When I was in college struggling to lower my cholesterol on dining hall food, I moved off campus to an apartment with a kitchen, started teaching myself how to cook, and began this clean food journey. When my daughter went off to college last year, history repeated itself. Off she went with coconut water and chia seeds, a blender, and a mini-fridge. When she called thrilled to have bought kale at a farmers market, I thought we were set. Three months later, when she announced “there’s no love in the food here,” I knew we had a ways to go.
It took time and creative thinking, but by the end of her first year, she was eating clean and was confident she could help me lead a college dorm room cooking class. When we sat down to put our minds together in the same room (not hundreds of miles apart), we yielded far more than we ever imagined. Tons of recipe ideas, pantry suggestions, and perspective to inspire any college student to create healthy meals using nothing more than a small kitchen knife, a blender and hot water!
Our goal was to keep it simple and healthy. Our restrictions were realistic – minimize the need for utensils, appliances, fresh food, and most importantly, clean up. And our most involved recipes required boiling water (made possible by a roommate’s Keurig) and a blender (we used a NutriBullet).
We started with smoothies, but quickly moved on to dips, bowls, bars and even parfaits. We deconstructed one clean food recipe at a time, placing individual ingredients in a bowl or jar, adding dressing and making them perfect to enjoy in one’s dorm room or on the go. And we used a NutriBullet as a food processor for small quantities of nuts, seeds and dried fruit to make energy bars and more. So… what were some of our favorites?
Made in the NutriBullet with a can of drained beans,
a squeeze of lemon or lime, hot sauce, salt and pepper. | Perfect for
dipping carrot sticks, pepper strips, or chips. Spread it on a sandwich,
or put it in a bowl or tortilla with salsa, chopped avocado, frozen corn
and pumpkin seeds.
Made in the NutriBullet with nuts and seeds of choice,
dried fruit, maple syrup or honey to sweeten, and enough nut butter
to make everything stick together. Remove from blender, roll into balls
and store in fridge.
Here’s what we think you’ll need to make this deliciousness happen in YOUR dorm room (or your favorite student’s!):
The Basic Dorm Room Kitchen
- NutriBullet or other high-powered blender
- Hot water heater (a Keurig will work!)
- Single-serving bowl
- Single-serving plate
- Glass storage containers in small and medium sizesPint-size ball jars (for eating and drinking out of as well as for storage)
- Insulated travel mug
- Stainless steel or glass water bottle
- Flatware (place-setting for 2)
- Large silicone spoon or scooped spatula
- Small hand-grater
- Small paring knife
- Small cutting board
- Wood chopsticks (for stirring and using as utensils)
- Paper straws
- Pitcher with water filter
- Dish soap
- Dish towels
In the end, we realized that the recipes we created had appeal far beyond the college dorm room, as everyone needs and appreciated quick, easy and nutritious recipes to…
…eat clean and live well!
According to Mapquest, I had arrived at my destination. As far as I could tell, I was in the middle of nowhere. I had been teaching at Breathe Yoga in Pittsford, New York, and had decided to act on the advice of a friend and check out Fruition Seed. I was assured that it would be a worthwhile trip, but I didn’t yet know why. With no cell service and nothing but the rolling hills of western New York in every direction, I continued blindly along the dirt road (the old-fashioned way, without GPS!). Around a bend, up and over a hill, until off in the distance I spotted a barn where I could hopefully ask for directions. I was barely out of my car when Petra walked out of the barn and welcomed me to Fruition Seed. Destination reached.
Immediately, I sensed that there was something special about this place. Aside from the inherent simplicity and beauty of the area, it was clear that everything Petra and Matthew touched was done so with great care and with high value for the land and their community. They were kind and excited to share their story. And the more I learned about their farming history, partnering with Cornell, and creating this sustainable seed business, the more impressed I was.
Inside their unassuming barn, the display of seeds encompassed everything from my favorite heirloom tomatoes to abundant organic legumes, grains, herbs and flowers. There were varieties I’d never been able to find and others I’d never heard of! It was a little late to purchase seeds for this year’s garden, but I picked a few unusual varieties to plant next year, and vowed to order from Fruition the next time I was in need. That opportunity came just this morning when an email from Fruition arrived to tell me that garlic starts could be ordered for fall. Done!
As it turned out, my visit ended up coinciding with the very last day of their seedling sale, so the pickings were slim. But what I received instead was invaluable inspiration, a priceless resource for my own gardens, and two new friends and visionaries to add to our clean food community. Please check them out online (or in person in Naples, NY) and join me in supporting their important work.
Eat Clean Live Well!
This is not a paid advertisement. Views are expressly my own.
When the town asked permission to take down branches from my yard along the street, I said no. But when they took down an entire oak tree on the edge of my neighbor’s yard, I exclaimed “Yes!”
Freshly cut, hard wood oak was exactly what I needed! I called my neighbor, hoping that there wasn’t a long line of people in front of me who also wanted her cut-up logs (LOL), and soon thereafter I was carting home the perfect logs for my project – inoculating logs to cultivate shiitake mushrooms.
This is my first attempt at cultivating mushrooms, but I’m hopeful that it will be a success, and grateful for the extremely helpful and patient people at Field and Forest Products that walked me through the entire process and set me up with what I needed (in addition to the logs). Just in case you want to give it a try, here’s what you’ll need:
• Freshly cut logs (no more than 3 months old) – Oak, Maple, Alder and American Beech all are recommended
• Shiitake mushroom spores
• Drill bit – the same size as the spores for a nice snug fit
• Wax sealant – I used a cold wax that spreads without being heated
Thanks to Chip (husband and top notch mushroom-spore-hole-driller), we knocked off this project in just over 2 hours – including drilling each log in the recommended diamond pattern, inserting spores into each hole, sealing with wax, and setting up our finished logs in a shady humid place in the yard where they can sit above ground on an angle (so the rain drains off of them) to rest and grow.
And now, we wait. There’s a chance we’ll have mushrooms to harvest come fall, but if not, certainly we’ll have them next spring. I will be sure to report back when they arrive and at that point we can talk about how a family of 4 is going to possibly consume so many mushrooms! I can’t wait!
Until then, eat clean live well!