On December 6, the Michigan State University on-campus Starbucks team participated in a community service project working with the City of East Lansing Environmental Stewardship Program.

The team removed buckthorn, an invasive plant species, at White Hills Park and repurposed it to build rabbitats—teepee homes for the rabbits to live in. Nineteen student volunteers built six rabbitats to provide warmth and protection from wind and predators during the winter.

“It was fun and rewarding to see how much area in the woods we cleaned up and how many rabbitats we built,” said Michelle Pell, MSU Culinary Services Starbucks service manager. “We chose this partnership because we wanted to give back to our community with an outdoor project, but there was little we could do directly on campus. We connected with City of East Lansing Environmental Stewardship Program though the MSU Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement.”

To view photos from the project, visit the East Lansing Healthy Parks Facebook page. The MSU Starbucks team plans to participate in one community project each semester.

MSU Starbuck team members at White Hills Park


By Peggy Crum, MA, RD, Health4U Nutritionist

PecansSomething about the holidays makes me feel like a nut. Maybe it’s the bowl with the nutcracker affixed in the center, filled with a mix of nuts to leisurely crack and eat. Perhaps it’s the traditional holiday dishes with toppings or fillings or crusts made of nuts. Pecans with their distinctive, buttery richness and soft crunchy texture are, in my humble opinion, the perfect holiday nut.

Pecan trees are the only nut-bearing trees native to North America. Pecans have one of the highest oil contents of any nut making them nutritious and delicious but also more fragile and prone to spoilage.

In-shell pecans keep for a long time. The shell protects the nut meats from the air so just store them in a cool, dry place. Because they store so well, pecans are available year-round. In-shell pecans may be kept for more than a year if stored in the freezer. One pound of in-shell pecans yields about 9 ounces of pecan meats.

Shelled pecans are golden brown on the outside and light tan on the inside. When shopping, choose pecans that are plump, not thin and shriveled. Unless you have plans to use them right away, store them in the freezer sealed in an airtight container or freezer bag. Freezing the nut meats not only stabilizes the natural oils, it reduces the chance of insect damage. Because of their low moisture content, pecans can be thawed and refrozen repeatedly without losing
quality. Carefully handled, raw pecans can be stored for years in the freezer.

Unless the package says otherwise, shelled pecans are raw and are available as halves, pieces, chopped and meal. Roasting in a slow oven for 5 to 7 minutes enhances flavor without adding anything else. Roasting also exposes the nut oils to air making roasted pecans more prone to spoilage. If you happen to have roasted nuts left after a week or two, store them in the freezer to enjoy

Join Culinary Services Corporate Chef Kurt Kwiatkowski from 12:10 - 12:50 p.m. on Wednesday, December 3, at the Demonstration Kitchen in Brody Square as he demonstrates his pecan & chocolate chip cookie recipe during the Health4U Recipe for Health program. Try the cookies during lunch at Brody Square.

Can’t make it to Brody Square for the event? Join us online for an MSU Alumni Association LENS live stream presentation. Learn more by watching this trailer and view the live stream here:


By Gina Keilen, Culinary Services Registered Dietitian

Final exams are right around the corner as another semester wraps up. It’s typically the time any sort of health-related thinking goes down the drain as you stay up late cramming for tests, guzzle the caffeine, and binge on junk food all day and night. The better you can treat your body and mind, the better your studying will go, and the better your exam scores are likely to be. Since the rest of your life is focused around tests, let’s take a quick pop quiz to see how you stack up!

  1. Snacking during studying:
    1. Helps you retain more information
    2. Takes away valuable study time
    3. Shouldn’t happen because snacking isn’t good for you

  2. The caffeine from coffee or an energy drink:
    1. Keeps you alert and energized
    2. Can affect your concentration levels
    3. Is vital to get through the long days of studying

  3. Getting adequate sleep each night:
    1. Helps you relax and de-stress
    2. Refocuses your mind
    3. Answers A and B
    4. Wait, people sleep during exam week!?

  4. True or False: Mom was right … breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.



  1. A; Eating or snacking at regular intervals can help you keep your blood sugars stable and mind sharp. Taking a break from your books to grab a snack or even walk around can help stimulate your brain and retain more information. Stop at Sparty’s or carry with you some protein bars, trail mix, cheese sticks, apples and peanut butter, or hummus and veggies to help keep your energy up.

  2. B; While some studies show that caffeine helps keep us alert, too much can make you jittery and unable to focus. Too much can also be a diuretic, and since most professors don’t let you leave during exams, it’s not the time to overdo it! Better choices would be water, 100 percent juices or tea.

  3. C; While D may seem like the reality, C is actually correct. No one usually survives well on an ‘all work and no play’ lifestyle. The hours are always precious before an exam, but taking the time to catch some zzzs instead of cramming into your numb brain will leave you much further ahead. Even regular cat naps will pay off better than an all-nighter.

  4. True; All the meals and snacks throughout the day are important to keep your mind and body at peak performance, but breakfast time is the chance to give your body some energy to face the day. This doesn’t mean it has to be cereal or eggs if you aren’t a stereotypical breakfast eater. Eating something with protein and carbs, like leftovers from dinner or even a sandwich, will wake your body up and help with your concentration.


Taking care of your bodies will help you take care of your exams—good luck, Spartans! 

 Gine Keilen pull quote

Gina Keilen is a registered dietitian and culinary coordinator for Culinary Services. If you have food allergies or intolerances, or are required to follow a special diet, Gina can help provide you with resources and information to help you make safe choices while still having a great dining experience when you Eat at State. Gina can also help you to eat healthy—our dining halls offer an incredible amount of all-you-care-to-eat options. Since many of our platforms offer made-to-order dining, you are in control of what you eat and how much, and Gina can help you decide what is right for you.


The holiday season is upon us once again at our on-campus Starbucks locations. Starbucks Red Cups are back in stores and with them, Starbucks' favorite holiday beverages: the new Chestnut Praline Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Carmel Brulée Latte and the Gingerbread Latte. Coming soon: Eggnog Latte to complete the holiday collection.

Starbucks holiday drinks at Wells Hall

Share the Merry November 12 through 14: Buy one holiday beverage and get a second one for free between 2 and 5 p.m.

We’ve decked the Wells Hall Starbucks with gifts that you can share with someone special. The new Starbucks Dot collection features holiday mugs, ready to go in a beautiful red box—just add a bow! Stocking stuffers, the holiday reusable cup and coffee gift packs are available for purchase as well as the Starbucks Christmas Blend and Espresso Roast to enjoy at home.

Starbucks Holiday Cups and Coffee

All three on-campus Starbucks locations are now serving holiday bakery items including the Cranberry Bliss Bar, Peppermint Brownie Cake Pops and the Gingerbread Loaf. Enjoy them while they last.

Holiday 2014 Bakery Items

The Starbucks Holiday Season Sampler offer begins on Monday, November 17 and runs through December 19, 2014. After purchasing five holiday beverages, receive one Grande beverage for free (must be redeemed by January 31, 2015).

Starbucks is located at Wells Hall and the Broad College of Business, as well as the Broad Art Museum Café Proudly Serving Starbucks! Visit for our Starbucks hours of operation.


Mike GardnerOn October 15, River Trail Neighborhood Dining Services Manager Mike Gardner was presented with the Outstanding Supervisor Award. The award, established by the MSU Family Resource Center in 2001, honors supervisors who have consistently demonstrated work and life sensitivity and support of the professional/personal needs of the employees in their unit.

During a call for nominations, team members nominated awardees in June and July. A committe selected five finalists for their direct impact on the quality of the employees’ work, their loyalty to the university and for setting a good example in the workplace.

In a letter of support, the Culinary Services River Trail Neighborhood Dining team wrote, “He has an uncanny ability of making every person that he comes in contact with feel like they are his close and personal friend.”

Most notably, Gardner supports his staff to develop and grow. “Mike has been instrumental in developing his managers and support staff to assure they have a full understanding and appreciation as to why and what we do,” said Marta Mittermaier, associate director of Culinary Support Services. “He has walked in their same shoes and is empathetic at the same time leading by example.”

Gardner will retire this coming winter after 42 years of service to Culinary Services and the university. “Thanks to all who nominated me for Supervisor of the Year,” said Gardner. “It is a great honor but more a privilege to have worked so many good people. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this great MSU family. You have all given me more than I can repay with this recognition.”