Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Homemade Pancake Mix 4 College Cooking

This is my son’s third year of college, but the first time he has lived in an apartment.  Now that he has a kitchen, he is on a reduced meal plan and makes his own breakfast most days.  I know he loves omelettes and has perfected his technique in making those just the way he likes them.  But I know he also loves pancakes, and they are such a comfort food.  

I’ve always made pancakes from scratch at our house, and over the years tweaked my recipe so it includes healthy whole-grains.  I knew he wouldn’t be likely to purchase all the ingredients, so on a whim I bought a large glass container and decided to make a homemade mix based on my own recipe.  Apparently it was a good idea, as it elicited a facebook-post thank you.

This is a recipe to make before you head off to college - or one to ask your parent to mix up and send in a care package.  I used flax meal in the mix I sent Jack, but at home I alternate flax meal and oat bran.  Flax adds a nutty flavor, while the oats add a sweetness and some texture.  If you prefer not to add either, just use 4C of the two flours.  

(Courtesy of and Recipe by Guest Blogger Hallie Bandy)

Homemade Pancake Mix

AirTight Container
Large Mixing Bowl
Non-stick skillet

1C Cornstarch
3.75 C all-purpose flour
3.75 C whole wheat flour
.5 C flax meal or oat bran
4.5 tsp salt
3 Tb + .75 tsp baking powder
4.5 tsp salt
1 Tbls sugar (I added this / optional from original recipe)

Wet Ingredients Needed:
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Egg
2 Tbls melted butter

1. Wash your hands.
2. Whisk all the dry ingredients together and put into an airtight container. 

3. Make sure to label and include instructions (below) with the mix. 

4. To Make Pancakes:
---Whisk together the wet ingredients
---1 egg, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 Tbls of melted butter
---Add 1 cup of dry pancake mix

5. I think this mix will last the entire semester, but I could be wrong.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

The blog has focused alot on on saving these last weeks so it's time to indulge with these little treats! FYI--great recipe for Halloween candy! 

(Adapted from Real Simple Tear-Out Recipe Years ago)

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Cookie Sheets
Parchment Paper

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

1 12 oz bag Reese' Cups, unwrapped and coarsely chopped

1. Wash your hands.
2. Preheat oven to 375F degrees.
3. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt tofgether.
4. Cream butter and sugars.

5. Add egg and vanilla.

6. Add dry ingredients.

7. Fold in coarsely chopped peanut butter cups (not whole as seen in picture)

8. Place large tablespoon size on parchment lined baking sheet.

9. Bake x 8-12 minute depending on your oven.

10. Share.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Menu Planning 4 College Cooking No 2

Benefits of menu planning extend past saving money and eating well. You are consciously taking steps to reduce waste not only in what you consume, but what you throw away, and thus, minimize your footprint on this earth! 

This week's menu is not an ultra cheap menu trying to meet the ridiculous living standard of SNAP Dollars, i.e. $4 / day per person as I attempted (and failed) on my last post; however, the benefit of this week's menu is that you will likely have a freezer with additional meals for the following week, i.e. you will have some excess from the recipes as well as a few left over grocery items that you can carry in to the following week. This week also assumes that you have a few items remaining from your previous week's shopping, i.e. oatmeal, slices of bread, etc.

Switch things up if you like. 
Pull in other recipes, but whatever you do, get planning…even if it is not a typical thing to do for a college student, learn this simple skill. 
Make it a challenge or game to see if you can reduce spending and waste all while eating better. Take it up a notch and invite someone to share your excess from the meals you create; thus, benefiting two people while building community and conversation.

The Menu This Week
Approximate grocery total outside of Chicago: $75
(Not necessarily shopping at Aldi's or other low-priced stores)
Total: 28 meals 
Cost: $2.75-3.00 / meal

  • English Muffin with cheddar, egg, bacon / 8 oz milk
  • PB & J Sandwich / carrots 
  • Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup (use 1 cup milk to make soup) / Green Salad with veggies
  • Roasted Greek Yoghurt Dip with veggies 
  • You will use yoghurt dip for tomorrow's lunch 
  • 2 eggs with English Muffin /  8 oz milk
  • PB & J Sandwich with carrots / fruit
  • Thaw one container of Rigatoni before leaving house.
  • Rigatoni Up A Notch leftovers / Cucumber Salad Leftovers
  • Popcorn and parmesan
  • Make up second pouch of Tuna Fish for tomorrow's lunch.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Veggie Toasts 4 College Cooking

Scraping by is no fun, but recently I posted an article on College Confessions that exposed a very stark reality that some college students are experiencing related to money and making ends meet: 

Compelling information on the struggles from being penniless to hungry in college. I would encourage you to look at every penny and dollar you have if you are living off campus...if you are limited in income and survival is looming ahead...

---calculate everything in your budget 
---remove extraneous items, ie cigarettes, soda, beer, candy, desserts, junk food
---stick to water
---eliminate meat from the grocery budget
---most importantly, identify someone who is struggling and share a meal 

Even if you don't have a lot to share, consider reducing your intake just a smidge to give a little to someone in need! Great recipes for sharing include simple meals like my Dad used to make for lunch: Open-faced sandwiches!  

Typically, these little bites were made with a lunchmeat, leftover chicken or tuna and then covered in grated cheese; but, if you substitute sautéed veggies instead…this is a cheap, satisfying and delicious meal!  

For $4.90 I can get (in Chicago):
--1 squash
--1 zucchini
--1 green pepper
--1-2 onions
--1 red pepper

Extra $2.50-$2.99:
--1 box portobello mushrooms 

Chop and sauté these veggies, sprinkle with cheese and broil; and, you will have plenty of toasts to share! Some great combos include: 

1. Sauteed Mushrooms & Cheese (featured in this post)
2. Sauteed Onions & Cheese
3. Veggie Medley & Cheese

Veggie Toasts 4 College Cooking
Total Cost: $10.41 (includes cheaper veggies, cheese and bread or 2-3 boxes of 'shrooms)
Toast: $0.52/ slice (15-20 slices)

Toaster Oven
Non-stick skillet

1 box portobello mushrooms, cleaned & sliced (other veggies diced & chopped)
2 tsp butter
1-2 Tbls olive oil
1/2-1 tsp of dried thyme
Salt & pepper

1 loaf of crusty bread, sliced 1/4"
Cheese (Monterrey Jack, Gouda, Havarti, Gruyere), grated

1. Wash your hands and veggies.
2. Prep your cheese and veggies.

3. Saute your veggies with butter and olive oil in a medium-large non-stick skillet.

4. Allow mushrooms to sear untouched or stirred. Once golden brown, add salt, pepper and thyme.

5. Toast your slices of bread lightly.

6. Once the veggies are done, divide evenly across your toasts.
7. Sprinkle cheese over the top.

8. Broil your toasts for 2-3 minutes.