Wednesday, July 17, 2019

National Hot Dog Day 2019

Making homemade vegan hot dogs. 
National Hot Day was first established on Capitol Hill in 1991 by hot dog lovers around the country. As we fast forward to 2019, this day is tradition among those who love and appreciate the almighty mystery meat. In my case, I enjoy plant-based hot dogs, as vegan and vegetarian are my go-to choices. 

When I was young, my mother use to work a night shift from 7 pm until midnight. I never waited up for her as I always had school the next day. She would always wake me up when she got home and surprise me with a hot dog smothered in onions, chili and nacho cheese. Still until this day, I have garnered such a fondness for them. 

And granted I haven't had a meat hot dog in over 20 years, I have to admit I love veggie dogs more so than ever. With so many ways to execute them, I always find myself getting creative and inspired in the kitchen. 

To celebrate today, I want to share with you several variations of veggie hot dogs I have made. 


Nacho Chili Cheese Veggie Dog. 
With virtually everything from the dog to the bun being homemade here, this is what makes an incredible veggie dog. Using nacho cheese and homemade chili paired with raw Idaho onion, it just doesn't get any better than this. 

Although it doesn't embody the classic one I tried when I was a child, it tastes a million times better and doesn't harm animals. It also goes great with an ice cold Budweiser

And if I am being honest, I find myself wanting to try so many different types of veggie dogs because it seems like you can do so much with these. Everything from the bread to the sauce is destined to he tested. 

On another note, another rendition of the classic hot dog that I loved making, was my interpretation of a classic Chicago dog. As this is 100% vegetarian and plant-based, I love this because of the flavor and overall execution. If I were sitting at a baseball game and looking to satisfy my cravings, I would aim to enjoy this wonderful food. 
Chicago Style Veggie Dog.


My Chicago style hot dog consists of a homemade veggie dog, homemade hot dog bun, homemade kosher dill pickles, shredded cheddar cheese and spicy Dijon mustard garnished with diced spring onion. 

And whether you are enjoying a cold brew of your favorite beer or even a cold brisk Sprite, it just doesn't get any better. 

My final veggie dog that I will sharing for National Hot Dog Day 2019 is the Mediterranean hot dog. I have yet to see this in any restaurant because I have dined at so many and yet to find one on the menu. As risky as it is make this particular veggie dog, believe it or not the reward is well worth it. 

Why? Because it is amazing. For this particular hot dog, everything is homemade but the veggies and the cheese. But what makes the Mediterranean dog so great is its use of ingredients that work together that really stand out. For this particular veggie dog, I garnished diced red onion, feta cheese and burgundy olives. For the sauce, I made a honey oil sauce with a little bit of lemon, saffron and za'atar. 


Mediterranean Veggie Dog.
This is by far one of the most delicious things I have ever put into my mouth. The flavor is outstanding. To be honest, when I originally made this hot dog, I truly did not know what to expect because no one has ever made it. I was definitely happy with the outcome. 

Of course this incredible veggie dog goes great with Persian doogh or even a frappe, but a San Pellegrino will do too. 

I hope you are having a wonderful day. Happy National Hot Dog Day! 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Simple Wheat Chapatis

Dating all of the way to 16th century when Indian emperors ruled the Indian subcontinent, chapatis have made a name for themselves all throughout India. In fact, this cult-class staple can be found in virtually every Indian home, on every Indian dinner table. 

And the best part is chapatis are so easy to make. Once you master them, you will never go to any Indian restaurant again, as you will want make them at home. 

This bread only uses two key ingredients with a few others mixed in between. All you will need for this recipe is wheat flour, salt and fresh water. No need to add any butter or anything else to the mixture. One thing I have learned about Indian cuisine is that less is more, but flavor is everything. For good measure, I added some garam masala and a few extra spices hence why my bread is a little darker in color. 

Add your ingredients into a mixing bowl or even on a table. Take a small Indian rolling pin (commonly known as a chakla belan) and roll out the dough to form a small circle. The dough portions should be smaller in size. Now, take some ghee (purified butter) and place it onto a tava (which is basically a round frying pan) and place it onto it. If you don't use ghee, you can use butter or oil. 

It is helpful to have a set of cooking tongs nearby. Now it is time now to cook your chapati. I recommend cooking on medium heat and doing one at a time. My boyfriend Sumit loves to cook this bread directly on the burner, flipping both sides. He swears this is the key to making epic chapatis. 

One thing you will notice when cooking these is that each side of the bread should kind of rise, as if it were breathing. Amazing right? Once you are done and the bread is cooked on both sides, add some ghee and/or butter. Then, you will want to plate your bread. Make sure to plate each bread, one-by-one or piece by piece. 

Finally, garnish with your sauces of choice. This is strictly optional. In India, ghee is very popular. Especially when adding it to chapatis. The more, the better. The more, the merrier. In the picture I shared with you today, I cooked these tonight for dinner. I topped my chapatis with butter, ghee and fresh curd and garnished with fresh dill and mint straight from my garden. 

Once you master what makes an incredible chapati, you can get creative and add more ingredients later. In the meantime, embrace simplicity. This allows you learn how to make it. Especially if you haven't tried this bread before. It is one of the best breads you will ever eat. In fact, according to my boyfriend it is the best there is.  

I hope you are having a wonderful day. 

Thursday, July 4, 2019

TBT: The Star Spangled Banner by Sarah Afshar

As today we celebrate Independence Day in America, I wanted to share some throwback (today is Thursday, after all) of me singing "The Star Spangled Banner" on Smule last year in 2018. I know I have probably shared this recording various times, but I never get tired of it, as I am not only proud of this recording, but proud to be an American who loves her life, her liberty and is always in pursuit of happiness. And did I mention I love my country? I love the United States of America and honored to be living here. #MAGA

 
To listen to my rendition of the Star Spangled Banner simply watch (or listen) to the video above. If it does not play, simply click here right now. I highly suggest listening with headphones, as I recorded this directly from the app using my voice and my iPhone. Happy 4th of July everyone!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Black Smokey Eye

Me today. 
Today has been a great day. I hope it has been a great day for you too. As for my day, I worked from 9 am until 5 pm. Then, went home and took the selfies I am sharing with you today. After wards, I had a wonderful shower. In spite of contemplating what to make for dinner, I must admit that pleasantly surprised at how great my black smoky eye turned out today and how well my makeup stayed on. 

I decided to go a little dramatic today for work (something that I don't normally like to do when I go to work considering I work in a more office environment) and went with a light lip and dramatic black smoky eye. And considering most of my readers are either here for my beauty content or Morgan Ingram, I decided that I would share what I did to achieve this look. 

Amazing makeup is always supported with great skin care. When I woke this morning, I had a wonderful shower. My secret to amazing skin is always exfoliating. I exfoliate in the shower all of the time and when I just do my regular skincare routine I exfoliate also. I am obsessed with the Chuda Exfoliating Cleanser. If I had to choose a favorite right now, it is this one. It is not only effective, it's gentle and proves why it is the holy grail of face scrubs. At least in my opinion. I also love that I can do everything in one step.

When I wake up, I love to moisturize. No matter what kind of climate it is, I like to have hydration. I don't like to use face treatments on my face when I go to work, but will occasionally use a good serum. I do; however, love to use a good moisturizer. As I have tried many, I really love the Giorgio Armani Beauty Prima Glow-On Moisturizing Balm. It is literally a holy grail in skincare and makes my face feel ultimately amazing. 

Before applying makeup, especially heavier or more dramatic makeup I love to spray setting spray. I love a lot of them, but right now I really love the Make Up For Ever Mix and Fix Makeup Setting Spray. It is probably my favorite right now if I had to choose. 


The rest of the products I used today include:

Japonesque Radiance Primer, LORAC POREfection Foundation in the shade PR3, Estee Lauder Double Matte Pressed Powder in Light, Rouge Bunny Rouge 'Seas of Illumination' Highlighting Liquid in the shade Sea of Clouds (quite possibly my favorite liquid highlighter right now) and KKW Beauty Cream Contour Stick in the shade in the shades Light/Medium and Medium II. (for face)

Smashbox Cosmetics 24 Hour Shadow Primer in the shade Barely There Sheer, KIKO Milano Glitter Shower Eyeshadow in the shade 01 Silver Champagne, OFRA Cosmetics Eyeshadow in the shade Exquisite, Kylie Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Jack Frost, Shu Uemura Pressed Eye Shadow in M Black 990 A, Ellis Faas Lights in E301 Antique Silver (I love this eyeshadow), Lancome Cils Booster XL, and Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Lash Mascara in the shade Black. (for eyes)

Benefit Cosmetics BROWVO! and Benefit Cosmetics Goof Proof Eyebrow Pencil in the shade in 5 (for brows)

Elizabeth Arden Lip Fix, Merle Norman Lipliner in Neutral, Lipstick Queen Ice Queen Lipstick and Ellis Faas Lights in E301 Antique Silver. (for lips)

In case you are wondering, the dress (although you cannot see it) is black and is from White House Black Market. I wore a blazer with it by NIC+ZOE. The shoes I wore with it (although you cannot see them) are from Prada. And the jewelry is from Totaram

For my hair, I used L'ANZA Shampoo followed by the L'ANZA Conditioner. Additionally, I used the Umberto Beverly Hills Hair Repair Mask (and I am almost out and this product is almost impossible to find. If you see it anywhere on or offline please let me know), Matrix Total Results Mega Sleek Mega Varnish with one of my favorite combs ever, the Cricket Ultra Smooth Coconut Detangler Comb. And I decided to use ZOYA Nail Polish in Genesis on my nails. 

Other products or things that I currently enjoy, that I am kind of obsessed with at the moment include: 

Goutal Paris Rose Pompon Eau De ParfumCosmedix Opti Crystal Eye Serum, La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream, LeBody FormVLCC Diamond Facial Kit, Sol Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum CreamEvolve Toothbrush, The Eterno LED Red Light Therapy Device and everything from The Perfect V. And I know I am forgetting a few things here. (beauty)

Good food (although I think that is everyday), PUBG Mobile, PUBG on PS4, cooking anything Indian, making vegan smoothies, Lassi and doogh of all flavors, Serial Podcast, The Precor AMT 885 Adaptive Motion Trainer, Monster Energy Juice Drink in the flavor Mango Loco, taking pictures of my home garden, drinking pineapple juice before bed, oil pulling, Investing.com and my boyfriend Sumit's incredible heart, mind, body, soul and spirit, although he has an amazing smile too. I have more to add. (non-beauty) 

And there you have it. Now, I have to make dinner and also decide what I am making (and baking) tomorrow for the fourth of July. As I love America, I think my favorite thing about Independence Day is the food. 

Why? Because I truly believe food is a need and really dictates and defines culture in it's diverse role. When you travel anywhere, you will notice the food is one of the first things outsiders tend to notice. And lets face it, nothing is better than enjoying wonderful food with family and friends. I am sure tomorrow will be a great day. 

Anyways, have a wonderful day! 

Monday, July 1, 2019

June 2019: Beauty Favorites

ZO Skin Health Oclipse, one
of my favorite beauty
products of the month.
June was the start of a new month and a new season. Although a lot has happened this month, I felt like I went to sleep in May and woke up and it was already June, as the month went by fast. Is it just me or is this year flying by faster than usual? 

As we sprung into Summer, I discovered quite few products I loved, some I hated and many I contemplated and debated whether to buy and use again. So, what are the best? What are my beauty favorites for the month of June?

First and foremost, I just want to let you know that I absolutely love the Chuda Everyday Exfoliating Cleanser. Curated by Dr. Eva Ocher of New York, I have tried so many products like this and have yet to find one as good as this one. I reach for this daily and just love this. My skin also looks and feels amazing after I use it. Trust me when I say that this is a holy grail beauty essential and a must-have for everyone looking to achieve incredible skin. 

The Eterno LED Device is one of my favorite high-tech skincare devices. Utilizing red NASA LED lights, this is one of few beauty essentials I enjoy using on a daily basis. It is great for everything from fine lines and wrinkles to depigmentation and age spots to even large pores. My biggest issue has always been the sporadic acne breakout, but ever since using this device, I don't really have them much. Plus, in addition to being great for the skin, this product is great for thinning hair (and/or hair loss), depression, panic attacks and works great for curing moderate and mild headaches. 

When it comes to my skin, I have always identified as having combination skin. And as my skin is a product of my environment, I feel like my skin leans towards dry during the Fall and Winter season (cold climates) and oily during the Spring and Summer season (hotter climates) which tends to be modestly conflicting because I have to change my skin care up a bit to fit what works for me. With that being said, the Pacifica Beauty Sea Foam Complete Face Wash is one of my favorites for this month. Not only is this product completely natural (which I think anyone can appreciate) it smells incredible and is non comedogenic, so it will not irritate or break your skin out. The foam factor is real also, as my skin feels extremely refreshed every time I use it. 

I swear, every single time I travel I find myself reaching for the ZO Skin Health Oclipse Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30. It is one of my favorites, as it works to protect my skin. And it is extremely hydrating and still manages to combat oily. I will say that this relatively hard to find, as the product has changed it's formulation and name. The currently product has been renamed to ZO Skin Health Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30, but possesses a lighter formula than before. 

When it comes to makeup, I am discovering how finicky and selective I am. Considering I have tried (and still continue to do so) virtually everything, I find myself picking and choosing wisely and separating the good, the bad and the ugly. And in my quest, I find myself really love the Stila Iridescent Glitter & Glow Set. The duo-chromatic effect paired with a long-lasting vibrant formula speaks for itself, making it one of my favorite beauty products for the month. 

Another favorite for the month of June is the Mehron Highlight Pro-3 Color Palette in the shade Cool. Not only are these highlights extremely pigmented, but the color payoff is unreal. I have tried many highlighting palettes in my life, many of which were just ok and no way; whereas, quite a few slay and this, my friends, is one of the best I have ever used. 

I have tried many hair masks. My hair is normal straight, but tends to lean towards combination because of it's length. I feel like during the colder seasons like Fall and Winter my hair is dry or drier and then during the Spring and Summer seasons it is oily (especially at the roots). With that said, I really love the Pai-Shau Supreme Revitalizing Mask. I love the way it makes my hair feel and look after using it. It takes a lot to impress me, but this product definitely does. 

When it comes to massage oil, I really love them because most possess natural ingredients. I have tried so many and yet I find myself reaching for the Intimate Earth Aromatherapy Massage Oil in Chai. My boyfriend is from India so I really love and appreciate the powerful masala scent, although I loved chai way before I met him. The Honey Almond scent is fantastic also. 

And last, but certainly not least, I absolutely love the Evolve toothbrush. I brush my teeth so many times a day (even though I probably shouldn't) and find myself always reaching for this toothbrush simply because it is literally the best. This gets every area of your teeth and isn't harsh on your enamel which I love. The best $15 I have ever spent. 

I have been wanting to ask you guys, do you think I should do a hate list? I don't like being negative, but there are quite a few products I have tried that are just not good. I don't want to tell any of you who read my blog what to do with your money, but I don't want you to waste your money on certain products either. Hate is such a strong word. Perhaps a dislike or no way list? What do you think? If you think I should do a hate list, please let me know in the comments. 

Stay tuned for my beauty favorites for next month. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Happy July!