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Our third bi-annual Study Day Recharge was a huge success!  Almost 200 students enjoyed healthy refreshments and chair massages in the library this past Wednesday as we kicked off final exam week.

This event is sponsored by the Furman Culinary Club, Department of Health Sciences, and Furman Library.

What was on the menu?  It was our largest and tastiest collection of recipes to date!

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Kale Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, and Feta.  If you follow this blog, you are well aware of my addiction to this kale salad.  This version was served with a little holiday twist.  Rinse raw kale leaves and place the leaves on a cutting board so they lay flat.  Run the point of a sharp knife along both sides of the stem to remove the tender leaves from the woody stems.  Thinly slice the leaves and add them to a bowl.  Drizzle extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and a pinch of salt over the kale; toss to combine well.  I usually toss this with grated Parmesan cheese.  For this version, however, we tossed in fresh pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, and feta.  This salad will keep well in the refrigerator for a few days and tastes better as the kale marinates in the dressing.  This was one of the student favorites.

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Red Quinoa Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Dried Cranberries, and Pecans.  This recipe is a snap.  Rinse and boil quinoa for about 15 minutes and then drain it in a fine mesh colander.  Meanwhile, roast cubes of butternut squash with a little bit of oil on a baking sheet at 400 degrees F until softened 15-25 minutes.  We bought bags of raw butternut squash cubes in the produce section of Trader Joe’s to save time.  Then toss the quinoa with the butternut squash, dried cranberries, chopped parsley, finely chopped red onion, and chopped pecans.  Toss with a little bit of red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.

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Tomato, Cucumber, and Feta Salad.  We tossed chopped heirloom cherry tomatoes with chopped Persian cucumbers, scallions, chopped parsley, and feta.  Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

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Sesame Soba Noodle Pasta Salad with Edamame.  This is a really tasty cold pasta salad.  It calls for soba (buckwheat) noodles.  However, you can also substitute whole grain wheat pasta or whole grain brown rice pasta (Trader Joe’s).  Simply boil the noodles and then add the shelled frozen edamame at the end of the cooking process.Toss with matchstick carrots, red pepper strips, scallions, and an easy sesame ginger vinaigrette.  Click here for the recipe.

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Cabbage Crunch Salad.  This is a light and refreshing version of coleslaw.  Finely slice raw cabbage (or buy one of the pre-shredded bags in the produce aisle).  In a small bowl, combine equal parts apple cider vinegar, honey, and canola oil.  Whisk it together with a pinch of salt.  Lightly dress the cabbage and toss to coat well.  It doesn’t need much dressing.  Let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  Just before serving, toss in sliced almonds.  We used Honey Roasted Sliced Almonds from Trader Joe’s.

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Teriyaki Chickpeas with Pineapple.  Think of this recipe as a meatless version of teriyaki chicken.  Beans are full of fibers, healthful plant proteins, and other nutrients… plus they are cheap.  Saute some finely chopped onion and carrot in a large skillet over medium heat until they are slightly softened.  Add canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas) that have been rinsed and drained.  Pour in a few Tablespoons of teriyaki sauce (I used Trader Joe’s) and let them simmer for 10-15 minutes until they absorb most of the sauce.  Add in some thawed frozen pineapple tidbits and cook until warmed through.

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Egg and egg white mini vegetable frittatas.  Spray a muffin tin or mini-muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.  Fill the compartments with finely chopped red peppers, fresh chopped spinach, red onions, mushrooms, or any other vegetables that you have on hand.  They may need to be lightly sauteed or at least finely chopped, depending on the vegetable.  Pour beaten egg and/or egg whites (we made both) into each muffin tin to fill.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until the eggs are set. Leftovers made a great grab and go breakfast.

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Texas Caviar with Whole Grain Pita Chips.  Warning.  Warning. These are highly addictive.  Cut whole grain pita bread into strips and spread them on a baking sheet.  Brush them with a little bit of olive oil or spray with olive oil cooking spray.  Sprinkle generously with dried Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt.  Add grated Parmesan cheese, if you’d like.  Bake at 375 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden.  We served them with Texas Caviar– a chunky spin off of salsa with black eyed peas, corn, red peppers, jalapeno, cilantro, and more.  Click here for the full recipe.

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Wild Salmon Salad with Fresh Vegetables and Capers.  I adore this salad.  It is great with whole grain crackers for a snack or can be served with whole grain bread or in a pita for lunch.  The vegetables add a ton of flavor and texture which helps to cut back on the mayonnaise. It starts with boneless, skinless canned salmon that can be found at Trader Joe’s or Publix.  Combine it with diced cucumber, red bell peppers, red onion, capers, pickle relish, and light mayonnaise. We served it with ak-mak whole grain crackers that can be found in many grocery stores.  Triscuits or Triscuits Thin Crisps are also tasty.  Click here for the recipe.

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Banana Oat Cookies with Chocolate Chunks and Dried Berries.  We took the world’s easiest cookie recipe on a holiday spin.  In a large bowl, mash two ripe bananas (with little brown sugar spots) with a potato masher or the back of a fork.  Add one cup of dry oats– both quick oats and old fashioned oats work fine.  Sprinkle in some chocolate chunks, a generous pinch of cinnamon, and dried berries.  We used a mixture of dried cherries, dried blueberries, golden raisins, and dark raisins.  Mix it all together and then drop little spoonfuls onto a large baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-15 minutes until the bottoms are lightly golden on the bottom.

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We also offered fresh, grab and go fruit:

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… and plain and carbonated water.  La Croix is naturally flavored carbonated water that does not have any sugar or artificial sweeteners.

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We had a great time but the food went FAST!

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Students, good luck on final exams!  Have a great holiday break!