My Favorite Recipes

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Few people actually know that I was on a culinary competition team in high school and we won quite a few competitions. I was actually awarded a scholarship to go to culinary school as well. As my long time readers know, I did not follow that path, and instead, went to UF for engineering and now I’m getting my doctorate. Crazy how things change so quickly.

Here I am at the ProStart cooking competition in Orlando

Anyway, I do enjoy cooking. Not as much as I used to, unfortunately, but I still enjoy it. I wanted to share my favorite recipes that I have come across in the many years I’ve been in the kitchen. As a grad student, one of the best things you can do is just experiment in the kitchen. Many of us rely on to-go orders and spend way too much on take out. Cooking is a great way of stress relief as well as a way to save a ton of money.

I figured this would be a good post since November is the start of gluttony season lol. You can try these recipes before your family comes over for the holidays. They are definitely crowd pleasers and it gives you a wonderful opportunity to hone your culinary skills. Plus, they are cheap and you can make a ton to eat throughout the week. So let’s get started.

Brown Pie on Brown Wooden Tray

Butter Chicken

So I am going to link to each recipe so this post isn’t 12 pages long. This recipe, I found on reddit one day while looking for Indian food recipes. This is the best butter chicken that I have ever eaten. People beg me for the recipe, which I share of course, but it’s that good. If you like Indian food, and don’t care about calories, you’ll love this recipe. Put it over rice and it becomes the perfect meal. Also, the butter chicken gets better as it sits in the fridge. The next day is way better than the first.

Here is the recipe

Free stock photo of bakery, baking, butter

Alton Brown’s Biscuits

I made this recipe one day while quarantining at my girlfriend’s dad’s house. Everyone loved it so much that we made it two more times afterwards. These are my all-time favorite biscuits and they are so easy to make. This is slightly biased because Alton Brown is my hero, but the biscuits are phenomenal.

Here is the recipe

Bowl of Meat

Orange Chicken

This one required a bit more time and effort (and some courage) to make. Orange chicken is sooooooooo good. I love Panda Express’ version of it but it honestly can be hit or miss with them. This recipe is 1000000Xs better than their orange chicken. I haven’t made this in a while because I am trying to get over a bit of a fear. In March, I had a pretty bad accident with cooking oil, so I am slowly trying to get back to being comfortable with it. But, if you are courageous and don’t mind deep frying, this recipe is for you. I highly suggest doubling the sauce and adding way more garlic and ginger. Other than that, this recipe is perfect. Once again, don’t count the calories!!! lol

Here is the recipe

Key Lime Pie

As a Floridian, there are two things you must love, or at least tolerate. 1) Alligators 2) Key Lime Pie. Key lime pie is one of my favorite desserts, mostly because lime is my favorite flavor. The keys have the best pies, since that’s where it originated. Publix have an amazing key lime pie as well. If you are down here, I suggest getting one of theirs. If you are in the Keys, check out Blonde Giraffe.

Here is a really easy and simple recipe for Key Lime Pie that I found on Reddit (It’s the first comment). Alsways remember that key lime pie uses graham cracker crust, not anything else. If the place has anything but graham cracker, leave. I mean it, just leave and go make you’re own.

Here is the recipe

Let Me Know Your Recipes

Do you have an awesome recipe that you are willing to share? If so, I am sure a ton of us would absolutely be floored by it. I am always on the lookout for recipes that are easy, delicious, cheap, and plentiful. I also like to cook for friends and show off a bit. Let me know of any cool recipes in the comments.

As always, I hope you guys have an awesome day and week. Also, for those asking about pictures from yesterday’s Viking wedding, Below is a picture of my girlfriend, Madison, and I. Madison made the fur things (not sure what they are called) herself.

Healthy eating in Grad School

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Let me preface with saying that I am not a nutritionist. eating healthy in grad school has been a challenge for me but I have a few recommendations. I am a personal trainer but I can’t really give you advice on nutrition. I will however give you great advice on fitness. Check it out on my other blogs. Anyway, giving nutrition advice is out of my scope but I can tell you tips to incorporate healthy foods into your day. Also, if you have dietary issues, see a trained nutritionist or dietician, please. For those that are living off of pizza because you can’t cook, this blog is for you lol.

You are not 19 anymore and your body might be telling you that it is time to really focus on healthier options than all you can eat at Cici’s. Man do I miss going to Cici’s. Anyway, grad school can cause you to want to just eat junk food all of the time and eat it quickly. I mean, you’re sooooooo busy, right? I find myself constantly trying to talk myself out of getting to go at least 3 to 4 times a day. The best deterrent that I have found is just looking at my bank account. If you are the kind of person that really wants to start eating healthier stuff, then I think I can help. Here are a few tips on how to eat healthier when in grad school.

1. Start packing your lunches.

Tuna Salad on Transparent Lunch Pack

Packing your lunch is a great ways to mindfully prepare a nutritious and hopefully balanced meal. Going to get food at a restaurant is nice but you may not be fully getting all of the macro and micronutrients that you need. Packing a lunch is a great way to incorporate healthy foods into your life. Plus, it’s a great excuse to get a cool lunch box.

2. Shop Bogo deals

Red Sale Tag

In Florida, we have Publix. One of the greatest grocery stores to shop at and some of the most friendly employees. It’s a great place to shop. They often have buy one get one deals on healthy items that you get add to your lunches. I often just walk into a publix and shop only bogo deals. Since they change up each week, you will always have a different variety of food to choose from. This is a great way to try healthy food items and get a ton of them for cheap.

3. Get a crock pot and use it.

Cooked Food on White Ceramic Plate

One way to make healthy meals is to just throw a bunch of veggies and some meat and spices into a crock pot and let that baby cook. It is so easy to chop up a few onions, peppers, and really any other vegetable to a crockpot and let it stew. I bought a fairly large one because I like to make a ton of shredded chicken all at once. I usually go to Walmart and get the packs of like 5 pounds of chicken and let it cook for 8 hours in the crockpot. Add some vegetables and you have an amazing meal to put over rice.

4. Ask yourself “What kind of food would I feed my pet?”

Black and White Dalmatian Dog Eating Fruits

I do this all of the time. I try and feed Sirius the best quality food that I can get, so why do I have to eat terrible quality food? You want what’s best for your pet so you should take care of yourself too. That means not eating junk food, or extremely low quality food. Unfortunately, good quality food can sometimes be expensive. This is why I shop those bogo deals!

5. Incorporate fruits and veggies in every meal

Variety of Fruits and Vegetables

This is a no brainer. Fruits and vegetables are so important t and you need them to stay healthy. I incorporate a salad into my lunch each day and eat an orange or an apple. What’s good about fruit is, the more you eat them, the more you start to crave them. I find myself after about a week craving fruit more than anything sugary. Fruit is a great way to eat healthy in grad school.

6. Buy a rice maker

Photo Of Assorted Rice Grain On Wooden Spoon

Do you love rice because I sure do. Making brown rice is almost an everyday occurrence now. In undergrad, I was in the best shape of my life because I ate brown rice, protein, and veggies. I actually craved that meal during the day which was awesome. The rice maker helped out so much. Like a crockpot, you just set it and forget it. It makes the best rice in the world and I always tell my friends and family to get one if they don’t have one already. Also, rice is super cheap and a great addition to meals, especially brown rice. Check out this study basically saying that brown rice is superior (here).

7.Meal Prep

Flat Lay Photography of Three Tray of Foods

If you aren’t into the whole crockpot thing, you can always meal prep. There are literally thousands of books on how to meal prep. Here‘s a whole page on amazon about them. Meal prepping takes a bit of time but only one day a week. It’s a great way to make sure you eat healthy foods each day. I tried it for a week and thought it was great. Unfortunately I travel quite often so I was not able to stay on top of it. This is also great if you are very busy and don’t really have to time to cook. Just heat up a premade meal and you’re ready to go.

Healthy eating in grad school doesn’t have to be hard. Hopefully you are not too busy to actually sit down and have a meal. I understand that life can be hectic at times but taking a moment to sit down, have a meal, and relax is almost as important as eating healthy. I said this in my last post but I want to say it again. Why do people glorify being busy? I can see that it may give them a sense of being important but it’s just hurting you in the long run. If you are truly trying to be more mindful and have a healthy mental state, take some time to make a healthy meal and just eat it in peace. I guarantee this will help make you way more productive than staying busy ever will.