Frugal Foodie: Guilt-free carrot cake waffles

Campus may not offer the largest variety of gluten-free and vegan breakfast options, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your own. These quick and easy carrot cake waffles are a healthy alternative to sugary cereals, processed treats or day-old slices of pizza sitting in your mini fridge. 

If you would rather opt out of the gluten-free and vegan ensemble, however, you can simply substitute gluten-free flour for wheat flour, the flax seeds for an egg and almond milk for your choice of dairy. 


1 cup gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoon ground flax seeds

3/4 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar

2 1/2 tablespoons warm water

1/2 cup finely grated carrots

2 tablespoons coconut flakes (optional)


Heat your waffle iron to medium/high. In a mixing bowl, add the vinegar to the almond milk to give it a buttermilk-like consistency. If you opted for a different kind of dairy, add that in the bowl. Add warm water to the flax as a substitute for egg. Measure out your dry ingredients and stir together to combine. Add the milk and coconut to the dry ingredients. Finally, stir in the flax and grated carrot.

Measure out the recommend amount of mix for your waffle iron, cook and enjoy with your choice of toppings!

Healthy midterm munchies

Spring break is right around the corner, but this also means that midterms are looming near. For many college student, “stress eating” is a go-to when managing challenging situations like handling the sudden onslaught of draining exams.

To make matters worse, stress eating usually consists of junk food, which can lead to weight gain, acne and sluggish behavior. These results only make your stress levels increase. But have no fear, there are ways to beat unhealthy midterm cravings.

When you’re craving the ever-so popular, deliciously greasy pizza, switch it up a bit with this veggie pizza bites recipe that will leave you full and satisfied without feeling sluggish and bloated.

Zucchini Pizza Bites:


One small zucchini

1/2 cup of goat cheese

1/4 cup of basil, minced

One cup of arugula or kale (shredded if desired)

1/4 shredded carrots

One tomato

One tablespoon olive oil


1. Peel zucchini and slice to 1/4 inch rounds. Set aside.

2. Dice tomato to 1/4 inch pieces.

3. In a bowl, coat and toss diced tomato with olive oil, minced basil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

4. Spread goat cheese on zucchini rounds.

5. Place arugula or kale on the zucchini rounds, then seasoned tomatoes and top it all off with shredded carrots. Add pepper to taste.

Frugal Foodie: Stay energized with dining hall smoothie

Five weeks into the semester, exams become a common occurrence. During this draining time, you might find it difficult to squeeze in a meal during the day or to stay on a daily eating schedule. If you skip meals, though, you might be missing out on the nutrients you need to stay healthy—or you also might be feeling exhausted more often. While trying to fill this void with caffeine may seem like the smartest choice, it will only lead you to crash later. Luckily, you can find all the foods you need to stay energized and healthy in the dining halls at Geneseo.

Turning to your fruits and vegetables is also a good way to beat the drowsy blues. From Fusion alone, you can buy both bananas and avocados—both of which are great for an energy boost. You can get a few more ingredients from the dining halls around campus to make a smoothie to carry along with you to class, boosting your energy along the way if you can’t make it to Letchworth Dining Hall. With a couple of kiwis—which are great to keep a healthy immune system during cold season—spinach and some whole milk, you’re well on your way to having a healthy pick me up.

Dining Hall Energy Smoothie:


Two bananas

Two kiwis

1/2 avocado

Two cups of spinach/kale

1/3 cup Greek vanilla yogurt

1/3 cup of whole milk

Honey (to taste)


Combine in blender until smooth. You could also try some apples instead of the avocado if you want something sweeter.

A treat for your sweet

Looking for a sweet dessert to share with your sweetie this Valentine’s Day? A decadent homemade custard with caramel syrup will show your thoughtfulness—or make it a team effort and have fun in the kitchen together! Even if you’re not celebrating the holiday, winter is a time for indulgence, so give this recipe a whirl and “treat yo self!”

Baked Custard with Caramel Syrup


Three large eggs, slightly beaten

1/3 cup sugar for custard

1/2 cup sugar for caramel sauce

Two tsp. real vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

2 1/2 cups hot milk—almost scalded, but not brought to a boil

Ground nutmeg


Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the custard: In a medium bowl, beat eggs, 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla and salt with wire whisk or fork. Gradually stir in hot milk.

For the caramel sauce: heat 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until sugar is golden brown and melted.

Divide the syrup among custard cups and tilt the cups so that the syrup covers the bottom of each cup. If using a casserole dish, pour all of the syrup into the bottom and tilt to cover evenly. Wait several minutes for syrup to harden.

Pour custard mix into six six-ounce custard cups or into one oven-proof casserole dish. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Place cups or casserole dish in 13x9-inch pan on oven rack. Pour very hot water into pan within 1/2 inch of tops of cups.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Remove cups or casserole dish from water. Cool for about 30 minutes.

Insert custard cups to unmold and serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. Caramel syrup will run down the side of unmolded custard. If casserole dish is used, don’t invert, but use a large spoon to dish up into bowls and ladle syrup from bottom onto the custard servings.

**Makes six servings

Frugal Foodie: Warming up to Winter

Winter is moving into its worst days and we all need our indoor comforts. Electric blankets, hot bowls of chicken noodle soup and the warm glow of Netflix’s Fireplace for Your Home are oh-so-average things we all daydream about while walking against the Genesee Valley polar vortex from class to class. But what could ever top a warm mug-of-something to thaw those icicles under your nose? Better yet, what about a creative mug-of-something? Here are some hot and fun alternatives to Swiss Miss that you can boil up in your dorm or apartment kitchen.

Warm Mulled Cider


One navel orange

½ gallon apple cider

Two tablespoons honey

Five whole allspice berries

Six whole cloves

One pinch ground nutmeg

11/2-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced

Eight cinnamon sticks


Using a vegetable peeler or your favorite kitchen knife, peel the zest from the orange to create long strips. Along with all other listed ingredients, throw the zest into a medium-sized pot. Bring to a simmer and watch that it does not boil. Once simmering, let the water continue to heat up uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain out spices and zest and pour into your favorite mug.

Mexican Hot Spiced Cocoa


One serving hot cocoa mix

Two pinches ground chipotle chili pepper

Two pinches ground cinnamon

Two tablespoons sweetened whip cream

1/2 gallon whole milk (optional)

12. oz bag dark chocolate chips (optional)


If you want your drink to be extra special, heat the 1/2 gallon of milk over medium heat and add 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips for every eight cups. If you don’t, just prepare the hot cocoa mix according to package directions. After you complete either of those steps, mix in half the total spices—chili pepper and cinnamon—in with the cocoa, top the drink with whipped cream and sprinkle the other half of the spices atop the whipped cream. 

New year, new food

January is almost over and if you haven’t started working toward your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, now is the time. It can be hard to eat healthy on campus when you are constantly surrounded by pizza, burgers and ice cream, but it is possible. Here are some healthy but tasty suggestions for breakfast and dinner that you can try in both dorm and apartment kitchens.

Breakfast: Whole Wheat French Toast


1 egg

2 slices of whole wheat bread

1/2 cup of skim milk

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Cinnamon, to taste (optional)

Nonstick cooking spray or butter


Mix skim milk, egg, vanilla extract and cinnamon in a bowl until egg yolk is dissolved and mixture is light yellow in color. Heat skillet to medium heat and add butter or nonstick cooking spray. Dip one slice of bread into your mixture, both sides and be careful not to let it sit too long or it will get too soggy.

Place the bread on the skillet and let it sit until that side is golden brown. Then flip it and cook it for another three or four minutes.

Top off with sugar free syrup, berries or both!

Dinner: Vegetarian Stir Fry


1/2 cup of brown rice

Small pieces of vegetables of your choosing; try broccoli, carrots and peppers

Sauce of your choosing: try soy or teriyaki

Olive oil


Follow instructions on the rice bag, making sure you adjust it for a 1/2 cup. Get a deep skillet, on medium heat, pour the olive oil and all your vegetables in. Cover and let steam for about eight to 10 minutes. Put your sauce on, to taste, and stir for about five to six minutes. Place rice in a bowl and top off with veggies. 

Frugal Foodie: New spin on squash

Trying various unique spins on conventional foods can oftentimes be deliciously enlightening. Below is a recipe for an Asian-inspired take on the preparation of spaghetti squash.


One large spaghetti squash

Three garlic cloves

Two tablespoons olive oil

Four mushrooms

One large sweet pepper

One onion

One package snow peas

2/3 cup soy sauce

One tablespoon toasted sesame oil or teriyaki

One tablespoon lime juice

1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter

1/2 cup chopped peanuts

1/2 cup cilantro


With a sharp knife, cut squash in half the long way. Remove seeds. Place squash in a microwave safe pan, face down. Add about 1/4 cup of water into pan and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for about 15 minutes or until squash is soft.

While squash is microwaving, mince garlic, dice onion and slice mushrooms and peppers as desired. Place large skillet on stove burner over medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Simmer garlic and onion in oil for 3-5 minutes, stirring when necessary. Add mushrooms, green pepper, onions and snow peas to pan and cook for another 5-10 minutes or for as long as desired.

When squash is done microwaving, let it cool a bit. Using a fork, scrape the insides of the squash, removing long strands.

Add soy sauce, sesame oil—or teriyaki or both—peanut butter and lime juice to the pan and stir. Add squash and continue stirring until squash is coated with sauce.

Top with cilantro and peanuts. Serve.


Add a dash of ground ginger, pepper flakes or hot sauce for spice.

Serve with meat, poultry, seafood or tofu.

Frugal Foodie: Turkey-free substitute for Turkey Day

Thanksgiving is a holiday that essentially revolves around food. We join family and friends in giving thanks while eating an abundance of delicious, prepared-all-day food. From the main attraction of the turkey to the mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberries and all the other goodies, it’s easy to overeat.

But what if you’re vegetarian or vegan during this poultry-centered feast? Or maybe you’re hosting the celebration and have vegetarian or vegan guests coming over? You might be at a loss as to what they’ll be able to eat other than side dishes. Or maybe you’re on a health-kick and you’re cutting down on your meat and poultry intake.

Whatever the cause of your concern, sometimes you just need a hearty vegetarian or vegan option on the table during Thanksgiving. Chili is a favorite fall comfort food that can be tasty with or without animal protein. Below is a delicious recipe for vegetarian chili, which is easily adapted to be vegan as well.


4 tbsp. olive oil

4 tbsp. dry red wine

2 1/2 cups raw kidney beans

3/4 cup raw bulgur (or more, to taste)

1 cup tomato juice

Four garlic cloves, crushed

2 cups onion, diced

1 cup celery

1 cup carrots

1 cup green peppers

Four fresh tomatoes

3 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. ground cumin

4 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cayenne

1 tsp. basil

3 tbsp. tomato paste

One block extra sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup parsley

Salt and pepper


1. Start beans a few hours early to allow time to cook. Put kidney beans in a pan and cover them with 6 cups of water. Soak for about three hours. Add extra water and 2 tsp. salt. Cook until tender, about one hour. Watch the water level—add more if necessary.

2. Heat tomato juice to a boil. Add a pinch of salt. Pour over raw bulgur. Cover and let stand at least 15 minutes.

3. Chop vegetables to desired size.

4. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil. Add celery, carrots, tomato and spices. When vegetables are almost done, add peppers. Cook until relatively soft.

5. Combine all ingredients—including those not used—except cheese and parsley and slowly heat together in a covered pan on stove, to taste.

6. Serve with grated cheddar cheese and parsley on top or leave cheese out for a vegan meal.

Makes approximately eight servings.

Frugal Foodie: Bulk up, save up money

For those of us who are interested in gaining both strength and weight during the school year, bulking up with a high calorie, high protein diet might prove to be as taxing on the wallet as it is on the appetite. Here’s what an average day of bulking might look like on a tight budget:

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Frugal Foodie: Put aside pumpkin, pick up new fall flavors

Recently, many cafés and stores have been displaying their fall items as the start of autumn came on Wednesday Sept. 23. It seems, however, as if the beginning of fall is actually the beginning of pumpkin-flavored treats in our consumer-driven culture. With what seems like an all-you-can-eat buffet assortment of pumpkin treats during the autumn months, other seasonal options are typically overlooked.There are so many more fall-specific, enjoyable flavors than pumpkin. Apple, squash, cranberry, cinnamon, nutmeg and salted caramel top this list, along with a variety of different nutty pleasures such as almond, pecan, hazelnut and walnut to finish off the cornucopia of fall flavor. So branch out this fall and enjoy some delicious tastes other than pumpkin. Explore a bit on your next coffee trip—maybe ask for nutty syrup in your latte rather than the usual pumpkin. Instead of coffee, order a hot chocolate or dip into the world of tea. Don’t forget to splurge a bit with pastries such as an apple crumble bar, cinnamon bun or almond Danish. Nothing helps one get into the autumnal spirit more than enjoying all the yummy tastes fall has to offer. You don’t have to exclude pumpkin, just make the effort to indulge in and savor other seasonal delights as well. To get started, check out this quick and easy recipe:


2 apples 2 tsp. apple pie sauce 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed lightly 1/3 cup pecans 1/3 cup walnuts 2/3 cup raisons 2 (8-oz.) cans Pillsbury Original Crescents 6 tbsp. butter 1 tbsp. cinnamon 1 tbsp. nutmeg


Place all triangles of dough on flat surface. Brush dough with melted butter. Sprinkle brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg on both sides of each piece of dough. Slice the apples into desired shapes and sizes, keeping them small enough to fit inside the crescent rolls. Put raisins, pecans, walnuts and apple chunks inside dough triangles and roll them up. Cook according to the Pillsbury directions. Serve warm.

Frugal Foodie: Overnight Oatmeal

Now that finals week is almost here, you might find that your schedule is quickly filling up with tons of reading, writing and studying. With free time quickly disappearing, the last thing you are probably thinking about is what to eat for breakfast—not to mention why eating something for breakfast is so important.

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Frugal Foodie: Gluten-free goodies

Balancing all that is required of a student and what is necessary for cooking gluten-free foods can be tricky, especially if you are busy or on a budget. For students with gluten-free diets living on or off campus, meal options may be limited.

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The Frugal Foodie: Going green

Now that warmer weather is on its way, it’s time to pull out the blender and join the increasingly popular green smoothie wave. Besides adding a refreshing dimension to your diet, green smoothies are an excellent way to pack in essential vitamins and minerals, fiber and healthy carbohydrates.

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The Frugal Foodie: Cauliflower craze

If you have recently browsed through any health forum or websites featuring recipes, you may have noticed a surge in cauliflower use. It has been used to make everything from vegetarian Buffalo wings to pizza crust, and it is easy to see why

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Frugal Foodie: Egg-cellent edibles

I believe that eggs are under-appreciated––they come cheap and have great health benefits. At just $1.99 per dozen at the local Wegmans, eggs are a great food for college students looking to save some money.

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The Frugal Foodie: Souper Duper

While the cold weather may bring to mind pleasant thoughts of cuddles or fun outdoor activities, it can get old fairly quick. There is nothing particularly fun about being in physical pain when your face freezes with the icy air; neither is the thought of having to wear three or more layers outside in order to survive. So how are you supposed to get the most out of this extremely cold, winter season?

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The Frugal Foodie: Stay traditional at school with Jewish comfort foods

Sometimes, all you want is a meal that reminds you of home just like the one Babushka makes. Grandma’s special recipe really isn’t that hard to recreate while you’re in college! Two of the most common Jewish comfort foods, kasha varnishkes and couscous are good for those people who are on a budget, like us college students.

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The Frugal Foodie: Protein Power

The start of a new year not only brings a flood of new gym rats, but a sense of renewal and opportunity to start fresh. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to stay in shape. To do this properly, you should strive to balance both eating healthily and working out.

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The Frugal Foodie: Cozy up with some cocoa

‘Tis the season for fuzzy blankets and curling up with a good book and a gigantic mug of delicious hot chocolate. No matter what you celebrate this holiday season, hot chocolate is a promised crowd pleaser. It can make a great gift or an amazing drink to enjoy on your own. Let’s be honest here—tea is fine, but a mug of steaming hot chocolate sounds 10 times better. Though a typical cup of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows is passable, there are many more ways to enjoy warm cocoa. For instance, you could have or serve peppermint swirl, caramel or my personal favorite, almond joy hot chocolate. At less than 17 cents per packet of Wegmans hot chocolate, these could be a cheap and easy gift to make. Just place a packet and various sealed additions like candy canes or caramel candies in a new mug and adorn with a ribbon or a bow.

Peppermint Swirl Hot Chocolate

Make one packet of hot chocolate as directed on package and add one teaspoon of peppermint extract and one tablespoon of chocolate chips. Take out of microwave and stir until chocolate chips are completely dissolved. Top with whip cream, crushed peppermint pieces, chocolate chips and garnish with a candy cane.


Caramel Hot Chocolate


1/2 cup milk

5 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons caramel sauce

Heat all ingredients in a pot at medium/low heat until fully combined. Be sure not to burn or overcook the hot chocolate—burnt milk is hard to clean. Once fully combined, pour into a mug and top with whipped cream or marshmallows and drizzle with caramel sauce.

Almond Joy Hot Chocolate

Make one packet of hot chocolate as directed on package using milk and add half of a teaspoon almond extract and one tablespoon of milk chocolate chips. Take out of microwave and stir until fully combined and chocolate chips are dissolved. Top with whipped cream, coconut shavings and a few chocolate chips.

Pumpkin Pie Hot Chocolate


1 cup milk

1 teaspoon unsweetened dark cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon maple syrup

Heat all ingredients in a pot on medium/low heat until everything is fully dissolved. Once ingredients are fully combined, pour hot chocolate into a mug and top with whipped cream and cinnamon. Garnish with a cinnamon stick if desired and enjoy.

The Frugal Foodie: Smart Shopping

Bringing a lunch from home might feel elementary, but it is a surefire way to save money, especially if you live off campus. In order to save money while packing lunches, be careful to buy a variety offoods when grocery shopping that can be used throughout the week. Shopping List:

1 head lettuce- $1.49

1 seeded cucumber- $0.99

1 cooking onion- about $1.39

1 tomato- about $2.89

1 green pepper- about $1.49

2 bananas- about $0.39

3 empire apples- about $2.68

Wegmans baby carrots, 16 ounces- $0.99

Thomas’ Sahara Whole Wheat Pita Pockets- $2.99

Wegmans whole wheat bread- $1.99

Wegmans sliced mozzarella cheese- $2.99

2 Wegmans blended yogurts- $1.00

1 can StarKist Tuna- $0.89

1 can Wegmans tomato soup- $0.79

Wegmans Fat Free Parmesan Italian dressing- $1.69

Quaker original rice cakes- $1.99

Bulk sliced almonds, 2 ounces- $1.12

Total: about $27.67

Total per meal: about $5.50

To put this into perspective, an average on-campus meal might cost about $7-8 when consisting of a sandwich, a bag of chips or a yogurt and a fruit. Here are a few meals that you can make given just the ingredients on that shopping list:

Day 1

Pita sandwich with hummus, cucumber, pepper slices, lettuce and some salt and pepper

Yogurt topped with 1 crumbled rice cake, a banana and cinnamon (optional)

Day 2

A handful of shredded lettuce, topped with thinly sliced carrots, cucumber, onion, a sprinkle of sliced almonds and Parmesan Italian dressing

Rice cake and hummus


Day 3

Grilled cheese made with whole wheat bread, mozzarella and tomato slices

Can of tomato soup


Day 4

Tuna sandwich made with whole wheat bread, lettuce and onion

Assorted vegetables with Parmesan Italian dressing for dipping

Yogurt topped with some sliced almonds, banana and cinnamon     (optional)

Day 5 

Pita topped with mozzarella and tomato slices, microwaved for 30 seconds

Assorted sliced vegetables with hummus