Love, Laugh, Learn – Freshman Year with Good Food and Awesome People



  • Running club
  • Lots of group chats
  • The best engineering teams ever
  • New friends
  • Creativity
  • Hard work
  • An open mind
  • … and food


  1. “If we wait until we’re ready we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” – Lemony Snicket College is an adventure. A great one. One of the first things I did was invite girls on my floor to bake chocolate chip cookies with me, and I met a few girls who I would become friends with over the course of the year. Plus, once we baked the cookies, I was able to meet even more people by handing them out! (
  2. “We not me” In high school, this was our cross-country and track mantra, but it’s applicable for any team or group of people. I was blessed both semesters with great groups to work with. Team 1, Team 15, you guys are the best. First semester, one of my classes was an 8-week seminar about food. So naturally, my group got together to make or buy something for the class every week. Not for an assignment, just for fun. Our professor loved it when we brought in stolen food from the dining courts to our discussion about punk food. One week, we made Bannock, fried bread of Inuit origin ( It turned out almost like pita bread, but a little thicker and denser.
  3. “When you have a bad day, try and treat the world better than it treated you.” – Patrick Stump An easy way to do this is by baking! One night, I stole a baked sweet potato from the dining courts and made my friends flourless sweet potato peanut butter brownies. The recipe I used called for almond butter, but really any nut butter works. IMG_7241.jpg(
  4. “You don’t get what you wish for, you get what you work for.” If I had to choose one word to describe the ending of first semester, I would say exhaustion. Coming home and spending a whole day baking cookies with my friends was what I needed. My family’s sugar cookie recipe never fails: 3/4 cup shortening, 1 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1 Tbsp. vanilla, 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt – chill 1 hour, bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes.                              We all made cookies representing our respective schools. My Boiler Up! cookie is in the front, but going around the circle is Rachel’s Drake University cookie, Julianne’s University of Iowa cookie, Grace’s Concordia University Chicago cookie, and Eleanor’s Bowdoin college cookie.
  5. “What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” Sometimes you gotta take a risk and for Christmas when my mom had an idea that I should make an upside-down apple pear pecan pie, I was a bit skeptical at first, but it turned out to be a new favorite dessert. The flavors meld together beautifully, especially with the caramel rum topping. I always use the same pie crust: mix 1 cup of flour and 1/3 cup shortening with a pastry cutter until you’ve formed pea sized balls. Stir in 1 egg yolk followed by 2-3 tablespoons of ice water and 1 tsp. white vinegar. Chill 1 hour before rolling out. Makes 1 crust.
  6. “It is our choices that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – Albus Dumbledore It wouldn’t be fitting if I didn’t talk about the food in dining courts, but thank you Purdue Dining for being excellent and providing a wide variety of food and plenty of good and healthy options. I definitely am known to mix weird things though. My signature bowl second semester became cottage cheese mixed with peanut butter, sunflower seeds and a banana. While this sounds weird at first, everyone I’ve convinced to try it has thought that it’s delicious. It’s not that much different than mixing yogurt and peanut butter (also weird but maybe less so?), except for the texture. I’m not sure what this choice says about what I truly am, but maybe creative? healthy? weird? Probably all of the above.
  7. “Wake. Pray. Slay.” And sometimes you need some super-food cookies to get you through the day. I made banana peanut butter oatmeal cookies with chia seeds, nuts and raisins mixed in using this recipe ( that I found on Pinterest. They were a great pre-run club or post-run club snack.         
  8. “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” – Rumi Second semester, I felt like an entirely different person. Whereas first semester, I felt like I spent every waking moment studying or running, second semester, I spent a lot more time hanging out with my friends. As a result, I was a happier person. It’s easy to forget that you can make time to do what you love and enjoy yourself when you workload feels like it’s a mile high, but college isn’t just about having your nose in a book all the time.IMG_7314.jpgPictured above is a salad made by my friends Katie and Brittany and I. We spent a wonderful Saturday evening going to the grocery store (where we made our own nut butters!) and taking over the dorm kitchen. The bottom layer of the salad is massaged kale, red peppers, Havarti dill cheese, Parmesan cheese and avocado. On its own, this would be a great side salad, but we made it a meal by topping it with oven-roasted sweet potatoes, Runner’s High Peanut Sauce from Run Fast Eat Slow and toasted Ezekiel Bread.
  9. “Who you hang out with determines what you dream about and what you collide with. And the collisions and the dreams head to your changes. And the changes are what you become. Change the outcome by changing your circle.” – Seth Godin I definitely know that I grew as a person over the past year and a lot of that is thanks to my amazing friends. Having a cooking contest with my engineering team and using every dish in the kitchenette was more stressful than we expected it to be, but it was also a heck of a lot of fun. Sarah and I made breakfast tostadas, banana bread french toast, and fruit salad with oranges, apples and bananas. Instead of plain old onions and cilantro that the tostadas recipe called for, we topped our tostadas with pico de gallo. We also substituted taco seasoning for the spices and I made guacamole with the avocado. For the guac, mash 2 avocados and mix in garlic, lime juice and cilantro to taste. ( banana bread French toast was my personal favorite dish of the night. We made regular banana bread, cooked it into French toast by dipping it in whisked eggs and pan frying it, and then offered it to our guests with hand whipped cream, syrup, dark chocolate chips, Nutella, and pecans.                                                   Banana Bread
    2 1/3 C flour
    1 Tablespoon baking powder
    ½ t. baking soda
    ½ salt
    ½ C butter
    ¾ C sugar
    3 large eggs
    3 large ripe bananas
    2 t grated lemon zest
    ½ C chopped pecans
    Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9×5 in. pan. Stir together dry ingredients. Beat butter and
    sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well. Beat in bananas.
    Gradually add flour mixture by hand until blended. Stir in lemon zest and nuts.
    Bake 55 min or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 min.
  10. “Fuck yeah.” – Shalane Flanagan What did I do on my first day home from college? Celebrate being free? Yes, but I also baked cookies, muffins and cake, followed by making fish tacos the next day and salmon sweet potato cakes a few days later. I definitely enjoyed having a real kitchen at my fingertips again. The cake was for my sister’s party after prom, just made with a box cake mix and topped with vanilla frosting, Kit Kats and m&m’s. The cookies were the same chocolate chip cookies that I made at the beginning of the year, and the muffins were blueberry Greek yogurt muffins ( I was a little worried at first because the batter tasted very strongly of the Greek yogurt, but after baking I thought the strong flavor went away. The salmon sweet potato cakes came from Run Fast and Eat Slow, and the fish taco recipe was kind of made up. I made guacamole (recipe above), cut up mangoes, and heated up black beans with caramelized onions mixed in. The fish was grilled and seasoned with Chile powder. I also made a Greek yogurt coleslaw to top the tacos. I bought a bag salad slaw mix (green cabbage, red cabbage, carrots) and mixed in about a cup of Greek yogurt, and the juice from half a lime. I then garnished it with cilantro.Overall, I had a great freshman year and am looking forward to more adventures, both cooking and otherwise.




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