Single Serving Puppy Chow

Last semester, I tweeted “Puppy chow and How I Met Your Mother on Netflix are the only things getting me through dead week right now. #Ihaveaproblem #somuchpuppychow.” My cousin from New Jersey read that tweet and thought I was legitimately eating food … Continue reading

Microwave Granola Bars

In high school I think I made friends in some of my classes based solely off the fact that I had a seemingly constant supply of granola bars and Fruit by the Foot in my bag.

My parents frequented Costco, so we had boxes of the Fruit by the Foot and granola bars so big we had to keep them on top of our fridge instead of in the pantry. Each day I grabbed two granola bars and two Fruit by the Foot. I didn’t always need both, so I would let them accumulate in my purse until I was put into a group and I offered the treats to my classmates. Or sometimes someone would mention that they couldn’t wait for lunch, and I pulled out my supply of Fruit by the Foot and asked whether they wanted Strawberry or Color By The Foot.

I could pretend the reason they approached me was because I was charming or interesting or funny, but I think they mostly started talking to me because I was willing to share my snacks. And that is okay with me.

I let that habit die once I went to college, but lately I’ve been eating a lot of granola bars again. Every Tuesday I have class from 9:30 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon with no time to eat lunch. I value sleep too much to get up to eat a healthy breakfast before class, so I have become reliant on granola bars. They are relatively cheap, easy to grab and bring to class with me, and I enjoy eating them. They don’t have a distinct smell that would make everyone around me hate me. They aren’t particularly loud. They are perfect to eat in a lecture.

And, apparently, they are easy enough to make in a dorm. This recipe from Bakerita requires more equipment (read: basic items such as bowls, spoons, and measuring cups) than most students have in their dorm, but it is entirely doable. Even if you still only have non-microwaveable bowls. I honestly have no idea what those bowls could be doing to me. Every time I use them I expect to open the microwave to a bowl that has cracked in half. Since that hasn’t happened yet, I’m going to continue to use them until I can sneak one of my parent’s old bowls back to school with me.

Homemade Granola Bars
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup crispy rice cereal
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Stir the cereal and cooking oats together in a bowl

In a microwave safe dish, stir together butter, honey, and brown sugar. Microwave for 3 minutes. The bowl will be HOT and the mixture should be bubbling.

Add the vanilla–this will cause the mixture to bubble up again. This worried me at first, but it ended up fine. Stir in the peanut butter until the mixture is smooth and fully combined.

Mix the dry ingredients and the peanut butter mixture together. Pour it onto whatever plate or pan you have and pat down until it is one even sheet– I put mine in a disposable serving tray I had leftover from when I made taco dip.

Finish by refrigerating for half an hour or let sit at room temperature for about two hours.

I really enjoyed this recipe. To be honest, I really did not want to deal with cleaning out a honey or peanut butter filled measuring cup in my tiny dorm sink, so I just guessed how much to put in. I am not a huge fan of honey, so I put more peanut butter than I did honey. The results are absolutely delicious.

The Hy Vee brand granola bars (right) I have are easier to take to class and they are much more solid. The homemade granola bars fall apart relatively easily, but I much prefer the taste. They are chewier than the other bars. I will definitely be making this recipe again.

1, 2, 3 Cake (Take 4)

I’m obsessed with Pinterest. I’ve heard someone say it is where boring girls go to congregate, but I disagree. I mean, I am pretty boring most of the time. But not because I love Pinterest. Plenty of my other interesting, active friends use Pinterest in very interesting ways.

I love Pinterest because I find inspiring pictures, ideas for weekend craft projects, and awesome recipes.

I also love Pinterest because it is where I found my latest study break obsession.

Remember my last study break snack? Where I said maybe my next one will be healthier? Well this one has strawberries. In my book, that counts.

I found this recipe for an easy mug cake on Pinterest and knew right away I had to try it. I brought a mug from home, even though I don’t drink coffee, specifically for this recipe.

That made it even sadder when my first attempt at 1, 2, 3 Cake ended in failure. I forgot to mix the batter. Half the cake rose and the rest was powdered mix sitting at the bottom of the mug.

My second attempt, I mixed the batter thoroughly before putting my mug in the microwave. 1, 2, 3 Cake (Take 2) was definitely a cake… just not a very good one. It was dry and it made me realize that the main reason I like cake is frosting.

I decided to try one more time, this time adding more than the two tablespoons of water the recipe calls for. My cake was moister, but I still wasn’t impressed. I was ready to give up on the whole mug cake genre until I opened my fridge to get a bottle of water. It was then I noticed the whipped cream and strawberries I had for another recipe. Perfect! I chopped up some strawberries, threw them into my mug, and covered it in whipped cream. The strawberries were nice and cold and the whipped cream helped the cake seem more moist. Take 3 was a success.

It wasn’t until I sat down to write this blog that I realized I had mini chocolate chips in my room. Thus, 1, 2, 3 Cake (Take 4) was born.

1, 2, 3 Cake (Take 4)

What you need for the cake base:
1 box angel food cake mix (it MUST be angel food cake to work)
1 box any other cake mix (I used devil’s food cake)

Combine the box of angel food cake with your other cake mix and store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. You only need 3 tablespoons of this mixture each time you make a cake, so it will last you awhile.

Everything else you need:
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons water
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
a handful of mini chocolate chips
whipped cream
1-3 strawberries
a mug
measuring spoons

1. Scoop 3 tablespoons of your cake mixture into a mug and add your water and vanilla extract
2.  Stir until all the lumps are gone
3. Dump a handful of mini chocolate chips into your mug
4. Microwave for 1 minute on high power
(Don’t touch the mug right away–it is extremely hot. I learned that the hard way.)
5. Take your mug out of the microwave once it has cooled down a little and top with whipped cream and chopped strawberries.

This recipe has seriously revolutionized the way I crave desserts. It used to be that I waited for someone’s birthday or for the dining center to have a good dessert selection to get to eat cake. Now I am always two to three minutes away from a very satisfying cake. It is a blessing and a curse.