What’s Happening in October

Can you believe that it’s October and we’re already a month into classes?! This semester is already flying by! We’re so excited for this month because we have tons of fun events for you to enjoy. Keep reading to see what we’re looking forward to!

We want to start off by telling you about an exciting promotion we have going on in October called Dine & Donate! We’re donating 1 bag of food to Maria’s Place for every Commuter, Faculty and Staff Meal Plan purchased in October! Donations will be made in plan holders name. Click here for more info or to purchase a plan.

On Wednesday, October 3rd we’re getting a taste of Charleston, South Carolina! We’re hosting a Cityscapes lunch special at Hilltop Cafe and the special that we’re looking forward to the most might just be Shrimp & Grits! 🍤

Thursday, October 4th is National Taco Day and you know we’re not missing this celebration! We’re serving tacos for lunch at Hilltop Cafe and Memorial Hall. This day is so special, we just had to plan it for both locations! 🌮

On Tuesday, October 9th we’re welcoming the fall season with a fun celebration. We’ll be serving fall favorites during lunch at Hilltop Cafe and Memorial Hall. Be on the look out for some fun pop up specials! 🍂🍁

The Farmington Farm Truck is coming back again to visit on Wednesday, October 10th. We’ve been loving all of the fresh & local produce, baked goods and apple cider! The truck will be on the Student Center Circle at 10:30am-12:30pm and you definitely don’t want to miss the opportunity to shop for fresh and local groceries! 🥦🌽🥕🍎🍪

Get your appetite ready for some authentic Louisiana dishes! On Thursday, October 11th we’re getting a taste of New Orleans during lunch in Memorial Hall. We’ve been loving the Cityscapes events and hope that you have been too! 🎷⚜️

Monday, October 15th marks the start of a very important time for us and the CCSU community! Our Satisfaction Surveys begin and we’re looking for your feedback on how we’re doing, what we’re serving, and what you’d like to see from us in the future. We’ll be handing out goodies for everyone who takes it in the dining hall, and you can also enter to win a grand prize! We’ll be posting the survey link online as well, so be sure it take it if you have a free minute before it ends on October 27th! 😊

We love trying new foods and we know that you do too! On Tuesday, October 16th we’re serving Asian cuisine for our Exotic Eats lunch special in Memorial Hall. It’s also World Food Day, so we can’t wait to celebrate with a tasty menu! 🥡

We want you to get your creative minds flowing on Wednesday, October 17th! We’re having a special event to celebrate National Dessert and National Cookie Month. Join us for Sweet Things at 12pm-2pm in Devil’s Den to decorate your own cookie! 🍪

On Thursday, October 18th we’re kicking off Homecoming with a fun celebration at Hilltop Cafe. It’s also National Chocolate Cupcake Day, so we’ll obviously be decorating some! 🎂

Be sure to stop by Memorial Hall to pick up a pumpkin on Friday, October 19th! We’re hosting our annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest and we can’t wait how creative you get with yours. 🎃

On Monday, October 22nd we’re getting a taste of Spain. Join us for lunch in Memorial Hall if you’re craving traditional Spanish cuisine!

The Farmington Farm Truck is back again on Wednesday, October 24th! We love supporting the local community and eating fresh food, and we’re also crazy about those baked goods! Be sure to stop by the Student Center Circle from 10:30am-12:30pm to get yourself produce and goodies! 🥦🌽🥕🍎🍪

On Wednesday, October 24th we’re going all out! We’re hosting Premium Night during dinner in Memorial Hall and we want you to know that this dinner will be the best dinner ever!!

We think it’s a known fact that everyone loves breakfast for dinner! Join us for dinner on Thursday, October 25th for our Flip Pancakes bar at Hilltop Cafe. Whipped cream, chocolate chips….we’re already dreaming about it. 😋🥞

Be sure to return your decorated pumpkin to Memorial Hall on Friday, October 26th. We’ll be uploading pictures of each pumpkin on our Facebook page so we can tally up votes and award a prize for the winner! 🎃

Mondays are better when meatballs are involved, right?! Join us on Monday, October 29th for our Meatball Madness lunch special in Memorial Hall and Hilltop Cafe! 🍝

On Tuesday, October 30th we’re hosting an event called Dining Through the Decades: Food & Flicks during dinner at Hilltop Cafe! We’ll be offering a classic movie inspired menu. There is also a national sweepstakes that you can enter and we’ll be posting it mid-October! 🎥📽️

We’ll be celebrating Halloween on Wednesday, October 31st during dinner in Memorial Hall. Join us to see what spooky specials we’ll be serving! Be sure to stop by Starbucks in the library to see your favorite baristas dressed up in costumes!👻

Wow, so many fun events this month! Don’t forget to be on the lookout for our surprise pop up events. We can’t wait to see you making memories in our dining halls this October!

PS. Click here to tell us about an employee who makes your day! We appreciate your feedback! 😊

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Meet The Team: Will Mejias

We’re back again with our final Meet The Team blog post of the summer. We’re so sad to see it end, but we’re ready to see you in a few short days! Today we get to learn more about Will Mejias, our Campus Executive Chef.

Will has been with us at CCSU Dining for almost two years now. His favorite part about being our Campus Executive Chef is being around food, obviously, and also adding new trends into our daily menus. We definitely saw some fun items integrated into our menus last semester, we can’t wait to see what he’s got in store for us this fall!

When we asked Will what his favorite meal of the day was, he said dinner. I mean, he is a chef and it is the best meal to cook, right?! If you plan on taking Will out to dinner, there better be Indian cuisine on the menu. He loves all of the flavors and spices that are incorporated into the dishes. Will, have you ever cooked your own Indian style food? Actually, who are we kidding…..you probably have! 👨🏻‍🍳

When you plan your Indian dinner outing with Will, you better invite his Fiance, Kate. He has dinner with Kate almost every night, but he loves her company, so why not plan another dinner date?! Will and Kate love to try new places that offer new food and drink trends. We can definitely see your trendiness in our menus at Memorial, we heard that the students are loving the Poke bowls! But Will, we want to know what your favorite recent food trend is. You left us hangin’! We’re into crazy donuts…😋🍩

When Will isn’t at work, you can find him out on the football field coaching his sons team. Do you cook them pre-game snacks, coach, or maybe post-game dinners?! Will also likes getting his group of friends together and going to new cities to try local beers and discover new restaurants. Sounds like a ton of fun, maybe one day you can travel to India to try some true homemade cuisine!

Before we go, there’s one last thing you should know about Will. He does have a secret talent, can you guess what it is? Well, we’ll just tell you…Will is a great singer! Maybe from all those hours spent listening to music in the kitchen. We can definitely take you down in a karaoke contest…..but, only if they play some Britney Spears! 🎤

Well, you’ve officially met all of our CCSU Dining office staff! We’re so glad we were able to share fun facts with you. Next time you see us around, don’t forget to say hi!

Meet The Team: Laurie Pelow

Can you believe the summer is almost over already?! We’re going to miss our Meet The Team posts, but hey, at least you got to know some new friendly faces! Today you get to learn more about Laurie Pelow, our Retail Manager.

Laurie has been with Sodexo for 25 years, but just joined our team this summer and we’ve been welcoming her with open arms! Laurie’s favorite part about working here is the people that she gets to deal with. There’s always someone new to meet around here, and it’s great to be involved with a campus community!

When we asked Laurie what her favorite meal of the day was, she said dessert….obviously! That’s one of our favorites too, Laurie. Are you more of a fruity dessert lover, or chocolate? You left us wondering! When Laurie is looking to eat a meal other than dessert, she loves Sushi. 🍣 California roll or avocado roll? We need to know these things, Laurie!!

If you’re taking Laurie out for a Sushi dinner, you better invite Andrew Lincoln. Why did she pick Andrew you ask? Laurie told us it was “for obvious reasons.” He’s in tons of shows and movies, so I’m sure there would be much to talk about, and since Laurie loves dessert, you know it’ll go way past dinner!

Laurie is very active when she isn’t working. She has so many hobbies, so we’re going to list them all! When Laurie isn’t with us, you can find her playing softball, taking a walk, working out, reading and golfing. Laurie also likes to spend time with family, go on vacation and get this, she likes to do home refinishing! We find that so interesting, we wish you told us about your latest project, Laurie! Next time you go on vacation, bring us with you….we can fit in your suitcase…we think. 😜

We’re excited for Laurie to be a part of our team and see how much fun we have when the semester starts! Check back with us in a few hours for our last and final Meet The Team blog post!

Feelin’ Fit Friday: 5 Tips For Setting Smart Goals

Happy Friday! Today is our last Feelin’ Fit Friday post, and we’re feeling more prepared than ever to live a healthy lifestyle. We thought that today’s topic was perfect for our last edition. We’re talking about how to set smart goals and achieve them. The semester is about to start and goal setting is definitely in full bloom!

So…you’re about to start classes and your mind is racing. You’re thinking about setting academic goals, fitness goals, financial goals…whatever it may be, they’re all one in the same. Goals are an end point, but it’s how you get there that brings great success. Here’s our tips on how to set yourself up for success and achieve your goals!

  1. Evaluate your goal and reflect on the reason behind it. If you’re aiming to receive an A in all of your classes, ask yourself why. The answer may be obvious, but knowing the exact reason can help put you on the right path.
  2. Make sure your goals are SMART. You want your goal to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. You goal should be eager enough to motivate you, but it’s good to make sure your goal isn’t on too much of a time crunch. For example, if your goal is to gain 5 pounds of muscle, it’s better to give yourself a few months rather than 2 weeks so you have time to focus.
  3. Determine the steps that you need to take to reach your goal. For example, if your goal is to learn how to cook, it would be best to start off by watching cooking TV shows and videos, then maybe sign up for a cooking class, and finally try cooking one meal a day.
  4. Be accountable. Tell the people that are closest to you about your goals. When the people around you know that you’re working at something, they will ask you about it and it will help motivate you and keep you on track.
  5. Reevaluate your success. Once you’ve reached your goal, look back at the progress that you’ve made. Was your goal to learn a new language? If so, what was the best learning technique and what did it teach you? Reevaluating can help you move towards bigger goals when you’re ready for a new challenge!

We hope that you’re ready to crush your goals this semester! If one of your goals is health, fitness or nutrition related, check out the Bite App by Sodexo in the App Store or Google Play. Once you’ve downloaded it, enter the code “F2X42” to see our full menus and nutritional information for Memorial Hall and Hilltop Cafe.

Good luck and we’ll see you soon!

 

Meet The Team: Kim Olivier

Hi there, we’re back again to introduce a new CCSU Dining team member! Today we get to learn more about Kim Olivier, our Food Service Manager.

Kim just joined our team less than two weeks ago, but she has been with Sodexo for three years! Kim’s favorite part about her day is interacting with students and she being involved in an academic community. She loves to be a mentor and share her food service knowledge with them.

When we asked Kim what her favorite meal of the day was, she said dinner. She has so many favorite types of cuisine, she couldn’t pick just one! I mean, how could you when there’s so many delicious types of food in this world?! Her top three favorite are Tex Mex, Asian Fusion and Italian. We’re with ya Kim, we LOVE them all too!

If you’re inviting Kim to enjoy some cultural cuisine over dinner, Bono better be on the invitee list! Kim admires all of his valuable skills, such as being a musician, songwriter and philanthropist. What’s one thing that Kim would say to Bono you ask? Well, she would thank him for using his celebrity status to fight for social justice, end hunger and poverty, as well as fight disease. She admires his nonprofit, ONE, that raises awareness through media to help families become sustainable. He sounds like an all around great man, we wan’t a recap of the dinner conversations!

When Kim isn’t at work, she loves being outside, and one of her favorite hobbies is swimming. Let me tell you, it’s definitely been a great summer for that, Kim. 🌞 When Kim isn’t swimming, she likes to go horseback riding…..you must be so brave! If you spot her out on the town, she’s probably enjoying music at a concert or visiting a vineyard. Hey, Kim, you left us hanging…we want to know what your favorite type of concert is…is it rock or jazz, maybe country?

If there’s anything else you should know about Kim, it’s that she loves to travel….I mean, who doesn’t? 🌍 She has a good friend that lives in Kailua, Hawaii and she’s lucky enough to have visited her six times! She’s even planning another trip soon. Can you squeeze us in your suitcase?! 🏝️✈️

Well, now you’re definitely an expert on Kim! We were lucky enough to introduce TWO of our CCSU Dining team members today, and we’ll be back next Wednesday with two more. Be sure to check back next week!

Meet The Team: Dave Jensen

We’re back again this week to introduce another CCSU Dining team member, but we also have surprise! This week and next week you’ll get to meet TWO new members of our dining team instead of one! Today you get to learn more about Dave Jensen, our Chef Manager.

Dave has worked with Sodexo and CCSU Dining for five years now. His favorite part about working here is the students, and he loves working alongside our student workers. He also likes to help our diners with their needs and special requests. I bet you’ve seen Dave walking around in Hilltop Cafe and Memorial Hall before!

When we asked Dave what his favorite meal of the day was, he said lunch. If you plan on taking Dave out for lunch, make sure you’re bringing him to a restaurant that has French cuisine on the menu, it’s his all-time favorite! So Dave, what type of French food is your favorite…..is it quiche, or maybe macarons? Whatever the dish is, we know you’ll say “Bon Appetit!” 👨🏼‍🍳

When you take Dave out to a French restaurant, Bob Cane better be at the table to surprise him! Dave would love to have dinner with Bob since he is the creator of Batman. Dave calls himself a “comic geek,” so we’re predicting that dinner will go past dessert and end with a few empty coffee cups. ☕

Speaking of comic books, that is one of Dave’s favorite hobbies. Do you just collect them, or do you read them too? You left us hangin’, Dave! When a comic book turns into a movie, we can promise that you’ll see Dave at the movie theater! He’s a big movie guy, too. When Dave isn’t reading comic books or watching movies, you can find him outside playing softball. Do you have a Batman helmet for when you’re playing, Dave?! When he isn’t assisting his team with a grand slam, he’s cheffin’ it up in the kitchen. Psst….Dave, it’s almost lunch time, what’s on your menu today?!?! 🥘🍝

Before we leave, Dave wants to share a few fun facts. Before working with CCSU Dining, he worked at ESPN and handled diets for the talent. He said that The Rock would eat two baked potatoes, steamed broccoli and grilled chicken. Interesting. 🥔🥦 Lastly, Dave wants you to know that his grandfather had 250 lobster traps off the coast of Maine! I bet you had a lot of lobster rolls when you were growing up.

Well, that’s all about Dave! We’ll be back in a few hours to meet another CCSU Dining team member! Talk soon.

Mindful Monday

Hey there, knowing that classes start in a few short weeks, we’re here to deliver some exciting news about the upcoming semester! Do you remember our satisfaction surveys that we ran in the Fall and Spring semester of last year? Well, we’re about to spill the beans on something so exciting!

We received a lot of great feedback from the surveys and were able to make smaller changes and adjustments during the Spring semester, such as the fresh coat in paint in Memorial Hall. Although 72% of our diners were satisfied with our healthy offerings in the 2017-2018 academic year, one of our most popular comments that we received was that you want to see more healthy and balanced meals in Memorial Hall. Well, you’re in luck!

We’ve been busy planning and prepping for the upcoming semester during the summer months and we want to let you know that we are listening! We’re introducing a completely new station on the south side of Memorial Hall called Mindful this Fall semester!

Mindful is a station that is dedicated to maximizing nutrients and flavor with health and wellness in mind. Mindful delivers satisfying portions all under 600 calories that are not only delicious, but also meet a wide array of specific nutritional guidelines that control the levels of calories, fat, saturated and trans fats, cholesterol and sodium, while maximizing the amount of flavor, fiber and other essential nutrients.

We have so many delicious and healthy meals planned for you, and we even invited our Registered Dietitian to visit campus on Thursday, September 6th so you can ask her any questions that you may have about healthy dining or Mindful!

Click here for more information on Mindful by Sodexo.

Feelin’ Fit Friday: 5 Foods For Brain Function

Can you believe that Friday is here already?! There’s only a few short weeks until classes start again, so we figured today’s Feelin’ Fit Friday blog topic fit perfectly! Today we’re talking about five of the best foods for increased brain function. 🥦🧠

  1. Eggs– By starting your morning with eggs of any kind, you’re helping to maintain your memory and brain cell communication. Eggs are also filled with protein, which can keep you full and give you energy throughout the day. They’re also very versatile, meaning you can add in veggies, meats or cheeses for extra flavor!
  2. Blueberries– Aside from being filled with antioxidants, blueberries help protect your brain from aging-related conditions. They can also improve memory and increase cognitive performance.
  3. Salmon– Including salmon in your diet can help improve brain cell retention and strengthen brain power in young adults.
  4. Nuts– Snacking on nuts such as almonds can help improve your memory. Walnuts are also a great snack for brain function since they’re filled with antioxidants that can fight cognitive decline. Walnuts are also filled with DHA, which help fight inflammation!
  5. Dark Chocolate– Dark chocolate is an obvious winner in our eyes! It tastes great and it’s filled with healthy antioxidants and caffeine. By snacking on dark chocolate, you can improve blood flow to your brain and increase your memory.

By incorporating these few foods into your diet, you can help support healthy brain function. Maybe you’ll even see some improved test scores and study sessions by snacking on these foods! Be sure to check back with us next Friday for the last edition of Feelin’ Fit Friday!

 

Meet the Team: Sandy McNamara

We’re back again this Wednesday to introduce another CCSU Dining team member! Today you get to learn more about Sandy McNamara, our Catering Administrative Assistant.

Sandy has been with CCSU Dining for four years now, and we’re so lucky to have her bubbly personality on our team! Her favorite part about working here is working with the students. She really enjoys helping them with their food orders for club meetings and events.

When we asked Sandy what her favorite meal of the day was, she said breakfast, especially when she’s traveling! She loves coming across quaint cafes that serve up local specialties. A nice little road trip with a stop for delicious pancakes and fresh OJ? Sandy, you can definitely count us in….wait, are we there yet…how much longer?!?!

If you’re taking Sandy out dinner, there better be some Italian dishes on the menu! If she could have dinner with anyone in the world, it would be her dad. He passed away over twenty years ago and she would love to sit and catch up and tell him all about her children and all of the milestones that have happened in their lives. I’m sure so many memories have been made over the last few years that you’d really like to share with him, maybe even that delicious Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie recipe of yours. 😉 🍪

When Sandy isn’t at work or traveling to find cute breakfast places, she loves to let her creativity flow. She’s able to use her creativity to make fun marketing pieces for the muffin shop that she works at on the weekends. She loves the opportunity and the freedom that creativity gives her, the muffin shop even post them on their social media! Sometimes, Sandy surprises the office with muffins in the mornings, and let me just tell you….they’re delicious and we’re thankful. 😊

Well, we’re going to go snack on a chocolate chip muffin now (shout out to Sandy), so check back with us next Wednesday to meet another CCSU Dining team member!

 

Our 5 Favorite Seasonal Foods in August

What a summer this has been, can you believe that it’s already August?! Between the rain and excessive heat, it’s been a tough time for produce to grow, but that doesn’t stop us from enjoying it. Today we’re sharing our five favorite seasonal ingredients in Connecticut this month!

  1. Nectarines– There are so many things you can make with nectarines, such as jams, cobblers, tarts, or just enjoy them on their own. Our absolute summertime favorite is homemade Nectarine Popsicles….they make for a great treat on a hot day!
  2. Broccoli– The most delicious vegetable is broccoli, don’t you agree?! It’s such a versatile ingredient, you can eat as a side dish, have it on pizza, and even enjoy it with pasta! We love veggie pizza with broccoli on top!
  3. Mint– Mint is a great add in when your dish needs a little flavor. You can add it into anything, from drinks to salsas, to smoothies…it’s definitely a creative ingredient. Our favorite mint recipe is Mango Mint Salsa, it has such an array of tastes and textures in each bite!
  4. Potatoes– Roasted, fried, baked, sauteed…..the possibilities are endless when it comes to potatoes. You can eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Our favorite way to eat potatoes is hash-browns or garlic-roasted…we still haven’t decided! Sweet potatoes are also in season in August in Connecticut. They make for a healthy side dish, or even sweet potato french fries!
  5. Watermelon– Ahh, the last slice of summer. Watermelon is truly natures candy, it’s so sweet, yet so refreshing. We love to make watermelon sorbet for an after dinner treat!

We’re ready to enjoy August’s best produce and we hope that you are too!

See more of August’s best produce here!