When HollieEatsLipstick on YouTube mentioned the new Spring/Valentine’s Day REVO lip balm collection had been released, I went out on a mission to find them. She found hers at Walgreens but either mine hadn’t yet received a shipment or they’d completely sold out of them already. Luckily, I was able to locate the collection at Duane Reade.
I believe there are four different scents available in the Valentine’s Day collection but I only purchased Chocolate Covered Strawberry and Marshmallow Creme based on Hollie’s recommendation. According to Hollie, these two are the most strongly scented in the collection and the other two are subtler. This will be my first time trying a REVO balm so I figured I should probably go all out and get the strongest fragrances. I never cared for the similarly shaped EOS lip balms but Hollie always raves about the REVOs and says they’re way better, so I’m really looking forward to trying them out.
They were $2.99 each or 2/$5.
A little while ago I mentioned being totally in love with the Belgian chocolate bars available at Trader Joe’s, the ones that come three in a pack for $1.79. Those are still really yummy but I’ve since discovered their humongous Pound Plus chocolate bars. Same delicious, creamy smooth Belgian chocolate but way bigger for a great price.
When I say humongous I mean it! Check out how much bigger the Pound Plus bar (17.6 oz) is compared to one of their regular chocolate bars (1.4 oz).
And here’s how the monster looks in my hand. Huge!!
Remember how I was disappointed that the smaller bars don’t come in a milk chocolate with almond variety, only a dark chocolate with almond? Well, the Pound Plus bars does come in a milk chocolate with almond flavor and it has so many nuts! Whole roasted nuts too! Yum!! [Note: I tried the smaller Dark Chocolate with Almond flavor and if you’re a nut lover, you’ll be disappointed. Instead of whole almonds or even almond slices or slivers, what you get crushed nut bits and that’s thoroughly unsatisfying.]
The Pound Plus Bars, which also come in dark chocolate and plain milk chocolate varieties, cost $4.99 and are totally worth it in my opinion. Go get yourself some!
The only downside is it’s not easy to break a piece of chocolate off by hand. You really need a big cleaver or knife to chop a piece off. I like to chop all of the pieces up into squares at once and store them in a container in the fridge. It’s a time saver and easier than trying to cut off one piece at at time each time you want some chocolate.
I was at a Chinese grocery store and spotted some new brands and flavors of instant noodles. I’m not really much of a noodle person — I prefer grains and bread more — but whenever I spot a new type of ramen I have to try it.
The Beef flavor and Sour & Spicy flavor are both value packs containing five individual bags of noodles apiece. Each value pack cost $2.99.
I was stoked to find the Ibumie Penang HarMee Goreng. For years the only Malaysian-style instant noodles available in my area have been the ones by Indomie so it’ll be nice to compare the two brands to see which one I prefer. Have I mentioned that I’ve rediscovered my love for Malaysian food lately? For awhile I was craving laksa and nasi lemak everyday. Not the healthiest foods but so delicious. Anyway, the Ibumie noodles were on sale 2/$4.50.
I also spotted the Vedan Hot Beef flavor noodles which I’ve never seen or tasted before so I had to get it. It was $0.59. I remember liking their beef pho flavor years ago so hopefully this will be just as tasty.
I also bought about five pounds of fresh arrowroot to make chips. If you’ve never tried arrowroot chips, you’re missing out because they’re so good. If you love potato chips, sweet potato chips, beet chips, taro chips, Terra chips, etc., then I’m sure you’ll love arrowroot chips.
Arrowroot is a type of small, starchy tuber/bulb about the size of a shallot or small onion. It’s also gluten-free. Most people, especially if you’re on a gluten-free diet, are probably familiar with arrowroot starch for cooking.
To make arrowroot chips, simply peel the outer layer off with a vegetable peeler or knife, then slice them thinly by hand or use a mandolin slicer. I leave the stem on as a “handle” to hold onto because it makes the slicing easier and discard it when the cutting’s done. Working in small batches, deep fry the sliced arrowroot in oil until golden brown and crisp, then sprinkle lightly with salt to taste.
Prior to frying, I recommend soaking the sliced arrowroot in water to remove excess starch. In a bowl, cover the slice arrowroot with enough water and let that sit for about an hour; the extra starch will leach out from the arrowroot and sink to bottom of the bowl. Afterward, drain the water, rinse the arrowroot and blot them really well with some towels because the last thing you want is to fry wet chips (dangerous!). Removing the excess starch will ensure crispier chips.
I also suggest double frying the chips to get them the crispiest because sometimes frying only once results in soggy chips. [I think the same can be said of homemade French fries. Double frying is always best.] For the first round of frying I deep fry the arrowroot until they’re just starting to get golden yellow around the edges. Then I set that batch aside to drain on paper towels while I work on frying a second batch of uncooked arrowroot. Later on I’ll come back to the first batch for a second round of frying and deep fry the arrowroot until they’re a deeper golden color.
I’ve also developed an interest in vegan/vegetarian cooking from watching Shannon Sullivan and makeupTIA’s videos on YouTube so I borrowed some books on the subject from the library. I’m a true omnivore and I love dairy, meat and seafood too much to ever give them up but I love grains and vegetables too and I’m always on the lookout for new recipe inspirations.
I’ve gone vegan/vegetarian for a few weeks at a time before, not for any health or ethical reasons but simply because I had a craving for more veggies or specific vegetarian dishes at the time. But without fail I eventually start craving meat or cheese again so I always go back. It just depends on what mood I’m in. What I can say is there’s never a meal where I go without any vegetable and some form of grain. I think it helps that I’m Chinese because I’m used to eating different grains, soy, wheat gluten and meat substitutes, so going meat-free isn’t as jarring. I think the same can be said for most people who are Asian (Indian, Southeast Asian, Japanese, Korean, etc.) because our diets aren’t as meat-centric as Western diets.
I have another 10 vegan cookbooks on request from the library, so I’m waiting for those to arrive. Maybe I’ll do a blog post eventually about all the cookbooks and which I’d recommend from the perspective of an omnivore who wants to transition to a more plant-based diet.