Monday, May 17, 2010

"It's All Over..."

Over the past four years, I've found such a comfort in the fact that I basically know what's going to happen. Granted, I never knew how my professors would pan out for me, how the workload would be, what my grades were going to be at the end of the semester, but there were the things I could count on.

I could count on my campus being beautiful all year round (even though it was a pain to hike through it to class in the winter), I count count on never getting a good parking lot and having to walk forever up hills to my apartment/car, I could count on my friends to be there for me through it all, or the gym to be crowded every time I went (and after eating the awful food, I needed to go to the gym, trusttt me). I know those don't seem like big things to count on, but there was a sense of security in being at school.

Now that I'm done, it's like this air of uncertainty hanging over my head.

The job market for teaching in Jersey (and anywhere, really) is just awful, so the chances of me living at home for life are pretty high... it's just this depressing, scary time in my life when I feel like we've all just grown up way too fast.

The last few weeks of school, I made a conscious effort to make the most of it, and not to sit around and be lazy, but to get out and enjoy everything with my friends. We all knew that even though this wasn't goodbye, things would probably never be the same with us again.

The free week before graduation was filled with nights out, dinners out, taking roomie pictures around campus (thanks J, my fave photographer!), celebrating birthdays and graduation, and of course, cleaning out all the crap from the apartment.

Last "College Night" out at Rock Bottom (tear, tear).
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Roomie (minus one) photoshoot around campus... for some reason we kept singing "And we're the three best friends that anyone could have". Thanks, Hangover.

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This one is my favorite. J got a lot of candids of us :)
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Senior Awards Dinner with my brother and J:
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C's fiance turned 21 the night before graduation, so we obviously still had to go out and celebrate :)

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My two bff's:
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And of course, the big day (P.S. the little green tree pin means that anyone who has one signed a form promising to be environmentally conscious in their life outside of college - we have a very "green" campus - 100% powered by wind energy!).

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And then, I had to say goodbye to my roomie and bff of four years...

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For now, I'm taking it as it comes, trying not to get too upset and depressed over the fact that come August, I won't have the familiar faces to return to, my little car packed as full as it can get with bins and suitcases (mostly of clothes and shoes)... I'm taking the memories, and remembering the good times.

While the future is still inevitable and scary, I'm trying to think of the positives... because honestly, it's that or becoming entirely too worried to function.

I'm happy to say that I can look back on the past four years with very few negative memories of things. I'm truly blessed to have shared so much with the people I've met!

Sorry (again) for all the pictures! I guess putting them up just makes me nostalgic, in a good way :)

**After Thursday, you definitely won't hear from my for at least two weeks because... I'll be in China teaching English in a university outside of Beijing! I'll be doing my best to "visit" you all before I head over early o'clock on Thursday morning!

I'll look forward to talking to you all upon my return! xo

Currently: Stressing about packing for China, watching a little Entourage to make me feel better!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Cuisiner avec Allison.

So, I think I've written about my friend C from school (aka, my former college since I GRADUATED on Saturday and am officially an alum!). She is getting married on June 5th, and my bff R and I are bridesmaids in the wedding.


Being a bridesmaid when you're tres broke due to student teaching and parents that teach you "responsibility" is a little tough. Especially when your duties as a bridesmaid mean that you have to plan a shower for all your college friends on an extremely limited budget. My friend R and I stressed and stressed over what we were going to do, if we should have a theme, where to hold the party on such a tight budget, especially since C likes things to be "classy."

Now, if I had unlimited resources and was working and making an actual salary, I would love to have a shower at a fun restaurant or cafe somewhere in Philly where we could all go, or rent out a hall and do something fun, or have money for actual entertainment. But, I had absolutely none of those things, and neither did R, so we came to the only obvious conclusion - we'd have to have the shower either somewhere on campus, or in our apartment.

So for a few weeks, we tried and tried to assemble invitations, invite people, lock down RSVPs, come up with a theme... it was exhausting, and that wasn't even the hard part.

Once we decided on a theme (the "Scanty Panty Party" - which meant that every guest had to bring a pair of underwear for C, and that all the food was miniature), it came time to buy all the food, and make preparations.

Since our apartment kitchen is so teeny tiny, I called up a good friend of mine, who lives in PA only a half hour from campus, and offered to babysit for her kids if I could steal her kitchen the next day to cook. Obviously she agreed happily, and even gave me the recipe for these fabulous petite apple tarts that look tres chic.

These tarts were such a hit at the shower that I thought I'd share the easy peasy recipe for them, though I DO have the warning that if you don't have certain tools, like a press and seal 3" cutter, or an apple corer, this would have been a significantly more complicated process (though it would be do-able!).

*~*

Dutch Apple Mini-Tarts (24 servings max.)

-1 package refrigerated ready-to-bake pie crust (not a pie shell - I used Pillsbury dough)

Apple Filling Ingredients:

-1/2 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat Philadelphia cream cheese)

-1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

-1 egg

-2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

-1/2 tsp. vanilla

-3 medium Granny Smith apples - peeled; cored; sliced and chopped

Topping Ingredients:

-3 tbsp. EACH - all purpose flour and firmly packed brown sugar

-2 tbsp. butter

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Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 pie crust into a 12 x 10" rectangle.

3. Cut twelve 3" circles from the dough. (I used the 3" Pampered Chef Cut-N-Seal to do this - if I hadn't had this, I don't know if I would attempted making these!).

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4. Press the cut dough into a mini-muffin pan.


5. Take the remaining dough and repeat the process (though you probably will not have enough dough to fill a 12x10" rectangle).


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6. For the apple filling:

Whisk cream cheese into a bowl until smooth (I actually used a wooden spoon because I didn't feel like cleaning out the clumps of cream cheese from a whisk! The wooden spoon worked perfectly, because the cream cheese was really soft).


7. Whisk the sugar in with the cream cheese until it is really fluffy.


8. Mix in the egg with the cream cheese/sugar mixture until well-blended.


9. Stir the flour and cinnamon into the filling mixture until smooth.


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10. Peel, core, and slice the apples (I used the Williams Sonoma apple peeler/corer/slicer. It sped up the process SO much!).


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11. Finely chop the apples (may I suggest a food chopper - aka a miracle worker!).


12. Stir the apples into the cream cheese mixture, and fill the prepared muffin cups with the apple/cream cheese mixture.

**The recipe calls for these to be filled up to the top, and I thought that since there was a mix of eggs/flour that it would rise, so I filled it maybe halfway up. Now I'm thinking that being a little bit more generous with filling them up wouldn't be such a bad idea!**


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13. For the topping:

Combine 3 tbsp flour and 3 tbsp. brown sugar.


14. Cut butter into the mixture until you form coarse crumbs.


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15. Spoon this mixture over the apple mixture.


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16. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.


17. Let the tarts cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then remove from the pan.


18. Serve warm or at room temperature (From my experience, these were best at room temperature! Yummo!).


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We ended up having an absolutely lovely shower with LOTS of delicious food, and a lot of fun. Even though it wasn't the classiest of places, we did our best to make it cute and special for our dear friend C. (And J was extremely happy because we had so many leftovers that he was eating cheese and petite tarts for a week!).


Some pictures from C's surprise shower.


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Now that I'm home (and jobless for the time being), I'll have LOTS more time to catch up on what you all have been up to! I miss you A TON and have been feeling very sentimental lately with all these big life changes, and I've just been thinking about how much YOU all mean to me, even though we've never met! You're wonderful, darlings. xox


Currently: Watching The Golden Girls, waiting for my lasagna to cook, and going to get my bridesmaid dress altered! Busy night :)


P.S. Sorry, sorry for all the pictures! Sometimes I go on a picture overload!