Kitchen Tales: Garlicky Rosemary Carrots

Having vegetables as a main dish is pretty normal in our home, at our dinner gatherings, and even extended family outings. Occasionally, experimenting with classics is what makes all the difference. I revamped my regular roasted carrot dish and added a favourite herb from our garden: fresh rosemary. But, the major difference was adding the honey pecans to the dish, which balanced the combination of savoury and sweet, and gave the dish a slight tangy finish. 

I served garlicky roasted carrots and added a potato. This was a main dish for us, but I also served it as a side dish along with a Caesar salad on a different night. *I used a bag of frozen round wedged carrots and thawed them out to save time.

340 g (12 oz.) carrots (round wedges or thinly sliced) 
1 russet potato (cleaned) or about 180 g (cut in small cubes) 
3 tablespoons quality olive oil 
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary (chopped) 
1 1/2 teaspoons Tamari (Gluten-free soy) 
1 teaspoon onion powder 
4 garlic cloves (chopped) 
1 teaspoon paprika 
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt 
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Yield: Serves 2-4
Prep: 5-7 min. Cook: Bake 200 C/400 F  30-40 min. 

  1. Place cut carrots and cut potatoes in a bowl with the olive oil, Tamari, garlic, paprika, and onion powder. 
  2. Sprinkle rosemary, black pepper, and coarse sea salt in the bowl, then toss the veggies (carrots and potatoes) until they are nicely coated. 
  3. Transfer the veggies to a sheet pant, spreading them out in a layer. 
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until potatoes are browned and carrot edges are slightly crisp. 
  5. With a spatula stir and flip veggies after 15 minutes. 
  6. Remove from oven, place a generous handful of honey pecans on top, and garnish with a rosemary sprig. Season to taste. Serve hot.

What's your favourite vegetables to cook?


Snack Pairings: Honey Pecans

I keep a variety of mixed fruit and nuts in my cupboard because I usually make homemade granola and jar-size snack mixes. But, there are occasions when I just need a small portion of toasted nuts for a quick snack or recipe. So, I decided to make toasted pecans with honey, a hint of lemon, and no added cane sugar.

I am actually using these for an upcoming dish, and I only wanted to make enough for my recipe. Otherwise, I would be on honey pecan overload, although it wouldn't be the worse obsession to have.

Thankfully, I have a gigantic freezer and freeze some of the unused peanuts and mixed nuts in small bundles for making smoothies, butter, mills, and many other epicurean masterpieces. This is also very helpful if you are on-the-go; a little sweet dab of raw organic honey is easy enough to satisfy the palate, awaken those gastronomic glands, if you will, and will certainly have you thirsty for more.

Caution: honestly, you'll literally be thirsty as well, so do have a bottle of water nearby whilst sampling the goods. Let's not forget the crisp tasty crunch of your favourite buttery nuts, be it almonds, cashews, or pecans, which can take the place of (insert your favourite junk-food here or) a less than protein infused treat.

This quick recipe is so simple and delicious. If you don't like honey, you can use agave, etc. I also make seasonal snack mixes, especially during Christmas holidays. We make a spicy pumpkin seed, and fruit and mixed nut version, amongst others.

*Tip: Sometimes I toss them in little bags (beautifully decorated, of course), and send them off to my guests when they leave a dinner gathering. If you really love them, then it also helps to know their favourite indulgence(s). Are they more of a savoury or sweet snack lover. They will love you even more! You can thank me later.

What's one of your favourite and easy homemade snacks?

Prep: 5 min. Cook 10 min.
Bake: 180 C/350 F/ Gas mark 4

200g (2 cups) pecans (halves)
1 tablespoon quality butter (softened)
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
3 tablespoons raw organic honey
1 tablespoon water

  1. In a small bowl, mix water, butter, honey, and lemon juice together, slowly stirring in pecans with a spoon. 
  2. After pecans are coated, Spread coated pecans out evenly on a large square of greaseproof paper or on a non-stick baking tray. You can pour the rest of the honey mixture on top of pecans. 
  3. Preheat oven to 180 C. Bake pecans, stirring occasionally, 7-10 minutes, you should be able to smell the pecan toasting.  
  4. Remove from oven, and sprinkle coarse sea salt on top. 
  5. After the pecans are completely cooled, store in a clear jar with lid, a closed zip-top bag, or in a covered container at room temperature. They can also be refrigerated. 


Anchored and Embellished

For summer travelling accessories, sometimes it's easy to forget to pack. And, with whispering fashion quotations like, "less is more," in our memory bank, the humid climate tends to distract (some of us) from packing favourite novelty items that could help transform that "special" outfit.  

Let's face it, accessories can completely make an outfit a casual work of art or a refined masterpiece. Although you may need the bulk of your fashion to have that no-fuss characteristic during your holiday, there are embellished pieces like these that are worthy of clearing extra space for in your suitcase.

I am all for lightweight packing, believe me! But, when it comes to my accessories, I put them on an entirely different fashion calibre.  
Renowned handbag and accessories designer, Mary Frances, does exactly that. She produces quality accessories that are completely on another level. It's a fine balance of art and luxury for all women to enjoy.  

Even for leisure travelling and laid-back excursions, I still take a couple of additional (cherished) accessories with me to wear. It's usually a favourite vintage necklace or pearl earrings. Sometimes, it's a special shoe (preferably high-heeled). But, other times, it's just a marvellous handbag. These special pieces go along with the other carefully packed accessories stowed away in my carry-all, but they certainly stand out from the rest. 

This beaded anchor bag and Lotus scarf were surely made to stand out from the crowd. It's also a testament to why Frances' designs have been exalted and worn by many women globally, including red carpet veterans. The attention to design detail in each piece is remarkable. And, there's plenty of tangible ornamentation that will have strangers eye gazing for miles at your whole outfit in broad daylight.  
Shop The Accessories:

From colour choice to diverse silhouettes, there's something for every style of fashionista: the savvy theatre enthusiast, retro style maven, and classy cocktail connoisseur, amongst others. Have a view for yourself. Above are some of my personal favourites from the Mary Frances collection.

Being a nautical lover, I went for stripes for this relaxed daytime holiday outfit, then for the second ensemble paired a washable suede dress with the Lotus scarf, which can be worn a variety of ways. The scarf has such a romantic elegance about it, so I used pink and blue as my fashion palette. And, I will also tell you first hand that these accessories truly gave my look an additional boost of style satisfaction ... all paired with a bold lip, of course!  

What do you think of Mary Frances' accessories?

The goods: "Hooked" and "Anchored Mini Handbag" and Lotus scarf in "Socialite"-Courtesy of Mary Frances, Striped prairie dress-SimplyChic SF, Striped blazer-Consignment Shop, Handmade epaulet trim-DIY, Brogues-Burlington Coat Factory, Maxi dress-Love Culture (similar), Sequins bear belt-DIY, Glitter heels-DIY

Shop Resort Items

Weekend Décor: Simple Luxury

Elaborate and extravagantly decorated pieces are generally my favourite to create. It's quite easy to add beauty to an already exquisite or lavish item. However, in recent months when I'm styling interiors or asked to create something for friends and clients, my biggest undertaking is creating the occasional décor with a blend of both minimal and elaborate elements.

Fortunately, I love a good challenge and decided to take it on with an artful balance of accents for indoor styling. To help with comfy display pairings, it was a delight to partner with Colonial Candle. The added candle adornments give each setting a warm and inviting aesthetic. And, with lingering notes of amber, vanilla, blue jasmine, and sandalwood, the rooms were filled with plenty of delightful aromas for day and night.

There's a multitude of ways to design special centrepieces and eye-catching corners in areas of your home without overdoing it. Aligning contemporary details (like the tinted stemware) with vintage items (like the copper plate and etched glass cloche) can help to offset the overall styling tone. The result here is a gallery of options with an idyllic charm, yet understated elegance.

For the first two pieces, I used chalkboard tags as a theme, and manually added mixed blooms, then used wicker baskets as accents. I also loved the idea of diamond patterned glass for the main vase, as it reminded me of pineapples (a personal favourite), then I used white rocks to fill it in. Using fresh herbs like thyme can add a homey feeling, so I added thyme, satin ribbon, and coloured glass marbles to the second arrangement.

The third option is using burlap to wrap the candles, then add satin ribbon and create a design. The votive candles worked well, and with the natural colour of the burlap and ivory ribbon, you could easily use these versatile candles for a sophisticated tabletop or even for a vanity/perfume area in your home (seen below).

Next, I decided on two different candle holders in varied heights for a more informal table display. Lemons are also excellent summer components to use, and I continued with the fruit theme for the main table. Bright colours, along with the darkness of the wood and tiny golden embellishments were ideal for bits of contrast against the white diamond patterned linens. Colonial Candle's butterscotch yellow classic tapers added colour as well as opulence to the table. Their candle care kit is a godsend for any candle-collecting devotee. It's easy to use and comes with a trimmer, snuffer, and dipper for the wick.

Lastly, for an unconventional rustic look, I styled it with homemade natural-toned potpourri, cut mirrors, and wicker rounds. Instead of a vase, I used the wicker rounds since the earthy hues, candles, and mirrored reflections were the focal statements.

The whole mood was a hybrid of Contempo décor and mid-century modern design with some of the furnishings. But, it was a simplistic and polished version of what I call, "countryside couture." I also used fresh florals and silk flowers to enhance the afternoon ambience. You see, with simple elements so much can be done!

I hope you were inspired by these home accent options.

I've included one of five different commissioned samples that I am making for my friend Zoë's wedding festivities. She wanted minimally styled accents for their rustic wedding, so I'm making several options that will still liven up the ambience for an indoor event. Stay tuned for more entertaining concepts and seasonal décor styling.

What do you think about our inviting weekend décor? 

                                                     Shop table items:
The goods: Classic taper candles in "Butterscotch," Reversible glass taper/pillar candle holders, Oval Jar candle in "Cedar Mint," Votive ovals in "Cozy Cashmere," and Candle Care Kit-Provided by Colonial Candle, Copper serving plate-Vintage, Flatware-Reed and Barton (buy similar), Lace tablecloth-Vintage, Etched glass cloche-Family owned (buy similar), Glass dinnerware-Crate & Barrel and World Market (buy similar).  

Shop Colonial Candle's latest additions, including Christmas in July here.




Links and Birthday Vibes

I am pleased to be featured in Links à la Mode this week.

What are you up to on the weekend? One of my best friends are coming in town, then I will celebrate my birthday tomorrow. It will be like match day at our place, so bear with me in slowly visiting your spaces.

But, definitely some time to slip away for a quiet night. This week has been wonderful, except just the other day I embarrassingly stomped my foot really badly. Oh well, "Que Sera, Sera." It will surely be a fabulous, but interesting weekend of no constraining closed-toe footwear. I am determined for my foot to heal ASAP so that I can wear my special heels.

Wishing you a lovely weekend!

Do check out these links from fellow bloggers in the round-up.

Links à la Mode, July 9
A Handful of Stories: 11 Ways to Style a Choker
Bows & Fringe: 4 Hair Scarf Styles
Cat Eyes & Skinny Jeans: {Beauty Board} The Sunkissed Series
Chioma’s Evolution of Style: All American Browns!
Fashion Moriarty: Face Forward | A New Direction?
Fashion Tales: The Playlist Edit
Fashion, Trends & More: Street Style | Grateful Dead Fare Thee Well
Gingham & Grigio: Endless Summer | Your Boho-Chic Go-To
L’ Artiste: 3 Fashion Personalities You’ll Find at a Summer Picnic
La Vintage Vida: It Really Was Raining
Musings of a Fashion Designer: Five Ways to Rock Striped Pants
Otterly Me: 5 Bags that Every Woman Should Have
Reasons To Dress: “Signora” - Maturing with Style
Runaway In LA: Lost in Morocco
Saccharine Soul: Why You Should Wear Flash Tattoos
Style Curated: The Rise of Sneaker Culture at The Brooklyn Museum
Tales of Two: How to Wear Blanket Capes Without Getting Overwhelmed
The Illusive Femme: What I Wore | The Winter Coat
V Style: Best Denim Cutoff Shorts - Favorite Spain Outfit
The Wanderbliss: Unfurled Beauty - Taj Mahal

SPONSOR:  Shopbop sale, Yummie, Fuzzi, Private Party, Boho jeans,Sweater Dresses
Standard Issue, Men's Marni, Doucal's, Tarin Thomas, gold clutches, chiffon blouses 


Evening Entertaining

How was your weekend? Mine was very relaxing, but still productive. We watched the Wimbledon Championships, and had friends over. It was amazing. And, well done Serena Williams & Novak Djokovic.

Here's a few behind the scenes images that I took on one of our grilling weekends several weeks ago right before I finished the whole theme. The gents were grilling, which meant that it took a bit longer than usual, however I'd made some homemade energy bars and gluten-free vegan treats for everyone, so it was tea and treats before the main meal that day. I had no complaints because it allowed me more time to chat and get caught up with the others.

There's nothing better to brighten up your kitchen and culinary mood than music and sprightly coloured table linens. This time I chose an apron from the Gudrun Sjoden eco-collection, which was a first for me, and it actually became a conversation starter amongst a few friends. Loud colours and prints tend to do just that! These pieces caught my eye immediately, and it was the perfect way to liven up the environment.

I also made a few new dishes, which I may share one or two of those on the blog soon. These wine place mats (seen below) captioned my thoughts as we were preparing for the gathering, bringing together both the countryside and modern sophistication to these eco-linens. I fittingly paired them with the very colourful and upbeat atmosphere.
Have you attended any gatherings or BBQ's yet this summer? 
                                                       Shop table theme:

The goods: "Vintergäck" tablecloth (similar), and “Nyttan” apron-Courtesy of Gudrun Sjoden.
Shop the vibrant eco-home collection here.


The Playlist Edit

June was full of surprises, both good and not so exciting, and July has already started off brilliantly. The best thing to take away when the going gets tough, so-to-speak is a positive outcome. Thus, I've been acquiring more fresh flowers than normal (to brighten every room), and kicking my workout routine up a few notches, which always makes me feel better. But, it's really all about the playlists sometimes for motivation, isn't it?

Summer is filled with exciting concerts and festivals, and we're determined to make at least one or two.

It's always difficult to choose for a music roundup, because my playlist is almost endless, so I decided to select random songs from my lists for each section.

Sets in Motion: The Cardio Sessions:  
I listen to a lot of music! This is an understatement, and with musician friends it's hard not to, so I generally like a more amplified playlist for working out. Switching things up helps and occasionally I select songs that I don't need to know all the words to so that I can focus on my workout. Otherwise, all I want to do is sing and dance, instead of remembering how many reps I'm on. I reckon, a little bit of both doesn't hurt!
The Morning Run:

Thinking & Relaxation: Kicking off your shoes, and take a breather after a long day.
For me, this doesn't exactly mean that I always want to hear a symphony during this time (although, as a former violinist I do love classical music), but it just means there's likely to be a more calmer ambiance and music selection than my workout playlist.
  • On Repeat: "Work Song" by Hozier, the whole album is fantastic, but this song is one of my favourites. And, speaking of Hozier, Amber Run did a lovely cover of "Someone New," here. You may remember the band from this post.
  • Lissie is an amazing folk singer-songwriter, and I saw her live for the first time over a year ago. Her performances are raw and very passionate. Here's her rendition of Kid Cudi's "Pursuit of Happiness." Although I love the original, with this one, she did really make it her own, and it's good as well. Below is a live version of "They All Want You."

Art Studio & Crafting Motivation
For crafting posts and drawing, I like to have a pretty diverse playlist moderately blasting in the background. Ironically, I cannot by any means have a television on when I am in art or crafting mode. But, music is an entirely different story.
  • "Don't Wanna Fight," Alabama Shakes, if anyone says that lead singer Brittany Howard doesn't give 110% every time she plays and sings, then surely they must be without sight and hearing. There's plenty of strong vocals, wicked guitars, and riffs that will stay with you for a while. Alabama Shakes are a great band (as a whole) as well to see live if you get the chance to catch them. 
  • "Wildfire" by SBTRKT, featuring Little Dragon
  • Nao's upbeat song "Golden," will help get the creative juices flowing. But, then there's also  for those melodic paintbrush nights as well.

Breaking Bread & Sipping Wine:  
Ah, yes, let us eat and be merry! There's nothing like preparing for a great dinner party. Before guests arrive we usually have a few favourite tunes playing in the kitchen as the culinary slicing and dicing occurs. Usually, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours" starts the cooking vibe. Next, catchy, punchy lyrics, or even sensual sounds might commence. Either way, these below certainly will help pump up the mood, bring back lovable memories, or capture an upbeat mood in the process.
  • "Gold," by twenty-year old singer-songwriter/pop artist Kiiara, collaborated with Felix Snow for this track and the result is an unexpected and impressively arranged piece of work. Be sure to catch her EP Meet Me In The Cornfield debuting soon.
  • Jacob Banks is no stranger to the music scene, in fact, he lended his voice to be part of the FIFA 15 soundtrack, with the song "Move With You." The full, crisp, and soulful seasoning of Banks' voice is enough to give you a bit of a chill whilst listening. The song, "Worthy"  released in 2013 is a testament to that. Check out his new single, Grace" here.

Dated Deliveries: from noteworthy talent to unforgettable flashbacks!
  • Youth making moves: This promising singer-songwriting teenager will surely get more than a little buzz soon, Anjelo Disons' raspy voice has that special something. Check out his work here.
  • "La Vida Es Un Carnaval," a perfect summer song and an equally memorable and dance worthy tune, by the late (and incredibly gifted) Celia Cruz. I'm pretty certain that not moving to this song at all has got to be a sin, no?

Have you enjoyed any summer concerts or festivals yet?

Main images: Fashion Tales, album art (S) edited via Fashion Tales.


Matcha, Matcha: Creamy Yoghurt

I wanted to make a low sugar version of matcha ice cream, so I used yoghurt because I can't have much sugar in my diet. I grew up eating matcha since my mum catered and cooked all kinds of alternative things for me. We have vegetarian and gluten-free guests over quite a lot, so I try to adjust some recipes when I can. I decided to make frozen matcha yoghurt sans an ice cream maker. It's easy and can be done in a matter of hours. Just have your tablet or Smartphone nearby, set the alarm, and watch a Netflix episode of preference as you wait! It's creamy and delicious!

Since I made this during our little late-night gathering with friends, I also added the lavender biscuits that I baked the same day, which helped to give a hint of sweetness with the matcha--a lovely pairing overall with coffee and tea as well.

Yield: This recipe makes (one container for) 2-4 servings. *I made two batches, because I made the second batch with cashew cream (235 g), raw organic honey (170 g), and raw dessicated coconut (2 tablespoons) toasted, to serve a total of 4-6 people. 

235 g (1 cup) Heavy cream or organic cream
490 g (2 cups) Greek yoghurt  
2 1/4 tablespoons matcha powder
pinch of Celtic sea salt
110 g (1 cup) icing sugar/confectioners' sugar (or 25g/ 1 cup Splenda)
1 teaspoon almond flavouring
1-3 mint sprigs (for garnishing)


  1. In a cold mixing bowl, pour all ingredients together in the mixing bowl (except the mint).  
  2. Use a hand mixer to combine and whip the mixture until the icing/confectioners' sugar melts, about 2-3 minutes. 
  3. Pour your yoghurt mixture into a deep baking dish or stainless steel container, cover the container with plastic wrapping or a lid, and place in freezer over a large bowl of ice surrounding the container. 
  4. After 45 minutes, check the yoghurt mixture. When the edges start to slightly freeze, take container out and stir heavily with a spatula to break up the yoghurt mixture smoothly.  
  5. Place container back in the freezer for 30 minutes. After ever half-hour, repeat stirring heavily with a spatula for the next 2-3 hours or so, or until yoghurt freezes enough to scoop out. You can use a hand mixer if you don't want to work your arms and biceps any further at this point. 
  6. Garnish with a mint sprig and enjoy.  


Style Files // Vivid Impressions

I took a short holiday to basically get caught up with loads of things, including running errands, cleaning, and a few art projects. Hence, the sporadic posts, did you miss me? Don't worry, I have a few things in the works to share with you. Time away was much needed, and it felt more than rejuvenating to be somewhat unplugged. Although, there was also some baking in the process, so stay tuned for more gourmet goodies coming up. 

I wore this outfit when it was a dismal and rainy day. The sun did come out to give a warm hello, but it was followed by a swift goodbye, and yet it didn't stop me from wanting to wear bright colours. Since it was also an off (work) day, I was excited to wear denim. Occasionally, there are times when a good comfy knit paired with jeans can make a dull day bright, especially when there's not any excruciating deadlines to arrange.
Gudrun Sjoden Summer Style
This cardigan reminds me of a watermelon. In fact, my little nephew calls it the watermelon jacket (cardigan), in adorable and very animated outbursts! This outfit could easily be apart of my autumn wardrobe, but I needed something for the night air, as it was windy, and there was a slight breeze in the air.

I'm sure you can deduce that this will end up being in my seasonal wardrobe for cooler months as well, since I love versatility. How is your summer so far, is it awfully humid where you are?

Have you taken any time off yet, or planning a holiday soon?

Shop the look!
The goods: Jacquard knit long cardigan in eco-cotton (dala red)-c/o Gudrun Sjoden, Denim-Mango, Tank-H&M, Booties-c/o PinkBasis, Derek Cardigan eyewear-Courtesy of Coastal, Gold bangles-Vintage, Tote-Old Navy, Hat-seen here.

© FASHION TALES. All rights reserved.
Blogger Templates by pipdig