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Recipe: Meatballs in Tomato Sauce & Cheesy Garlic Bread by Perfect Italiano

It’s nearing the end of the year again, which can only mean one thing for sure – everyone will be feasting on lots of indulgent food!

Let the pigging out begin. Every year, I make it a point to host elaborate and utterly gluttonous dinner parties for my friends and I, to celebrate getting through yet another tough year of life and get ourselves in the relaxed, holiday mood. Cooking food from the heart is one of the best and sincerest way to make someone happy. No one can be upset at you when you make them a meal of their dreams.

This festive season, one key ingredient I’ll be including in my dishes is my favorite Perfect Italiano cheese!

Perfect Italiano is a cooking cheese brand that adds simple Italian flair to everyday family meals. It is fuss-free easy to use, to prevent homemade meals from being difficult, complex and time-consuming. The difference between a normal chef and a great chef is careful execution and a wild imagination, and with that said, I like putting cheese on as many food dishes as I can think of! I’ve chosen to use Pizza Plus in today’s post because I adore how versatile this cheese is – it’s full bodied, yet light and textured to use in almost any dish that requires a topping of cheese.

You know what’s a dish I like eating but can hardly find good versions of when dining out?

 

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Meatballlllllllllllllls.

Pure, simple meatballs with moist, flavorful meat. Too many versions are too dry, tasting more like cardboad balls than meatballs. That’s why I’m going to share with you my own Meatballs in Tomato Sauce recipe, that your guests will praise you for at your next dinner party!

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 250g pork, minced
  • 250g beef, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large white onion, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 pinches of salt
  • 200g breadcrumbs
  • chopped fresh English parsley
  • bunch of halved cherry tomatoes
  • a bottle of your favorite tomato pasta sauce
  • black pepper to taste
  • additional seasoning such as paprika, herbs like thyme, etc optional to your preferences
  • a handful of Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus Grated Cheese

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well
  2. Roll meat mixture into manageable sized balls
  3. If mixture doesn’t hold shape well enough, add more breadcrumbs to stiffen it
  4. Heat up a pan with 3cm deep oil, and shallow fry on each side for 2 minutes or until just cooked with pink insides
  5. Prepare a plate with paper towels to drain excess oil off meatballs with after removing them from frying pan
  6. Once all meatballs are cooked, pour the oil into a glass bowl before discarding it
  7. Using the same pan, stir fry the cherry tomatoes until semi-cooked, then pour in tomato pasta sauce
  8. After the tomato sauce is hot, arrange cooked meatballs into the pan
  9. Top off with your desired amount of Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus cheese, more black pepper and parsley for garnishing
  10. Serve in frying pan for extra rustic style points

What you’re looking at is deliciously moist meatballs with a simple but comforting flavor that is elevated by the tangy tomato sauce and stretchy cheese! Don’t the bright red and green colors remind you that Christmas is creeping up on us already?

You’d want to make sure your meatballs are not too salty, because the tomato sauce and cheese contains additional salt that will contribute to the overall saltiness. You can also substitute the minced pork for minced chicken if preferred.

Just look at that tantalizing cheese calling out for help! It needs you to put it in your mouth. Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus is made up of three cheeses – Mozzarella, for lending that stretchy bite, and Parmesan and Cheddar for a fuller flavor.

I suppose you could go the extra mile by making your own tomato sauce.This will be a popular choice with people of all ages at your dinner, especially kids who seek out tomato based dishes, and the men who enjoy red meat!

 

And what better sidekick and accompaniment to go with your glorious Meatballs in Tomato Sauce than good o’ trusty…

Cheesy Garlic Bread

Ingredients:

  • your favorite loaf of freshly baked bread, sliced
  • many cloves of minced garlic
  • semi-melted butter
  • chopped fresh English parsley
  • a handful of Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus Grated Cheese

Directions:

  1. Generously butter your sliced bread
  2. Spread minced garlic over the bread
  3. Top off with parsley, and a generous amount of Perfect Italiano Pizza Plus Cheese
  4. Bake in an oven or toaster at the highest setting for 3-5 minutes until edges of the bread are golden brown

Crisp around the edges, soft, buttery and cheesy in the center – nothing but garlic bread perfection!!

Don’t be a miser when buttering your bread – despite the copious amount of butter looking like it’s going to give you a heart attack, it’s actually what awesome garlic bread is made of. You’ll want to use freshly minced garlic instead of the dried stuff, because the flavor will be so much better. You’ll probably also want to brush your teeth really thoroughly after this meal before you talk to anyone up close. At least you’ll know you’re safe from vampires for the night.

These two dishes are a match made in heaven. One bite will have you singing “Hallelujah” in your head!

If you thought tomato meatballs were paired best with pasta, you are wrong. You have lived your life in darkness until this very moment. Let me educate you: they are literally AMAZEBALLS with garlic bread!

If I could describe it with one word, it would be “hearty”. A party in your mouth to make your dinner party complete.

Thank you Perfect Italiano for always inspiring me to come up with new recipes to experiment with, taking my love for cheese to newer heights each and every time! It has been a blossoming and fulfilling relationship ever since I first picked a packet of your cheesy goodness up!

Available at leading supermarkets, visit them at Perfect Italiano’s official website for more piping hot ideas to go bonkers in your kitchen with, and don’t forget to hashtag your own cheesy creations using #PerfectItalianoSG!

xoxo,
Jess

Vita Coco – Hydrate Naturally

A day on the beach is always a day well-spent for me.

There’s just something about the smell of the ocean breeze, sandy feet, salty windswept hair and the natural rays from the sun that rejuvenates your entire being.

And when I’m on the beach, I never miss out on having coconut water – the perfect way to cool yourself down on a hot summer day!

Since fresh coconuts are not always available, Vita Coco is my next preferred option for a refreshing pick-me-up.

Vita Coco is natural, never-ever-from-concentrate coconut water.

Stacked with naturally occurring electrolytes (and more potassium than a banana), Vita Coco is fat free, cholesterol free, and gluten free, so you get all the goodness without the guilt. Despite coconut water’s growing popularity, Vita Coco’s dedication to providing consumers with authentic taste and naturally-occurring nutrients remains the same today as when the brand was founded in 2004.

All Vita Coco beverages are made using only fresh coconut water, unlike many other brands that sell coconut water from concentrate, which can have a significant impact on flavour.

Some awesome perks about Vita Coco:

  • All Natural
  • Five Essential Electrolytes (More electrolytes than 15 Sports Drinks) – Potassium , Magnesium, Sodium, Phosphorous, Calcium
  • More potassium than a Banana
  • Zero Fat, Zero Cholesterol
  • Low in Calories

It feels pretty great knowing that the coconut water I enjoy drinking so much has all these awesome health benefits!

I like how convenient it is for me to have delicious coconut water whenever I want now – on the go, in the car, at home, at the beach, anywhere really. I love fresh coconuts the most – but sometimes they just aren’t an option. You can’t bring a fresh coconut anywhere you want, and even if you could.. you’d also have to bring along a chopper to hack the coconut open before you could enjoy it, that’s when Vita Coco comes in to save the day!

Apart from having this drink straight from the packaging, you can also whip up a fruit smoothie with a few simple ingredients! Here’s sharing my own personal favorite, Mango Coconut Smoothie!

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 330ml Vita Coco (1 packet)
  • 2 medium – large ripe mangoes
  • juice of 1 lime

Toss everything into a blender for 10 seconds on high speed, and you’ll end up with…

An awesome tropical smoothie that was almost effortless to make!

Mangoes and coconut = my kinda heaven. You can replace the mangoes with your favorite fruit – for example, bananas, blueberries and strawberries would be other great alternatives! Change up your choice of fruit and you could enjoy a different homemade smoothie every day of the week. I’m not a fan of milky fruit smoothies (those that use ice cream, yogurt or milk) so this coconut water concoction works well for me. I like how it’s creamy and smooth without being too rich.

Fun fact: Did you know that Madonna, Matthew McConaughey and Demi Moore liked coconut water so much they invested in the Vita Coco brand in February 2010, putting a spotlight on an emerging beverage trend that has since grown into a billion dollar category, worldwide?

Originally introduced in New York City, Vita Coco is now sold in 30 countries across the globe, including the UK, most of Europe, Japan and China.

Good things are made even better by sharing them with someone you love.

Vita Coco can now be found on sunny shores of Singapore as the ultimate natural hydrator after any physical exercise, after a long day of studies and especially under the heat and even haze. Retailing at all major supermarkets and convenience stores, you can even grab Vita Coco on your way to a movie at Golden Village! The 330ml Vita Coco Tetrapak retails at $1.90 and the 1l Vita Coco retails at $4.95. Available at all major supermarkets and convenience stores and even at Golden Village!

Vita Coco is holding an awesome contest for you to stand a chance to win a trip to Bali, and you’d be coconuts not to join!

Simply share with us the most creative ways you can think of opening a coconut & you might just win a trip to BALI all thanks to Vita Coco!

  • Grab yourself an unopened fresh coconut
  • Snap a photo of yourself trying to open it creatively
  • Post the image to a photo sharing site & describe HOW you are trying to open the coconut, along with these hashtags: #HydrateNaturally, #PoweredbyCoconuts, #VitaCocoSG
  • Contest ends 18th October

Terms and Conditions:
Blackout period applies, including eve and on public holidays, major events and school holidays
Tickets are non-refundable, non-reroutable and validity extension are not allowed
Air tickets include Tax and Fuel Surcharge only
Vita Coco will not take responsibility for any additional expenses incurred
Contestants must be 18 years old and above
Vita Coco reserves the right to vary the contest rules and regulations at any time without giving prior notice
Contest tickets are only valid for Singaporean residents or anyone that is travelling from Singapore to Bali.
Head over here for more information on Vita Coco, or follow them on their Facebook page to be updated of the latest promotions!

xoxo,
Jess

Olympus Baking & Photography Workshop

In conjunction with Olympus and Baker’s Brew Studio, I held a cupcake baking workshop with some photography tips for some lucky followers who RSVP-ed for this Father’s Day themed event!

During these 3 hours of fun, I taught them how to bake deliciously moist red velvet cupcakes from scratch, frost them with decadent cream cheese buttercream and then take tantalizing photos of the #foodporn they’ve created with loaned Olympus E-PL7 cameras!

The RSVP response for the event was overwhelming to say the least, and I’d like to thank everyone that expressed interest in attending, unfortunately we had to limit the number of invites due to the capacity limit of the venue! I would’ve loved to meet all of you. But I’m sure there will be similar opportunities to get up close and personal with you guys in the future.

Knowing how to bake and teaching other people how to bake are two very different things. The first is a personally acquired domestic skill, while the other relies more on clear cut demonstration while executing the activity.

Doing public speaking while trying to juggle demonstrating the activity live as well sure isn’t easy for someone who struggles with multi tasking like myself, and while it’s always a challenge, I do enjoy conducting the various baking lessons I’ve done!

My biggest worry of any baking class, more than “will their bakes turn out alright?”, is “are they having fun?”. But there wasn’t any need for concern that day, I was thrilled to see smiles and laughter all around from enthusiastic participants!

Much to my relief, most people seemed to tackle the baking task rather efficiently, it’s not easy to handle such a large group of people and it helps a lot when people have prior experience in the kitchen and the willingness to learn!

While our red velvet cupcakes slowly cooked and rose to little red puffs of perfection, we enjoyed refreshments provided by Baker’s Brew Studio and I shared more with these girls more about how I take my #shibertybakes and #shibertycooks photos on Instagram with my Olympus PEN cameras!

I love Olympus as you can always trust the image quality to be amazing with an easy-to-navigate user interface. Having had a PEN E-PL5 before, the PEN E-PL7 is the perfect camera for me and my lifestyle! With a super convenient flip-down screen & 3-Axis Image Stabilisation, taking high quality selfies have never been easier. Also, I can edit and upload my photos from the camera straight to my phone with the Olympus Imaging App! As I’m always on the go, this is a great feature as I do not like to compromise the quality of my photos.

During the event, there was a range of accessories and props available to suit the different looks you can pull off with the customization properties. You can choose different strap patterns, bright coloured camera skins, various camera body colours and lens selection according to your own personal style and flair!

With the My PEN, My Style Online customization service, you can carry your PEN E-PL7 as a fashion accessory to suit your getup! Choose from a wide range of colourful and exciting strap options from the likes of floral prints to patterned shapes and a handy assortment of premium leather camera bags from American brand Jill-E, and chic, colourful Cath Kidston pouches to keep your camera well protected from dust or scratches!

Customize your own camera fashionable PEN E-PL7 at https://www.shopatolympus.com.sg/mypenmystyle.html!

With the flip-down selfie screen, it’s so easy to take a flattering photo of yourself & your friends now!

I really enjoy bringing around my Olympus PEN E-PL7 these days, because despite being lightweight, it packs a punch delivering high quality photos. You can choose between 4 different lenses to suit your PEN E-PL7 but I chose the M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f1.8 lens as it’s great for food photography! Not only does it let me take my food images up close, but, it creates a soft defocusing effect which brings out the finer details in my photos. Also, I don’t have to worry about dimly lit areas as this lens has got it covered!

I also shared with them some photography tips that I find extremely useful when I’m taking food pics for Instagram: in short, always style your food item making use of the elements on the table (or other tables nearby!), fill the frame leaving little white space, up the contrast and saturation of the photo, and play around with your angles so as to gain new perspectives.

We had a mini contest whereby they had to upload pictures of their freshly baked red velvet cupcakes to the #OlympusXShibertyevent hashtag on Instagram, using the convenient in-built Wi-Fi function the Olympus PEN E-PL7 offers, that sends the pics straight to their smartphone where they can upload to social media immediately, and I would pick a winner with the best photo to win a box of macarons by shibertybakes! I was very impressed by several entries and had a hard time picking just one winner..

But pick a winner I did, and rightfully deserved it was!

Congratulations on taking such a good photo and I hope you liked your box of macarons!!!

Thank you sweet girls for your wonderful presence and participation, I had a great time teaching you how to bake red velvet cupcakes and it’s always a blast meeting you people in real life!

Special thanks to Olympus for organizing this afternoon of baking and photo taking for us to partake in!

xoxo,
Jess

NIVEA Extra White Body Lotion

Fashion trends come and go, but having glowing and healthy skin is fashionable every day of the year.

Instead of just focusing on products for our face, we should give equal attention to focusing on body care as well. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, after all. And every woman dreams of having skin as soft as silk. As someone who deals with a range of body problems – dry skin, stretch marks, flabby areas, these NIVEA serums & lotions are my daily go-to. NIVEA ia a trusted name in skin care that everyone has heard of, and it’s not difficult to see why they are so popular. Their products are extremely affordable, reliable and straight to the point. It doesn’t oversell what it cannot achieve.

NIVEA has relaunched its whitening body moisturisers to help you get fairer and firmer skin with a new ingredient, Coenzyme Q10. The range has two body lotions and three body serums, with the latter promising to give you fairer and firmer skin in just 14 days!

Don’t know the difference between lotions and serums?

Serums have better product efficacy than lotion as it has higher concentration of active ingredients. NIVEA’s whitening body serums contain a special concentration of up to 95% Vitamin C for fairer skin, while Coenzyme Q10 boosts cell energy and provides added anti-wrinkling and antioxidant benefits.

NIVEA EXTRA WHITE FIRMING BODY SERUM SPF 33 is the new best-selling star product, With 95% Vitamin C, this product contains the highest concentration of Vitamin C amongst NIVEA’s body care arsenal. With just one quick application, the skin on my body feels rejuvenated and with continued regular usage over 2 weeks, I could see a visible difference in its texture and pigments!

My skin was noticeably more supple and fairer, much to my own surprise. I personally prefer the texture of the serums better, as I feel it is a more potent product that doesn’t feel too sticky on my skin. Sunscreen is also vital in maintaining fair skin. NIVEA’s body serums for day use come with SPF 33, UVA and UVB protection to shield you from the sun’s damaging rays.

Want brighter skin right now? This serum gives just that with Titanium Dioxide, an ingredient commonly found in your BB creams which acts as micro light reflectors to immediately brighten skin.

Think of these as tiny mirrors to make skin ‘light up’ with radiance right where you want it! I put extra emphasis on application on my arms (the entire arm, because I am so flabby) and my thighs because I’m hoping to firm these areas up more! With the right diet, exercise and firming serums, I’m hoping to reduce the jiggiliness of my arms soon.

NIVEA offers 2 day serums (with SPF33 PA++): Extra White Firming serum (star product) & Instant White Firming Serum. 1 night serum: Night White Firming Body Serum for night time rejuvenation. Your skin recovers and renews itself during the night, so give it extra love with this serum.

NIVEA is hosting a #ultimatefashionstatement event on 22nd Aug, 2-5pm at Capitol Piazza B1-36! They have invited celebrity makeup artist, Clarence Lee & fashion stylist, Keith Png to give tips on how to get hydrated, fair, firm skin, which colours to wear or avoid and which outfit flatters our body type most! To win a pair of tickets, post your blue ootd and hashtag, #NIVEAsg, #ultimatefashionstatement. Contest ends 18th Aug!

Your skin is the ultimate fashion statement. Possessing beautiful skin gives you that additional confidence booster in everything you wear. Your skin shouldn’t be the limitation to what you would wear.

NIVEA body serums and lotions are available at Guardian, Watsons, Cold Storage, NTUC Fairprice outlets, and other major retail stores.

Find out more about their vast range of products on their Facebook page!

xoxo,
Jess

Lactacyd Female Hygiene Wash

Here’s a little disclaimer to let you guys know that the blog post ahead is intended for females.

Did you know that in Singapore, only 4 out of 10 women use a feminine wash for their private areas? Unfortunately, I have not been one of those 4 in-the-know women, up until my recent discovery of Lactacyd!

Lactacyd is a Feminine Hygiene wash brand that has been prescribed by doctors and trusted by women for over 25 years. It is the number 1 feminine wash in Singapore and leading expert in Feminine Hygiene care, offering a comprehensive range of products suitable for women.

Using water or shower gel is simply not good enough as the pH of the V area is naturally acidic, hence a dedicated wash is required to take care of a female’s most intimate area! I wish I’d known this earlier. Using a dedicated feminine wash can also reduce the risk of odor, irritation and bacterial growth.

Just as we have different types of soaps for our face, body, and hair, a dedicated wash should be for one of the most important areas of our body that is all too often accidentally overlooked or neglected! I know most girls are too shy to talk about topics like these, but really, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

All Lactacyd products have undergone strict clinical trials, and have been proven to be not only safe but effective.

There is a Lactacyd variant for different phases in a woman’s life:

  • Lactacyd Revitalize – for firmer looking skin around the V
  • Lactacyd White Intimate – for fairer looking skin in just 4 weeks
  • Lactacyd Soft & Silky – for smoother V for after grooming
  • Lactacyd All-Day Fresh – to keep the V area feeling fresher for longer
  • Lactacyd Feminine Hygiene – for days you need extra care

I keep a whole range of these handy in my bathroom, because they serve different purposes throughout the month!

My favorite to use would be the Lactacyd Feminine Hygiene, as I find the V area to be most irritated and sensitive during my period, and this is when Lactacyd becomes a life saver by making sure I stay fresh and clean at any given point of the day. I tend to stay out and about for longer hours, whether I’m running from one appointment to the other or clubbing all night.. it means it may be a full day or extended hours before I can wash up or take a shower. Using the Lactacyd Feminine hygiene and keeping feminine wipes in my handbag proved to be an extremely good idea for keeping me feeling and smelling good all day long.

 

Lactacyd Feminine Hygiene contains milk essences, lactic acid and lactoserum which helps maintain your V’s pH balance and keeps it feeling naturally clean for a longer period of time. The texture is milky and runny and has a very pleasant floral scent which smells great.

Although I’ve never known this before, the difference between using Lactacyd and normal body soap is a big one once you’ve become a convert. It feels so much better! I’ll never go back to using just body wash for my sensitive areas again.

A few of my favorite girly essentials together all decked out in my favorite color, pink! Along with my other beauty must-haves, like my perfume, mirror and accessories, is my newest addition to my beauty regime: Lactacyd Feminine Hygiene wash.

If you’ve never tried using Lactacyd or a female hygiene wash before and would like to find out what the fuss is about, it’s your lucky day girls – Lactacyd is sending free samples right to your doorstep! Just fill out the form at this link, and wait at home for your goodies to arrive. Let us embrace all things that make us feminine and the women that we are!

xoxo,
Jess
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