Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cute Christmas Cookies

One post with two recipes? Yup, that's what this is. It's Christmas time, which means time for lots and lots and lots of cookies. Last year I made over 500 cookies in just the week of Christmas. This year I didn't make quite that many, but I still made plenty enough to share with you.

Cookie Number One: Sugar Cookies
The first recipe is for sugar cookies. I borrowed this recipe from Our Best Bites, and man they were delicious. My mom and I attempted to make icing but somehow ruined it, so the cookies remained plain and undecorated but even so the sugar cookies tasted quite delicious. I'm so grateful to have found this wonderful recipe. I shall never use another sugar cookie recipe again...especially since it only had an hour of chilling time, compared to the couple hours needed for my other standby recipe.

1 cup of real butter (2 sticks)
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (or almond, though I used all of my almond up making macaroons the other day)
3 cups of flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt

First cream the softened butter and sugar together for about 2 minutes, using an electric mixer.
Next, add the egg and extract and mix thoroughly.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly. It will end up tasting so delicious...but unless you're doubling the recipe, try your best to avoid eating all the dough.
Now, cover the bowl with press and seal wrap or similar plastic covering. Then place it in the fridge to chill for an hour. (There's another trick for this step, but I didn't get a chance to try it that way).
When it's chilled, take the dough out of the fridge. If the dough is too crumbly, you probably measured something incorrectly but you can fix it by adding a bit of water. Don't add too much, though.
Now, roll it on a floured surface (using a rolling pin that has also been floured). Make shapes using cookie cutters and place them on greased cookie sheets.
Finally, bake for about 8 minutes at 350 degrees.

These ended up tasting so delicious. I will save this recipe and use it every time I need to make cookies. mmmmmm

Cookie Number 2: Peanut Butter Cookies
The second type of cookie is peanut butter cookies. I saw the design idea on Pinterest (which is a wonderful site if you haven't already visited it). I must be honest, I cheated. I used a pre-made package by Betty Crocker. But, for these cookies the point was to make them very cute. Which, if I do say so myself, I did manage to do.
To make these cookies, I first followed the instructions on the package. Before baking, I flattened them using a fork to make a crisscross pattern, then used my washed fingers to smooth the surface.
When they came out of the oven, I decorated them with cold candies. Half of them were thumbprint cookies using chocolate kisses.
The other half were reindeer cookies. Chocolate covered pretzels made perfect antlers, and M&Ms made the eyes and noses. They have to be refrigerated or frozen first to keep them from melting. This part is very important so don't forget...melted chocolate makes a terrible mess, so don't let it happen to you. You may, also, want to put the cookies in the fridge after you decorate them, in effort to help the candies set in the cookies.

These cookies ended up so adorable. I got several compliments for them. And they were super easy to make, to boot. These could easily be made in a dorm, assuming you have an oven. They're so cute and easy, I can't believe I haven't done it before.

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Coconut Macaroons at Home

A lot of people from school were excited to get home to a kitchen. But me? I live in a dorm full of kitchens (8, to be exact). I have an oven at school. So, what I was really excited for was the plethera of ingredients that I don't have to pay for, as well as an electric mixer. And what is a girl to do with such items? Why, make her favorite fancy cookie, of course: home made macaroons.
These are not cookies that can be easily done in any dorm room. But, they are delicious and super fun to make, so I hope you will accept this recipe anyway. This recipe is adapted the Joy of Cooking cook book (a book that is so worn, it no longer has a cover, or a spine, and is split in half because the glue is coming undone).
2 egg whites
6 cups of moist shredded coconut
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of almond extract
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk
First, separate the whites from the yokes of two eggs. This is tons of fun for anyone who hasn't done it before. There are two ways to doing it, but personally I prefer to use the shells to separate the whites. simply pass the yoke back and forth between the two halves of the shell after you crack the egg, trying to get it to the point that all of the egg whites are below you in a bowl, and the egg yokes are in the shell. This way works if you have mastered the art of cracking eggs. If you haven't, you can use your fingers and simply pass the yoke back and forth between your hands so that your hand has the yoke and the bowl has all of the whites. This way is a lot more difficult to do. Help With Cooking has wonderful directions on how to separate egg whites and yokes.

Next, stiffly beat the whites. This should be done using a mixer on a low-medium speed (I had mine at about level 2 out of 5) for several minutes until your liquidy egg whites have become super fluffy.

Beat for about 5 minutes or so and your egg whites will look like...

In a separate bowl, combine the coconut, almond, vanilla, and salt.

Then, add the sweetened condensed milk, to make a thick paste.
Next, fold egg whites into the batter.

Now, roll the paste into balls onto a well-greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in an oven heated at 350 degrees, until edges are lightly browned.

When they come out of the oven, you have several options. You can leave them just as they are, or place chocolate kisses and marishino cherries on top.

The end result was quite tasty. Be warned, you will need to wash your hands constantly while you handle the eggs. Also, you will be probably tempted like I was to eat much of the dough. It's so delicious throughout the baking process. But your hands will become quite sticky if you keep doing that, so make sure to have lots and lots of soap in your kitchen while you make these cookies.
I highly recommend you make these if you are willing to take the chance. And if you like coconut. And if you're not currently staying in your dorm.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How (Not) to Make Sugar Cookies (Vegan)

So, finals are finally over. My GPA ended up being not so bad...I kept it a decent amount above a 3.0 and it ended up being higher than my lowest semester GPA of high school, though slightly below my high school cumulative GPA. Miraculously, I got out of French with a C, a grade that I am quite proud of obtaining. Otherwise, I mostly got A's, which makes me quite glad.
Just before studying for finals began, Anna and I decided to get our Christmas spirit on. So, we headed out to Target for some Christmas shopping. We left with wrapping paper, gifts, candy canes, a wreath for our door, glittery ornaments, an illegal Christmas tree (apparently, you're not allowed to have a Christmas tree in a dorm...ooops), a package of sugar cookie mix, and some frosting (which happens to be accidentally vegan).
Our awesome Christmas tree.

When we returned to our humble abode, we decided to make some sugar cookies, of course. Anna is vegan, so we needed a substitute for the egg and butter that the mix required. However, we forgot to purchase said substitute. Luckily, we knew what to do (or at least, we thought we knew what to do). So, here's our recipe:
sugar cookie mix
2 individual portion-sized containers of applesauce
1 banana
1 spray oil (like Pam)
frosting (Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, etc)

First, mash the banana into a pulp. Make it as creamy as absolutely possible. We used a fork to do this part.
Then, in a large bowl (we used a pot, as we do not have a mixing bowl), combine the sugar cookie mix with the applesauce and banana. We used a wisk to combine these ingredients.
Stir it until it becomes doughy. Then stir it a little bit more. This will build up your this recipe must be good for you (especially when you consider the amount of fruit in these cookies).
Then, place round globs of dough on a greased cookie sheet. You might want to flatten it a bit (we didn't do this and our cookies never fully flattened while they were cooking).
Bake following the instructions on the back of the sugar cookie mix. It may need a little bit longer to cook, and it will not brown on the outside like traditional sugar cookies should.
Remove from the cookie sheet and instantly frost (using a knife or a handy-dandy frosting tool of your choosing).
While the frosting melts on the warm cookies, decorate with sprinkles. Work fast.
Then, put the cookies back in the oven for no more than a minute or two, until frosting looks melted.

Let them sit for about an hour or two, to let the frosting harden (it will end up crunchy like royal icing)
Then, place them on a plate to be shared and slowly enjoyed.
Be sure to clean up the mess too. You especially want to clean up the cookie sheets because the frosting will get really gross and hard to clean up if you leave the cookie sheet uncleaned for too long.
This was really fun to make. Anna and I especially enjoyed our decorations, which weren't so conventional.
This is Anna's scientist cookie (note the different types of sprinkles represent different bacterium). 

This is my atheist cookie (note the gorilla sprinkles for the belief in evolution). 

Our cookies ended up looking very cool. And they ended up being vegan. But beyond that they weren't all that good. I mean, they were edible, but they did not taste like sugar cookies, nor did they cook properly. Apparently applesauce and bananas can only be used as substitutes for things like bread and muffins, not cookies. So, therefore, I cannot truly recommend that you make these cookies. Perhaps using egg and butter substitutes from the store is a better idea, if you want to make vegan sugar cookies.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Canned Soup with Fresh Vegetables's been a while since I actually posted a recipe. Sorry about that, guys. I swear I have excuses. I was sick; I was busy; it's getting toward the end of the semester so everything's hectic; and most importantly, I really haven't made anything lately. Every meal has been purchased (even breakfast...which lately has been a bagel and a banana, since they sell those at the coffee stand in the building all of my morning classes are in). But I have a recipe for you today. Isn't that nice of me to do since this is pretty much my equivalent of a job?
Actually, today's recipe isn't much of a recipe either. It's just the last thing I made in my room. So, here's the story:
I had this can of soup (which you might remember from Homemade Soup on a Very, Very Long Day). And, this can of soup has been sitting in my food crate beneath my bed for a very, very long time (try like 2 months). I've been saving it for my first cold. But, the other day (well, more like three weeks ago), I decided I was no longer waiting. I was tired and it was cold outside and I did NOT want to go all the way to the cafeteria just to grab dinner. And since I had nothing else edible in my room (with the exception of candy and Easy-Mac), I was left with only the can of soup to eat. So I ate it. Even though I wasn't sick. And then a few hours later (when I decided around 11:00 that I really, really wanted a cookie and walked all the way to the cafeteria to get one) I started getting a sore throat...which turned into a horrible sore throat, a cough, a runny nose, a sneezy nose, watery eyes, muscle aches, and general fatigue (on top of my "normal" stomach aches).
Beyond the poor timing, I did have one wise idea. I decided that since the celery in my fridge was getting rather old (and was still unopened...why do I buy food if I'm not going to eat it before it goes bad?), I would add some vegetable to the soup (since last time I was quite upset to realize that there were, in fact, no vegetables whatsoever in my canned chicken noodle soup).
Steps to making this canned soup with fresh(ish) vegetables:
1. Cut off all the bad parts to your celery and throw away any completely bad stalks. This left me with about 1 1/2 stalks...which ended up being enough anyway.

2. Cut the celery into fairly small pieces.
3. Steam the celery or cook it in some way. (I didn't do this step, so I can't really tell you a good way to do it. All I can tell you is the celery ended up a little bit crunchy because it wasn't cooked first).
4. Combine in a microwave-safe bowl your can of vegetable-free chicken noodle soup and your celery. Stir it.
5. Cook in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes, keeping an eye on it to make sure the soup doesn't bubble over and create a mess in the microwave.
6. Stir it once more, to make sure that the heat is properly distributed and the celery is mixed thoroughly and evenly into the soup.
7. Eat, enjoy, and clean up the mess. (And make sure to take out the trash...celery in the process of becoming rotten smells up the room.)

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thursday of Thankfulness: Number 4

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Last night my parents picked me up directly after my last class of the day, and we traveled as far West as one can travel in Oregon, to my cousins and aunt and uncle in Lincoln City. Now, as I'm surrounded by wonderful family, stuffed with incredible food, on this terrific day of thanks, it is difficult to find a single thing that I am most thankful for today. I am thankful that I have a roof over my head, as I know that there are many people in this country who do not. I am thankful that I have food everyday, as I know that even more people don't have this luxury, either.
I think most of all, I am thankful for Thanksgiving day, itself. I am thankful for this day that includes both getting away and getting together, simultaneously. I am especially thankful for the traditions that we have. The turkey (though I'm not that fond of turkey), and sweet potatoes (with marshmallows on top), and mashed potatoes, and potato rolls (my mom's family's from Idaho, what can I say?), and oyster stuffing, and jello, and pumpkin pie are all wonderful traditions, but they are not the best of today's traditions. My favorite thing is waking up to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade with my sister (I like the Rockettes, she likes the bands). Then, at exactly noon every year (which typically coincides with reaching the Tacoma Dome on our way to my grandparents' house), my family listens to (and sing along to) Alice's Restaurant. These activities bring us together and remind us that no matter what happens, family is always there.
I'm so thankful for Thanksgiving. It provides me with a break in this, my first, very hectic semester. It also provides me with a chance to get together with my family (especially my cousins whom I very rarely get to see, since they moved away a few years ago).
So, today I am thankful for Thanksgiving.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday of Thankfulness: Number 3

Sorry I haven't posted all week. I am sick with a horrible cold (on top of my stupid stomach that refuses to play nicely). Anyone who's had a cold (which is everyone) understands, I'm sure, why I haven't been blogging. I'm super tired, my muscles hurt, and I can't even taste any of the food I've been eating. Still, despite this, I have something to be thankful for...
I am thankful for the internet. I know, I know. I grew up on the internet. I rely on it too much. But I also know (and oh boy do I ever know) that when there i no internet, I end up in awful places. See, last Thursday, my phone charger broke. And I didn't have a spare here at school. But my battery had died, which was why it was on the charger when I learned that the charger had broken. So, I was left phoneless for a couple days.
This put me in an awful position. How do I call home and explain that they cannot call my cell if they need to talk to me? This is where Google and all of its amazingness comes in handy. It turns out, my google account has the ability to make US phone calls for free (not that I've ever used this for prank calls or anything...). So, thanks to the internet, I was able to do just about everything my phone could do. Except text while I was in downtown Portland. Or give me the time while I was on my way to class. But everything else my phone could do, the internet could do as well.
I'm so thankful for the technology that I have been so blessed to grow up around. This technology has helped aided me in schoolwork, social interaction, and mindless entertainment. It also provides me with this blog, which is oh so much fun to create. I have no idea what I would do without the internet. Honestly. So, that is what I am thankful for: the internet.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday of Thankfulness: Number 2

Today, I am thankful for music.Be it instrumental or vocal, classical or pop, music is always there when I need it most. Creating music and listening to music are both actions of the soul, capable of altering a person's perception of the world for a lifetime.
Music is truly the love of my life. It is far more than a hobby or a past time, it is a way of living. It affects how I act, how I think, how I breath; music is in every part of my body and my soul at any given moment of any given day. And for me, there is no getting around it.

Music has been a part of my every day life since I was old enough to say the word "music." My dad, who is one of the best pianists I have ever met, instilled in me the idea that music is a gift we must share with the world. No matter what kind of day it is, we must sing or play our hearts out. At an early age I was taught the notes on the piano and how to match them in singing. I was taught to hold mallets and drum sticks; to beat rhythms on our many percussion instruments. I was taught to play chopsticks on the piano, the marimba, and the harp. I knew by the age of three what the difference was between a high note and a low note and began learning about everything found in between. In second grade, I began learning about the harp, which has been a passion of mine ever since. I also began to sing in choir when I was in fourth grade, and haven't missed an opportunity to sing since.
Music has been a constant throughout my life. It has been my form of expression as well as the way I have made the majority of my friends. When I have a bad day, music is what encourages me to keep on going. I now use practicing my harp as a reward for completing my homework assignments, a method which actually seems to work.
This week in particular has been a rather difficult week for me. Between writing and turning in major papers and studying for several tests, I have been a busy girl. And, between receiving a failing grade on a French test (I might have accidentally used the infinitive forms of verbs when they should have been conjugated in a particular tense...a huge mistake) and receiving no credit at all on my major history paper (which dropped my grade from an A to an F), it's also been a rather emotion-filled week. So, putting aside some homework assignments, I decided to hang out with my best friend, Pierre, my harp. I practiced past the point that my fingers were sore. I practiced past the point of pain and fatigue, until there was nothing else to feel but music. Then I stopped because I'd wasted too much time and needed to start working on my homework. After practicing, I felt rejuvenated. Yes, my fingers hurt, but my soul no longer hurt; I no longer felt pained about my grades and my performance in school. Music can alter the quality of life and I am tremendously grateful for the impact it has had on my life, especially during these difficult college times.

Dorm Food

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Grilled Salami and Mozzarella Sandwiches

I finally got my own frying pan, which means no more borrowing from my roommate. I'm super in love with it because it's super cute (and cost less than a normal one). It's already been broken in (and I will post what I made the first time, after I make it again since I forgot to take photos), but I decided to use my money's worth out of it the other day when I was making myself lunch. So, I decided to make a grilled sandwich. Though I could have done a normal grilled cheese or used some other meat (since I also have ham in my fridge), I decided to be super creative with my sandwich. Thus, a grilled salami and mozzarella sandwich.
To make the sandwich, you will need bread of any kind (I used Franz multi grain because that's what sold at my school and that's also my favorite bread company), salami (mine was Lite salami, but any kind works so long as it is thinly sliced), 1 1/2 string cheese sticks (you can eat the other half if you want), some sort of cooking spray or butter (I used canola oil, since it was cheapest), a frying pan, and a spatula. You might also want some lettuce or mixed greens, mayo, or mustard.
First, place 6 pieces of salami along one piece of brea so that there are no gaps between the pieces (you may need more or less depending on how large your salami pieces are and how large your bread is).
Then, slice your mozzarella string cheese sticks so that they are round disks. Place these disks in even rows across your sandwich.

Heat your frying pan over a low to medium heat, with either butter or oil on the frying pan as it heats.
Then, place your bread with its toppings onto the heated frying pan, and place another piece of bread over this, so that it is now a sandwich.

Heat until golden brown and flip. Use extra caution while flipping because it is likely that your cheese will slide off. If this happens, take off the heat immediately and reorganize your sandwich.

Heat the other side until it, too, is golden brown. Then remove the frying pan from heat and place your sandwich on a plate.
From here, you can do as you please. You can add mustard, mayo, lettuce, whatever you want. I added mixed spring greens and spinach, which gave made it nice and earthy. But you can do whatever you feel like doing. Note that the mozzarella is likely not melted. Again (as I've said in previous posts), mozzarella cheese doesn't really like to melt. But do not fret over this. Your sandwich is still warm and your bread is crispy.
 I'm really fond of this sandwich. It was super delicious and took only slightly longer than a normal grilled cheese takes to make. I especially liked how earthy it tasted and looked. After reading so many blog posts from other people about pumpkin and squash recipes, I've been in a very earthy mood lately, so having this sandwich was a nice continuation of that mood. I HIGHLY SUGGEST YOU TRY THIS RECIPE!

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

White Chocolate Pretzels and Raspberries

Do you ever feel like eating a snack, but you just can't decide what snack to eat? Do I want something salty? Something sugary? Something tart? The other day I wanted all three of these, so I created a new snack. Yes, I know it's not a real recipe, but it was a unique combination of foods that any dorm-bound student can keep in their room (especially if they have a fridge).
The idea is simple: place a raspberry on top of a white chocolate covered pretzel.
Eat it,
Enjoy it,
And that's it. There's virtually no mess to these snacks. But man, oh man, are they delicious. And they look pretty fancy as well.

Here's some pictures I took while I was creating this delicious (and beautiful) snack:

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday of Thankfulness: Number 1

Since it’s November and November is the month of thankfulness, I have decided to share what I’m most thankful for, every Thursday of November. The first thing I am thankful for: my school.
My original reasons to attend the University of Portland were selfish. I started out looking only at schools on the East Coast because, simply put, I wanted to escape. I felt trapped in my hometown: trapped by the fog, trapped by its smallness, trapped by its set-in-stone values. I wanted to get away from my family, my friends, and everything previous in my life. I wanted to start over.
As my junior year of high school came to a close, my world was shaken in a way I couldn’t understand. I was suddenly forced to come to terms with the fact that life doesn’t last forever. As I came to terms with this fact, I was supported by my wonderful friends and family, the same people I had previously decided to cast aside. This made me appreciate them more and helped me to realize that I needed to be closer to them. So, I began looking for schools that were close enough to my home that I could go home if I ever needed to without being burdened by the expense of airfare, while still being far enough away that I would discover that new environment I so desperately desired. This is how I found the University of Portland. It took one look at the website to make it my second choice school (my first choice was Oberlin College in Ohio, though it was a reach). Then, when I came for a visit, I realized that not only was it the school for me, but it was home. The University of Portland provides the sense of community support that I needed. I felt honored to have been chosen to join this close community, though being accepted to the school was a long and extraordinarily stressful process. The campus was pretty but completely different from my hometown: there were crosses scattered about the campus, everyone owned bicycles, and the trees all had leaves! I quickly found myself exploring the campus with confidence and I still have that feeling today.
My second reason for choosing the University of Portland is less selfish. The University of Portland will help me serve my community. The University of Portland (students and staff) volunteers more hours each year than any other college of a similar size. There are so many opportunities to volunteer that it seems almost strange not to. I haven’t volunteered as much as I originally intended to because I simply have too many time commitments. Still, I have been serving the community as much as possible. Through the School of Education, I have been visiting a classroom for a minimum of three hours every week (as a requirement for my major in Elementary Education). To do this as a freshman is simply astonishing. I not only observe the teacher as he teaches, but I actually get to work with the students. I get help them when they need it by answering questions, providing feedback, and guiding them in their studies. I do not teach them, I help them, but simply to be able to do this is so incredible and I appreciate it immensely.
So, I am thankful for my school. I am thankful for the fact that it feels like home. I am thankful for the sense of community. I am thankful for the friends that I have made. I am thankful for the lessons I have learned in and out of the classroom. I am thankful for the opportunities the University of Portland has offered me. I am thankful that I was accepted into this school so I could learn the scholastic lessons taught to me in class and the life lessons taught to me through the school’s emphasis on community and service. I am thankful for the chance to be and proud that I am indeed a Pilot.

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Edible Jack O'Lantern

Happy Halloween everybody! In celebration of this wonderful holiday, I have created a non-traditional jack o'lantern. You see, us college folks aren't allowed to have the large knives required to carve a pumpkin. And we aren't allowed to light the candle inside the pumpkin. And we don't have a front porch to place them on. So, instead, I made this. It was fairly simple, quite delicious, and close to nutritious. So here's how it works:
First, toast a piece of bread. It doesn't necessarily have to be completely toasted (in fact, I personally prefer it that way), but it needs to be warm and fairly solid (you'll be cutting it into a pumpkin shape later...or now, if you find that easier...which you probably will).
Then, spread a very generous amount of Nutella on your piece of toast. Come on, it's Halloween, you're allowed to get a little out of control.

It'll end up looking like this (except not sideways...I have no idea why my photos sometimes turn sideways when they're being uploaded. I took this picture portrait style. There's no reason it should look like that, and it doesn't when I look at the actual file. hmmmm....maybe there's a phantom haunting my computer....Anyway,)
Next comes the fun part. Making the face. Take a banana and cut it in half length-ways. Then, cut out the curviest part of the banana and use this as the mouth. Cut out pieces to make missing teeth.

(Again, I have no idea why it appears vertically on here. The file itself is not like that. grrrrr...). Be sure to keep the stem of your banana. Now, place this on your piece of toast where you think the mouth should go. (If you haven't already cut your toast into a pumpkin-shape, make sure to keep some room so you can do this later).
Next comes the eyes. You can use whatever you want/have available for this part. I thought of using cheerios because I happen to have some, but ultimately decided on raspberries because I want to use them before they go bad. I loved how the raspberries turned out, though. It made my jack o'lantern look blood thirsty. To make eyes like mine, using raspberries, first clean your raspberry (you should only need one). Then, slice off the bottom tip. Then, slice the remaining piece in half so that you have two rings.

Now, place these on your jack o'lantern where you think the eyes should go.
For the nose, I used an oddly-shaped banana chip. But you can use whatever nose-shaped food you have lying around. Place this where you think the nose should go.
Next, cut the toast into a pumpkin shape, being careful not to cut the mouth or eyes. (if you haven't done so already).
Finally, use the step of your banana from earlier and place it at the top, so that it acts as the "pumpkin stem".
And, voila: an edible jack o'lantern.

Feel free to eat the scraps as you go (that way you are able to have all the nutrition and deliciousness of a full, you paid for this food, why would you want to waste any of it?). And be sure to eat, enjoy, and clean up the mess. Because if you used two plates like I did, there's definitely going to be a mess. And messes like this could be the scariest part of your Halloween.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

(re)Learning a Lesson

I decided in the middle of doing my French homework that I wanted a bagel and cream cheese. Boy, it sounded nice. So, I got out my bagels, opened my cream cheese and...this is what I got:

I apparently learn lessons the hard way, and after having to repeat said hard way over and over again. So, today's lesson: the expiration date doesn't count after you open the package. I learned this lesson before with my fermented pineapple experience (Superstitions), but apparently that lesson didn't stick.
By the way, if you were wondering about the mold, I did some collegiate researching (ok, I googled it), and discovered that mold of any type when found in a soft cheese like cream cheese means that you cannot eat it at all. The green mold is the most common kind and (dare I say) most tolerable (it'll still make you sick, but it won't be scary sick). The red kind is the least common and least tolerable (it's apparently one of the most dangerous kinds of mold out there). So, today I learned two things. Boy, and they say college is a waste of money.

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Halloween Cereal

In honor of tomorrow's holiday, I thought I would share my favorite Halloween-related meal: breakfast. Specifically, I thought I should tell you about my favorite Halloween cereal. Every year, General Mills comes out with a line of Monster Cereals, including Count Chocula, Fraken Berry, and Boo Berry (apparently they used to have others as well, but these were discontinued before I was born). Of these, my absolute favorite is Boo Berry. Now, this is odd to me because I typically cannot stand blueberries. But for this, my taste buds make an exception.
Boo Berry Cereal is similar to Lucky Charms in that it is corn cereal with marshmallows. However, unlike Lucky Charms, the cereal doesn't taste like cardboard (though I personally don't mind the cereal-part of Lucky Charms, most people I know can't stand it). Instead, the corn cereal is blueberry flavored (thus the name "Boo Berry").
Boo Berry Cereal is, perhaps, one of my favorite things about Halloween. So, when I saw it was on sale when I was grocery shopping yesterday, I went for it. Don't worry, everything else I got was healthy, so this purchase was totally ok (alright, fine, I did buy a couple bags of candy...and white chocolate covered pretzels...and Cow Pal's cheese and bread maybe I didn't buy only healthy things...but I did buy healthy food too, I swear!).
Actually, Boo Berry Cereal is surprisingly not all that bad for you. Comparing it to my other cereal purchase yesterday (Raisin Bran), it has fewer calories, less fat, and about the same or slightly more of nearly every vitamin and mineral on the box (with the exception of iron, since Raisin Bran boasts an impossible to beat 60% of your daily amount of iron). It's still not necessarily good for you, but it's not as unhealthy as you might assume, especially when comparing it to what you would assume to be "healthy" cereal.
Still, the reason I like Boo Berry cereal so much is not it's healthiness or unhealthiness. I like its silliness. The marshmallows and blueberry-flavored cereal are all in the shape of ghosts (with a very strange resemblance of the Pac Man ghosts). And they taste good, which is always a good benefit for food to have.

Dorm Food

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