Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Halloween BTS

My outfit inspiration came from Ari's performance at A Concert for Charlottesville, which I had the pleasure of attending. It was my second time seeing her perform this year. I had a grey sports bra, so that was easy to imitate. Replicating her signature ponytail was not as easy. My arms got tired from trying to lift my hair up as high as possible, and in the end, it just fell into a regular ponytail. I would have needed extensions to get the hair exactly right. For the makeup, I tried to follow a video tutorial with the makeup I had. You can't even see my eyeshadow in the final black and white image, which is actually good because I did not have a red-brown eyeshadow like the Youtuber or Ari. I think the most important part was the winged liner and full lashes, which I think I nailed given my supplies. 

Outfit inspo
I kind of look like a boxer, but check out the makeup.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Howl to Be Vegan XI: Pre-Thanksgiving

I made $50 in cold hard cash doing experiments at the business school, so I was finally able to buy groceries again! The original plan was to go home for a high school teacher's 50th birthday party, but my sister and I saw the guest list and was like "Nope, our anti-social asses can't handle an event with this many unknown people." While home, we were going to eat our mom's food for free and bring back more ingredients. Luckily with the timing of the studies, it all worked out: we could avoid an uncomfortable social situation and eat comfortably for the week.

For the last few days before the studies and before I was able to go grocery shopping and cook, I ate fermented bean curd, rice, and cucumbers to sustain myself during dinner (the cucumbers were 2/$1 at Kroger. I also bought bananas to eat with oatmeal and sustain myself during breakfast). The rice was still soft even though I had made it who knows how long ago #amazing.

On Saturday, I made vegan brownies for a Vegan Potluck hosted by various vegan-affiliated groups on grounds. The potluck was at such an odd-time: 2-4 p.m., so it was during the UVA-MIA game in which we were leading. As a result, after I brought the brownies and grabbed a plate of food, I snuck out. No one noticed. The food was okay, and we ended up losing. My favorite dish was a pecan pie. I had to eat bean curd again because the plate was not enough to serve as my lunch and dinner.

Sunday consisted of another potluck: my cousin and her roommate's. For this one, I made mashed cauliflower and potatoes. My sister had extra parsley from her vegan meatloaf dish, which she made for the potluck, so I added it to the mashed potatoes for extra flavor. Someone else also made mashed potatoes even though they didn't indicate so on the spreadsheet, so I still have leftovers :P I have made this recipe before so I knew it was good (same with the brownies). The only thing I could eat at the potluck was my mashed potatoes, my sister's meatloaf, some green beans, and cranberry sauce. I also ate two pieces of yeast bread before realizing yeast bread contains butter and eggs. It was really sad. I was hungry at the end the night. How to not overeat over Thanksgiving: go vegan. P.S. The meatloaf is a little on the sweet side.

Anyways, I also used Sunday to make food for the rest of the week, and this time I actually planned, which really helps with saving money. I turned to my trusty Good Housekeeping cookbook and made the following dishes: Bow Ties with Butternut Squash and Peas and Stovetop Chili (click on the hyperlinks to see the recipes).

Let's talk about the Bow Ties first. I actually used a 12 oz. box of bow ties because they don't sell 16 oz. boxes at my Kroger. That was $1. The butternut squash was $1/lb, and the frozen peas were also $1. I replaced the half-and-half/light cream with almond milk ($2.79 for a half gallon) and actually ended up pureeing the butternut squash because after tasting it, I remembered I don't like butternut squash. I used enough milk and vegetable broth (from my sister's meatloaf) so that it would blend. For the fresh sage leaves, I used ground sage, which my sister had just bought for her meatloaf, and last but not least, I excluded the parmesan.

For the Stovetop Chili, I followed the recipe verbatim, except my sister added her leftover tomato paste from the meatloaf to it yesterday. Before my sister added the paste, it was a lot liquid-y than I expected, but it tastes fine with rice. Although my sister thinks both dishes are bland. She made some cornbread to go along with it too, so add cornmeal to the list of pantry items now gone. Anyways, here are some prices for the chili recipe:

Onion: $~2 for a 5lb bag
Chili powder: $1 Kroger brand
Cumin: super cheap at Aldi (we bought it when we went home)
Coriander: $2
Jalapeno: I put it in the green bean bag and forgot to take it out to ring it up oops but it was pretty cheap regardless.
Whole tomatoes: <$1/can (I think it was $0.89, but I'm not sure because I threw away the receipt forgetting about this blog).
Green beans: $1.29/lb so less than $1 for 1/2 pound
Sweet potatoes: $0.38/lb!!!!!
Black beans: again <$1/can

In total, I spent ~$25 for everything I cooked this weekend. I only had to buy sugar for the brownies, and the potatoes were $2.50 for a 3lb bag. The cauliflower was the most expensive thing at $2.99 a head. This should feed me for at least a week maybe more considering how my mom is coming up for Thanksgiving later this week and cooking for us. My sister thought it was illogical that I made so much food given this fact, but hey, a girl's got to eat. I do have to say that the cold season (aka nothing can grow anymore) is making it very hard for me to eat fruit (I only bought three oranges from my grocery trip), but hopefully my mom can find some good fruit at Aldi and bring it up here.

Bonus: my sister made cranberry muffins from the cranberries my cousin used as a garnish for her party punch. She used walnuts, which she bought for her meatloaf, instead of pecans, applesauce instead of a flax egg, and orange juice instead of a freshly squeezed orange. This is what we had in our pantry (the applesauce is also from our mom).

I also broke the no-spending rule enforced in my last post by buying a hoodie at TJMaxx, but that's another story you can see on my Youtube channel. It was only $10, but I justified it as a birthday gift to myself, which means I'm not buying liquid eyeliner anymore aka my original gift to myself. 

Anyways, enjoy the pictures below (yes, this blog actually includes photos for once) and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm saving a turkey's life for this and all Thanksgivings.

Howl to Be Vegan X

bitter melon - an update from my last post - my mom braised it with sweet soy sauce this time, and it was so good compared to regular soy sauce! the sweetness really balances out the bitterness

guac - mom gave us four avocados - I used one of them for avocado and toast and the rest for guacamole. I also used the tomatoes and a lime she gave us. the only thing I bought was a red onion and the chips. I highly recommend Santitas Tortilla Chips - they're only $2 and made with three simple ingredients: corn, oil, and salt. other tortilla chip brands like Tostitos have milk in them, which is ridiculous! (wow, Frito-Lay actually owns both Santitas and Tostitos)

mac and cheese - while grocery shopping, I stumbled upon Annie's Vegan Mac & Cheese, so naturally I had to have it. it wasn't worth it. I ended up using it like rice and eating the bitter melon with it. I also had it with some guac, so basically it was good as a base not as a solo dish.

busboys & poets - for my sister's birthday, we went to nova/dc to see Alton Brown Live and dinner at my favorite vegan restaurant. unfortunately, busboys also serves meat, but their vegan selection is so good, I keep coming back (I've been there more than 10 times and have introduced all my friends to it). what's funny is I didn't have a good first impression of busboys because the vegan crab cake made me sick (it's since been removed from the menu...), but the second time I had it (ironically with my sister), I was hooked. I had the vegan beef sliders made with lentils and soy protein (I believe). It was decent (I've had it before). they didn't put enough mayo on the patty so it was a little dry, but I fixed it with mustard and ketchup. I recommended the vegan tuna sandwich for my sister. The meal, which also included a side of sweet potato chips for my sliders and sweet potato fries for my sister, a mixed drink, a coffee, and a dessert only cost $54.52 with tip, which is not bad at all considering I once spent $40 on a meal at another vegan restaurant that I won't recommend.

Read Chanhong L.'s review of Busboys and Poets - Shirlington on Yelp

After going HAM on all these restaurant meals (see previous posts), I realized that my bank account was drained (I have horrible foresight), so I decided I wasn't going to spend any money until my birthday (more on that in the next post). As a result, I couldn't spend any money on food, so we had to use whatever we had at home to sustain ourselves for the next week or so. Here's what we made:

curried/cumin potatoes - poBAEtoes - what more do I have to say? they're cheap, versatile, and tasty. they can also be supplemented with rice for a more calorie dense meal aka you won't feel hungry after eating this dish. my sister used cumin powder instead of cumin seed, but it was fine. she also added tomatoes and lentils to the recipe.

pesto - mom gave us more herbs, so my sister made pesto again. she used the last of the walnuts in the last pesto batch, but she just replaced it with sunflower seeds and peanuts from my pantry, and it tasted the same to me. we ate it with penne. I also made the bow tie dish again because of leftover tomatoes.

gnocchi - "best gnocchi i ever had" - drake; my sister replaced the cashews with almond milk and peanuts aka what we had in our pantry #poBAEtoes

free pizza - midici opened in charlottesville and gave away free margherita pizzas; the 50 minute wait was worth it because we would have starved otherwise. because the margherita pizza has cheese on it, they let me substitute pineapple. I would never pay for the pizza though: it was mediocre and needed the extra toppings e.g. garlic, salt, pepper, etc. the restaurant provides on the side. the ambiance is 10/10 though.

pesto pizza - my sister and I were actually going to go to Midici again for a Yelp Elite event, but we were over it after the free pizza + there's only one option for me so it's not worth the time especially when I had homework and a UVA basketball game was on; my sister did make her pesto pizza again though. She used kale, mushrooms, my leftover red onion from the guacamole, and a grocery store tomato (aka not one from our dad's garden because we ate them all) as toppings. I'm pretty sure these are the same toppings from the last pesto pizza she made. she over salted the first pizza, but the second one was good.

black bean burger - the same night my sister made the pesto pizza, I cheated and spent money at an on-campus cafe except it was money I already spent i.e. I used my student card, which had money I previously deposited into it to buy a textbook. i stayed up really late the previous night doing homework and was really stressed, so I figured I would treat myself and treat myself I did: I added veganaise to the buns, and it was the most gluttonous black bean burger I ever ate. I had chest pains after eating it + along with the side of fries. the meal was only $6 too.

hummus - lastly, I made the hummus in my first "Howl to Be Vegan" post because I had leftover chips from the guacamole and cannellini beans lying around for this exact moment. i didn't have an actual lemon, but I used lemon juice from the fridge and adjusted the taste with peanut butter, a lot of garlic, and other spices. after I ran out of tortilla chips, I finished the hummus with my roommate's leftover pretzel chips.

I also had about four ramen and cereal dinners during this time period, so our pantry is pretty wiped out at this point. Updates are coming in the next post.

Edit: I totally forgot that I got pho at Vu Noodles, arguably the only Vietnamese restaurant and one of the few vegetarian/vegan-only restaurants in town.

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