January 28, 2014

Work It Girl !!! Classic White and Some Prints

Hey Guys! How are you all doing? two days ago was the Grammy awards, did you see the show? As usual it was a great show and I'm sure music lovers like myself totally lapped it up.  One of the highlights of this years event for me was the opening act by queen Bey and Jay Z. They tore the stage apart and then set it ablaze, it was explosive! totally love them, those two can do no wrong. I also enjoyed Kendric Larmar and imagine dragons, Katy Perry's "Dark Horse', Pink doing "try" and  "just give me a reason" i'm obsessed with that song, and of course John legend with "All of me" who wouldn't love that? its John Legend mehn! What performances were you favourites ?

Some of my favourites winners of the night were, Makclemore and Ryan Lewis for best rap album, rap song and best new act. Daft Punk for record of the year and album of the year. Lorde for song of the year and pop solo with 'Royals', to think that she's only 17, amazeballs!  Bruno Mars won for best Pop album with 'unorthodox jukebox'.  Alicia Keys for r&b album with 'girl on fire'.  Rihanna for best urban contemporary album with 'Unapologetic. Best rap/sung collaboration went to Jay Z and Justin Timberlake with 'Holy grail'. who were your favourites to win?

On the fashion front, some of my favourites looks were worn by Ciara, Alicia Keys, Giuliana Rancic, Taylor Swift, Madonna and little David, Christen Teigen, Amber Rose and Beyonce. I decided not do a post on my grammys best dressed list because the internet is currently buzzing with photos from the events. Who wore your favourite looks at the event? you can check out photos of some of my mine on my instagram page . 

What I'm wearing -  Top  Charles  Tyrwhitt|| Skirt- J.Crew ( available @ Dressed)  ||  Pumps  - NineWest (similar available @ Dressed) ||Bag -  Dkny
For today's work inspired outfit I decided to adorn a ruffled classic white shirt and paired it with a penciled skirt with bold graphic print, I finished up the look with a bag and blue pumps.  hope you like.

Catch you soon!


January 26, 2014

Food I love - Vegetable Peanut Butter Stir fry

Hi Guys, hope you are having a chilled weekend? The recipe I'm sharing today is my newest tasty discovery. I’m a natural peanut butter lover through and through, usually, I spread it on toast, use for pastries or  as a dip for vegetables and fruits. But lately I started looking out for new ways to include it in my diet, since its quite protein rich and anything that gives good protein when you are trying to eat healthy is a good thing right?

Vegetable Peanut Butter Stir fry and rice served with watermelon-cucumber blast

Well...while on the quest for other ways to incorporate peanut  butter into my diet, I can across a ton of interesting recipes using peanut butter, based on my food habit and preference I was naturally drawn to combinations of peanut butter and vegetables, and this particular recipe was at the top of my must try list.
Surprisingly, it turned out pretty tasty, had a great texture and the best part was how easy and quick it was to make!
One of the best decisions I made while testing out this recipe was adding cucumbers, who knew one could add cucumbers to stir fries? It gave this dish a light palate cleansing taste that just totally won me over, love it!
After looking at several combination of recipes, this was how I tweaked them to achieve this gorgeous dish!

These are the Ingredients you would need
Peanut Butter (I used skippy, which has a mild peanut flavour, you can use a peanut butter with more intense peanut flavour if that’s what you prefer).
Boneless skinless chicken breast
Sesame seed oil
White wine vinegar ( Red or cider vinegar would be fine as well)
Corn flour
Soy sauce
Fish sauce
Some Chicken stock if available
Green peppers
Red Bell peppers
Ground Chilli or Black pepper

1.Cut chicken breast into 1inch stripes or cubes, whatever shape you fancy really. Spice it up with some fish sauce, chilli and some sesame oil. Leave to marinate for at least 30mins.
Chicken in marinade of fish sauce, chilli and sesame oil
2. In a separate dish, put some of your peanut butter about 1tbs is fine, soy sauce and some sesame oil to loosen the paste just a bit, mix thoroughly to form a smooth paste.
Peanut Butter Paste for Chicken

3.   Heat up a pan or wok, add a bit of oil, some garlic and marinated chicken strips. Stir fry for about 2mins to achieve a cooked but tender chicken. Do not cook for too long, that would toughen your chicken. Now add your peanut paste and allow chicken coat thoroughly and set aside. The process of coating the chicken with the peanut sauce should be fast and should only be a couple of seconds in the pan as peanut butter burns fast.

Chicken In peanut sauce

4.   Scoop out the insides of the cucumber and chop up all your vegetables, and then make another peanut butter paste. This time mix together your peanut butter, with some sugar or honey, soy sauce, vinegar, some chillies and a mixture of corn starch mixed with chicken stock. Try to achieve a fairly thick consistency and again mix thoroughly to achieve a smooth paste.
5.   Heat up a clean pan, add some garlic and the carrot and cook until carrot is slightly tender. Then add the red and green pepper cook for a bout a minute and add you cucumber, fish sauce and a bit of sesame oil. Finally add your peanut paste, stir to coat all the vegetables thoroughly and set aside. This is the stage where you can add your chicken if you want it in the sauce, I chose to serve mine separately.

Vegetable Peanut Butter Stir fry and rice served with watermelon-cucumber blast

Vegetable Peanut Butter Stir fry and rice served with watermelon-cucumber blast

That’s it! easy and quick right? trust me your tongue would be dancing too, because its packed full of great flavours.

Now serve with or over rice, noodles or pasta and a great drink like mine, watch out for the recipe of how to make it, and ooh! yeah thank me later :).

Notes: A couple of adjustments I would make the next time I try this, first I would increase the quantity of my second peanut sauce by adding more peanut butter and cornstarch/ chicken stock mixture so I can have more sauce in my vegetables.

I would also like to try using chunky peanut butter or probably add some crushed peanuts to the stir fry at the end so as to get more crunch and a slightly more intense peanut flavour.
I would also try using a fuller flavoured peanut butter, skippy was all I had at home, however the taste was actually not bad.

I also think some broccoli and mushrooms would be great next time, you can never have too much vegetables.
Finally, I’ll probably skip the sugar or honey next time, because I think the taste would be just fine without it. The sugar was added to balance out the taste of the vinegar but If I use just a little vinegar then I would not be needing the sugar.

Tried it?  let me know what you did differently and how it came out.

Bon Apetit!

January 22, 2014

Work It Girl !!! Crack The Codes

Originally I wanted to wear this dress by itself because the dress looks good on its own,then it occurred to me that the dress on its own would probably not fly with a lot of organisations in Nigeria. The financial industry employs more people than any other industry in the country and they have all these rules about what to wear and what not to wear to work. For most financial institutions, you are not allowed to wear anything without some sort of sleeves, and you can't wear certain colours of clothes and shoes.I had to make today's outfit a bit more work friendly especially for our banker friends,  I got some sleeves :).

Abroad, work dress codes are less stringent, In England in particular, bankers are allowed way more flexibility than their Nigerian counterparts. Now I think its fine to want to maintain a certain level of professionalism, but please can someone educate me on the rationale behind allowing only certain colour clothes, infact just blue, black and brown to be precise for most organisations, certain colour shoes, or even the sleeve/ No sleeve issue? Wouldn't that be stifling employees individuality and creativity in some way? What are you not allowed to wear at your place of work?

I can understand that there has to be some sort of uniformity and brands have to project the right image. And of course they also have to prevent some cray...cray people from coming to work looking like a freak show.... but mehn! Naija work dress code rules are many especially in the financial industry. Do you think a persons outfit affects productivity as some people claim? i.e people are more serious/ focused on working when they are dressed in strict formal clothes.

What I'm wearing -  Top  - Espirit  ( available @ Dressed)|| Dress - Banana Republic ( available @ Dressed)  ||  Pumps  - Via Spiga  (similar available @ Dressed) ||Necklace -  Vince Camuto

I work with a number of clients from the financial Industry and sometimes I get all excited picking out and styling outfits for them and then boom! they deflate me with the codes! This got me thinking about what the ideal dress codes would be in my dream organisation.

My brain went reeling... smart bermudas, printed pants, floral blazers and blazers in every colour known to man! All kinds of skirts.... full, maxi,  and midi  in all colours and prints. Of course the full skirt would be paired with a pastel coloured top my newest colour crave and finally turn-up skinny denim with boyfriend blazers...phew! Now that would be a dream place to work and I bet you the creativity and energy would be palpable. What would you wear to work?


January 17, 2014

Food I love - Nigerian Banga Soup

Hi guys! I'm starting our recipe corner this year sharing and celebrating one of the tastiest and authentic soups to come out of Nigeria. ‘Banga Soup’ also known as Ofe Akwu, is originally from the southern part of Nigeria but has been imbibed  by  Nigerians  all over the country and can be  found almost in any part of the country you visit but with little variations.

I originally did this post as a guest post for Eya's blog , at that time I didn't know the names of the spices which in my opinion gives this soup its unique aroma and taste, the readers on that blog graciously schooled me on the various names of the spices.
The main Ingredient used in making the soup is the Palm kernel, which comes from a plant!...….. and  that makes it a vegetable right? just kidding :) .   

For those of you, like me who worry about the bad health rap palm kernel  may have received, I conducted a little research, based on my findings, there is a sort of disagreement and mixed results on the nutritive benefits/ dangers of palm kernel.   
While palm kernal oil is said to be high in saturated vegetable fat, it’s been found to have no cholesterol, and has been accepted to be a natural replacement for hydrogenated vegetable oils which are high in trans fat according to a 2010, report published by the journal of the  American college of nutrition.

I always say, everything is good in moderation, so invariably you ultimately control how good or bad a food will be to your body, therefore... on to our deliciously Nigerian recipe!


Palm kernel nuts Or commercially packed  kernel oil in a can
Dried Fish
Stock Fish (optional)
Fresh Peppers  
Chopped Onions
Ground Crayfish
Knorr cubes
Banga Spices - I use four of them namely,  Oburunbebe the stick, Otaiko tiny  black flat seed, Rogejie the  tiny brown seed, dried bitter leaves or Obeletete,   

Palm Kernal in its original state and commercially packaged

Source here and here

  Already washed raw palm kernal oil

Sorry guys, washed my Palm kernel before I realized I hadn't taken a photo in its raw state


Cooked Stock Fish and beef

Dried Fish

Fresh Peppers  ( You can use dry ground pepper,  I prefer the fresh taste I get from using a mix of roughly ground fresh red and yellow peppers)

Banga Spices I use 4 of them  namely  Oburunbebe stick, Otaiko the tiny  black flat seeds, Rogejie the  tiny brown seeds, dried bitter leaves or Obeletete.   Grind the two seeds and crush the stick.  

Alternatively you can chose to buy the already ground one, just ask the market women for ground banga spices they would sort you out,  although I prefer the flavours of the whole spices.

The four Banga Spices I use

Already ground spices the alternative to whole spices

Crushed Banga stick

1.      Season and boil beef with your stock fish

2.    Boil your palm kernel until soft, then pound in a mortar to squash but not hard enough to crack the nuts. Add some water and squeeze palm kernel to get the oil out, pour washed kernel into a sieve to separate palm oil from the husk of the nuts. Keep adding water and washing out oil until all the oil is out of the palm husk. 

Washed and boiling palm kernal

3.    Pour washed  oil in a pot, place on the fire and allow to boil for about 30mins then add chopped onion, ground pepper and the stick (I usually crush my stick in a mortar to release the flavours before adding to the boiling soup),  then  cook for a further 15mins.

Adding the stick

Adding ground pepper and Onion

4.    Add your beef, stock fish and dried fish to boiling soup, depending on how dry your fish is, mine was quite dry so I put it at this stage.  If your fish is not very dry then you can wait until towards the end of the cooking to add it so there can still be some whole chunks. If using fresh fish, which is fantabolous with banga soup you also add that towards the end of cooking so it doesn’t break up into tiny bits completely.  Allow to cook again for another 10mins.

Banga soup with all the spices added

5.     Add your ground spices, EXCEPT the dried bitter leaves or Obeletete . At this stage you would notice your Banga soup is getting thicker and that wonderful banga aroma! (thanks to its unique spices) would have filled your whole house,  Allow to simmer for further 10mins.  Then Add your knorr cubes and salt to taste, ground crayfish and dried bitter leaves allow to simmer for 5mins and…… that’s all!

Banga soup going through the final simmering with all ingredients added

Voila! ready!  Serve with some nice starch, eba, pounded yam or Fufu   *said in an American accent*  :).

Notes :  The  cooking time will vary depending on  how watery you wash your palm kernel nuts. It is usually shorter with canned kernel nut  (which is quite convenient.)  BUT nothing beats the taste of fresh kernel. The aim of cooking this long is to take off the oily taste of the nuts and to get a slightly thick soup, whatever cooking duration gives you this consistency is fine.

Tried it?  let me know what you did differently and how it came out.

Bon Apetit!

January 15, 2014

Work It Girl !!! Plaid and Yellow

Happy Hump Day Guys! how are you doing, hope your week has been great so far, yea? I feel like this is the first working week of the year,  because i'm officially back to the grind this week and school started this week for my boys. For today's post, I'm continuing the 'Work it Girl Series'. The target here is to share a couple of work worthy looks to spark some work outfit inspiration, as always you can play with the looks based on your preference and lifestyle. some of the pieces are still available at the Shop in limited quantities. 

I'm really enjoying these theme based posts, its a lot easier for me to plan my posts, routines and its easier for my readers to control and find exactly the kind of content they want. speaking about finding the right content, our Instagram page is buzzing with a lot of style inspiration both from me and from our ever stylish customers you need to visit or add @dressed2dnines.

What I'm wearing -  Top  - Ann Taylor and Espirit  ( available @ Dressed)|| Jacket - Ralph Lauren ||  Skirt - J crew (Sold out Dressed  ||  Pumps  - Via Spiga and Jessica Simpson (similar available @ Dressed) ||Belt -  Asos belt worn backwards
I decided to have my hair in a weave for a couple of week to protect it from the elements and change my look a bit. I have had it exposed for roughly 10 weeks, I'm actually surprised that it survived all the manipulation it went through in that period, Anyways, change they say is the only constant and I'm always up to switch things.

Enjoy the rest of your week guys and catch you soon!


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