Texas State Soap Box Derby 2018!

More info about the event.

Earlier this year, I dropped by the annual Texas State Soap Box Derby to enjoy the sunny day. This is a celebrated tradition here, and is a great way for students to let off some steam with all the stress they have to deal with.

I arrived a little late, so I hurried to grab a hot dog and settled in to watch the fun. They had great 90s music playing, appropriate since it was homecoming week.

The crowds were enthusiatic, cheering the racers on as they sped down the hill outside the Recreation Center. It was a top notch show of sportsmanship, and the cars were awesome creations too. I couldn’t believe the craftsmanship on some of these. It was like they had been working up to this all semester.

I had a great time, and I’ll be sure to stop by again next year!

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Recipe #6 – Bean Hash with Fried Egg

Messy. Delicious.

 

This is a breakfast I’ve enjoyed a few times this semester. It’s dead simple to make and will last you a while through the day. Plus it’s just fantastic.

Heat a pan on medium-high. When hot, turn down to medium and add a teaspoon of oil. Add a handful of frozen hash browns and stir fry them until they start to brown. Then add in a small can of baked beans and mix it in until heated through. Put it in a bowl or plate to await our fried egg.

Cooking a fried egg is all up to preference. I like my yolk runny, so I’ll be cooking to over easy doneness. For more info about how to cook fried eggs, check out this article. Clean your pan or use a different pan and heat it up on medium. Add a teaspoon of oil, and crack your egg into it. Season it with salt and pepper, and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Flip it over, but be a little gentle so you don’t break the yolk. Let the other side cook for 30 seconds or so, then remove from the pan and set it on top of your hash.

You can add vegetables like bell peppers or onions as well,, but for now, it’s done. The runny yolk adds a delicious creaminess to the hash and makes this a great bowl of comfort. Remember: you need to eat your whole life, so you might as well eat well. See you next time!

Recipe #5 – Ramen

The peak of college living.

 

I’m a bit surprised at myself. I’m a blog for college students and have not showed you how to make ramen. I apologize for this, and will remedy this by showing you how to make a ramen that can trump ANY cup o’ noodles.

The great thing about ramen is that you can top it with anything, and use any soup base you’d like. As long as it’s not the included soup packet. That stuff will do bad things to your body. You can use your choice of bouillon or powdered consomme. My recommendation is Better than Bouillon, which I’ve talked about before. What I do is combine a teaspoon of Chicken Better than Bouillon, a tsp each of soy sauce and mirin (the flavor pack I mentioned in the first recipe), a pea-sized amount of Sriracha, a 1/4 tsp of ginger, and a dash of sesame oil. Mix it all together in the bowl you will serve this in, and set it aside.

Now for the topping. For this dish, I sliced half a chicken breast, as well as onion and green bell pepper into strips, and stir-fried it with garlic, soy sauce, and mirin unti the chicken was cooked through and browned. Set that aside too.

Finally, we cook the ramen. I have Maruchan ramen noodles in my apartment, but here’s a list of some better noodles you can use. You could even use the soup packet with some of these! Anyway, pour 1 2/3 cups of water into a saucepan, then add some black pepper and 1/2 tsp of minced garlic. Put the saucepan on high heat and wait for it to come to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add your noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes. When they’re done, take the pot off the heat. Take some chopsticks or a fork and stir some of this water into your serving bowl. This will dissolve your semi-homemade soup base. Then pour the noodles i and stir everything around. At long last, arrange your topping upon the noodles.

And that’ll do it! A healthy bowl of ramen that’s easy to make and a million times better than just the noodles by themselves. There’s a reason this is the comfort food of Japan. Remember: you gotta eat the rest of your life. Might as well eat well. See y’all soon!

Recipe #4 – Chik ‘n Gravy over Potatoes

Here you go, sugar.

 

I’ll admit, this recipe is a little odd. However, it is kinda close to my heart in that weird way. This is Chik ‘n Gravy over Potatoes, a dish I loved back in elementary school. It’s not going to win you ANY culinary awards, but it does bring me some comfort. Hopefully, it will for you too.

This is basically mashed potatoes topped with a diced/ground meat of your choice and mixed vegetables. Not too hard. And it’s made all the easier if you have dry mashed potatoes. First, prepare the dry potatoes according to the package’s instructions. I add a bit more salt and lots of pepper at the end because that’s how I like mine. Set it aside for later.

For vegetables, I’ll use 1/2 cup of diced onion, and 1/2 cup of frozen mixed vegetables. These are cheap in any supermarket and are extremely versatile. For this example, I’ll use leftover pork shoulder that I have, but you can use ground beef, chicken, etc. I just diced up 1/2 cup into fine bits.

Heat up a pan on medium high until hot, then turn it down to medium. Add your onion and cook them until they turn translucent. Season them lightly, then add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic. Cook that for a few seconds, then add your meat. Since the meat is already cooked, I just have to warm it through. Then add your vegetables and stir them in. They’ll defrost when we make our gravy.

Gravy is easy to make and versatile. Traditionally, you cook flour in butter (a roux), then stir in broth or milk and boil until thickened. Here’s how to make gravy in 5 minutes. For this, we’ll add 1 tbsp of butter straight to the pan. Once melted, drizzle in 1 1/2 teaspoons of flour. Stir it in and cook out the flour for about 30 seconds. Now add in a cup of your favorite broth. I used 1 tsp of consomme mixed with a cup of water, but you can use beef, chicken, etc. Stir it in well and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiled, turn down the heat a bit and let it cook until thickened and reduced. You can also season this gravy with anything you’d like. For example, my roommate has McCormick Tennessee Whiskey chicken seasoning that I like. Once it’s reduced to a thick sauce, pour the whole mixture into your mashed potatoes and stir it in.

And that’s that. A quick and easy comfort dish that sounds weird on paper, but can taste as good as you’d like. Not too good for the diet, but hey, you’ve gotta eat the rest of your life. Might as well eat well. Catch you later!

Quick Blog Shoutout – Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

Check out the blog here!

I’m doing something different this time around. I’m gonna tell you about another food blog that you should check out. This blog is called Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.

In this blog you can find many recipes for baked goods like bread, cookies, and jams and jellies. Each recipe includes detailed ingredient lists and easy-to-follow instructions.

Also on offer are posts about various birds, kitchen decorations, and general thoughts on a variety of topics. This is a blog that will attract many individuals, whether they are looking for recipes or just thoughts and ideas for their home and life.

Check out the blog at the link above or follow them on Twitter @celiafigjam. I’ll see you in the next post!

Recipe #3 – Curry Yakisoba

Chopsticks optional but encouraged.

 

Welcome back! I’m going to introduce a new flavor profile with this recipe: curry. With just some curry powder from any supermarket, you can enhance your dishes with a variety of warm spices. To demonstrate, I’ll be elevating some instant ramen and canned tuna into a yummy curry yakisoba.

First, we chop our vegetables. Chop some carrot, green bell pepper, and onion into thin strips. You want a handful’s worth of veg for this. Next, open your can of tuna and drain post of the water out. I do this by pressing the opened lid against the tuna, squeezing the water into the sink. Now put a small pot of water on to boil for your noodles.

When the water’s boiling, add your instant ramen and boil the noodles for two minutes. Throw away the seasoning packet that comes with it. There’s nothing good in that packet for you. After two minutes, strain your noodles and set them aside for later.

On another burner, heat a pan on medium-high heat until hot, add a teaspoon of sesame oil (or any other oil) then stir-fry your vegetables for about a minute. Add a clove of minced garlic and stir that in. Season your vegetables with salt and pepper. Now, add the tuna to the pan and break it up into bite-sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Now add a tablespoon of curry powder to the dish and stir it in to cover each ingredient. Once it’s combined, add a teaspoon of mirin to temper the curry, and add a teaspoon of your favorite chicken bouillon. I like Better Than Bouillon, and you can find out more about it here. Add a cup of water to the mixture and bring it to a boil while dissolving the bouillon. After it’s boiled, turn down the heat to medium-low and add the noodles. Stir everything together and cook until the sauce is reduced and nearly gone. Then transfer your mixture to a plate.

It’s a quick and healthy dish that is a little spicy, a little sweet, and a little smoky. It is definitely one you should try out. Remember: you need to eat the rest of your life, so make sure to eat well! See you next time!

Recipe #2 – Omelet

Pretty omelet.

 

With its classic aura and comforting tastes, there’s a reason we call breakfast the most important meal of the day. Today’s recipe is an example of a dish that has many possibilities: the omelet. Once you learn the basics of this egg dish, you can fill it with whatever filling you like. Here’s a article with 32 different omelet recipes if you’d like some inspiration. But for now, let’s cook mine!

First, we prepare our filling. I used bacon, red bell pepper, and onion for this omelet, but you can put anything in yours. From spinach to sausage, and salmon to mushrooms, there are many possibilities. Dice your toppings into small pieces with a knife, then heat a non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add your bacon and fry it until halfway browned. Take a wadded up paper towel and sponge away some of the bacon grease. Then add your onion and bell pepper, and fry until golden brown and soft. Remove your topping and set it aside.

To prepare the omelet, crack two large eggs in a bowl and beat them until fully combined. Turn your heat down to medium-low so the egg isn’t overcooked. Pour the scrambled eggs into the pan. Stir with a spatula for 5 seconds, then swirl it around the pan to create one even layer of egg. Lightly scrape the undercooked egg off the top and swirl it around to make sure it gets cooked. When the egg is nearly done, cover the egg with a thin coating of shredded cheese. This will help to bind the filling to the egg. I used a Mexican blend of cheese, but try any kind of cheese you prefer. Add your filling on top, covering only one half of the egg. This next step is a little tricky. Take your spatula and work it under the bare half of egg, then fold it over the filling. From here, you can transfer the finished omelet to a plate.

The omelet is hot and fresh, and ready to be eaten. I hope you enjoy it. Don’t forget: you need to eat the rest of your life, so make sure and eat well! See you soon!