Tag Archive | "the big green msu"

Hot & Healthy October: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Hot & Healthy October: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

All right guys, it’s fall. And fall means pumpkin flavored everything. Pumpkin flavored coffee, pumpkin flavored bagels, even pumpkin flavored ice cream (which is actually really good. Seriously, go try it).

So instead of laughing at all the weird things the pumpkin fairy blesses this season, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and make these pumpkin flavored chocolate chip cookies.

Photo credit: Andrea Raby

So here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola or corn oil
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, or any chip you like

I know it’s a lot, but just go barrow spices from your mom. You will thank me later.

Ok then, it’s baking time. First mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together. Then set that aside, we’ll use it in a little bit. Then mix together the eggs and the sugar until you can’t tell the difference between eggs and sugar anymore. Then mix that with the oil, vanilla and pumpkin. Then take the powdery mixture and blend that together with the eggy-pumpkin mixture. Finally, add the chocolate chips and you’re ready to go.

Photo credit: Andrea Raby


You’re going to want to cook those babies for 15-16 minutes at 325 degrees. Give them a little poke to make sure they’re done.

Still not sure you want to make these? Let me tell you the best things about these pumpkin wonders:

  1. They’re soft. Like, cake soft. My taste testers (aka my friends) were going on and on about how they tasted just like cake.
  2. They’re pretty healthy for a cookie. There’s only 100 calories per cookie, or 125 when you add the chocolate chips.

All in all, my eight taste testers gave me their opinion on these cookies and it was the same across the board: “Make these again!”

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Yay or nay? Social media has created a new form of PDA

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Yay or nay? Social media has created a new form of PDA

A friend of mine recently started dating someone new and has kept the relationship relatively low-key. She and her boyfriend were “officially” dating a few months before their relationship showed up on Facebook. She was explaining to me her surprise and confusion when someone not only expressed irritation that she had not changed her relationship status immediately after they became official, but commented “You two don’t have ANY pictures together online… how can you be dating?”

I can understand why she may have taken offense to the comment – the idea that a relationship between two people needs to be quantified and documented through social media in order to be considered “real” is a bit ridiculous, but not at all uncommon.

Relationship statuses have become the new norm when declaring love. Photo credit: Julia Grippe

For a generation so dependent on electronic communication, becoming “Facebook official” has become a natural step in a relationship. The tendency for young people to feel the need to share details of their lives and relationships – positive, negative, or even completely mundane (“Heading to the supermarket” status updaters, I’m looking at you) – is growing more common as social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others have surged in popularity.

There are varying degrees of how relationships are shared over social media. The most common include having a profile link a couple together as “In A Relationship”, “Engaged”, or “Married”, not to mention the option of “It’s complicated” – as if that’s anyone’s business, but more in-depth sharing – from public declarations of love to angry tweets about a fight – can sometimes teeter into the territory of over-sharing.

Where should the line between private and personal posts be drawn when it comes to relationships?

Kaitlynn Boot, a sophomore at MSU, is single and says she finds a majority of posts between couples to be awkward, particularly when they highlight rough patches in the relationship.

“A friend of mine and her boyfriend fought all the time in the comment sections of Facebook – calling each other names. I felt like I was a part of their drama and their relationship even though I didn’t want to be because it kept showing up on my newsfeed,” Boot said.

But she says that not all posts are bad. News of engagements, new relationships, and fun trips are welcome additions to her newsfeed.

Photo credit: Julia Grippe

“I don’t mind seeing important events, like wedding or engagement photos. Those are things you’d share with people outside of Facebook as well,” she said.

Erika Holmes, also a sophomore at MSU, has been in a relationship for a year and half and chooses not to share any details of her relationship at all.

“Couples who constantly post photo albums of them together and post on each other’s [Facebook] walls are a bit nauseating. I think it’s superficial that they have to affirm their relationship through social media,” Homes said.

Holmes says she and her boyfriend call and text each other regularly when they are not together, but do not see any need to make private conversations public.

Relationships are shaped by a variety of circumstances, from distance to the general personalities of the partners. Couples who are not able to see one another regularly may find that sharing things on social media accounts helps them feel more connected when they are apart.

“College-aged couples have different challenges than older couples, based in part on the fact that both partners are in a significant developmental transition between adolescence and adulthood,” said Scott H. Becker, Associate Director and licensed clinical psychologist at the MSU Counseling Center.

The center sees young couples, in addition to providing counseling for a variety of other needs. Becker says these challenges are heightened by fast-paced and constantly changing lives many college students and young adults lead.

He suggests that sometimes personal posts on social media can become detrimental to the relationship, particularly if the couple is not on the same page about what is and is not appropriate to share.

“The mere fact that private information is being made very public can be the source of hurt feelings or even a sense of betrayal by the other partner,” he said of sharing negative or personal details about a relationship online.

But he also said certain postings, like engagements or overcoming obstacles can become sources of strength for the relationship.

“On the positive side, sometimes couples can receive social support of good advice from concerned and supportive friends,” said Becker.

The key to maintaining a healthy relationship of any nature is communication and trust. In romantic instances, this can mean developing boundaries that both partners are comfortable with.

“Each couple will define their personal boundaries differently, both online and in the real world,” said Becker.

“The most important thing is for each partner to have a deliberate conversation about their individual expectations to avoid potential misunderstandings later on. They should also discuss what the boundary around them as a couple should be, both online and in the real world.”

Posts about relationships should adhere to the same rules as all other posts, particularly in terms of appropriateness. Does your entire online network needto see a collage of you and your significant other’s Valentine’s Day date? Or know all the things that annoy you about your girlfriend?

Some couples struggle with keeping PDA offline. Photo credit: Julia Grippe

Everything posted on a social networking site is not only public, but permanent. The content and context of social media posts can impact your reputation both now and in the future.

Inappropriate posts –  or even gag-inducing declarations of love –  may cause your social media audience (friends, family, co-workers, etc.) to take you less seriously, feelings which may spill over into your life outside the confines of social media.

Sharing relationship details is not strictly good nor bad, but couples should be aware of the potential for miscommunication and misunderstandings that come with doing so on social media. Having a clear distinction between what is appropriate and what is too much information will not only clean up your profile, but allow others to see you and your partner in a more positive light.

Not all couples share the same boundaries when it comes to sharing details about their relationship – not everything needs to be “Facebook official”.

For some couples, love is all you need.

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Monthly Movie Reviews: King of California

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Monthly Movie Reviews: King of California

Starring: Michael Douglas and Evan Rachel Wood

Directed by: Mike Cahill

If you are looking for a movie that will make you laugh, excite you and possibly make you cry (for all you manly men out there, don’t let that stop you from watching this movie), then stay tuned.

In a world where frequent visits to the mental hospital and searching for buried treasure is the norm, we are introduced to the reality of King of California. This movie is a witty, indie dramedy following the adventures of wise beyond her years Miranda (Evan Rachel Wood) and her eccentric father Charlie (Michael Douglas), who was recently released from his stay at a mental hospital.

While Miranda struggles to keep them afloat financially by working at  a McDonalds (because that’s legit), Charlie is in search for buried treasure. Though Miranda is frustrated by Charlie and his constant shenanigans, they are all that each other have in this world. And despite her best efforts, she cannot help but love and take care of him. Due to this, Miranda resists in helping Charlie with his extravagant plans at first, but then we soon see the wall she tries to put up between her and Charlie begins to slowly crumble (like MSU’s football team this year, don’t hate, we all know it’s true) as this adventure brings some joy and hope back into her life.

The two of them grow closer during their hunt for the long lost treasure, which finally leads them to believe that the gold doubloons they have been looking for are buried under their local Costco store. Although I am glad it wasn’t a Wal-Mart that they were breaking into, because the only thing I can think about when I am in one is breaking out of it.

While it may seem strange to root for a character that is justifiably insane and knows it (since normally we are thinking they should go back to where they came from), you can’t help but fall in love with Charlie and his sense of adventure and obliviousness to the real world.  This man is absolutely ridiculous, but it only makes you want his ravings of buried treasure to be real as much as he does for both Charlie’s sake and Miranda’s sanity.

The two actors play off each other wonderfully, as if they were meant to be together in these roles like peas and carrots, as Forest Gump would say, or me and Robert Downey Jr…. Anyway, we have Douglas as the perfectly eccentric, yet slightly unstable father, matching seamlessly with Wood’s responsible, level-headedness, making this quirky movie come to life. Together the pair  reminds me of Obama and Romney, but I’ll let you decide for yourselves which one is level headed and which one forgot to take their meds.

King of California is a heartbreakingly sweet betrayal of the love between a father and daughter and that no matter how much it might be strained, family is a bond that can never be broken.

Check out the trailer below!

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Top Ten Tweets: October

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Top Ten Tweets: October

1. @Laughbook: Sharks aren’t so bad, If some stranger entered my house wearing only a speedo, I would probably attack him too.

2. now listening to disney music for study time #noshame

3. So I think eating celery and cookies together is a huge contradiction.#butheyimhungry

4. Most heartbreaking game. So furious.

5. I just ate like 7 tacos… so good.. but so full… yet I want to eat more…

6. This weather says, “stay in bed all day while contemplating your life

7. #EasilyAttractedTo #Msu girls , the best females in the state of Michigan #PureFacts

8.Kirk Cousins just got his first NFL td #MSU

9. Report: Jabari Parker includes Michigan State in list of five finalistshttp://tinyurl.com/98j89wg  #msu #michiganstate

10. College basketball countdown: No. 22 Michigan State Spartans


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The Quest for Gluten Understanding

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The Quest for Gluten Understanding

As I sat in a dining hall picking at my blueberry muffin, I was staring directly at the gluten-free pastries located not far from where I was seated. Out of curiosity, I ditched my poor little muffin and tried one of that pastries, I had heard, could help with weight loss. While I was chewing the sugary dough, I thought about all the ways I’ve attempted to eat healthier, and maybe even lost some weight, when it occurred to me: I’ve never really understood the diet fads that come and go.

Photo credit: Julia Grippe

Why did I decide I wanted to try the gluten-free diet now?  My obsession with the next, best, healthiest diet is something I haven’t exactly pursued with total commitment. I slammed that little ball of carbs and sugar into the closest trashcan and decided I needed to do some research.

Why the hell am I already trying to rid my diet of gluten when I barely know why it’s supposed to be so bad for us?

First things first, what is gluten? According to Olin Health Center’s nutritional specialist Ronda Bokram, gluten really isn’t all that bad for people who are not allergic.  Bokram described gluten as a type of protein found in products such as wheat, rye, barley and common grains that we eat every day.  That doesn’t sound so scary now, does it? I was also reassured that there’s no reason to eliminate it.

“There is no health benefit from eliminating gluten if you don’t have a gluten intolerance,” she said. “The only disadvantage of having gluten in your diet would be if you had Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity—you wouldn’t feel very good if you consumed it!”

Now, just because there’s a logical explanation for a gluten-free lifestyle doesn’t mean that the uninformed will stop following the trends of celebrity dieting.  Surely I wasn’t the only impressionable college-aged girl to see those photos of Miley Cyrus’ new bod and exclaim an audible “Daa-aa-amn!” After finding out she had given up gluten, there was no need to find out why—I was following this trend even if I didn’t know why.

MSU cafeterias offer gluten-free products. Photo credit: Andrea Raby

Many experts agree with the senselessness of this diet. In fact, back in April when this trend was brought to my attention, USA Today reported about the message this diet was sending to teens.

Registered dietitian Heather Mangieri said, “Though Cyrus did not explicitly say the gluten-free diet helped her lose weight, that is the message fans are likely to take away—and it’s bogus…We actually see people gaining weight on gluten-free diets.”

Why is that? Mangieri went on to explain that to make up for loss of taste, many gluten-free cookies and breads add more fat and sugar. Gaining weight certainly wasn’t my plan, but I fell right into the trap when I traded my blueberry muffin for a gluten-free one.

But giving up gluten may not be the real reason this diet works so well for some.  It may be the addition of fruits, veggies and lean proteins into their diet to compensate for the lack of wheat products they’re replacing. Janice Harte from the MSU’s department of Food Science and Human Nutrition agrees.

“If you avoid gluten, you might decrease your consumption of some foods that are carbohydrate-based and may contain a lot of sugar and/or fat. So that may be a secondary benefit,” she said.  “However, these products […] do not taste as good and are usually more expensive.”

So, my feeble attempt to switch one brand of junk for another was not going to get me very far with any of my health goals. In fact, it may have even set me back!

Fad diets have come and gone, and I’ll be the first to admit I’ve tried my fair share.  I’ve tried many, even the ridiculously unenjoyable lemonade cleanses that promote body detoxification and weight loss (a.k.a. starvation).

But one thing that is starting to become clearer to me is that you’ll never truly gain any health benefits from “dieting” a certain way for a short period of time.  These changes have to be permanent and truly reflective of a healthy, balanced and nutritional diet.

So instead of thinking about gluten as an unknown unhealthy substance, maybe those of us without a gluten intolerance should simply be happy we can eat it without getting sick.

As Bokram put it, “Those who truly are celiac, for example, would probably love to have the option to eat regular pasta.”

So if you don’t need to eliminate gluten, instead pursue the classic nutrition plan we’ve been taught since we were little: moderation, balance and FINISH YOUR VEGETABLES!



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MSU in Color: Orange

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MSU in Color: Orange

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The Best Blues: Old Town BluesFest

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The Best Blues: Old Town BluesFest

With umbrellas and ponchos in hand, blues fans braved the rainy weather to enjoy live music and walk around Old Town, Lansing. The Old Town BluesFest took place on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22. Although the festival originated in 1994, the music fest was restyled into Old Town BluesFest in 2002. During early evening on Friday, two stages were active with bands as another tent housed guitarists answering fan musicians’ questions. Food vendors sold delicious elephant ears and shredded pork as retail vendors sold photographs and tribal drums. But laughing, dancing attendees and little dogs in rain jackets were my favorite photo opportunities at the music festival. Maybe the best part about this fest was its price: free for all to experience!


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