5 essential cooking apps for college students

Finding time to cook real, tasty food in college can be really difficult. Between heavy course loads and extracurricular activities it is often tempting to resort to fast food which can be unhealthy and expensive. Fortunately, there are tons of apps that help students embrace their inner chefs. Here is the best of the best.

  1. BigOven – This app has a recipe for literally anything you could be hungry for, with over 350,000 recipes. It also includes a menu planner, grocery list, and a place to save your favorite tried recipes. The recipes are divided by season, holiday, course, diet etc. making it super easy to find exactly what you are looking for. As an added bonus, this one is completely free.
    from bigoven.com

    2. Allrecipes Dinner Spinner – One cool thing about this app is that it lets you know which ingredients are on sale in stores near you. It also makes it even easier to learn new recipes, because there is over 1000 step-by-step videos. You can search for specific recipes, but you can also utilize the “Dinner Spinner” when you are looking for something more out there. You give your phone a shake and it chooses a dish type, an ingredient and a cooking time, then gives you matching recipes. This app is also free.



Graphic by Erik Zitzermann

3.  Epicurious – Epicurious is well-known as one of the best cooking resources out there and their app is no different. The app generates grocery lists ans has a seasonal section to help with healthier and more local cooking. Epicurious pulls recipes from a lot of different websites so there are over 100,000 recipes. Plus every recipe is rated by other users on a four fork and “would cook again” scale, so you know when you’ve found a good one.

Photo from iTunes App Store

4. Yummly – Yummly has tons of search filters so you do not waste any time weeding out ones that do not fit your needs. This app is a great curator, it pulls recipes from Allrecipes, Epicurious, Food52 and popular food blogs. It also has an ingredient scanner, so if you find a cool new ingredient on sale, but do not know what to cook with it, you can scan the item and it will suggest recipes.


5. Kitchen Stories – This app adds new recipes every week and each episode comes with HQ pictures, how-to videos, step-by-step instructions, downloadable grocery lists and even a list of wine pairings for the 21+ crowd. As always, the app is free!  Kitchen-Stories-App-658x370-f40d900bd417ad86

Thanksgiving, done the college way

Not able to go home for Thanksgiving, low on cash, or simply wanting to host a quick “friends-giving” before trekking home for the week? No worries, because a delicious, easy and cheap Thanksgiving dinner is well within reach. Between personal experience and the wealth of crafty cooking that is Pinterest, here is a quick guide to a successful college thanksgiving.

  • The potatoes – Arguably the tastiest part of Thanksgiving dinner, mashed potatoes are also going to be the easiest for a college student. Potatoes are extremely cheap and likely something already in the pantry. In addition, mashed potatoes are a very wing-able recipe, as in one is not really needed. For the perfect mashed potatoes c3873468062_5bd39e7b92_ohop the desired amount of potatoes into small cubes (the number will vary depending on how many people need to be served), boil them until they can be pierced with a fork. drain the potatoes, and add them back to the pot. Once they are back in the pot mash them with whatever you have on hand, often a large ladle will do. While mashing add in a few splashes of milk, a tablespoon or two of butter, and a dollop of sour cream for extra creaminess. Mash till their smooth or leave a few chunks in, again, the recipe is completely adaptable to personal tastes.
  • The turkey – Depending on the group and budget, a full sized turkey is probably unmanageable and unrealistic. Instead, try a thick cut turkey sandwich. For a fancier feel, get it cut fresh from the deli, or get something like Oscar Meyer Carving Board turkey. It will give the feel of sliced-from-the-bird meat without the hours of cooking. Buy a nice crusty bread and layer it up with all the fixings.
  • Rolls –  Nobody has time to make homemade rolls. Take a break and pop your preferred store bought brand into the oven.
  •  Gravy – Again, this will be better done store bought, because without a turkey being cooked in the oven, there will not be any drippings for the base. Luckily, gravy can be bought for about $2.50 a jar and local grocery stores.
  • Cranberry Sauce – Let’s be real, canned cranberry sauce is a classic and the way it jiggles on the plate is tons of fun, but if you are feeling adventurous this recipe promises to be quick and easy.
  • Pumpkin pie – The crowning glory of Thanksgiving dinner and also a deceptively easy recipe to make. For a twist on this time honored dessert try making individual pumpkin pies. To make 12 you will need 1 prepared pie crust, 2 eggs, 4 ounces of cream cheese (half a package), 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 can of pumpkin filling, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out10934602786_09a2e29546_o the pie crust and cut into mini circles that will fit into cupcake tins. Separate the white from one of the eggs, whisk it and then brush over the pie crusts. Put the yolk from the first egg in a bowl and beat with the remaining egg. Mix softened cream cheese, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla extract and the pumpkin pie spice into the eggs and keep mixing until the mixture is smooth. Spoon the filling into the little pies and bake until golden brown and the filling is firm. Finish with a little whip cream or ice cream and voila, little bitty cups of pumpkin goodness.

Feel free to round out the meal with a big green salad, and extra veggie sides, but these basics will get you a delectable dinner and the praise of all of your guests.

Get off of Court Street and explore Historic Nelsonville

Hayley Dashiell | Court Street Stories

Oho University students can get stuck in the bubble of campus life, house parties and the bar scene. It is easy to forget about the wealth of interesting activities in the surrounding areas. Nelsonville, OH is only a 20 minute drive from uptown Athens and offers a different view of southeastern Ohio. Take a look at four of the cutest, quaintest and most historic things to do in Nelsonville and Hocking Hills.

  1. Hocking Valley Scenic Railway – Hocking Valley Scenic Railway offers regularly scheduled train rides through the Hocking River valley, in between Nelsonville and Logan OH. While the HVSR began as an attraction in 1972, they have diesels dating back to the 1950s and coaches dating back to 1917! The railway even offers specially themed Christmas and Easter rides. Imagine riding through the snow-covered valley on a Santa themed train. What is more picturesque than that? The answer is nothing.

    Families enjoy a ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway
  2. Stuart’s Opera House – Located in Nelsonville’s historic Public Square, Stuart’s Opera House was built in 1879, and is still in use. According to their website the opera house “…is dedicated to its role as a regional leader in the arts community, a center for public expression, and an economic development partner for Southeastern Ohio.” They have concerts and shows on the daily, so buy some tickets, enjoy some music and take some pictures for Instagram because people love super old opera houses.
  3. Rocky Outdoor Gear – Rocky Outdoor Gear is a major outdoor footwear manufacturer and distributor. That might not sound very historic, but the company and retail store are based in the original factory building that was built in in 1932! Super old and historic! Stop by and buy a pair of locally sourced and manufactured hiking boots from one of the oldest shoe companies in Ohio. Learn more about their history here.
  4. Nelsonville Historic Public Square – The Square was once the main hub of activity in Nelsonville. Now it has been re-envisioned as Nelsonville’s artsy shopping district. Check out the Nelsonville Emporium to buy paintings, pottery and other products made by local artisans. Supporting local artisans is really hip these days, so get on it! Plus the Square is only a short walk from Rocky Outdoor Gear, Stuart’s Opera House, and the Railway stop.
    Nelsonville Historic Public Square



5 throwback traditions at Ohio University

OU students pride themselves in having raucous, memorable traditions, and it is probably because they learned from the best. Alumni came out in droves to share their favorite campus traditions.

  1. The Bagel Buggy – Now days there is Big Mamma’s, but in the 1970s and 1980s the Bagel Buggy was the go to food cart for students who were hungry and probably slightly intoxicated. The strawberry jelly and cream cheese bagel was a fan favorite.
  2. Green Fests – Back before there was Mill, High, and Palmer fest, there were the Green Fests. Each green had it’s own giant fest, leading up to the ultimate Springfest, which was held on the soccer fields by South Green . Prior to 1987 the drinking age in Ohio was 18, so students would fund raise all year and hold the fests on campus. Alum Lena Niro, who graduated in 1986, said that one year East Green’s fest went through 304 kegs of beer!
  3. The Graffiti Wall – This is one tradition that has not changed much. According to several alumni leaving your mark on the graffiti wall at the top of Richland Avenue has been the big thing to do for over 40 years.

    An aerial view of Court Street from the 1970s.s.
  4. Broomball – This one is a bit of a surprise but apparently in the early to mid 1980s intramural broomball took campus by storm. Students would play at midnight in Byrd Arena.
  5. Court Street Shuffle – Finally, a large majority of the alumni said their favorite tradition was the Court Street shuffle. The drinking age has gone up, and some of the bars have come and gone, but Ohio University students will always love a drunken bar crawl down the best street in the world.

Check out the alumni Facebook group to see other favorite traditions!

Holy Guacamole owners crash in West Virginia

Local food truck phenom Holy Guacamole was temporarily put out of commission when the Nagy family, who own and run the truck, were in a car accident in West Virginia on Oct. 14, 2015. The family reported the accident on Holy Guacamole’s Facebook page and stated that “…Everyone is banged up and recovering. [The] Van totaled…” following with a message of uncertainty with regards to their reopening.

Rudy Nagy, owner of Holy Guacamole, with his two sons. Image taken from Holy Guacamole’s Facebook page.

Fortunately for the Nagy family and the taco fans of southeastern Ohio, just one day later on Oct. 15, Holy Guacamole reopened at Little Fish Brewery at 8675 Armitage Rd. in Athens. The truck was at the brewery from 5 to 8 p.m.

This family accident comes on the tails of another fender-bender. Earlier this month, on Oct. 3, the taco trailer crashed into the truck while the proprietors were driving down U.S. Route 33 on their way to the Fiber Faire at the Athens Community Center.

The food truck serves traditional Guatemalan tacos and tamales, among other dishes. The Facebook page is filled not only with requests for new locations, but also messages of support and love in the wake of the accident. The community feels very connected to the family business with most fans calling Nagy by his first name, Rudy.

In response to concerns the family issued this response on Oct. 15, “Wow! Thanks everyone! We are touched by your kindness! We made it back yesterday. Rudy immediately started working, because that’s what Rudy does! Work! Work! Work! Nothing slows him down! He’s open today, even though his body is really hurting.”

For more information about Holy Guacamole check out this short feature from the Athens Messenger.


Q&A with yOUr homecoming king

This past weekend, Ohio University students participated in the time-honored tradition of electing a homecoming king and queen for the university’s 2015 Homecoming. Conor Emser, a senior who studies communications, is president of the Singing Men of Ohio and is a seasoned OHIO tour guide, came out on top. As OU’s new king, he gave some insight on the experience.

What was the process of getting nominated for homecoming court?
It starts with anonymous nominations from either students, faculty or alumni — I received three nominations, but one was a complete joke I thought. Then I was prompted to fill out a homecoming court application, and from there I was selected for an interview with the Campus Involvement Center and Cidnye Weimer.

What did it feel like the moment you were crowned?
Well, they pronounced my name wrong and the crown didn’t fit my head, then Dr. Jenny Hall-Jones just apologized and laughed at me, so it was a very humbling experience.

How did you celebrate your win?
After we were crowned, we were invited to go up to the President’s Box — which I found out is actually just a classroom in the press box, but there we met a lot of alumni and trustees. We were invited to eat with Dr. Hall-Jones and her husband and it was all very surreal.

According to your twitter account, you were also homecoming king in high school. Do you feel better prepared to rule because you have previous experience?
I honestly told myself, like, oh boy here we go again when I was selected for court. Being crowned homecoming king in high school was actually a super odd experience for me — I was totally awkward through all the excess attention. It’s a huge honor to be selected as a member of the court — ‘winning’ means putting on a faux-fur crown. So this time around I was definitely more prepared to be crowned and embrace the weird nature of people calling me royalty.

Are you worried that being university-level royalty is going to change you?
Well, I most recently #TransformationTuesday’d on a Sunday because well, #king, so I’m already afraid it’s leading me to abuse my power.

Do you get to veto the Board of Trustees and President McDavis? What kind of changes will you make?
Nah, more than anything this experience made me realize how personable of a couple Mr. & Mrs. McDavis are — they do a lot for this university and it was incredible to experience their dedication to connecting with alumni and donors. But like, if they can find it in the budget to hook up everyone with those silver OHIO lapel pins, that’d be pretty dope.

Finally, is it really great to be king?
I mean, it’s pretty neat.