Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Dollar In My Wallet: Orange Oatmeal Pancakes

Living as a college student who may not be paying room and board, but living off-campus to reduce costs, can be challenging unless you are independently wealthy without loans or other financial concerns. In some ways, you are experiencing what it feels like to live at low-income or on a very tight budget--food may even be sparse or you can't pay the utility bill.

Being creative and smart during this independent living is critical for some. Planning. Learning new skills, like cooking for yourself, can literally be a life saver! I attended a conference workshop lead by and No Kid Hungry focusing on teaching clients--in this case families living under the poverty line, i.e.  on a "very tight budget"--how to spend and use their grocery dollars to the maximum benefit while maintaining healthy, nutritious eating. Sounds like something college student living could learn from as well!

With some basic skills in cooking, the meals and recipes come to $1.86 / serving (this is the maximum cost of the recipes). What a great approach to ending hunger in the USA and treating poverty from the foundation on up--it makes all of us aware of how we can contribute, improve our spending, reduce our waste! 

Aside from learning how some of these recipes and basic skills can help you financially live better…think about getting involved in this organization as a college student for your community service; or, volunteering if you know how to cook; or, teach someone how to read or how to use fractions--all needed to read and understand a recipe!! 

Get involved! Make a difference! 

Here's an example of solving poverty and hunger one great recipe at a time below. I did not have whole wheat flour so I simply used all white flour. I had some left-over jam which I thinned with 1-2 tsp water (or juice) and heated up as my "syrup".

Very tasty! Simple! Filling! Cheap! 
Check out their phone app and website for great ideas on better cooking / eating!!

Orange Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Mixing bowls
Non-stick skillet
Non-stick spray

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (use white flour if you don't have it)
1/2 cup quick oats
1 Tbls baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup orange juice
1/3-1/2 cup low-fat milk (or regular)
2 Tbls vegetable / canola oil

Optionals / Add-Ins:
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup blueberries or other fruit

Maple syrup
Thinned jam, heated up

1. Wash your hands.
2. Combine flour, oats, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.

3. Combine egg, juice, milk, oil in another mixing bowl.
4. Combine wet and dry ingredients until just combined--should be slightly runny batter.

Add 1-2 tsp milk if too thick.

5. Add your 'add-ins' if you have any, i.e. chocolate chips or fruits
6. Heat your skillet and spray with non-stick spray.

7. Add 1/4 cup of batter to the skillet. Make sure pancakes have enough room.

8. When small bubbles form on edges, use spatula to check bottom for golden brown and turn over until the other side is golden brown.

9. Heat your toppings (or eat them with fresh cut-up fruit)

10. Assemble a great breakfast and dig in for $1.86 / serving with enough to share!

Make A Difference!

Check out their phone app and website for great ideas on better cooking / eating!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Classics: The Diner Cheeseburger

College students spend an exorbitant amount of time trying to study in just about any location, and diners are an obvious choice, because of long operating hours and cheap (rarely good) food--they are known as "greasy spoons" for good reason. No doubt some diners make the best fries and burgers--something about them, right? (see below)

Problem is: the food at most diners is frequently cheap cuts, poorly made, re-heated frozen food, and high in fat and calories, all while you are sitting there for hours on end!  Don't waste your precious college funds! Get the bad bottomless coffee, but save your cash--you can make most any diner food at home--usually at a fraction of the cost, but with twice the flavor, and often with leftovers for the next day! Especially, those simple, thin, seared cheeseburgers!

Postpone any urge to order food if you are close to going home!
Instead, use your precious college dollars to buy quality ingredients on your way home, i.e. lean beef, humanely raised--less fat, more flavor, better all around for you and the environment. And with the classic, thin "diner-style" cheeseburgers, one pound will give you roughly 5 patties--so, why not invite some friends over while you are at it!

One of the best executions of this concept I experienced at Gott's Roadside Diner in Napa, California. If you are going to indulge in red meat once in a it in style with the best...make it totally worth it! Expect no less!

Classics: The Diner Cheeseburger Make Your Own

Rolling pin or large bottomed bowl
Seran wrap
Non-stick skillet / griddle
Spatula to create pressure

100% Humanely Raised, Organic Ground Sirloin, 90% Lean
American Cheese
Sesame Buns, toasted with a dusting of butter
1 tsp butter
Drizzle of olive oil

1. Wash your hands.
2. Prep your condiments.
3. Equally divide meat into roughly 4-5 patties and lay between seran wrap.

4. Use a large-bottom bowl or rolling pin to flatten to 1/4" inch thick. Salt & Pepper!

5. Heat your skillet on MED-HIGH with a drizzle of olive oil and 1 tsp butter.

6. Make sure all patties have room in the skillet. 

7. Use a spatula / flipper to create pressure on the patties while you sear the meat, approx 1-2 minutes until carmelized.

8. Flip the burger and brown another 1-2 minutes. Turn the heat off.
9. Add your cheese.

10. Build a better burger!
--toasted, lightly buttered bun
--the works as you might like it

Awesomely simple and better!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Dollar In My Wallet: Baked Potatoes

Sometimes you get to the end of the month, the week, your paycheck or budget with little to spare---you all know what I mean, right? It happens to all of us. And nothing is worse than trying to scrape by on fake Mac 'N Cheese or Ramen and canned food--been there as well, right?

One solution for these situations is using pantry foods--grains, legumes, and root vegetables, to keep your stomach from growling while providing calories, fiber, vitamins--take for example the infamous, ever-popular, American baked potato or the sweet potato. They cost pennies and can pretty much be combined with anything to make a satisfying, cheap, and nutritious meal for any starving college student strapped on breadcrumbs and cash!

Baking potatoes are especially versatile: use leftovers from meals, roast a few veggies, make them healthy with cottage cheese and salsa, or sprinkle with cheese! Want something less savory, heat up a sweet potato instead, and sprinkle with cinnamon or brown sugar! 

On top of this, baked potatoes or sweet potatoes require practically no equipment and no skills unless you do not know how to push buttons or open a carton of cottage cheese!  When money is tight, know some easy solutions to remain well-fed--try this one tonight!

Cost: $1-2 / serving

A Dollar In My Wallet: Baked Potatoes


Baking (or Sweet Potatoes),pierced

Add-Ons /Options (to increase flavor and nutrition):
--Roasted or steamed broccoli with sharp cheddar
--Cottage Cheese plain or with tomato salsa
--Crumbled bacon, cheddar & low-fat sour cream
--leftover mushroom(s) sauce
--leftover mongolian beef
--use the last slice of deli ham and melt some cheese to throw on top
--try it

1. Wash your hands.
2. Wash the potatoes and pierce all around with a fork or knife.

3. Microwave Time: (depends on size):
---larger potatoes approx 8-12 min HIGH
---small to medium 5-10 min HIGH
---will also depend on your microwave model…just make sure potato is cooked tender

(you can use a standard oven, but it will cost you valuable time):
---wrap in foil and bake for 1-1 1/4 hours at 400F degrees
---unwrap, brush with oil, and bake another 10-15 minutes at 450-500F degrees
---smaller potatoes may need less, but timely nonetheless

4. See what's in the fridge, be creative, and prep your toppings. 
5. Start layering and dig in! Or just use butter, salt, and pepper.

Butter / Salt / Pepper

Cottage Cheese (protein, calcium) / Salsa

Shredded Sharp Cheddar (ends of various cheeses) / Roasted Broccoli (leftover)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Blueberry Coconut Muffins

Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone!

What could be better than a little sweetness on Valentine's Day? Celebrate your favorite people, friends, family, spouses, and partners this weekend with these little bites of goodness! Not sappy sweet. Just a little. Great for breakfast with a little jam.

Some simple steps involved. Just stay organized.
Make someone feel special this weekend! 
Make someone happy!

Blueberry Coconut Muffins

Mixing bowls
Sifter (use a strainer if you dont have one)
Cupcake or Muffin tin
Cupcake holders

2 cups plus 1 Tbls all-purpose flour
1 Tbls baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted
1 egg, beaten
4 Tbls butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups blueberries, tossed in flour 
(if using frozen, thaw and drain first)
1 tsp orange zest (optional, but worth it)

1 cup powder sugar
3-4 tsp milk, added individually
Orange zest (optional)

1. Wash your hands. 
2. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. 
3. Toast your coconut to a golden brown.

4. Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in sugar and toasted coconut!

5. Combine milk, egg and melted butter (slightly cooled!!!!) until just incorporated. It will cook the egg if you do not let it cool.

6. Toss blueberries in 1 Tbls of flour and fold into the batter.

7. Fill muffin cups to below the rim.

8. Bake for 17-20 min or untl toothpick comes out dry/clean--will depend on oven. 

9. If so inclined...make the icing for a little extra sweetness and drizzle over your muffins!

10. These are great and low on sappy sugary sweetness and oily residue!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!