Monthly Archives: December 2016

Holiday Recipes

Cooking over the holidays is stressful enough. Finding the perfect recipe shouldn’t have to be. We have compiled a few easy recipes to share with you this season. Enjoy these for any occasion!

Roasted Applesauce

For a richer twist on a classic snack or side, try this recipe. Bake apples with butter in a covered pan in the oven for 15-30 minutes or until they soften. Bake uncovered for 10 minutes after turning up the heat. Then, stir up the softened apples and season with salt and sugar. This no-fuss recipe will help save time when there are other things to stress about this holiday season.

Fried Chickpeas with Sage

This delicious snack might just replace holiday cookies! Dry out chickpeas and toss in a mixture of flour, salt and paprika in a large bowl. Fry the chickpeas in a ½ olive oil, ½ canola oil mixture. Once they have stopped popping and have turned golden brown, remove the chickpeas with the skimmer. Next, toss the sage in flour and fry it, once again removing the product with a skimmer. Toss the chickpeas and sage together and they are ready to serve.

Tangy Spiced Brisket

Once these ingredients are in the slow cooker, you can leave to go gift shopping and come back to a delicious, hearty winter meal. First, caramelize onions and sauté halved garlic. Mix in paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, cayenne, oregano and thyme. Stir together beef stock, ketchup, chili sauce and brown sugar in a large bowl. Once the brisket is in the slow cooker, spread onion and garlic mixture over it and pour the sauce on top. Cook on low for about 10 hours. Once the brisket has cooked, chill it for a few hours. Then, heat it in the oven for about 30 minutes.

Apple Cake

This apple cake is the multi-tool of holiday recipes. It can be eaten for breakfast or dessert and it can be frozen and saved for later. First, beat oil and sugar together and add in eggs. Then, sift together flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda and stir into the sugar mixture. Add in vanilla, apples, walnuts and raisins until combined. Bake for one hour and 15 minutes.

Snowman Cupcakes

Start with cupcakes of any flavor. Don’t worry, we won’t tell if you use a boxed mix. Spread white icing on top and dust with decorating sugar or shredded coconut. Once sufficiently coated, use chocolate and butterscotch chips to make the eyes, mouth and nose!

Sausage Rolls with Caramelized Red Onions

Serve these sausage rolls at your holiday get-together and you’ll have people coming back for more next year. Cheat a little and use store-bought pastry puff to cut down on stress this holiday season. First, caramelize onions in olive oil, adding cranberry sauce and balsamic vinegar as you go. Then, mix together the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and fry. Roll out the pastry to a rectangle and roll the filling into a long cylinder in the middle, adding the caramelized onions on top. Brush the pastry with an egg wash and seal. Portion out the roll and chill it for about 20 minutes. Then, bake the roll for 15-20 minutes.

Slow Cooker Gingerbread Lattes

No gumdrop buttons here, just delicious, caffeinated beverages! Pour all the ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for about 3 hours. Turn it up to warm for another 2 hours and stir again before serving. For a special twist, dip the rims of cups in caramel sauce and graham cracker crumbs. Top with whipped cream and caramel syrup and enjoy!

Eggnog French Toast

Combine a classic drink with a classic breakfast food for a winning combination! Whisk together eggnog, eggs, nutmeg and rum extract. Pour the mixture into a shallow dish. Dip slices of bread into the mixture, making sure to coat both sides. Toss them on a griddle and cook until golden brown. Top with whipped cream for an extra-sweet treat.

Cranberry and Feta Pinwheels

Tide guests over before the main event with these scrumptious snacks. Combine cream cheese, feta cheese, dried cranberries and green onion. Spread the mixture on tortillas. Roll them up and refrigerate for about an hour. Slice up the wraps to make a festive hors d’oeuvre.

Rosemary Garlic Crusted Roast Beef

This dish will make you look like a professional cook, even though you just use your slow cooker. Rub roast beef with olive oil. Chop up some rosemary and combine with garlic, salt and pepper. Create a crust on the roast beef using this rub. Sear roast on each side in a skillet. Use balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan and toss everything in a slow cooker. Cook for 8-9 hours.

Staff Spotlight: Sally Shepherd

People have different ways of unwinding and relaxing outside of work. For Sally Shepherd, one outlet is being outdoors, whether through gardening or just being out in nature. Another is the various renovation projects she finds around the house, much to the dismay of her husband.

“I love to restore houses and furniture. I like to make things,” said Shepherd with a smile. “My husband gets angry with me sometimes because we live in a house built in 1849 and it is constant work, so I’ll start trying to see what’s under something and it ends up being a major project. What should have been something little turns into a big project because I started trying to find the history in things.”  

For Shepherd, casual hobbies like gardening or restoration serve as a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle that accompany her day job as an executive manager for Miami University’s dining services, overseeing the daily operations at Harris Dining Center, Western Dining Commons and Maplestreet Station.

“It takes your mind away from the daily routine,” said Shepherd. “I find myself thinking about things that happened at work, or wherever, and I can sometimes come up with solutions too. You can have that ‘aha’ moment. It’s relaxing for me.”

While birds and soil may seem like a far cry from the world of stainless steel, Shepherd believes she is drawn to both for a similar reason. She enjoys being an active participant in the growth of someone or something.

“It’s a sense of satisfaction,” said Shepherd. “Seeing things grow from a piece of bare ground and then all of a sudden to have something popping out of it is really satisfying. It’s like people. You know a student who comes in as a freshman and then you see them leaving as an adult. It is very rewarding.”  

People are a large part of her job. For Shepherd, it’s a priority and something she loves. She leads and manages her staff with the individual in mind. Anyone who has ever met her can attest to being greeted with a big smile.

“I enjoy the interaction with the customers and staff,” said Shepherd. “Food service people are special people. You have to have it in your blood. It’s different everyday and there’s never a mundane moment. I try to make everybody feel welcome.”

Shepherd didn’t always think she would spend most of her career in food service. She started in the industry at the age of 15 as a concession worker at a movie theater. It was only serving popcorn and soda pop, but it was the beginning of discovering her career path.

“It was the customer service thing that started then,” said Shepherd. “I did spend some time working for Ohio Casualty as an underwriter trainee, but it was then I decided a desk job wasn’t for me. I wanted the customer interaction and more activity in my day.”

Shepherd graduated from Miami, but took the long way back to the area. She and her husband, who is also in the food industry, moved to Cleveland, New Orleans, back to Cleveland and upstate New York before returning to Oxford.

Shepherd has worked at Miami since 2000, taking on various managerial roles in dining locations including Martin Dining Hall, Harris Dining Center, Erickson Dining Hall, Hamilton Dining Hall, King Cafe and Armstrong Student Center before being promoted to executive manager. Shepherd still moves around campus frequently, but now does so as a part of her daily rounds to her three dining locations.

“I talk with managers. I talk with the staff and see how things are going,” said Shepherd. “I just like to let them know that I care. The biggest thing with me is these people. I want to make sure they are supported. There are so many things that affect people. I try not to get involved with personal lives, but if they want to share, I’ll listen.”

Shepherd enjoys the challenges and the high-level of energy that accompany her job, but she also takes a lesson from one of her hobbies. Like with gardening, Shepherd strives to create the optimal environment for growth. For her staff, that comes through the relationships she builds, recognizing the role they play in the operation as a whole.

“I approach every one of them everyday to ask how they’re doing. I try to let them know that I am concerned not only about their work here, but for them as individuals,” said Shepherd. “We can’t do what we do without them, and I want them to know that I care.”


The Hard Questions

Favorite dish to prepare? To eat?

PrepareI love making chili. I do have good chili, I think.

EatMiami’s cavatini. Ask Helen Johnson about that. We would have cavatini at Hamilton Dining Hall. When we did, Dave Davis, Helen Johnson, myself, and a couple other managers who worked there would always have lunch together. Every time we had cavatini, Helen would tease me about how much I mounded up my plate with cavatini.

What kitchen appliance are you?

An oven because I keep things warm, and I make things happen.

What is the most important thing you have learned in the last five years?

The importance of being open to change, both at work and in my personal life.

What would you want to be famous for?

For making an operation, especially from the staff’s perspective, a place where everybody wants to work and wants to come to. I would be very happy to be famous for that.

If you were stuck on an island, what three things would you bring with you?

I’ve thought about this before. I would bring some type of utensil, or a pan type thing to hold water. I would also bring fishing line and a multi-tool.

If you were an animal, which would you be?

I would be a dog. I would be a faithful companion.  

What’s your favorite TV show?

Right now it has to be “The Walking Dead.”

Cat or dog? I’m a dog person.

Cake or pie? I’m more of a cake person.

What Your Favorite Holiday Cookie Says About You

Your favorite holiday cookie can tell a lot about your personality. Here are what a few of the classics say about you. Do any of these sound like you?

Snickerdoodle

You are a traditionalist. Consistency is key in your life; without your routines, you tend to falter. Your quiet humility is something people look up to you for. Family is everything to you. There is a lot of love in your life.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Some might say you’re a real crowd pleaser. You know how to work the room while still being genuine. Working behind the scenes, you secretly run the show. Dressing up is one of your favorite hobbies. Your social media is filled with adventures of every kind, including that amazing taco place you stumbled upon in the city last week.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

All of your friends have abs from laughing so much at all your jokes. People are drawn to your warm and welcoming personality. You often find people you barely know confiding in you and asking for advice because you give off an air of wisdom. Spontaneity comes easily to you, but you aren’t quite as wild as a gingersnap.

Cut-Out Cookies

Winter is probably your favorite season because of all the holiday parties and family gatherings. You love to be surrounded by ALL of your favorite people. Your one-of-a kind personality and style are what draw so many people to you. They stay because you always know how to have fun. You’re a staple on any guest list.

Linzer Cookie

You are effortlessly cool. People envy your chic and sophisticated style. Because of your beautiful exterior, people can be intimidated by you. When they get to know you, however, they begin to realize there is so much more than what is on the surface. Your personality has an infinite number of layers, each one better than the last.

Gingersnap

You’re the wild card of the group. Everyone comes to you for a pick-me-up when they need a change of pace. Your passport is filled with stamps from countries most people have never heard of. Crowds throng to you at parties as you tell tales of your latest adventure. You’re bold, brave, and wildly successful.

Chocolate Chip

You are ambitious and a leader, but never put anyone else down. You have a classic style that has worked for you for years. You’ve pretty much perfected your personal style and are comfortable just being you. Friends know they can rely on you to be there for them through thick and thin. Goals you set are reached whether they take two minutes or two years. Your perfectionism is your greatest strength and it will get you far.

Pillsbury Slice and Bake

You’re probably always late because you may or may not have forgotten about the meeting. No one faults you, though, because you’re a crowd favorite. Everyone likes you even if they don’t necessarily know why. You’re young at heart and you don’t sweat the small stuff.

Peppermint Bark

You’re a risk taker. Everyone admires your bold personality. You are CEO-potential. You have a modern style with small town values. You pack a punch but would never raise your fists. No one messes with you, but your kindness is well-noted by everyone you meet.

Taco Tuesday: A Review

Anyone that has been to a traditional concession stand is most likely familiar with the concept of a walking taco. For those who aren’t familiar, a walking taco is typically served as a bag of chips with the fixings of a taco layered on top. To unlock the full potential of any walking taco, the toppings and chips must be mixed up in the bag and eaten straight from its packaging.

Garden Market and Garden Commons celebrate Taco Tuesday once a month with this throwback favorite. After hearing rumors around campus that these items were a hot commodity, I decided to book it to Garden Market for my own taste of nostalgia. After all, the walking taco was a staple out of the concession stand at the public pool I used to frequent in the summers.

I ordered a walking taco with everything on it and got a pleasant surprise in return. Upon receiving my walking taco, I realized that instead of the standard Fritos I was used to as the chip base for this concoction, this was a new type of chip. I was curious to see how it would stack up.

The Frito Lay’s Top N Go bags used for Miami’s version of the walking taco are the perfect fit for the meal. Not only can they easily be topped with however many toppings your heart desires, but they are slightly concave and thus hold some of the toppings in the actual chip, making your fork’s job a little easier. Typically, toppings slide off whatever utensil you choose to call to action, but with these scoop-shaped Fritos, this problem is solved, offering a more cohesive taste and preventing the large-scale separation of ingredients one typically sees with a different chip shape.

Additionally, the Top N Go bags are made with walking tacos in mind. They are wide bags, much larger than the standard Frito Lay’s walking taco chip bag, and offer significantly more walking taco goodness. It is easier to mix the ingredients and much easier to eat, regardless of your preferred eating style.

Every bite created a fiesta in my mouth as the salsa and taco meat balanced out the crunch of the chips and fresh, crisp lettuce. The cheese melted slightly with the heat of the meat, leading to a delicious flavor highly reminiscent of a more traditional taco. The walking taco was easy to eat with a fork, and I’m sure you could just use the chips as utensils, if you wanted to live dangerously.  

Overall, I thought the walking taco was delicious and easy to enjoy. If you’re a taco person through and through, definitely give a Frito Lay’s Top N Go walking taco a try! They’re sold out of Garden Market and Garden Commons once a month!

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so you don’t miss out on our next Taco Tuesday!

Finals Week Survival Tips

Finals week is here, but instead of freaking out, try these tips for staying healthy and sane during every college student’s favorite time of the year!

  1. Get enough sleep! The average college student requires 7-9 hours of sleep each night for maximum brain power. Close your textbook and take the extra hour of sleep. It will make you more productive in the morning.
  2. Eat a healthy breakfast. Jumpstarting your metabolism early on will help you stay focused throughout the day. Plus, who doesn’t love a good yogurt parfait?
  3. Try meditation. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take 10 minutes to put that stress out of your brain. There are many apps for guided meditation and Spotify even provides guided meditation for practically any time limit.
  4. Exercise! When you work out, endorphins are pumped into your brain making you happy, alert and ready to ACE those finals!
  5. Eat 5-6 small balanced meals instead of 2-3 heavy ones. Heavy meals require more time to digest, which can lead to tiredness. Small balanced meals will offer the nutrients and energy needed to carry you throughout the day!
  6. Wash your hands! Your immune system takes a toll when you’re stressed out. Make sure you wash your hands frequently and keep some hand sanitizer on deck. The last thing you need right now is the flu.
  7. If all else fails, coffee is there to wake you up. Just make sure you’re also drinking a TON of water so you don’t get dehydrated and keep the caffeine intake under control to avoid getting jittery. Green tea is a great alternative. 
  8. Let it go. Once the exam is over, it’s over. Don’t let the stress overwhelm you! Treat yourself after a hard exam with your favorite sweet treat, like ice cream from Miami Ice!

How to Bring The Force Into the Kitchen: A Star Wars Story

With all the buzz around Rogue One, it’s time to transform your kitchen into a space even a Hutt could love.

Death Star Waffle Maker

These waffles aren’t a weapon, but they sure do look like one. Transform your breakfast into the Death Star with this special waffle maker.

200-9

Darth Vader Oven Mitt

Wear these oven mitts to protect against the volcanic rivers of Mustafar … or just some fresh cookies. No one will underestimate your cooking abilities with this nifty tool.

200-8

Millennium Falcon Wooden Cutting Board

You’ll be the fastest chef in the galaxy using this cutting board. Just be careful while you’re chopping.

200-2

R2-D2 Ceramic Teapot

This isn’t a Jedi Mind trick, this cute teapot will actually hold your favorite warm beverage. Invite all your friends to tea before you go see the new movie!

200-7

Lightsaber Flatware Set

Would a spork look more like Darth Maul’s epic weapon? We’re unsure, but we do know this flatware set is bound to enhance even the blandest of meals.  

200-6

Darth Vader and Stormtrooper Hand Towel Set

We go together like … Stormtroopers and Darth Vader? Those may not be the lyrics, but these hand towels make the perfect set.

200w-1

R2-D2 Popcorn Maker

Make the popcorn for your next Star Wars movie marathon in this festive air popper. You’ll feel like the Luke Skywalker of theater snacks.

200w

R2-D2 Bowl Set

These ARE the droids you’re looking for. To hold the popcorn from the popcorn maker that is!

200

Death Star Kitchen Timer

Make sure your meals don’t implode with this helpful kitchen tool.

200-4

Darth Vader Toaster

Not only is this toaster shaped like your favorite villain, but it prints Star Wars on one side so you can let everyone know what franchise has your heart.

200-1

R2-D2 14 Liter Fridge

Store all your favorite beverages while you watch your favorite movies in this mini fridge shaped like the droid that stole our hearts.

200-5

What to Get Your Friends Based on Their Favorite MU Dining Location

Finding the perfect gifts for your favorite people is hard. We’re here to help. We’ve chosen some of the dining locations on campus and curated gifts to match the personality of each spot. Whatever your friends’ faves are, they’re sure to love these gifts.

Delish

Grilled Cheese Sandwich Plush Toy

Do they live for the grilled cheese and tomato soup specials at Delish? Then they’ll love this cute-as-a-button grilled cheese plush toy to keep them warm when the sandwich isn’t available.

Personalized Sandwich KeyChain

If you both like to customize your own sandwich at Delish, they’ll love this personalized sandwich key chain. Permanently record their favorite order, or just say something nice!  

Donation to the National Mustard Museum

If they like to douse their sandwiches in that spicy, yellow condiment, make a donation on your friend’s behalf to the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin.  

Sundial

This Cheesy T-Shirt

If your friends are always down for a slice of pizza from Sundial, get them this punny shirt to wear the next time y’all meet up in Armstrong!

First Stop

Buttered Toast Pillow

Does your friend love breakfast food more than Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson combined? Fuel their dreams of delicious breakfast food with this pillow that’s just too cute to eat!

Pancake Backpack

If you give your friend a pancake backpack … they’ll probably want to get First Stop with you. But would that really be a bad thing??

“Is Butter a Carb?” Phone Case

Combine your friend’s love for Mean Girls and a buttered First Stop shortstack with this trendy phone case featuring a movie line everyone knows.

La Mia Cucina

“You’re My Butter Half” Pins

Give this gift to the buttered noodles to your chicken and pesto tortellini. If you and your friend strike the perfect balance, get them this carbo-loaded pin set!

Bell Tower

“Holy Guacamole” Phone Case

Help your friend protect their phone while they’re calling people to tell them that guac isn’t extra at Bell Tower!

Wing Bar

“I Got the Sauce” Sweatshirt

Everyone knows the best part of any chicken-based meal is the sauce. Show your friends they’re the best with this cheeky sweatshirt!

Americas

“Ranch Dressing is a Blessing” Tank

If your friend knows the best way to dress an Americas’ salad is with the staple of the midwest (Ranch), they’ll love this tank. Let them express what everyone’s really thinking with this great gift.

The Q

“BBQ Scented Candle”

If The Q was the Miami University dining addition you needed this year, this candle is the one for you. Get that delicious Memphis-style BBQ scent with this candle that supports a good cause!

Miami Ice

Alphabetical Dessert Print

If your friend is going to crave baked goods over break, keep them satisfied with this scrumptious print.

Donut Temporary Tattoos

Are Miami Ice donuts on the top of your friend’s favorite foods list? If the answer is yes, let them show their dedication, at least temporarily, with these fun accessories!

Coffee Laptop Sticker

If you can always find your friend studying by Miami Ice, let them show off their one true love with this chill sticker that reps their favorite hot drink.

Tea Hive

“My Puns are Koala Tea” T-Shirt

The jokester of your friend group, or just your tea-loving friend will appreciate this pun-loving shirt. It doesn’t hurt that it’s eco-friendly and super soft.

Robot Motorcycle Donut Dark Rider Metal Sign

Do your friends go nuts over donuts? If Tea Hive is the place to be for a quick treat among friends, they might like this funky metal sign for their dorm room!

Coffee and Tea Coloring Book

Help your friends de-stress with this coloring book they can work in while they sip on their favorite Tea Hive beverage.

Pulley Diner

Fry-Day T-Shirt

Does your friend rave about Pulley’s fries? Get them this shirt so they can celebrate everyday like it’s fry-day!

Burger and Fry Earrings

If you two go together like a burger and fries or Late Night and Pulley, get them these super fun earrings for under $15!

Encounter

Hambag

Don’t burgle burgers, steal hearts with this quirky purse.

Burger Phone Case

Your friends will be able to protect their phones while they’re texting you about the great burger they just ate at Encounter with this festive case.

Starbucks

Coffee Bean Necklace

If your friend loves coffee almost as much as you love them, get them this beautiful necklace so they can wear their heart around their neck.

Coffee-Themed Poster

Does your friend constantly wish they could be swimming in a pool of coffee? This print might be exactly what they need to motivate them to achieve their dreams.

Quirky Gadgets Your Kitchen Needs

Make your kitchen into a treasure trove of cool, useful utensils all of your neighbors will envy.

Dragon Cake Pan

This pan brings your favorite cake recipe to life in the form of a dragon protecting its eggs. Bring a festive cake to your next Game of Thrones viewing party, and you’ll be the Khaleesi of the group.

Samurai Sword Cake Cutter

Channel Samurai Jack to portion out your next cake. No one will dare question your cake slicing skills with this sword.

Cake Decorating Pencil

Up your presentation game with this useful tool. Unfortunately there’s no eraser if you mess up.

Emoji Pancake Pan

Express your emotions with breakfast food! You won’t have to have your phone at the table to use emojis with this fun addition to any kitchen cabinet.

Pancake Bot

This is a little more high tech than the pan above. The pancake bot will “print” out a pancake in an image you request!

Sprouting Scoop Jar

The sprouting scoop jar is a beautiful way to store loose teas, herbs, and spices. The sprout is also a scooping spoon!

Color Changing Mugs

Never burn your tongue again with these ~magical~ mugs. They change color based on the temperature and come in a variety of styles. Cute and helpful, what more could you ask for?

Star Trek Enterprise Pizza Cutter

If you’re having a Star Trek marathon, you’re going to need some food to go along with it. If you’re having pizza, you’re going to want this Enterprise pizza cutter to really stick to the theme.

Tetris Sandwich Cutter

It’s finally acceptable to play with your food! This useful tool will turn your favorite sandwich into your favorite game.

CTRL, ALT, Delete Cup Set

What better way to hold the coffee at your desk than with these cheeky mugs. Plot twist: they also hold soup and cereal! You won’t want to press escape on this eccentric gift.

Dragon Egg Cookie Jar

Winter is coming. Store all the extra holiday cookies in this Game of Thrones themed cannister. Apparently dragon eggs make a good wedding gift, just be careful who you give this to.

Super Mario Pipe Mug

Level-up your morning coffee with this Super Mario mug. You’ll feel like you just found a superstar after sipping coffee from it.

Pixel Hand Glove

These gloves are pixel-perfect. If you can’t handle the heat, protect your hands with these awesome oven mitts!

GameBoy Fridge Magnets

Turn your refrigerator into the portable gaming system of your childhood. Unfortunately, you can’t play Super Smash Bros. on it, but it’s good for the mems.

Muffin Top Muffin Cups

Accessorize your baked goods with these punny baking cups. Everyone knows the best part of the muffin is the top anyway.

Scrabble Trivet

It’s like Words With Friends in real life! These trivets are great for your most loquacious acquaintance.

Bread and Butterfly Serving Board

How do you make a butter fly? You throw it! Or just put it in this beautiful, wooden serving board. It’s up to you.