Sunday, May 4, 2014

Budget Costume

I love having the excuse to dress up a little differently and bring some fun to the day.  I like deciding what to wear.  I like having themes.  I like putting everything together to get my costume set.  I relish, for just a while, in the attention that I receive when typically I'd rather be left well enough alone. I'd love having more than one holiday each year that gives a reason to dress up in a costume.  Basically, Halloween doesn't even need candy for me to have fun because I just want to dress up anyway.

However, sometimes having this great passion for costumes conflicts with my wallet's contents.  Or time constraints.  Or both.  So, sometimes I have to get a little creative.  I think I get some of the creativity from my mom.  I remember her having to paint faces, get different things together, and spending time getting us all ready to go trick-or-treating.  I think she would have been pretty impressed with my skills.  I seriously spent $2.  I spent a lot of time on it, so I can see that if you find your time more precious than your money, you may prefer to purchase a pre-made costume.  But I really think that the effort to get everything just right made it an even more enjoyable experience for me.

Here is what I used:

What it is: black lacy Dutch bodice
What I used: Black tank top, red ribbon, white lace and (unseen) nearly a million safety pins.
Cost: $2 (for the tank top, on clearance). The ribbon and the lace were in a box of trimmings that were given to me.

I basically spent time criss-crossing the red ribbon from the top to the bottom, pinning on the sides as I went.  I didn't have  sewing machine.  The lace went on the edges of the ribbon for accent.  It took a long time, but looked better than the picture suggests.

What is is/ What I used: White blouse (Actual shirt used not pictured.)
Cost: $0 -- from my closet

What is is/What I used: Black skirt (It could have been red, like many of the images depict; actual skirt used not pictured.)
Cost: $0 -- from my closet

What is is: Dutch apron
What I used: Short cooking apron, turned down to cover buttons
Cost: $0 -- borrowed from someone who made it for a pioneer trek

What it is/What I used: Black Mary Jane pumps
Cost: $0 -- from my closet

What it is: Red riding hood
What I used: Red hooded cape
Cost: $0 -- borrowed from a friend whose kid had used it for a different costume a previous year

What it is: Basket for goodies
What I used: Produce basket
Cost: $0 -- used a basket I have at home for my potatoes

What is is: Checkered cloth covering goodies
What I used: Checkered-ish dish towel
Cost: $0 -- borrowed from neighbor

Final Costume: Little Red Riding Hood

Any PG costume suggestions for Halloween 2014?

Avocado Potato Salad

I love potato salad.  What would life be like without this delectable dance upon my tastebuds?  It would be a sad, dark place I tell you.  I have a go-to recipe for my potato salad.  It is the same potato salad that my grandmother and my mother made, except that I add black olives to it as well.  That and I use vegan mayo.  This is typically what others expect when I bring potato salad.  But I have a confession.  Notwithstanding the undeniable awesomehood of this recipe, and the distinct happiness that it brings... sometimes I want something else.  *gasp*

I have been cooking different things to share with family, some of whom are vegan.  This has invited me to explore other options.  I try alternative recipes or ingredients.  I am also trying to eat more healthy choices.  I don't really succeed as often as I like, but I do keep making that effort.  So... as I was contemplating healthy alternatives that vegans could enjoy... I wondered what potato salad would taste like without any mayo at all. What if I just used avocado instead?  It brings creamy delightfulness to the table.  I tried it, and this is the result.  (Forgive the lack of photography skills.)

The recipe is a bit difficult to pin precisely, but it goes something like this:

10 baking potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced
2 avocados
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 lemon
rice milk (enough to make smooth)
garlic salt
1 can olives, chopped lengthwise into quarters
2 C corn, cooked and cooled
8-10 green onions, chopped

I blended the avocados, juices and spices in my blender,  I used some milk to help make it smooth since the avocados were not completely ripe.  I poured this mixture over the potatoes, added the corn, olives and onions and mixed it.  I placed it in the refrigerator to let it cool and to allow the flavors to blend.

I was told it is a do-over, so we'll be doing this again.  I will probably experiment a bit with cilantro and/or chipotle on future attempts.  I liked it.  I liked that it was light and had some good alternatives.  I liked that it was a different flavor from my regular potato salad, to be used when a little change is needed.