Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bonus Summer Weekend

Usually I'm not very trusting of the weather app, but this weekend it spoke the truth. And thank goodness for that! I got to go somewhere that I didn't think I'd be able to go, due to our early signs of Fall.
But before unveiling my sun soaked weekend, here are a few shots from my week:

 Toll House chocolate chip cookies in the toaster oven! Closest thing to freshly baked homemade ones without oven access.

Fall is making vivid appearances all over campus. Directly above is the reddest tree I think I've ever seen, and I swear it's getting redder every day. 

Made a quick jaunt across the street to this cute little spot the other night. And just a little while later...

...oops, I did it again! The sky was fading into a lots of different colors, and the moon was at its perfect crescent shape. Couldn't resist!

As Saturday finally rolled around, as did the sun. And what better way to celebrate than to make my very first trip to North Beach? It just may have been our last chance before the cold hits, so we went for it!

It was such a beautiful contrast between Fall and Summer here. Between the mountains over the water and the colorful trees, it turned out to be one of our prettiest off-campus adventures yet. 

 Next came a delicious lunch at Vermont Pub & Brewery: a huge plate of nachos, some big juicy burgers, and a bowl of cheese fries with onion gravy. I was definitely thankful for my looser-fitting shirt on this particular outing.

After lunch, we took advantage of the beautiful weather and strolled through Burlington. As we enjoyed the heat, we fantasized about the cold in the SkiRack, dreaming of a nice new pair for the season.

Finally, we brought a perfect day to a perfect close with pizza, Parmesan bites, and wings. 

Today, however, I took a more homemade route in terms of dorm room cuisine. As promised last week, I tried the microwaved apple slices recipe my mom sent me, and they came out delicious!

So warm, soft, and gooey. I definitely recommend this's super quick, and its just enough for a little snack that you don't feel guilty after eating. It would also make a great breakfast if you didn't feel like braving the cold to Alliot on some daunting winter morning! 

I'm praying for yet another fun-filled week ahead to tell you all about next time! Until then, you'll just have to hope right along with me. I'll be back next Sunday the 5th with more!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Welcoming Fall in Shelburne, VT

Hello all!
Parents' Weekend at St. Mike's has come and gone, but before I delve into those festivities, here are a few shots from my week:

#basic...well, almost: a mid afternoon pumpkin latte pick-me-up from Einstein's.

Another shot of the completed stone arch, it's looking great!

Spotted in Hannaford's at last...these things are my jam. Anyone else? Can't beat 'em.

 First experimentation with iOS 8's new time lapse feature...I think a landscape might be more appropriate for next time.

A night at American Flatbread in Burlington with family and friends. I was partial this evening to the veggie special: squash, ricotta cheese, tomatoes, YUM.

After stuffing ourselves to the limit at American Flatbread, we woke the following morning and embarked to Shelburne Orchards for day of apple picking. After weekends in a row of rainy Saturdays, it couldn't have been a more perfect day to celebrate the beginning of Fall.

Homemade BBQ sauce!!

We picked just enough apples to make some dorm-room-sweet-treats later on. Then we ventured into the shop area for some cider donuts, feasted our eyes on piles of pumpkins, shelves stocked with maple syrups and jams, and basked in the scent of pulled pork emanating from the grilles. We even made friends with a cute little pug running from family to family, begging for donuts. Hilariously enough, he wore a bandana reading "please don't feed me donuts". It became clear very quickly that's all he wanted; he moved on so fast that not a single photo was captured, despite my best efforts. (*sadness*)

On the way back...

 Couldn't help ourselves...such a quintessentially "Vermont landscape".

After a quick stop at the grocery store and dinner at Ri Ra's Irish Pub on Church Street, we got to our experiment of the turnovers in the toaster oven. And to be completely honest, we completely winged it. Didn't glance at a single recipe for a single measurement. With fear in our hearts and determination at our fingertips, we plowed ahead. Without further ado, Claire & Jared's Dorm Room Apple Turnovers:

 First, peel and slice your apples. (This was our most certain step.)

Next, mix in some sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice. (Once again, this was very much eyeballed.)

Next, dump onto a single pie crust, fold, pinch, and transfer into an appropriate tray. (This was where I had my first shreds of doubt..."we definitely put way too many apples in there." I also had my heart set on it looking pretty, but all I saw at this stage of the game were lumps upon lumps.)

Next, place them into your pre-heated (425 degrees) toaster oven, and pray.

30 minutes later...

Voila!!! Crispy, gooey, and just enough chewy...success! I would definitely add a bit of flour next time to absorb a little bit of the gooey, but it was still delicious, despite my previous aesthetic concerns. I plan on trying a different recipe for soft, cinnamon-y, microwaved apple slices for next week's post!

To finish up parents weekend, we ventured into Shelburne again this morning to visit the Museum. (NOTE: this is not the type of museum visit to reserve for a rainy day. Lots of migrating from building to building! Definitely come prepped. Today was intensely breezy, and I left my extra hair elastic in my dorm. Put a damper on the 'do, but not the day!)

Question: If you didn't do a Titanic reenactment, did you ever actually get on a boat? 
Answer: No.

All in all, the Shelburne Musuem was a gorgeous place with lots to see, teeming with Vermont history. (Our Jack and Rose bit was on the Ticonderoga, a steamboat that took passengers across Lake Champlain starting in the early 1900s.) I definitely recommend a visit on a nice Fall day, preferably with lots of hair elastics on hand! (Or rain jackets/umbrellas, boots, ski masks, whatever the day calls for.) 

Hope you all enjoyed my medley of Fall-opening-festivities, stay tuned next Sunday the 28th for more (including the second dorm-room-apple-experiment)!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Campus Cuisine: Getting Crafty in the Dorm Room

Hello all!
Now that we're a couple weeks in, I've decided it's time to put my Industrious Hat on. But before I reveal my culinary insight, here are a few shots from my week:

 I've been going crazy with the moon shots lately. But I can't get enough!

The stone arch is complete! It was started this summer by donation; such a gorgeous addition to the Teaching Garden.

A trip to Spencer's is never a trip wasted.

A rainy Saturday jaunt to Kountry Kart Deli in Burlington. It was a breakfast sandwich type of afternoon. (These are THE best sandwiches, and cheap to boot.)

First stop of the year at the Champlain waterfront. Even on a cold, drizzly day, it's still my favorite part of a Burlington trip.

Signs of Fall! So much for any hope of a beach day.

NOW let's get to it!
If you're anything like me...or, quite honestly, most college'll get sick of even the most impressive dining hall food after some time. Now don't get me wrong, Alliot (the main campus dining hall) is chock full of options and tasty treats. But sometimes, on a cozy night in with a movie or maybe just a rainy day, it can be fun to get creative and shake things up. Trust me, there is so much more out there than just Easy-Mac (thank god). So without further ado, here are some of my favorite dorm room recipes to be crafted quickly and simply in the microwave!

1.) Single Serving Chocolate Chip Cookie

Missing homemade baked goods? Yeah, me too. And if you ask me, it's pretty hard to beat the classic chocolate chip cookie. 
Around the middle of freshman year, my mom forwarded me an email she'd received from a friend with a microwaveable chocolate chip cookie recipe. Naturally, I wanted to try it ASAP.
It came out AMAZING, so soft and gooey, and just small enough so that we didn't feel guilty after. 

Find the recipe here!
(I didn't use this exact one, but it was pretty much the same thing.)

 2.) Nachos

Obviously, right?! Well, maybe not, because it just happened to slip my mind all through freshman year that I could make nachos in the microwave.
But the important thing here is to excuse yourself from the lazy chips, cheese, and salsa recipe. Come on. I know you can do better than that. 
Lately, I've been throwing a few extras into the mix...some tasty suggestions are black olives, and best of all, single-serving packets of guacamole found in the grocery store!

Just squeeze one of these bad boys on there, and you'll wonder why you don't have this for dinner every night. (Just kidding, definitely don't do that.)

Also never forget that cheddar cheese isn't the only option out personal favorite is pepper jack. Yum!

3.) A Crafty Man's Ramen Noodles

Oh, my good friend Ramen.
Chances are you'll find yourself knee-deep in this stuff more than anything else when it comes to dorm room cuisine. But fear not, there's no need to keep it simple! 
A couple of different ways that I get crafty with this freshman-fifteen-staple involve Tabasco sauce and, don't freak out...WINGS.

Throwing three or four splashes of Tabasco on there after microwaving gives Ramen a nice kick that veers your palate from the overwhelming salt, salt, and salt. 

In addition to that, we also often find ourselves with some Wings Over Burlington (HIGHLY recommended) leftovers. Our go-to order is a pound of boneless Jamaican Jerk wings. (I'd never heard of Jamaican Jerk before Wings Over, but I'm telling you right now that it's worth trying. Maybe a few thousand times.) So, long story short, break those leftovers into bite-size pieces, toss them right on top of the noodles, and all of a sudden you're at an elevated state of Ramen. A serious upgrade, believe me. 

**NOTE: Minus the heavy chicken additive, this makes a great sick day remedy when there's no homemade soup around. Add a few extra drops of Tabasco for supercharged sinus-clearing power!

Once the weather gets colder, I plan on experimenting with a few more mug-dessert recipes. There are about a billion out there, surprisingly. I will be sure to post pictures and recipes once that happens! 
In the meantime, stay tuned next Sunday the 21st for more!

*FUN FIND OF THE DAY* (I'll have to try some of these!)