Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thanksgiving Bash 2015; Looking Back at the Week

Okay, so who didn’t attend at least one of the three Thanksgiving dinners last week? All three dinners, hosted on three straight nights and served from each of Miami University’s three buffet locations, drew in students from all across campus, resulting in an overwhelmingly positive response. All three dinners were unique, offering different specialities and exposing students to a variety of different flavors that may have been a little new and different. The different events also extended the celebration for those looking to celebrate a “Friendsgiving” with their Miami family. The Thanksgiving Bash, in it’s entirety, was a blast for students and those that served them. Let’s take a look back at the week that was.

Garden Commons

The festivities kicked off last Tuesday night at Garden Commons with a “Southern-Style” Thanksgiving dinner. As the name implies, the menu featured a variety of Thanksgiving options with roots in the south. Cola Ham, Fried Okra with Creole Aioli, Shrimp and Grits, Mashed Sweet Potato Casserole, Cajun Rice Dressing, Hoppin’ John, Peach Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream and Southern Style Sweet Potato Pie were just some of the dining selections available to students.

The classics were still present, but the dinner as a whole was meant to introduce students to something a little different. The turnout was great and there were numerous smiling faces and clean plates when it was all said and done!

Western Dining Commons

The second night of Thanksgiving took place at Western Dining Commons on Western Campus last Wednesday night. The theme was “Traditional with a Twist”.

The twist?

The menu featured the most vegan/vegetarian options of the three dinners as traditional classics were served with a vegan twist. Students had the opportunity to try Macaroni & “Cheeze” (a vegan version of Mac & Cheese), Mashed Yukon Potatoes, Gravy, Stuffing with Apple, Cranberry and Herb, Sweet Potato Casserole and Pumpkin Chili with Black Beans and Garbanzo Beans; all of which vegan.

Certainly there were non-vegan options for the meat lovers and dairy lovers alike, who stopped by to enjoy Sliced Seasoned Roasted Turkey, Chicken Breast, Carved Ginger Snap Crusted Ham, Broccoli Cheese Casserole and desserts like a Pumpkin Pecan Pie. The line formed well before the cash register opened and students continued to funnel in, greeted by another refreshing twist on Thanksgiving!

Harris Dining Center

The third and final Thanksgiving dinner took place at Harris Dining Hall last Thursday night with the most familiar of themes; “Traditional”.

The goal was to make the dinner a traditional, midwestern, Ohio Thanksgiving dinner, complete with two different kinds of cheeseballs, Hot Apple Cider, Carved Roasted Turkey, Cider Baked Ham, Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, Corn Muffins, Mini Maple Bacon Cupcakes, Warm Apple Cranberry Crisp with Hand Dipped Young’s Vanilla Ice Cream and a standard Pumpkin Roll.

Following the momentum from the previous two nights, the line was well-formed prior to the opening of the Dining Hall doors. Even once the dinner began, the excitement seemed to carry through the room as students thoroughly enjoyed the delicious traditional Thanksgiving dinner!


Three Mistakes to Avoid this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the greatest of all the food holidays.

Sure, National Cheeseburger Day is great and National Ice Cream Day has a following, but Thanksgiving’s in a class of it’s own, as the premier day of food. With turkey, ham, gravy, a variety of different casseroles and the ol’ reliable pumpkin and pecan pie, Thanksgiving dinner is a diverse, delicious social event.

It’s also a tad stressful if you’re the cook.

So, let the expert chefs at Miami Dining make your holiday a little smoother. Check out their top three avoidable Thanksgiving dinner mistakes.

1. Lack of Planning

Most Thanksgiving dishes aren’t exactly quick “throw together” things. So, it is essential to actually sit down and write out your plan for the meal. How long does the turkey take to make? Which dishes should be served hot and when does that mean they need to be started? Do you have mostly stovetop items or do you have so many items to bake, there’s no hope of fitting all of it in the oven come the big day? Consider what you want to make, how long everything will take, how you’ll go about it and map it out.

2. Overthinking

What is Thanksgiving to you? Is it turkey? Is it ham? Maybe it’s ordered in pizza with a pumpkin pie for dessert? The point is you don’t need to venture too far beyond the classics. Don’t feel the pressure to make a Turducken or try some recipe you’ll never find in a family cookbook. After all, Thanksgiving is about tradition.

3. Doing it all by Yourself

Thanksgiving is an event. Really, it’s a marathon, especially for the cook in the kitchen. If guests want to bring food with them, or if some of your guests would like to pitch in and help out, let them! It isn’t cheating to get some help from the people you obviously care enough about to invite over for the holiday. Plus, a little help will keep you sane (which is always good).

If you would like an extra hand with your Thanksgiving dinner, the chefs at Miami Dining are offering their superior service to faculty, students and the community. Check out our Autumn a la Carte order form at to purchase pumpkin pie, pecan pie, muffins, pumpkins rolls or even a special seasonal cheesecake dish, made by our very own campus bakery!

Don’t worry about doing it all by yourself. Let us help you manage the pressures of making Thanksgiving dinner by making some items for you!

Thanksgiving Bash 2015: Harris Dining Hall

This year, Miami Dining is doing things a little differently for our Thanksgiving dinner because… well… we’re doing three of them!

Starting next Tuesday (Nov. 17th) at Garden Commons, we will be serving three different Thanksgiving dinners at our three buffet locations with three different themes. We want students to have the opportunity to celebrate the holiday with their Miami Family, while also exposing students to some different flavors of the holidays. That said, the third and final dinner, held at Harris Dining Hall on Thursday, Nov. 19 will be familiar to many. Our Harris dinner will be a traditional, midwestern Thanksgiving dinner! Get ready for turkey, ham, macaroni & cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy with rolls and muffins, among other holiday classics!


Thanksgiving Bash Schedule

All three dinners will be a lot of fun and feature some delicious food! Go with your friends and enjoy the delicious food we will have there!

To get your taste buds salivating, check out the menu below for our Nov. 19 traditional Thanksgiving dinner at Harris!


  • Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip with Garlic Crostini Dippers
  • Bacon, Almond & Mango Chutney Cheeseball with Crackers
  • Cranberry Chutney Cheeseball with Crackers
  • Hummus with Tortilla Chips
  • Hot Apple Cider


  • Chicken and Corn Chowder
  • TBA: Venison Chili or Buffalo Chili


  • Carved Roast Turkey
  • Cider Baked Ham
  • Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese
  • Vegan: Lemon Rosemary Tofu & Quinoa Pilaf

Side Dishes

  • Wild Rice Pilaf with Fruit
  • Mashed Potatoes/Poultry Gravy/Vegetarian Gravy
  • Vegetarian Bread Dressing
  • Roasted Squash with Brown Butter & Sage
  • Harvest Green Bean & Mushroom Casserole
  • Whole Kernel Corn

Salad & Fruit Bar

  • Whole Cranberry Sauce

Breads, Rolls, Condiments

  • Potato Dinner Rolls
  • Multi-Grain Rolls
  • Corn Muffins
  • Vegan Pumpkin Nut Bread
  • Local Honey, Whipped Margarine, Whipped Cream Cheese


  • Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Icing
  • Mini Maple Bacon Cupcakes
  • Individual Pecan Pie Tarts with Whipped Topping Garnish
  • Vegan Carrot Pecan Cake
  • Warm Apple Cranberry Crisp/Hand Dipped Young’s Vanilla Ice Cream

Available Upon Request:

Grilled Boneless Chicken Breast/Rice and Pasta/Marinara Sauce


Thanksgiving Bash 2015: Western Dining Commons

One Thanksgiving dinner just wasn’t enough, so we went and made it three straight days of Thanksgiving dinners!

Garden Commons will kickoff the festivities on Nov. 17th with a “Southern Thanksgiving Feast”, but you already know what that will entail. The second Thanksgiving dinner, on Nov. 18th at Western Dining Commons, is what we are referring to as “Traditional with a Twist” as this dinner will feature Thanksgiving classics with the widest variety of vegan and vegetarian options!

Classics like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potato casserole and stuffing will be available as vegan options, as well as the more unique dishes like our pumpkin chili with black beans and garbanzo beans or the carrot, coconut and ginger soup.

We know. Mac & cheese without cheese? Well, it is possible and, frankly, it’s delicious. These are vegan options that will surprise people and are definitely worth the visit to Western on Wednesday, Nov. 18 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m.!

To get your taste buds salivating, check out the Nov. 18th menu below and check here later for the menu of the third and final Thanksgiving dinner!

Western Dining Commons Menu

Items with an asterisk* are vegan

Appetizers (served in coffee nook)

  • Spinach Artichoke Dip with Pita Chips and Tortilla Chips
  • Cranberry Raisin Apple, Pecan Chicken Salad Phyllo Cups

International Station

  • Sliced Seasoned Roasted Turkey
  • Carved Ginger Snap Crusted Ham
  • *Macaroni and “Cheeze”
  • *Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • *Gravy
  • *Brussel Sprouts with Garlic and Lemon
  • Broccoli Cheese Casserole
  • *Stuffing with Apple, Cranberry and Herb
  • *Sweet Potato Casserole
  • *Fresh Cranberry Relish
  • Pasta with Pumpkin, Brown Butter and Sage
  • *Carrot, Coconut and Ginger Soup
  • *Pumpkin Chili with Black Beans and Garbanzo Beans

Grill and Roast

  • Sliced Roasted Turkey
  • *Macaroni and “Cheeze”
  • *Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • *Gravy
  • Broccoli Cheese Casserole
  • *Green Beans with Orange and Almond
  • *Stuffing with Apple, Cranberry and Herb
  • *Sweet Potato Casserole
  • *Fresh Cranberry Relish
  • *Carrot, Coconut and Ginger Soup

Allergen Friendly Station

  • Carved Roast Turkey
  • *GF Macaroni and “Cheeze”
  • *Roasted Sweet Potato Halves
  • *Roasted Acorn Squash
  • *Herb Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
  • *Broccoli Spears with “Cheeze” sauce
  • Chicken breast
  • *GF Pasta
  • *Marinara Sauce
  • *Sautéed/Caramelized Fruits with *Coconut Milk Ice Cream
  • *Fresh Cranberry Sauce
  • *Kale Salad with Apples and Cranberries
  • *Quinoa Salad with Mushrooms
  • *Quinoa Chickpea Tabbouleh
  • *Tuscan Bean Salad
  • *Gingered Pears
  • *Spiced Peaches
  • *Fruit Bar

Breads and Desserts

  • Potato Rolls
  • *Multi Grain Dinner Rolls
  • Cornbread
  • *Pumpkin Bread
  • Pumpkin Roll
  • *Carrot Pecan Cake
  • Pumpkin Pecan Pie
  • Caramel Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream


Thanksgiving Bash 2015: Garden Commons

What’s better than one Thanksgiving Dinner?

Two Thanksgiving Dinners? Keep going…

How about three!?


This year, Miami University Dining Services is doing things a little differently than in years past. Traditionally, we have one Thanksgiving meal, reserved for Harris Dining Center. While many students have gravitated to the event in the past, excited for the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving with their Miami Family, we wanted to expand the Thanksgiving celebrations to the two other dining locations and expose students to some different flavors from the greatest of all food holidays. So, this year, we are throwing a full Thanksgiving Bash! Three Thanksgiving Dinners over three days with three different delicious Thanksgiving menus!

The first dinner is at Garden Commons on Nov. 17th, which will feature a “Southern Thanksgiving Feast” with a menu to fit. That still means turkey, ham (cola ham), whipped potatoes and pumpkin pie, but will also include some more unique southern dishes, like the Southern Style Sweet Potato Pie, Shrimp and Grits and a dish called “Hoppin’ John” (a peas and rice dish). Whether this dinner introduces you to something a little new or reminds you of home, we can’t wait to see you on Nov. 17th at Garden Commons!

To get your taste buds salivating, check out the Nov. 17th menu below and check here later for the menus of the other two Thanksgiving Dinners!

Garden Commons Menu

Items with an asterisk* are vegan


  • Fried Okra with Creole Aioli
  • Shrimp and Grits


  • Chicken Corn Chowder
  • *Carrot Coconut Soup

Main Meal

  • Sliced Roasted Turkey
  • Cola Ham
  • *Pecan Crusted Tofu Cutlet
  • Whipped Potatoes
  • Vegetarian Gravy
  • Vegetarian Bread Dressing
  • Cornbread Casserole
  • Mashed Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Cajun Rice Dressing
  • Hoppin’ John
  • Collard Greens
  • *Steamed Haricot Vert
  • Fresh Cranberry Salad

Breads and Desserts

  • Parkerhouse Roll with Honey Butter
  • Cornbread
  • Cinnamon Bread Pudding with Bourbon Vanilla Anglaise
  • *Cranberry Walnut Bread
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Peach Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Southern Style Sweet Potato Pie
  • Pumpkin Roll

Western Dining Commons will host Nov. 18th. Harris Dining Center will bring the Thanksgiving festivities to a close on Nov. 19th.


Locally Grown: Windy Acres

Continuing our series introducing some of the local vendors for Miami University, let us introduce you to Windy Acres!

Windy Acres was started in the early 80’s by Edward English. The name “Windy Acres” was nothing more than a nickname Ed and his wife Maxine had for their property in Wilmington, Ohio. Sporting a sixth grade education, English founded the company as a honey company initially. It eventually got into selling peanuts before ultimately becoming a manufacturer and distributor of candy, goodies and other snack foods.

Windy Acres was at our Local Vendor Day on Oct. 17.

Windy Acres was at our Local Vendor Day on Oct. 17.

Whether you remember it or not, you have probably seen the classic Windy Acres products, ranging from gummy worms to roasted pumpkin seeds and everything in-between. Windy Acres sources their products from the very best manufacturers from around the world and then package those products at their Wilmington facility, just over an hour east of Oxford.

Even though the products can cover such a wide range of customer favorites, Windy Acres maintains freshness with each and every one by keeping a low inventory.

Ed continues to work at Windy Acres with his family. Justin English, who represented the company at our Local Vendor Day a couple weeks ago, is a third generation English himself, continuing on in the family business.

“We’ve been in the area for years,” says Justin, “We know this area well.”

Windy Acres is available on campus at Market Street at MacCracken. Stop by to pick up any variety of goodies including candies, pumpkin seeds, chocolate or trail mix. Also, feel free to check out the Windy Acres website if you want more information.

You can find Windy Acres products on campus in MacCracken Market.

You can find Windy Acres products on campus in MacCracken Market.

Locally Grown: The Organic Farm at Bear Creek

Located a mere hour and a half away from Oxford, Ohio, The Organic Farm at Bear Creek is another local business that Miami University proudly sells out of Market Street at MacCracken.

Located in Washington Township within Clermont County, Ohio, the 51-acre farm is family owned and operated by Jeff and Sandra Ashba and Darrick, Libby and Dalton Massey. They specialize in a number of different certified organic products, including different salsas, soups, dressings, jams, herbal teas and herbal oils, all of which are sold at MacCracken market.

Speaking with the Ashba’s a couple weeks ago at our Local Vendor Day, it was fascinating to hear the efforts made to produce their high-quality, local and organic products. The farm is a USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) certified organic operation, their farm houses a Ohio Department of Agriculture licensed and inspected commercial cannery, their products carry the USDA seal and are certified organic by OEFFA (Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association). Certainly each of those steps and processes result in a natural product that any consumer can trust, but there’s even more to their story.

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At Local Vendor Day, the Ashba’s handed out free samples of their organic salsa and many students, who took them up on the offer, were very complimentary, asking for more information (count me as one of them).

Their secret?

“We’re actually genuine farmers,” says Sandra with a smile, “We grow and raise all the vegetables and all the herbs used in everything.”

The Organic Farm at Bear Creek has three fields and a greenhouse that they utilize to grow and raise their different vegetables and herbs. Each and every product produced by the farm is produced on the farm from start to finish. They grow the vegetables, herbs and other ingredients, make the products and then use their licensed and inspected cannery to can the products themselves. The first time any ingredient, much less the entire product, leaves the premise of the farm is when it is shipped out to locations like MacCracken market.

Not to mention, their products are consistently flavorful and distinct from others because they use family heirloom seeds. They don’t order or purchase other seeds to plant as the base of their products. Instead, they use seeds that go back three generations, dating back to the beginning of the farm. These seeds, unique to The Organic Farm, are planted and then raised. This ensures a quality and flavor that is consistently delicious and is, quite literally, a family secret.

So, when you are in Market Street at MacCracken, try The Organic Farm at Bear Creek! MacCracken sells their salsas, soups, dressings, jams and even offers herbal tea and dipping oils. Each and every one of their products is certified organic and is specific and unique to the farm, made from the same seeds passed down over three generations!

A variety of products are available at MacCracken market from The Organic Farm at Bear Creek.

A variety of products are available at MacCracken market from The Organic Farm at Bear Creek.

Locally Grown: Grandola Granola

How do most companies get their start?

Maybe it’s a genius idea. A spur of the moment, hits you in the head, idea that you just know will work. Maybe it’s a problem that you know needs solved, so you problem-solve your way back to the core of the issue and then come up with a solution which then becomes a company. Maybe it’s just something you’re good at?

The point is, that there are a variety of “inspirations” out there for companies. For one of our vendors at Local Vendor Day, that inspiration was simply the relationship between Jamie Coates-Donohue and her daughter, Ella.

Grandola Granola is out of Cincinnati, offering customers with a vegan granola option.

Grandola Granola is out of Cincinnati, offering customers with a vegan granola option.

Grandola Granola, a company based out of the Cincinnati area, began as nothing more than an attempt by Coates-Donohue to offer her daughter the highest quality, organic snack she could offer. So, she began making granola by hand, using seeds instead of nuts, local maple syrup and other organic, fresh ingredients. As Ella fell in love with the vegetarian snack, so Coates-Donohue continued to fix the granola at home and began to experiment with different flavors and varieties.

According to the Grandola Granola website, Ella’s second birthday was when Coates-Donohue’s granola concoction really began to take on a life of it’s own. After handing out party-favor bags with the granola enclosed, people tried it and soon began to ask her more and more for their own batches. Selling the snack was the next logical step.

In 2014, Grandola Granola came to be, with the base flavor called “Ella’s Favorite”. Now, there are multiple varieties available with many of them available at our MacCracken market. Their products are vegan, nut-free and there are varieties available that are made for those avoiding gluten in their diet. It’s a sweet, addicting flavor that almost demands to be eaten just by itself, although you can certainly add it to yogurts, etc.

So, if you are looking for a refreshing, sweet twist on granola, head over to MacCracken, grab some Grandola Granola and give it a try! Grandola Granola has their own website, for more information, and has a presence on Twitter.

Grandola Granola, out of Cincinnati, attended the Oct. 17 Local Vendor Day outside MacCracken.

Grandola Granola, out of Cincinnati, attended the Oct. 17 Local Vendor Day outside MacCracken.

Locally Grown: Just Mike’s Jerky Company

Mike Fullard got his start in the meat industry at the age of 12, working for his father in their start-up raw meat business out of their garage. Now, over 30 years later, Fullard is the founder, plant manager and chief product developer of Just Mike’s Jerky Company, which is available to purchase at Miami University’s Market Street at MacCracken.

The company is based out of Medina, Ohio, located up in the Akron, Cleveland area and was only founded six years ago in 2010. Fullard has worked in the meat industry for over 30 years, learning and working the many different aspects of the business, beginning back when he was growing up, helping the family business grow. In 2006, Fullard pursued a career in the the cooked meat business, taking a Plant Manager job for a jerky manufacturer. Fullard began Mike’s Jerky Company in Lodi, Ohio in 2010, specializing in a variety of different blends of beef jerky and different flavored beef sticks, before moving to their current address in 2014 where Fullard and his wife, Christine, head the company.

You can find a variety of flavors at MacCracken Market.

You can find a variety of flavors at MacCracken Market.

Maintaining a high standard and consistency in flavor are essential parts of Just Mike’s Jerky Company. All of their products are high grade, U.S.D.A. inspected choice cuts of very flavorful Black Angus Beef and all the spices are made on-site using high-quality ingredients. There are only two cooks who work on all the products and Fullard’s father-in-law and Chief Mixologist, Tom Bowman, custom blends all of the spices used in the products, to ensure consistency.

Just Mike’s Jerky attended Local Vendor Day a couple weeks ago, handing out free samples at the event with many students thoroughly impressed by the flavor packed into the different jerky blends. Between the quality of the jerky and the nice blend of spices and flavors, their products are truly delicious.

If you have yet to try Just Mike’s Jerky, stop by Market Street at MacCracken and try some! MacCracken Market sells a range of their blends, including a traditional beef jerky flavor, different levels of “hot” beef jerky and even some other blends. The beef sticks sold at MacCracken offer even more variety!

Just Mike’s Jerky Company has a website and is active on Facebook, if you would like more information.

Just Mike's Jerky Company attended the Oct. 17 Local Vendor Day.

Just Mike’s Jerky Company attended the Oct. 17 Local Vendor Day.