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Help with CARE package for college kid

My daughter is staying at school over Thanksgiving. I want to send her a box of goodies so she won't feel too deprived and forced to eat all her meals in the dining halls. She's a vegetarian but will eat ffish, likes to cook and has access to a full kitchen. Aside from making her favorite cookies, what else can I send that (1) doesn't weigh a ton, (2) doesn't need to be refrigerated and (3) is something she can prepare in a not too well-stocked kitchen? FYI, we live in the NE, her school is even further north, and I will mail it priority, so it should arrive in 2 days and not suffer too much external heat. TIA.

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  1. I just graduated from college in May... so I've gotten a few of these.

    When I got care packages, I would usually groan because I try to banish bad foods as much as I can... to avoid temptation during exams. Having dozens of cookies, popcorn and snacks around is a bit much. So if you want to make bad food, do but don't give her too much.

    My favorite part of a care package was a gift card to Walmart or Best Buy. Also, microwave popcorn can be healthy and yummy too.

    As far as unhealthy BUT wonderful snacks... Try this:

    Mix in bowl: 3 c. Rice Chex 3 c. Corn Chex 3 c. Cheerios 2 c. pretzels 2 c. dry roasted peanuts 12 oz. M&M'S®

    Melt 1-2 pounds white chocolate (either in block or morsel form) in the microwave, stirring til liquid. (Or in a double broiler)

    Pour over mix, stir to coat. Pour onto wax paper and cool. Break and eat.


    1. Sounds like a familiar story. I agree that a gift certificate is always appreciated - how about calling her favorite local restaurant and arranging for dinner for two?

      As far as the care package, you can find nice cheese fondue packages now- all you have to do is warm it up and start dunking the bread and veggies in.

      Healthy muffins and breads, bars and shortbread might be fun for you to make and send. You could pack some nuts, granola, healthy pastas,bread and pancake mixes, oatmeal, fresh apples, coffee, hot chocolate mix (and some marshmallows), some fresh garlic and a new garlic press, special treats from her favorite hometown gourmet shop and even some of the latest cooking magazines or a new cook book. If you are near a place that sells inexpensive linens, you could even get some autumn colored napkins or dish towels. Slip in a copy of the hometown paper or a recent photo of the family pets.

      I used to love sending care packages to my girls and one of them has been a vegetarian/ vegan for years. Your daughter will be really happy to have anything at all from you. Have fun.

      1. Mr daughter is a Jr. at Western Michigan, so I have a bit of experience with college care packages. I used to send a lot of baked good, but it seems that most girls are so afraid of the fresh-soph- 15 that they don't eat many sweets. Most of what I sent was given to her male friends who inhaled instead of chewing. She does love various biscotti to dip in coffee during late night sessions.

        She loves flavored teas and coffee/coffee mixes, pretzels, dried fruit, energy bars/cereal bars. Gift cards to Wal-mart, Meijers, chain restaurants, Starbucks(ugh) are always very welcome.

        1. The post office has 2 different boxes that you can stuff with everything you want, and its a flat rate for shipping - approx. $9, you might want to use one of those. I send packages from the West Coast to the East Coast and they go in 2 days.

          Keeping this on the chow - does she like Indian food? I've bought packages of Indian food that is cryovaced and jsut need to be heated that are good.

          1. I agree with the advice to send healthier things (with a treat or two, of course). I also think you should send stuff she may not buy herself, like more exotic condiments or ingredients.

            When I was in college (just two years ago), I loved to get dried fruit and nuts; mixes of hot-and-sour or miso soup; dried wild mushrooms; Indian and Thai sauce packets; steel-cut oats; soy chips; Kashi Good Friends (or another expensive yummy cereal); Montreal-style bagels; chai tea bags; sushi stuff (nori, pickled ginger, wasabi), etc.

            1. As a college kid, I'd love to get a package like some of these! My parents usually swing by with Costco (mmm, trail mix and larabars!) whenever they're visiting, which is definitely appreciated. Ditto on all the suggestions, especially the gift certificates and fun/exciting ingredients, I know I always make a dash to the local afghani market for pomegranate molasses and cardamon and things that the Philly suburbs just can't handle.
              I would say that since she likes to cook, and it is Thanksgiving time, maybe send along your own recipe-in-a-bag of the dry ingredients for biscotti/granola/something that she can make (with the addition of suitable amounts of eggs, butter, etc.) with friends? We have massive cookie parties at school, and although, heh, not all the dough ever makes it into the oven, half the fun is just having an excuse to hang out. Let us know how it goes!

              1. My son is a Freshman living in the dorms in Louisville, (from LA) and when I send him care pakages I send things he may not find or things that are kind of spendy for a college kid. Last package was full of high end cheeses, good olive oil, sherry vinegar, cured meats, great canned tomatoes. He was, and still is cooking for all of his friends out there now. (Good salts and spices also help, they can be $$$) We are lucky becuse he is coming home for Thansgiving but if he were staying I would send all the dry goods, potatoes too and get a gift card for the local supermarket so he could buy the fresh things and cook for the others staying in the dorms. (No dining hall at Louisville)

                1. All of these suggestions are really good. I liked to send hot cocoa, tea bags and coffee. And if you don't send baked goods, at least too many, you can send a high-end chocolate bar. If you send a gift card, make it for a really nice food place, such as the Whole Food market. If she gets it before Thursday, she can shop for her Thanksgiving dinner there. And don't forget granola and trail mix, if she likes that.

                  1. Thanks for all the ideas. I ended up going to Whole Foods and buying lots of things that can be shipped easily and microwaved such as freeze-dried Indian entrees, dried veggies, crepes, chestnuts, hot choc.mix, designer marshmallows, some cheeses and a pomegranate.

                    1. When I was a college kid, the gals in the dorm always appreciated getting: See's candy; fresh dates (from their southern California parents); and boxes of cashews or other upscale nuts.