Saturday, June 30, 2012

June Foodie Pen Pal Reveal!

I am so excited to reveal my first Foodie Pen Pal reveal! Thanks to Lindsay at Lean Green Bean for hosting. What started out as 30 people now has become almost 1,000 participants! It's truly amazing!

The Lean Green Bean

I received this amazing box of goodies from Missie at Reshaping it All a couple of weeks ago and I'm so happy to finally tell you about it!

I got a call from Aaron at work around June 13th saying, "you've got a package from Minnesota!" I immediately answered, "DON'T OPEN IT!" Of course I spent the whole day like a kid at Christmas.

And it was like like Christmas!

It's not hard to tell Missie put a lot of effort into this and we definitely reaped the benefits! I love that she sent me some of her favorite snacks. She is from Minnesota,  so it had to be nice! Let's just say Aaron was excited as well.

Here's the fabulous stuff Missie sent me:

One jar of lemon-pear marmalade. Cannot wait to put on chicken like Missie suggested!

One blue re-usable shopping bag. Perfect for me!

Three boxes of yoghurt covered Raisins and one AMAZING B.T. McElrath bar of Buttered Toast Milk Chocolate from Minneapolis. I'm in love.

Two bags of homemade honey peanut butter popcorn, deliciousness.

Batch of Chocolate Scotchy No-Bakes These were a crowd pleaser! I Want the recipe!

Gifts in Action:

I've already gotten so much use out of this bag! I love that is from a Minnesota bank, for some reason that cracks me up and it just as cool as my tote bag from the Notting Hill Bookstore! Here I'm loaded up from the market.

Me hoarding the buttered toast chocolate bar! WOWOWOW so good, I'll need to get some more of this stuff ASAP! Suggested to have along side a great cup of coffee but honestly I couldn't wait that long! I still have half left, but not for much longer. Looks like the only places in PA that sell it happen to be in my area...this might become a problem...

Thank you Missie for your box of amazing goodies AND your wonderful note! I loved getting a little taste of Minnesota and oh was it soooooo nice!

Of couse I sent a box as well. Mine went to the lovely Laurie and her dog Milo in Madison, Wisconsin at Laugh, Live, Laurie. Check it out!

Want to join the Foodie Pen Pals hosted by Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean? 

Of course you do! Here's how:

And now it's time for some details about Foodie Penpals. In case you’re a new reader, here’s a reminder of what the program is all about:
-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 

If you’re interested in participating for July, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 
You must submit your information by July 4th as pairings will be emailed on July 5th!

*If you're from somewhere besides the US, Canada or Europe and want to participate, send me an email and I'll see if we get enough interest this month!

So hurry up and sign up! You will be glad you did! Can't wait for July's swap! I'm already stocking up for goodies to send out!


The College Cuisiner

Looking for more goodies? Check out my giveaway from Tribe Hummus and Veggie Patch in honor of my blog B-day!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Orange Crush Cocktail

I am not always a Summer person. I am so pale I probably am suffering from a vitamin-D deficiency. Don't judge me. But I am always up for a Summer drink.

In my opinion, Fridays should be fun. This is definitely a fun Friday drink. I love cocktails made with fresh ingredients because it really makes the difference between an okay drink and one you would be willing to hand over 12 bucks for. 

This is a vodka drink. If you don't like vodka use a little less than suggested but honestly even my Aunt who doesn't like vodka drank one of these in 2 minutes flat! This is not your standard gag-me-with-a-chainsaw overly fake fruity vodka drink. And to top it off it will not induce a sugar coma, only encourage light and refreshing paradise feeling!

I made this two nights in a row before making it for my mother and aunt at my aunt's house. Smart me forgot my mother's citrus juicer so I had to juice two oranges with a fork. NOT RECOMMENDED. Of course this lead my Aunt to exclaim, "All that work for a cocktail!"

Then she tried it. She no longer complained about the work. After that all I heard was, ohh! and Holy crap that's good!

Two semi-problems with this drink:
  • It goes down wayyyy to fast.
  • You need to juice and zest an entire orange for each drink.

Since navel oranges are about 70 cents right now on average. That's not too bad. And after making one with bottled orange juice it wasn't too bad. But seriously, if you have an orange, get a's worth it.

Recommended "special" equipment: 
  • Citrus juicer
  • A citrus zester
  • A cocktail shaker

Q: What if I don't have those things?

A: In a pinch a fork, a potato peeler, and bowl work to replace the respective "special" equipment.

Note: You may wonder how I have access to such specialty equipment as a college student. I live with my mother over the summer. And since age 9 I've been the family bartender. Not as bad as it sounds.

Alright hurry up, I want a drink!

Okay, here is it.

Orange Crush Cocktail: 2 drinks


2 large navel oranges
Peel of 1 of those oranges
1 lime and peel
3 oz. of Absolut vodka  (or your favorite brand)
1-1 1/2 oz.of Triple Sec
1 can of ginger ale
Handful of ice


With zester, make two orange twists. With potato peeler peel the rest of the zest in big strips. Place strips in bottom of cocktail shaker and with top of peeler muddle the peels.

Peel about half of zest from the lime. Add and muddle zest in cocktail shaker. Cut lime in half and juice zested half into the shaker. Use other half to cut wedges for garnish.

Cut and juice both oranges and pour into the shaker. Add vodka and triple sec into the shaker.

Add ice to shaker and vigorously shake. In two glasses pour a few ounces of ginger ale. Evenly pour cocktail into both glasses. Add orange twist. Put lime wedge on edge of glass.

Serve immediately and try not to down it too quickly!

See that hammock there? That's where this should be consumed.


The College Cuisiner

P.s. Don't Forget to enter my giveaway from Tribe hummus and Veggie Patch! The giveaway ends July 9th at 5:00pm. The winners will be announced on July 11th, my one year blog-anniversary!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WIAW #32: Tribe Hummus Giveaway

In two weeks, on July 11th, I will celebrate the one year anniversary since my first post on the College Cuisiner! 

I wanted to do something special to commemorate one of the most rewarding and most time consuming activities in my life. This weekend I have been struggling about what I should post along with my eats and snacks today. I considered posting my new "Orange Crush" cocktail (will do on Friday) or the turkey sausage and primavera baked ziti I made this weekend. But it turns out the Universe had other plans to work in one of my favorite snacks.


If you haven't noticed, I LOVE hummus. It's the perfect snack and now Tribe Hummus and Veggie Patch healthy entrees and snacks have been kind enough to provide an AWESOME GIVEAWAY for two readers on my one year anniversary!!!!

As recently mentioned here on the College Cuisiner, Tribe is my favorite store bought hummus brand. It is all-natural and delicious. If that wasn't good enough, Veggie Patch also offers nutritious vegetarian snacks and meals made with soy and veggies that are great for everyone!

It's snacking fate I swear.

But I'll get to that in a minute because it's Wednesday and you know how we roll on Wednesdays.

Thanks to Jenn from Peas and Crayons for hosting WIAW and making me laugh my butt pants off on Monday!


One fresh sliced yellow peach
Walnut and Date KIND bar (my new favorite)
Mug of coffee, splash of cream
I forgot my Chobani yoghurts in the fridge at home. :(  No worries.


Leftover Turkey sausage and primavera baked ziti (recipe coming soon)
One Pink Lady apple and peanut butter (I ran out of almond butter.)
Black tea, splash of cream.

Drinks with Mom and Aaron/Dinner
Aaron met Mom and I after work for drinks and appetizers which quickly turned into more food of course. But hey when happy hour is $5 wines and cocktails how can you go wrong?

We went to a newer restaurant in Harrisburg, Home 231. It was really delicious! The food was a little pricey but the drinks were half off for happy hour!

Ginger-tini: Absolut wild tea, Zen green tea liquor, fresh ginger...yummy
One pierogies with caramelized onions, dollop of sour cream

One breaded risotto ball with truffled pea puree. (Go ahead Jenn I deserve it.)

Bowl of roasted tomato soup, basil oil and piece of grilled bread

Small plate of ahi tuna, young greens, hearts of palms, avocado, mango and citrus dressing


glass of malbec
Shared two scoops homemade sea salted caramel icecream and one scoop Bing cherry
Love the presentation! And shared means Aaron ate half a scoop. Awesome.

After Dinner-Dinner, long story

Two 50 cent mild wings with a little blue cheese dressing, celery

ice water

Bed. food coma.

Snacks this Week
Fresh peaches and black cherries
Apples and Peanut butter
Chobani yoghurts
KIND Bars (they were 4 for $5, yay!)
Tribe snack-sized Hummus with baby carrots and mini-bell peppers

Does my upcoming fresh orange cocktail count as a healthy snack? As my mother who is on Weight Watchers says, "Oranges and limes have no points so this is okay!"

I definitely needed a lot of caffeine this week. Any suggestions for healthy caffeine-free alternatives for a energy boost? My favorite is apples, any other ideas?

Now for part II: My awesome anniversary giveaway courtesy of Tribe Hummus and Veggie Patch!   

I'm soooooo excited to host a giveaway from Tribe Hummus and Veggie Patch!! You probably have all heard and tasted Tribe but maybe not Veggie Patch products. So I definitely give it a try if you are looking for an easy vegetarian/veggi-licious alternative! 

Because my one year anniversary is coming up I decided to make this a part of the celebration and announce the winners on July 11th, my "blog b-day." But here's your chance now! Don't delay!

What's the Giveaway?
  • TWO Lucky readers will each receive three coupons for FREE Tribe Hummus varieties and three coupons for FREE Veggie Patch products and snacks!

Here's what you have to do:
  • Comment on this post about your favorite way to eat hummus. Is it a dip, a spread for your sandwich, etc.? What variety of Tribe Hummus are you aching to try?
  • Or tell me which Veggie Patch product you would get if you won? I’m looking at the Spinach nuggets….
  • Leave a way for me to contact you: email, google account, etc.
  • Only open to readers from the US and Canada, sorry!

The giveaway starts June 27th and ends July 9th at 5:00pm. The winners will be announced on July 11th, my one year blog-anniversary!

Extra opportunities to enter:
(please comment separately for each extra entry and tell me what you did)

Good Luck! And don't forget to tell your friends!


The College Cuisiner

Note: I was contacted by Tribe Hummus and Veggie Patch to host this giveaway for readers of the College Cuisiner. After agreeing to host  this giveaway, I did graciously accept free coupons to try these products. I was neither paid nor compensated for a positive review. All opinions are my own. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Lunch: Salmon Scrambled Eggs

One of my favorite things about living in London was Sunday lunch, or Sunday Roast. As I was the lucky one who had family and family friends living in the same country I was able to have quite a few lovely Sunday lunches. If you've never heard of this compare it to Sunday Brunch or Dinner you may have as a family tradition but just much bigger.

I remember my first Sunday lunch in England. I had been in London for about two or three weeks when I was first able to visit my father's best friends, Tony and Gill at their house in St. Albans. Their son Martin had already seen me once or twice in Town but this was the first time I had seen his parents in almost ten years. Of course didn't Gill pull out all the stops for my first Sunday Lunch experience. We sat in the formal dining room which Martin pointed out this only happened at Christmas. Gill served starters of smoked salmon, romaine lettuce, and lemon. We had every roasted vegetable under the sun with Roast beef and Yorkshire puds. It was wonderful. Afterwards we had tea, sticky toffee pudding, and sweets.

It was heaven.

So you can tell my standards are a little high when it comes to Sunday lunch. I even got to have an Easter Sunday lunch with my Aunt Janet and Uncle Maurice which was equally as wonderful. With that I thought it was only far that I keep the tradition alive at least here with all of you. Sunday lunch varies depending on the season. In Winter of course it is much heavier with roasts and puddings. But in the Summer you can make a lovely salad or something lighter.

So for my first virtual Sunday Lunch I am cooking Salmon Scrambled eggs. Won't you join me?

We first had this when we stayed in Rye back in 2002. The bed and breakfast we were staying at served this and we instantly fell in love. It this version I used leftover grilled cedar plank salmon but smoked salmon is just as good if not better.

 I also added asparagus for a little something extra.

Plus I got a double yolk! It's good luck!

Salmon Scrambled Eggs:
makes four breakfast sized portions


½ lb. of grilled Salmon
5-6 large eggs
¼ cup of milk
4 tbsp. of chopped fresh chives
2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill
10 spears of sautéed asparagus, halved and cut into large pieces
Garlic salt
1 clove of garlic, chopped
Black Pepper
2 tbsp. butter

Chop salmon into small pieces. Whisk eggs and milk in a small bowl, set aside.
In a large frying pan, heat butter over medium heat. Add chopped salmon and asparagus. Lightly brown and add chives, dill, and garlic.

Immediately add eggs and mix asparagus and salmon together well, scrambling eggs. Season with garlic salt and pepper.
Cook eggs until eggs are no longer wet. Evenly distribute eggs on plates and serve with buttered toast.

The College Cuisiner

If you would like to join me with my virtual Sunday Lunch let me know! I would love to have a link party every Sunday with you!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Review: Barilla Microwavable Meals

I don't do product reviews very often as I haven't really found anything so mind blowing that I had to share. But with all of the efforts of national food brands these days to appear healthy and nutritious is hard to tell the good from the bad. I'm happy to share with you one of the better easily available products out there. 

I first stumbled across Barilla's microwavable meals early last week when looking for something to keep in my office when I didn't have leftovers to bring in. I thought about portable soups but some are really expensive and not very good tasting or good for you. Instead I saw the new Barilla microwaveable meals 2 for $4. Hey, that was cheaper than the soup and these looked good!

There were several varieties but I immediately went for the two whole grain options:

Whole Grain Mezze Penne with Tomato & Basil Sauce
Whole Grain Fusilli with Vegetable Marinara Sauce

I ate the first a couple days later when I was too busy to take a lunch break at work. Of course I was skeptical but I gave it a try. Boy was I surprised. I expected a watery congealed pasta that was either bland or too salty. It was neither.

Instead I found separate compartments of sauce and pasta which after only 60 seconds were hot and ready to mix. I like a good amount of sauce so this was perfect without being "overly" saucy. 

I think the Fusilli with vegetable marinara was my favorite. I love the big chunks of veggies in the sauce. It didn't even need cheese!

The meals are all natural and with the whole grain pasta you don't have to feel guilty about it. They are incredibly easy- open flap slightly, microwave for 60 seconds, mix and eat.

So far I've only tried two of the five available varieties so I asked for a little more information. 

Here's what I got:

Dear Ms. Hunt,

Thank you for your recent e-mail to Barilla America, Inc. regarding our Microwaveable Meals.

Barilla’s revolutionary packaging separates the pasta from the pourable sauce cup to maintain the taste, texture and freshness until the consumer is ready to enjoy his/her microwaveable meal. This also allows consumers to determine the amount of sauce they want to put on their pasta and customize their microwaveable meal to taste. These meals are shelf stable for 12 months from the date of production. The pasta is fully cooked in the package using a tailor-made production.  This enables Barilla to not use any preservatives and still be shelf stable.

The Microwaveable Meals are manufactured in the United States at our plants in Iowa and New York.

We currently have 5 flavors available. They are: 

Mezze Penne with Tomato & Basil Sauce
Mezze Penne with Traditional Marinara Sauce
Mezze Penne with Spicy Marinara Sauce
Whole Grain Mezze Penne with Tomato & Basil Sauce
Whole Grain Fusilli with Vegetable Marinara Sauce

Below is the Nutrition Facts for the Barilla Mezze Penne with Traditional Marinara sauce Microwaveable Meal.

Serving Size 9 oz (255g)
Servings per Container 1 tray
Calories 320
Calories From Fat 45

Amount Per Serving                              % Daily Value
Total Fat 5g                                                     8%
   Saturated Fat 1g                                            5%
   Trans Fat 0g                                                
Cholesterol 0mg                                               0%
Sodium 700mg                                                   29%
Total Carbohydrate 58g                                    19%
   Dietary Fiber 6g                                            24%
   Sugars 7g     
Protein 11g                                                                     

Vitamin A 20%
Calcium 4%
Vitamin C 6%
Iron 8%

INGREDIENTS: Cooked Mezze Penne Pasta (Water, Mezze Penne Pasta [Semolina (Wheat), Durum Flour], Olive Oil, Salt, Natural Flavors), Traditional Marinara Sauce (Diced Tomatoes [Tomatoes, Citric Acid], Tomato Puree [Tomato Paste, Water], Carrot Puree, Olive Oil, Onion Puree, Tapioca Starch, Celery Puree, Sugar, Salt, Garlic Puree, Basil, Oregano, Natural Flavors).
Contains: Wheat ingredients. The pasta product is manufactured on equipment that processes products containing eggs.

If you would like any more information on our products, please reply to this e-mail leaving the subject line in place, or contact us by phone at (800) 922-7455. Our hours of operation are Monday thru Friday between the hours of 8 AM and 6 PM, Central Standard Time.

Barilla is the best selling pasta company worldwide, and we take pride in our product, right down to every last package. For over 130 years, four generations of the Barilla family have maintained the tradition of producing the finest pasta and sauces in the world.

Thank you again for your support and we appreciate you taking the time to let us know your thoughts. We hope that you continue to enjoy Barilla Pasta & Sauces.



Consumer Response Representative

Barilla America, Inc.

Right from the horse's mouth. (In a good way.) I love the all-natural mixed with convenience making a long lasting product.

They have really marketed this product complete with sweepstakes and $1 off coupons on their website. Visitors can even vote for new varieties in development including:

Mezze Penne with Mushroon Marinara Sauce
Gemelli with Flavorful Meat Sauce
Tubini with Three Cheese Sauce
Rotini PLUS with Chickpeas & Red Bell Peppers (I WANT THIS) 
Mezze Penne PLUS with Tuscan Herb Sauce
Rotini PLUS with Tomato and Ricotta Sauce.


Now I'm no food expert and I never claim to be but I do like bringing attention to products that begin to close the gap between the bad eating habits many people have today. While I love quinoa and Whole Foods, the average person doesn't have the luxury or time for such things. Products that are convenient and more nutritious is how we will close the gap. Now I must admit, the Wall Street Journal priced the Barilla microwaveable meals on average at $3.69. While I would very much like to try these again as well as keep them in my desk at work, I don't know how many I will buy if they are not 2 for $4. 

My overall discovery of this product was priced based and the only reason I ended up buying them was the whole grains and over all promise of the package. This is great for lunch but what is stopping someone from boiling a box of pasta and mixing in with a jar of sauce to make 5 lunches for $4? If it is more affordable I think it will be more successful. I hope that people will be able to try these new microwaveable meals for their own conveinence  and as a healthy option but I know that until one of these is as cheap as a sandwich on the McDonald's Dollar Menu, it might be hard to catch least for now.

Note: This review was of my own accord and I was not compensated nor contacted to provide a review of this product. The information provided by Barilla America, Inc. was requested by me with no other contact or offer.

Are there any microwavable meals that you really like that are also nutritious?