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February 2017

Comfort Food Easy Appetizer Food Quick & Easy Soups & Salads Tomato Soup

Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup with Garlic Croutons

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  • February 8, 2017
Have you ever known someone who doesn’t like tomatoes but loves all those spaghetti, pastas, pizzas and tomato sauce? Well, Hello There! (hand wave) – I don’t like raw tomatoes. They look good with that bright red color, they smell good too but I just don’t like the flavor. And when it comes to cooked versions nothing like a tomato base for all these delicious dishes. I never really liked tomato soup either because once I tried that packaged one and it ruined the Tomato Soup experience for me, until recently when I actually tried this fresh Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup my whole world changed!

Fresh fruits and vegetables always, always taste better. In fact any fresh produce tastes better whether home-grown, organic or fresh from the grocery store, dishes prepared with fresh produce always taste amazing. 
When it comes to soups in cold winter nights I’ve always loved having Chinese Hot and Sour soup or the Szechuan Soup as both are so rich in flavors and spice levels that they completely warm you up and it’s also so comforting. This time around when I tried a bowl of creamy tomato-basil soup on a cold winter afternoon it felt so good and equally comforting. The flavors were so rich and the texture was very nice, creamy and velvety, I just loved it!
I’m the kind of person who just loves soups, no matter what the season and I think soups shouldn’t be associated with seasons like falls and winters you can have exciting soups in summers too with a variety of vegetables. While this bowl of creamy, roasted tomato-basil soup is very comforting in winters, it also makes an excellent summer meal too. A bowl of this soup, some garlic bread and fresh salad – light, healthy and delicious meal.
I made this soup by using fresh tomatoes and roasting them in a grill pan however you can always roast tomatoes in the oven. In this recipe there are no canned tomatoes and no cream either, so it’s completely healthy.
After making this soup and having it I can safely say there’s nothing like a soup made from Fresh Tomatoes and I’m sure once you try it, you won’t want it any other way either. To make it more delicious I sprinkled some Parmesan Cheese before serving, some cream swirls for presentation and crispy garlic croutons for some texture and crunch.

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Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup with Garlic Croutons
by February-8-2017
Gorgeous looking, creamy (non-dairy)and flavorful Roasted Tomato-Basil Soup with crunchy garlic croutons – just like a comforting hug in a bowl

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Ripe Tomatoes
  • 1/4 Cup extra-virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

For the Soup

  • 1 Cup Onion, chopped
  • 1 Carrot, sliced
  • 1 Potato, grated
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Basil leaves, dried (if using fresh leaves use 1 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp Thyme leaves, dried
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper corns
  • 1 Green Chili pepper
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1.5 – 2 cups Chicken Stock or water
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated for garnish
  • Cream for garnish

For Garlic Croutons

  • 2-3 Bread Slices, cut in cubes
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted Butter, melted
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Italian herbs
  • 1/4 tsp Salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 black pepper

Instructions

  1. Roast the Tomatoes: Heat the grill pan on the stove. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Arrange the tomatoes, cut-side up on the grill pan. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt. Roast until tomatoes are soft and you get charred sides.
  2. Make the Soup:In a wok or a large pan heat the butter and olive oil togethe. Add onions and cook until soft, add garlic saute for a minute and then add carrot, potato and roasted tomatoes. Give it a stir and add basil leaves, thyme, salt and Chicken Stock. Bring it to a boil and then reduce heat and let it simmer until it thickens. Now transfer the soup to the blender, add black pepper corn, green chili and blend into a smooth puree. Strain and transfer to the wok again and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes. It will thicken a bit.
  3. Garlic Croutons In a bowl mix together melted butter, garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian herbs. Toss in the bread cubes so that they’re evenly coated. Heat the grill pan and toast the cubes until crisp and golden
  4. Serve the soup garnished with cream, Parmesan cheese and garlic croutons

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Beauty Beauty Reviews Blogger's Beauty Secrets Essence Cosmetics Press

Essence Blogger’s Beauty Scerets Collection Launch

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  • February 3, 2017

Essence Cosmetics is a popular European Cosmetics brand with it’s high quality products that are fun, colorful and have super cute packaging, this brand is super super affordable! Recently I attended their product launch event for it’s newest collection Essence Trend Edition: Blogger’s Beauty Secrets Collection.


Just like the brand itself, the overall event decor was really fun and cute And the PR team was equally amazing too. You could feel it right from the entrance of the venue that this collection is going to be super cool and fabulous and it sure was!

Essence cosmetics collaborated with four beauty bloggers and together they came up with this collection Blogger’s Beauty Secrets. The name of the collection is quite apt as each blogger developed their own palette and nail color for the collection – giving out their best on trend products and beauty secrets.

At the event we got to try out all the four palettes, swatch it and I also found one I could easily call my favorite one out of the four. I’ll reveal my favorite palette at the end and will provide a full review in my next post.
Each Blogger’s Beauty Secrets palette is unique and covers a different makeup range. From packaging to style each palette has a different theme. Similarly the nail colors are all different shades and textures.

Touch Up to Go Palette & Be Happy + Smile Nail Polish by Dfashion

Touch Up to Go is an all rounder palette designed by German blogger and Youtuber of channel Dfashion, Diana Zur Lowen. This palette would make an excellent choice for those who want to create an easy-makeup look on the go.

Inside the Pallette:
3 Eyeshadows: Light Purple, Nude and Brown
2 Blushes : Peach and Bright Pink
1 Lip Balm
1 Double sided applicator brush
How to Use:
With this palette you can create different looks by combining the products. From nude/light smokey eyes to bright cheeks and if you’re missing the lipstick simply mix the blush with the lip balm and you have a colorful lip-gloss.
Be Happy + Smile Nail Polish
The nail color is a soft pastel pink shade and has a semi-matte finish.

Together with the nail polish this one for all palette is a perfect match! The palette retails at Rs.920 and the nail polish in Rs. 325

 

 

 
Vintage Rose Palette & Hello Beautiful Nail Polish by BeautyPalmira

Vintage Rose is an eye palette created by a German Blogger Palmira from BeautyPalmira.de blog. This palette focuses completely on the eyes for that beautiful expressive eye makeup.
Inside the Palette:
5 Eyeshadows: 3 matte colors pale pink, mauve and brown + 2 shimmery colors light pink and dark brown
1 Eyeliner : Dark brown in gel texture
1 Highlighter
1 Double sided applicator brush
How to Use:
Create a soft neutral day time look with this eye palette or turn it into a sultry night  time look with a little highlighter and shimmery shades. Complete the look with the eyeliner and there you have sultry soft eye makeup. 

Hello Beautiful Nail Polish
The nail color is a beautiful metallic finish rose-gold shade 

The palette retails at Rs.920 and the nail polish in Rs. 325

 

 

 

 

Shape & Shadows Palette and All Eyes on Me Nail Polish by Strikeapose

Shape & shadows palette is also an eye palette created by UK blogger Mary Oliver of the blog strikeapose.co.uk. This eye palette focuses on the latest eye makeup and eye brows trend. 
Inside the Palette:
4 Eyeshadows + Brow powder: 3 matte and 1 is shimmery shade in cool browns and ashy tones
1 Highlighter
1 Brow wax
1 Double sided applicator brush
How to Use:
Use the matte shades on the eyes or as brow powders. Add a little highlighter under the brows or on the cheekbones for a little glow. Tame those brows with the wax and complete your look. You can also mix the darkest shade with the primer&wax and use it as an eyeliner – that works too!

All Eyes on Me  Nail Polish
The nail polish is mud-colored, nude shade with a matte finish.

The palette retails at Rs. 920 and the nail polish in Rs. 325

 

 

 

The Glow Must Go On Palette and Enlightening Nail Polish by Serena

The Glow Must Go On is a highlighting and bronzing palette created by Serena Verbon of beautylab.nl, beauty blogger from the Netherlands. With this palette you can get your glow game ON!

Inside the Palette:
3 Bronzer Shades
2 Eye Shadows
1 Highlighter
1 Brush
How to Use:
Use the eye shadows with the bronzer to create shimmery soft brown eye look. Add a little glow with that highlighter and you’re all glowing!

Enlightening Nail Polish
The nail polish is a nice Tiffany blue color with cream finish.

The palette retails at Rs.920 and the nail polish in Rs. 325

I really liked how each palette is created and focuses on different areas. The packaging of the palettes is super cute and fun matching the styles of the bloggers. All palettes have cardboard packaging with a magnetic closure which makes it light and easy to carry around. Above all these palettes are so inexpensive!

Out of the four palettes my favorite palette is The Glow Must Go On by Serena. Why this is my favorite? For that you’ve to wait for my next blog post.

And did I mention there were delicious treats at the event? Well, I just did now. Also, we got a goodie bag too . Food + Goodie Bag = Happy ME  =)

Blogger’s Beauty Secrets Collection  is only available on Essence Pakistan’s Facebook Shop  It’s a Limited Edition Collection so get your favorite palettes today. Each palette retails at Rs. 920 and Nail polish in Rs. 335 . You can buy these palettes from here

 

Are you getting one or more of these palettes and nail polishes? Which one is your favorite?
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