It’s the first day of December, which means it’s time to start planning your hibernation — it’s almost finals season, in case you forgot. Use your those last few moments to make meals en masse to refrigerate or freeze, and to prepare snacks for long nights at VP.


Packed with stress reducing spinach, protein and whole wheat, this pasta sauce is enough to get you through finals hell.

Makes 6 servings

What to gather: • 1 medium–sized sweet onion • 4–6 white or button mushrooms (depending on size) • 1 clove of garlic, minced • 1 lb of ground turkey • ¾ of a bottle of tomato sauce • 2 generous handfuls of fresh spinach (add more if you are in need of extra fortification)

How to prepare: Dice the onion and mushrooms to equal sizes (about 1 inch pieces). Pour a few tablespoons of olive oil into a large pan. Add onions and saute until they begin getting slightly translucent. Add garlic, then meat. Break up meat with a spatula or cooking spoon. Move meat around in pan to make sure that heat is evenly distributed. When there are still hints of pink meat, add mushrooms. Next, mix in the tomato sauce. Right before you are ready to take the pan off the stove, add spinach and let it wilt in the sauce (about 2 mins).  Salt and pepper to taste.

Make a few servings of whole wheat pasta for yourself. Tip: when the water comes to a boil, add a few drops of olive oil to the water to prevent the noodles from sticking together later on.

How to store: Plain pasta can stay in your fridge for 6–7 days. Sauce can stay in your fridge for 4–5 days. Divide portions of pasta and sauce into containers for the next few days. With the extra sauce, portion the sauce into Ziploc bags and keep in your freezer, making sure to leave an inch of space in the bag because the sauce will expand when it freezes. Eds Note: to thaw sauce later after freezing it, either put the baggy into to the fridge for a day, or empty frozen contents into a microwave safe bowl and defrost in the microwave. Do not microwave Ziploc bag.

Other suggestions? The best foods to make ahead of time and then reheat are foods that are high in moisture; like soups, sauces, stews and beans.

— Mady Glickman


Two homemade, brain-charging snacks that’ll fit inside your pencil case

Blueberry Banana Brainfood Bread

Ingredients: • 1 ½ c. white or whole-wheat flour • 1 ¼ c. blueberries, fresh or frozen • 3 ripe bananas • 1 c. chopped almonds or cashews • ½ c. honey • ½ tsp. cinnamon • ½ tsp. nutmeg • 3 Tbsp. melted butter • ¾ tsp. baking powder • ¾ tsp. baking soda

Directions:  • Preheat the oven to 375: line an 8 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and butter it. • In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and baking soda. • Mash the bananas in a larger bowl. Add the honey, melted butter and eggs. Mix well. • Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix to combine. • Put the nuts in a ziplock bag and then crush them repeatedly with a heavy object to chop them (if you don’t want to act like a Neanderthal, feel free to chop them with a knife or use a food processor). Fold the nuts and the blueberries into the batter with a spatula. • Pour batter into prepared mold. Bake for 40 minutes, until golden brown. • Remove the bread from the pan, cut it into bars and let cool.

Simply Cerebral Trail Mix

Ingredients: • ¼ cup cashews, almonds, and/or pistachios • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds • ¼ cup craisins, dried apricots or other dried fruit • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:  Mix it all up, shake it like a polaroid picture, and put it in a plastic bag. It’s that easy.

— Isabel Oliveres