Day 25: La Recette du Succès – The Recipe for Success

Bonjour! Ça va? Welcome to my kitchen! Since it’s ~taco~ Tuesday, I thought it was only fitting if I provided my readers with some of my top-secret tips in the kitchen! But first, let’s talk about our 11 trips exploring the great outdoors! Many of our groups hit the trails today (whether the trails were well-trodden paths or well-ridden roads), while others gave their bikes and hiking boots a break and gave back to the community with service projects. No matter what they’re up to, we are always excited to hear the tales that our Apogee students and leaders have to tell, so let’s jump right in!

Did you know that acid can make your food come to life –  a squeeze of lemon or a dash of vinegar brightens flavors and wakes up flat dishes? Wonder if any of our leaders have tried this!

And, we all know that shredding chicken can be a tedious task for even the most dexterous cooks. But did you know you can simply add your leftover chicken to your standing mixer and let your paddle attachment do all the work? 


Caribbean Service (CS)

Today at the Vieques Humane Society, CS cleaned up a play room, first by clearing out old furniture and then painting the insides, to turn it into a dog social enrichment room. Tomorrow they’ll be at it again to finally make it open for the dogs – how amazing! Following, they had a relaxing adventure hanging out at the nearby beach. Cooking tip #1: To get the best results when baking, don’t use cold eggs. Allow your eggs to come to room temperature by sitting them on the counter for 30 minutes before using them or putting them in a bowl of warm water.




Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXA)

Out of the woods for this group of backpackers! DEXB emerged from the Appalachian Trail backcountry a little stronger and definitely covered in a bit more dirt. After returning to their beloved van, they did some laundry and resupplied because they will travel to Baxter State Park for the next portion of the trip! Wooohooo! Tip #2: If you plan to frost a cake, sprinkle it lightly with flour as soon as it comes out of the oven. The frosting will spread more easily and is more likely to stay on the cake, rather than sliding off and ending up on the serving plate (Please tell me we have a few quarantine bakers on our hands!)

Rainbow Lake!

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEXB)

“We’re tramping through the bush. On and on, we push. Into the thick of it” – Backyardians & featured on TikTok (you’re welcome) 

DEXB began their Appalachian trail backcountry adventure in Northern Maine. Life out there is simple and the wildlife is impeccable. We are so excited for them to star-gaze, try new things, and make memories that last a lifetime! Tip #3: For soft foods like cheesecakes or cheese, try cutting with dental floss instead of a knife to get neat pieces.

Vermont to Lake Champlain A (VLCA)

On the third day of biking, my true love sent to me three bungee cords, two lovely leaders, and a quintessential Vermont covered bridge.

VLCA enjoyed a charming ride through the peaks and valleys of the countryside and even got to witness an iconic covered bridge. They are camping in yet another wonderful Vermont State Park tonight! Tip #4: Microwave a lemon before squeezing it to get out more juice!


Vermont to Lake Champlain B (VLCB)

After a cozy night in their tents, VLCB put on their bike shorts, fastened their helmets, secured their panniers and hit the road. Riding from one lake to the next, they arrived at another campsite with phenomenal swimming just in time for lunch! Tip #5: If you want to make banana bread and your bananas aren’t ripe enough, stick them in the oven with the peels on until they are completely dark!



Bonus picture of lakeside A’s and P’s from last night

Costa Rica Mountains & Coast (CRMC)

CRMC hiked and swam in some beautiful locales today. Tomorrow is their last hiking day of the trip before they shift their focus to some other adventures. Tip #6: To avoid the struggle of stirring natural peanut butter, store the jar upside down and in the fridge! 

California Mountains & Coast (CMC)

Day two backpacking in the Yosemite wilderness! Today CMC continued on the trail and saw even more incredible sights and wonders. They’re still away from cell service so no blog pictures yet but we cannot WAIT until they come in! While we anticipate, tip #7: Become an upcycling master! Egg cartons are ideal for freezing small portions of homemade sauce.

Alaska Mountains & Coast A (AKMCA)

Rest day – woot woot! AKMCA gave their hiking boots a GOOD airing out today and also gave their clothes a GOOD washing. Then they ran some errands to resupply for their two day overnight kayaking trip starting tomorrow while also exploring the coastal town of Seward. Tip #8 – use leftover rice to make a scrumptious rice pudding for dessert (or breakfast if you add fruit) by cooking it with coconut cream, vanilla beans, cinnamon, and sweetener of choice. 

Alaska Mountains & Coast B (AKMCB)

This trip continues to knock our socks off with determined hikers and amazing attitudes. Today was their second day in the Chugach backcountry, where they witnessed the lush greenery, exciting wildlife, and vast wilderness. Then they hiked back to their van, where they spent the rest of the day prepping for their next backcountry portion tomorrow! Busy busy bees! Tip #9: A few drops of vinegar in boiling water will make it easier to peel hard boiled eggs. 

America Coast to Coast 1 (ACC1)

“Woah, we’re halfway there!” Once again, our fearless falcons crushed another HUGE mileage day – 88 miles wow! And, now they are on the second half of their 43 day trip. Congrats team! Tip #10: A damp dish towel under your mixing bowl will keep it from slipping and sliding on your counter as you mix.


America Coast to Coast 2 (ACC2)

Rest day, baby! ACC2 enjoyed a beautiful, relaxing day in Texas before hitting the ground running tomorrow! And we cannot forget to mention how snazzy this crew looks – ow ow!! Tip #11: Next time you over salt a soup, toss in a few wedges of raw apple or potato. Simmer for 10 minutes and discard the wedges to get the flavor back to normal.

Golden hour!