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Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. Which might have something to do with how much I love food and I cannot wait to stuff my face on Thursday. But sometimes I want Thanksgiving foods… well, not on Thanksgiving. And I thought that maybe you guys do to, so here’s a recipe of one of my favorite thanksgiving foods, mashed potatoes, that can be made in your room, using only a microwave! This recipe makes about 5 servings of potatoes, so adjust to the amount you want. Here‘s the original recipe.
What you’ll need:
- ~2 lbs worth of potatoes (cubed and peeled)
- 1/2-3/4 cups milk (depending on what texture you want)
- 1/4 cup butter
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- OPTIONAL: garlic powder (to taste)
- Rinse the potatoes and arrange them in a medium sized glass bowl then cover with plastic wrap
- Cook in the microwave on high for 9-10.5 minutes, stirring once, until potatoes are tender
- Let stand, still covered, for 5 minutes
- Meanwhile, combine milk, butter, salt, pepper, and garlic, if you’re using it, in a large bowl.
- Cook milk mixture on medium for 2-3 minutes or until hot.
- Drain potatoes (after 5 minute waiting time)
- Add the potatoes to the hot mixture and mash until smooth.
It’s an easy way to get a delicious Thanksgiving treat, even when you’re on campus. Let me know if you try this recipe out and what you think of it!
Cooking in a residence hall is a little bit different than cooking in a full sized kitchen. You don’t have the same appliances and tools, nor the space in which to keep them. I’ve learned a few things the last two years living in Parsons and I’d like to share them with you. From my experience there are a few things that are a “must-have” in creating the perfect “Mini Kitchen”. So, here is my list of essentials for a great mini “kitchen”.
BrookeAtSMU’s Essentials for a Great Mini “Kitchen”:
- Electric Kettle – you pretty much already have everything you need with the microfridge, but having an electric kettle too can make your life easier, especially if you like hot drinks (coffee, tea, hot cocoa) or the infamous college food: instant noodles.
- Coffee Pot – if you don’t want to go the electric kettle/french press route for your coffee, I’d suggest getting a small coffee pot. I got a small Keurig (pictured left), which just makes one cup at a time (and you can get all sorts of flavors of coffee, even tea or hot cocoa too)
- Dishes - How many of each type of dish is up to you and will probably depend on how often you want to do dishes and if you plan on making food for other people, but I would say 2 or 3 of each is a good bet. Make sure your dishes are microwave safe (and if they aren’t, don’t microwave them). I’ve used two sizes of plates, a bowl (or 2 or 3), a mug (or 2 or 3), and cups (probably more of these than the others — buy stackable ones to save space!). Another option would be to use paper/plastic, but that can turn into a lot of trash.
- Flatware – As many plates/bowls as you have, I’d have at least that many of eating utensils. Like the dishes, plastic utensils can work, but they too create a lot of trash.
- Water Filter – I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of tap water or cold-ish water. I like my water chilled and filtered (or at least one of the two). With a water filter, you can do both! In the past, I’ve used a water bottle with a filter in it, but this year I got a pitcher that I fill up every couple days or do. I prefer the pitcher, but it definitely depends are your preference.
- Can Opener - This is something I ALWAYS forget about until I need to use it, so add it to your list now!
- Small cutting board and knife - I like fresh fruits and veggies, so having a knife to slice them up is a handy thing to have. Just remember, knives longer than three inches aren’t allowed in the dorms.
- Storage Containers – A don’t know about you, but I LOVE leftovers, so having a way to store them in your fridge is essential. I prefer to use glass containers because they can be microwaves, but good quality plastic is just as good. Also, don’t underestimate the power of plastic wrap and foil (just don’t microwave the foil!)
- Kitchen Towels/Washclothes - Spills happen (and all to often); don’t get stuck using your shower towel to mop up spilled juice.
- Cleaning Supplies - You have to get all these things clean somehow! Simple dish soap and a wash cloth or sponge will do the trick right away!
If you’re only going to be using you microfridge, but list above should set you up for a fantastic dorm room kitchen. If you feel like you’d like to venture outside your room to the many kitchens available on campus, here’s a list of some other things you might need. For these kinds of things, what I did was buy things as I needed them. Like, I wanted to bake a cake so I bought measuring cups and baking dishes then. A few week later, I wanted to make pasta so I bought a pot. Don’t feel like you need to get everything all at once; there’s nothing worse than buying something and never using it.
- Pots and Pans – one of each is probably going to be just fine. Think about what kinds of things you’re going to be cooking though. To save space, get the smallest size that will still be functional for you. I had a 3-qt. saucepan, but ended up making lots of soups, so I had to buy a 6-qt. pan as well.
- Baking Dishes – if you’re going to be baking, a cooking sheet is a good standard to have. Also, if you bought glass storage containers, they can work as baking dishes as well. Disposable dishes are an option also. Whatever works best for you!
- Measuring Cups – a set of cup measuring (1/4-1) and teaspoon/tablespoon measures will probably be all you need, but play it by ear. A liquid measuring cup can come in handy sometimes!
- Mixing Bowls – You’ll probably need bowls that are bigger than your cereal bowls if you’re doing any sort of baking. Storage containers can sometimes work also.
- Serving Utensils – At least one wooden spoon will make your life SO much easier when it comes to cooking. A spatula can also be really useful too.
That’s a pretty good list of things to have your dorm room kitchen! I’m sure there’s a few things I’m forgetting, but if I use them in future #CookAtSMU posts, I’ll point it out and say to add it to the list! Is there anything you think should be on here, but isn’t? Let me know! Now that you have all the things for a great dorm room kitchen, let’s get cooking at SMU!
If you’ve seen any social media coming from Saint Martin’s this school year, you’ve seen #FromHereUCan. It’s a way for students, staff, faculty, alumni, the general community, and everyone in between to share what Saint Martin’s has done for them; what you can do from/with Saint Martin’s.
Saint Martin’s is preparing me and giving me experiences in so many different ways (Social Squad, academics, community building, etc.). Of all of those areas, my focus and number one priority is definitely the Education program and my preparation for becoming a teacher. I know I post about becoming a teacher and the Education program at Saint Martin’s quite often on here, but it’s a huge part of my life and I want to share that with you guys. Because of that my #FromHereUCan is definitely to become a teacher. Many of my own #FromHereUCan posts are about the Education program. This is a tweet from my Practicum post at the beginning of the semester:
— Brooke Sanchez (@BrookeSMU) September 10, 2013
When I was gathering information about Saint Martin’s and thinking about applying, I talked to a few people in the College of Education. Of course they told me that the Saint Martin’s Education program was amazing and had all of these facts and numbers about how well Saint Martin’s students do when they actually go out and teach. All of this information was a big factor in my coming to Saint Martin’s, but it wasn’t until I actually started the Education program this year that I have seen the truth of these statements and numbers. By talking to the current teachers at the schools I have been in (Lacey Elementary and River Ridge High School), I know that Saint Martin’s has a reputation of producing fantastic and well prepared classroom teachers.
I am going to be earning an endorsement in English Language Learning, which will enable me to teach students whose first language is not English. I want to be able to not only teacher English, but help my students love an admittedly difficult language to learn. With the education I am receiving from Saint Martin’s, I will be able to leave SMU with the tools necessary to do this. From here, I will be able to fulfill lifelong dreams for something and, hopefully, my future students as well.
#FromHereUCan become a teacher and change people’s lives. That’s my #FromHereUCan, but there are so many other things you can do from Saint Martin’s. What’s yours?
In January 2011, I had narrowed the list of college I was interested into going to to two: Saint Martin’s University and Northern Arizona University. Obviously I ended up choosing Saint Martin’s University, but one of the biggest factors of NAU was how sustainable their buildings are. All of their most recent and all of their future building projects would be at least Gold certified. Sustainability was something that was really important to me and definitely was a big draw to the school.
Now, Saint Martin’s has the most sustainable building in the Western Hemisphere and third in the world and I could not be happier. Were I making my decision today, Saint Martin’s would have been an even more sure choice for me. I am so proud to be a part of this school that puts such an emphasis on sustainability. Even though I am not an engineering major and am not likely to have a class in the building, New Cebula is definitely one of my favorite parts of Saint Martin’s now. If you’re a current student or an alum, what is is favorite thing about Saint Martin’s? And if you’re thinking about going to Saint Martin’s, what the biggest draw for you?
If you want to know more about New Cebula, check out the whole press release here.