November 2, 2010
Living on campus sure has it’s perks. It’s hella convenient to get to classes because I’m smack dab in the middle of everything, I love my dorm, and I love feeling like I’m involved on campus. But it also sucks majorly. Maybe it’s the lack of parking for residents on campus, or perhaps it’s the overcrowded dorms and the fact that I now even wear shower shoes when I’m at home. You know, I don’t think those things are the worst. Living on campus would be just perfect if it wasn’t for one thing…
a required meal plan. Meals look like this:
We all know what that means. Burgers, fries, pizza, white pasta, and a salad bar with greens that have been out for far too long. Any vegetable in sight has been bastardized in one way or another: it’s creamed, mashed up with cheese or bacon or, to top it all off, has been deep fried. We don’t get much say in what’s available that day – what they’ve prepared is what you get.
So what’s a healthy college kid to do when they’re not craving fries and ice cream all day long? Here are my tips for healthy dining in an unhealthy dining facility.
1) Look for whole grains. Got a pasta bar? Then there should be whole wheat pasta somewhere. If not, request it! In fact, go on a whole wheat requesting spree. Ask for whole wheat bread and bagels for toast, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice.
2) If you’re going to have a salad, choose spinach over lettuce. Darker greens = more nutrients. Plus, they taste better.
3) If you go to the dining hall for breakfast and choose the make-your-own waffles or pancakes, bring your own maple syrup. I’m talkin’ 100% pure here, folks. Here’s a secret: the syrup the dining minions use is just sugar with flavorings, and is reused. How gross is that?!
4) See if there is a gluten-free section. In my dining hall, there is and generally I’ve found that gluten free cereals on offer are also vegan, whole grain, free of refined sugars, and are deeeeelish. That’s better than Lucky Charms.
5) Avoid going to the dessert or pizza bar every day. Sure, it’s great to enjoy these things if you want to, but just remember that moderation is key.
6) Get creative! Make a salad and then top it with vegetables from the hot bar, or get a whole wheat bagel and top it with veggies to make a sandwich. It might sound gross or weird, but the most delicious creations can be made if you think outside the box.
7) This is my most important tip: talk to the dining hall staff! Most of the time, they love to hear your feedback. They won’t know something is wrong unless you tell them. Don’t be afraid to say so. See if you can talk to the head of the staff, he or she is usually there during the day. Tell them you want more options, healthier fare, fresher fruit, etc. They will listen.
8 ) Drinking soda with your meal? Only fill your cup 3/4 full and top it up with water. The same goes for sugary drinks like punch or juice.
9) Whatever you decide to eat, put it on top of a bed of spinach or leafy greens. Yay for extra nutrients!
10) Don’t eat the meatloaf. Just don’t.
11) Keep healthy snackage in your room! Some days, you just don’t feel like going to the caf for dinner and I don’t blame you. Have fruits and vegetables (think bananas for snacks and potatoes for baking) as well as cereal, oatmeal, boxes of pasta, and frozen/canned vegetables.
Did/do you live and dine on campus? What are your tips for healthy eating when you’re not the one preparing the food?
October 12, 2010
Oh, how I love five day weekends. It’s the last 24 hours of fall break. This means it’s the last 24 hours of me procrastinating on studying for four, yes four, midterms that I have this week. I spent a good chunk of my weekend in Chapel Hill getting speeding tickets (those cops are sneaky as hell), being forced to watch Twilight (I hatehatehate those movies and books), stuffing my face with Mellow Mushroom pizza (hello, Daiya!) and last but certainly not least, going to Whole Foods for the first time in my life. Actually, I had a [rich] foodie’s dream day. I went to Earth Fare, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s all in the same day.
Sad speeding ticket face:
Yay for court dates.
I don’t even want to know how much this is going to cost me, between needing an attorney (I can’t make it as my court date is during a final exam) and the fact that I was going…well… let’s just say I was going a lot over the limit. But it will be okay in the end I know, so I’ve decided that I’m not going to let this affect me. After tweeting my speeding ticket anger away, Happy Whole Foods face ensued. But I’m a bad blogger and didn’t capture it. I realized as I walked into the store that I had forgotten my camera. Trust me, there was madness. I don’t know how I only spent $17, hot bar included. Oh God..the hot bar. Don’t even get me started. I had some of the banginest (that’s a word) tofu EVER. I am sad and happy that I don’t have a WH store back home. Happy because I’d never have any money, but sad because it’s Whole Foods, man.
I hope Heaven has a Whole Foods.
Other treats include Sweet and Sara marshmallows, a squeezie pack of Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butta (!!!), Daiya, and a sh!t ton of chocolate. I also purchased something I’ve had my eyes on for a while…
I’ve only heard praise for this stuff. With the nutritionals, it was no surprise. Lotsa protein and fiber and goodies inside. I’ve been using Trader Joe’s chalktastic soy protein powder for my green monsters, so it goes without saying that a change was welcome. I’ve also been avoiding cafeteria food like the plague, so a smoothie for lunch sounded delicious the other day.
Into the blender went 2 very ripe bananas, a dash of vanilla almond milk, ice ice baby, and Vega’s Vanilla Chai optimzer.
I really wish I could say I loved this. I want to say that it was an explosion of vanilla-y, banana-y goodness. All my favorite flavors were there, but something was off. I took about four sips before having to pour the rest down the sink. It was just so chalky! Maybe I did something wrong? I’ll give Vega another chance sometime, but not for a while. I’ve lost my faith in protein powders.
Have you ever had a run-in with the cops? When I was 16, I got pulled over for the first time for running a stop sign. I turned on the water works and got away with a warning. Also, what’s your favorite brand of protein powder?
September 7, 2010
Being in college has definitely made me a lazier person, especially when it comes to cleaning. Last year, I discovered that having an unmade bed is acceptable (shock! horror!) and that shirts can totally be worn multiple times…. just as long as they don’t smell. Of course, I’ve also learned a lot of other fancy stuff, not just academically. Allow me to share:
1) If you can go 3 weeks without doing laundry, either you’ve got a sh!t ton of underwear or you’re a sick, sick person.
2) However, if you can go 3 weeks without having to lug your trash to the dumpsters, you’re a champ.
3) It is perfectly okay to drink apple juice straight from the container if it saves having to wash a cup.
4) You shouldn’t feel guilty for picking up a quarter you find on the sidewalk. That’s laundry money!
5) Taking a tupperware to the Caf on hummus night (!!!) is perfectly fine. Just don’t let the worker minions see you.
On the other hand, I’ve learned something important! If you can get a job as a full time student, you’re lucky. If you can get a job that you love, you’re probably lying. But I’m not… I was fortunate enough to find a wonderful family that needed a nanny for their adorable 11 year old. My old RA, who transferred, recommended me to them and I was fortunate enough to land the job. I’ll just tell you this: I LOVE IT! I work 2-3 days a week, picking her up from school and driving her to dance class, then coming home afterward and tutoring her. And to think, I was nearly desperate enough to apply for a job at the library…
The only downside to the job is that I get back around 7 sometimes. And I eat at 6. Now, my tummy does not like to have a disrupted eating schedule, so I usually stash a Larabar or piece of fruit in my purse to tide me over until I get back on campus for dindins. Sometimes I go to the caf, and other times I realize I have a bag of spinach that needs to be used in my fridge.
There’s no way I’m letting that $4 sucker go to waste (Thanks for your expensive prices, Earth Fare >.<) so I decided to have some veggie POWA in my dinner today! This meal is pretty great for someone lazy busy like me who doesn’t want to spend a long time cooking after work and loves something easy yet healthy. You could probably feed this to your kids and trick them, too. Bwahaha. This isn’t really much of a recipe, just a “throw everything together,” kind of thing, but still. It’s tasty, and you don’t argue with tasty things.
It even says it’s tasty on the box. No arguing.
Easy Peasy Mac ‘n’ Chreese the College Way
You’re gonna need:
1 box of mac ‘n’ chreese
1 can of no-salt added vegetables
1 bag of spinach (preferably the kind that’s not on it’s way out)
A splash of unsweetened non-dairy milk
First, set your pot to boil with a drop or two of extra virgin olive oil just to make sure that nothing sticks to it. Doesn’t it suck when that happens? Once it’s boiling, cook your shells according to the box directions.
This stuff is great in a pinch!
When the pasta is alllllmost al dente (you have to say that in a Giada de Laurentiis accent, by the way. Overannunciate!), toss in your can o veggies so they can heat through.
Don’t judge me!
Then in the last 30 seconds or so, toss in all of your spinach. Remember, it looks like a lot when you put it into the water, but you only get a little in the end. It’s like a bag of chips. Half of it’s always air. >=(
Post drain-age, pour in your choice of non-dairy milk and the cheeze sauce. I like unsweetened or unsweetened vanilla because I usually add a ton of maple syrup to my cereal or oatmeal, so I don’t want to be on a mega sugar high from syrup + almond milk.
I drink this shiz straight up, yo.
Don’t be alarmed by my man-hands. Or the look of the cheeze sauce.
In the end, you’ll get this pile of wonder!
I like to top mine with a bunch of dried basil and oregano.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot the last epic college discovery!
Putting leftovers in a plastic cup is Classy with a capital C.
What’s your favorite college memory?
August 1, 2010
Birthdays are fun. Especially when they involve raw vegan restaurants, chocolate, and cupcakes.
This will be a post of few words but of many pictures..mostly because I’m exhausted as I type this…and I know y’all just want the food porn.
Did not disappoint!
Luna’s Living Kitchen was previously a pure vegetarian restaurant. I was devastated when they shut down a few months ago – so when I found out that they re-opened you KNOW I had to pay them a visit. Very much improved – everything on the menu was vegan and raw!
Raw zucchini spaghetti with mushrooms and pesto.
Sissy and Mum got the sprouted quinoa and kamut burger.
At one point, my carnivorous counterpart said “OHEMGEE this is SO good. It’s amazing!” Yep. Future vegan.
Go ahead and drool.
Or do what I did, and try to lick up all the drippy parts. So worth it.
El Luchador: banana, peanut, hemp milk, hemp protein, raw cacao, agave. Oh yeah, and bliss.
Next up: vegan cupcakes.
After reading about these babies on Caitlin’s blog, I knew I just had to find ‘em.
This display was beautiful!
Vanilla cupcakes with raspberry and chocolate frosting.
Eh. I wasn’t crazy about this cupcake. For $2.75, it wasn’t super expensive but it wasn’t a fantastic deal either. The Boston cupcake (AKA best in da world) was $3.50 but double the size and less oily.
This vanilla cupcake sure was moist, but that was because I’m betting there was a ton’o vegetable oil in there. I know cuppycakes aren’t supposed to be healthy and all, but I don’t like when they’re just plain old greasy. The frosting was a bit of a disappointed, too. Upon first tasting it, I didn’t think it tasted like much at all. It was kind of bland. And then I noticed the texture. It was chewy, mushy, almost like eating jam? I can’t really describe it – it made me wonder if there was gelatin in it, though.
I’ll give it a C+ but an A for effort. After all, being able to get vegan cupcakes in the dirty dirty is pretty freakin awesome.
All in all, today was purdy darn good. Food, gifties, and family time.
Oh yeah… and chocolate.
What’s the best birthday you’ve ever had?
July 21, 2010
There’s a giveaway in this post!
On our second (and last) day in NYC, I was persuasive lucky enough to get to visit One Lucky Duck, the takeaway shop attached to Pure Food & Wine.. Do a Google search for “vegan food in NYC” and I can guarantee you One Lucky Duck will be on the top five places listed, along with Babycakes vegan bakery. Admittedly, One Lucky Duck wasn’t first on my list. Babycakes NYC was…because let’s face it, I hadn’t had a legit cupcake in the longest time and I was jonesing for a refined sugar free high. It’s hard to make good vegan cupcakes.
When we realized that Babycakes was 3.66 miles away from the hotel we were staying at (and I couldn’t make Roomie and her mum walk over 7 miles for vegan food), I looked up where One Lucky Duck was. 1.2 miles? Right on. 1.2 miles in the heat? Major suckage. By the end of our trip there, my jeans were stuck to my legs like jeggings (what the heck are those things all about?!?) and I could feel the sweat dripping down my back. My feet were aching (by this time, we had walked over a marathon distance as well as running at ze gym) and I knew blisters were well on their way.
But it was worth it. Soooo worth it.
The menu was so intense. I wanted it all.
The first thing I noticed when I walked inside was the super chill atmosphere. There was some music playing in the background – perhaps The Decemberists – and the decor was abso-freaking-lutely adorable. One wall, painted red, had pictures of ducks and stringed lights hanging from the ceiling. I took a picture, but it ended up blurry. Sad times.
The other wall, however, was full of DELICIOUSness.
O hai, Roomie!
These little pouches of goodness are worth the ridiculously expensive prices. Seriously… despite the fact that I spent $25 on an epic smoothie, cookies, and crispies. But you’re paying for amazing quality. Everything in the shop is raw, vegan, gluten and refined sugar free, and it’s also organic. And orgasmic.
On to the eats!
This little treat was so tasty, I couldn’t stop sipping it. I was surprised I made it out the door with a fifth left in the cup. The first thing that hit me when I took that glorious first sip was bananas and then a hit of cinnamon. I think they put a loaf of banana bread into the vitamix. It was frothy, rich, creamy, and just how a milkshake should be. On such a hot day, it didn’t leave me with an overly sweet mouth and desperate for a sip of water.
I was also surprised that the chocolate crispies that I bought lasted the train ride to Boston. They made the four hours of reading about Hitler and the Cold war soooo much better. These crispies are intended to go in cereal, kind of like raw cocoa pops, but there was no way these babies were going to make it another week – I had a long arse train ride as well as a trip on a plane to make it through. I needed these.
Organic buckwheat, organic maple syrup, organic maple powder, organic cocoa powder, organic vanilla extract, Himalayan crystal salt.
What?! Where’d they put the crack? Cause these things are good eats… even if they weren’t cereal-ized.
Which is why this demolition happened approximately two hours later in the hotel room…They lasted a whole 8 hours!
One Lucky Duck luckily, I still had something chocolate-y and fantastic up my sleeve.
Chocolate chip heroin cookies.
(seriously, why do I keep adding addictive substances to these cookies?! They must have put ‘em in there, how can something raw taste so great?)
These adorable heart-shaped cookies were fantastic. Phenomenal. “Fantasmagasmic,” as Roomie says.
I wish I could tell you guys how much I loved this place. But I just can’t put it into words. I now understand why One Lucky Duck is a must. Why it’s on so many vegan websites, featured in magazines, and why it’s so well known. I understand why people can “do” raw food without missing things like cookies, chocolate cereal, and ice cream.
Sarma, you are a goddess.
So do you want to be a lucky duck too?! Well read on, my friends! That’s right, I’m hosting a GIVEAWAY!
One Lucky Duck Gift Card
One lucky duck reader is going to receive a $10 gift card to One Lucky Duck’s online store, sent straight to their e-mail address. With those ten buckaroos, they can get some [help in buying] fantabulous snacks, great books, or wonderful body products. We’re talking macaroons, chocolate bars, cookies, chocolate truffle butter (!!!!), and *Atisana* products. You do not want to miss out on this, take it from me. The best part is that the heroes at One Lucky Duck will ship their store products worldwide, so this contest is open to everyone and anyone!
How to enter:
1.) Leave a comment on here telling me your best restaurant experience and why. Or bribe me with chocolate.
2.) Tweet about this and let me know. (You can follow me on twitter @southernbritish)
3.) For an extra entry, link to this on your blog and post that in your comment, too!
You will automatically win if you buy me chocolate.*
I will randomly pick a winner one week from today.
Good luck, ducklings!
July 11, 2010
You know who is a cool bean (and currently my desktop AND cell phone wallpaper)? Michael Bublé. You guys know I was heading to his concert last night, and I’ve gotta say, it did NOT disappoint.. even though some 15 hardcore fans and yours truly waited outside the gate for him for 2 hours after his show and he simply drove past without stopping to sign things. But I did meet some of his band members… and they may or may not have invited me to go to the bar with them. Michael is forgiven for not saying hello on account of his FACE.
Case in point:
He also did his own take on Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. I’d post the video on here but my girly screams are a bit distracting.
Speaking of beans, I’ve also become obsessed with a fairly awesome one recently: the Adzuki (or aduki) bean. Never heard of it? It’s pronounced a-dookie bean. Say it in front of a kid and they’ll think you’re epic. It comes all the way from China, but it’s popular in Japan and is becoming popular here in the US. So it’s kind of like the Utada Hikaru… but in bean form. You can find it (the bean, not Utada) at a specialty grocer’s like Earth Fare or at any Asian market.
Aww, isn’t he cute? But don’t be fooled. This tiny little guy packs a flavor and nutritional punch. It’ll hit you with:
- B vitamins
- Yummy taste!
Gillian McKeith, a nutritionist back home in the UK says that the aduki bean is “the weight loss bean” because it is very low in calories but it is supa high in fiber and protein, which help you stay fuller for longer. She’s also obsessed with looking at people’s poos (no, seriously… she does and it’s disturbing) and says that the bean “acts as a natural diuretic to relieve the body of excess fluids. It also removes unwanted mucus, congestion and stools, and balances metabolism for weight management.” The fiber in adzuki beans is soluble fiber, which helps remove LDL, or “bad” cholesterol.
These suckers are a great and complete protein when paired with a whole grain, like brown jasmine rice. Eat it with chopsticks, listen to Utada Hikaru, and you can pretend like you’re really in Japan. I may or may not have done that a few times.
You can get these lovelies both dried and in cans.
If you go the dried route, soak them in water overnight or even use a pressure cooker or crock pot to cook them through.
If you buy ‘em in a can, make sure they have no salt or sugar added, and do your best to find organic.
Oh.. and a word of advice. When you introduce these little joys into your diet, make sure you take it slowly. Otherwise you might have, in the words of Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, a “mudslide in your pants.”
So there you have it. Two cool beans. And Gillian McKeith. But she’s a nut.
PS, wanna win a cookbook from Mama Pea? Click here!
PPS, do you want to win 5 freeee bags of Food Should Taste Good chips? Clickity click here!
PPPS, do you like pressing tofu? You could win a tofuXpress, so click here!
If I were to host a giveaway, what would you guys want?
July 10, 2010
There are a lot of things in life that I look forward to. One is getting married (I would like to apologize in advance to whoever my poor future husband is… and my father will want to know: check or cash?). Bridal registries excite me. I think it’s the idea of being able to go into a store and create a giant list of silly things that I’d love to have but never buy for myself.
Or maybe I’d put this on my list:
Because everyone needs the latest headlines printed on their toilet paper.
I know I’d have to ask for this.
I have a sneaky feeling that my husband would totally try to steal all my tofu.
But I think number one on my list would have to be this little gem.
Of course, I would also take the opportunity of having a registry to ask for things I actually would put to good use in my house. The whole list wouldn’t be a joke, just the majority of it.
Because if there’s one thing I actually would want and use on a regular basis, it’s this beauty.
That’s a legit panini press. I’d ask for this because I would be able to make what I had for breakfast today, but it would be approximately 239480394x better.
The Best Breakfast Sandwich You’ll Ever Have
2 slices of cinnamon raisin bread (I like Ezekiel brand)
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 t maple syrup
Simply spread some PB on your bread (I used both cinnamon raisin bread and peanut butter in keeping with the theme of deliciousness) and put some banana slices on top of it. Make sure they stick! Top the slices with a little bit of maple syrup, and then slap that sucker onto a panini press… or in my case, an ancient sandwich maker.
Just a side note: make sure you grease/spray that bad boy.
Let your sammich cook for about five minutes, until the banana inside has warmed through and melted, and your bread is nice and toasty. The end result should be THIS epic beast on your plate:
I can’t believe how tasty this was. It was a good change from the usual cereal. I had a lot of fun composing my mental registry list while I ate.
The last thing on my list would be..
Pretend the above steak is actually poor, innocent husband’s booty.
Only not really.
Future husband, whoever you are… you have been warned.
July 1, 2010
…is I’m not the only one!
Last night, I met up with Jen, Kelly, Katie, Jessie, Tiffany, and Brittney. This was actually my first eva blog meetup (!), so I was kind of nervous. Confession: I arrived mega early and sat in my car, kind of lurking and being an all around creeper, waiting to get out of the car until five before 7, our designated meeting time. I didn’t want to have to sit outside awkwardly for fifteen minutes. I’m always super early for stuff.
We decided to meet up at a legit new burger bar called Big Daddy’s.
This place is very new (they have 2 locations) and very popular. The menu was pretty darn awesome. From regular burgers to turkey burgers to a phenomenal black bean burger (more on that in a minute!), there were so many options. You could really choose anything you want, because you have the option to build your own burger or salad from scratch and customize everything from the bread to the toppings.
Half of me wanted to have a black bean burger and the other half of me realllly wanted a salad. So I compromised and ordered this:
Sorry for the poor quality shot. Dim lighting/high ISO setting. :c
It was epic to, for once, not be the only person taking pictures of their food. Love.
I had strawberries, cucumbers, avocado, and chickpeas on a bed of spinach, topped with a black bean burger. This salad was so delish and so gigantic I couldn’t even finish it. Don’t be fooled by my picture, this was the large sized salad – and when Big Daddy says large, he means large. And he wasn’t stingy with the toppings either! The star of the meal was easily the black bean burger. Everyone at the table who ordered it was raving about the epic deliciousness going on. Crunchy and crisp on the outside, yet soft and warm on the inside, with visible black beans and corn in the burger. This was without a doubt the best black bean burger I’ve ever had! It was probably fried or cooked in some manner that I would disapprove of to get that crunch, but I’m a-ok with that. The salad part cancels out the fried bits, right?
We stayed and chatted for a while after we’d eaten, and I really had a lot of fun getting to know these beautiful ladies!
I’m really good at hiding behind people and looking like a mega creeper in pictures.
Kelly, Tiffany, Brittney, Jen, Jessie, yours truly, and Katie!
All in all, I had a fantabulous night and I can’t wait to see everyone again!
And now I am off to do what I do best…… read in bed.
But if I do what I’m even better at, I’ll fall asleep in the above position.
And dream about black bean burgers.
June 25, 2010
…trips to Trader Joe’s…
Follow me @ southernbritish !
Creamy Tomato Soup
2 lbs of tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, diced (use the leafy green bit!)
1 can of no-salt added White Tuscan beans (or any other soft bean)
1 can of coconut milk
1 cup vegetable broth
S&P to taste
1 cup basil, packed
Saute your onion and add in the garlic. You know how to make soup. In goes the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. Let them cook down and then add in your tomatoes, about three quarters of your basil, and the beans. After those have cooked for just a few minutes, toss in your coconut milk and vegetable broth. Let your soup simmer for about an hour, until the beans are very soft and easily fall apart.
Once your soup has cooled, you can put it in a blender and cream it up. You could also use an immersion blender right in your pot, if you have one.
Garnish with the rest of your basil and a little bit more coconut milk if your little heart desires.
T is also for…
Sweet potato cheetahs, inspired by the fabulous Kailey!
Sweet potato cheetahs are for reals the best thing eva.
Just take a sweet potato, slice it into half moons. Sprinkle it with S&P and whatever seasonings you like. I use basil for savory and maple syrup and cinnamon for sweet. Spray with non-stick (or use oil) and roast in your oven for about 45 minutes, or until cheetah-ish. I put mine under the broiler for the last few minutes to get them extra crispy.
and, most importantly, T is TGIF!
How did you spend your Friday?
June 25, 2010
Okay, not a real monster… a GREEN monster!
Lookin’ classy in a wine glass.
These have been floating around the blogosphere for a supa long time, and I finally decided to try a Green Monster last December because I saw a picture of it on Caitlin’s blog and she swore you would only taste the banana and not the spinach.
I’ve never looked back.
2 cups baby spinach, packed
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
1 scoop peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
Whizzed up with ice ice, baby in the blender until smoothie like.
How do you make your Green Monsters?
Also – I’m in search of some protein powder, does anyone have any suggestions? I’m partial to vanilla. : )