Tag Archives: winter break

Sugar Overload: Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipes

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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By guest blogger Tiana Bouma
Tiana is a senior at University of Oregon double majoring in Political Science and Journalism with a focus in magazine. Her hometown is now Bend, OR but she graduated from high school in Danville, CA. After graduating from UO, she plans on traveling and working for National Geographic. During her spare time, she enjoys music, reading, sports and movies.

The weather is getting colder. The fall season is long over and Thanksgiving has come and gone. Winter time means we are given little reprieve from classes and homework and tests and everything else professors throw our way. Winter break is almost here!

Winter break also means time with family, amazing food, and some seasonal winter movies. There is something irresistible about the aroma of warm spices and freshly baked goodies.  Mixing up batches of dough and baking trays of cookies while listening to holiday music is a great activity you can do during your time off.

Holiday-shaped sugar cookies with frosting are classic, yet are also an easy fall back. In addition, there are so many more choices for a new baking adventure!

Here are 2 great recipes to get you rolling (pun intended!):
(Gathered from allrecipes.com and foodnetwork.com)

Frosted Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

by allrecipes.com


  • 3/4 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 drops any color food coloring


  1. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove cookies from baking sheets to cool on wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Mix in the milk one tablespoon at a time until a good spreading consistency is reached. Stir in food coloring to desired shade. Decorate cooled cookies, and set on waxed paper to harden.

Peppermint Candy Cane Twists

by allrecipes.com


  • 1 package (18-ounce) refrigerated sugar cookie dough, room temperature (recommended:
  • Pillsbury), or home-made sugar cookie dough
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (recommended: McCormick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring


Cut the roll of cookie dough in half. Put the halves in separate large mixing bowls. In 1 bowl, thoroughly mix 1/4 cup of the flour and the peppermint extract into cookie dough. In the second bowl, add the remaining 1/4 cup flour and enough food coloring to make a red dough. Mix well with gloved hands until the color is well blended.

Divide the white and red dough into 24 pieces each, (for a total of 48 pieces). Roll each piece into a rope 8 inches long and about 1/4-inch in diameter.

To shape candy canes, arrange 1 rope of each color side by side on parchment lined cookie sheets. Gently twist together and shape into a candy cane. Repeat with the remaining pieces, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake until edges are very lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest, about 5 minutes, before transferring the cookies to racks. Gently remove them from the cookie sheets with a long metal spatula and cool on cooling racks.

What are you looking forward to baking this holiday season?

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Why Going Home for Break is Awesome

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By guest blogger Kelsey Bradshaw
Kelsey is a sophomore at the University of Oregon majoring in Journalism and Facebook (wait, that’s not a real major?!). Originally a track star from Medford, Oregon, she now enjoys going for runs with her friends and working out at Eugene Crossfit. She also enjoys visiting National Parks, playing in the snow, and hanging out at the beach…double points if they’re all at the same time.

As soon as I come home for the holidays, I can predict that certain things are going to happen. First (for some inexplicable reason), I lose any previous ability to do dishes. I also get selective blindness that enables me to no longer see any form of textbook and/or schoolwork. I like to call this phenomenon “Homeitis,” and it’s my favorite kind of sickness.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Party with old friends by Randy Lane

Coming home for the holidays is a wonderful, wonderful occasion. When else during the year are you going to have someone voluntarily cook for you, not to mention, laundry services? My parents’ laundry skills surpass mine by leaps and bounds (“it’s so…soft! And the same color as when I put it in!”).

It’s also one of the only times you don’t have to pay for groceries. Say you decide to try a detox diet when you come home, after you have the preliminary “I’m home let’s stuff my face with everything I can get my hands on” feast, celebrated in most homes nationwide. You don’t have to pay for the wild-caught Alaskan salmon and organic vegetables, as long as you can convince one of your parents (whichever is more susceptible to your patented “poor starving college student look of despair”) to help your cause.

The holidays aren’t just about having your parents do things for you and buy you your heart’s content, though. You get the chance to snuggle up and watch movies with them, and see their faces light up with joy when you get them just the thing they wanted for Christmas (cashmere sweater and golf balls? Check and check).

This is also the best time to see all of your BFFL’s from high school. Attending ugly Christmas sweater parties and catching up over secret Santa presents is one of the best parts about Christmas break.  There’s no better time to tell them about your new boyfriend and gossip about your old high school one (he’s Facebook official with who?!).

Going back to the place you grew up brings back all sorts of wonderful childhood nostalgia. Plus, your parents are there to spoil you and love you to pieces (awww…).  Sleeping in every day and getting to see your high school friends are luxuries you often can only do during break. But let’s be honest, pretty soon we’ll be missing our roommates and wishing our hometown had even one place that delivered until 3am. Enjoy the break from school while it lasts. Eventually we realize we aren’t so sick of being in college, even though our attempts at cooking will never live up to Mom’s.

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Oldies but Goodies: Black and White Movies

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By guest blogger Serena Piper
Journalism major at the University of Oregon. Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Oregon. Magazine, freelance blogger, future world traveler. In her spare time, she likes to read as many books as she can, go for long drives, and peruse news websites. Hopes to one day write for National Geographic.

by tvtropes.org

Why is it that December is when all of the black and white movies come on TV (It’s a Wonderful Life Anyone)? Maybe it’s to remind us that even though the year brought us newer and more technology-advanced movies, nothing comes close to the classics.

If you are like me over winter break, you’ll occasionally be looking for something to do during those rainy (and hopefully snowy?) days we would normally have class. In the spirit of the holidays, let’s revisit some of the best black and whites of all time!

First on the list is a classic chick flick. Guys, you will get major brownie points for renting this for a Friday night movie night. The movie is Casablanca (1942) and it’s set during World War II.  Women love it for the romantic love triangle and men love it for the war action. And it features two of the best actors of that time, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

If you’re an Alfred Hitchcock fan (think The Birds), go for 1960’s thriller Psycho. Stolen money, horror, a case of the crazies, and suspense are what makes this movie a classic. And did you know that the blood in the infamous shower scene is really chocolate sauce?

Love a good mystery? The passengers on a European train are forced to stop at a remote hotel when bad weather ensues. Socialite Iris Henderson meets the old governess Miss Froy, but shortly afterwards, Miss Froy disappears. What happened to her? Rent The Lady Vanishes (1938), also directed by Hitchcock, to find out!

Anthony Hopkins is, himself, a classic. So why not rent one of his movies? If you’re in the mood for something completely different, rent The Elephant Man (1980). How can you turn it away after reading IMDB’s summary? “A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his

by wikimedia

monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.” Sounds like a winner to me!

To end on a happy note, it seems like it would be a crime to not have Some Like It Hot (1959) on this black-and-white classics list. You can’t go wrong with a cast comprised of Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon, especially when two of them are disguised as females in a band to escape the mob.  Bottom line – it’s hilarious, a total feel good movie, and there’s no good reason for you NOT to see it!

What are your favorite black-and-white movies? Do you have a certain one you like to watch over the holidays? Let us know!

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Mike’s New Year’s Resolutions

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by joka2000

For a lot of people, the new year represents a fresh start and clean slate to start the new year off right. As a college student, the new year is the sign of a fresh semester and the opportunity to take new classes and earn better grades. Sadly though for me, this new semester will also be my last semester, as I will be graduating from the University of Virginia in May. Although I certainly have no regrets (yet!), here are my top new year’s resolutions for making my last semester, my best semester.

1. Attend a UVa basketball game and sit in the student section

Although I’m embarrassed to admit, especially because I’m such an avid sports fan, I have never gone to a home UVa basketball game (unbelievable, right?). There’s certainly something special about college athletics compared to the pro game, and I crave that last opportunity to root for my alma mater. Plus, there’s nothing more fun than chanting “Hoo’s your daddy?” at the opposing players and coaches!

2. Cure myself of 4th Year apathy

Everybody knows that seniors, whether it be in high school or college, have a tendency to care less about school and more about having fun. While its certainly fun to be a 2nd semester senior, finishing out school on a high note will be a good boost when god forbid I enter the real world next fall. On the bright side, I’m taking all electives next semester which should certainly make this resolution easier to accomplish.

3. Streak the Lawn

Hey! It might be an archaic, nonsensical UVa tradition but it is a rite of passage for all 4-th years nonetheless. The route from the famed rotunda down toward the statue of Thomas Jefferson might be cold, and snowy but the reward is so worthwhile. What better time to engage in this distinctly UVa tradition then when I’ll be walking down this same route maybe a couple weeks later to finally graduate!

So there you have it, my three goals or resolutions for the upcoming spring semester. A perfect mix of pleasure and hard work should make these goals attainable, but hey, isn’t the best part about making new year’s resolutions is not completing them?

Tell us what your New Year’s resolution is in the comments below to be entered into today’s coffee giveaway!

Comment on our blog  and be entered in to win one of our weekly coffee giveaways. Each winner will receive a $10 gift card, to one of the following: Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, or TBD.  Winners will be chosen at random and announced each Wednesday.

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Mike’s Top 3 Favorite Parts About Being Home

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As a student, coming home after a long, difficult semester is probably one of the most rewarding things in life. I live in a fraternity house at the University of Virginia, and let’s just say that the heating provided in the house isn’t exactly modern.  However, I look back on the last 3.5 months and realize how lucky and fortunate I am to attend college and grow not only as a student but as a person. Coming home is a great relief, as I am finally free of the stresses of hard classes and tests that seem to be every couple of days. That being said, here are my top 3 favorite parts about being home after a long semester in school:

1) I can finally fall asleep without hoping my hall mates will turn off their music.

I could tell you how great it is to fall asleep in pure silence, but I’m sure you know how awesome it is too! No more headphones playing music loud enough to drown out exterior noise yet soft enough to enable sleep (tough line to walk), and no more waking up to the sound of a stereo blasting terrible music. Above all, it’s great to finally sleep in my own bed again!

2) My mother cooks much better than any cafeteria or house cook can provide.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat anything as long as I know it hasn’t been sitting out for hours (or days!), but there is something about home cooked food. Plus, it’s always nice to eat off something other than paper plates for a change! Another bonus is my mom will occasionally ask what I would like for dinner, uhh that never happens at school!

3) I know I won’t have to step into a library for at least 30 days!

I don’t mind going to class or studying for a test in the comfort of my room, but the library is probably my least favorite place to study in the world. Sure it’s quiet but usually it’s also packed with people, and the air is always tense with concentration and competition. Every time I walk into the library at UVa everybody seems to pick their head up and acknowledge that a new competitor has entered the study arena. Not exactly my favorite place to relax!

After hitting the grindstone for what seems like a year, the time off helps me slow down and appreciate everything around me. What are your favorite parts about finishing the semester or returning home after a long time in school?

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