Monday, August 1, 2011

Strawberry-Rhubarb Bars, and Graduation News!

Hello again! Sorry for the brief hiatus, but life here's been a tad crazy with some very big, exciting changes. For starters - I graduated on Friday!!!! After 18 months of extreme sleep deprivation, countless missed social events, more stress and tears than most of us care to claim, my entire class and I received our Masters in Nursing. A particularly special part of the day was the pinning ceremony that preceded actual convocation (symbolizing the change from student to practicing nurse), in which my almost 4-year-old cousin Ellie pinned me. What makes this moment so incredible is that Ellie was born with a severe heart defect, requiring three open heart surgeries - the most recent of which almost took her from us. But those sad, terrifying days are behind us and my happy, gorgeous little miracle girl took her job of pinning me very seriously. Just the week before I mentioned to her that I had to go to the hospital the next day to work, to which she replied "but you can't be a nurse until I pin you!"
To add to all the graduation excitement, I had two job interviews last week! I interviewed at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Neonatal ICU and Peds ICU. Either job would be an incredible opportunity and I was thrilled to get both interviews. I'll hopefully hear back early next week, until then I get to spend this week doing absolutely. anything. I. want. .... very, very odd concept! The top of my list being to finish re-doing the living room decor, read at least one book and cook like crazy before I have to start studying for boards next week. I've long been hinting at a revamped blog, so hopefully that will also come into being here soon -- new chapter of life, new blog look.
It's quite fitting that this is the post-graduation recipe I'm posting, as it comes from one of the girls in my program. I did add strawberries to what were originally just rhubarb bars, and they were very popular when I took them to the hospital! I love the flavor combination you get mixing sweet strawberries with tart rhubarb, and the little bit of corn starch is an important ingredient to help absorb the extra water the strawberries add. If you're looking to make this healthier, you can use an egg substitute, decrease the amount of sugar and/or play around with a butter substitute for the crust (though I advise caution on this- I've had little luck with crusts using anything other than real butter!)
Strawberry-Rhubarb Bars

1 cup    Butter
2 cups   Flour
3/4 cup Powdered Sugar

4 cups Rhubarb, rinsed and chopped
2 cups Strawberries, rinsed, hulled and chopped

5   Eggs
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup     Flour
1/2 tsp      Salt
1 tsp         Corn Starch

1. Preheat the oven to 350ยบ and grease a 9"x13" pan.
2. Mix ingredients for the crust and press into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes then remove from oven.
3. While crust is baking, chop rhubarb and strawberries. 
4. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, flour, salt and corn starch.
5. Spread the fruit evenly over the crust, then pour the filling over the top.
6. Bake an additional 30-35 minutes, until the filling is set.
7. Allow to cool and set up, then slice and serve!

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