When Life Gives You Lemons

I worked really hard in nursing school and right about now it would be truly fantastic to be working as a registered nurse. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, the market for new graduate nurses right now just, well, sucks. Finding a job as a registered nurse without at least 2 years experience is difficult. Getting a job at a hospital, almost impossible. Here in San Diego the major hospitals all offer New Graduate Residency programs that start once or twice a year. Awesome, I thought, when I read about them. The programs run for about 10 weeks and it includes didactic lectures as well as hands on nursing work with a preceptor.

Back in January when I graduated and moved to San Diego I thought, well, I’ll just apply to that program, have a few months off before it starts, then jump right into the program and start my dream job. HA! If I only knew then. I applied for the programs, along with half of Southern California. For the Children’s hospital there were approximately 24 positions, 12 of which went to internal candidates. The other 12 positions? Roughly 500 or so recent graduates competed for those. I think you can guess how that ended.

Lucky for me I was able to find something to keep me occupied until the right nursing job and I meet. Working as a nanny has it’s ups and downs. The girls can be really fun, sometimes a touch stubborn, but most days I really enjoy spending time with them. It’s also great to have a little bit of work each day and also a little bit of free time. It’s also allowing me the freedom to take my upcoming trip to China. Another perk is the lemon tree in they have in the backyard that I am welcome to pick from.

Just a week ago I picked my first ever lemon off of a tree. C, the oldest, helped me pick some ripe ones. I told her I wanted to make lemon bars and she got really excited. I have made this recipe before and I really like it. Because they are creamy, almost like cheesecake, they are enjoyed even by people that don’t typically like lemon bars. So if life is giving you lemons, make these creamy lemon squares!

Creamy Lemon Squares
(Adapted from Kraft)

3/4 cup NILLA Wafers, finely crushed (about 20 wafers)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream Cheese, softened (I use 1/3 reduced fat)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp lemon zest, divided
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp baking Powder
2 tsp. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degress.

Line an 8×8 pan with foil. In a medium bowl combine the crushed wafers, flour, and brown sugar with a fork. Using a pastry blender, or 2 forks, work the butter into the mixture until it starts to resembles wet sand. Pour the mixture into the bottom of the pan and press down to completely cover the bottom. I like to use the bottom of a flat glass or measuring cup to make sure it’s evenly spread out. Bake for 15 minutes.

Wipe out any remaining crumbs from the mixing bowl. Then add the cream cheese and sugar and beat with a mixer until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined. Finally beat in the flour, lemon zest, lemon juice and baking powder. Pour over the baked crust.

Bake for 25-28 minutes or until the center starts to set and the edges are just starting to pull from the sides. Let cool completely then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar for serving.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Heather Lynne

    >Lemon squares are one of my all time favorites! These look great!

  2. cookingwithchrissy

    >I've been seeing lemon squares EVERYWHERE…I really should try them! They look great!

  3. Taylor

    >Mmm lemon bars are one of my favorite desserts…especially in the summer! Good luck with the job search…I'm a new PT graduate and just recently found a job, but it wasn't easy!

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