My Surprising Senior Year, Baking, and Being with Jesus

three people wearing protective masks
Three seniors preparing for quarantine

April 15, 2020
Mari Cuevas ('20)


It was a normal Wednesday night in early March 2020. We were all hanging out around the kitchen, making dinner, chatting about our day, sharing Instagram posts, and postponing homework just a little bit longer. We were excited for our senior spring break trip to Miami, and for sunny days on campus when everyone is out on the lawns soaking up the rays to make up for the months of clouds and snow. 

At this point in the year, conversation always turns to life as seniors. We talked about what dresses we should wear with our caps and gowns in a few months. None of us would’ve foreseen that in just a matter of days, all that we were looking forward to would change. It’s definitely been hard to wrap our heads around our senior year being cut short, the likely chance graduation would be canceled, and the fact that many goodbyes weren’t said. 

However, we are doing what we can to make the best of the situation. Most of my roommates moved back to Spokane after spring break so that we can spend as much time together as we can before it’s time to leave, whenever that may be. We’ve enjoyed living a simpler lifestyle with more down time, less stress and slower days. We go on walks, eat at our kitchen bar top together, play board games, watch movies, lay out and read in the backyard, call our family and friends.

I’ve also found it fun to experiment with cooking and to focus on my faith. So, following is a taste of each: a couple of recipes I recommend, and a meditation experience. Take your pick! I hope one of these activities is just what you needed today.  

four girls in dresses in front of Gonzaga's College Hall

(left to right: Class of 2020 friends Breanna Bang, Bridget Halligan, Mariana Cuevas and Lauren Covell)

3 Fun Recipes

Now is the perfect time to take up cooking as a hobby or just get a few more fun recipes under your belt! Here are a mix of both sweet and savory recipes that you’re sure to love. If you make one we’d love for you to share it on social media and tag us @gonzagau!

Hearty Banana Pancakes

1. Use your favorite pancake mix or recipe and make your batter as directed. 
2. In a separate bowl, mash two ripe bananas and mix them into your batter. 
3. Add ½ cup of oats to your batter and mix. 
4. Mix in ½ teaspoon of cinnamon.
5. Add two drops of vanilla extract. 
6. Spoon your batter out on a pan and cook until lightly golden on each side.
7. Enjoy with fresh berries on top!

Quinoa Fiesta Salad

This recipe can be used as a side salad for lunch or dinner, or as a healthy dip for your tortilla or pita chips!

For the Quinoa
1. In a medium pot, mix one cup of quinoa, two cups of water, a drizzle of olive oil, and a teaspoon of minced garlic. 
2. Cook at high heat and let it come to a boil.
3. When you see the water has just about disappeared and is barely bubbling, mix the quinoa and turn the heat to low .
4. Cover with a lid and let it sit for about 12 minutes. 
5. In the meantime, chop up ½ cup of your choice of red, yellow, or orange bell peppers,  ¼ cup of onions, and an avocado.
6. Time for the canned beans and corn. If you like your canned beans dry, use a strainer to remove the liquid. Set aside with the canned corn.
7. When your quinoa is done, transfer it to a large bowl.
8. Mix in your diced up veggies and add the corn and beans. 

For the Dressing
1. Finely chop a lot of cilantro.
2. Mix olive oil, squeezed lemon juice, and cilantro.
3. Pour over your quinoa and enjoy alone or as a dip for chips!

Power Oatmeal Bowl 

For this recipe, you can use any microwavable oatmeal packets but my personal favorite is “Better Oats Maple and Brown Sugar” instant oatmeal packets. 
1. Make the oatmeal in the microwave as directed, using eithermilk or water. 
2. Crack open an egg carefully and add just the egg white to your cooked oatmeal. The best way to do this is to crack the egg and while holding it over the bowl, transfer the yolk over from the eggshell in your right hand to the eggshell in your left hand a few times, while letting the whites fall into your bowl. 
3. Mix well and put back in the microwave for one minute.
4. Take it out of the microwave and mix it again. 
5. On the side of your bowl add ½ cup of your choice of Greek yogurt. My favorite is the honey flavor. 
6. Add a scoop of peanut butter on the side and lightly salt it if you wish.
7. Cut up two strawberries and add them on the side. 
8. All done! Best to get a little taste of everything in every bite!

Walking with Jesus Meditation

Find a quiet space to pray, play some soft music, grab your journal. Spend a few moments getting comfortable, and take a few deep breaths.

Imagine yourself walking through the mountains. Gorgeous views, incredible heights, rocky paths, calm valleys, steep drops. In the distance you begin to see a figure walking towards you. Who could it be? Weren’t you alone on this mountain? 

Slowly his familiar face comes into focus. His warm expression gives you peace and comfort. You’re reminded that Jesus would never leave you, of course he’s here too. He reaches towards you and invites you to take his hands, and walk forwards without looking behind him. 

Breathe in, breathe out. 

Place your hands in his and grab hold. Now, look into his eyes and begin to walk forward. It may seem frightening, unknown, uncertain, and even dangerous, to not be constantly looking ahead of you. Not checking what you’re stepping on, or if you’re going to run into something. But that’s just what Jesus is asking you to do right now. 

Let go of your worry, live in the now. Take a step, take another, breathe, keep going. Trust that he will place ground under your feet when you step. 

Breathe in, breathe out. 

Find more stories on responding to COVID-19 in our collection.