Sunshine Award Post

The Sunshine Award has been making its way our my Applied Digital and Social Media class, so I thought I would answer the questions that were posed. Each blogger is supposed to pass the award onto 11 new bloggers, but I’m going to let the chain end here this time. I thought this would be a fun way for my readers to find out a little more about me.


1. What is your passion and why? I’m very passionate about school and learning from a wide variety of areas before going onto law school. I’ve especially enjoyed the opportunities and knowledge I’ve gained from minoring in both History and Sociology. 
2. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done in your life so far? My second year of college I had the opportunity to travel to the Insight Bowl with the Hawkeye Marching Band. It was a fantastic experience and I am looking forward to the possibility of traveling to another bowl game during the 2013 post season. 
3. What are you going to be for Halloween this year? I was the orange M&M this year. It was the perfect costume because it kept me warm and I was able to borrow it from a friend! 
4. What’s your favorite movie? My favorite movie is Top Gun. It is a real cult classic and I can say each line in the movie while watching it. 
5. Have you ever been in trouble with the law? As a future officer of the court I take rules and the law very seriously, and I have a clean record. 
6. What’s one of your pet peeves? I am deeply offended when people do not remove their head coverings and place their hand over their heart during the singing and playing of the Star-Spangled Banner
7. Which do you like better? Mountains or the beach? I’m really impartial. I love skiing the runs at Keystone and also relaxing on Madeira Beach. 
8. If I gave you $20 what would you do with it? I would take it straight to the bank save it. 
9. Do you like dogs? And if not, why? I am a dog person! I have a miniature Australian Shepard named Skooter. We are best friends and I go home at least once a week to spend time with him. 
10. Which is better? Apple or Microsoft? I personally own only Apple products. I like being able to have all of my information available seamlessly across all 3 of my devices.  
11. What’s the most ridiculous experience you’ve encountered?  I’ve seen a lot of ridiculous calls by referees at Hawkeye football games.  
I hope that was a fun post and not an information overload! Feel free to contact me using the links below.
Happy Halloween,

Bake Sale Recipe Ideas

Bake sales are a great way to raise money for an organization or charity. I love to bake so I always volunteer to bring in some treat when asked. I’m usually really at night taking care of some chores around the house and doing homework, so I try to keep things simple. I often turn to Pinterest for the perfect recipes. For the last bake sale that I helped out with I made five layer bars and lemon angel food bars.
Here are the recipes for Five Layer Bars and Lemon Angel Food Bars:
Credit: Anonymous Flickr User (Obtained via Creative Commons)

Credit: Anonymous Flickr User (Obtained via Creative Commons)

Five Layer Bars
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick salted butter (melted)
1 bag chocolate chips
1 bag butterscotch chips
½ cup chopped Pecans
1 cup shredded coconut
14 oz. sweetened and condensed milk
Mix together graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press mixture into a greased 13×9 glass pan. Pour chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, pecans, and coconut on top of the crust in that order. Pour sweetened and condensed milk over pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool, cut, and package.
Credit: Anonymous Flickr User (Obtained via Creative Commons)

Credit: Anonymous Flickr User (Obtained via Creative Commons)

Lemon Angel Food Bars
1 angel food cake mix
42 oz lemon pie filling
Mix ingredients together and pour into a greased 13×9 glass pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Cool, cut, and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
What are your favorite bake sale recipes?

How to Throw a Dinner Party

House parties and 21st birthday parties aren’t the only kind of parties it is important to master during college. Knowing how to throw a nice dinner party for friends or visiting family is a good skill to acquire in your early adult years in preparation for hosting holiday gatherings. The SoundSlides story below depicts a Mexican cuisine themed dinner party I hosted for my roommates and a couple of my friends. Together we made chicken quesadillas and Spanish rice. Chips and salsa and margaritas (we’re all of age) rounded out a meal. Sharing a meal was a great way to relax and take a break from homework and studying for midterms. When planning a dinner party it is important to make sure you have enough seating for everyone, so all of your guests can enjoy the conversation and not feel left out. Also, letting your guest know the theme and menu ahead of time can be helpful. For example, I like my Mexican food to be on the spicier side, but one of my guests prefers to keep things more mild. This is especially important if any of your guest have food restrictions such as lactose intolerance or gluten free. Another fun way to host a dinner party is to do it potluck style and assign guests a type of dish such as side dish, appetizer or dessert. This way you can learn about your friends’ favorite foods and talk about the memories they have surrounding sharing that dish with their family.

Chicken Quesadillas


1 package 8 in. tortillas

1 lb. chicken breasts

1 package chicken fajita seasoning

1 can refried beans

1 can diced tomatoes (drained)

1 green pepper

1 small white onion

2 cups cheese


Mix together refried beans and diced tomatoes. Finely chop green pepper and onion. Add chopped vegetables into bean mixture. Brown chicken and add fajita seasoning. Shred chicken and add to bean mixture. Add cheese to bean mixture. Place tortilla on a baking sheet and cover with a generous helping of quesadilla filling. Cover with another tortilla and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Cut quesadilla into four pieces. Serve salsa for dipping.

Halloween Cookie Recipe



My roommate and I both had Halloween parties to attend this weekend. My roommate needed to make treats to take to her party, so she scoured Pinterest and found a recipes for ghost cookies. They turned out really cute and were very easy to make.

Ghost cookies


1 package full sized Nutter Butters

1 package white almond bark

1 package mini chocolate chips


Melt almond bark according to directions on package. Dip Nutter Butter in almond bark. Use chocolate chips to create a scary face.

Links to other Halloween Treats 

Witch Brooms 

Halloween  Recipes

Freaky Foods

What’s your favorite Halloween treat?


Turkey Chili Recipe

Iowa City is forecasted to get its first snow in about a week which means it is time to break out the crockpot. Turkey Chili is the perfect comfort food to come home to after a long afternoon out raking leaves or a day of class. It comes together quickly and can simmer on for up to 8 hours while you are away from home. I personally like my chili as chunky and spicy as I can get it, but below is a more classic recipe for turkey chili. When its time to eat I add cornbread, cheese and a little bit of peanut butter.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What you Need

2 cans chili beans

1 can garbonzo beans (drained)

2 cans diced tomatoes (drained)

1 packet chili seasoning

V-8 vegetable juice

1 small onion

1 green pepper

3 jalapeño peppers

2 lbs. ground turkey

Mix together chili beans, garbonzo beans, tomatoes and chili seasoning. Finely dice small onion, green pepper and jalapeños and add to bean and tomato mixture. Brown ground turkey and add to chili base. Add V-8 vegetable juice (I started with about 2 cups) to chili. Simmer for up to 8 hours. Serve with other items such as cornbread, cinnamon rolls, cheese, peanut butter, sour cream, or oyster crackers.

Here’s a few links to other chili recipes I found around the web:

Food Network – Top Chili Recipes 

Cooking Light – 32 Best Chili Recipes

Southern Living – 20 Hearty Chili Recipes

Do you like your chili five alarm spicy, mild or somewhere in between? How do you serve it up?


On the Go Breakfast Ideas

Mornings can be terribly stressful! No matter what I always seem to over sleep and the bathroom is like a time vortex. But, no matter how hectic things get I always make sure to eat a balanced breakfast. Eating a breakfast will give you sustainable energy that will propel you through your morning in class or the office. There have been tons of studies (read one here) that highlight the increase in focus and ability that comes from eating a well balanced breakfast.  Not everyone has the time to cook up a full breakfast in the morning, so I have put together my top three options for breakfast on the go.

I alternate between three breakfast options. They all hover around 250-300 calories and along with my mid-morning snack are a wonderful start to my day.

Option 1: 

1/3 cup egg whites, scrambled in the microwave

1 serving turkey sausage links

1/2 whole wheat sandwich thin with 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter

Option 2: 

1 meal bar (I usually stick with Clif Bars or Luna Bars)

1 serving of fruit

Option 3: 

Dry Cereal

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

– 5 Strawberries

– 1 medium banana

– 10 oz Almond Milk

What do you eat for breakfast?

– M

Making Healthy Diet Choices In College

Making healthy choices in college can be difficult. Instead of a new recipe today’s post will feature an interview with Martha Harrouff a clinical dietician and graduate student who teaches the course Food and Your College Experience at the University of Iowa. The interview will discuss the types of skills students can learn from taking a nutrition course and offer helpful tips for those looking to make smarter food choices.

Audio Interview Transcript

In her interview Martha Harrouff talked a lot about My Plate. Due to the government shut down the USDA website is closed, but here is an example of what a correct meal should look like:


I did a little browsing around the internet and I found a recipe similar to the one Martha mentioned at the end of her interview. The cook at my sorority house used to make this at least once a week and it was one of my favorite side dishes! Hopefully I will be able to feature a quinoa story in the near future.

The Cookin’ Chicks: Quinoa with Black Beans, Corn and Feta

What types of strategies do you use to stay healthy while you are in college? Or if you are out of college what advice do you have? Let me know in the comments section.

Ways to keep in touch:

M Hammer

Oreo Dessert

Finding the perfect dessert to make in your (maybe not so equipped) college sized kitchen can be difficult. Making multi-layer cakes or large batches of cookies are often not an option. Oreo Dessert is the perfect dessert to make when you have to bring a dish to a potluck for a club or organization you’re in. It also works well if you are in a pinch and need a dessert you can make the night before. I got this recipe from my great aunt and it has become a staple at every holiday gathering. If I don’t walk in with Oreo Dessert I’ll be asked to leave!

Oreo Dessert

1 stick butter
1 8oz. package cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
2 3.4oz. instant french vanilla pudding
3 cups milk
1 8oz. package cool whip
1 Package Oreo Cookies

Mix together butter, cream cheese and powered sugar until smooth. In a separate bowl mix together instant pudding and milk for 3 minutes or until firm. Combine cream cheese and pudding mixtures and mix until smooth. Mix in cool whip. In the bottom of a 13×9 in. glass pan crush one half of the package of Oreos. Pour filling over top. Crush the remaining Oreos and pour over the top of filling.

M Hammer

Lite and Hearty Broccoli Cheese Soup

As the leaves begin to change and the weather (finally) begins to cool off it is time to start thinking about fall cooking. While for most people that means making every pumpkin recipe in existence (check out this link), I start to think about delicious soups and chilies. As the days become shorter it is important to have a few recipes in your back pocket that can be quickly and easily prepared. This Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe is a Hy-Vee original that my borrowed from a friend about five years ago. The ingredients for this recipe store very well and I usually try to keep them on hand for a busy week night.

Lite and Hearty Broccoli Cheese Soup 

2 cups chopped frozen broccoli

1/4 cup diced green onion

1 cup water

1 can (14.5-ounce) low-sodium chicken broth

1 bag (4-ounce) Idahoan loaded baked-flavored mashed potatoes

1 1/2 cups skim milk

1 cup 2 percent-milk shredded cheddar cheese

Black pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, combine broccoli, onion, water and chicken broth. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.Stir in mashed potatoes until smooth.Slowly stir in milk. Do not boil. Add cheese and stir until smooth. Season with black pepper.


M Hammer



Homemade Dog Biscuits


Skooter is my miniature Australian Shepard. To say he is spoiled is an understatement. And, one of the ways I love to spoil Skooter is my making him homemade dog treats. If you have a dog while in college this is a good way to save money, because dog food and treats can add up quickly. The treats are much healthier than treats you buy at the store, and are made with human grade products (they aren’t very flavorful, but you can even eat one!) This recipe is Vegan and also easily adaptable to be Gluten Free if your dog is on a special diet. They are simple, fast and look extra cute depending on what type of cookie cutter you use. If you have friends with dogs they also make a great gift during the holiday season!  The recipe for Peanut Butter and Banana Puppy Treats is below.

Peanut Butter and Banana Dog Biscuits 
1 Banana (mashed)
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1 cup Oats
1/2 cup Apple Sauce
1 1/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
Mix ingredients with a hand mixer. Let mixture chill for at least one hour in the refrigerator. Flour an even surface such as a countertop and roll out dough. Cut dough using a cooking cutter to create biscuits. Place biscuits on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees, until edges are brown. Cool and refrigerate. Dog Biscuits will last up to two week in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.
M Hammer