frosting on a sturdy icing surface and put first layer of cake down.

3) Place a dollop of frosting on top of cake and using a knife spread it out. 

One layer


4) Place second layer on top and cover top with icing allowing some to spill over the edge.

Two layers


5) Place in refrigerator and allow everything to firm up for about 15 minutes. 

6) Add a bit more frosting on top and spread it with a straight edged tool (palette knife ) until there is a light layer of frosting around the cake.Think of just doing a crumb coat layer of frosting.

7) Add toppings and  you’re done.

January cake


This cake was delicious. The butter cake is light but somehow still dense. Not like a sponge cake at all which is how I thought it might be at first. The sugared fruits and nuts add a whimsical flair. The icing was sweet and buttery but not overwhelming because there wasn’t much of it.

This is great to have as a teatime dessert or a brunch dessert or really anytime. 

Have an awesome day.

Garbanzo bean Stew

8 Jan

Today I bring you a dinner recipe of Garbanzo bean Stew served with roasted sweet potato.

Garbanzo bean Stew and sweet potato 




Garbanzo beans also called Chickpeas or channa are a great source of protein and starch. They are pretty versitile and can be used in cold salads, ground to make hummus or cooked into a delicious vegetable stew like this. 

Makes 2 servings 

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) 1 can of Garbanzo beans

2) 1 large tomato (diced)

3) 1/2 a medium onion(diced)

4) 2 cloves of garlic(sliced)

5) Approximately 2 cups of fresh spinach 

6) 1tbsp of paprika 

7) 1tbsp of yellow curry powder 

8) 1/2 tsp of all purpose seasoning 

9) 1 tbsp of Sriracha pepper sauce (or other spicy sauce)

10) 2tbsp of tomato sauce

11) 1 medium-large sweet potato


Unlike baking, where precision is key, cooking is very subjective.  Feel free to add more or less of something as you see fit. 

Ingredients 

Spices and sauces




WHAT TO DO 

Sweet Potato 

1) In a saucepan bring water to a rolling boil then add both halves of sweet potato.

2) Once cooked through,  drain water and allow to cool.

Boiled sweet potato 




3) Take a fork and plough the centre of the potatoes and sprinkle with seasoning. 

Add seasoning




4) Bake around 350 F for 10-15 minutes.

Baked potatoes


Stew

1) Add 1tbsp of butter to a medium heat frying pan and allow to melt.

2) Add garlic and onion and Sautee

Butter, garlic and onions




3) Add spices and continue to Sautee

Spices

4) Add garbanzo beans and allow them to Sautee for a few minutes. Be sure to continually stir and coat the beans with spices,  not allowing them to burn.

Beans added

5) Add tomatoes and mix

Tomatoes added




6) Add spinach and let it sweat down then mix

Spinach added



Spinach cooked down


7) Add tomato sauce and Sriracha and mix.

Sauces

8) Turn heat down to low and let it simmer until preferred consistency. 

Simmer

Plate stew and sweet potato and serve.

Finished meal

This meal came together by happenstance one evening and I’m so glad it did. The stew is hearty without being heavy and the potato is starchy and filling (in a healthy way) What I love about it is that this dinner is so effortless yet is so complex in flavour. This is a great dinner to have at the end of a long day either alone or with family and friends.

Have an awesome day 

Ten Fashion Trends in 2017

4 Jan

Greenery

Greenery was recently named the Pantone colour of 2017. For anyone who doesn’t know, this increasingly iconic and influential company has been selecting the colour of the year since 1999 and trends that follow often incorporate whatever tone they choose. This colour is described as a yellow-green although I personally find it to be more cool toned. It is a neutral green reminiscent of lush vegetation and I can see it working as an edgy eyeshadow colour, in a vibrant cushion fabric design or splashed onto an accent wall.

 
So we know what colour sets the tone for fashion and design this year but what else will be trending in 2017?

 
I have a list of ten fashion trends to look out for. This list is based on my review and perusing the 2017 runway shows. There are certainly more than ten trends but I chose the one I liked the best or that I saw most often, in other words it is not an exhaustive list. For a longer list you can check Fashionisers

 

1 ) SHEER FORCE

By this I mean sheer fabrics namely Tulle and Lace. While these fabrics always have their place every season, they are more prominent in 2017 with full tulle skirts and dresses made entirely of lace and beads.

Alexander McQueen                                                 Dior

 

2) TOPSY TURVY- Asymmetric Tops

Those cheeky cold shoulder, long sleeve tops that made a splash towards the end of 2016 were just the beginning. One shoulder tops, diagonal cut tops, will be really trending and I for one cannot wait. Who doesn’t love an asymmetrical top?

Moschino (top)                 Philosophy (bottom)


3) 1980’s

2016 definitely saw the return of mid 1990s fashion, with button front skirts and chokers a plenty and I was there for it. I still am. But let us step aside and give the 1980s some time to shine. Literally. We are talking lame, sequined leggings, neon colours and of course wide bold shoulders.

(Clockwise) Saint Laurent,  Moschino,  Balenciaga And Saint Laurent
 
4) THINK PINK

Hot pink, Fuchsia, Mauve. All the more grown up variations of the colour pink were seen on the runways. And what a beautiful time it is. Pink is an amazing colour because it literally matches all skin tones. Definitely get a splash of this in your wardrobe this year.

Oscar de la renta,  Botegga Veneta, Balenciaga 


5) KEEP IN LINE- Stripes

Horizontal, Vertical, Thick, Pinstripe. Bold. Every version of stripes will make an appearance. Stripes can be so versatile, it’s impossible not to find a style that suits you. White Pinstripes on your pantsuit for work or horizontal multicoloured stripes on a jersey dress for a sporty look.

Mulberry                                                                         Proenza Schouler


6 ) FLOWER POWER

Again, floral prints will almost always be present in some form or fashion year after year. This year however the prints are more 1960s and 1970s inspired with simplified lighter coloured prints as well as more intricate English garden style patterns.

Balenciaga                                                Zac Posen (top)  Dole &Gabanna (bottom)


7 ) OXFORD STREET-Shirt fashion

2017 welcomes the era of the deconstructed and reconstructed Oxford shirt. This is by far one of my favourites. I love the idea of dismantling a crisp Oxford with all its implications of stiffness and conformity (I also happen to love a regular Oxford btw) and making it into something edgy and with attitude. In 2017, it’s all about the attitude.

Monse                                                                       Off White


8 )BARE NECESSITIES

The bralet is no longer being hidden underneath an oversized tank top or relegated to a festival outfit. It is becoming way more widespread with many designers making the tops of their dresses into this style or creating pantsuits or skirt suits which incorporate bralets. This trend definitely takes some confidence as you will obviously be baring it all. But like I said, 2017 is all about having the right attitude so if you like it, wear it.

Victoria Beckham                                Alexander Wang  (top)   Altuzarra (bottom)


9) EXPLORER- Khaki

I call this: “The other neutral” (Black being the first one). I used to love khaki, in fact I used to have as much khaki as black in my wardrobe. Then I stopped wearing cargo pants, and suddenly…no more khaki. But seriously this time around khaki has come back savage being seen primarily in the form of trench coats and other beautifully designed jackets.

(Clockwise)Talbot Runhof, Less Copains, Dion Lee,Talbot Runhof, Miu Miu

10 ) BOTTOM LINE

Culottes with their midi length wideness are here to make a statement. This style of pant has had a few moments in the limelight since their initial debut in the 1970s but this time the trend is hard to ignore being more ubiquitous than ever. Joining the culottes in the 2017 trend list is wide bottom pants. This style of pant had been very slowly seeping into popular fashion over the past few years but remained relegated to fashion bloggers and stylists who were more willing to take a chance. Now we can all jump aboard on this wearable trend.

Gucci                                                                                                       Chloe

What trends do you like? What are you thinking of experimenting with? 
Have an awesome day! 

Happy 2017

1 Jan

Hello and welcome to 2017! Wishing everyone who reads this a year of achievement and contentment and success.

 I don’t make traditional New Year’s resolutions but I do often write out my goals (which is kind of the same thing I guess) . I have personal goals, career goals, reading goals and of course blogging goals. I will share a few blogging goals I have.

1) To continue to consistently post on my blog- though I started my blog in 2012, I only began consistent posting in mid 2016, and I love it. It gives me something to look forward to and hopefully does the same for those who read the blog.

2) To expand my posting range- I primarily do recipes and tips with some travel and beauty stuff splashed in between. This year I want to do DIYs ,more exciting recipes  and more travel and beauty related posts.

3) To improve my photography skills- While I quite like taking photos and I do think I have improved over time, I know there is so much more to learn and do to create beautiful shots. I intend to invest more energy in that.

4) To engage more with fellow bloggers- I learnt in the latter half of 2016 that there are A LOT of blogs out there. Some very similar to me, some completely different but exciting and some just totally out of the box. Before, I never really considered finding blogs on WordPress,  I only used it to actually write my posts. It opened up a whole new world for me and I’m excited to see more.

This are my main blogging goals that I hope to achieve this year. What are your blogging goals?

Have an awesome day!

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