My College Life Without a Kitchen–Get Ready Because it’s not Going to be Pretty

I seem to be in a throwback kind of mood this week and it got me thinking about all the food I’ve had over my four years at Boston–most of it amazing, but some of it that’s just god-awful (and leaves me wondering ‘what was I thinking??’). So here it goes.

The college experience wouldn’t be the same if no one gained weight–it’s just a fact of life. While most people gain the ‘freshman fifteen,’ I seemed to also pile on the ‘sophomore seven‘. How does this happen? It’s simple, really.  Take carb-heavy dining hall food (“sure, I’ll have more mashed potatoes and maybe a side of fries…”) and combine it with the Junk Food Wonderland that becomes part of daily existence. I must have thought that never having unlimited pizza at home justified me eating about 5 slices… I ate everything from Easy Mac, to ice cream sandwiches, to Lays, an endless amount of Dominos pizza, and quite sadly the list goes on and on. Somebody was either ordering, bringing in, going out for or in the mood for something greasy, salty, fatty or just plain BAD.  And talk about a group dynamic—all it takes is two people and suddenly, you’re outnumbered.  The idea of a salad or a turkey sandwich disappears instantly, to be replaced by a cheddar-bacon-triple-stacked Gutbuster burger and a side of fries.

Now that I have my own apartment my junk food days are behind me (or at least I tell myself that….I caved and had KFC the other week), and I have switched to a more balanced and healthier diet. While I have to admit I do get lazy and end up making frozen food, I couldn’t imagine my life if I had to rely on the dining hall for all my meals. But that’s not to say I don’t splurge and get the greasiest food known to mankind once in a while, it would be a lie if I said I didn’t. And as a bonus, I do have to say eating better has helped me drop the unwanted pounds (that, and about a zillion steps on the elliptical….). So I hope you all take the time to splurge once a while and get that greasy burger with a side of fries (that I know you all secretly want, even if you don’t admit to it)–no one is going to judge you 🙂 But until next time, keep eating!

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Love for Lox

If I could live off one thing for the rest of my life it would be smoked salmon (aside from Jamaican barbeque and tzatziki of course). I know it’s an acquired taste for many, but man I could eat it for days—and that’s what I did.  Over the past week and a half, I had smoked salmon for either breakfast or lunch (and sometimes both).

It pairs so incredibly well with cream cheese (I tried it with an herb cream cheese, which may just beat plain old cream cheese), fresh tomatoes, red onion slices, capers, and a soft, doughy, plain bagel. As if this couldn’t get any better, you must top it off with some fresh lemon juice—seriously you won’t want to eat anything else.

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While I haven’t truly explored to find the best smoked salmon in Boston, I must say that Espresso Royale Café on Commonwealth Avenue, part of Boston University’s campus, does make a mean smoked salmon bagel–the Santa Monica. If consuming that much raw fish wasn’t bad for you, I would eat it all day, every day, breakfast, lunch and even dinner. Some would say that’s excessive, but I beg to differ. The thing that I like about that sandwich is that they add an avocado spread, which makes the rest of the flavors of the sandwich pop (particularly the smoked salmon).  Discovering the Santa Monica has made my college experience that much better (but can’t say the same for my wallet).

The funny thing is, is that while I absolutely love smoked salmon, I don’t ever buy it when grocery shopping. How strange. They do say there is a first for everything, so maybe I should start now? If you haven’t already experienced the wonderfulness of smoked salmon, I strongly recommend you do (especially with a bagel)—I now can’t imagine my life without it. But until next time, keep eating!

A Moveable Feast–City Living and Having to Travel with Groceries

The one downside to living in a city without a car? Grocery shopping. At home you simply go to the grocery store and when you’re done, load up your trunk and off you go. Here in Boston, you have to lug all your groceries back to where you live, counting every step while trying to figure out how 3 bags of groceries can weigh 1,000 pounds.

The past two years I have had the luxury of living in an apartment on campus. This means I don’t have to suffer through dining hall meals. It also means I have to cook all my meals myself.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook, I just wish I could have the food supplies I need instantly teleported to my apartment without ever having to set one foot inside a grocery store. Yet I do have to say, I have just about perfected my grocery purchasing skills. Here’s my advice: If you do have to walk a far distance home, try to avoid liters of soda or gallons of milk (unless they are an absolute must; or buy them once and they’ll last you a while). DO buy bread; it’s nice and light! Frozen, easy to cook veggies, can be manageable, just keep it to a few bags. Keep canned items to two per bag and load up on fresh fruit. Except for grapefruit or watermelon, fruit is fairly light (learn to love grapes).

Bagging is another obstacle I have overcome. It’s all about balance. Put ONE or TWO of your heaviest items in one bag and then pack the rest of the bag with lighter options. Always choose paper over plastic because they’re sturdier and better for the environment (now you can say you did your part).

The absolute best grocery tactic? If, in fact, you’ve gone overboard and feel like you’re carrying two barbells, do what I do—and look for the cutest guy around. Then quickly—and quietly—break one of the handles on your bag.

Until next time, keep eating!