Homemade Marinara: My Base Recipe

First of all, hello again! I haven’t posted anything since February. That’s largely in part to some blog account issues I was having. After many months, I finally discovered that WordPress prefers to operate on any browser except Google Chrome.

Anyway! I’ve been experimenting with marinara. Basically I use:

  • one onion
  • one carrot OR one bag of baby carrots
  • five or six cloves of garlic
  • 2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes

I begin by chopping the onion into small pieces. Then I chop the garlic cloves and the carrots. I sauté these with olive oil in a large pot. I usually let it cook until the onions are transparent. This only takes a medium-range heat setting.

*The carrots are a substitute for sugar. As the carrots reduce, they release a natural sweetness, as well as vitamins!

Once that’s done, I toss all of the tomatoes into the pot. I let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally. At this point, I like to add dried herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme. Don’t forget to add salt, too. There isn’t an exact time frame for it; I just let it cook until the tomatoes have mostly broken down.

After it’s cooked sufficiently, I blend it. I either use my immersion blender or a regular blender. I blend until I get a desirable consistency for my taste. I pour the entire pot into a large glass jar and keep it refrigerated for about a week to nine days.

Considering Majors

I, like so many others that I know, have changed my major recently. I went from biomedical sciences to biology. I felt it was necessary and definitely not the end of the world. It’s a decision that is entirely up to you and your judgement, but I felt truly liberated. I went from a major that was demanding and specific to a major that was more open to interpretation and lenient.

I was super fortunate that I switched between sciences, meaning I was on track to graduate on time with either major.

It can be scary, no doubt. I’ve known people to completely switch tracks and refocus their priorities. I mean from business to biology. Changes like that do, unfortunately, mean more time in school. However, remember: time is relative. An extra year or two is nothing compared to a lifetime of happiness spent in your ideal career field.

Finding an Apartment

Hello! With the end of my lease approaching, I have been hunting for a new abode. Having nearly completed my first year of living independently, I thought I might share some of my newly gained (though still limited) knowledge. I’m no stranger to moving around. By my count, I’ve moved approximately seventeen or eighteen times in my life. I moved away from home, into a dorm, and then into my apartment.

Apartment Features

  1. The first thing to consider is what you’ll be doing with your space. Will you be cooking? If so, you may desire a fully equipped kitchen. Will you be using a communal laundry room or would you prefer to have your own machines? With many apartments, there are laundry rooms meant for the residents. However, if you prefer your own machines, you might have to insist on washer/dryer hook-ups. Also consider whether you want carpet or hardwood flooring.
  2. You will have neighbors. Try and be observant of the residents in the area as you tour the various complexes. It can be difficult, but try to notice the thickness of the walls and the proximity of the units. Take into consideration the age group that is predominant in the area. You may not want to live near people that are going out late and honking car horns at all hours, unless you too plan to do so.
  3. Keep in mind that you will be required to move the entirety of your belongings into this new space. If your apartment is an upstairs apartment, you (and your moving crew) will have to carry everything up those stairs. That means a couch or futon, a dining table, a coffee table, a bed. You get the picture. It CAN be worth it, but if you’re not up for it, try and get a ground-level apartment.

Rent

I probably don’t have to say this, but don’t try to live beyond your means. The cost of living varies based on location. Larger cities and areas near popular nodes can stand to raise their rent. Know what you’re willing to pay for. Personally, I wouldn’t like paying an outrageous amount of money for a complex that has a tennis court, a golf course, and a mini bar. I simple wouldn’t partake in those luxuries, but I would still be paying them, ya feel? If your rent is inescapably high, make sure you have a contingency plan. Work hard, save money, and make good choices. It’s quite possible that getting away from the popular areas will lower the rent prices.

There is no shame in having your parents’ help, but don’t take that for granted. Not everyone is granted that luxury. If you can afford to help out, offer to pay some bills or a portion of the rent.

Pets

If you don’t have pets, you can pretty much skip this part. Since getting Casanova (the light of my life), I’ve started taking note of things I never had before. I now require clean, grassy areas where I can walk my boy without worrying about him. Try to consider the best things for your pet. You are their voice.

Nearby Amenities

What’s important to you? Being close to campus or being close to WalMart? Would you prefer to live walking distance from campus? Is it important that you pass a Starbucks on your way to class? Do you need to be near a shopping mall or a library? Location is everything and can inspire greatness.

In the end, be critical of the things that matter to you. Assuming that no one enjoys moving, pick the place you can see yourself being happy at for a few years.

Preparing for Spring

As a college student, my mind is constantly geared towards what I can do in order to prepare for my classes. I haven’t always done as well in my classes as I would like to, and that is hard to face. I graduated from high school as the valedictorian. I was the typical “I aced the exam and didn’t even have to study” student that annoys everyone. But if it’s any consolation, that has rocked my world. I had zero study skills in high school, and consequently, I brought exactly zero study skills with me to college. On top of that, life happens. Maybe you get a job (or in my case, two) to have spending money or pay your bills. Perhaps you get a puppy that needs attention, grooming appointments, vet appointments, and plenty of playtime. Then maybe you have a roommate you can’t agree with.

My point is that a lot can go wrong and I’ve learned the hard way. If you’re curious, I’m double majoring in biology and philosophy. Here are just a few things that I personally do that could potentially help you.

Give Yourself a Break

When registering for classes, it’s important to keep in mind that you need to eat and take breaks. Leave time to rest between classes. It is also important not to overload your schedule. It’s tempting to take a seventeen hours at once and graduate early, but it just isn’t feasible. I took seventeen hours the first semester of my freshman year. More classes means more assignments, exams, midterms, and finals. Come finals week, I was so exhausted that I could not manage to study for my very last final. Things turned out okay, but only because the professor decided to scale the grades.

Something critical to note is that a 3 credit course doesn’t evenly translate into a 3-hour class. The lecture might be three hours out of your week, but that does not include the time you’ll need to devote to studying, homework, assignments, or getting tutored.

See a Tutor

Tutors exist for a reason. They are so unbelievably helpful. Tutors are excellent at presenting the information to your from a student’s perspective. I would highly recommend that everyone see a tutor, even if only to reiterate the information learned in lecture.

Get a Planner

I know, I know. This one is listed in almost every article/blog post about being a better student and that is because it is essential. I started with an online planner. It was easy to put my entire class schedule into that calendar. I could block out any time I might need for a meeting or lunch or an appointment. It was also easy to keep up with in that I could pull it up on my phone.

I have recently switched over to planner from Plum Paper. If you haven’t heard of them, I highly recommend ordering from this company. Everything about your planner can be customized, something I thoroughly enjoyed. Personally, I added boxes where I can note whether there’s an assignment or exam that day. It also helps me track my studying habits. They offer a student bundle that comes with a notebook, a notepad, and stickers for your planner.

My gorgeous custom planner from Plum Paper