Micro-Meals of the Week: Thanksgiving Edition

With Michelle Thompson

Bringing you ways to eat like an adult, without having to actually cook like one.

If you’re the average college student, you probably arrived back to campus with many containers or bags of your family’s Thanksgiving feast leftovers–the same helpings of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and corn you’ve been eating 2-3 times a day since last Thursday… You didn’t necessarily *want* to take it with you, but your mom was very insistent and, be honest with yourself, it’s better than having to actually cook for yourself again. But the problem still remains; you’re sick and tired of the same meal over and over and over. Well, have no fear, for a beautiful invention called a microwave is here! I, Michelle Thompson, will be giving you some creative ways to make leftovers look and taste like newovers!… Okay the catchphrase is a work in progress but you know what I mean. Anyway, just follow these simple steps for an easy, yet tasty spin on Turkey-day food.

This week’s recipe: Thanksgiving Dinner Soup!

  1. Cook a cup of pasta in a microwaveable bowl (refer to my previous post on cooking pasta in the microwave for full instructions) 
  2. Locate your leftovers. Everything from turkey, broccoli, corn, carrots, cooked potatoes and even the stuffing is fair game. Mix all these ingredients with a ½ cup of a broth of your choice (chicken broth is recommended) 
  3. Locate spices such as salt, pepper, garlic salt, sage, thyme, even something spicy if you want. Add any or all of these to taste (like a pinch or two since this is a single serving bowl of soup. Stir. 
  4. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds at a time until soup is as toasty as you like it, then add the cooked pasta. (You can also melt shredded cheese on top for some extra yum).
  5. Be careful not to singe your tongue on the first sip or the entire meal will be tasteless and the entire process will have been a waste of time, as will this article, so… watch yourself… 
  6. Pair with some bread, mashed potatoes, leftover cranberry sauce or whatever else you can find and Bone Apple Teeth, you have a completely new meal!

No, that was not a typo it was obviously French, goodbye. Tune in next time for another micro meal and good luck in your last couple weeks of the semester!

‘Spooky’ Foreign Language Poetry Reading

By: Michelle Thompson

Students of various foreign language courses participated in a poetry reading on Thursday, Nov. 2, in the Slep Student Center.

The poems were recited in German, French, Russian, and Spanish by students wishing to receive extra credit points in their level 1, level 2, or level 3 courses. The poems could be readings of famous foreign language poetry, translations of famous American poetry, or original works by the students, but there were two rules: they couldn’t be in English, and they had to have a generally “spooky” theme.

Many of the poems told stories of zombies or skeletons rising from the dead, while others explored darker themes such as contemplating what happens to one’s soul after death.

Some students got creative with their presentations and used visual props. Russian 3 student Joseph Lent did a theatrical recitation of propaganda poetry from a Russian soldier speaking about the Holocaust, a German 3 student brought in his guitar and sang his poem, and a group of German 1 students had a classmate dress up and act out the poem as it was being recited.




The audience may not have always been able to understand what the poets were saying, but it still made for an out-of-the-ordinary and sufficiently “spooky” event … and the free pizza didn’t hurt either.

ASL Instructors Hold Diversity Panel in Misciagna

By: Michelle Thompson
Photos: Marina Scipioni

Leslie Kelly and her ASL interpreter

On Wednesday, Nov. 1, Penn State Altoona hosted a Cultural Diversity Panel put together by two American Sign Language instructors, Ashley Bennett and Shasta Dreese. The panel was held in the Misciagna Family Center for Performing Arts and consisted of four deaf professionals, each of whom came with an ASL or verbal translator for both the hearing and hard-of-hearing audience’s convenience.

The panelist shared their background, their experience as a partially or fully deaf individual, and their involvement in the workforce. Some shared experiences of being the only deaf employee in a “hearing” work environment, while others spoke of their time working with fellow deaf individuals in various settings. Those who did work in hearing environments elaborated on the difficulties they faced.

“[My radiology internship] didn’t accept that I needed an interpreter with me,” said first panelist Erica Kauffman, “they thought that would violate HIPPA and confidentiality… so I ended up quitting.”

Panelist Leslie Kelly told the story of how she went from being partially deaf to profoundly deaf quite suddenly in the middle of her work day. Not knowing sign language or having an interpreter, she too had to quit because her position required her to take phone calls and interact with clients.

ASL instructor Ashley Bennett sharing her backstory

However, all four spoke of how they eventually found success and satisfaction in fields that helped fellow deaf individuals in professional or educational settings. Several of the panelists explained the importance of expanding resources and services to more than just those in the immediate community. During the Q&A session at the end of the panel, Erica Kauffman spoke on how the the education system can work to integrate deaf resources into the hearing world.

“American Sign Language is one of the top three most used languages in America,” said Kauffman, “so why don’t students and parents get together and propose to the board that maybe they have ASL as a foreign language in high schools?”

The panelists also had some personal stories and comical misunderstandings they encountered. Leslie Kelly shared a story about how her son tricked her into letting him blast rap music with explicit lyrics as they drove to school in the mornings because she could only feel the beat of the music but not hear the words. Kelly said it wasn’t until she realized she was getting dirty looks from the crossing guard that she investigated further and made her son listen to different music in the mornings.

Ashley Bennett shared what she said was an equally comical but mortifying experience when she bought a necklace in the mall and was chased down by mall security (which caused a big scene) because the cashier forgot to remove the security tag and Bennett didn’t even know the alarms had gone off when she left the store.

Audience members got to talk to the panelists after the Q&A session

The panelists agreed that while these types of mishaps were funny to look back on, they still contributed to an internalized insecurity about their deafness that can affect a deaf person’s self esteem.

Amongst the audience were the students of panelist Ashley Bennett’s Intermediate Signing course at Saint Francis University. After the Q&A session, these students were encouraged to practice their ASL skills with the panelists or any other deaf members of the audience. In addition, all audience members had the opportunity to come up to the panelists and ask further questions or just chat.


Pumpkin Decorating on Hallow’s Eve

By Michelle Thompson
Photos by Jeena Cadigan

T’was the night before Halloween and all through the campus, not a student was studying– because they were carving pumpkins in Slep!

On Monday, Oct. 30, the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association hosted a pumpkin carving/decorating event in the Slep Student Center. As long as students brought their own pumpkins, they were provided with paint, carving utensils, refreshments and even some spooky music to aid the artistic process. Many participants opted for painting rather than carving their pumpkins, but all designs were nothing short of creative.

Anais Feliciano, Junior


“They told me it couldn’t be done, so I proved them wrong,” said Junior Anais Feliciano, showing off her Pikachu pumpkin carving.


However, aside from getting students in the Halloween spirit and to have fun, the event was also held to raise money for a book drive that SPSEA would be holding in December for Child and Youth Services, according to SPSEA President Nicole Brown.

At a table off to the side, there was a donation jar for participants to drop some spare change, which Brown said would help the SPSEA supply the books for the event and advocate for child literacy. She noted that boxes for additional book donations for the event would be set up around campus in the coming months.





Micro-Meals of the Week

With Michelle Thompson

Bringing you ways to eat like an adult, without having to actually cook like one.

Whether you’re living in the dorms for the first time and are already sick of Port Sky food, don’t have a stove top or oven in your apartment, or you’re just plain lazy… it’s always helpful to have a list of recipes that require nothing but the power of heat-producing, radio wave-agitated water molecules (aka a microwave) in your back pocket. ??  I, Michelle Thompson, am going to help you with that list.

This week’s recipe: Baked Apples

Nothing says “Autumn” like eating apple pie filling out of a bag, am I right? If you’re looking for a sweet fall-themed treat but don’t have the means to bake a whole pie for yourself, this shortcut may just do the trick. Baked apples in a bag is guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth and is easily prepared if you have an apple, a spoonful of sugar (literally), and a couple other items lying around! Just follow these steps.

image courtesy of Pixabay

  1. Get an apple and cut it into slices or cubes and put in Ziploc freezer bag
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch, and 1 tablespoon water into the bag
  3. Seal the bag and shake to mix ingredients
  4. Reopen slightly for ventilation and microwave for 2 minutes
  5. Be careful. The bag and its contents will be hot. Let cool and dig in!
  6. Congrats, grandma’s baking’s got nothing on you! Actually, not a single Baby Boomer’s baking has anything on you. You won at baking– nay– you won at life! Let it be known, the competition between generations is over! I can see the headlines now: “THIS JUST IN, MILLENNIALS HAVE KILLED BAKING, THE ECONOMY, AND THE VALUES OF AMERICAN SOCIETY. THEY MUST BE ELIMINATED.” BUT THEY’LL NEVER ELIMINATE US. WE. ARE. IMMORTAL!

Welp… all in a day’s work. Anyway, tune in next week for another micro meal and enjoy the rest of your week!