Recipes For One

Now to impress your families this Christmas break, here are a few recipes to try over break! Both recipes involve spinach which is nutrient dense and has TONS of flavonoids (act as an antioxidant). As college students, we tend to not always consume the healthiest foods; adding spinach to your diet is a good way to get a bunch of different vitamins and minerals!

Spinach-Ravioli Lasagna

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings


  • 1 (6-oz.) package fresh baby spinach, thoroughly washed
  • 1/3 cup refrigerated pesto sauce
  • 1 (15-oz.) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth*
  • 1 (25-oz.) package frozen cheese-filled ravioli (do not thaw)
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Italian six-cheese blend
  • Garnishes: chopped fresh basil, paprika


  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375°. Chop spinach, and toss with pesto in a medium bowl.
  2. 2. Combine Alfredo sauce and vegetable broth. Spoon one-third of alfredo sauce mixture (about 1/2 cup) into a lightly greased 2.2-qt. or 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Top with half of spinach mixture. Arrange half of ravioli in a single layer over spinach mixture. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining Alfredo sauce.
  3. 3. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake 5 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Garnish, if desired.
  4. *Chicken broth may be substituted.
  5. Note: For testing purposes only, we used Santa Barbara Original Basil Pesto and Bertolli Alfredo Sauce.

Southern Living

Spinach and Mozzarella Grilled Cheese


  • ½ Tbsp olive oil $0.08
  • 1 clove garlic $0.08
  • ¼ lb. frozen cut spinach $0.38
  • Pinch of salt & pepper $0.05
  • 2 ciabatta rolls $1.33
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese $1.00
  • 1 oz. feta cheese $0.43
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional) $0.05


  1. Mince the garlic and add it to a skillet with the olive oil. Cook over medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes, or until it begins to soften. Add the frozen spinach, turn the heat up to medium, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until heated through and most of the excess moisture has evaporated away. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  2. Cut the rolls in half. Add about ¼ cup of shredded mozzarella and ½ oz. of feta to the bottom half of each roll. Divide the cooked spinach between the two sandwiches, then top with a pinch of red pepper flakes, plus ¼ more shredded mozzarella on each.
  3. Place the top half of the ciabatta roll on the sandwiches and transfer them to a large non-stick skillet. Fill a large pot with a few inches of water to create weight, then place the pot on top of the sandwiches to press them down like a panini press. Turn the heat on to medium-low and cook until the sandwiches are crispy on the bottom. Carefully flip the sandwiches, place the weighted pot back on top, and cook until crispy on the other side and the cheese is melted. Serve warm.

For the foodie in us all


Hey Seniors! Here are some fun and easy recipes that can be made in a mug! Enjoy!


Not only is this creamy and delicious, but it is SO much healthier than the store bought kind! And, yet it is just as quick and easy to make!

You will need:

A large mug or bowl (I use a big soup mug)

1/3 cup Whole grain elbow macaroni

½ Water

1/3 Cheddar-Jack Shredded Cheese

Splash of milk (2 teaspoons)


In a microwave safe {big} mug or bowl (make sure it is a big one or it will boil over), put 1/3 cup whole grain elbow macaroni and 1/2 cup water (If you have a stronger microwave than mine, you may need more water… just play with it adding a couple extra Tbs at a time). Microwave for 6 minutes, stirring at 4 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute. The pasta should be cooked and there will be a tiny bit of thick pasta water in the bottom. Leave this water. Add a heaping 1/3 cup shredded Cheddar Jack cheese (pictured above). Return to the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds to melt the cheese. Stir well, adding a small splash of milk (maybe 2 teaspoons). Enjoy!

April 7, 2013 by Kristen Whitby



You will need:

For the cake:

3 tbsp white flour (For gluten free: 1 tbsp rice flour and 2 tbsp almond flour)

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/16 tsp salt

pinch stevia OR 1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp plus 2 tsp water

2 tsp oil or melted margarine or applesauce

1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the streusel:

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1 and 1/4 tsp brown sugar

1/4 to 1/2 tsp oil or melted margarine (or applesauce)

tiny, tiny pinch salt

2 pecan halves (or walnut halves)


(If using an oven, preheat to 330 F.) Combine batter dry ingredients and mix well. Add wet and mix until just mixed. In a tiny bowl, combine all streusel ingredients. Fill a greased muffin tin 1/2 way with the batter (or a mug, if using the microwave). Sprinkle on two-thirds of the streusel, then spoon the remaining batter on top. Finally, sprinkle on the rest of the streusel. Cook 12-13 minutes in the oven, or around 1 minute in the microwave. (Microwave times may vary.)



When a season of life is on the decline and you know there is an imminent end, you feel as if you can prepare for it. The shock is not so abrupt, but the pain is still there. We have to understand a few things about our season that is ending and how we are in a transitioning period in our life. William Bridges wrote a book entitled “Transitions: Making sense of life’s changes.” This book identifies the transitions we all go through throughout our entire lives and then spends some time diving into what ending a season of life looks like. He says that there are endings, a neutral zone and then a new beginning. We will look at the specifics of “endings” this month!

“Endings are, let’s remember, experiences of dying. They are ordeals, and sometimes they challenge so basically our sense of who we are that we believe they will be the end of us… Even though we are all likely to view an ending as the conclusion of the situation it terminates, it is also-and it is too bad that we don’t have better ways of reminding ourselves of this-the initiation of a process. We have it backwards. Endings are the first, not the last, act of the play”~ Bridges

Let us go through this grieving together, but for a short time because we have so much to look forward to. We are not in the finality of our lives, so let’s not bog ourselves down. Instead, we will appreciate what we have had for the last four years and use it as a building block for success.

Class of 2014 Welcome Week

As you transition out, let this be a reminder of how far you’ve come.

Congrats Class of 2014!!!

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Taco Tuesday: Leaving the VU Community

Thank you all who came to Taco Tuesday: Leaving Community. For those who may have missed, we wanted to share the wisdom given by our recent alums, including Kayla Holtz (2011), Allison Tash (2013), Denny Reed (2011), Tim Burnette (2006), Mikaela Holford (2008), and Elisha Avne (2012) about their experience leaving Vanguard community. This included how to maintain and make new relationships, how to keep your faith outside of the convenience of chapel, and the realities of what immediate post-grad life is like. We have a video attached below with clips from the night, but we wanted to elaborate on a few thoughts we connected with.

1. Drop all expectations. Tim, who was really involved at Vanguard and now works in college ministry, said you “need to die to your expectations.” These expectations can be the job you think you’re immediately going into, relationships you feel will always be connected, and the change of what life will be like if you go back home.

2. Be intentional. To help release these expectations, we need to be intentional. This means being intentional with our friendships, getting to know our co-workers, and intentionality in your walk with Christ. You may go home to friends who do not believe in God, and as Denny shared, love them and keep strong in your faith, regardless of the influences they may have on you.

3. Take chances and don’t be afraid to fail. Remember that your time after Vanguard is a journey to not be scared of but to embrace and give your whole self to this new experience of life. Also, it is okay to not have a solid plan or job lined up after you graduate because things are going to change and don’t carry the fear of not knowing because doors will open up. Ultimately, do what you want to do and take a risk at what you think God has put on your heart to try. There is no such thing as a failure when you risk and trust in God in it all.

For those who weren’t able to make it to the event, we put together a video of some clips of the alumni speaking about the different areas of transitioning out of Vanguard.



Staying at VU for Turkey Day

No need to feel left out if you aren’t heading home for Thanksgiving. If you are looking for some way to make your break meaningful, we have suggestions for you!

-Relax! Spend some time with yourself by taking a stroll, resting, reading or catching up on your T.V. shows. Taking the time to enjoy the quiet of the dorms will help you unwind a bit from the stressful semester.

-Volunteer! A great way to spend your Thanksgiving is by giving back to the community. Here are a few places that will be needing help this season:

FULLERTON: Free easy-to-prepare meals: Distribution from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday and 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Thursday at Caring Hands Food Pantry, First Lutheran Church, 215 N. Lemon St. (714) 871-7820.

PLACENTIA: Free dinner: 6 p.m. Thursday, Placentia Presbyterian Church, 849 N. Bradford Ave., for the needy in north Orange County. Needed: nonperishable food items, frozen turkeys and volunteers. (714) 528-1438.

SANTA ANA: Volunteers: Deliver food baskets Wednesday. Sponsored by Olive Crest Homes and Services for Abused Children. Needed: nonperishable items. (714) 543-5437, Ext. 1144

TUSTIN: Free dinner: 5-6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Main Place Christian Fellowship, 13841 Red Hill Ave. All welcome. Needed: volunteers. (714) 505-1734.

SAN CLEMENTE: Free dinner: 6 p.m. Wednesday at San Clemente Community Center, 100 N. Calle Seville. Sponsored by Family Assistance Ministries. Needed: cooked food, volunteers and money. (949) 492-8477.

LAGUNA BEACH: Potluck dinner: Noon Thursday at Bluebird Park, Cress Street and Bluebird Canyon Drive. Sponsored by the Crosscultural Council and the Resource Center. Needed: volunteers to set up at 11 a.m. (949) 497-3936.

-Get ahead! Now is as good a time as any to catch up on any homework that you are behind on or begin working on some future assignments.

-Attend activities on campus! Friday, November 29, 2013 and Saturday, November 30, 2013 the Vanguard Men’s Basketball Team will be hosting the Vanguard Thanksgiving Tournament. Cheer on our athletes as they compete against Chapman University and La Sierra University.

-Meet new people! Chances are you aren’t the only student on campus over Thanksgiving break so go out and meet some fellow Vanguardians. Go out for dinner or get creative and Pinterest it up!



Adapted from

Going Home: First Thanksgiving

We know that Thanksgiving break is much needed and so exciting. Still, going home for your first holiday after being away can be challenging. We have put together a few helpful hints and tips to keep in mind that will make your trip home that much better.

-You will be going home as a new person: You’ve discovered a new way of being independent that your family and friends are not used to. Embrace the changes you’ve encountered and keep in mind that you may not be the only person to have gone through changes.

-Your parents have had to make adjustments to you leaving and now that you are home they want to be able to spend time with you and hear about your time away from home. Be mindful of your parents needs just as much as your own and work through factors such as curfew in a way that helps them understand who you have become.

-For those of you with siblings, be patient with them and understand that they’ve had to readjust to your absence as well.

-Remember that you aren’t the only one to have gone off to college. With that said be aware that your friends have also grown in different ways and may not act the way they did before you left. Understand the changes that have occurred in you and know that you and your friends can still have fun the way you used to.

-Be realistic about the changes that are happening in you and in those around you. It is natural and healthy for changes to occur so embrace them and make the most of the situations you are given. Communicate with your loved ones and continue to build upon those relationships as you spend time at home and prepare to return to school.

-Allow your mind to take a break. You need to remind yourself that it is okay to not have a million things running through your mind.

Adapted from

Words Create Worlds

As seniors begin to look at the world they are headed toward outside the classroom and ponder their next steps there is bound to be a time when they feel pieces of the puzzle are outside their control. I hear the twinge of uncertainty in their voices when we discuss their futures. I also hear the frustration and sense of defeat as they begin to feel the weight and pressure of the unknown future looming over them. I find that so much of this is connected to the language that they use. Katharine Brooks, Ed.D. says in her book You Majored in What: Mapping Your Career Path from Chaos to Career that changing vocabulary can change thinking (and I think most psychologists would agree!). In this season where we are examining our language, I challenge you to reflect and reframe as she says below.

“The language you use in any situation has the power to affect your perception of a situation. Imagine you are describing something as “a complete disaster.” What do you picture in your mind? Now, describe the same situation as “annoying.” Big difference, huh?

We often use language that inflates or exaggerates to make something more interesting than it really is. We describe everyday things as “amazing” or small events as “miracles.” While those words won’t likely hurt your everyday experiences, changing some words can help you clarify your feelings about a situation. For instance, the word should. How often do you use that word, particularly in relation to the job search-as in “I should go to medical school”?

Here’s an experiment: every time you would normally say “should,” change it to “want to.” So now you say, “I want to go to medical school.” That’s a very different sentence and much more powerful. It allows you to stop and think: do I really want to go to medical school? And if you do, you may feel more motivated now because it’s something you want, not something you have to do. Conversely, maybe when you word the sentence that way, you don’t actually want to go to medical school.

Here are some other changes to try:

  • Change can’t to won’t. Instead of saying, “I’d like to look for a job, but I can’t do it right now,” try saying, “I’d like to look for a job, but I won’t do it right now.” This may be a little harder to acknowledge, but it’s honest, and you can decide if you really are choosing to not do something.
  • Change but to and. Maybe you’ve said, “I’d like to look for a job, but I’m taking a really heavy course load right now.” This sounds reasonable, doesn’t it-after all, you’re very busy. It’s a good excuse. But let’s reframe the statement with one simple change: “I’d like to look for a job, and I’m taking a heavy course load right now.” Do you see how that simple use of the word and opens up the statement to possible solutions? The first statement closes off any chance of change or problem solving. It also draws into question whether it’s really true that you’d like to look for a job or if you’re looking for excuses. The second one accepts that you’d like to look for a job and you also have a challenge. You can then start thinking about ways to solve the problem.
  • Take a moment to use your reflective thinking skills and examine how often you have connected the words should, but, can’t and must to your job search.”

Excerpt taken directly from You Majored in What: Mapping Your Career Path from Chaos to Career by Katharine Brooks, Ed.D. (2009, pg. 80-81).