“College life is crazy and busy” says Theresa Schmieising who knows a few things about crazy and busy since she is the oldest daughter in a Shelby County family of nine.
During the past couple of summers, Theresa has been at home, working and helping with things around the house, but during the school year, she is a junior at Franciscan University in Steubenville. While home, she helps with breakfast and occasionally will prepare a family dinner.
“My mother started teaching me to cook when I was pretty young. I started out just helping her and then I would try to make things on my own,” she says. She started out making simple desserts and got really good at cookies, which is probably still her favorite thing to bake.
“I do love baking desserts – especially around the holidays. Sometimes I pretend that I am a chef and that I actually know what I am doing and put a bunch of random spices into things by smelling them and figuring out which ones smell good together,” says Theresa — which is not surprising because Theresa is very creative.
As a Communication Arts (Multimedia) major, and one who loves all things that have to do with art, the creativity can’t help but flow. Theresa is an award winning artist who especially loves to draw and paint and who hopes to be an illustrator someday. She loves decorating and mixing flavors of foods. She loves cultures and recognizes that food is a huge part of culture. In her college culture, she does not often get a chance to cook.
“Right now I live in a dorm and eat at the cafeteria. Sometimes though, I get creative and make my own simple dishes with the food provided at the cafeteria. I might chop up hard boiled eggs and peppers and mix them with mayonnaise and mustard to make egg salad.” See? Creative! “Someday I hope to have my own family and cook all the meals and of course I plan for every single meal to have several perfectly prepared dishes, but I know from what little experience I have that that is easier said than done.”
With creativity on her side, she’ll probably just do it!
Rich Cocoa Crinkle Cookies-Hershey’s Chocolate Cookbook
Makes about 6 dozen cookies
2 cups granulated sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 cup Hershey’s cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1. Combine granulated sugar and oil in large bowl; add cocoa, beating until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to cocoa mixture, beating well.
2. Cover; refrigerate until dough is firm enough to handle, at least 6 hours.
3. Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in powdered sugar to coat. Place about 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet.
4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until almost no indentation remains when touched lightly and tops ad crackled. Cool slightly. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
Peach Pancake Puff (Family Recipe)
6 Tbsp butter
1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
3 medium peaches (1 pound) peeled and sliced (2cups) OR one bag frozen, thawed and drained OR 2 cups canned and drained
1. Heat oven to 375. Grease 2 ½ qt. casserole dish or 13x9x2 dish
2. Melt butter in dish or on stove
3. Beat eggs slightly
4. Beat in flour, sugar, salt, milk and extract until smooth
5. Stir peaches into butter in the baking dish
6. Return dish to oven for 2 to 3 minutes or until sizzling
7. Pour batter over peaches
8. Bake 20 minutes or until puffed and golden
9. Serve warm with peach preserves/syrup or plain
Lara Wolford loves school so much, she decided to never leave. After graduating from Lehman High School, she attended Miami University, earning a music education degree. Then she began teaching and has been hanging out at school now, just about her entire life. She is currently the choir director and general music teacher at Bethel Local Schools in Tipp City. She also directs the middle school musical, assists with the high school musical and serves as the Muse Machine advisor. But that’s not all—remember, she loves school, so she’s been spending the last couple of summers working on her master’s degree!
“I get to go to work every day and do what I love, which is the best thing ever!” says this enthusiastic young woman.
Meal planning for Lara is all about cooking on the go. “I am a music teacher, so I spend my life in rehearsals, at concerts and with my kiddos at school. That means that my cooking has to be something that is simple, but tasty!”
Lara has found crockpot meals to be a great way to cook since her life is very busy. “Thanks to Pinterest, there are so many good recipes to try and new tricks out there,” she adds. Lara is also a big fan of dips.
“I could make a dip and eat that as a meal anytime,” she says. Her other food of choice is definitely a good smoothie.
While an undergrad student, she worked in the dining halls at Miami University and learned to make smoothies there.
“I love creating new flavor combinations and enjoying a yummy treat. Smoothies make the perfect on-the-go breakfast and are a good way to cram in some healthy fruits and veggies into your diet in a different way,” says Lara.
Other than what she made through her job during her college days, she didn’t do a whole lot of cooking then, because she was limited to what she could make in her college dorm room in a microwave.
“I remember once I was hanging out with my friends and studying for finals. It was around 2 in the morning and we decided to take a break and make some cookies – one of us had a pack of the premade cookie dough in the fridge,” she says. “Lack of sleep and exam induced stress led to us just throwing the cookies on a plastic plate in the microwave. BIG MISTAKE! We melted the plate and filled the room with smoke! Luckily, for the rest of the dorm, we opened the windows and got the smoke out before setting off any alarms. The cookies were ‘toast,’ but we managed to preserve that plate for the rest of the year — the perfect symbol of our goofy circle of friends!”
Through the years, Lara has become a “pretty decent” cook.
“I know my way around a kitchen well enough. My mom and grandmother taught me how to cook and we would often cook together as I grew up.” Lara now enjoys helping to cook for family gatherings and holiday get-togethers. She’s a devoted Disney, Harry Potter and Broadway fan, but family is what is most important.
“My family is really close – we do loads of things together. I can’t imagine anything better than spending time with them. I have the cutest nephews and I love going on adventures with them — Kings Island, trampoline parks — anything we do becomes an adventure. And that’s the best kind of thing to do,” she says. That…and school!
Avocado Feta Dip
3-4 roma tomatoes, chopped
4 avocados, chopped
1/2 purple onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
12 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
oregano to taste (about 1/2 tsp)
salt and pepper to taste
Balsamic Vinegar to taste (about 3/4 cup)
Combine all ingredients (minus the balsamic vinegar) and combine by folding them gently together. Add balsamic vinegar slowly you achieve the desired taste.
Liss’s Mac n Cheese
Stolen lovingly from my sister-in-law 🙂
4 cups elbow macaroni
2 cans condensed cheddar cheese soup
2 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups each shredded cheddar, fontina, and provolone cheese (you can experiment with different cheeses here – go nuts!)
Cook macaroni according to package for al dente. In a large saucepan, combine soup, milk, sour cream, butter, and seasonings; cook and stir over medium-low heat until blended. Stir in cheese until melted and gooey. Drain pasta and combine with the cheese sauce. Transfer mixture to a greased 6 qt crock pot. Cook covered on low 1-2 hours or until heated throughout.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
1 cup chocolate almond milk
1 healthy spoonful of peanut butter
Half a banana
A handful of ice
***Adding chocolate or peanut butter protein powders to this can work well!
Blend ingredients together in a blender! The secret to any smoothie is that you have a good liquid base and a fun flavor combination to work with. Exact measurements aren’t really necessary in the long run – get creative and try things out! If your smoothie is too runny, just add more ice.