Well. I’ve learned a lot of things in med school. But do you want to know the most important, real life useful thing I’ve learned?
It’s not a thing. It’s a skill.
I’ve learned – and I spent a whole year figuring this out – how to create this low-stress environment around me when I need to. This is good stuff people!
It takes a little time, but it’s not hard. You have to look around you and think, “What in this room is making me all fidgety and annoyed and 5-year-old-ish for no apparently reason? Is it that haphazard stack of 3 month old magazines? Is it the fact that I couldn’t find the TV remote right now if there was a gun to my head? Is it that it does not, in fact, smell like fresh peaches in here?”
Figure these things out! Then, pay attention to the things that make you feel like you have got your stuff under control. Maybs that’s when you make your bed? Or get a car wash? Or put on red lip gloss? You know. Those things that make you stop doubting yourself and start believing that you’re a grown up who can handle her (or his!) business!
I have mine down. Do you want to know them? (Let’s face it, it doesn’t really matter. I’m on the typing end of this machine, so…you get to know them.) These things are most important during test weeks and general life-throwing-me-for-a-loop days.
1. There can be no dirty dishes in the sink. I guarantee you the Weatherman and my mom (and anyone who has been to my apartment) are laughing like crazy at that. I’ll be honest. This one literally took me an ENTIRE year to figure out. But I am proud to say that every single night this school year, I have gone to bed with an empty sink. Suck it dirty dishes.
2. If there is something that I can make sure gets done now instead of 5 days from now, when who knows what could be going on, I’ll use all my powers to make it get done now. This is the part where other people maybe think I’m annoying. Let’s just power through people. It’s for everyone’s own good.
3. I must know that I could, if i wanted to, drink a diet coke or a coco lacroix at any given moment. I stock that stuff like it would get me through a nuclear attack.
4. Some people have a power song for running. You know, when you get to that last (or middle) mile, and you’re like, “Well, if i just stopped here no one would know,” so you turn on your power song and then you run like the wind. Or in my case, like the breeze. I have that too! But I also have a power song for life! This is what gets played too loud at 2am when if-I-study-any-more-my-life-will-spontaneously-combust sets in, but you have to press on! Or when somebody calls and says, “Oh, can you do this too?” and you accidentally say yes instead of no. And then you have to press on!
5. This has brought us to the 2 silliest parts. Pink lipstick and perfume. These things elevate all. Running shorts + undershirt + moccasins = schlubby. Running shorts + undershirt + moccasins + YSL #138 + Jo Malone english pear = superwoman. It’s math. So easy!
Go! Pay attention to what makes you frustrated and what makes you breathe easier, and recreate your low stress surroundings!
Speaking of low-stress, S’mores cookies never caused anyone any stress. Let’s make those too. A chocolate cookie base with a little whole wheat flour for nuttiness, some graham cracker crumbs, and a giant marshmallow toasted on top. There are still a couple days of summer left…celebrate them with s’mores!
Makes 18 medium cookies
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 TBS granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 TBS unsalted butter, melted
2 TBS milk
3/4 cup + 1 TBS unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 TBS unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cups milk chocolate chips
9 large marshmallows, cut in half
1. In a small bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, 2 TBS sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 4 TBS butter, and milk with a fork. It should be crumbly and should hold together when you press it with your fingers. Cover the bowl or transfer to a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 325F with racks in the upper middle and lower middle positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, 1/4 tsp salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, stir together the 6 TBS melted butter, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar until well combined. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Gently stir in the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the chilled prepared graham cracker crumbs, then stir in the rest (gently, you don’t want to break up all the crumbs). Chill the dough for about 1 hour (this step isn’t essential if you don’t have time, but it helps the cookies hold their shape a little better).
5. Using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, about 1 1/2 TBS of dough per cookie. Dot the tops of the cookies with the remaining graham cracker crumbs, pressing them lightly to adhere.
6. Bake the cookies for 8 minutes, switching between top and bottom racks halfway through. After 8 minutes, take the cookies out and quickly top each with a marshmallow half. Put the cookies back in the oven and bake for another 2-3 minutes. Remove the cookies once the marshmallows are lightly golden and puffed. Let the cookies cool on the pan for 4 minutes, then remove to cool completely to a wire rack. Cookies are best the day they’re made, but they’ll keep for 2 days, tightly wrapped, at room temperature.
Recipe inspired by Baking Illustrated
Thanks for reading, happy baking!