Vegan Veggie Curry

20161209_112950

Hey guys!

Since one of my very best friends is now vegan, I’ve been hanging out with her and doing food prep days periodically and ending up with some vegan freezer meals! Curries are not something I typically make vegan since I like to use jarred curry paste, but believe it or not you can get vegan curry paste in a jar! Who knew?! We used Patak’s Mild Curry Paste.

I didn’t grow up in a family that ate a lot of Indian food, not even westernized Indian food (I’m looking at you, most butter chicken). Any, really, except for samosas! Indian food was something I really realized I liked on a food tour in college, as well as through friend’s mum’s cooking it! When I was finishing my BBA, I remember vividly one of my colleague’s mum bringing in chicken biryani and nearly dying of happiness it was so good. It was during finals and if you’re like me and have food memories, you’ll understand why Indian food is forevermore comfort food in my world.

This recipe is honestly what I’d call a use-up dish. You can throw whatever veggies you have kicking around and make some rice and call it a day. I think this is great for controlling food waste, but you can easily use frozen veggies if you need a quick meal from the freezer.

20161209_112957

Vegan Lentil Curry

Serves eight for $12.96 or $1.62 per Serving

2 potatoes, large dice- $1.68

One red pepper- $2.10

One head of cauliflower- $4.58

Greens (we used swiss chard)- $2.28

2 cups red lentils- $1.32

1 cup Basmati rice (to serve with)- ~$1

Pantry Staples: Pataks Mild Curry Paste, olive oil, coconut milk (optional)

Step one of this recipe is to rinse your rice and put it on to cook in a pot. Next, rinse and check your lentils (for debris, like tiny pebbles HA). For your mise en place, wash all of your veggies up and dice them. I recommend that you keep your cauliflower florets and potato chunks pretty small so that they don’t take so long to cook that your lentils are mushy. I chop my swiss chard up and set the leafy bits aside for later, but the stems can cook with the rest of your veggies.

Start cooking by sauteeing your cauliflower , potatoes, swiss chard stems and red pepper in the bottom of a pot with a small amount of olive oil. Once they’re about halfway cooked, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of curry paste to the pot and heat it through with your veggies. Then, add 1.5 cups of water and your lentils, bring to a simmer, and put your lid on the pot!

This part is an art, not a science. Check your pot periodically, try tasting a veggie or lentil. Still hard or chewy? Make sure you have enough water in the pot still, and slap the lid back on. Repeat until everything is a nice consistency, adding water as you need or additional curry paste to your preference. If everything is the right texture (lentils should be slightly firm but break up easily when chewed),  you can turn off the heat and add in your swiss chard tops to soften them! If you like coconut milk, add it in as well (I find it sweet, so I don’t, but this is a great way to dial back curry you’ve made too spicy). Serve it over a bed of rice and relax! This recipe is great for the freezer, too.

Shop the post:

capture

Michael Symon by Ergo Chef 6″ Chef’s Knife •

Circulon Innovatum Stainless Steel Nonstick 4 Quart Sauce Pot • Circulon •

Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 6-Quart Sauce Pot with Cover • Cuisinart •

Mikasa Swirl Square Fruit Bowl • Mikasa •

Fiesta Medium Bistro Bowl • Fiesta •

One Kings Lane Ombré Serving Bowl • One Kings Lane •

 

Do you have a favorite veggie and lentils dish? Let me know!

20161209_113008

2016 Favorites!

Hey guys!

I know, I know… another stupidly late favorites post. Already we’re almost a month into 2017 (HOW) and I still haven’t posted this… shame on me ;). These were my standby favorites for 2016!

Beauty:

beauty

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick • $26
Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon • $24
Yves Saint Laurent TOUCHE ECLAT LE TEINT Radiance Awakening Foundation SPF 22 • Saint Laurent • $58
BECCA Backlight Priming Filter • Becca • $38
TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer Highlighter & Shimmer Compact • TheBalm • $24
Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder Compact • Laura Mercier • $42
Stila ‘Stay All Day’ Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner – Alloy • Stila • $22

Practical Items:

food.JPG

Bodum Brazil 3-Cup French Press – Red • Bodum •
Bonjour Riviera Borosilicate Glass French Coffee Press • Bonjour •
Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware Square Dish • Le Creuset •
Le Creuset Signature 10.5″ x 7″ Rectangular Dish • Le Creuset •
Le Creuset 1.75 Qt Oval Dish, Flame • Le Creuset •
Le Creuset 14 Au Gratin Dish, Cherry • Le Creuset •
Ball Pint Mason Jars, Set of 12 • Cost Plus World Market •

Lentils recipes here and here!

Clothing:

clothing

Renegade Cluster Bracelet •
Rebel Pendant •  
Barefoot Dreams Bamboo Chic Calypso Knit Cardigan Wrap • Barefoot Dreams •
High-Rise Rockstar Built-In-Sculpt Jeans for Women • Old Navy •
Mid-Rise Rockstar Jeggings for Women • Old Navy •
Vila Cami Top With Lace Detail • Vila •
Lace-Inset Camisole • New York & Co. •
Vince Camuto Scallop Lace Pencil Skirt • Vince Camuto •
Thalia Sodi Printed Pencil Skirt, Only at Macy’s • Thalia Sodi •
Kasper Shawl-Collar Blazer • Kasper •
SHE Boutique Pink Pants Suit •
Two-Piece Skirt Suit Set •
Tahari ASL Peplum Skirt Suit •

If you are in the St. Albert/Edmonton area and looking for Stella and Dot, please check out my friend Meg Gottschalk who is an independant Stella and Dot representative. You will not find a kinder, sweeter woman to chat about jewelry with!

If you are in the Edmonton area and want to find that eczema-proof sweater I chat about in the video from Barefoot Dreams, look no further than Cloud Nine Pajamas! Their sales staff is so sweet and with three stores in the area, they’re so easy to visit!

What were your favorite things in 2016? Please tell me in the comments!

 

Cozy Afternoon In

img_6242

img_6253

Hey guys! I’m coming at you with another affordable outfit post! This is one of my favorite combos for a day at home- a cozy sweater that isn’t too thick, but still warm, and a loose pair of joggers. I like this for a cooking day, working on the computer or just watching some TV because it’s comfortable, inexpensive (I make messes cooking sometimes, the last thing I want to do is destroy a beautiful and expensive sweater) and cute!  These pants were snagged on sale for under $10 at Walmart and I’ve linked a bunch of similar options below that are super affordable as well.  This sweater is a thin knit that I picked up at Target a couple of years ago which is sadly not an option anymore in Canada, but don’t worry,  I’ve linked other options for this as well. Absolutely everything is under $25, which I love. Also, shoutout to my sister for letting me take these pictures at her house one day, since some of you may notice that is not my couch!

img_6244img_6248img_6251

Shop the post:

Capture.PNG

Karen Scott Crew-Neck Sweater, Only at Macy’s • Karen Scott •
boohoo Maria Oversized Fisherman Knit Jumper • Boohoo •
WORTHINGTON Worthington Long-Sleeve Essential Crewneck Sweater •
Joe Fresh Women’s Split Hem Sweater, PISTACHIO (Size XL) • Joe Fresh •
Alfani Double-Knit Jogger Pajama Pants, Only at Macy’s • Alfani •
Flirtitude Cozy Fleece Jogger Pants- Juniors •
Aerie Real Soft® Jogger • aerie •
American Eagle Outfitters AE Skinny Jogger Sweatpants • American Eagle Outfitters •

img_6254

What do you love to wear for a cozy afternoon at home?

Photos by Alyx @ https://lifeasalyx.wordpress.com/ 

How to Make Corn Stock

20161124_154043

Hey Guys!

In my quest to share how to make more out of nothing, I’m continuing the “almost free” stock series with this post- how to make corn stock. Everything in this stock is literally a kitchen scrap that was either carefully saved by myself or my mom and frozen until I had a day where I could make corn stock. Believe it or not, I have 12 cups of stock still from this batch that I made in December and I have enough fixings for another big batch of stock. Go me, right?

I love to make stock in my giant crock pot (#lazy, just keeping it real), but you could easily do this in a stock pot, too! I’ve linked some suggestions in the Shop the Post section below, from a fancier crock pot that’s programmable to a more affordable option that is manual, some awesome stock pots and the right kind of metal strainer to not have any bits in your stock. Nothing over $50, because I don’t like recommending needlessly expensive kitchen stuff- the affordable will do you just fine.

You’ll want to start with about 6-8 corn cores (depending on the size of your pot, mine is 8 quart). These were not knawed on corn cobs, but rather corn that was cooked and cut off the cob with a knife during the peak of Taber Corn season. My mum loves to cook fresh, local corn like this during peak season and then freeze the kernels for special occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas and that Tuesday you don’t feel like eating. Then the cobs get frozen, and she shared a bunch (like 20!) with me. Then, add into the pot your veggie scraps- ends of celery, carrots, onions, asparagus (go lightly on those). As you can see from the photos, they’re added frozen. Lastly, I add aromatics- so crushed garlic cloves, red chili flakes, peppercorns, bay leaves, and fresh or dried thyme (depending on what I have). Turn this on high for 3 hours, or low/medium for 6.

Then, you’ll want to either delicately pour (as if) the stock through your strainer into another pot to get your delicious stock separated from your cooked out veggie scraps. To avoid burning myself, I pull out the cobs and anything else that’s big that could either shake the strainer or splatter me and discard them before pouring with the stock through with the smaller items. Once that’s done, you can slap your stock on the stove to reduce to save freezer space, cook with it or freeze it as-is once it’s cooled.

My favorite things to make with corn stock include corn chowder, corn and bacon risotto (so affordable!) and grits. I’m going to be posting some corn stock based recipes soon, because corn is an extremely affordable frozen vegetable (ok, grain) to add a burst of flavor to a cold wintertime meal. Do you have any recipes that you use corn stock for? Let me know!

20161124_154053

20161124_154100

Shop the post:

Capture.JPG

Curtis Stone Magnetic Attraction Soup Ladle •
Oggi Stainless Steel Strainer Bowl • Oggi •
OXO® Good Grips® Stainless Steel 8-in. Strainer • OXO •
Farberware Porcelain Enamel 16 Quart Covered Stock Pot – Aqua • Farberware •
T-Fal® Total Nonstick 8-qt. Stock Pot • T-Fal •
Granite Ware Columbian Home 12 Quart Stock Pot with Handles • Granite Ware •
Crock-Pot® 7 Qt. Manual Slow Cooker – Silver SCV700-SS • Crock Pot •
Crock-Pot 4-qt. Programmable Slow Cooker • Crock Pot •

New Year, New Goals

img_4678

Hi guys!

Happy New Year! I hope that 2017 brings new fun, new promise and new opportunities for everyone reading this. I often feel that we make our own luck in many ways, either through hard work to create good things or a good attitude to make mediocre situation awesome. Every year, I try to set some goals to help guide me through the year towards doing positive things. I’m not a “resolution” type of person because I find they just don’t work for me, but when I set goals and try my best towards meeting them, I find the outcome is always positive even if I don’t meet my goal fully.

My 2017 Goals

  1. Focus on the positives: 2016 was a tougher year for me, as it was for many people, with my roommate moving out unexpectedly due to her own hardship, the loss of my job in November and the loss of a family member in early December. Despite this, a ton of really awesome things happened and I would like to spend 2017 focusing more on the positives than the negatives. I would like to actively write down a few awesome things each day so I can go back and look at them when I need encouragement, as well as do a weekly post (I’ve seen people do them where they’re Friday Favorites and the like) about good things I’ve found, seen or done. People have been so supportive of my personal posts here these past few months- I have always tried to approach this blog with a mindset of providing a service in every post. If a post didn’t check the mark of teaching something new, sharing a great strategy, or sharing an opportunity to save money or spend smarter, I just wouldn’t post it. What I’ve learned is that not every post needs to be like that. It’s important to share with intention, but it’s also important to just share the truth, too.
  2. Continue writing: I am one of those people where if I’m sad or stressed, completing things seems hard. My motivation just goes into the toilet. But, I also am the type of person that feels instantly better when something is accomplished, even if that something is as simple as cleaning a bathroom or finishing a blog post. My goal for 2017 is to push through these moments and keep writing (which is most often the thing I just avoid like the plague when I’m feeling down). This blog is where I spend my time, the thing I don’t feel guilty about investing time on. I think about time as money- it has a value (anyone who studied accounting or finance and understands opportunity cost will know where this mindset came from, dangit).  You won’t find me working out 2 hours a day because that 2 hours could be $30, which five days a week could be $7800 over a year. But I give myself this time, so I don’t want to squander it. I try to aim for 3 posts a week, I’m hoping that this year I make good on that goal!
  3. Get back on track financially: I feel like this seems like a pretty standard item, but given that I’m currently working a 50% job (which is an awesome job I’m grateful for), I am not in a great financial position. I don’t know many people that could take a 50% salary cut and still pay their bills and guess what- I can’t either. A major goal for me for 2017 is to replace the remaining 50% of required income to cover my expenses (ASAP) and earn back what I’ve lost in this period of time to replace my emergency fund. I would also like to work towards overall earning more- the catalyst for starting this blog was being broke, and even if I replace my income I still will be. There are things in life that I choose to not do because it’s not financially prudent- for instance, I don’t really date (don’t go on dates if you can’t afford the drink you’re ordering, or if you need the time you’d otherwise give to someone you’re dating to earn income). I don’t go out and socialize very often, as this also often costs money, even though it can be isolating (I’d love to drive to my mom’s whenever I feel like it, but I can’t haha, although I’m lucky to have friends that don’t mind popping over and a family that will pick me up to visit). There are ways to live an awesome life without loads of money and that’s what this blog is mostly about! But recently, I’ve really been thinking about how to not have the stress of calculating outings (or red meat) into my budget on the fly when they come up, or flatly turning down social opportunities because don’t know what the financial cost will be.

Please tell me what your goals or resolutions are for this year! I have loads of other goals (like trying to bike commute in the summer) that I have for this year, but these are the big ones I’m really focusing on. What are you working on? I’d love to know.

 

*photo by Kirsten @ https://kirstenkolada.wordpress.com/

Tomato Basil Salad with Ricotta Salata

20161223_16470720161223_164716

Hi Guys!

I hope the first week of 2017 is going well for you! Since this time of year is often when we want to focus on health and weight loss goals, I wanted to share my favorite salad of late! This is inspired by a salad my family had out for dinner one night (I wasn’t there) at a restaurant, that my mum then tweaked to her preferences and I am in LOVE.

This salad is so stinking simple, and while it has cheese, it’s a small amount that feels decadent because you’re literally just shaving it in. This is fast to make but delicious and a total show stopper- and is SO affordable for a salad this time of year! I posted the picture below right after Christmas and people were liking it like crazy- so I knew I wanted to share with you.

Capture.JPG

Tomato Basil Salad with Ricotta Salata and Balsamic Glaze

Serves four for $1.88 or $0.47 per serving

3 Roma Tomatoes- $1.17

3 Basil leaves- ~$0.20

Small amount slivered red onion- ~$0.05

~20 shavings of ricotta salata- ~$0.40

Balsamic glaze (a drizzle)- $0.06

Olive Oil, salt and pepper to taste

Start by slicing your tomatoes about a quarter inch thick and arranging them on a plate or serving platter. Next, thinly slice red onion and chiffonade basil and scatter around the tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with cracked black pepper and salt. Next, shave ricotta salata onto the salad to your liking, and top with a drizzle of balsamic glaze. Share and enjoy!

Shop the Post:

Capture2.JPG

Everything you need to make this salad is linked here, as well as some gorgeous serving platters to showcase this salad (and everything linked is under $50).

Antica Oil Dispenser • Williams-Sonoma •
TableCraft® 16 oz. Olive Oil Bottle with Pourer • Tablecraft •
Kuhn Rikon 3-Set Original Swiss Peeler, Red/Green/Yellow • Kuhn Rikon •
MADHOUSE by Michael Aram Large Melamine Serving Platter, Ocean • MADHOUSE by Michael Aram •
Hudson Park Oval Serve Platter, Large • Hudson Park •
Rachael Ray Cucina Rectangular Serving Platter • Rachael Ray •
J.A. Henckels International Premio 5-Inch Utility Serrated Knife • Zwilling J.A. Henckels •
20161223_164701

What is your favorite salad for this time of year? If you live in the Edmonton area, the only place I’ve found ricotta salata is the Italian Center, but most Italian markets should carry it.