Growing Up Is Hard: Oatmeal Cream Pies

For the recipe only, click here.

The shock of acceptance and the joy of graduation has washed away. The realities of my new academic journey has set in, and I feel at peace– free of the constant buzz of anxiousness that only comes with uncertainty. I am free! Well, at least for the summer.

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As many of us do in this new age of information abundance, I started searching for blogs that could offer any shred of relevant advice on how to successfully transition to medical school. Of the information that seems to have any merit, I am probably going to accomplish very little of what the bloggers say. One suggestion I am absolutely currently putting into action is the enjoy-your-last-totally-free-summer declaration. Scrolling through the many posts, this is the loudest insistence of current students and fresh grads. How could I not take heed?

This is the summer I plan to slow it all down.

We didn’t buy too many junk foods when I was a child. The few we did are now reminders of my mother’s unprovoked kindness on her rambunctious Tasmanian devils. Fruit Roll-Ups?! Bugles! Krispy Kreme doughnuts, yayyyyy! Of the few junk food treats that seem to melt the world, Oatmeal Creme Pies may top the list. The crinkle of that plastic wrapper, the softness of the cake, and the strange sweetness of the “cream” filling. Little Debbie did not disappoint. I want that feeling back.

Before I dive into the endless anatomical wonders of the body, and learn all of the biochemistry that will make me hate myself for eating (and enjoying) sugars, I will capture the joys of old: reading books for fun (who knew!), eating all of the foods, seeing the people that make me laugh, sitting out in the sun, going to coffee shops with no work to do, free-thinking.

I am going to unwrap something of meaning today. And I will not regret it.

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Oatmeal Cream Pies

  • Servings: 8 cream pies
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 cups old fashioned oatmeal

For the cream:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp half and half

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until fully combined
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add in oatmeal.
  4. Drop about 3 tablespoons of cookie dough onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes. Allow cookies to sit on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to completely cool. While cookies are cooling, make cream filling.
  5. In bowl, beat butter on medium-high until extra fluffy.
  6. Turn speed to low and slowly add powdered sugar. Add in vanilla and milk, and mix until fully combined. Turn mixer back to medium-high and beat until fluffed.
  7. Pipe cream on the flat side of one cookie, then place another on top. Repeat for remaining cookies.
  8. Devour like a cookie monster!
Recipe slightly adapted from My Baking Addiction

 

Pi Day: Brown Sugar Cream Pie

For the recipe only, click here.

That’s right, it’s Pi Day! You know, 3.1415926blahblahblah…

I’m having flashbacks to elementary school pi days when children clamored to one-up each other in digit recitation, hyped up on sweet goodness: a nerd utopia. I can imagine that teachers would look for any excuse to throw a party in class, let the kids relax a little, and convince themselves it is all for the sake of mathematics. Well, dearest teachers, whatever the motivation, I thank you for allowing us to go wild and feel important because we memorized a few digits with no pattern. Oh yeah, and thanks for the pie!

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I never nudged my way into peer pi dominance. 3.1415canijusteatsomepiepleaseandthankyou My eyes were on the real prize.

At some point wedged between math problems and only-somewhat-funny pi jokes, the teacher would whip out some baked treat and ask: “would anybody like a slice?” With veiled politeness I would, “yes please!” when deep-down I was all, “gimme dat!”

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What is “pi” anyway?

Pi is a mathematical constant, an irrational number, a series of digits that seemingly have no pattern– true statistical randomness. For children, pi is a fun thing to know. It makes March 14th special somehow. Another reason to celebrate existence.

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For me, pi is a reminder of everything I do not know.

So often as students we mistakenly focus on the rightness and knowing of our area of interest or where we are going with our work. We have ideas and thoughts that we want to do something with, opinions that are strong and ever-forming, confidence that what we have to say is just that much more prolific or worthy than our peers (read as: competition). To a degree, this is required to succeed beyond elementary school.

But what about that dreaded grey area? You know, that place where you are unsure of how to link two disparate ideas, struggling with how to enact your research in practice, placing  your fate in the hands of an admissions committee, or mulling over how you could have studied more effectively (or even studied at all). This grey place is often much larger than we would like to admit. Because, honestly, who wants to struggle?

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Struggle and learning go hand-in-hand. After all, to know about pi, one must have been in a classroom or at least learning about math. And math is, well, a struggle. Pies– pie crusts in particular– have the potential to be difficult as well. Is my butter cold enough? Will the crust spilt? Why do the pretty edges keep breaking when I try to slice like a pro?! The frustration!

When you take the first bite of pie, the preparation anxiety melts away and you can’t imagine how you ever stressed over something so perfectly imperfect. Today, I will remind myself to carry this into my graduate work: while the process may leave me floured and somewhat uncertain, the result is sure to be exactly what it is meant to be– and sweet.

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Brown Sugar Cream Pie

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 45 mins
  • Print

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pie crust
  • 4 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar

For the topping:

  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and granulated sugar
  3. In a medium pot, cream together sugar mixture, melted butter, heavy cream, half and half, and brown sugar over medium heat until thick and creamy, stirring constantly.
  4. Add in vanilla.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust, pour melted butter over top, and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Broil for 1 minute.
  8. Bring pie to room temperature, the refrigerate for 1 hour to set.
  9. Enjoy!
  10. Store in fridge

Recipe adapted from The Domestic Rebel

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