Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Homemade Guacamole

If you're pressed for space like me, you'd probably rather make a large mess making some sort of dish and save it for several meals, rather than making a new mess for every meal! Here is a recipe that, while a bit messy, requires no cooking at all and stores well! Avocados may be expensive at the store ($1.50 each?) but with 4 avocados you can make enough dip for at least 4 servings, and since you're only using healthy food, it's worth the extra money. There's a lot of information out there on the amazingness that is avocados, so if you're interested, you should check it out.

If you want, you could add cream cheese or sour cream to this like my mom does, but I'm a purist.


3-4 ripe avocados (they can be a bit expensive but are well worth the price)
1 large red tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 or 1 whole onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
lemon juice
salt & pepper


1. Chop up the tomato, onion, and garlic.

2. Cube the avocado flesh and put it into the mixture, adding lemon juice on top of each avocado.
unsure of how to deal with an avocado? here's a good guide.

3. Mash! A fork or large spoon works well, or use a potato masher if you have one. You can make it as chunky or as smooth as you like - I like it mostly smooth with some chunks.

4. Salt and pepper to taste - the salt is key here. It really brings out the flavor of the avocado.

5. Enjoy with tortilla chips or on tortilla shells!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Easy & Cheap Microwave Popcorn

So I know, what's easier than buying prepackaged microwave popcorn, unwrapping the plastic and nuking it for 3.5 minutes? Well, although that's really easy, if you have an underpowered dorm microwave, you might have some problems. For example, you might end up with a bag of half-burned popcorn and a lot of unpopped kernels in the bottom. Or, if you're like me, you end up with way too much popcorn for just one person! The amount of fat and other crap in a bag of buttered microwave popcorn is not good, especially when you're eating ramen all the time - cutting back where you can is good.

This recipe enables you to pop an individual serving of popcorn, in only about 2 minutes, with few to no unpopped kernels. It also allows you to butter and season it anyway you like.

You need:
Popping corn that comes in a jar
Paper lunch bags
Spray butter if you're going for minimal butter, or melt your own regular butter
Any salt/seasonings you like.

1. Open the bag up and unfold it so there's as much room as possible inside.

2. Pour approximately 3 tablespoons worth of corn into the bag

3. Fold the top of the bag over once, about half an inch down, then fold over again and tape closed. (Make sure the bag still has that unfolded look)

4. Place the bag on its biggest side (area-wise) in the microwave

5. Microwave on high for 1.5-2.5 minutes, and wait till the popping slows to about 4-5 sec between each pop.

6. Tear off the top of the bag, spray/pour your butter and seasonings in, give it a few tosses, and you're good to go!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Microwave Chocolate Cake

So, this is my recipe for a single serving of chocolate cake, prepared in the microwave. If you've had those Betty Crocker microwaveable cakes, you'll know what I'm talking about. But this recipe is way better!

The original recipe calls for a mug, but I've found making it in a small microwaveable bowl (like a ceramic cereal bowl) works best. The idea is to make them as a gift by combining the dry ingredients in baggies, and finding a cute microwaveable mug to put the baggies in and give as gifts. So that's why the recipe calls for a LOT of the dry ingredients... I went out and bought the dry ingredients, mixed them, and have been saving them in a ziplock bag, scooping out as I go.


1 box cake mix (any flavor you like - try Dark Chocolate)
1 small box instant pudding mix (any flavor you like - try Devils Food)
These will provide about 7-8 servings of cake.

1 egg white
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp oil

Icing - optional
1/4th of a Hershey's bar (3 of those tiny little rectangles)

1. Premix the dry ingredients first... Pour them into a gallon-sized ziploc bag and toss for a good 3-5 minutes. You'll know when it's well mixed because the jello mix particles are more granular than the cake mix. Make sure it's evenly mixed.

2. Combine the wet ingredients in a separate container (not the one you'll be zapping). I've used disposable paper bowls, and plastic cups. Mix well! This is very crucial!

3. Combine 1/2 cup of the dry mixture to the wet mixture (in the secondary container) and mix till there are very few if any lumps and it's an even consistency.

4. Spray the inside of your bowl with cooking spray and then dump your cake batter into the bowl - mixing before dumping into the bowl helps reduce the mess because you won't have to scrub your ceramic bowl out as hard when you're done.

5. Microwave on high, uncovered, between 1 and 2 minutes, depending on how powerful your microwave is. Mine is an 800 watt dorm microwave and I end up cooking about 1:40-1:45.

6. As soon as the cooking has ended, add your pieces of Hershey bar to the top and let stand for another 1.5 minutes. This will allow the chocolate to melt, and your bowl to cool a bit.

7. Spread the chocolate around on top of the cake and enjoy warm straight out of the bowl!

- Try adding different things on top of the cake or into the batter to marble the flavor in. I've tried peanut butter, Rollos, and marshmallows. All have been yummy!
- You can use whatever flavor cake and jello mix you want. If you want to go for a white or yellow cake, use white or yellow cake mix with vanilla instant pudding, or any combination of flavors you can imagine.


Welcome to The Frugal Dorm Life!

My name is GT - a first year graduate student who has 4 full years of dorm life behind her and another 1.5 years to look forward to!

This blog will be mostly recipes and frugal strategies for living so that you as a college student can learn get better at stretching your dollar, no matter where that dollar's coming from. We all need to buy the fun stuff once in a while (I just splurged on a new computer because the one I had when I started college was dying), so I want to pass on some of the tricks I've used over the years to save up for the fun purchases! Feel free to post recommendations or requests, and email me anything cool and new you come across.