Author: Carmen

About Carmen

Hi! I eat and occasionally make food, and work around food for a living.

Sautéed Zucchini?


You don’t like zucchini? I didn’t either. But zucchini is one of those vegetables that you can do anything with and you can find something that will make you happy.

IMG_7126     One of the things you can do is add herbs to help the taste. I tried frying this zucchini with…wait for it…mint! And it tasted great!

IMG_7127     All you need is some mint leaves, salt and pepper to taste. This is a great and quick addition to any pasta dinner that needs some more life/nutrients. Make a lot in one go and leave the rest in the fridge for the week.


Mint Zucchini

1 large zucchini

5 mint leaves

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Pour a thin layer of olive oil and mint leaves into a large skillet and heat on medium. While this heats up, chop up the zucchini into thin round slices. When the oil is hot, add in the zucchini. Add salt and pepper to your preference. Check the zucchini bottoms for browning, and flip to get the other sides cooked. Serve warm. If you want, you can leave of the mint.

Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you have to eat poorly! Keep the essentials of the food pyramid in your diet whenever you can – and if zucchini doesn’t do it for you, try broccoli or cauliflower instead.


How to Make Oatmeal Not Suck

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 8.52.24 PM     Ever tried a bowl of oatmeal in an attempt to have a healthy breakfast and cringe? Oatmeal benefits include but aren’t limited to: lowering cholesterol, killing the munchies (filling your tummy with fiber in less than 200 calories), and whole grain heartiness. No matter the oat – instant, Irish, or steel-cut, here are some quick tips to help you get to the kitchen in the am.

1. Salt. Salt is so important, really. Just throw a pinch in, and you’ll be able to taste a flavor from that hot cereal.

2. Sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want a source of sweetness to get you through. This can be brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, or anything else you would use, for something like tea.

3. Dairy. Feel free to add milk or yogurt to cool off the oatmeal and loosen up the thick.

4. Fruit. Another addition, especially for the sweet tooth. Fresh blueberries and bananas, or dried cranberries – whatever fruit you snack on, throw it on top of your oats and enjoy the additional flavor and texture.

5. Egg. More about a savory start to the day? Throw a soft-boiled or fried egg on with some extra salt, sriracha, or avocado.

As long as you follow the directions on the packaging, you should be good to go to adapt to your heart’s content. Don’t forget: there are no rules, and there’s always Google 😉


Troubleshooting Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Hey all, Carmen here! I’m here this week to share an experience that I hope none of you has to go through alone, if ever.

Shyla, Rebecca and I had a slight problem. We wanted to make cinnamon rolls (I even had leftover yeast), but we had nothing to make a glaze or icing, slightly defeating the purpose of cinnamon rolls. Our second option was pancakes, but Shyla didn’t really want pancakes. Cue Google search for “cinnamon roll pancakes”. Many recipes came up, but their common factor was a glaze or icing tying them to cinnamon rolls…of course. Then, we found one recipe with none of that. Success! Maybe…


     So this recipe incorporated the essence of cinnamon roll with a cinnamon-sugar swirl during frying. The idea was great, but the execution, less great. I’m still not sure if the swirl is meant to keep its integrity in cooked form, or if the pancakes are successful when the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon burn away and leave an ugly, porous crater at the bottom of the pancake. Recipe Girl Lori Lange does specifically state “…with craters of crusty, sugary cinnamon swirled within.”

DSC_0614       If it is true that the crater is the final result of all this, I feel like there’s a better way to incorporate these flavors without getting rid of all that pastey goodness.

DSC_0623This one was mine 😉


     After coming up with this a few times, we took matters into our own hands, and tried to protect the swirl with some more batter.

DSC_0621      It kinda worked?


     They turned out fine; not really worth all effort that we put into them. Have a go yourself and let us know how it goes…


Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

From Recipe Girl

Yield: Eight 4-inch pancakes

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 10 min

An absolutely decadent morning treat…

*NOTE: This recipe has been revised (2/18/12) from its original publication. I’ve tried the current version many times with great success. Just follow all the tips and you’ll get it right!


4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, just melted (not boiling)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil


Prepare the cinnamon filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a quart-sized heavy zip baggie and set it aside (see *Tips below).

Prepare the glaze: In a small pan, heat the butter over low heat until melted. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cream cheese until it is almost smooth. Sift the powdered sugar into the pan, stir and add in vanilla extract. Set the pan aside while you make the pancakes.

Prepare the pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the milk, egg and oil, just until the batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).

Cook the pancakes: Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium-heat and spray with nonstick spray. Use an ice cream scoop (or 1/3 cup measuring cup) to add the batter to the pan. Use the bottom of the scoop or cup to spread the batter into a circle (about 4-inches in diameter). Reduce the heat to medium low. Snip the corner of your baggie of cinnamon filling and squeeze the filling into the open corner. When your pancake begins to form bubbles, add the filling. Starting at the center of the pancake, squeeze the filling on top of the pancake batter in a swirl (just as you see in a regular cinnamon roll). Cook the pancake 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bubbles begin popping on top of the pancake and it’s golden brown on the bottom. Slide a thin, wide metal spatula underneath the pancake and gently but quickly flip it over. Cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the other side is golden as well. When you flip the pancake onto a plate, you will see that the cinnamon filling has created a crater-swirl of cinnamon. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, and repeat with the remaining pancake batter and cinnamon filling. Re-warm the glaze briefly, if needed. Serve pancakes topped with a drizzle of glaze.


*Quick and easy tip: Use a boxed pancake mix as the base for this recipe.
*Tips for the cinnamon filling: Before swirling, open up the baggie again and give it a good stir to re-incorporate any butter that may have separated from the sugar. You want the mixture to thicken a bit- it’s best when it’s similar to the squeezing texture of a tube of toothpaste, which will happen if you leave it at room temperature for several minutes. Don’t try to use the filling for the pancake swirl unless it has thickened as it will be too runny to make a solid swirl.

*Keep the heat low or your pancakes might cook up too quickly. Don’t flip them until you see those bubbles starting to pop on top. Flip them with a wide spatula so you can grasp the whole thing without batter and filling dripping all over the place!

*I wrote a very detailed post on how to get the cinnamon filling *just right* on my Gingerbread- Cinnamon Roll Pancakes Post. Check it out before you attempt these!

*If you’re trying to justify your intake of decadent cinnamon rolls, you can make this a tad bit healthier by using half whole-wheat flour and low fat cream cheese, or enjoy the pancakes without glaze.

Welcome to College Bakers’ Collective!

Hey all, Carmen here! I’d like to welcome you to the new food blog that is College Bakers’ Collective, hereby known as CBC. We’re on a mission to get college kids inspired to use dorm/apartment kitchens all around the country, possibly world. Next week, we’ll be starting with recipes and general kitchen endeavors, that don’t necessarily involve sweet things in the oven. Stay tuned right here for some exciting things! In the meantime, check out the about page to acquaint yourselves with our bakers. Dust off your measuring cups and brace yourselves for all things awesome and edible.