Week 11: From Suburbs to City-Recipes for Summer

Two nights before my last day of work and three nights before I moved out of my apartment, I took it upon myself to make the biggest mess possible in my kitchen.

CorrectionI made my Pinterest dreams come true and had an all out baking night (and somehow we went wayyyy into the night) with my intern friend.

After spending many previous days and runs during bootcamp discussing what possible recipes we might make, we settled upon four (or five if you count the improtu s’mores dip) recipes to make for ourselves to snack on during the whole process (highly recommend s’mores dip if you have not had it yet).

We were baking because it was on our summer bucket list, but also because I was soon to be leaving my department at work and wanted them to know how grateful I was for my summer experience with them.

All the ingredients were spread across my minimal counter space, an electric mixer had been acquired from my friend’s grandma’s house because my apartment did not have one (and can your eggs and butter truly get fluffy enough by just using your arm?) and we had picked four recipes that all required the same oven temperature.

Check. Check. Check.

I will fast forward and say the end results were delicious and looked appealing (minus blueberry oatmeal cookies that crumbled under their lemon glaze whoops), but the process was a struggle and a half.

My final lesson of the summer is that baking bars can be a pain in the butt. We made the mistake of using different size pans, thicker pans for that matter than the recipe called for. This, my friends, is not the best idea. It resulted in lots of sampling because each time we thought our bars were done and we cut into them we’d end up with lots of goo. Nevertheless, it made for lots of self doubt and indecision about how long we should continue to bake them. Obviously we did not want a burnt mess, but it is also always important not to give salmonella to your co-workers.

The top is brown? Is there raw egg in it? Will it stay together? How does this one look? My knife came out kinda clean? To add to the fun, my apartment doesn’t have real oven mitts, but a dish towel and weird hand oven thing found at the corner grocery store (sorry about the casualty, Kristen).

But like I said earlier, it was a huge tasty success in the end. We had three pans of three different kind of bars and a stack of cookies, ranging from Nutella peanut butter and salted oat butterscotch to lemon white chocolate chip and lemon blueberry oat cookies. More importantly, the pans could be cut into without the bars falling apart! All in all, it was a very satisfying late night baking adventure and we like to think our co-workers enjoyed the results as much as we did. 

And here is where I make the cheesy metaphor to my whole summer:

I didn’t know back in March/April if I wanted to take this internship or take one close to home. I didn’t know how I could leave “my kids” and friends at my pool club that I had grown up at and coached. I didn’t know where I would live, what my day-to-day schedule would be like, or if I'd enjoy the people I would be with. But as I did with my lemon gooey bars (which at one point were the definition of gooey), I went for it, I put them in the oven, after going back and forth if it would be a mistake, and then just let time do its thing and let the results play out.

My summer experience was incredible. It worked out better than I could have imagine and I am so grateful for all the opportunities I had (rebaking my lemon bars three times also did wonderful things).

You can find all the recipes that we made at the bottom of this article and here is one final recipe that I also recommend trying.

Recipe for successful summer

Ingredients:

Cool (manageable) city

Company with your values

Supportive and knowledgeable mentor

Great co-workers

Supply of Notre Dame friends

Lots of sunshine

The best family

1 car willing to drive long distances

Ability to ask questions

Google maps

Optional:  Interest in food websites, apps, Instagrams, and recipes

Directions

1. Acquire apartment with Notre Dame roommate in college area of a city, a company that may help you work on future career plans, and a vehicle that will get you to said job and back home as needed

2.  In company, find wonderful, helpful mentor who will answer all your questions, co-workers who will look out for you when you get a flat tire or your card doesn’t work at the next door Wawa, and company bootcamp classes with intimidating instructor and motivated stakeholders--mix together 5 days a week

3. Back “home," get in routine of great after work dinner making with chill roommate followed by Game of Thrones watching and clean up

4. Slowly add in trips to the Jersey shore on the weekends, 4th of July at grandparents’ lake house,  two Phillies’ games, visits from high school friends, a Taylor Swift concert, and dinners out with parents and family

5. Spice it up by exploring other departments of your company--like the ICU where you think you can face your fear of needles--and find out what other career options you have while meeting many great people

6. Bake under humid Philly sunshine for 11 weeks so that all fantastic elements are combined together and remove only when you realize how lucky you have been

7. Sprinkle with laughs, sweaty workouts, lunch conversations, many foodie adventures and chocolates from the office jar, and abundance of knowledge about the healthcare world

8. Let cool while you look out at your city view one last time before throwing the keys under the door

9. Cut and share with those around you what wonderful family and friends you have, what a great mentor and department and company you experienced, what an awesome city you lived in and what you learned 

10. Indulge in the memories and look forward experiences to come  

 

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Recipes 1, 2, 34,

Images linked to recipes and provided by author