Saturday, April 28, 2012

When I Was Little... Dirt Cake!

When I think back to foods I ate when I was younger there are very specific (and sweet) things that come to mind. Oreo "dirt" cake, popsicles, chocolate chip cookies, and smoothies. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. I have to say though, the dirt cake was probably my favorite. I would only get it on special occasions and when I did eat it, it only took about five minutes until my serving had disappeared. I was a child that loved to play in the dirt, the hose was one of my favorite toys, and dresses were a dreaded thing. Needless to say, times have changed, but the Oreo dirt cake still makes my day.

4 small packages of instant chocolate pudding
12 ounces of nondairy whipped topping
1.5-2 pounds chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos)
1/4 lb butter, melted but cooled
Candy gummy worms

1. Prepare chocolate pudding ahead of time and chill. Fold whipped topping into the pudding. Mix gummy worms into the mixture with a spoon.
2. Place cookies in a food processor and pulse into coarse crumbs. You can also place the cookies into a bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Combine crumbs and butter.
3. One cute idea is to serve the the final product in a flower pot (if so, be sure to line the pot with foil before filling with pudding or cookies). Spoon buttered chocolate cookie crumbs into the bottoms of the pot, about 2 inches deep. Fill with pudding until it is about one inch from the top OR alternate layers of cookies and pudding!
4. Place some gummy worms to their heads are sticking out and sprinkle the top with the remaining cookie crumbs (to resemble soil).
5. Refrigerate overnight!

Want it a little healthier? Choose skim milk to make the pudding and opt for non-fat cookies. Another option is to not add the butter. The "soil" will look drier, but it will still taste good!

Original Recipe

Different Serving Ideas:

Anyone else remember this delicious delicacy?!

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Last May I competed in the Infirmary Twilight Duathlon. In this race you start with a 2 mile run, bike 10 miles, and finish up by running 2 more miles. 1 hour and 17 minutes later I crossed the finish line, AND I was the winner of my age group!!! AKA the only person in my age group..... Well this year I'm doing the duathlon again but this time I am doing it as a team. I'm doing the running portion and my friend Adam (super football star) is going to bike. I'm hoping we can beat my time this year!! I'm pretty nervous because I'll be finishing the race up for us and Adam is relatively competitive ("WE MUST WIN"). Regardless though, it will be super fun. With us luck!!

On the menu:
This week in class we made mozzarella cheese! Yes, we MADE CHEESE. It was pretty interesting to see how cheese forms. Going from liquid milk to a cheesy substance was quite the experience. I can now say that I've seen curd form... tasty. We put our homemade cheese onto a homemade pizza!

Bon App├ętit!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Exam Week, Stress Week

For me, the most stressful weeks out of the semester include the week of and weeks before finals exams. I am already feeling the pressure of my upcoming finals. Stress is a terrible part of exam week and can even negatively influence your final results. Here are a few ways to help manage your stress during this tough time of the year!

1. Limit your caffeine intake: I'm not one to talk, I frequently use caffeine to get me through long nights in the library. Drinking too much caffeine can make you more irritable and after time can even make you lose concentration. Keep it under control and make sure to drink enough water. Water will reduce headaches and help keep you hydrated! 
2. Exercise: 
    • Walk around: Take a 10 minute break and walk around the neighborhood it can help clear your head. After the walk come back and you'll feel refreshed and be refocused.
    • Stretch it out: look up a few yoga poses! I know I'll be sore from bending over my books so take a few minutes, breathe deep, and relax.
    • Go to a class at the gym: the student rec center at my school offers exercise classes throughout the day. One of my favorite is Zumba! Try one out! It'll get you to relax and have some fun!

3. Make time to socialize: If you're like me, you get engulfed in the books and don't even realize you haven't seen any friends. Being alone for so long can take a toll on you! Meet a friend at a coffee shop, go to dinner, or even meet up for some studying. The company can help ease your stress and will keep you sane!
4. Catch some Zzz's: I have plenty of friends pull all-nighters for exams and I simply cannot understand how they do it. Sleep helps consolidate memories, helps you learn better, and keeps you refreshed. It is important to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, even during exam week!

Try these out and good luck on finals!! :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Support Your Local Farmers

Spring has sprung and the farmers market is back!! I was so excited to hear that the farmers market in Tuscaloosa started up again, not only because I get extra credit in my nutrition class for going, but because I have been waiting all semester to get a chance to check it out. The booths are quite adorable and the items sold are unlike anything I was expecting. Of course the fruits, vegetables, and meat products are present. But I also saw homemade soap, baked goods, and potted plants! Next time I go I plan to buy myself a plant to hang onto my balcony, I need a little spring out there!

Supporting your local farmers is not only important to them, but it has fantastic benefits for you! Locally grown produce is healthier, has a better flavor, and is 100% organic. As a consumer, buying from a local farmer means you know exactly where your food is coming from and how far it traveled. When I am buying food in Target I try not to think about how the tomato I am buying has traveled more than I did to get to the store. It has sat on shelves, been kept fresh with who knows what, and is now available for me to buy. A little strange. Being a college student, the farmers market isn't always the most financially smart decision when buying food. I challenge you to go once a month or so and see if it impacts your budget very much! You'll be surprised to see that there isn't much of a difference in price between a super market and the farmers market produce prices. The farmers will definitely appreciate it and so will your stomach!

For those of you living in Tuscaloosa, the farmers market closest to The University of Alabama's campus is by Canterbury Chapel on Hackberry Road, between University Boulevard and Bryant Drive. The farmers market is held on Thursdays from 3-6 pm.
For a little more information: Homegrown Alabama Farmers' Market.


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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

grilled tuna with wasabi sauce

This week in my Food Science class we learned about beef, poultry, and seafood. In lab my group made grilled tuna with wasabi sauce. We used tuna steaks and it only took about 45 minutes total to make!

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons wasabi powder
2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 (4-ounce) tuna steaks (about 3/4 inch thick)
1 tablespoon wasabi powder
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 table spoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sliced green onions

1. combine the first five ingredients, rub over tuna. Cover the tuna and chill for 30 minutes.
2. combine wasabi and water. Let stand for five minutes. Stir in mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, and soy sauce.
3. Place steaks on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill for five minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. We used a George Foreman grill, so we grilled for a total of 12 minutes.
4. Serve with wasabi cream, sprinkle with onions.

Nutritional Information:
308 Calories
Calories from fat: 30%
Fat: 20.3 g (Saturated Fat: 2.4 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g)
Protein: 41.3 g
Carbohydrates: 9.7 g
Fiber: 0.9 g
Cholesterol: 66 mg
Iron: 4.4 mg
Sodium: 500 mg
Calcium: 47 mg

(From Time Inc. Lifestyle Group)

Health Benefits From Fish
Omega-3 Fatty Acids (found in fish) is essential to keeping your heart and brain healthy!
1. Help maintain a healthy heart by lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart attack, strokes, and abnormal heart rhythms.
2. Aid in healthy brain function
3. Helps in infant development of vision and nerves during pregnancy
4. May decrease the risk of depression, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, dementia, and ADHD

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nutella: 5 Different Ways

I am addicted to Nutella. No doubt about it. Nutella is a chocolately hazelnut spread with a consistency similar to that of peanut butter. It is easy to spread, scoop, and easy to eat an entire jar within about ten minutes. This addiction of mine began my senior year of high school and has followed me into my second year of college. I will eat it on just about anything, but mostly I eat it by the spoonful. It is my guilty pleasure, to say the least. There are healthy ways to eat Nutella, but I tend to just dive right on in. I am so in love with it that I am even doing my "origins of food" project on Nutella. In this project, I have been assigned to research the ingredients of my chosen processed food and write about where the ingredients come from and how they are made. It has been quite interesting to say the least. Needing some healthy inspiration, and a few new ways to eat Nutella, I found a handful of delicious looking ways to eat it. Nutella is advertised as a breakfast food and here are a few ways to eat it (I wouldn't recommend eating it by the spoonful!!).

1. Nutella Covered Strawberries: one of my favorites for sure. Rinse a few strawberries, dab some Nutella on top, and you've got yourself a delicious snack!

2. Nutella and Pretzels: sweet and salty, who doesn't like that?

3. Nutella and Banana Sandwich: perfect for a sweet, nutritious, and sustaining breakfast!

4. Nutella Crepes: Crepes are thin little pancakes (crepe recipe). Once they are done, spread a thin layer of nutella and roll the crepe into a spiral! You can also slice just about any kind of fruit (strawberries, bananas, raspberries, etc.) and roll it into the crepe. Delicious!

5. Nutella Cupcakes: and for desert try out a nutella cupcake! I found an easy recipe online!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Little Bit Of Passover

I went home this weekend for Easter and so I could attend my family's annual Passover supper. My grandmother hosts the dinner at her house and cooks most of the food. I am always quite impressed by how fantastically my grandmother pulls the dinner together. She's quite a superwoman. My favorite part of Passover has to be the matzo balls. They are salty, soft, and simply delicious. I have never made them for myself, but I have watched my grandmother make them and have helped some too. I have observed enough to know that making matzo balls is not very challenging. It actually only has about five ingredients. FIVE! For something so delicious and easy, I definitely need to start making these for myself!! 

3 tablespoons margarine, melted
2 eggs
1 cup matzo meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water (or as needed)

1. In a bowl, whisk together the margarine and eggs until well blended. Combine the matzo meal and salt. Lightly stir into the egg mixture until the liquid is absorbed and the meal is damp. Mix the water so the mixture holds together but isn't too wet. Cover the refrigerate while bringing the water to a boil.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. When the water is at a full boil remove the matzo mixture from the refrigerator. Using wet hands, shape spoonfuls of the dough into balls. Don't pack the balls too tightly.

3. Drop the balls into the boiling water and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from the water and serve.


Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cinnamon Rolls

Today in class we learned about fermentation - why it is important, what happens, under what conditions it happens, and when it occurs. To reinforce this lesson, we baked cinnamon rolls in lab. When I was younger cinnamon rolls were a common thing in my household. Instead of making them from scratch though I remember them coming from a vacuum sealed tube that you pop, unroll, break apart, and bake. 
Pretty different from what I did today:

Cinnamon Rolls
2 T sugar
1 T active dry yeast
2 T oil
1 t salt
4 C bread flour
1/4 C cinnamon sugar (1:4 ration of cinnamon:sugar)
Cooking Spray

Powdered Sugar Glaze
1.5 C powdered sugar
1.5 T milk (add additional milk/water as needed)

Cinnamon Rolls
1. Combine sugar and 1 C of warm water in a large measuring cup or small bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add yeast and mix until dispersed. 
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, and salt. Add yeast mixture. 
3. Add 3 C of flour to the liquid mixture, stirring to combine. The dough will be wet. Sprinkle a clean work surface with 1/4 C of the remaining flour. Turn dough out onto flour.
4. Sprinkle dough with 1/4 C of the remaining flour and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. To determine if dough has been kneaded enough, press dough with a finger. Adequately kneaded dough will spring back. Let dough rest for 5 minutes.
5. Roll dough into a 1/4 inch think rectangle. Lightly moisten surface of the dough with water and sprinkle thoroughly with cinnamon sugar mixture. Beginning with the long side, roll dough tightly, forming spirals. Moisten the leading edge with water and crimp to seal. 

6. Cut the dough log into 1 inch increments. Place on a well-greased baking sheet and allow to rise in a proofing box or oven heated with moist air (85-95 degrees F) for 15 minutes.
7. Bake at 375 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.

Powdered Sugar Glaze
1. Stir together sugar and milk until smooth. 
2. Spoon icing into a zip-top plastic bag.
3. Snip 1 corner of the bag and drizzle icing onto warm rolls.
Delicious! I took a few home for breakfast! Yummmm.

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