Five Things I’m Excited About

Hi everyone!  I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend and are ready for another week studying hard at Fontbonne.  Today I’d like to share five things I am most excited for — some happening presently, others I am eagerly looking forward to.  They’re in no particular order, too, by the way!

  • My family’s return from California:  This weekend (February 18), my cousin got married.  He lives in California, and my college and work schedules did not allow me to attend the celebration.  I’m really glad my parents, brother, grandma, and other relatives could all make it out to attend the wedding and reception, but I also have that reserved feeling that we couldn’t all be together as a family — not just for the wedding, but the other fun activities they’ve been enjoying.  My mom has been sending me tons of pictures to make me feel included, but it’s still not the same as being there.  Monday (February 20) my grandma and brother return, and Wednesday (February 22) my parents return.  It’s not that I am incapable of carrying on a normal life without them…we’re just a really close-knit family, and when we’re apart like this, it’s a little bittersweet and lonely.
  • Trying new recipes:  I’m a dietetics major (only a freshman, so I’m not really into degree-specific classes yet) and I love cooking and baking, whether it’s creating new recipes out of my head (I’m not afraid to take a plunge, even knowing something might not turn out well) or changing up existing recipes to be healthier or appropriate for people with different dietary needs.  Tonight, I’m making a fish taco and my own guacamole.  It’s always good if you can make your own of anything because then you can control how much of an ingredient you put into the recipe!
  • The Triple Crown:  I’m a horse girl, and that extends into many areas of my life, including the Triple Crown horse races every May/June — the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont.  Two years ago (2015), we had American Pharoah win all three races, which hadn’t been done for 37 years.  I can’t begin to express how emotional I was witnessing his wins, and it further increased my enthusiasm for the sport.  My mom and I make a full-out celebration of the Derby complete with hats, singing My Old Kentucky Home with utter solemnity, apple juleps (a non-alcoholic trade for the mint juleps), mint chocolate chip shakes, picking our favorite horse to win, and breathlessly watching the two-minute race.  By the Preakness and Belmont, it’s time to get serious and just watch the race — no other “partying distractions”.  Even if you’re not a horse person or horse-racing fan, it’s so exciting that I guarantee you it’s worth two short minutes of your time!
  • Summer vacation:  I don’t really get much of a summer vacation because I’ll be taking summer classes at a community college in order to graduate in four years.  But there’s a window of time between when those end and Fontbonne’s fall semester starts, so my family and I will be taking a summer trip (what?!) to the east to climb Mt. Washington (a five-year aspiration of mine) and visit Philadelphia, New York City, Washington D.C., Gettysburg, and other great spots.  As an aspiring history minor, I’m certain there will be moments of emotion as I realize the deep historical roots of the places I visit…the very places some of the most significant moments in America’s history happened!
  • The Winter Olympics:  I’m a winter lover through and through (sorry, all you cold-weather-haters), and I have to say this winter has been very depressing to me with the lack of cold temperatures and snow (and I mean SNOW, not the rotten ice that struck us twice earlier this year).  A comforting thought is that the 2018 Winter Olympics are just a year away now, though!  That’ll get me through whatever crazy weather we have coming at us.

What are some things you’re excited for, whether they’re happening now or way on down the road?  Let me know, and have a great week!


What is good about Ginger?

Having grown up in the Chinese culture for many years, I have seen that many Chinese families like using ginger for preparing different kinds of dishes such as ginger fried rice, ginger tea, and sweet and sour ginger soup, etc. One of the great functions of ginger, from the Chinese point of view, is that ginger helps remove the odor and taste from fish, just like we use lemon juice here in the West. That’s why the Chinese people use ginger so often for steaming fish! From the above examples, it seems that every Chinese dish is used with ginger for cooking. So, you may ask: What’s actually good about ginger? Are there any health benefits of eating ginger? If yes, how can we incorporate ginger into our meals? Well, let me share some of the delicious, easy Chinese recipes with you. More importantly, let me tell you some of the health benefits that research studies have found in Ginger. 

What’s Ginger?

Ginger is a tropical plant originated from Southern China. It has green-purple flowers and an aromatic underground stem (called a rhizome). It has been historically used as an Asian medicine to treat stomach aches, diarrhea, nausea caused by motion, chemotherapy and pregnancy (NIH, 2012). In China, ginger is considered as a folk medicine that helps prevent illnesses. For example, tea brewed from ginger is used to prevent colds; dried ginger candy that’s fermented in plum juice and sugared is consumed to suppress coughing. 

What are the Health Benefits of Ginger?

Research studies have shown that ginger helps reduce pain in people with arthritis, menstrual pain, nausea and vomiting following surgery or during pregnancy. However, there’s still a controversy on research whether ginger can help relieve nausea from motion sickness, chemotherapy, or surgery (WebMD). 

Is Eating Ginger Safe? 

Regarding the safety guideline by the National Institute of Health, there are few side effects of eating ginger when it is taken in small doses. Some of the side effects include heartburn, diarrhea and general stomach discomfort (gas and bloating). 

Mardi Gras Cooking

I don’t normally cook on campus. If I do, it’s the traditional college meal – microwaveable Ramen noodles or macaroni and cheese. However, this week was a special occasion. I decided I was going to have a small Mardi Gras party in my dorm room, so Monday night my friend and I carried our cooking supplies up to the fourth floor of Medaille and started our cooking adventure! Following an idea on Pinterest, we made mini king cakes. Here’s the recipe/instructions:

1. Buy packaged cinnamon rolls

2. Unroll the cinnamon rolls so that they are straight

3. Then twist them and turn them into the shape of an “O”

4. Next, place them on a pan (wax paper is helpful so you don’t have to clean your pan or worry about spray) and place them in the oven at 400 F

5. After about ten minutes, take them out

6. Then frost them using white frosting

7. Finally, add the sprinkles…green, purple, and yellow (for Mardi Gras!)

*You can either mix all the sprinkle colors together or separate them into green, yellow, and purple sections.

The mini king cakes were a great hit at my party! We drank soy milk with our treats and danced to some awesome music…I highly suggest making these treats and having a party of your own next year 🙂

Cooking on campus

The best thing that was ever invented to cook on college campus is RAMEN NOODLES. It is a quick, cheap, and easy meal to make. You can purchase a box of ramen noodles for no more than $5, and that box can last you months! All you do is put the dry noodles in a bowel of water, put the microwave on five minutes, and then mix the seasoning in and your done! It’s that easy! You can not go wrong with a box of ramen. It’s affordable, not messy, and doesn’t take a lot of dishes. It is definitely something every college student should have in their dorm!

Butternut Squash Macaroni

Last week, we made Butternut Squash Macaroni with the first graders at Maplewood Richmond Heights Early Childhood Center. Every single kid loved it!  We had no picky eaters at all.  While I was cooking this recipe with them, I thought about us college students. How hard it is to cook a nutritious meal.  This recipe is easy, affordable, nutritious, and quick.  Try it at home!  If you freeze it, it can last up to 3 weeks.


1     lb. macaroni/ elbow noodles

2     cups cheese sauce

2     cups of butternut squash

½ tsp. garlic


–       Preheat the oven 350 F.

–       Wash the butternut squash.

–       Cut it lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and crud (The Pre-school children actually helped in this step).

–       Put the butternut squash in cookie sheets and place it in the oven.

–       After the butternut squash is cooked, take remove the peel and blend the meat part of the butternut squash.

–       Boil 1 lb. macaroni pasta and put it in the pot with boiling water. (9 min with added salt).

–       In a pot heat the cheese sauce, garlic and the butternut squash.

–       Once the cheese and squash sauce has boiled, add the macaroni.

–       Mix well.

–       Enjoy!

Green is my favorite color.

If I had to pick a favorite color, without a question, it would be green.

It’s also conveniently associated with the environment, and I love “going green.”

Fontbonne is becoming "greener" via our Southwest Hall garden!

A recent holiday that just occurred was St. Patrick’s Day…a holiday that is conveniently very green.

The Fontbonne HES Department had a Student Food Demo that was St. Patrick’s Day-themed, which I really enjoyed.

Fontbonne Students showing us how to make various food dishes.
I was pretty excited about it.
The mashed potatoes were probably my favorite. I'm a big fan of potatoes.
Utilizing technology in the kitchen!
We even had dessert!
I was excited to win an attendance prize! This peeler will definitely come in handy for my own personal cooking.

And now a few gems from the Dogtown St. Patrick’s Parade. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with different St. Louis neighborhoods, Dogtown is considered the traditionally Irish neighborhood.)

We were excited to arrive at the parade.
I enjoyed looking at everyone's festive attire.
I spy a Kermit the Frog.
Let the parade begin!
There was some singin'...
There was some smilin'...
Fancy Irish parade floats...
There was some Irish dancin' of course...
"The Brady Bunch" was even there. 😉
Just your neighborhood leprechaun strolling along...
People handing out beads like crazy!
This is my friend, Ahmed, experiencing a St. Patrick's Day parade for the first time, since he's from Iraq.
Me, Ahmed, and fellow Fontbonne blogger Marielle after the parade festivities.

Peace, Love, & Lots of Green.


As a senior, this is my first time actually participating in a Dedicated Semester course! I mean, I should have participated more over the years becasue it was at my disposal, but I didn’t. Over the course of four D.S., I went to the events offered and even picked up a few t-shirts, but never took a course specializing in the Dedicated Semester.

Until this year! I am currently in a HES class specifically designed by students for this Dedicated Semester, The College Cookbook or College Guide to Cooking! As far as cooking goes, I “cook” pies, cakes, cookies, and am an expert juice maker; my family can attest to this. I leave the cooking to my mom, sister (on occasion), brother (he helps on occasion), and dad (Bill Miller’s, Luciano’s, Sonic, and various Taqueria’s*). I dont even like making salads, because I feel I cut the lettuce in too small of pieces or too big of pieces. There is a definite science to it and I have yet to master it!

Although I cannot cook, I have sold knives during a summer for an outstanding two weeks. I pretty much gave up when I sliced my finger, with the knives I was trying to sell, during a demonstration. Granted, the demonstration was for my mom, but still, it was pretty pathetic. That, and my salary was not as impressive as sitting in front of the tv watching my favorite movie (which is debatable and cannot be determined by how often I can watch it in a row)

I have now been in my Foodology class for a few weeks, and have made a few things I already knew how to make and a few things I am now pretty proud to say I can make. Now perfected: granola, quesadilla (previously perfected due to living in SATX my whole life), omelette, scrambled eggs (already perfected), pancakes (already perfected), egg-drop soup (NOW PERFECTED, my group had the best looking egg in our egg-drop soup!!), and spring rolls (not perfected at all, but edible!). Unfortunately, my group was unable to cook rice, make cucumber salad, or dipping sauce, so I’ll leave that to my mom or some other favorite asian restaurant of mine!

Hope you enjoyed my cooking successes, next week Ill talk about my sewing class and my sweatshirt endeavor!! It’s pretty rad and its not even fully sewn yet!!


*All these restaurants, excluding Sonic, are San Antonio,TX based. Luciano’s can now be found outside Texas.

The cycle continues……..

Howdy!  It appears my technical difficulties have been solved….thank you Firefox!!

Over the summer, I was very lucky to be a part of Fontbonne’s first summer of CampF.R.E.S.H.  I worked in the kitchen preparing food and teaching kids about nutrition and cooking techniques.  Our theme for the summer was the seven continents.  Each week of camp we explored the different foods and culture of each continent.  The campers wrote blogs which are fun to read and quite revealing!!  Check out their blog:

The camp was a TON of fun. 🙂  It gave me a taste of what it’s like to plan and prepare to cook food for a large group of people, but it was nothing like what I’m doing now with my cycle menu project!

As a dietetics major, I get to take a class called Quantity Foods, which is all about (you guessed it) planning for and preparing food in quantity.  We are currently working on designing week-long menus for a particular type of institution, like a school or retirement community.  I am preparing a menu for an elementary school.  I have new-found respect for how difficult the school lunch-lady has it!!!  I have to come up with food ideas that 6 year old kids will eat, that encompass all the required nutrients, that have different shapes, colors and textures and that involve a variety of ingredients and flavors.  Oh, the food also has to fit within a particular budget.  Quite a lot of variables to consider! Despite all these challenges, though, I do enjoy it.  The process is much like putting together a puzzle, but with lots of moving pieces.  What you choose to serve on Monday can impact what you should serve on Tuesday – after all, who wants pasta two days in a row?  Ok, maybe I would be ok with pasta two days in a row, but we need to be more creative than that!

Quantity foods is a way cool class because the projects we do are the type of projects we can expect to do when we graduate.  They are very practical projects.  Even if I don’t end up working in a school planning lunch menus, odds are good that there will come a time where I will be required to cook for a large group.  By the end of the semester, I will be able to say – host a reception for 50 people??? Bring it on!!!