Friday, October 28, 2011

Who needs Ramen?

A little over two months into my college experience, I find myself hungrier than ever. Not only for food, but also for knowledge and athletic success. Now that's good and all, but I'm sure you're much more interested in the food than hearing about my classes or how hard practice was this week.

I'm going to share some of my dorm room staples that I make sure to cook when I go home so that I can stash them in my freezer at school. First, we have my favorite choice for a quick and hearty breakfast before those early morning classes: omelet muffins. These are very simple to make and they freeze and reheat well.

Omelet Muffins-

12 eggs, beaten
¼ cup flour (I use GF Bisquick because it has baking soda)
Your favorite omelet toppings (my top picks are cheese, sausage cut into small pieces, and green bell peppers)

Preheat oven to 375. Mix eggs and flour. Next add toppings and gently stir them in. Lightly grease a muffin pan and add an even amount of the egg mixture to each section. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Once fully cooked, let cool on a wire rack.

Omelet Muffins

I usually individually wrap these and then put them in a freezer bag. This makes it easy to pull them out and heat them up. I have one for breakfast pretty much every day with a Bolthouse Farms fruit smoothie and an Envirokidz cereal bar before class. They're a fast and easy way to get your protein in the morning.

Another favorite of mine are jalapeño popper muffins. This recipe was adapted from Silvana Nardone's Jalapeño Popper Waffles

Jalapeño Popper Muffins-            

¾ cups Gluten-Free Bisquick
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg, beaten
¾ cup milk
2 ounces softened cream cheese, cut into pieces
3 tablespoons of diced jarred jalapeno peppers

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 24 mini-muffin pan. Mix all ingredients until combined. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until muffins are golden and puff up.

Jalapeño Popper Muffins

Lastly, we have Pizza Puffs. College and pizza go hand in hand and being gluten free, you can miss out on a lot. That's why I like these. They are fantastic when you're craving pizza during a late night study session, or when your friends order pizza and you don't want to feel left out. I have them in my freezer along with a freezer bag of pizza sauce to dip them in. I used Hormel Natural pepperoni for these because I am sensitive to BHT, which is a preservative found in most pepperoni. You can get creative with these and use whatever toppings you like on your pizza in them. 

Pizza Puffs

Being paranoid about eating in the dining hall and keeping my freezer full of good food is vital to my college success. This goes back to my motto, "when in doubt, go without." Taking risks with your health because it may be more convenient at the time just isn't worth it. Sometimes you just have to get creative, which brings me to the topic of a future post, dorm room cooking with a hot pot. I need to do some experimenting on that first though. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ready. Set. Go!

Over a month ago, I packed my belongings, said my goodbyes, and set out to begin a new chapter in my life: college. This, of course, wasn't without some hesitations and worries. Mainly, I was worried about what I would eat. I can deal with not knowing anyone and new things, but food is the one thing that I don't like to question.

Living in a dorm and being gluten free is obviously a challenge. It's not easy to only have access to a mini fridge and a microwave. Especially after cooking at least twice a day and being spoiled with fine ingredients. The dining hall staff is very helpful and willing to make things special for me, but it's always hard to track someone down and it takes a lot of extra time, which I usually don't have. Also, when asking about things I get a lot of "this should be fine" or "I don't think there's gluten in this," which makes me feel uncomfortable eating things. I don't like to question whether something is safe for me to eat. When I ask, I want the person to be 100% sure it's safe.

Because of this, I found myself eating plain hamburger patties for the first three weeks and, if I was lucky, there would be plain rice and steamed vegetables available. There were, of course, some days where I would get lucky and there would be a stir fry that I could have without the sauce, or baked potato that was safe. And if I was too desperate, I could ask the staff to make a gluten free pizza for me, but I try not to do that too often because my stomach can't handle a lot of starches and carbs. With all of this though, cross contamination is something that I always worry about. The staff do their best, but the lack of knowledge makes me question how safe my meals really are.

Last weekend I went home for the first time in three weeks and whats the first thing I did when I got home? Eat! I weighed myself when I got home and again before I left, and I gained five pounds in food alone. Quite an accomplishment if I do say so myself! The Sunday before I headed back to school, I cooked all day making things to put in my freezer. The menu consisted of white rice, grilled chicken, sautéed asparagus, black beans, sweet and sour sauce to put on the chicken, ravioli with sauce, a t-bone steak the size of my face, bacon wrapped filet mignons, and chocolate chip cookies. I also stocked up my fridge with corn tortillas for microwave quesadillas, shredded cheese (I put this on rice bowls, quesadillas, etc...), fruit cups, microwaveable sausages, and kefir. Along with my other snacks, all of this has kept me full and feeling good.

After contacting the dining manager several times, he asked me to be a part of the dining advisory committee that is new this year. It consists of students from all different perspectives such as athletes, vegetarians, and residence hall leaders, and also the dining manager and the chef. I am looking forward to this opportunity and hope to make some changes to make gluten free dining easier for myself and other students with similar dietary needs. College is stressful enough without having to constantly worry about your next meal making you sick. Especially because I'm an athlete. One meal with traces of gluten could leave me weak and cause my joints to swell for weeks. This could easily cause injuries or prevent progress and cause me to get behind in training, which is something I can't afford to do.
My freezer is once again fully stocked after my mom brought more food.
Its contents include: ravioli with sauce, rice, chicken, steak, asparagus,
chicken fried rice, risotto with broccoli and chicken,
mini pizza and breakfast muffins, french toast, black beans, and

Until then, I will continue to keep my fridge and freezer well stocked (luckily my roommate is awesome and doesn't care that I hog the entire freezer), and make occasional runs into Chipotle for a burrito bowl. My next post will hopefully be about changes in the dining hall, but we'll see how that goes. That's all for now, check back often for updates!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Growing up, I was always the scrawny little girl who was underestimated in almost every aspect. Being athletic and competitive, I always wanted to show people that I could do anything they could do. I wanted to be better, faster, and stronger. My competitive nature fueled me to work harder to be the best that I could be, and I proved many people who doubted me wrong. However, there was always one thing that kept slowing me down, my health. I've always struggled with a weak immune system, allergies, digestive issues, and general fatigue. When I was eleven, my brother was diagnosed with celiac disease and was put on a gluten free diet. Because celiac is genetic, by the next year the rest of my family started to go gluten free as well. I denied it, and "cheated" on my diet for about two years until I went completely gluten free at age fourteen. It certainly made a difference on my health just going off of gluten, but it has taken me four years of experimenting to fine tune my diet to where I feel relatively symptom free. I am now almost completely dairy free and also avoid eating a lot of grains, and am the healthiest and strongest that I have ever been. 

I am now college bound, and about to experiment with living in a dorm while being gluten free. This blog will follow my adventures as a gluten free athlete in college, and will hopefully serve as a resource to others in similar situations. Check back often for updates!