Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sweet Strawberry Salad

In college, it can be really difficult to get the nutrients you need on a daily basis. There are days when everything on your plate is of the same white, yellow, starchy color because nothing else is appealing or available to you. Personally, I will always have a plate of salad at dinner to complement the supplemental vitamins I take in the morning. Unfortunately at the dining hall, there are times I have to shove the lettuce down (or just toss it away) because the leaves are so soggy, which is probably the most repulsive thing I can imagine placing into my mouth. Salads are supposed to be crisp and vibrant, not sloppy!
In addition to being fresh, salads need variety. Whether with a work out regiment or meals, having diversity will help you stick to a healthy lifestyle. This is why I’ll switch up the ingredients in my salads and change up the dressings. There is nothing I won’t give a try. There have been times I’ve used salsa as my dressing to make an innovative taste to get the green stuff down.
Whether you are making salads at home, making them in dining hall salad bars, or are not sure even what the difference between mixed greens and iceberg lettuce is, the salad recipe I’m about to introduce you to will wake up your taste buds to a whole new form of salads. The first time I tried fruit in my salad, my taste buds exploded. Initially I thought, fruits and vegetables are not meant to go together. But restaurants everywhere have mandarin orange or other fruity salads, which transform the vegetables into an instrument that produce sweet, sweet music in your mouth. Adding strawberries to a salad with a light vinaigrette makes me want to sing “Mmmmmm!” And while I’m a vegetarian, I know many people who think that chicken is a great protein you can cut up and add to these fruit salads. 

  • 2 cups of halved strawberries
  • 6 cups of spinach, or any lettuce of your choice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • optional: skinless, boneless chicken breast slices
  • optional: 1/4 cup of toasted pecans (or slivers of toasted almond)
  • Dressing of your choice (but if you’re feeling ambitious, I’ve included a delicious citrus dressing at the bottom)

  1. Wash the leaves of the lettuce if not pre-washed and if you have a salad spinner, use it to dry off leaves well
  2. Add your strawberries, salt and pepper. Also add your chicken and/or nuts if you chose to include them.
  3. Add your dressing according to taste.

Citrus Dressing (makes 3/4 cup):
In a blender or food processor combine 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/3 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons canola oil, 2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (optional), 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan. Bring just to boiling. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep warm until needed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Whole Wheat Apple Spice Waffles

I’m a huge breakfast person. I always need to start my day with something remotely, well, breakfast-ish. Whether it be a piece of fruit, a bowl of oatmeal, or a big omelette covered in mozzarella cheese, my day cannot begin properly without the most important meal of the day. Just a couple months ago, I was staying in a hotel the day Mother Nature decided to blizzard outside. When we went downstairs to grab some breakfast at the hotel, I was told they had moved on to the lunch menu. Me being persistent, I drove out into the arctic weather and got as far as one mile before I pulled into a Wendy’s drive through to break down and cry. Mission failed.
I’m pretty consistent with my breakfast regiment, but it’s fun to change it up once or twice a week. That’s why I was eager to try this healthy, low-fat, whole-wheat apple spice waffle recipe (try saying that five times really fast). They’re great to make on a Sunday morning when you have free time to treat yourself to a delicious breakfast. While you need to invest in a cheap waffle iron, I’m sure you can try to be innovative and see how they turn out as pancakes (although I can’t guarantee success!).

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of Nutmeg and/or Allspice (optional)
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp applesauce
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup of apples (your choice)
  1. In a large bowl, mix together cornmeal, whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
  2. In a different bowl, mix together yogurt, cottage cheese, brown sugar, egg substitute, water, applesauce, and vanilla extract.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, while stirring in the apples.
  4. Bake in a waffle iron. If batter is too thick, add more water.
recipe credit to UK Food Network

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sesame Chicken Recipe (Baked, not Fried!)

So there I was, waking up in a Hampton Inn with the hotel telephone wakeup call blaring in my ear and my little grandmother snoring in the bed parallel to me. My parents and my grandma, who I endearingly call Mema, came to visit me for my sorority’s Parents Weekend. Conveniently enough, my roommate was waking up at 7 a.m. to run her first half-marathon (congrats Anneli!) so I kindly offered to sleep at the hotel. I mean seriously…a night not sleeping in my dorm bed? How generous of me.

I pulled the covers over me, reassuring my comfortable position in bed and pushed the cotton balls I had substituted for earplugs deeply into my ear canal. (It was the only way I could assure a relaxed sleep with no interruptions from my sleeping partner who snored like a 50-year-old man.)

Eventually, I got out the bed, got dressed in five minutes and proceeded to turn on the television. While my parents were getting ready, Mema and I watched Melissa d’Arabian on the Food Network show “Ten Dollar Dinners” prepare what seemed to be an ingenious meal. It was Sesame Chicken, yes the same type you get when you takeout Chinese food, but only cheaper and healthier! In this recipe, all of the ingredients seem so easy to gather from any supermarket and the best part (besides being cheap)? You bake the sesame chicken rather than fry it! Now a once in a while calorie splurge can be made in under a half-an-hour in the comfort of your kitchen! It’s such a simple recipe; I had to share it with you all.

(serves 4)
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, nearly thawed
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon sweet rice cooking wine (aji mirin), or white wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with wax paper or foil.
  2. After rinsing your chicken breasts, cut them into 1-inch cubs.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, orange marmalade, wine and crushed red pepper flakes.
  4. Toss in the chicken cubes and let it sit for at least 10 minutes to marinate. (It can be kept up to 8 hours in the fridge if you want to prepare this meal earlier in the day).
  5. In another bowl, mix together the flour and sesame seeds. Drain the chicken cubes of any excess liquid and toss them into the flour to coat lightly. Once coated, spread onto the baking sheet and drizzle with the melted butter.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, until the chicken is crispy, but not dried out. After the first 10 minutes, flip the chicken cubes over so both sides are cooked evenly.
  7. Serve with Rice for a complete meal!
Original recipe seen on the episode found here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Banana Boats

It’s the day I’ve been dreading for years: the day I turned 20.
“But it’s one year closer to being 21!!!”
No, just stop—I’m old. As I was celebrating with my friends Saturday night, I had continuous flash-forwards of the next decade of my life. Graduating college, the real world, having a 9-5 job, getting married, having kids?! Make it stop!
While growing up is a hard realization to some, particularly me, there are some perks. Birthdays give you a reason to make the day all about you. You get presents from friends, packages from relatives and get to be the life of the parties that weekend. But the best part to me, of course, is that calories don’t count on your birthday!! The cake, cookies and delicious food you eat if you go out to dinner are all a treat and shouldn’t be resisted on such a special day. But if you’re going to indulge on something, you might as well make it unique and delicious.
If you’ve never heard of a Banana Boat, I’m not surprised. A ripe banana is the main character of this recipe and the twist is slicing it open just enough to fill the inside with treats of your choice (chocolate chips, butterscotch, peanut butter chips, coconut shavings, anything!) In the summer, they are usually wrapped up in foil and put on the grill as a sweet dessert to a classic American BBQ, but for our convenience, they can be popped into the microwave and are equally as delicious.
Banana Boats!
(serves 1)
  • A banana
  • Delish treats (chocolate chips, marshmallows, etc.)

  1. Slit the banana lengthwise so one whole side of it shows.
  2. Stuff the banana with any combination of toppings you desire. If you need ideas, just go look at your dining hall’s ice cream topping selection.
  3. If making it on a grill, cover the banana in foil and grill with the cover on until the toppings get melty and gooey. But if using a microwave, place it on wax paper or a paper plate to prevent mess and heat on high for 45-60 seconds.
  4. Let it cool if too hot, and eat with a spoon!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Dorm Room Nibbles

I woke up with sore abs this morning, which was a painful, yet wonderful feeling. I'm got cardio down, but my ab workout was never sufficient enough. So yesterday I asked my roommate to show me some of her awesome ab workouts. Pain is gain, I guess!

Anyway, on another note...

I have a set list of foods I keep in my room for my disposal. As a college student, I know I don't get the proper nutrients I need on a daily basis, which is part of the reason I take multivitamins and have a fridge full to the brim of every food group.

Arnold Light Sliced Bread has cured my fear of sandwiches. It gives you a great serving of carbs and fiber without overloading.
Greek Yogurt is a staple for me, something I can grab as I'm running to class in the morning.     

I drink a TON of water. Crystal Light helps me stay hydrated throughout the day.

I usually drink a protein shake in the morning and I supplement it with So Delicious Coconut Milk. My favorite is the unsweetened version. While it has a distinctly different taste than cow milk, I barely notice the difference in my protein shakes. Plus its full of MCFA's (the good form of cholesterol).

These protein bars by Shaklee literally get me through the day. The blueberry almond is the newest and also my favorite bar :)

I always get hungry around 3pm-5pm and if I don't have some veggies (stolen from the dining hall of course), I am sure to pick up something unhealthy.

An apple a day keeps the tummy grumbles away. My obsession with this fruit has lead to me collecting them and placing them on my desk for an easy energy boosting snack.

Diet hot chocolate is probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. It's my late night craving savior.

Speaking of chocolate..Jello dark chocolate temptations mousse  are my favorite mini desserts-a great pick-me-up after writing a 10-page research paper.

What staple foods do you have in your rooms?

Intro to my Life

*Taps on mic* "Is this thing on?"
Okay, great.

So...welcome! I guess to start off, I'll tell you what I plan on doing here. I love to bake (and cook, but my sugar addiction is pretty well known) and this can be a place for me to share my successful experimentation with my taste buds. As of now I'm residing in a college dorm room, a quad of 4 insane sorority girls, so my access to a kitchen is nonexistent most of the time, but there's only one month left of college until I will be back to my daily regiment of stirring something up in the kitchen.

Besides for that, I'm just your typical northeastern college student. I work hard and I play hard. During the weeks my mind is completely focused on classes ( I play brick-breaker through some of them..but when am I ever going to utilize Earth Science 101?). But on weekends, I'm always searching for new adventures and life experiences..that is when I'm not trying to catch up on my zzz's. Life can get pretty crazy around here, but what better way to enjoy it than exploit it through the blog!

So that's probably enough about me for now, but I'll leave you with a few of my "favorites" so you can get to know me a little:

Dogs or Cats: kitties.
Favorite Candy: Starburst Jellybeans 
Childhood movie: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (DUH)
Breakfast, lunch or dinner?: BREAKFAST (but at lunch time)
Favorite food group: fruit
Color: Yellow
Favorite people: My family, my boyfriend Matt, my sorority sisters, my roommates, and all the wonderful friends I've met from all over the world. 

If your actually reading this still, I'd really love to get to know you as well, feel free to respond listing your "favorites" too! G'niteee.

xo, Lys