Honey Sesame Ginger Chicken

Often times, when I make baked goods or cook something that requires longer than a microwavable dinner during exam time, people will ask me: “How do you find the time to do that?”

And I wouldn’t say I’m proud of the fact that I will frequently prioritize a batch of cookies over studying for an upcoming midterm, but I will say this:

For me, making time for food is a key part of keeping in touch with reality and happiness. You know that all-too-famous Parks & Rec quote: “TREAT YO’SELF?”

That’s how I want to approach food. Not as simply fuel or an obligation, but as something that I—and the people around me—can enjoy. And being able to make time for that is important, not just for the sake of eating, but for the sake of my sanity. Because midterms will do that to ya.

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Spiced Honey Sticky Buns

The human body has this really cool way of having multiple solutions for any given problem that might get thrown at it. For instance, if you experience a drop in blood pressure, not only do your baroreceptors activate to send information through your ninth and tenth cranial nerve to the Nucleus Tractus Solitarus in your hypothalamus, which through its nonadrenergic receptors sends information to the magnocellular neurons. This is all to increase your levels of vasopressin, but if that doesn’t work, your angiotensin levels also increase, which go to the subfornical organ of your hypothalamus to also send info to your magnocelluar neurons.

This all is to say two things:

1. The human body is wicked crafty.

2. I am slowly but surely losing my mind in my attempts to study for my midterms.

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Low Fat Butter Chicken

So I’ve got a problem. Well, it’s not so much of a problem as it is me complaining about two main things:

1. I’m pretty much out of flour in the apartment which means no baking.

So why not dip into the money I’ve earned and spend more on groceries? (Which I already do quite profusely—barring rent and tuition, I legitimately spend about 75% of my money on groceries) Because of the second thing.

2. I have 4 midterms coming up.

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Healthy Rice Gratin With Roasted Tomatoes and Mushrooms

In a perfect world, our refrigerators would be stocked with exactly the right ingredients whenever a recipe idea strikes. We’d magically have just enough butter for a new cookie recipe, we’d somehow have cans of cooked chickpeas (I’m so tired of forgetting to soak those little suckers…) when we randomly started craving hummus, and we’d have all the right vegetables we’d want to use in a new dish we’ve been meaning to create.

But we don’t live in a perfect world, unfortunately, and too many times have I been dying to make a cheesecake only to realize that I have neither cream cheese nor graham crackers. Too many times have I opened my fridge, thinking that I had enough heavy cream for the recipe I had in mind—only to be sorely disappointed.

While that might sound a little sad, I promise you won’t feel that way with this dish. The nice thing about a gratin is that it’s customizable (is that a word?) for whatever’s in your fridge. I really wanted to use zucchinis and yellow squash, but we were totally out. So I did my best to improvise. And the best part? It still wound up being filling, delicious, and healthy!

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Sesame and Poppy Seed Bagels

I’ve officially caught that bug. No, not the winter cold or a seasonal flu—the bug that makes you want to make everything from scratch. Chicken stock, sandwich bread, hummus… and now bagels.

When I played volleyball in high school, we’d always have dozens of bagels from Panera at our tournaments, and I could polish off two of those things in one day. Hey. I was a hungry athlete. Or that’s what I told myself, anyway. Those cinnamon crunch bagels were just too delicious to pass up.

But an oldie but goodie flavor I’ve always loved were poppy seed—and adding sesame seeds to the mix only seemed logical at this point! And all those myths about bagels being difficult to make? Gone!

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Chickpea and Couscous Salad with Roasted Red Peppers, Jalapenos, and Artichoke Hearts

This morning I woke up with a plan. One that I’ve been mulling over for almost a week now. Even longer, if you count all the times I scoured through the instructions online.

What instructions, exactly? Ones that explained how to prep artichokes. And a few days back, I bought an artichoke from the grocery store, determined to incorporate the elusive vegetable into a recipe.

Artichokes have always been so mysterious to me. Growing up, I never really had any experience eating them but I could recognize the strange-looking vegetable no matter where I went. As I got older (and subsequently started obsessing over recipes), I began to see them more and more—to the point where I knew I had to try cooking with them.

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