Beyond Ramen

Beyond Ramen

Tips for Successful Dorm Room Cooking
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College is a time of great stress and also a lot of fantastic experiences. Schools open the doorway to things like internships and volunteer opportunities, but they also make sure you always have something to work on. One way to deal with stress that they’ll advertise to students is for you to go by the cafeteria and grab a quick meal on your way to the library or favorite study spot. For some students, this works, but not for very long.

No matter how creative cafeterias get with the food they serve, it isn’t always right for everyone. People who have specialized diets like vegans and vegetarians may not have enough — or any — options to eat. Those with food allergies come across this problem as well. And for many, they just prefer food from elsewhere. It’s why pizza places and Chinese restaurants around schools offer discounts and delivery. However, eating takeout every night is also not a great way to live.

While you’re learning about many other things during your time at school, you’ll find that you need to learn about cooking as well. Dorms aren’t the best place to begin a culinary career, but even if you lack a stove, you can still find ways to cook for yourself. To figure out where to start, check out some tips so you can skip the Ramen and be a successful dorm room chef.

1. Never Forget About Your Roommates

When you live with roommates, you have to be especially careful about how your actions affect them. Things like keeping your room clean and not spending too much time in the bathroom will come up, and this same thoughtfulness applies to cooking.

If you think there’s a good chance you’ll burn a food, make something smelly or generally make a mess in your shared space, give them a heads up. They’ll appreciate knowing what’s going on, and they may even want to join in on the action!

2. Start With the Small Stuff

Your first instinct might be to start looking at food blogs online or pinning recipes on Pinterest, which are both great to do. Just remember that you should start with the small stuff. Instead of aiming to bake a family-sized lasagna, maybe look for simple pasta recipes instead.

The fewer ingredients and steps there are in a recipe, the more likely you’ll be able to cook it or find a way to add it to your dorm room supplies. Plus, you don’t want to make a big recipe and then get discouraged when it doesn’t work out.

3. Buy the Basics

Almost every meal will share a common ingredient, and those ingredients come together as the staples of every kitchen. You should learn what the staple foods are so you know what to go out and buy.

If you plan on cooking, think about spices and vegetable oil. If you want to bake, focus on things like flour and baking powder. These are things every cook should have in their pantry, and they’ll end up lasting a long time. Don’t sweat it if your initial grocery bill is higher than you thought it would be. These items are worth it!

4. Rethink the Basics

Okay, so you’ve bought your staple foods. Now what? It’s time to get creative. You can only make sandwiches for so long before you start to crave literally anything else. Rethink how you can use your foods by getting creative.

For instance, a can of tuna usually only costs about a dollar, and it can be made into many different meals. For five dollars, you could get five entirely different dinner options. Take a second to do an internet search on the ingredients you have on hand to see what you can make.

5. Talk With Your Campus Nutritionist

More and more colleges are now getting on board with the idea of offering students the ability to talk with a nutritionist while they’re enrolled. Check on your school’s website to see if a nutritionist is on staff, and then make yourself an appointment.

Not sure if that’s for you? Certain bodily functions, issues and goals you may have are signs that you should see a nutritionist. Even if you’re healthy and fine eating anything, a nutritionist will help you learn about what foods you should eat and how to cook them.

6. Branch Out When You Can

Eventually, you’re going to get tired of eating the same soups and sandwiches that you can easily put together. When you get there, know how to branch out. You can explore a whole new world of foods by investing in a rice cooker or microwave pasta bowl. These things don’t take up much space, but they present the opportunity to try all new foods. And if you haven’t already, renting or buying a mini fridge will give you more space to store food (and keep it all safe from your roommates!).

You may have been assigned to the tiniest room on campus, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck eating at the cafeteria every day. There are still plenty of ways to cook in a dorm room that don’t require a stovetop or dishwasher.

The best first step you can take is to talk with a nutritionist so that you get started by eating what’s right for you and not just what’s microwaveable. Reaching for the quick foods often means eating stuff that’s processed and unhealthy, which will lead you down the road of bad health habits.

Then, it’s time to get creative! Buy the basic foods and do some research to learn all the different ways you can combine them to make meals for yourself. Or experiment on your own and see what you can come up with! Foods like tuna and pasta can be stretched into multiple meals if you find the right recipes.

Don’t let your worries stop you from inventing delicious foods for yourself. You’ll be much happier not waiting in the cafeteria line every night, and you’ll have fun while you’re cooking!

Cover Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/amylovesyah/6198142735

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A Letter To Dad From His Thankful Daughter

Thank you, Daddy.
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Dear Daddy,

I want to start off by saying thank you for always being there for me. You have not made me go a day without a father in my life. You have and continue to teach me how to be loved. You have always loved me with your whole heart. You are not selfish but humble and kind. You gave up your dreams so I could chase mine, thank you. Thank you for giving me the opportunities you did not have growing up. Thank you for working long hard hours so that I can have the things I have. Thank you for always making things work between you and mom. Thank you for not leaving. Thank you for being my daddy.

Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do every day. I will forever be grateful for you daddy. It is because of you that I know how to ride a bike, how to swim, how to cook collard greens and how to pump gas (lol). Thank you for always being a great father and husband to mom. I will always know how a man should treat their daughter and wife because of you. You continuously encourage me to run after my dreams even when I have lost my faith. Thank you for lifting my spirit up when I am down. You have always been a shoulder to cry on. You are my hero. You are the best father and I hope one day I can marry someone who is just like you. You have given your life away to work and support mom and me. Thank you.

Thank you for trying you hardest to not let me fall and for always picking me up when I did. You are my hero. You are the person I look up to for advice and for comfort. I hope you know that I am the person I am today because of and for you. So, Thank you. Thank you for helping me set my standards in a husband and in the future father of my children. Thank you for never leaving me lonely. Thank you for teaching me all the things a daddy should teach their daughter. Thank you for never letting me go without. Thank you for being a daddy and a good one at that.

I am not sure if I have told you this as much as I should but I am so thankful for you. I never had to grow up and not know what it was like to not have you around. Thank you. I will never have to feel alone. I will always have you to hold me and tell me you love me. You are my daddy, my hero, my supporter and my biggest fan. I love you.

So, thank you for never leaving me alone, for teaching me how to not be afraid, and for loving me. I love you, dad.

Love,

Your daughter

Cover Image Credit: Daddy cooking

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5 Things You Need To Know About Thinx Underwear

Those of you with a uterus, listen up.

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I first heard about Thinx underwear two years ago while on a subway in Washington DC. I thought the whole idea of leakproof underwear sounded a bit too much like diapers and brushed the product aside. Fast forward two years, my mom states that she is going to buy a pair to try and offered to get me one too. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, I decided to give it a try. I'm sure glad I did!

If you're not familiar with Thinx allow me to explain. It's a company that prides themselves on creating underwear specifically designed for individuals to wear during their periods. Looking at the reviews, everyone seemed to love them, and after trying them out for myself, I must say I like them quite a lot. Here are a few important things to know about Thinx underwear.

1. It doesn’t always replace your pads/tampons

Thinx may not replace tampons, but it can help cut back the amount you use.

https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/scotland-free-tampons-shutterstock.jpg?quality=90&strip=all&w=618&h=410&crop=1

I learned this the hard way that if you have a heavy flow, you can't wear Thinx on its own. If you have a light flow, you could get away with only wearing these, but for us poor souls with heavy flows, I recommend making these your new period underwear. You never have to worry about any leaks, even at night!

2. They don't stain

Behold! No bloodstains!

https://www.ubykotex.com/-/media/ubykotex/periodinfoandadvice/articles_0075.jpg

If you leak onto this underwear, fear not. Merely rinse them in the sink and then throw them in the wash like normal and boom! Clean underwear. No more ugly stained underwear to keep in the corner of your drawer.

3. There’s a bunch of cute designs/colors

There's something for everyone!

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0795/1599/t/248/assets/product__all-star-set_1_2560x.progressive.jpg?226286

One thing I must say about Thinx is that they have a wide variety of options. There are several different cuts, and almost all of them come in different colors options as well. They seem to be introducing new colors all the time, so keep an eye out for one you like.

4. They are super comfy!

These feel just like normal underwear.

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0795/1599/t/248/assets/product__cheeky-2_2560x.progressive.jpg?226286

When I got my pair, I was worried that this underwear would feel like wearing a diaper or something else uncomfortable, but that was not the case at all! This underwear when you're wearing it feels like normal underwear, and while you're washing it, it feels like a swimsuit.

5. They donate to a good cause

Everyone should have access to period products. Period.

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0795/1599/t/248/assets/menstrual-equity-slider-1.jpg?226286

For every pair of underwear that you buy, the company donates a pair to someone in need. It seems like most are sent to developing countries where women do not have access to proper menstruation hygiene products. In addition to this, Thinx was designed to help cut back the number of disposable pads entering landfills. They designed this underwear to be a more sustainable alternative for people with periods!

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