Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Recipe: Cioppino

A few years ago while I was in San Francisco, I tried cioppino for the first time.  It was amazing!  I was on a tomato kick at that time and anything with a tomato base or note had me hooked.  Naturally, I had to recreate the dish at home, but I had some willing guinea pigs to help me devour the entire lot!

Stock pot or dutch oven

3 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 onion, chopped
5-6 garlic cloves
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 - 28oz can of diced tomatoes
8 cups shrimp stock (thank you Insatiably Epicurious for this)
1 cup dry white wine
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lb of shrimp
1 lb of scallops
1 lb of green mussels
1 lb of manila clams
1 lb of firm-fleshed fish fillets (sea bass, halibut, salmon) cut into 2 inch chunks
Lemon zest
Chopped parsley

1. In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over a medium heat.  Add the chopped shallot, onion, and fish sauce.  Saute until

2.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes.  Saute for about a minute.

3. Add the tomato paste and stir until it is evenly coated over the shallot, onion, and garlic.

4.  Add the can of diced tomatoes, including its juices.  Stir for about a minute

5.  Add the wine, shrimp stock, and bay leaves.   Cover and simmer for 40 minutes.

6. Add the clams and mussels.  Cover and cook about 5 minutes until the clams and mussels begin to open.

7.  Add the shrimp and fish and simmer for another 5 minutes.  At this point, discard any clams and mussels that did not open.

8.  Season the soup to taste using fish sauce and or red pepper flakes.

9.  Garnish with lemon zest and chopped parsley.

Bon appetit!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Review: St Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse

So this post may come a tad bit too late since summer is officially suppose to end soon.  However, those of us who live in CA know that summer won't end for quite some time.  This means tank tops, flip flops, shorts, skirts, rompers, bikinis....basically anything that shows skin... will continue dominating our daily wear.  For me, this means my pasty pale legs continue to blind everyone around me.  I'm one of those unfortunate people who just can't seem to tan.

My solution?  St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse.  I've been using this self tanner since December of 2013 (a good 9 months now) and absolutely recommend it.  It gives an extremely natural tanned look to the skin, is easy to apply, and doesn't leave you with a self tanner smell.

Winner of award from the Best of Beauty Allure Award, InStyle Best Beauty Buys, Bridal Beauty Awards, Cosmopolitan Beauty, Cosmo Girl, Debenhams, Choice Awards, Pure Beauty, and Elle Beauty Awards, just to name a few.

Prep work
For newbies or first time self tanners, it's extremely important to prep your skin before applying self tanner.  In order for the self tanner to "glue" or "cling" to your skin, your skin must be prepped properly.  Think of self tanner for your body as the foundation you apply to your face.  If the skin on your face is flaky, your foundation will apply unevenly and will appear flaky.  This same concept applies to your body.  Thus, it is extremely important to exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!  Get rid of those dead skin cells.  I like to prep my skin by using a body scrub in the shower.  I currently use a salt scrub, but any brand will do so long as it gets the job done.

The bottle itself is a pump that expels a brown colored mousse.  St. Tropez has a mitt that is sold separately that you use in order to apply the tanning mousse over your body.  The St. Tropez mitt costs $6.50.  ULTA also sells a tanning mitt for $5.99 (BOGO 50% off right now actually) and is an exact dupe of the St. Tropez mitt.  Pump the mousse out onto the mitt and then use the mitt to apply all over your body.  That's IT.  I apply this right after I shower and then go about my nightly routine.  It doesn't transfer to my clothes or my bedding.

Simple.  Easy.  Not messy.  Love it.

A gal pal of mine remarked one day that she liked my tan.  When I told her it was the result of a self tanner, she was completely surprised.  I'd like to think that speaks volumes as to the natural look this product achieves.

At $42 for an 8 oz bottle, this is a pretty decently priced product.  I usually wait for the 20% coupon from ULTA or the Beauty Insider coupons from Sephora to pick this product up.  It lasts quite a while.

Verdict: A+ for affordability, natural look, and ease of use