Must Go Places in Newport, RI

Due to Newport, RI being a huge tourist attraction the island has endless different restaurants to try. With that being said, some are definitely more mouthwatering than others, so I have created a list of (in my opinion) the best places in Newport and Middletown to dine at.

Breakfast and Lunch spots:

Lunch and Dinner:

Cinna Buns from Scratch

I had to share this recipe I found, it is truly amazing. Though it has a lot of steps it’s a really easy recipe to follow.

Punch it downCinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3½ cups (or more) unbleached all purpose flour, divided
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2¼ teaspoons rapid-rise yeast (from 1 envelope)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
For Filling:
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
Brown Sugar & Butter Time
For Frosting:
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Into the Pan

Instructions
  1. Combine milk and butter in glass measuring cup. Microwave on high until butter melts and mixture is just warmed to 120°F to 130°F, 30 to 45 seconds. Pour into bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.
  2. Add 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, and salt. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Add 2½ cups flour. Beat on low until flour is absorbed and dough is sticky, scraping down sides of bowl. If dough is very sticky, add more flour by tablespoonfuls until dough begins to form ball and pulls away from sides of bowl.
  3. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes. Form into ball.
  4. Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
  5. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.
  6. Punch down dough. Transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 15×11-inch rectangle. Spread butter over dough, leaving ½-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter. Starting at 1 long side, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with thin sharp knife into 18 equal slices (each about ½ to ¾ inch wide).
  7. Spray two 9-inch square glass baking dishes with nonstick spray. Divide rolls between baking dishes, arranging cut side up (there will be almost no space between rolls). Cover baking dishes with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 40 to 45 minutes.
  8. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake rolls until tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and invert immediately onto rack. Cool 10 minutes. Turn rolls right side up.
  9. Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cinna-Bun Perfection

Enjoy!

Old School Workouts and Spring Smoothies

My sister has a theory; buy lots of summer clothes and summer will magically appear. Though I am a summer baby and love summer myself I don’t want summer to magically appear. Why? Because I do not want to rush past spring!  Not only do you get to wear the cutest clothes and brightest colors throughout spring, but in my option, spring is when the best seasonal produce is available, not to mention, the weather is a perfect blend of a light breeze and warm sun. However when I woke this morning to find it was only 32° outside I decided my new theory is if I drink a lot of fresh fruit smoothies, spring will magically appear. No more frozen fruit! Spring produce offers the best seasonal berries and I am demanding Mother Nature to start allowing the sun to come out and grow them.

I shared in my early introduction to this blog how I have a love of working out.  Spring is a great transition time that affords you some time before summer to get in shape as the dreaded bikini season approaches. College is stressful, there is no arguing that, with school, work, friends, finances and much more, making time to exercise is a great way to relieve some of that end of the semester stress!

P.S. the best part about working out, is that it’s free! Most colleges have a gym or athletic complex for their students, but for those of you who aren’t so fortunate or dread the college gym scene, there are many ways to stay active and never step foot in a gym. Personally I like running or long walks on the beach (hopefully the weather will start to warm soon though so I can be lying on the beach instead of running on it), and once I’m outside or on the beach I like to add a little old school workout routine to the mix, similar to the one I’ve included below:

25 Jumping jacks

1 minute High knee’s

25 lunges

25 squats

1 minute bicycle crunches

1 minutes oblique twists

15 toe touch crunches

(Repeat all 3 times)

 

Now, after a nice long workout I reward myself with a yummy springtime berry filled smoothie:

This recipe can be found at http://www.acedarspoon.com/pomegranate-blueberry-banana-smoothie/

This recipe can be found at http://www.acedarspoon.com

1 cup of almond milk

1 serving of vanilla protein powder

1 banana

Handful of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries (However many you like just make sure if it gets to think to add more Almond milk)

1tbs of Hemp (wheat germ, chia or flax seeds are yummy add-ins as well)

The Muffin Man

I have been going to this one Organic market in Newport sense I was a freshmen, and although they are small, the store always has my organic “staples”. The employs there are always cheerful and friendly, and several days ago I had the privilege of meeting the man behind the magic, all the amazing, mouthwatering prepared foods offered at this market, more specifically the muffin man!

Meet Ryan from A-Market, he is the reason I will not be bikini ready come summer! His muffins are out of this world despite the fact that he never went to culinary school.  He did however work on an urban farm in collage and being a vegetarian himself he had some great tips to offer on how to eat healthy without breaking the bank. Perfect, I was all ears!

Q: Organic foods are expensive, how do you make sure you’re getting your money’s worth?

A: Don’t over buy, buying too much at a time especially when it comes to produce can be a waste. Even if you think you can eat it all. Produce goes bad quickly so buy a little at a time that way you aren’t throwing away money. Also buying a few things at once is a great way to ensure your produce is always fresh.

Q: What are some of your staple purchases?

A: Quinoa, lentils, and brown rice. Any kind grains are not only good for you but they are cheap and fill you up.

Q: Do you have any tips for saving money when it comes to buying food?

A: If you like it and it’s in season, you can grow it. I live off right in the middle of town and I have a few things growing right now that I eat regularly. Lettuce, arugula, spinach any kind of leafy green is a good and easy thing to try and grow yourself. All you need is a bucket, some dirt and whatever you want to grow. It is super cheap and I personally find it fun.

 

I really like Ryan’s last suggestion, especially given that at home in the summer I myself grow my own tomatoes, watermelon and some herbs. However, I never thought to do that at school- It will be my next adventure!

Disaster Meal

The problem with food blogging for me is it that it always makes me hungry! Perfect example, last night I was trying to pick something to write about, and instead I ended up looking up recipes on other Word Press blogs! My first mistake was choosing to pick a new delicious topic right at dinnertime, and after pouring over the endless mouthwatering blog posts several hours later, I came across a recipe that looked both delicious and affordable!  The Winner you ask? Portobello Avocado and Spinach Burritos from Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide

Portobello Avocado and Spinach Burritos

  • 2 portobello mushrooms cut into 1/4″ thick slices
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 6 oz frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cayenne peppers minced
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 avocados sliced thinly
  • feta cheese
  • burrito sauce
  • cheddar cheese
  • flour tortillas

Melt butter in a frying pan and saute onion over medium heat until golden. Add mushrooms and saute until browned. Add peppers and spinach and cook until heated through. Season with cilantro and set aside. In a tortilla spoon a tablespoon burrito sauce, two large spoonfuls spinach mixture and enough avocados to cover the filling. Crumble on some feta and roll up tightly. Place each burrito in a greased baking dish. When out of filling, cover tops of burritos with more sauce and grated cheddar. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Do not overbake or the avocado will get too warm and mushy.

“Looks easy enough” I thought and set out on yet another culinary adventure. The thing about culinary adventures however, is that you never know how it’s going to turn out, but I guess that’s half the fun. Unfortunately for me it did not go so well. The main feature that attracted me to this recipe is it appeared quick, easy and most importantly, inexpensive.  I think the problem first arose when I veered away from the recipe right from the get-go, when I got to the store and remembered I am not a huge fan of Portobello mushrooms (a main ingredient), so instead I went with baby bella mushrooms (a more regular purchase for me).

Second mistake arose at the next main ingredient, tortillas. I personally am extremely picky when it comes to store bought flour tortillas and instead found really good corn tortillas as an alternative, but I knew when I purchased them that they were small my burrito adventure were going to end up more taco-like then burrito. The third dilemma arose after going to two different stores with the sole purpose of finding burrito sauce, which just so you are aware, cannot be found anywhere! After staring at the verity of salsa substitutions at the local organic market I saw Fajita sauce; cilantro and lime-spicy it read, “Perfect” I thought. Sadly, it was anything but a perfect addition to my meal, a realization that didn’t occur until after I cooked up all my veggies taken my first bite.  The only thing I won’t be using again from this recipe is the Fajita sauce, but as for the rest of the ingredients they will be used in my next adventure somehow.

Unfortunately, as a college student I do not have the luxury of trying out as many recipes as I would like, because if they all turned out the way this one had, I’d spend endless time in the kitchen with little reward and ultimately very hungry.  So I implemented a new rule in my culinary adventure handbook, always, always look at the ingredients first, and if the majority of things required are ingredients…

1. I have never heard of or tried myself

2. That can only be used in this one recipe

3. I cannot pronounce

…Then choose to skip the recipe and find another!  Though my adventure did not go as planned I had to laugh at the hilarity of the whole process.

Looks easy enough I thought and set out on yet another adventure. The thing about culinary adventures is you never know how it’s going to turn out, it’s half the fun. Unfortunately for me it did not go so well. The main attraction to the recipe is it looked quick, easy and most important inexpensive. As a collage studphoto

The thing about culinary adventures is you never know how it’s going to turn out, it’s half the fun. Unfortunately for me it did not go so well. The main attraction to the recipe is it looked quick, easy and most important inexpensive. As a college student I do not have the luxury of trying out as many recipes as I would like. That is why when I set out on an adventure I looked at the ingredients. If the majority of things required are ingredients…

  1. I have never heard of or tried myself
  2. That can only be used in this one recipe
  3. I cannot pronounce

 

 

Would you like some cake with your butter?

For my roommates 21st birthday she asked me to make her a vanilla cake. After searching and searching I came across a recipee that I knew she would love: Vanilla cake with brown butter buttercream frosting!  The cake turned out wonderful and she loved it. The only downside to the culinary adventure was she is the only roommate that likes cake and baking from scratch can be expensive. Needless to say a girl can only eat so much cake.  Thus a lot of it sadly got thrown out.

photo 5 (1)

The moral of my story? Make sure when baking for a friend it is something everyone can enjoy, that way you do not feel like you wasted money on one piece of cake. Though birthday s is the one exception-she loved it and that was worth it!

Vanilla Cake. 
photo 1

*makes two 8
inch round layers

125g butter soft
200g sugar
3 eggs
1
tbsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp salt
300g all purpose flour
2 tsp
baking powder
160ml buttermilk

350F oven. Butter and flour two 8 inch
cake pans.
Cream butter and sugar until pale and very fluffy.
Add in
vanilla bean paste and salt then eggs one at a time.
Whisk the flour and
baking powder together in a separate bowl.
Add half the flour mix to the
butter mix. Mix until combined.
Add half the buttermilk. Mix until
combined.
Then the remaining flour, the remaining buttermilk.
Do not over
mix.
Divide evenly among pan.
Bake until lightly golden on top and set
through, 25 minutes or so but really it depends on your oven, so always check
it.
Remove from pans onto a rack and let cool completely.
poto 3
Brown Butter Buttercream.                                       
*might make a bit extra
frosting, but isn’t that always a good thing?

226g butter
1 tsp
vanilla bean paste
1 tsp molasses
pinch of salt
750g powdered sugar,
sifted
118ml milk
photo 4 (2)

Place butter in a pan over medium heat. Cook until
the butter becomes a rich amber color and little brown flecks appear at the
bottom of pan. Stir quite often as to not burn it. Pour into a bowl, scraping in
the little brown flecks, and let set in the refrigerator until it is the
consistency of softened butter.
Beat the butter, vanilla bean paste and
molasses until combined. Add in half the powdered sugar and half the milk. Beat
until combined. Add in remaining. Beat until very fluffy. You may need more milk
or sugar depending on how stiff you want it.

Eat Colorfully

I recently read an article from Health magazine by Melissa Roberts on ways to enhance and improve your diet. Her suggestion? To go for color! “Fruits and veggies of all shades contain phytonutrients—plant compounds that work together to protect your health.” Phytonutrients are what give produce its vibrate color and are full of antioxidants such as carotenoids and anthocyanins which studies have shown to be a huge help in fighting off age-related diseases that includes cancer and heart disease. The associate professor at Tufts University explains in the article why eating more color such as, green, orange, and red can be extremely beneficial for your health.

My Sweet Potato Pie

My Sweet Potato Pie

In winter it is important to keep your immune system strong, especially if you are college student running around and being in constant contact with others. One way to power up and boost your immune system is with vitamin A, commonly found in orange and yellow foods. Lucky for us most orange and yellow foods are seasonally winter vegetables such as squash, sweet potatoes and carrots.

Starting with green the article points out that almost all green fruits and vegetables are filled with lutein and zeaxanthin, classified as, “carotenoids that protect against eye diseases and may lower your risk of heart disease and skin cancer.” My favorites are the leafy greens such as kale, spinach, chard, arugula and so on. They are an excellent source of folic acid and foliate which are considered to be natural energy boosters. They are also inexpensive and have unlimited recipe possibilities.

Lastly the article suggests turning to red for long-term strength. Red vegetables and fruits are rich in cancer-fighting lycopene and anthocyanins, which studies have found may be linked to helping lower the risk of heart disease and strokes, says Roberts . My nominee for a red veggie goes to beets. Beets are not only in season, cancer-fighting but they also help detoxify the liver. Canned beets are very inexpensive and so are fresh beets. They are also super easy to make. I boil mine and let them cool. Sometimes I eat them by themselves, and other times I make a beet salad.

Beets

Overall just remember, go for color, live strong and be healthy.

How to Buy Organic Without Overspending

       Buying organic has many health benefits. However nowadays just about everything and anything can be bought organic. With so many organic options out there it can be difficult to know what is actually beneficial for both your health and the environment vs. what is just pricier. Last semester, I took a nutrition class at Salve Regina that I loved and I learned some tips on when it is worth spending a little extra on organic foods. Here are my tips on how to eat clean and save more:

photo 1

1. An organic cookie is a cookie

If it comes in a package and has preservatives chances are it’s not that much better for you, just more expensive. My rule of thumb is if you can make it yourself, do it. If you can’t live without your processed cheesy snacks, then go for Goldfish instead of spending the extra two dollars on Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies.

 2. Fill your freezer

Knowing when to buy organic is important. One thing I learned in my nutrition class is if a vegetable or fruit is out of season, it is actually better to buy them frozen. The price of produce that is out of season is healthier because it has to be imported. Frozen fruits and veggies also have more nutrition locked in them vs. the imported, out-of-season options.

photo 2

 3. Know what is ok to buy nonorganic

Go by the rule that if it has skin that you eat like an apple, bell peppers and so on, then it should be organic. Each year the Environmental Working Group comes out with a new Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 List (these are the fruits and vegetables that you should, or should not buy organic). The list is determined by which foods have the highest and lowest pesticide residue. In an ideal world, we all could afford to purchase organic fruits and veggies. The EWG’s 2012 Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists, help shoppers save money and reduce their pesticide intake.

 4. Supermarket vs. farmers’ market

Support your local farmers! Buying local produce means the produce is in season and that you are receiving real value. Although you may think fairs or farmer markets are more expensive, in reality foods sold during their seasonal peaks tend to be cheaper. Also, that fresh from the earth quality is simply irresistible.

photo 3

Introductions are in Order…

Me

Welcome to College Cucumber, where the tastiest economical recipes are provided along with news and tips for a healthier, cheaper and ethical lifestyle.

My name is Riley and I write this little blog. I love just about everything and anything to do with food: cooking it, reading about it, thinking about it and photographing it, but most of all I love eating it. Though I am technically a pescatarian, someone who eats fish and dairy but no meat, I cook and eat mostly vegetarian food. This blog focuses on mainly vegetarian news, information and recipes. I have been a pescatarian for eight years but because most people do not know what that means, I find it much easier to label myself as a vegetarian (especially because I rarely eat fish or dairy).

Now, a junior at Salve Regina University, living off campus and paying for my own food, I realized just how expensive my love for veggies and whole foods really is.  Being the only vegetarian in my family, it has always been a struggle for both my family and I to come up with versatile meals. Luckily, whether a veg-head or meat-eater, I love cooking and finding new recipes that are easy to please everyone.

When my budget allows it, I try to buy seasonally, because it’s better for the environment and the produce is yummier and healthier, the same goes for organic food. This blog is dedicated to learning how to be economical with money and food.

I believe it is important to add that exercising is also a big part of both my diet and lifestyle so I choose to work out six days a week. Being healthy is not just about what is on your plate and this is my journey of being healthy and a living vegetarian lifestyle without eating through my money.

Why the Cost of Being a Vegetarian is Worth it

              Heart disease is said to be the leading killer of women. Red meats and processed animal products are typically high sat fat that cause a raise in bad cholesterol levels. The result of bad cholesterol levels is a higher risk of being diagnosed with coronary heart disease. The same meats have also recently been linked with an increased risk of breast cancer. The Veggie community is buzzing about new research concerning their health benefits. An article posted by Fox News was just one of many reports on a recent study done by the University of Oxford where researchers discovered people who eat vegetarian diet are significantly less likely to suffer from serious heart disease than our meat-eating friends.

 Most of the recent research accounted for the fact that the vegetarian diet has lover cholesterol and lower blood pressure. BBC News posted an article on the topic as well, adding in spite of the 32% cut in heart risk to remember, “…choosing the veggie option on the menu is not a shortcut to a healthy heart. After all, there are still plenty of foods suitable for vegetarians that are high in saturated fat and salt.” I could eat donuts for breakfast, chips for a snack and Ramen Noodles for dinner. Certainly not choices that would lower anyone’s risk of heart disease. However, technically that could be considered eating a vegetarian diet. A package of 36 Maruchan Ramen Noodle Soup is $19.52 ($0.54 a package). Cheap, yes, but also a heart attack in a package.

Processed foods are your archenemies; they are least healthy option and surprisingly not as budget friendly as you would think-not every processed food is as inexpensive as Ramen. The same is true for vegetarian processed foods, like the commonly bought pre-packaged veggie burgers for example is not the best route to take. Going out and buying ingredients to make your own burger recipe is not only better for you but also your wallet as well. There are so many different options and recipes to choose from online and if you are the only vegetarian, like me, then making your own “burgers” and freezing the ones you don’t eat. This way you have your own, preservative free, veggie burger! To help you out below I have included a couple great veggie burger recipes from some of my favorite blogs as a tasty and affordable option.

The study briefly touched on how a individual’s general heath is a key factor as well. Researchers took into account the person’s age, a smoker or non-smoker, how much alcohol they consumed and their level of physical activity. Being a college student, I myself am all for having a good time, we are in our twenties and this is the time to let loose. However, it is important to keep in mind everything is better in moderation. Remember, what you do now will affect your overall health latter.

Be active. Eat green. Stay healthy.

Yummy Veggie-Burger Recipes: