Healthy Snack Alternatives for Finals

Finals are upon us. This means stress-eating, binge watching, and a whole lot of procrastinating. Here are five healthy snacks that you can eat all day without gaining stress weight!

  1. Apple Slices – Apples are very good for you. They are rich in antioxidants and have been praised as a “miracle food.” Apples are inexpensive and can be found at any grocery store. An apple a day keeps the doctor away!
  2. Nuts – Nuts are the perfect snack for someone on the go. A few benefits of nuts are that they are packed with protein, fiber, and Vitamin E. Nuts are also filling which makes them the perfect snack if you miss dinner because you were last minute studying all night

    Peanuts are rich in essential nutrients like protein and fiber.
    Peanuts are rich in essential nutrients like protein and fiber.
  3. Celery – Celery is 95 percent water. How can you get healthier than that? Celery goes well with peanut butter, ranch, or bleu cheese. Any dip of your choice. Celery is a perfect crunchy alternative to chips. 
  4. Greek yogurt – Greek yogurt is a great, filling snack. It has protein, iodine, and calcium. One of the best things about Greek yogurt is that you can add fruits or nuts. Chobani is a popular Greek yogurt brand that offers various flavors and has natural NON-GMO ingredients. 
  5. Granola – Granola is a great snack if you want something light. Mixed with yogurt or eaten by itself, granola is very tasty. Granola contains fiber, provides beneficial fats and has various vitamins, and minerals. Most grocery stores sell parfaits that come with granola on the side. This is the perfect snack for a peaceful studying session.

4 Rivers: Barely Four Stars

 

Texas barbecue is incomparable. Hands down the best barbecue I’ve had in my life. So when I got multiple positive reviews for 4 Rivers Smokehouse, I was intrigued.

4 Rivers has a very nice exterior. At first sight, I thought it was an upscale restaurant. There is a To-Go window on the exterior that is also used for pickup orders.

I ordered a brisket sandwich with two sides. For my sides, I chose Mac & Cheese and Texas Cornbread. The Texas Cornbread has its name because it has peppers in it that give it a spicy kick.

To say I had high expectations is an understatement. I swore this was going to be the best thing since Texas barbecue (which is very delicious if I haven’t already stated this.) Sadly, 4 Rivers did not live up to the hype.

Continue reading “4 Rivers: Barely Four Stars”

Smashburger: Grand Opening, Average Food

By Alyssa Fort

2-5 stars for smashburger reviewFree samples are a great way to get me to try something new. So when I was invited to the new Smashburger on Tennessee Street, I made sure to fit it into my schedule.

The event was exclusive to media-only, and there were menu samples provided for the attendees. I was a little skeptical about going because I had never heard of Smashburger, and I am a food fanatic. With that being said, if I haven’t heard of a place, it’s either exclusive to an area I’ve never been or the restaurant just isn’t good enough for my friends to feel the need to rave about it to me.

There were seven food items on the tasting menu, and two milkshake samples. The first milkshake was caramel flavored and very sweet. Overly sweet actually. I took one sip and felt as if I had a sugar overdose. The first burger was the Classic Smash and it was tasty. It was a simple burger and the only thing out of the ordinary was the Smash Sauce. I couldn’t taste it too much because of the ketchup but the burger itself was good so I assume the sauce was good.

My least favorite burgers were the BBQ, Bacon & Cheddar Burger, Regional Burger and the Avocado Ranch Black Bean Burger. I mostly disliked them because the taste was either too salty, too many toppings on the burger or basically altogether overwhelming. I was looking forward to trying the last sandwich on the menu, the Buffalo & Blue Cheese Crispy Chicken. Mostly because the first listed ingredient is Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Sauce, and I’ve used this sauce countless times when I make hot wings. I took my first bite and it was delicious, and then I took a few more bites and it started to taste very salty and once again, overwhelming.

The one thing that wasn’t overwhelming and would make me return was their Chocolate Oreo Milkshake. It had the perfect amount of chocolate and Oreos, and I even ended up finishing my guest’s sample too!

Overall, Smashburger is an OK restaurant. The atmosphere was welcoming and open, the staff was friendly, but the food was average. I would honestly only return for the Classic Smash and Chocolate Oreo Milkshake. If you’re someone who likes extensive burgers, Smashburger is the place for you.

Everything (patty rolling, beef shredding, etc.) is done in house so nothing is ever frozen. I can say they do provide good quality burgers; they just aren’t my kind of burgers.

30 Minute Chicken/Shrimp Alfredo Recipe

Ingredients:

1 well seasoned chicken breast or ½ pound of medium de-veined shrimp

1 box of penne pasta (or your favorite pasta)

1 jar alfredo sauce

1 lemon or 1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

1½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

½ onion

½ green and red pepper

Preparations: Dice onions and peppers to preferred size

Chef’s Note: Any meat would work for this recipe, but chicken and shrimp are healthier options, and we always want our readers to keep good healthy alternatives in mind when cooking!


Directions:

1. Bring water to boil in a large pot. Follow directions on pasta box. Usually 4-5 quarts for entire box.

2. Add noodles and salt. Boil until al dente or preferred texture.

3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

4. Add diced onions and peppers, and let sauté for about 5 minutes.

5. Add chicken or shrimp.

6. If using chicken, let chicken pan sear for 5 minutes on each side then cover, and let cook for 20 minutes. For shrimp, let sear 3 minutes on each side or until pink.

7. While chicken/shrimp is cooking, empty jar of alfredo sauce into a medium sized saucepan, and heat on medium-low.

8. Remove chicken from pan onto a cutting board and dice into medium sized bites, and add back to pan.   

9. Squeeze the juice of ½ lemon over pan and chicken/shrimp, onions, and peppers to alfredo sauce. Stir and serve on top of noodles.

Yummly: The Only Recipe App You’ll Ever Need

By Alyssa Fort

5-5 stars for yummly

Yay for Yummly!” “Must Download!” “Best food app!” These are just some of the many reviews for the Yummly app. Yummly is a recipe website and app that, “puts every recipe in the world in your pocket.” Yummly uses recipes from top recipe sites (AllRecipes, Epicurious, Food52, etc.), and has unique filters that allow you to choose a recipe that is catered to your taste buds.

This is the perfect app if you’re trying to figure out what’s for dinner or if you just want to try something new.  The recipes are all very detailed and tell you what you need, how much you need, how long it will take, how many calories it consists of and reviews from people who have tried the recipe. When you first make your yummly account, you are asked a few questions about foods you like and dislike.

Your yummly can be customized by saving recipes you like, and there is even a “Just For You” tab that is made from recipe recommendations based off of ones you’ve liked.

Recipes you’ve liked are called your, “yums,” and there are specific collections like breakfast, dinner, desserts, etc. You even have the option of adding your own collection. For example, I have a, “Crock-pot,” collection filled with countless recipes I can make in my Crock-pot. There is also an option to add your own recipe to yummly.

Personally, I think Yummly is an amazing app. I use it for any new recipe I want to try, and I even scroll through it when I’m hungry and bored. Although, I regret this at times because it usually makes me hungrier, and I then wish I had a personal chef at my disposal to make me all my favorite recipes.

Yummly is perfect for food fanatics like myself or someone who just enjoys good food, and is tired of making ramen noodles every night.  I advise everyone to immediately download Yummly, and I apologize in advance for all the food envy you may experience.

Grocery Shopping As a College Student, Easier Than You Think

By Alyssa Fort

Grocery aisles are filled with tons of items. This is why it’s important to focus on what you need while shopping so there are no distractions. (Photo by Alyssa Fort)
Grocery aisles are filled with tons of items. This is why it’s important to focus on what you need while shopping so there are no distractions. (Photo by Alyssa Fort)

Some people may feel grocery shopping is really nerve wracking. It’s a task that is sometimes either put off or avoided altogether. Though, grocery shopping no longer needs to be avoided.

Here are some tips that can help relieve the stresses of grocery shopping.

Prioritize – Only buy what you need! You don’t need four boxes of cookies just because they are buy one get one free.

Make a list – Lists help you get in and out of the grocery store. They help you focus on what you need so you aren’t too distracted by the sale signs flashing unnecessary snacks at you.

Split your shopping – Different stores have different sales. Publix and Walmart are always in price competition but whichever one you chose should depend specifically on what you need to buy. So maybe buy snacks at Walmart and meats and fruits at Publix.

Buy things that will last – Five boxes of hot pockets won’t last as long as you think. Instead of buying several small things, buy a few large things. For example, two packs of chicken breasts with five breasts in each pack will last longer than five boxes of hot pockets with three hot pockets in each pack.

Think Green – Popeye’s favorite vegetable was spinach. This most likely isn’t the case for everyone. Even if you really despise vegetables, they are good for you in so many ways. Try to find a vegetable you slightly like and spruce it up with some seasonings. Sautéed asparagus and kale are my personal favorites.

Think Green II- “Paper or plastic?” is more than just a question. It is a decision that believe it or not, has a massive effect on the Earth. Plastic bags take centuries to dissolve after ending up in landfills while paper decomposes not only easier but faster. Paper bags are also made of recycled material so they can be reused forever!

Grocery Store Do’s & Don’ts

Costco Wholesale is a great place to buy items in bulk. From water, to meat, to beverages, if you have a big appetite or family, Costco is the place to go. (Photo by Alyssa Fort)
Costco Wholesale is a great place to buy items in bulk. From water, to meat, to beverages, if you have a big appetite or family, Costco is the place to go. (Photo by Alyssa Fort)

Do: Check sales ahead of time

Don’t: Go without knowing what you need

Do: Think about if you really need something

Don’t: Just throw it in the cart because it looks good

Do: Research before you buy something new

Don’t: Purchase something just because it’s on sale

Do: Shop earlier in the day

Don’t: Shop at peak times when it’s packed and annoying

Do: Try samples!. It’s free food.

Don’t: Take 30 samples – sharing is caring

Simple & Hearty Sautéed Asparagus Recipe

Asparagus is a very good source of fiber and Vitamin C. (Photo by Alyssa Fort)
Asparagus is a very good source of fiber and Vitamin C. (Photo by Alyssa Fort)

By Alyssa Fort

Ingredients:

1 pound of asparagus

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

Olive oil

Soy sauce or Maggi Liquid Seasoning

Preparations:

Rinse & snap off dry ends of aspargus.

Chop onions and garlic and set aside.

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add chopped onions and garlic to pan and let sautée for about 5 minutes.

3. Add clipped asparagus to pan and make sure to spread so aspargus covers entire pan.

4. Pour a few dashes of soy sauce or maggi. The amount varies on how you like your asparagus so season to taste.

5. Cook aspargus for 15-20 minutes or until tender and make sure to stir occasionally.

6. Serve with onions and garlic on top or mix them in white rice for a very tasty rice alternative.

College Cooking Essentials: The Crock-Pot

   (Photo courtesy of crockpot.com)
(Photo courtesy of crockpot.com)

By Alyssa Fort

Though it is no longer a bean cooker as it was intentionally designed for, it is now something even better. The Crock-Pot is a small kitchen appliance that I swear by and think everyone should purchase immediately. As a college student, I am either in class or at work 90 percent of the time. My Crock-Pot really works around my schedule. Any meal I want (literally any meal) I can prepare the night before, toss it in the Crock-Pot around noon, and just let it slow cook for around 4 to 6 hours.

The best part is the inside of the crockpot can be removed and you can put the leftovers straight in the fridge. Not all slow cookers are the same, I have a Crock-Pot and this is what I recommend. Though, various companies sell slow cookers. Whichever you buy should do the same thing. Crockpots can be bought almost anywhere from Best Buy to Walmart and they cost from $10 to $80.

Healthy Corner: Kale

Curly kale is the most popular type of kale. (Photo courtesy of wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com)

By Alyssa Fort

If you haven’t heard yet, kale is the new black. This consists of everything from kale chips to kale smoothies. Not only is kale rich in nutrients and very delicious (when made correctly) it has tons of health benefits. Kale is a low-calorie weight loss aid, so if you are still sticking to your New Year’s resolution of losing weight, a kale salad or smoothie would be fine. Body wise, kale is good for your eyes, skin and bones.  Kale is very high in protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, K, and B6. Per calorie, kale has more iron than beef, more calcium than milk, and 10 times more vitamin C than spinach. So with all those benefits, you can’t fail with kale.

Easy and Tasty Recipe: Buffalo Crock-Pot Wings

Buffalo Crock-Pot Wings is a simple and painless dish. Be sure to make plenty because you and your guests will love these wings. (Photo by Alyssa Fort)
Buffalo Crock-Pot Wings is a simple and painless dish. Be sure to make plenty because you and your guests will love these wings. (Photo by Alyssa Fort)

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle buffalo wing sauce
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder

Recipe

  • 1 (4 pound) bag of frozen wings or wingettes (your choice)
  • 1 bottle of buffalo wing sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot)
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

Directions

  1. Melt butter and combine with wing sauce.
  2. Place wings into Crock-Pot and pour onion and garlic powder over wings. Make sure you move the wings around so all wings are coated.
  3. Pour buffalo sauce and butter mixture over wings.
  4. Cook on low for 4 hours (2 hours if on high.)
  5. Set oven to broil low. Place foil on baking sheet.
  6. Place wings on foil and broil in oven until wings look crispy and brown, about 15 minutes.
  7. Remove sauce from Crock-Pot and place in a small saucepan. Simmer on low so sauce can thicken, should take about 15 minutes. Brush sauce on wings and serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing.