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Favorite Holiday Foods

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…. to eat! Each year during the holiday time you plan what gifts you are getting others and of course the holiday foods that make the season truly bright. Families arrive from all around, inevitable conversations about college and how you don’t have a future planned out yet, and a lot of gift-giving happens during this time. This season is either peaceful and exciting, or hectic and full of anxiety. What a better way to top it all off with a holiday dinner?

We surveyed college students asking which holiday foods are their favorite and we listed the top 10 foods to get you into the holiday spirit:

(87%) Potatoes (Sweet, Mashed, etc.)

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(82%) Christmas Cookies

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(82%) Hot Chocolate

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(72%) Bread (Any kind)

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(57%) Fruit

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(57%) Vegetables

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(55%) Corn

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(54%) Stuffing

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(53%) Turkey

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(45%) Ham

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Food for Finals

After you crammed for those midterms, you promised the end of the semester would be different and you would NOT cram.  But somehow finals have crept up on you, and now you’re essentially preparing to live in King library for exam week…we’ve all been there. If you find that finals season means living on extra-large iced coffees and late-night pizza deliveries for days at a time, this blog is for you.

Healthy eating through exams is not impossible. In fact, preparing nutritious study snacks might be easier than you think. Below are some amazing food ideas to pack when migrating to the library. These options are mostly accessible on campus, easy to pack, and provide essential nutrients to fuel your body and your brain.

Peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread – This simplistic sandwich provides protein, whole grains, and healthy fats.

Carrots and hummus – That crunch is oh so satisfying!  Other veggies like bell peppers and cucumber slices are great with hummus too.

Whole fruit – Some like to bring an apple or banana, but there are so many other portable fruit choices including peaches, oranges, grapes, strawberries, etc.

String cheese – Cheese can be a great source of calcium, protein, and additional vital nutrients. String cheese is made prepackaged, so no need to worry about portions.

Tips for studying and snacking:

Keepin’ it cool. Need to keep food cool but don’t have an insulated lunch box? Just freeze a water bottle the night before, insert it with your food, and things should stay cool for several hours.

Warm it up. Craving something warm like soup or fancy to heat up a cup of tea while studying? There is a microwave ready for students to use in King Library!

Take a break. When cramming for hours on end, try to stop and eat something every 3 to 4 hours. This can improve your energy level and give structure to your study sessions.

Keep your place well stocked. The answer to eating well when life gets disordered is to make it as simple and convenient as possible, which means having healthy foods nearby.


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Diverse Dining

Ready to travel the world now and try different food from different nations? Can’t afford the trip? Well, Miami University strives not only for various options in food but we add diversity in the food being presented. You might be hungry for stir fry one second, spicy food the next, and vegan options the following day. With over 15 dining locations, we provide over 12 different diverse food options such as Italian, Mongolian, Chinese, Greecian, Indian, and more!

There are la carte options that provide a variation in food selections for whatever you might be craving that day. For example, the delicious Mein Street is an Asian and Mongolian grill that will indulge your desire for stir-fry. Right next door to Mein Street is Haines Boulangerie, complete with Mediterranean-style food such as paninis and gyro flatbreads that allow for you to experience some unique flavors.IMG_4162 copy-min

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The most diverse locations include Bell Tower and Western Dining Commons with 9 different countries represented, so you can experience all the flavors around the globe in the small town of Oxford, Ohio. Bell offers American, Chinese, Italian, and Mexican food in an all-you-can-eat buffet, so dive right in. Western Dining Commons is a buffet that has a designated international station that completes everyone’s needs for food diversity. You can choose from items inspired by the cuisines of India, Italy, Greece, France, Thailand, China, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Jamaica and more. This concept also includes homestyle picks from the U.S. This station offers a mixture of customizable items and ready-made items

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Ready to taste the world right in your backyard? Miami Dining is the place to be.


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Eat Your Breakfast!

How important is breakfast?

Many studies have linked eating breakfast to good health, including better memory and concentration, lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, and lower chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, and being overweight. Without breakfast, your body could be without fuel for up to 16 hours from dinner to the next day’s lunch. Your body needs a consistent energy intake to maintain proper function and breakfast is also a great way to kick start your day.

Make your breakfast full of protein! This will help keep you full until lunchtime and prevent overeating due to excessive hunger.

Most people are busy bees and give the excuse of “I don’t have time to eat breakfast.” Even if a big breakfast isn’t possible, a quick bite can be beneficial. If you’re in need of some ideas for a quick, on the go breakfast, check out some ideas below, lots of the ideas can be found at to-go or market locations on campus!

We also have breakfast combos on campus that are an equivalent to a swipe!Breakfast swipe_TW

Easy on-the-go breakfast ideas:

  • Greek yogurt (found on campus)
  • Cereal bars
  • Peanut butter or avocado toast
  • Cup of fruit (found on campus)
  • Premier protein shake or Core Power pre made protein drinks (found on campus)
  • Banana or zucchini bread
  • Oatmeal or cereal cups (found on campus)

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Thanksgiving Recipes

Give thanks for all the glorious food you’ll be eating this Thanksgiving dinner! It arrives every year and we bet your mind is thinking about what food you’re going to eat rather than when your next exam is, and you know what? That’s okay! Everyone craves Thanksgiving food as soon as Halloween is over. Now you and your family have to start thinking of what you guys want to cook. Well, look no further, because we have a mini Thanksgiving feast below with ideas for food starting with appetizers all the way to desserts! (The turkey being the main feast, of course)

Appetizers:

Pumpkin Seed Flat Breads

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“Here’s a seasonal addition to your harvesttime feast. From its pretty orange color to the irresistible crunch of toasted pumpkin seeds, this flatbread is pleasing to the eye and taste buds. Using sunflower kernels instead of pumpkin seeds is a yummy change.”

Holiday Bacon Bites

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“This easy three-ingredient appetizer is a perfect bite for guests to snack on when they arrive. You top Club-style crackers with Parmesan cheese, wrap them in bacon and bake until crisp.”

Main dishes (other than turkey):

Classic Cheese Lasagna

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“A simple yet robust marinara and a trio of cheeses meld into an intensely flavorful lasagna. A classic, perfected.”

Turkey with Brown-Sugar Glaze

“This year, try a flavorful glaze made with orange juice, brown sugar, and vinegar on your Thanksgiving bird.”

Sides:

Corn Pudding

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“The pleasing flavor of this golden corn pudding side dish makes it real comfort food. And because the recipe calls for a packaged corn mix, it’s easy to prepare.”

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon

Sweet potatoes with drizzled honey and a dash of cinnamon. The smell is so enticing and warm, which is perfect for this holiday season.

Dessert:

No-Fail, Homemade Pumpkin Pie Recipe

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“This is a classic, unfussy pumpkin pie. We take it plain or, when feeling feisty, with a dollop of softly whipped cream. The spices are not overpowering, here. If you like your pie spicy, increase the cinnamon and ginger a little.”

Orange Glazed Cranberry Bread

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“Moist & flavorful cranberry bread packed with orange zest, light cinnamon streusel, and an orange glaze.”


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Staff Spotlight – Chef Casey Johnson

Executive Chef Casey Johnson is passionate not only about his craft, but about his job here at Miami and his family. He is one of five executive chefs on campus and he takes care of Armstrong Student Center,  Bell Tower Commons, and King Cafe – Armstrong being the place he spends most of his time. Update: As of Monday, November 20th, Casey Johnson was promoted into the Corporate Executive Chef role of dining services. We are excited about him being in this new position!

What is your background like? Personal/Professional?

I am from Sylvania, Ohio right outside of Toledo. I went right out of high school to culinary school at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. From there I did my externship at the Greenbrier in West Virginia, which is a big hunting/equestrian high-end style resort. After graduating, I did an MIT (manager in training) program at school and was a sous chef for a restaurant on campus. After moving back to Toledo with my wife, I held a sous chef position at a local country club and an Italian restaurant called Mancy’s for 3-4 years. After my time at Mancy’s, I accepted a food and beverage director/executive chef position at the Hilton Garden Inn in Findlay. My wife was then accepted into a position here at Miami, then I was lucky enough to accept a position here a year ago in October.

What is the most exciting part about the job?

Not just in this job, but in the industry in general, you learn something new every day. I am not a desk person and I don’t like sitting still, which is perfect for this industry.

What made you decide to be a chef?

I don’t really know. I am the only chef in the family other than a far extended cousin. I always grilled with my dad and baked with my mom, but neither of my parents are culinarians. I grew up on your basic mid-west style cooking with mayonnaise-based casseroles and flank steak (haha). I am not sure on what made me want to do it, but it is probably a love from the arts. I wanted to be a zoologist, then a photographer, then an architect, focusing my mind on the arts.

How would you describe your relationship with the guests?

Friendly! I love talking and working with the guests. Some people would be shocked to find out I’m introverted, but that’s because I’ve challenged myself to be extroverted to improve my overall communication. As a food and beverage director prior, I had to work directly with guests, which improved my customer service. I’m still getting used to seeing so many students, even though we have some regulars, it’s a joy to meet new people everyday.

What is your favorite thing about MU Dining?

I like the diversity of it! I think that working within the department and with the direction we are going, it’s going to get even more diverse. I know most dining has pizza or stir-fry, but we get to do new and exciting dishes here – with more to come! I helped collaborate with the opening of 4 new concepts in Armstrong – the Toasted Bagel, Cafe Lux, Red Zone, and Haines update.

How would you describe yourself personally?

I am passionate. If we talk food, I can talk all day due to my passion for the industry itself. I drive myself because of my passions and for the food industry. I definitely take my pride for work home and instill the idea of passion to my daughter as much as I can. Honestly, I genuinely love hanging out and cooking with my daughter because I’m a family man. I like to cook at home as well but not as high-end cuisine.

What are some of your hobbies and interests?

I really enjoy photography. Since the industry is so busy, it’s tough to have hobbies outside of work, but I’ve recently picked up photography again. I definitely want to start hiking and biking more because I really like spending time outside. Doing activities help me to clear my mind from the busy weeks I have.

What is your favorite dish to prepare? To eat?

Parmesan Risotto. The simplicity comes with its ingredients, but it’s a dish that takes passion to execute properly. As far as a favorite dish to eat, that changes all the time. I prefer cooking Italian though. I was trained more in Italian-style of cooking. The French-style is to take the ingredients and make it their own, while the Italian-style is to take the ingredients and enhance the flavor that is naturally there.

What is your favorite TV show?

I’ve always watched House and can habitually watch it. The Office is also one of my favorites. I enjoy the comedy in both.

Cat or dog?

I am a dog person. I have a wheaten terrier at home. I am allergic to cats and dogs in a way.

Any advice for people applying/working for MU Dining?

This is a great place to work! You’re not going to find better benefits and community in this area. We want people to apply and want people here. It requires time on your feet and work ethic, but it pays well and has a welcoming feel to it.


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Student Spotlight – Haley Hamilton

What is your title/role for Dining?

I am currently the student Manager at Maplestreet Station.

What is your background like? Personal/Professional? Major?

I am from Dayton, Ohio and have been there my whole life. When I was growing up in school, I would always be at friends houses hanging out. Back in high school, I worked at Dairy Queen which was really fun. Right now I’m majoring in Spanish, International Studies, and Latin American Studies. And yes, I know that is a lot, but I love to keep busy at all times.

How did you get into the food service? Any prior experience?

I never really pictured myself continuing in the food service, but I ended up doing so when I got here! Like I said before, I worked at a Dairy Queen. When I came to college I thought why not just add another thing to do outside of school and so I applied for this job and started working in dining since freshman year. It’s been a blast!

What is the most exciting part of the job?

What I think is cool is that there is something different every day I come in so it never gets boring. There are a good amount of people who work in the dining services, so I get to meet new people and get to know them more, which is a great bonus. It’s never dull!

How would you describe your relationship with the student employees?

They’re literally the best. For me as an extrovert, I try to get to know as many of them as I can personally because I feel like we’re both interdependent on each other. This job allows for teamwork and dependence and I love that.

How would you describe your relationship with guests?

I find that with my personality and job overall, it allows me to talk with the guests with ease. It has been super fun to get to know people and see some regulars that come and go when I work.

What is your favorite thing about MU Dining?

I genuinely love my coworkers! Each of them are like family to me and I can go to them when I have any struggles with school or any questions about work. They are so fun and love to have a good time and make memorable moments.

How would you describe yourself (personally)?

I think I’m a pretty outgoing person. That’s probably the best word to describe me. I love to have a good time and hang out with friends in my free time. I also enjoy traveling and I want to travel everywhere. I like to try new things as well like new foods, new experiences, new sports, all the above. It keeps me busy like I said.

What are some of your hobbies? Interests?

I love watching soccer on tv but you won’t catch me playing FIFA because video games aren’t really my forte… But I also like to experience new foods I have not tried before. There are so many kinds of foods out there and I feel like there are very few foods I’m not a fan of, to be honest. I love hiking and the going to the beach as well. The beach is super relaxing so living on or around a beach would be ideal.

What is your favorite dish to prepare? To eat?

Wow, that’s a tough one. I think my favorite dish to prepare would have to be stir-fry. I love stir-fry! It’d have to be my favorite food to eat as well. It’s just too good.

Favorite TV show?

The Office. Hands down. I mean, who doesn’t love The Office?

Cat or dog?

Dogs forever! They are just too cute and adorable and they make the best companions.

Cake or pie?

Cake is okay I guess but ice cream is heavenly. Ice cream is my favorite out of those two.

What have you learned so far?

Being patient and laid back is the only way to make it through the week because things will never go completely as planned. Just take it one step at a time and go with the flow but stay on top of things. That helps for school too outside of work.

Any advice for applying/working for MU Dining?

The people are awesome and we are always hiring new people! Just stop in and ask to speak to a student manager for more information about the application process. It’s super simple, easy, and you can dive right in! They are super flexible too, which is helpful if you’re busy like me.


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