There are a lot of reasons I wanted to try the new Oatmeal-Coffee craze – it solves the problem of not drinking coffee on an empty stomach, it might add flavour to otherwise dreary oatmeal, it is cheap, easy, and quick to make – but the number one reason why I wanted to try oatmeal-coffee is how absolutely strange it sounds. I am not an adventurous eater, but I am a curious one. I wonder what drew people to try replacing the water in oatmeal with coffee, and what led them to keep doing it. Here are the three D-Hall coffee substitutions of oatmeal.
Seattle’s Best Coffee Signature Blend No 4 Decaf Medium-Dark Rich and Quaker Oats
Bitter from the first time the spoon touched my palate, decaffeinated Oatmeal – Coffee is definitely for people who enjoy the taste of coffee. Not my cup of tea (or coffee) but definitely the perfect oatmeal for a coffee lover.
Personal rating: B-
Seattle’s Best Coffee Signature Blend No 4 Medium-Dark Rich and Quaker Oats
When swallowed quickly, it tastes like normal oatmeal. The longer it sits in my mouth, the more bitter it is. Still, every time I finish a spoonful I want another bite. I do not understand what the draw is, but I cannot stop eating it. I definitely had both more oatmeal and coffee together than I would have of either on their own.
Personal rating: B +
Seattle’s Best Coffee Vanilla and Quaker Oats
Sweet with only slight undertones of coffee flavoring. Vanilla Oatmeal-Coffee tastes almost identical to lightly sweetened oatmeal.
The Chicken & Rice Guys food truck is a familiar sight in the Science Center plaza. Nonetheless, I had always somewhat ignored the block of sunny yellow. Compared to Vietnamese sandwiches and gourmet grilled cheese, who would want to spend money on boring chicken and rice?
My opinion changed the moment I actually tasted that “boring” chicken and rice. The chicken was tender, flavorful, and warm; the rice, lettuce, and sauces blended perfectly into a crisp, smooth mouthful of deliciousness. It got me wondering if I could recreate the taste in the d-hall. Who wouldn’t want to eat Chicken & Rice Guys all the time?
After doing a bit of research, I’ve concluded that perfectly recreating the dish is impossible without considerable amounts of time, effort, and spices (to prove my point, here’s a recipe for a similar halal food truck in New York City). However, it IS possible to create an approximation that isn’t too shabby. Best of all, you won’t need to buy anything on your own, and you can substitute ingredients and alter proportions to make it as healthy or indulgent as you want.
lettuce (and any other vegetables you want)
rice (I used brown rice for my meal, but feel free to use any other kind of rice!)
1 /2 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon lemon juice (Yes, they have this in the d-hall.)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoons vinegar (Yes, they also have non-balsamic vinegar in the d-hall. HUDS is just full of surprises, isn’t it?)
2 tablespoons ranch or blue cheese dressing
salt and pepper to taste
(Helpful tip: 1/2 cup is about half of a d-hall soup bowl. You can use the d-hall spoons for teaspoons and tablespoons.)
We’ve all been there – you walk into the dining hall, and nothing really piques your appetite. You could settle for a salad, but that’s hardly satisfying. You could splurge and eat out, but you don’t want to spend money. What to do?
Fortunately, there’s a third option that’s ALWAYS available: make your own meal. More specifically, make your own fried rice.
Fried rice is unbelievably easy to make. At home, my family often makes it with whatever ingredients are at hand: rice (of course), steamed vegetables, egg, leftover meat. Here’s my dhall version of fried rice.
(Feel free to add, remove, or change any part or the recipe! Everything is entirely up to you and your tastes.)
I’ve always loved peanut butter – so much so, in fact, that for my 11th birthday I asked for peanut butter as a present. I also really like cookies. Put the two together, and you achieve perfection: peanut butter cookies are heavenly. Unfortunately, they’re also nowhere to be found in the dining halls. To date, I only remember HUDS serving peanut butter cookies twice, and they were a far cry from the melt-in-your-mouth masterpieces found at places like Insomnia Cookies. It’s culinary discrimination. Chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin get their fair representation, but when that peanut-butter-cookie craving strikes, where can a desperate student turn?
They say that desperation is the mother of invention, and this article is about to prove that saying true.
I think inspiration struck one night in Dunster dining hall. Brain break featured a tray of Ranger cookies, a sugary offering to the bleary-eyed students running on three hours of sleep. While Ranger cookies do have strong points, such as their satisfying crunch and slight hint of coconut, they obviously lack peanut butter. I picked up a cookie. My gaze landed on the ever-present container of peanut butter at brain breaks. I smeared a plump dollop of peanut butter onto the cookie, hesitantly took a bite, and…
Sweet, sweet success.
The creamy peanut butter provides perfect contrast to the crunch of the Ranger cookie. It also makes overbaked and dry cookies seem softer, more soothing on the tongue. Both organic peanut butter and normal peanut butter work; since the cookie contains more sugar than is probably necessary, the organic peanut butter will also taste sweet.
Veritaffles are a staple of the Harvard student diet – there’s nothing like a warm, carbohydrate – infused start to another long day of problem sets, and club meetings, and all of the other delightful things an overbooked undergraduate has to look forward to.
But sometimes, you need to spice up your Veritaffle. A plain waffle is just not enough. That’s where the amazing oatmeal peanut butter Veritaffle comes in. It’s a quick and easy d-hall hack to make your breakfast and brunches heartier than ever.
1 medium size bowl of the waffle mix
2-3 scoops of oatmeal
2-3 spoonfuls of peanut butter
These are very straightforward: all you need to do is throw in a couple extra ingredients into the pre-made waffle batter!
1. Obtain the bowl of waffle batter. (If anyone who looks at you strangely while you’re pouring the waffle mix into a bowl, just tell them that you eat your waffles nice and raw.)
2. Add the oatmeal, and mix thoroughly so there are no clumps of batter or oatmeal.
3. Add the peanut butter, and mix thoroughly once more so the peanut butter is evenly mixed into the batter.
4. Pour into waffle maker, wait those anxious 2.5 minutes, and enjoy!
Optional Waffle Toppings:
Sliced banana and honey
The tried-and-true whipped cream and syrup combination
At long last, Mange App is a dining hall hack that everyone on campus will enjoy. Currently beta testing in Cabot, this app allows for HUDS grill orders to go paperless. The app displays the daily menu, takes grill orders from anywhere on campus, and texts students when their orders are ready. Finally, no more of that awkward circling around the grill during the chaos that is lunch hour!
Mange App currently lives exclusively online – the iPhone and Android app should be rolling out in the next month – and, while there are some areas for improvement, it definitely has this starving student’s stamp of approval. The first time I used Mange App I was a bit annoyed. I was running to office hours, wanted something from the grill, and had to register as a user and figure out a new interface just to get a piece of chicken. I soon realized that my aversion to adapt to something new got in the way of me understanding the coolness of the entire set-up. Now, if I need something quickly, I can order from my room and get a text telling me to go pick my food up. I’ll probably start getting more texts from Mange App than I will from my roommates, to be honest.
Like I mentioned, no rollout is without its drawbacks. Currently, lunch time on the app is set to begin at noon. That means for you early lunchers that you literally cannot order food until 12:00, even if lunch technically begins at 11:30. This, and other small issues, are already being worked on and will be resolved before the school-wide release of the app. HUDS has even been kind enough to set up an iPad on the counter so that students without smart phones can use the service.
I am sure that the school-wide release of Mange App will turn out to be successful. Already, Cabot grill (which is definitely the best) is more efficient, while using less paper. Mange App is the ultimate dining hall hack: it increases productivity without sacrificing taste. You may ask yourself, now what? I have my grilled chicken in no time and now have no idea what to do with it. For some great ideas on how to spruce up your dining hall meals, check out more Crimson Crave dining hall hacks!