Head over to my new blog: Ashley's Plate
I don't like change. I'm typically a ritualistic person: I make lists, organize and plan out my days and weeks. I am comfortable with patterns and rhythms. Change is scary to me.
As much as I don't like change, recent changes in my life have been for the better. I moved out of my college apartment in Portland, Maine to move back home to Massachusetts. After taking 2 classes a semester and driving home to Massachusetts once a week, I realized that I wouldn't be able to achieve my goals at such a slow pace. I piled up my summer and fall class schedule in order to graduate in Spring 2018 and I am very excited and motivated. I work best under pressure and taking an extra grad class a semester this upcoming year is what I need to push myself. I felt disconnected with my passions over the last few months and I hope that being stationary in Massachusetts will give me the opportunity to get more experience doing the things I love.
Aside from feeling disconnected with my future career path, I also feel disconnected from my blog! I love posting on Instagram, but I've been lacking the creativity to post recipes and general blog posts on my site. At the beginning of every month I make a 'goal' checklist and always make it my goal to post on my blog, but it somehow gets put on the back burner. Despite my lack of new content, I still cook daily, eat clean, and meal prep for the work week. This year I have felt my absolute best and I've been working very hard to get stronger, physically and mentally. I know I have the potential to motivate and inspire other people, but sometimes it's just difficult to relay those actions into words.
Although I still think that changes are scary, I'm eager to begin this new chapter of my life. I hope that within the next year I can secure a career while maintaining my healthy lifestyle. My blog has taken the back burner in the last few months, but this summer I want to make it a priority to post as much content as I can. Even though this post is quite lame, it's the start of a lot of good things to come this summer for the Hungry College Girl. Who knows, maybe I'll even change my blog name for a fresh start?
Hi lovely people! I hope you are settling into 2017 as well as I am. I can't believe January is halfway over though. It's crazy how quickly time can pass by without even knowing it.
Are you sticking to your New Years goals? Are you continuing to eat better, go to the gym more often, or take days to focus on yourself? Let's start with food. Food shopping can be very difficult for many people. I am usually quick and focused when I shop. I prepare a list, get everything I need, and try new products if they are on sale or if they look yummy. For those of you who have no idea where to start when you enter the grocery store..I have a list for you. I'm not recommending that you purchase ONLY these items, but these are the most common foods that I'll have in my refrigerator or my pantry. This is simply just a compilation of ideas for ingredients that you can use to meal plan! Are you buying similar foods? Do you have any products that you recommend for me? Comment below!
The Hungry College Girl's Food Shopping Essentials
Baby Red Potatoes
Rice (I use brown or jasmine)
Eggs (yeah I know this isn't meat but idk what category it fits under lol)
Bacon (Pork or Chicken)
*For plant proteins, try beans, chickpeas, and lentils. Do your research though..I'm not a dietician
Coconut Oil Spray
Honey or Agave
Protein Powder- I use Vega
Van's frozen waffles
Like I said before, I'm not a dietician, nor am I telling you that you should only eat these foods. Do what is best for YOUR body. Eat what your body craves and remember..EAT! Don't deprive your body of nutrients. Eat when you are hungry, drink lots of water, and find the balance in your diet.
Happy 2017 to my fellow readers, friends, and family! I know it's been nearly a month since my last post, but I thought I would update all of you on my thoughts about the transition into the new year.
Here are some of my highlights from 2016...
-I graduated from undergrad, yay! I didn't reach my goal of a 3.6 GPA, but I was super close (3.56) and graduated cum laude anyways.
-In June, I traveled to 9 different countries around Europe with my brother. My experiences abroad were unforgettable and left me with an everlasting desire to travel (even though my bank account will disagree with me).
-I ran not one, but two half marathons over the summer. I beat my first time by nearly 16 minutes....It's a good feeling to know I can run a sub 2-hour half marathon.
-I also started graduate school for history. Within my first semester, I learned so much and read... so...much. 17 books. I only have 14 books for this upcoming semester, so things are looking good.
If I were to sum up 2016, I'd say it was the best year of my life. 2017 will be a year of new beginnings and new memories. The most important goal for 2017 is for me to stay in shape and keep eating as clean as possible. Processed foods and added sugars will also be on my "do not eat" list for this year. I hope to stay aligned with the paleo lifestyle as much as possible. I really like paleo over other diets, like whole 30, because it's less restrictive. I'm not about dieting and restricting for a certain amount of time, I'm ultimately trying to fully change my eating habits to eat cleaner, non processed, and all natural foods. Over the last month or so, I've cut out most dairy, with the exception of a splash of heavy cream in my coffee. I haven't noticed any changes like most people do (clearer skin, less acne, etc), but I do miss cheese..... Unlike traditional paleo eaters, I will continue to eat potatoes, but I found that rice and lentils make my stomach literally want to explode!! Rice is oh..so..good.. but not when it makes my stomach cramp up. Lately I've been learning the importance of consumer consciousness. It's super important to be conscious of the things you buy, where they are sourced from, and what they are made out of, etc. Read the labels! Why would you buy something filled with ingredients you can't pronounce!? That's just crazy to me.
I've always followed paleo bloggers and instagrammers, so I think that the paleo lifestyle will be easy to accomplish. Besides eating paleo, I also want to continue working out as much as I can. It's hard to believe that my only goals for the new year are health centered, but I believe that you can accomplish anything once you've accomplished a healthy lifestyle. I've been focusing most of my workouts on weight training in order to build more muscle and shred some fat. Over the summer I did a lot of running, but over the winter I lack the motivation to do long cardio workouts...especially outside. For now, I'll stick to the weight room.
Anyways, I realized how lame of a post this is...and how it's pretty much me babbling on and on but hey, whatever. Happy new year and I wish all of you a happy and healthy journey. What are your goals for 2017? Comment below!
Nothing makes you feel more like an adult than purchasing kitchen items. Lodge cast iron skillets were 25% off at Target this week so naturally I made the move to buy one. I've been wanting a cast iron skillet for SO long now. I follow so many food bloggers who use them and cook delicious looking eggs, steaks, potatoes, and even skillet brownies and cookies. Who wouldn't want such a versatile pan?
(side note about the picture on the left: this took some serious arm strength to hold because these pans are heavy AF lol)..
3 large potatoes, I used red potatoes
1/2 stick butter
3 cloves garlic chopped
salt, pepper, thyme and oregano
Preheat oven to 375. Slice potatoes by hand, as thin as possible or if you have a mandolin your life will be much easier. Pour a little bit of EVOO into the bottom of a cast iron skillet and arrange the potatoes so they look pretty.
Heat up 1/2 stick of butter in a frying pan. Add in garlic and herbs and cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble a little. Turn off heat and pour the buttery goodness over the potatoes...make sure you try and get every little crack and crevice smothered in butter. Feel free to add a couple more tablespoons of butter or wait until they are done cooking to add more!
Cook for 1 hour on 375. If you want crispier potatoes, I suggest cooking at 425! (My next move when I make these again...which will be very soon.)
Unfortunately, I didn't get an 'after' picture because Sam and I demolished these potatoes. There were legit 10 slices for leftovers.....they were pretty darn tasty.
Not only is it cold outside...everyone is coming down with a cold. Myself included. I'm not sure if it was just a gnarly mix of allergies and dryness, but last week I felt like crap. My nose was congested and itchy, my eyes were watery, and my throat was scratchy. Such a fun combination. I decided to pick up a rotisserie chicken and make a soup for the week. If you know anything about me, I love soup. I love the warmth, and the way it tastes better throughout the week. PS I hate cooked carrots and celery so I never add them into my soups...don't be offended.
I'm not kidding when I say that this soup has everything but the kitchen fridge in it. Yes, I'm saying kitchen fridge because literally almost everything I used for this soup was either leftovers, half open bags and cartons, and pre cooked things. I didn't have to cook any chicken or rice for this one, neither should you. Soup should be easy to make and easy to reheat. This recipe certainly is.
'Everything In The Fridge' Soup
1 1/4 sweet onion
5 cloves of garlic
Meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, equivalent to one large chicken breast
1 1/2 cups pre cooked brown rice
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 huge handfuls of spinach
1 carton of chicken stock (use stock because it's a richer flavor & full of protein)
1/2 carton veggie broth
pinch of sea salt, cracked pepper, paprika, thyme and oregano
*Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add in EVOO to bottom of pot and let heat. Add diced onions and chopped garlic and cook until softened, stir occasionally. Add in salt and pepper.
*While onions and garlic are cooking, shred meat off of chicken. Add chicken, cooked rice, frozen peas and spinach to the pot. Stir until spinach starts to cook down a little bit.
*Add in 1 carton of chicken stock and 1/2 carton of the vegetable broth. Add in seasonings. Keep on meduim high heat until the stock starts to bubble a little bit and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper!
Disclaimer: You're not dummies.
Many of you ask me how I cook such good looking meals. In reality, if you look closely at my dishes, I usually try to balance them with some sort of meat, a vegetable and a grain, either rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, etc. It's not that hard. So here's my cooking guide for you folks who don't know where to start when it comes to cooking in the kitchen. I truly hope you know how to use a stove, oven, toaster or a crockpot (I also hope that you have these kitchen tools readily available). You'd be surprised how many people my age still make mac n cheese and heat up frozen dinners on the regular..I might be slightly judging you.
Cooking for me is relaxing and brings a sense of independence. Like, hell yeah, I can cook whatever I want and no one can stop me. The ability to cook a meal and meal prep for the week brings me so much excitement. I love food shopping and trying new foods. I love bringing in lunches at work, reheating them, and permeating the smell of the break room. People constantly ask "Oh! What are you eating?" Or sometimes they give me weird looks when I whip out the chia seed pudding. I honestly think that people are thrown off when they see something green or a salad, people instantly think your food is healthy. Truthfully: I don't use salad dressing. I literally just eat it plain or use balsamic vinegar and oil as a dressing. Needless to say, if you don't know how to cook or are too lazy to cook...change those habits. Cooking is fun. Here are some simple steps to start you off on your cooking journeys.
Get inspiration from Pinterest or a recipe from a blogger- chose simple dishes that can make leftovers for the week, for example, soups, crockpot recipes,
Make a list. Stick to your list. If you read my post last Monday, you'd know that list making and budgeting is the best way to tackle the supermarket.
Go to the grocery store. I'm probably the fastest shopper in the world because I know what I need and I stick with that.
Get your ingredients. Make sure that you are spending majority of your time in the produce section. Try to avoid the freezer aisles unless you are buying frozen fruits and veggies. Too much time spent lingering in the snack and prepared foods aisle will result in the urge to buy these processed foods.
Start to prepare your feast. Get all of your ingredients out in front of you. Play some music and enjoy your cooking experience.
Watch it cook and taste your food. Season it and test it to make sure it is up to your standards.
Snap a picture, enjoy and congratulate yourself for making something homemade.
Share some of your cooking photos with me!
After a long day of work, it is so relieving to get my mind off of the business of Black Friday. I'm currently snuggled up in a fleece blanket and inhaling the smell of Tahitian vanilla and cashmere creme candles. I also just ate a brownie covered in homemade peanut butter frosting. Zen mode accomplished.
Unfortunately this recipe isn't a brownie recipe. It's a soup recipe. As I turn the automatic start on my car every morning and sprint to my car in order to avoid the chilliness, I can't help but crave something that will warm my bones when it's time to eat. Soup is my favorite comfort food. I have a weak spot for Amy's Lentil Vegetable soup (seriously, if I don't know what to cook, I get a can of this). Amy's soups taste homemade, but they're so hard to replicate. I've finally created a soup that warms my soul and nourishes my tummy. It's my tortellini bean soup. The ingredients are simple, inexpensive and deliciously filling. This soup is so good that I don't even have a picture of it...meaning I heat it up and chow down before snapping a picture. That's when you know it's good.
Crockpot Tortellini Bean Soup
1 carton + 1-1 1/2 cups of Trader Joe's low sodium vegetable broth. You can use any vegetable broth that you like, but this one is much heartier and flavorful than any other.
1 large sweet onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 package of tortellini, I buy the TJ's dry Italian multicolored (cook according to package instructions and set aside)
1 can kidney beans drained
1 can cannelloni beans drained
2 large handfuls of spinach
salt, pepper, italian herb seasoning and crushed red pepper.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat and add garlic and onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook until veggies are translucent. Add onions and garlic to the crockpot, add 1 carton of TJ's veggie broth, 2 tbsp tomato paste, salt and pepper, and cook on high for 2 hours. Once 2 hours has passed, turn crockpot on low and add cooked tortellini, the drained beans, spinach, a sprinkle of Italian herb seasonings, crushed red pepper, and about a cup-cup and a half more veggie broth. Cook on low for 1 more hour and it's ready!
I love this soup because it's soul satisfying and so easy to make. You could add ground Italian sausage, meatballs or even roasted chicken to this soup for added protein. Hungry yet?
Saving money is hard when you're twenty-something years old. As a college student, we are faced with temptation to spend our money on food, clothing, alcohol, coffee, etc. Most of my spending is centered on food. Working nearly 40 hours a week at Target is great and all, but when Target is life, you end up spending much of your paycheck there. Even though I'm not perfect at saving money, here are some conscious ways that I try to save money every week.
1. Don't go out every weekend.
It's not that hard. You don't really need to get sloshed every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. If you do....you might need to reevaluate your life decisions. If you end up going out on the regular, drink before you go out and get an uber. You'll save cash and you can split bottles of alcohol & the uber with your friends. Drinking beforehand is great because you can get a drink and dance the night away. Also try to take advantage of drink specials before the night gets too late.
2. Stop ordering takeout multiple times a week.
You might learn to cook if you actually try! Trust me, it's really not hard. My cooking expertise before moving into my apartment was limited to grilled cheese, mac n' cheese, and omelettes. Once you are forced to cook for yourself, you might be surprised how easy it is to make meals everyday.
3. Make a food shopping list and stick to it.
It's easy to buy all the delicious foods at the supermarket, but when you get to the register you may be in for a rude awakening. Making a list and sticking with it is an amazing thing to do and it's super easy. Set a budget for yourself, look through your fridge and pantry before you go to the supermarket. Cross off the things on your list and add each item in the calculator on your phone or on the list itself.
4. Read all the grocery store flyers before you head out to shop.
Do a quick google search for Hannaford, Whole Foods or Shaw's to see what's on sale that week. There are always sales for meat, veggies and fruits every week! Many stores also have online coupons, like Hannaford, Target's Cartwheel app and the Whole Foods app. Use em or lose em. (Seriously Target Cartwheel is LIFE.....I've saved 140 dollars in 2 years!!!)
5. Invest in a reusable water bottle.
This is the 21st century. You can find a bubbler anywhere or a water filter station to fill up your water bottle. A reusable water bottle literally costs $10 or less. You can save a bajillion dollars if you stop buying bottled water and keep refilling your water bottle. If you drink more water, you may have the urge to snack less and the urge to drink less soda.
6. Make your own coffee.
"Make your own coffee"-says the Starbuck's gold member. My actions might not be regrettable, but I was astonished at how much money I spent on Starbucks. I recommend making your own iced coffees or lattes by buying instant espresso and mixing it with Fairlife milk or almond milk. In the long run, it's much cheaper to make a latte at home versus spending $4 on one drink.
7. Bring a lunch to work.
Pack a lunch and you'll save money each shift. You don't have to go out and spend 8-10 dollars on a sub, Mickey D's, or a frozen meal... It's that simple. It's a pain to wake up 10 minutes earlier to get your lunch packed, but it's worth the time. Plus, you have more time to relax and unwind in the break room instead of running out to your car and wasting your break driving to get food.
The worst feeling is when you are sitting in class and your stomach starts to grumble. When people hear it, they will stare at you and some might even chuckle a bit. I can sadly say that I have experienced this phenomena. I learned that it's important to stay hydrated and nourished in class. I made sure to keep my water bottle on my desk and I always packed snacks in my backpack to fight back dreaded hunger.
For those of you with a massive appetite like mine, I hope this appeals to you. A lot of these foods are non-perishable or they don't need to be refrigerated or heated up! I've become a master at bringing snacks to class to snack for breaks during class and in-between. In my opinion, it's important to eat every so often in order to maintain my energy and focus in class. Unlike high school, college professors don't really care whether or not you're eating, nor do the students. Make the time to pack a lunch because there's no worse feeling than a grumbling stomach in class.
You can find beef jerky nearly everywhere. Beef jerky is addicting, especially Krave jerky. The sweet chipotle is unreal. I try to stick with original flavors because flavored kinds usually have a lot of sugar in them. Trader Joe's also makes delicious jerky, as well as Oberto, but if you're want that melt-in-your-mouth snack--Krave is the winner.
If you have a constant craving for something sweet, larabars should be your go-to snack. They are made with simple ingredients and literally every flavor that I've tried is delicious. My favorites are the chocolate chip brownie, cashew cookie, and coconut chocolate chip. They're also allergy free (for the most part) so everyone can enjoy these bars of goodness.
My go-to dried fruits to snack on are dried apricots. These bad boys contain a solid amount of fiber so they are good for your digestive system. You only need a handful of these for an energy boost before class.
Roasted Plantain Chips:
You can find these anywhere- Trader Joe's, Hannaford and Whole Foods. These taste just like those potato sticks you probably munched on as a kid. Truthfully, they are still cooked with oils so they might not be the most fat-conscious food, but they are SO good. You can pair plantain chips with guacamole, salsa and even ranch or onion dip. They also taste best straight from the bag.
Hummus cups are a savory treat to bring to class. You can dip pretzels, crackers and veggies in hummus and feel guilt free when doing so. Sabra garlic and roasted red pepper hummus are my go-to snacks. Many colleges also have the Sabra takeaway packs with hummus and pretzels so you can purchase them with meal plan dollars!
Deli Meats & Cheese:
If you still eat lunchables, I might be judging you. These Daniele, Inc grab and go snacks are filled with my favorite cold cuts--salami and cheddar cheese. Plus you get way more meat than lunchables...look at that stack of cheese. I also like to use Applegate roasted turkey and cheddar cheese cut up or rolled together for a quick serving of protein.
Good-bye Chobani and hello Siggi's! The reason why I love this yogurt, besides it's amazing texture and flavor, is that it's sweetened with agave. It's nice to see a yogurt that's sweetened naturally. Bottom line: Siggi's is the best yogurt out there, period. This yogurt is even better in a parfait. You can layer it in a mason jar with fruit, nuts, and unsweetened shredded coconut for a perfect breakfast during an early morning class.
Justin's Almond Butter Packets:
All hail Justin's. No seriously...These are PERFECT for an on-the-go gal like myself. You can squeeze it right out of the packet onto fruit, yogurt, sweet potato fries or directly into your mouth.
This trail mix from Target is crazy good. I love the combination of pumpkin seeds, soybeans, chickpeas and fava beans; I could care less about the raw almonds and cranberries. This is a nice snack for non-meat eaters to get their protein for fuel during class.
Dark chocolate is the best. Sorry milk chocolate lovers. Not only is it delicious, you only need small amounts of the higher percentage dark chocolates to satisfy your chocolate cravings. This is a good way to refrain from chocolate binging by still getting a chocolate fix.
I'm not telling you to buy these snacks immediately, but these are many of the snacks that I will bring to school with me. I am usually on campus for upwards of 9 hours somedays, so it's really important for me to bring enough food to avoid being hangry. I also don't have microwave access, so I make sure that foods are non-perishable or packable with an ice pack in a lunch box. I hope this helps some of you stay motivated to eat better. Until next time. Happy snacking!