Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries are my absolute guilty pleasure. I make them all the time at home because they're so quick and easy to make but taste delicious and are kind of healthier than their brother potato, Russet. But if you've got a good thing going, why keep it to yourself? 

This recipe (it's not really a recipe, more of a do-what-you-can-with-what-you-want) serves 1 person because some of us just don't have boyfriends, okay? Not that I'm bitter about that or anything.. Haha. Seriously, individual portions are the best because you can easily double/triple/supersize them to suit whatever you need. You can adapt the seasoning too, I'm just letting you know exactly how I make mine. But if you want to throw in some cayenne pepper or don't want any seasoning, then go for it!

The photos below are in step by step order so you can eyeball it easily enough at home. But for those of you who are more imperative-inclined.. there's a recipe at the bottom of this post. You're welcome..

To serve one, you'll need:                                          

One sweet potato 
A drizzle of oil (I used olive)

Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
3/4 tsp garam masala
3 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sugar

Optional garnish:
1 tsp flat leaf parsley
1 tsp butter, melted

1. Preheat your oven to 220'C. Peel your sweet potato and cut into thin fry-shaped sticks (the thicker the cut, the longer they'll take to cook- maybe add an extra 5/10 minutes or so for thick cut chips- and they probably won't crisp up as well).

2. To minimise on washing up, I like to place the raw sweet potato fries into a freezer bag, making sure that it doesn't contain holes, and then add the oil. You want the fries to look glossy (see the photo number two), not wet. So don't drown the fries- a teaspoon or so will suffice depending on how large your sweet potato is. Ensuring that the bag is closed- I just use a hand to hold it shut- massage the bag to evenly distribute the oil.

3. Place the salt, pepper, garam masala, paprika and sugar into a bowl and mix. Gradually add the seasoning to the freezer bag containing the fries and massage the bag again until the fries and evenly coated in the seasoning.

4. Pour the fries onto a large baking tray and spread out, ensuring that they aren't overlapping. FYI it always takes me a while to spread them all out, it's like Tetris or something.

5. Bake a 220'C for 6/7 minutes (cooking at a high heat for a short time will dry out the outside of the fries and make them crispier), before taking out to turn them over- to prevent sticking. Turn the heat down to 180'C and cook the fries for 10-12 minutes.

6. Once you take the fries out of the oven, leave them to cool for a couple of minutes. They should have reduced in size a little bit. To make the garnish you can just melt the butter and add some parsley, then pour it over the fries. Enjoy!

US Recap Part III: Montezuma & The Grand Canyon

Just to let you know in advance, this is a tremendously photo-heavy post. But I was in the Grand Canyon so.. yeah. Incessant photo taking was a must. We stopped off at Montezuma Castle first for lunch and it was culturally very interesting, the entire castle has been carved into limestone over the course of five centuries, containing twenty rooms and housing fifty people at it's peak (in the fourteenth century). 

We then headed over to the Grand Canyon- our tour guide made us draw faces on paper bags, put them over our heads and walk in a line to the very edge of the canyon. Then we took off the blindfold-bags and were standing on the very edge. It. Was. Incredible. We all just stood there in silence for a few minutes taking everything in. You really don't understand just how vast the Canyon is until you actually go and see it- it stretches out much further than the eye can see, being 277 miles long and 18 miles wide. We walked along the South Rim and had takeout pizza on the edge (the last photo before the sunsets was taken from where we ate the pizza- now that's what you call dinner with a view!). The sun began to set and we all started snapping some photos...

We then headed back to our campsite for the night, and mentally prepared ourselves to hike down the Canyon the next day. In Part IV, you can find out just how mentally [un]prepared I was for that.. Stay tuned!

Sephora & CVS Haul

You didn't think I'd make the pilgrimage overseas and not pick up any beauty bits, did you? Of course not. I made a trip to Sephora whilst in Vegas, and then couldn't resist a little peek into CVS in San Francisco. Most of the pieces I picked up were blogger inspired, so I'll give credit where credit's due and let you guys know who the enablers are!

In Sephora, I picked up Nails Inc's Porchester Square- the most lovely taupe-y nude shade that has a killer gel finish and lasts for a good week chip-free along with a rollerball version of Stella by Stella McCartney, a rose-threaded winner that fits the bill for a sophisticated but alluring perfume (both Anna inspired purchases). I bought another eponymous rollerball in the form of a Jimmy Choo fragrance, that smells so good- I can't even formulate words. Visit your local Boots or wherever you can get a free spritz and prepare yourself for scent-heaven.

At the miniature/travel to go section, I bought a small Living Proof Style Extender- Suzie has raved about this in the past so I had to see what all the fuss was about but it's yet to be used, a mini Hourglass Opaque Rouge in Icon- a.k.a the perfect vampy lip- perhaps not that summer appropriate but why not break the rules? Super matte. Super long lasting. Super. Check! Hourglass' infamous Veil Primer also made it into my basket, and the hype is pretty much justified. This primer smooths over any lumps and bumps leaving a satin-y sheen to the skin pre-make up application; my base stayed on without oxidising or looking shiny for hours, I came home after going out for the day and everything looked freshly applied- there was no cake in sight.

In CVS, I firstly saw Revlon's Just Bitten Kissables in new colours(!) so obviously, inspired by Estee, I had to pick up the shade 'Lovesick'. It's quite a bright almost fuchsia pink that easily performs on a segue between day and night looks- a pretty good one to have in the collection, the colour stays around for a while, feels quite moisturising without being sheer and the shade really packs a punch. After hearing Karima go on about it enough times, I plumped for Milani's Luminoso blush- I'm not a blush wearer (I haven't really found the perfect shade yet) but this peachy gold would work on any skin tone, just be careful not to apply too much! The inexpensive little blush pot comes with a mirror and a brush for those handy-dandy on the go applications, I can see why Karima is such a fan.

Also, after spending days out in the 35+ degree heat, my lips were sunburnt to the high hells and nothing would work (trust me, I bought so so so many lip products in a desperate attempt to sate the itching) until I stumbled upon some Aquaphor, which is basically just petrolatum. Applying a thick layer at night repaired my dry lips straight away, but I had to be careful to only get this on my lips, as petrolatum + facial skin = one big congested mess. To keep my lips hydrated during the day, I opted for a tub of Vaseline's Rosy Lips treatment, it's a pretty standard lip balm with a sheer pink-ish tint.

So that's pretty much it for the beauty bumf that I picked up in the US- I did however do a little (a lot) of clothes and accessories shopping in Vegas, so if you'd like a post on that then let me know in the comments below.