Hosting Thanksgiving on a Budget

written by Georgia Schumacher 24 November 2014

Thankgiving turkeyIf it’s your turn to host the big Thanksgiving dinner, there's no need for hectic last minute scrambling for the right decor or to break the bank as you create the perfect holiday meal.

Anyway, isn't the holiday really all about spending time with the people you care about and being grateful for what you have? Whatever you do (or don't do) beyond those two simple acts is entirely fine!

Table settings

Don’t have enough place settings for everyone? It’s perfectly fine to mix and match dishes. If you have them, choose ones that have the same color scheme or a similar style. If you're set on having matching dishes, consider asking friends or neighbors who are going out of town to borrow their dishes. Many stores also sell high-quality plastic plates which look nice and reduce the amount of cleanup you have to do after your guests leave. Who even notices the plates when they're gobbling down a delicious meal anyway?

Decor

Let's start this by saying a spread of your favorite dishes surrounded by the smiling faces of your friends and family might be all the decor you need. It's simple, practical, and visually appealing. If you like having more on table though, use as many items as possible from what you already own. Consider arranging flowers, pine cones, acorns, and/or branches from outside in a vase to create a festive fall look in the dining room. Or, if you want to purchase a few items for decor for this year and future Thanksgivings, check out thrift shops or your local hobby and craft stores, which often have items on sale and coupons available online or in flyers.

Meal Planning

Keep the food you serve on the simple side, since fewer ingredients means a cheaper bill. The turkey is the star of the show! Use boxed stuffing mix and frozen vegetables for side dishes. Other ideas to save money on food include:

Plan ahead. Look for deals on turkeys between different supermarkets.

Use coupons. Many common side dishes and ingredients like green beans, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie filling go on sale just before the holiday.

Make it potluck. Have the desserts or side dishes be potluck style where everyone (or at least those who live nearby) brings something. Most people are more than willing to contribute a dish!

Keep it simple. If it’s a small gathering, consider purchasing a turkey breast instead of a whole turkey.

Hosting a Thanksgiving feast doesn’t need to cost a fortune. By planning ahead, you can create a scrumptious meal that's long on entertainment but short on expenses.

Related Post: 7 Foods We're Craving This Fall

A Thank You to Veterans

written by Georgia Schumacher 11 November 2014

US flag

This Veterans Day, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division extends our gratitude to all those who have served in the U.S. military—including our many brave military students, faculty, and staff—for their courage, commitment, and patriotism. We remember and honor these individuals for the numerous ways they have made our world a better place throughout history.

Today and every day, our faculty and staff are committed to supporting each of our military-affiliated students as they prepare to pursue rewarding creative careers. Last month, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division was honored to be named a 2015 Military Friendly® School, and we remain dedicated to offering flexible degree programs, scholarship opportunities, academic support, and transfer of credit policies that can help make education more affordable and attainable for all students.

At The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division, military students are encouraged to join our chapter of the Student Veterans of America in Connections (under the Organizations tab), a network where peers can provide academic and personal support, share helpful information, and discuss a wide range of topics and common interests. We also encourage military students to explore the resources and organizations available via the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Thank you again for the sacrifices you have made and all that you have done for this country!

7 Foods We're Craving This Fall

written by Georgia Schumacher 22 October 2014

Pumpkin soupFall is a season filled with appetizing, home-cooked meals and comfort foods. From Thanksgiving trimmings to aromatic soups and ciders, no other time of year has quite the combination of culinary flavors, and many of these seasonal delights pack nutritional value. Consider those vitamins and minerals the perfect excuse to indulge in the variety of dishes that fall foods offer.

1. Pumpkin

Nothing says fall quite like pumpkin. From pumpkin spice lattes to that slice of pumpkin pie after a Thanksgiving feast, this delicious flavor is easily used in a variety of sweet or savory dishes.

Health benefits: A cup of mashed pumpkin contains 200 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A, and with beta-carotene, fiber, and more potassium than a banana, it's easy to convince yourself to cut an even larger slice of pie.

Try: Pumpkin chili

2. Apples

It's the season of apple cider and baked apple tarts. Fortunately, apples also keep the doctor away by providing ample amounts of fiber and antioxidants.

Health benefits: With 14 percent of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C and 4 grams of filling fiber per apple, this antioxidant-rich fruit makes a sweet treat.

Try: Ravioli with apples and walnuts

3. Sweet Potatoes

The russet potato's healthier brother has more to offer than being a great alternative to french fries. With ample amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin A, this flavorful addition to a fall menu is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Health benefits: Iron, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin C make sweet potatoes ideal for increased energy, healthy cells, and improved immunity during cold season.

Try: Sweet potato casserole

4. Cranberries

Cranberries

Cranberries are far more useful than simply adding color to a Thanksgiving buffet. When it comes to food with vitamins, this sweet fruit boasts a hefty dose.

Health benefits: Known to help beat urinary tract infections, cranberries are also rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and quercetin (a flavonoid that may help prevent both colon and breast cancer).

Try: Fettuccine with brussels sprouts, cranberries, and caramelized onions

5. Kale

With so many hearty fall dishes, vegetables often go unnoticed. Kale, however, is the ideal leafy green to add into practically any cooking creation.

Health benefits: Most people are aware that kale, like spinach, is high in iron, but it also contains vitamin K and anti-inflammatory properties.

Try: Kale, quinoa, and avocado salad with lemon Dijon vinaigrette

Butternut squash6. Squash

Not only does squash add texture and color to a variety of home-cooked dishes, it also packs a heavy vitamin punch with even more vitamin A than pumpkin.

Health benefits: In addition to vitamin A, squash contains energy-boosting B vitamins. Its low calorie content is also ideal for weight control.

Try: Baked spaghetti squash

7. Cinnamon

This sweet spice is the perfect addition to desserts and lattes, but it also transitions well into heartier dishes.

Health benefits: Cinnamon may reduce LDL cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar, and prevent blood clots.

Try: Cinnamon roasted almonds

Interested in developing your business and management skills but don’t want to lose sight of your passion for the culinary world? Consider our programs in the areas of Culinary Management and Hotel & Restaurant Management!

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division Named a 2015 Military Friendly® School

written by Georgia Schumacher 15 October 2014

LogoThe Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division is honored to have been named a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, the publisher of G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse, and Vetrepreneur® magazines.

The Military Friendly® Schools designation is awarded to the top 15% of colleges, universities, and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation. In total, the survey captures over 50 leading practices in supporting military students. Now in its sixth year, the Military Friendly® Schools designation and list provides service members transparent, data-driven ratings about post-military education.

At The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division, we strongly value the commitment to our country made by military members and veterans. As part of our efforts to recognize the commitment and service of these students, we are proud to offer qualifying students numerous military education benefits, including a military scholarship. We also offer all military students a comprehensive review of their military experience and training to determine eligibility for transfer of credit toward our programs.

“The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division is proud to announce that we have been awarded Military Friendly® status once again for 2014-2015,” said Brandon Corley, Director of Student Financial Services. “We are honored to service the millions of active and veteran service members along with their families. We are committed to dedicating resources and staff to serve as military experts and to ensure that these service members receive the highest level of personalized customer service.”

For more information about our commitment to educating and supporting military students, visit http://www.aionline.edu/tuition/military-aid/.

5 Places to Find Creative Inspiration

written by Georgia Schumacher 7 October 2014

When asked about his creative process, author Kurt Vonnegut advised that, “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.

Luckily, creativity never demands perfection. Instead, your success at a creative arts school and in your creative career relies heavily on bravery and the ability to color outside of the lines. Yet sometimes, creative thought can start to flounder amid expectations of the tried and true. When you need a creative boost, try these 5 things to resuscitate your imagination and lead you toward your most inspired creations.

Fall nature scene

1. Nature

There's a reason people talk about the importance of "getting back to nature." The simplicity of the living world lies in stark opposition to fast-paced city life and 9-to-5 stuffiness. Fresh air, chirping birds, and rustling leaves serve as more than just a scenic backdrop — they summon primal instincts that take humans back to their roots, which can help resolve common barriers like overthinking and nitpicking.

2. Art

Artist Marc Chagall once said, "Great art picks up where nature ends." Whether through art galleries, showings, museums, or books, studying other artists' interpretations of the world around them is an ideal way to awaken your own inner curiosity and creativity. Trying new mediums can also help you and learning new techniques in your art school classes can also provide wonderful ways of connecting to untapped ideas.

3. Silence

Silence is known to be golden, but it's a state too many people avoid. Sitting in solitude without the distractions of conversation and television is a powerful experience that lends itself to deep thinking. With only your mind to guide you, your inner thoughts will surface without outside influences. Getting comfortable with silence through meditation or simple bouts of quiet time summons the creative energy that's often overshadowed by everyday noise.

4. Music

Music

Aldous Huxley stated, “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” Whether it's the melody or lyrics that move you, listening to music allows you to connect to the medium while simultaneously looking inward. The reflective ability of music is both powerfully inspiring and unifying. When coupled with other artistic endeavors like drawing or writing, its creative impact is readily achieved.

5. Journals

Many people who swear by journaling note its ability to get to the bottom of what's really inside your heart and mind. If you feel stuck or confused in your creative process, allowing yourself to write freely is a wonderful way to unlock inner feelings that can shed light on issues you didn't consciously know were affecting your work. As author Christina Baldwin says, "Journal writing is a voyage to the interior," and we think it's a voyage worth taking—during art school and beyond—for its creative merits.