Quinoa Salad with Black Beans

I've been having fun experimenting with quinoa lately. I have to admit, the first time I saw it I was weirded out by what it looks like, but trust me, don't judge a book by it's cover!!! Quinoa's a grain-like crop that tastes similar to brown rice but a little bit more crunchy and nutty tasting.
This superfood's loaded with protein, fibre, magnesium, calcium and iron (aaaand is gluten free). It's pretty versatile too so you can get really creative with all the different ways you can cook it.

This is a simple recipe I use for work lunches. Not only is it yummy but it's actually insanely filling so you won't need more than a couple of mouthfulls before starting to feel full up!

Here's what you'll need to make it:

      • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (white or red)
      • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

     Salad dressing ingredients:
      •  3-4 Tbsp. olive oil 
      •  1/2 tsp. cumin
      •  1 tsp. dried oregano
      •  1 Tbsp. fresh basil, minced
      • 1/4 tsp. pepper
      • 1/2 tsp. salt
      • juice of half a lemon
      • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
      • 2-3 green onions, finely chopped
      • 2 Tbsp. italian parsley, chopped

      To add on afterwards:
      • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
      • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered or halved
      • 1 cup canned corn

Follow the directions on your quinoa package before you begin (some brands require them to be rinsed before using). 
Next pour the quinoa into a pot and add in the broth and bring it to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook until all the broth has been absorbed and the grains are soft (around 10-15 minutes). Pour the quinoa into a serving bowl.
Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour it in with the quinoa and stir.
Add in the black beans and canned corn and mix some more. 
Cut the cherry tomatoes right before you're about to eat (I do this in the office)

This recipe will last you the whole working week in the fridge

Happy eating!


The Yummiest Brownies EVER

I've made these on a couple of occasions and every time they've been a great success. So many people have asked me to give them the recipe and I can undersand why, these brownies are amazing. The texture of these bad boys will keep you coming back for more until you're ready to burst!  

Now I have to give credit where credits due, I found the recipe on Rosie The Londer's blog. The recipe's super simple and will take 45 from start to stuffing them in your mouth finish:

What you'll need is:
1. Cookie mix (homemade or bought)
2. Brownie mix (homemade or bought)
3. Oreos
4. A sweet tooth!

Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and preheat the oven to 350°F/ 180°C/gas mark 4. Next, line the bottom of the tray with your cookie dough mix. Once you're done with that, cover this layer with oreos. Afterwards pour your brownie mix over that layer and then pop it into the oven for 30 minutes and presto!  

*Note: keep in mind that this whole combo is pretty sweet so you might wanna cut down on the sugar in your cookie and brownie recipes 

Apologies about photo quality!


New crush: Prabal Gurung Collection for Target

Nepalese American fashion designer Prabal Gurung has partnered up with American retailer Target. In case you don't know who this red-hot designer is, he's designed dresses worn by celebs the likes of Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Lawrence (i love this one!), Michelle Obama, Emma Watson, the Duchess of Cambridge...I think you get the gist!

The limited 80+ piece collection which includes women's apparel, shoes, handbags and jewellery, are all unbelievably priced with the majority of the stuff costing under 180 UAE Dirhams ($50).  It'll be launched online as well as in Target outlets (only in the States unfortunately) on Feb 10.

If the clothes are just as they are in the lookbook, it'd be a steal to buy some of these pieces (oh my goodness the Nolita print is making me swoon) I'm loving this whole collection, but I've chosen some of my favourite ones below:

Sleeveless blouse($26.99), Yellow pleated skirt with lace ($29.99)

Sweatshirt in First Date Print ($29.99), Dresden Blue pencil skirt ($29.99)

Floral Crush print blazer ($49.99), Long sleeve T-shirt ($19.99), Floral shorts ($26.99)

Leather jacket in Dresden blue ($199.99), sleeveless tee in First Date print ($26.00), pleated skirt in Nolita print ($29.99), flat sandals ($29.99)

Cardigan in Dresden blue and Calypso coral ($32.99), sweater in Dresden blue/Atlantis ($29.99), tank top ($19.99, ankle-strap pumps in Apple red ($39.99)

Short-sleeve dress in Calypso coral/Atlantic ($39.99), ankle-strap pumps in Dresden blue ($39.99)

Ruffle dress in Apple red ($39.99), lace-up pumps in Meet The Parents print ($39.99)

Miniaudiere in Nolita print, $34.99

Lace-up pumps in black, Nolita print, and Apple red, $39.99 each

Pointy-toe flats in blazing yellow, Nolita print, and black, $29.99 each

Lace-up pumps in Meet The Parents print, $39.99


Winter book club meet up

When I moved back to the Emirates a really cool friend of mine, A, invited me to join a book club that she'd set up the year before. I was pretty excited about the idea and figured it'd be a great way to make sure I caught up with a group of friends at least once a month and drag me out of my anti-social cave (also known as my bedroom)
Aside from stimulating conversation, the cheeky joke here and there and letting your hair down with your girlfriends, did I mention A throws the BEST FOODBOOK CLUBS EVER? 

Needless to say the abundant amounts of treats were a selling point my sweet tooth couldn't resist saying no to!

The first rule of book club: no calorie counting. The second rule of book club: emphasising the first rule. 

multiple and varying types of tea to wash all that yumminess down 

because of our lovely winter weather, a cool-but-not-too-cold 20 degrees (Arab winter = British summer) we got to sit outside and make the best of the temperature

Our latest book was Madeline Miller's debut novel Song of Achilles (we ordered it off Amazon but Kinokuniya sell it as well), a take on the Iliad by Homer from Patrocolus's perspective - Achille's beloved companion.
I don't want to get into the book too much and ruin the story for anyone, but the book was really well received in our group and everyone was in love with Miller's story and style of writing. If you're interested in learning more about Greek mythology or simply want to be engrossed in an easy-reading book then the girls at our club would recommend this for you.
A plus is that the back of the book actually has some discussion questions to help you out which makes a great aid for book club discussions!

After some more tea our book club retired for the night but not before I noticed A's very funky shoes and socks:


Here goes

A new year and a time to welcome things that have never been before.