Finding a new home after leaving the oppression

In the midst of a religious revolution in Iran, Nadia Rassouli and her family made the decision to leave the country and come to the United States.

What she did not expect when coming to the United States was how diverse and inclusive her new home would be.

Rassouli talked about how not living in fear of oppression was the catalyst for the move and how it was not a hard decision to leave because of that.

Today, Rassouli lives in Walnut Creek, California with her husband and two daughters, the Bay Area is now her home.

The Bay Area is known for its diverse people and a mosaic of traditions.

Asking Rassouli how she feels living here she said, “Living here I am so grateful for because I do not have to be afraid because there are so many diverse people everywhere I look.”

According to San Francisco Bay Area state of the region, “As the region grows, it continues to become more diverse.” The Bay Area is ever-growing and the mix of these different types of people is what makes it so unique.

When Rassouli originally had moved to the United States, she said that no one really knew about Iran until the Iranian hostage crisis.

The Iran hostage crisis was the longest hostage crisis to date, holding 52 Americans for 444 days.

Even after the crisis Rassouli still felt like she was at home, at peace here in the Bay Area.

Even her daughter, Ariana Rassouli, who feels the same way, said, “As a child of immigrants I constantly consider that our family really could have ended up anywhere in the whole world and I am so grateful that the bay area is where we ended up…we have never been discriminated against here (the Bay Area) but only looked at as interesting for being as interesting for being different than most.”

Even though Nadia calls Walnut Creek her home now,  one way she hopes to preserve her Iranian culture and pass it down is through food, specifically with her daughters.

“Food is one of the best ways to pass down my culture and spread it through them and I hope one day they will pass it down to their families,” said Rassouli.

How students deal with ballin on a budget

All you hear about college students these days is that they are broke and hungry. A handful of students even have to pay for their own groceries. Juggling a full time student schedule whilst paying for your own groceries seems like a daunting task. Imagine the stress and the pressure placed on the student while still trying to maintain good grades.

Not everyone can be fortunate to have their parents pay for their own groceries. The average college student spends around $200 dollars a month on groceries, for students that have to pay that off themselves that can be a burden. Not to mention that student debt is constantly rising while college students are using credit cards to pay  off their food every month.

Hear more about how Cal Poly third year student, Tayler Davi juggles this task and even how she has learned some useful skills during this time.

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The search for the perfect pumpkin spice latte (college style)

Since the minute October first hit, pumpkin season has been upon us. Everywhere you look you see pumpkin bread, pumpkin ice cream and the most staple item of them all: pumpkin spice lattes.

As a college student, I struggle constantly with the will I, won’t I, debate in gorging myself with all things pumpkin.

The most coveted pumpkin item being the pumpkin spiced latte or psl as some people call it. This year my goal was to find a way to make that P.S.L. affordable while still getting my fix of that pumpkin goodness.

Lets hit the grocery store!

As I did my research I found this recipe from Inspired Taste, which looked affordable and easy to re-create. I gathered my supplies which in total cost $10.03 because I already had the milk coffee and sugar and I opted out of using whipped cream. The majority of these items you will probably have in your household so it should not cost that much extra.

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All the ingredients you need to make the PSL– starbucks originally changed their recipe to include natural flavors

For comparison, a grande pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks cost around $5.05 for just one drink. At the store, you can also buy a jug of their pre-made PSL which contains about eight cups for $4.99. That was not cheap enough for me I had to go further.

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Straight from the store PSL, this drink has reached cult status nation wide and can be found in many grocery stores

When asking Starbucks employee, Andrew Tognolini, about why he thinks the pumpkin spiced latte is so popular at the chain. He said, “I’d say its popularity initially grew because it tasted good and was limited to the fall season so it was something for people to look forward to that signaled the start of the holidays…the drink had reached a cult status: the PSL became synonymous with Starbucks as a brand.”

Heating up in the kitchen

Making the recipe was fairly easy, all you had to do was whisk in all the ingredients and call it a day. I do recommend using only 1 tbsp of sugar and use brown sugar to make it a little healthier as well as cut down the sweetness.

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The verdict

When I was done making it I handed two cups of it out as people walked by my house and asked them how it was. Madi Krasny, a junior graphic communication major at cal poly, said, “It is really yummy I actually prefer it to the Starbucks version because it is a lot less sweet but you still get the pumpkin taste.”

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Now the main question is: Is it worth it? In my opinion, I believe it is worth it because for at most $15 dollars you can make two cups at a time and have enough for many many cups afterward. I even think it could last you a week which gets you to almost two dollars a cup.

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The infamous pumpkin spice atop the latte

Final Thoughts

Overall, the pumpkin spiced trend is one of my favorites and no one should have to skip out on the season. If you are like me and addicted to everything pumpkin here is one of my absolute favorite cookie recipes that is affordable as well. As the season comes to an end remember to immerse yourself in everything pumpkin while still maintaining that budget lifestyle.

 

 

 

Produce breaking the bank? Try your local farmers market

Getting those leafy greens at the store can add up to cost quite a bit of money. Not many students know that you can get some of those farm to table products all at your local farmers market for less than the price at the grocery store.

Many vendors sell their produce at better prices and have higher quality produce.  Trisha Righetti, from a San Luis Obispo avocado stand, says, “You are going to get smaller and lower quality in the stores and its all imported.”

This booth at the farmers market was selling these ripe avocados for one dollar. Sometimes even giving them away for 25 cents.

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At Trader Joes, you can get six tiny avocados which are not ripe and advertised as “teeny tiny” for $2.99.

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Comparing the prices the better deal is the farmers market not only because of the price but because of the quality.

When looking at broccoli, the farmer’s price was $1.50 a bunch.IMG_5497

At Trader Joes, it was $2.79 for a bag which equals to almost the same amount as the bunch at farmers.

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Although many people are fans of the local aspect and price differences at farmers markets some people tend to disagree with this idea and believe the stores are cheaper.

Others believe that the farmers market can be a toss-up and that it is complicated.

In general, shopping for produce in college while maintaining a budget is hard. Being able to find the right prices for the right amount can be tricky for the average student.

A good way to try and figure out all the madness is to compare your staple grocery store and then head to the farmers market and investigate their prices. From there it should be fairly easy to figure out. You can also find some more tips here

To check out your local farmers market, students in San Luis Obispo can find it every Thursday from 6-9 p.m. with many booths available for produce shopping.

 

Would you cut carbs for cauliflower?

IMG_5382.JPG  From cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower rice to cauliflower bread. Now hitting the shelves is cauliflower gnocchi. This new trend is taking the food world by a storm and can be a great substitute for your beloved carb fix with half the carbs involved.

Some cauliflower substitutes can be deceiving because they advertise being a healthy alternative but some cauliflower products have almost the same amount of carbs as the real thing. If you carefully read the nutrition facts on these products then you can find the right product for you. This cauliflower gnocchi really cuts the carbs in half coming in at 22 grams of carbs and 140 calories per serving compared to the regular gnocchi at 54 grams of carbs and 240 calories per serving. Which is a great alternative while still maintaining that doughy pasta flavor we have all come to love.

The best way to cook it is microwaving it for the recommended time and sautéing it in a pan. Once done you can add your sauce of choice and protein to make it a well balanced meal. It can be as simple or as complex as you want while still maintaining a satisfying meal. Along with being healthy it is also affordable, in total the cost was about nine dollars. Cheap, healthy and delicious!

In a world full of people trying to find the next health craze, cauliflower substitution is on the rise. Nutrition major Brittnay Manz said, “This substitution is actually really beneficial for you because you are getting your carbs cravings satisfied but at the same time you are getting in your vegetables.” With that said this new trend is taking off, sites like Buzzfeed are giving users new creative ways on how to use the vegetable. Student blogs too are giving substitutions as well. Now not all cauliflower substitutes may be the best but I certainly advise you to give this one a shot!