pop-tarts no more.

Snacking in college is unavoidable. It often takes the place of meals and plays a large role in our study and free time. The least we can do is choose wisely when it comes to this. My roommate and I have cut back a lot on processed snacks, unlike last year, when every Pop-Tart flavor was on display on our bookshelf.

A new favorite of ours is hummus…

Best Basic Hummus

A main ingredient to this delicious spread is chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. These beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber, all while keeping our cholesterol levels low (see all of the health benefits here). Another bonus to this snack is that it is served on our very own campus! They have it in the caf for lunch and dinner everyday, along with pita bread, carrots, celery sticks, and grape tomatoes, all great options to eat with the hummus. It was recently put in the pub as part of our meal exchanges as well, served with pita bread, carrots, and celery sticks.

This is just one tasty alternative to snacking as a college student- it can be as easy as apple slices and peanut butter. See some more favorites here.

Currently craving: a chocolate frosty from Wendy’s (there are two locations right down the road- help me).

straight off the vine.

Friday night’s dinner centered around fresh, homegrown tomatoes from my friend Kate’s garden. We decided to get a break from campus meals and cook our own in her kitchen with a few friends. We had to alternate some ingredients to work around two friends who have to stick to a gluten-free diet, very basic, but still tasted delicious for them too!

Easy Chicken Parmesan was the main dish, served with spinach salad and bruschetta on the side.

With our chicken, we chose a recipe without breadcrumbs and used whole grain penne pasta instead of standard spaghetti noodles (nutrition info here). For our gluten-free friends, we used organic black bean noodles.

foodstyling3The spinach salad consisted of grape tomatoes, one lemon, and an oil and vinegar dressing. We zested and juiced our lemon for a fresher and lighter taste (see here).

Bruschetta was a last-minute idea after we realized how many tomatoes were left over… After mixing together diced tomatoes and onion, virgin olive oil, and basil, we put it over toasted gluten-free bread and a slice of mozzarella cheese (leftover from what was grated for the chicken parmesan), finishing it with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Between the six of us, this entire meal cost $8.00 each. Definitely worth it for this tasty dish and fun memories!

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Currently craving: a nice big bowl of Frosted Flakes.

three slices of pizza please.

Cooking has always been a favorite pastime for me, especially when I am back at home with a mom who can cook without a recipe. It’s a simple joy really, to gather up the ingredients, put some music on, and just create something in a matter of minutes. Easier said than done, I know, but there is nothing wrong with taking your time and following along with a recipe, step-by-step, until your finished product is something that you can indulge in. For me, I do not just look at food as a form of nourishment, but an art as well. I love being able to test out different flavors and mix up some spices and come up with a concoction all on my own.

Being away from the great state of Arizona, it was a bit tough to adjust to eating cafeteria food for most of my meals. For all who know me, my stomach is on a timer and meal time is one of my favorite times. This being my second year in Ohio, I was determined to eat healthier and still enjoy what I am putting in my mouth. So far, I have tried my best to eat at our wrap and salad station and coffee shop and only go to the caf if necessary. When I do go there, I make sure to stay away from all fried foods and try to involve any veggies, fruits, and grilled items into my meal if possible. There is the occasional slippage and I will have that one slice of greasy, heavenly goodness known as pizza (let’s be honest, more like three slices), but I’m still learning. I’ve been religiously eating hummus and pita bread, grilled chicken, and caesar salad lately so I’d say we’re making progress…

Follow me as I explore the ins and outs of caf food and attempt to drink coffee in moderation!

Currently craving: an In-N-Out burger (only you West-coasters would understand).