Posts Tagged ‘budgeting’

Milk, Milk, and More Milk: Chapter 5 — Connecting Food with Culture

Monday, August 9th, 2021

On hot, sticky days in Chicago’s humid summers, where my family would crowd under the kitchen fan, one dessert would manage to cool us all down: tres leches. 

Tres leches is the king of all cakes all desserts in the Mexican culture. The rich, ultra decadent, and insanely moist cake wets the front of your shirt and makes your lips stick together, leaving your mouth to taste sweet for the rest of the evening. No matter how many glasses of milk you may drink afterward the sugary taste still lingers. It was the dessert least consumed in my family, but the one most desired by all. 

As you can see, I have always loved cake.

If you have never had the pleasure of digging into a thick slice of tres leches, try and picture this: a vanilla cake drowned in three types of milk, hence the name “tres leches,” and topped with whipped cream. It may sound a little too rich, but I promise you it is worth all the hype I am giving it. 

About a month ago, while sitting on the couch with my roommates, I suddenly decided I was going to make a tres leches. I don’t know what compelled me to do this, or what even prompted the idea, but the simple thought of slicing into the sinful, whipped cream-topped morsel made my mouth water. With this seed of inspiration, I took to an unsuspecting source for recipes: TikTok. 

Finding good Mexican food, let alone baked goods, in Manhattan is difficult. If you want the authentic taste that brings you back to eating meals with your family around your grandmother’s kitchen table, you have to go to Queens, and unfortunately, I simply don’t have the time to do that right now. So, I have resorted to recreating the dishes I crave from my past in my tiny apartment’s kitchen. Surprisingly, TikTok has been my main source of recipes when it comes to making Mexican dishes that my family never taught me. Not only is it a great way to visually learn, but many of the users are conscious of a careful-spending budget. When my sudden and very urgent craving for tres leches began, TikTok was the first place I searched for a recipe. 

I love to bake it runs in my blood. My maternal grandmother never leaves the house without a tray of freshly baked potato chip cookies: the most strange, but insanely delicious, shortbread cookies with crushed potatoes chips in them to offset the sweetness. Her love for baking was passed down to me as a child. For a few years as a teenager, my brothers could expect to finish dinner off with carrot cake cupcakes or some variation of cookies. I knew I would be able to make a good tres leches, but I wanted it to be more than its traditional form; I wanted it to remind me of the cake my dad would bring home in a neat white box, covered in whipped cream with a certain twist that no one could put their finger on. I wanted it to remind me of laughing with my cousins when we would get whipped cream on our noses, threatening to touch each other with sticky fingers left from the cake. I knew that those specific memories would be hard to grasp, but not impossible. 

After a quick search on TikTok, I came across a surprisingly easy and affordable recipe from the user @cici.soriano. With a quick trip to the grocery store, I felt prepared to make this cake. Although it didn’t exactly remind me of the scrumptious memories of my childhood, it provided me with something more important: the pleasure of knowing that I can bring aspects of my culture with me wherever I am. Watching the smile on my roommates’ faces as they tasted the fondest recollections of my past, their lips sticky from the condensed milk, reminded me of the joy I felt as a child when having my favorite cake for dessert. 

My first attempt at making tres leches. I made sure to make caramel from leftover cans of condensed milk and drizzled that on top.

Sometimes, finding delight in your cultural food means making it yourself, no matter how difficult it may be. My tres leches is not exactly traditional or completely “homemade,” but it allows me to briefly remember the joys of my childhood, and has provided my friends with a new favorite dessert. The next time you recreate your favorite cultural meals, desserts, or simple snacks, consider sharing them with your friends it may become their favorite, too. 

Tres Leches Cake

Ingredients

– 1 can of evaporated milk

– 1 can of sweetened condensed milk

– 1 can of whole milk (use leftover can of condensed/evaporated milk to measure)

– 1 box of vanilla cake mix 

– 1.5 cups of heavy cream

– 2 tbsp of powdered sugar

– 2 tbsp of vanilla extract 

– 2 tbsp of cinnamon

Steps 

  1. Preheat the oven according to cake mix instructions.
  2. Assemble cake.
  3. Blend evaporated, condensed, and whole milk along with cinnamon and vanilla extract in a blender until combined and smooth. 
  4. Whip heavy cream and powdered sugar together until soft peaks form. 
  5. When done baking according to box instructions, let the cake cool for 20 minutes.
  6. Trim the brown top off of the cake, along with the sides. Poke small holes all around the cake. The more holes you have, the better the milk mixture will seep in. 
  7. Pour milk mixture over the cake. 
  8. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

If you don’t have the time or resources to bake your own cake, head to Amorino for 20% off your gelato order!


By: Allegra Ruiz

Allegra Ruiz is a junior at New York University and she is from Chicago. She studies English and is minoring in Creative Writing. In her free time, she enjoys journaling, reading books and essay collections, and cooking for her roommates. Currently, she lives quietly in New York. 

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC, from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Retail Therapy: Do, or Don’t?

Friday, November 27th, 2020

Most of us participate in retail therapy even if you aren’t familiar with the term. It refers to any purchases made with the intention of improving your mood (think comfort food). Considering the prevalence of depression and anxiety among students (severe depression in the college student body has more than doubled over less than a decade– that’s before 2020), it’s likely that most of us have relied on retail therapy to feel better. Purchases that you justify by saying, “I’ve had a hard week,” or “today has really sucked.” 

We think  that retail therapy works because it offers a sense of control over something. Generally, sadness is a result of a lack of control over whatever situation a person is in. But, when you shop it is something you can (usually) control; “Oh wow, look at this jacket. I love this jacket. I’m going to buy it and nobody can stop me.” I’ve definitely had this thought process with more than a few of my purchases over the years. It’s a uniquely satisfying feeling, to be able to look at something, decide you have the funds, and embrace your inner Tom Haverford from Parks and Recreation: Treat yo’self!

The unfortunate paradox of retail therapy is that overindulgence, by spending beyond your means, can be a dangerous hole to fall into. Particularly when every company ever offers  a credit card, it can be easy to fall into a tragic spending spiral. If the main mechanism behind retail therapy is a lack of control over one’s life, having debt will only exacerbate that feeling, ,considering it’s already associated with increased feelings of depression. The average college student is especially vulnerable to the struggles of debt — tuition is damn expensive nowadays; as a result the majority of college students start life with an immediate boatload of debt hanging over their head, just for an education. But you can’t dig yourself into more debt just to cope with the fact that you’re already in debt, or you can fall into a dangerously deep hole. 

Having established the dangers associated, is it even worth indulging in retail therapy? The answer, like most, seems to be that it depends on the situation. One important thing to note is that unplanned purchases one makes in an effort to lighten your mood are not associated with feelings of guilt or regret. Additionally, impulsive consumers are able to practice restraint, if the goal of restraint is conducive to further happiness. Of course, this is a general rule that does not apply to every purchase, especially if the product purchased does not match the buyer’s expectations. One takeaway is that, when making impulsive purchases, guilt is less likely to play a contributing factor than you’d think. Furthermore, it has been established that participating in retail therapy is successful in treating sadness. Studies seem to suggest that retail therapy can effectively and reliably improve a person’s mood; therefore, it is a valid tool to rely on to keep yourself emotionally healthy– if you can also keep a cap on your impulses. 

It’s important to view retail therapy as a short term solution — buying things will not resolve the underlying issues that cause you to want to buy. Furthermore, you will want to balance yourself; too much buying will wind up making you feel worse, but investing in yourself is an important element of self-care and self-love. Here are some tips on how to make sure you’re keeping yourself financially balanced.

Try to stay in tune with your emotions. Retail therapy is really good at one thing: resolving sadness. Since sadness is associated with a lack of control over your environment, buying something will introduce something in your environment that you do feel control over. If you feel angry or guilty, however, buying something is ineffective because these emotions have less to do with your environment, and more to do with other people. It is important to know how to differentiate between these feelings, because they all fall under that general “not good” category, but retail therapy works best against sadness alone. 

Download a budgeting app. One popular way to stave off financial ruin is by running your financial information through an app like Cleo, which will then record all your spending and report the findings back to you. With budgeting apps you can visualize how much you can and are spending, and they will stop you from breaking beyond the rules you’ve set yourself. 

Get up and do something else.  This one can be harder in the pandemic, when we’re all cooped up indoors, but something as mundane as reorganizing your bedroom will instill in you a similar sense of control over your environment. So, when you feel yourself wanting to buy something without reason, instead get up and try to do some chores around the house, then see if you still want to buy that thing.

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By Sebastian Ortega

Sebastian is a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he majors in Fashion Business Management. He’s worked behind the scenes of New York Fashion Week with the company Nolcha Shows, and in the office of Elrene Home Fashions. Some day, he hopes to be able to make his own claim in the fashion industry by starting his own business.

For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourages them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing, and services.  

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

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Keeping a Journal

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

HOW I USE MY JOURNAL

 

Whenever I see people keeping journals I deeply wonder about them. In my head, they must be extremely deep, have existential thoughts and powerful opinions which force them to be set apart from other “normal” individuals like all of us. They are the type of people who have another side to them, which they keep hidden from their friends. Perhaps, they will end up being great people who change the world and their journals will be found and published long after they have passed.

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Though keeping a journal is an idea that I feel can be very much romanticized in today’s society, they can also be used as a practical tool for planning and keeping track of one’s life. In fact, I myself have been keeping a journal for the past few years. As you may have guessed, my journals will never be read by anyone, they aren’t anything exciting, filled with deep philosophical problems. More often than not I write about my feelings, make some long-term plans of where I’d like to be, or simply plan my week and give myself a to-do list.

Though they might not be grand, keeping a journal has helped me have clearer thoughts, know where I stand in life or even simply during the week, and helps me navigate my life where I would like it to be.

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Here a few of my tips for keeping a great journal:

 

First off, I like to keep two journals. One is a small pocketbook agenda and the other a thin notebook which usually has a beautiful thin cover. (Though it’s the inside that counts, it never hurts to look at something you find beautiful.

The agenda is used for remembering important deadlines, travel plans, appointments and different miscellaneous events. Really, what goes in the agenda is anything with and expiration date, that has to be executed in a timely fashion. Specific things that always find their way into my agenda are lunch dates, application deadlines, job requirements and homework and exam dates.

Now that I’ve gotten the logistics out of the equation, I get to focus my actual journal on more substantial issues.

 

Emotional Support

To begin with, I make an effort to write in my journal every morning. This might be as soon as I wake up, after my morning workout, with my breakfast, or even in my first class of the day. I like to document my mood, and go quite in depth about how I feel that day. This doesn’t mean that I psychoanalyze myself every morning, but rather that I try to understand if what I’m feeling is sadness because I feel lonely, or because I feel incompetent, for example. The way I benefit from this little exercise is that I now become more aware of how I feel and can place myself into a certain perspective, in the right frame of mind. If I’ve understood that what I’m feeling is sadness because of loneliness I find a time in my day where I can reach out to friends and socialize. Similarly, if I feel incompetent, I try to understand what it is that makes me feel incompetent and fix it. A recent example was the fact that I was behind in readings and went over my weekly budget. As soon as I’ve identified the issue I can now move on into organizing my following week into being more budget friendly and limit my outings to give myself more time to study.

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Though this is not rocket science and people can usually go through these thoughts without a pen and paper, putting it on paper actually makes the thought more concrete. Seeing it on paper immediately makes it a fact rather than simply an idea. I find that when I simply think of these issues instead of writing them down, I find myself thinking of the same things all day, even though I’ve concluded countless times on what it is that I’ve had to do. On the contrary, writing it down and closing my journal gives me a sense of closure, as if now, I have to move on, stop wondering and simply act.

It might be that sometimes; the feeling you have cannot be dealt with actions. In such cases, my journal stops being a planner and transforms itself into a diary. Instead of expecting myself to do things, I simply let go, pour my heart out, close the journal, and proceed with a little less weight on my shoulders.

 

http://faithlovebooks.blogspot.com/

http://faithlovebooks.blogspot.com/

Budgeting

As a college students, I’ve come to the realization that budgeting myself and keeping track of my finances can be pretty hard at times. New York is definitely an exciting city and the numerous activities, countless hours of window shopping, and parade of new restaurants make it difficult for me to set my priorities and decide where I wish to spend my money. Because of that, I keep a page in my journal dedicated to all the things I wish to do that week. Whether that is getting a new pair of pants or trying out a new restaurant, seeing my “wish list” on paper helps me easily choose my priorities and helps me understand how much money I have to put aside for each activity.

In addition to my wish list, I keep a tab on things I hadn’t expected which caused me to spend money I hadn’t planned. For example, my phone screen cracking on the first week of school.

 

Meal Planning

Meal Planning ties in with budgeting if you prepare your own food in school. I’m lucky enough to have an apartment with an equipped kitchen I love spending time it. This means that there are plenty of things I would love to make daily, making my trip to the grocery store quite an expensive one.

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To deal with my cooking ambitions, I have devised a journaling technique to keep me from spending too much, while keeping me interested in my cooking and my food.

More precisely, I go to the grocery store every Sunday night, give myself a budget and pick out a number of different ingredients I would like to eat that week. Then, I write all my ingredients in my journal and devise a weekly plan of what I will have for breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the week. All the while making sure that I use up all my ingredients during the week, as I do not allow myself to go to the grocery store again that week.

What I strive for is creating a meal plan that is both exciting for me to cook, time sufficient, budget friendly, and healthy.

 

Overall, keeping a journal can be a great way to organize your thoughts and your life. Of course, you can fill it up with a simple to-do list that you enjoy checking off every time you complete a task. However, as you have seen from above, I enjoy planning in my journal even more than that.

 

 

By Marina Theophanopoulou

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Marina Theophanopoulou is a Campus Clipper publishing intern who is studying Philosophy and Sociology as a junior at NYU. Passionate about healthy, food and wellness, Marina aspires to make others think of food in a more holistic way. For over 20 years, the Campus Clipper has been offering awesome student discounts in NYC,  from the East Side to Greenwich Village. Along with inspiration, the company offers students a special coupon booklet and the Official Student Guide, which encourage them to discover new places in the city and save money on food, clothing and services. 

At the Campus Clipper, not only do we help our interns learn new skills, make money, and create wonderful e-books, we give them a platform to teach others. Check our website for more student savings and watch our YouTube video showing off some of New York City’s finest students during the Welcome Week of 2015.

 

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