Easy + Healthy College Meals

Since switching from a dorm to a full college apartment, I have really fallen in love with cooking. It’s my stress reliever after class, and I like knowing exactly what goes into my body. I follow a mostly vegan diet (with the exception of eggs- could never give those up!) and the occasional portion of chicken for dinner. I try to eat as many vegetables as possible and minimize processed food (doing this made my acne clear up as well.)

Cooking and grocery shopping can be very time-consuming, so I research healthy recipes on Pinterest and utilize the Yummly app to determine what ingredients I will need for that week’s meals. Below are some of my go-to healthy recipes that won’t take more than 20 minutes to make. Enjoy!

xx, Laina

Breakfast

Avocado Toast: 1/2 an avocado on Ezekiel bread + 1 egg with garlic zucchini noodles topped with goat cheese crumbles, onions, and tomatoes

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Smoothie Bowl: 1 cup of spinach + 1 tbsp organic peanut butter + 1 banana topped with pomegranate seeds, blueberries, strawberries, hemp seeds, coconut, and a fig bar

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Lunch

Spinach + Veggie Salad: Fresh spinach with olive oil dressing topped with carrots, cucumbers, Hilary Eats Well veggie bites, peppers, onions, goat cheese crumbles, and sunflower seeds

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Greek Buddha Bowl: Taboule, olives, falafel balls, 1 tbsp olive tapenade hummus, cucumbers, and tomatoes

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Dinner

Beet Noodles: Spiralized beets with roasted cranberry + goat cheese brussel sprouts, Hilary Eats Well veggie bites, 1 tbsp of roasted red pepper hummus

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Warmed Whole Grain Salad: Quinoa + whole grain rice blend mixed with spinach, butternut squash, red onion, pomegranate seeds, and bits of soy bacon

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Go-to Vegetable Medley: Roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash, brussel sprouts, carrots, red onion, and cranberries all marinated in olive oil and sprinkled with smoked paprika

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Start Spreading the News

Happy Sunday! Today is my one week mark of living in NYC for the summer. The city that never sleeps welcomed me back with open arms. My internship keeps me very busy and I’ve been filling every other second in with trying to meet up with friends, explore, and stay in shape! I’m happy I’ve fallen right back into the hustle and bustle of city life, but I am definitely going to use my Sunday night to curl up with a movie, tea, and a face mask in hopes of relaxing and catching some Z’s.

Here is a photo recap of my week.

xx, Laina

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{Off-the-shoulder dress for a day at the met}

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{park ave}

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{shopping in soho}

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{my new favorite summer sandals}

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{the cutest lemonade cart at a food festival on fifth ave}

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{the best of brunch: massive avocado toast at the smith}

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{exploring modern art at the met}

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{fresh watermelon on a hot day}

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{summer print inspo}

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{aesthetic goals at Kate Spade}

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{more matcha, please}

Signs of Summer

Happy June! I am so excited to welcome in a new month and a new season. After weeks upon weeks of rain in Maryland, the sun finally came out to give us a beautiful Memorial Day Weekend. While MDW usually signifies the beginning of summer, there are a few other things that let me know the season of sunshine and freedom is finally here, such as our hydrangeas and peonies blooming, the smell of barbecue cooking on the grill, and white dresses becoming my go-to summer outfit.

Here are some snapshots of my past few weeks at home, spending lots of time with family and friends before I move to New York City for another summer of interning!

xx, Laina

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{Loving this lace-up dress from Nordstrom for a day in DC}

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{happy white pants + rosé season}

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{weekends at the beach house, Tuckernuck duffle + Brandy Melville duffle}

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{MDW brunch on the deck featuring my boyfriend’s homemade french toast}

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{rosé + watermelon + jacks.. hello summer!}

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{daily hikes have become a thing}

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{kale smoothie bowl, my go-to breakfast}

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{my mom’s gorgeous peonies bloomed!}

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{He is excited about the warm weather too}

Study Abroad Recap

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My semester studying abroad in Europe ends this Thursday when I board my flight back to the States, stepping onto American soil for the first time in four months.  I cannot express how much I am going to miss the feeling of freedom, wanderlust, and exploration. I am going to miss the city of Florence, my host mom and her amazing cooking, and the Italian way of life. In these past four months I explored six countries, nineteen cities, and hundreds of landmarks. I tried new foods, met new people, and took over 2,500 photographs. I have made the most amazing memories and learned more about myself and more about the world than any class has ever taught me. I actually feel rejuvenated about life itself, and studying abroad sparked a sense of adventure within me that I never really thought was there. I even feel calmer about my future, bringing home a newfound sense of independence and confidence.

Here are some of my favorite highlights of my study abroad experience.

xx, Laina

1. Best Foods I Ate:

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Sweet // Trednlik- Prague, Czech Republic

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Salty // Pesto Focaccia- Cinque Terre, Italy

2. Coolest Panoramas I Saw: 

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Lake Breinz- Interlaken, Switzerland

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Mediterranean Sea- Almafi Coast, Italy

3. Favorite Outfits I Wore:

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Winter // Brandy Melville t-shirt dress + Subdued scarf + Urban Outfitters fedora

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Spring // Free People sleeveless top + Nordstrom pants + American Eagle sandals

4. Favorite Weekend Trip:

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French Riviera

5. What I Will Miss Most:

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My daily runs across the Ponte Vecchio- Florence, Italy

Thanksgiving Cupcakes

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No matter what new dessert trend takes over the foodie scene each year, cupcakes will always hold a special place in my heart. I scoured Pinterest for the cutest Thanksgiving cupcake ideas and came up with my own flavor pairings to create the best autumn spread of cupcakes the world has ever seen. While baking and decorating these cupcakes was a lengthy process, there are a few things you can do to make everything easier. While homemade cake is great, using the box mixes is so much easier and just as delicious. Personally, I usually opt to use the box mixes, but make my own homemade frostings and buttercreams. If you are going for a flavored frosting but don’t have much time, there are little flavor packets available at grocery stores that you can simply pour in to a store-bought frosting! For frosting application, I use icing bags that are available for purchase at any craft or baking store. However, you can also use Ziploc sandwich bags and simply cut the corner of the bag off!

Here is the list of the five different Thanksgiving cupcakes I made, and the tools I used to make them.

1. Red Velvet Spice Cupcake

Red velvet cake: Homemade, recipe here.

Cream cheese cinnamon frosting: Homemade, recipe here.

Chocolate acorns: Used peanut butter to stick Hershey kisses to circular Nutter Butter cookies. Directions here.

2. S’mores Cupcake

Chocolate cake: store-bought box mix

Marshmallow frosting: made this frosting recipe and then toasted the frosting with a miniature kitchen blowtorch, then sprinkled crushed graham cracker on top.

3. Salted Caramel Cupcake

Chocolate cake: store-bought box mix

Caramel frosting: Bought a caramel icing flavor packet and mixed into Pillsbury Cream Cheese frosting, then sprinkled sea salt on top.

4. Thanksgiving Cupcake

Vanilla cake: store-bought box mix

Milk chocolate frosting: store-bought Pillsbury frosting

Pilgrim Hats: Made out of Resee’s cups and Fudge Stripe cookies! Directions here.

5. Apple Cinnamon Cupcake

Vanilla cake: store-bought mix

Apple Pie filling: Homemade cinnamon apple filling, recipe here. Took out middle of cupcake with a tool you can buy at any craft/baking store and then put filling inside. I topped the cupcakes with the same Cream Cheese Cinnamon frosting I used previously!

Enjoy! Hopefully this inspires you to do some Thanksgiving baking of your own.

xx, Laina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Fall Breakfast

As a result of waking up at 7am everyday to do one of my social media jobs, I have been trying to eat a healthy breakfast other than my usual eggs and avocado that can also keep me full until lunchtime (which doesn’t usually happen until I am done class at 2pm.) This heart-healthy oatmeal bowl definitely does the trick, and is perfect for the chilly mornings in the autumn season. In addition, I have been using Pumpkin Spice K-cups that I bought on sale at Wegmans for $6, topped off with a small amount of caramel-flavored cream and fresh cinnamon. It’s absolutely delicious and provides a healthy alternative to a Starbucks PSL! Here is the recipe for the oatmeal:

  • 1/3 Cup of Quaker Steel Cut Oats + 3/4 Cup of water, microwave for 2-3 minutes
  • Add blueberries + cut-up strawberries in the middle
  • Add a small amount of almond butter + cinnamon on the edges
  • Sprinkle with unsweetened toasted coconut
  • Enjoy your oatmeal bowl!

I hope this gives you some ideas for adding a creative breakfast into your morning routine!

xx, Laina

Backyard Picnic

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When I was growing up, venturing to the backyard for a picnic was one of my favorite summer pastimes. Even at 20 years old, eating lunch under a shady tree in my backyard is still exciting- and don’t forget relaxing. My summer picnic necessities? Fresh fruit from the local market, sweet tea, San Pellegrino, and a cute blanket scarf from Forever 21. These mason jar lids I found at Target and gingham towels from HomeGoods made it feel all the more special. I even tried this DIY tutorial on painted picnic utensils- just to add another touch. Perfect for an afternoon with the kids or a last minute lunch with your significant other- backyard picnics are an easy, affordable, fun summer tradition.