Healthy Study Break Snack: Frozen Yogurt Dots

I did not have a pleasant experience with my random roommate I was assigned last year. The experience was so unpleasant that my parents let me get a single dorm room this year. While I enjoy having my own space much more, there is one thing I miss about my old dorm: the mini fridge.

My roommate provided the fridge. I never knew how good I had it until this year when I had to get my own fridge. My current fridge does not have a functioning freezer. There is a tiny compartment that is slightly colder than the fridge, but it is not much of a help. I really only use it to put water bottles in when I need them to get cold more quickly than they would sitting in the fridge.

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Ironed Lunchables?

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a blog post about how to heat up Pizza Lunchables.

In elementary school, most of my friends were food snobs. Well–as much as 10 and 12 year olds can be. They refused to eat ‘hot’ lunch (a.k.a. the lunch the school cooked). They always brought in their own ‘cold’ lunches. My parents did not pack me my lunches and I was too lazy to do it myself. Plus, I honestly enjoyed the square pizzas, the beef and cheese nachos, the Italian dunkers. My friends always looked at my meal in disgust. They’d tell me it looked like puke or that the cheese looked like plastic. Whatever, I liked it. Or I at least tolerated it.

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Keurig Coffee Makers and EkoBrew

I have never been a fan of coffee. I don’t mind the taste– I sometimes enjoy coffee flavored ice cream or chocolate. It is the fact that it is hot liquid that gets me. I hate any hot drinks. My friends never understood how I could dislike hot chocolate or hot apple cider. But I do.

People tried to reassure me that my tastes would change once I got to college. That I would stay up so late that I would need to start drinking coffee. They were all wrong.

However, I know a lot of my fellow college students could not survive without coffee. Having your own coffee maker can be great, but most students can’t drink an entire pot of coffee. That is why a lot of my friends swear by the Keurig single-cup coffee maker.

I have tried coffee made from my boyfriend’s Keurig. I feel guilty not finishing my cup, because the K-cups that are necessary can be expensive. So I have powered through both times he’s made me a cup, thinking if I tried some different flavors I would like coffee more.

That’s why I was so excited to find a refillable K-cup, EkoBrew. I bought it for him for Valentines (and he bought me a Pasta Boat–we are so romantic) and he has been using it ever since. He loves being able to choose whatever coffee he wants and not having to buy the  expensive K-cups. And I feel better trying some of it and then promptly throwing it out. If you have a Keurig, I highly recommend checking out the EkoBrew!

Meatless Fridays and Beef Rice

I don’t remember the exact age that I began refraining from eating meat on Fridays during Lent. I don’t remember what my parents used to do before my brother and I were old enough to follow that rule–cook us chicken and order themselves pizza? I don’t even remember ever being taught that a good Catholic never eats meat (unless it was fish, which was completely unlikely in my family) on a Friday during Lent. It was just something I knew. I thought it was the greatest honor the first year I was told to participate. I felt so grown up.

By the time I was in 7th grade, I had started getting bad at remembering. Most of my Friday nights were spent away from home, without my parents to remind me. Two of my best friends were also Catholic, so sometimes one of us would remember and warn the others not to order that chicken taco with sour cream. Usually, though, we would do something like order a pepperoni pizza and then wait until midnight to let anyone–our meat-eating Lutheran friend included–eat a slice.

Knorr Rice Sides Beef flavor was a staple in my group of friends. It was a side dish my parents had always prepared for meals that I hated, like pot roast or roast beef, so I grew to love it as a main dish. I converted my friends, one by one, from resistance (does it actually taste like beef?) to obsession (I’m still not sure what it tastes like*, but it is delicious). We got into legitimate fights over whose bowl had more rice. I brought a bag of the rice with me to every sleepover.

I remember coming home one Saturday morning during Lent and proudly announcing to my parents that I had remembered not to eat meat. I only ate beef rice! I bragged, No real meat in it! My parents informed me that my favorite meal still counted as meat and I shouldn’t eat it on Fridays.

Instead of dealing with the temptation of eating it on Fridays (it still didn’t seem to count in my mind) I decided to give it up for good. And by good, I mean the last thirty-some days of Lent. I ended up giving up my rice for Lent from the ages 13 to 18.

Beef rice has become what I want when I’m sick or on those nights that I wish I had gone to the same school as my best friends from high school, many of whom have stayed the same since those meatless Fridays in junior high.

After so many years of cooking those packets of rice, I am shocked I never noticed the rice has microwave directions. I’ve missed out on my “rice and pasta blend in a savory beef flavored sauce” for the past year and a half of school. But all that ended today.

It tastes just as wonderful made in the microwave as it does from the stove. I found out after I made my steaming plate of deliciousness that the bowl I used was not microwave safe. I’m hoping that is because the bowl gets extremely hot and not because it was releasing some sort of toxin into my beautiful beef rice… but if that were the case, I can assure you it would be worth it.

*According to the Knorr website, the rice tastes like “Rice and pasta blend in a hearty, beef-flavored sauce with onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, paprika and diced carrots.” I can’t say my palette is refined enough to get all those flavors, but it is refined enough to know that the rice is absolutely delicious.

Pasta Boat!

I love pasta. I could eat it every day for a week and not get tired of it. Whenever I want to cook a nice dinner, pasta is always my first option. I have over 50 macaroni and cheese recipes saved in my bookmarks. I have five pages worth of favorites on Food Gawker and a majority of them are pasta. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to make any pasta living in a dorm. It is one of the things I miss most from home. The dining hall’s pasta station only has good sauces once every few days.

So when I got my belated Valentines gift from my boyfriend over the weekend and it was a Pasta Boat, I was beyond excited. Sure, when we’d seen the commercial on TV and he told me I should buy it, I said no. I was skeptical and didn’t think I needed pasta that much.

I was wrong.

To be fair, I’ve only used this once so far. I cooked one serving of angel hair pasta in it today, and it worked perfectly. I accidentally left the lid on (I didn’t realize I was supposed to take it off until I watched the infomercial again) so the handles got pretty hot. My microwave is also a little small, so the Pasta Boat was not able to rotate all the way around. Other than that, it was as easy to use as the commercial makes it look.

I expected my pasta to be a clumpy mess when I took it out of the microwave, but instead it looked just like it does after cooking it in a pot. It takes anywhere from 13 to 18 minutes to cook the pasta in the microwave, but if you have the time, it is definitely worth it.

If you love pasta, and have some money to spare, I would definitely recommend buying a Pasta Boat.

Pasta Boat commercial

I didn’t realize how much time it took before making my pasta today, so I just covered mine in a canned tomato sauce and sprinkled salt, pepper, garlic powder, and italian seasoning in with the sauce. It was much more satisfying than my usual Easy Mac lunch.

I will definitely be posting more recipes for the Pasta Boat in the upcoming weeks.  It came with different recipes (including one for mac and cheese!) that looked interesting to me, so I want to try some of those out.