Lovin’ Me Some Lemons

LemonMy family loves lemon bread. It’s a go-to snack and sometimes even breakfast at our table, and we like to enjoy it with fresh strawberries and a glass of milk. I have a couple of recipes for lemon bread, but this one is relatively easy to make, and since I have kids who like to assume control of the kitchen (except when what’s taking place in the kitchen is cleaning!), the more simple the recipe, the more likely our success.

What you need:

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh is better!)

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup lowfat lemon yogurt

1/3 cup canola oil

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

What you do:

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. In another bowl, combine the egg, yogurt, oil and lemon juice. Stir into the dry ingredients until just moistened. Pour into an 8x4x2 inch loaf pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 325 for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Enjoy!  And hey…what’s that?  Leftover lemons?  Guess what you can do with those?

  • Keep them for a day by the sink.  Use them to remove fish, garlic, onion and other strong odors from your hands.
  • Stick them on your elbows while you’re reading to soften your skin (seriously!).
  • Rub lemon rind on chrome faucets to remove mineral deposits.
  • Pour 3-4 teaspoons of lemon juice into your humidifier to deoderize it.
  • Make a paste of lemon flesh and salt to remove stains from marble.

And here you thought I was going to say, “Make lemonade.”  Come on, I can’t always be a foregone conclusion!  😉

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The Only Thing Better than Singing is…a Danish! (not really)

My oldest daughter sings.  In the shower, at singing1the dinner table, in the car, into the karaoke machine…and yes, I do attempt to harness the passion, and so she sings in the school choir too.  Often, the school choir sings at church on Sunday, and following services, we’ll have a small breakfast.  Contributing the standard coffee and donuts to these breakfasts gets a little boring after a few months, and so I do try to mix it up when I can.  However, I knew thinking beyond Dunkin D this morning was going to be a little tough coming off the last of Christmas vacation, so I pulled this together because you can make it ahead and refrigerate.  Thought I’d share in case you’re staring down this week’s calendar and are feeling depressed by the need to once again strap on your uber mommy suit for the PTA coffee, church fundraiser, and mother-in-law “drop in.”  These are an easy cheat (and no one but us will ever know!).

Ingredients:

2 8 oz. cans Pillsbury crescent rolls

2 8 oz. packages Philly cream cheese

1 can (approximately 15 oz.) blueberry pie filling

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preparation:

Spread one can of crescent roll dough in a greased, 9×13 inch pan.  Press perforations together to seal.  Combine cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla.  Spread on top of the crescent rolls.  Spoon pie filling over the cheese mixture.  Place the second can of crescent rolls on top of the pie filling.  Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes.

And yes – these are delish even when there isn’t a song in the air!

Cookies with a Kix

When the girls were small, I used to go to Costco quite a bit.  What I liked about shopping at Costco were the free samples, which always entertained the girls well enough to get us through the excursions with minimal drama.  I also really loved the diapers in bulk.  I don’t ever remember making special trips to the grocery store at 10:00 p.m. because we were down to the last diaper, and I think the credit goes to Costco.

This being said, what I didn’t like about shopping at Costco were the storage problems following each trip.  Remember how I told you my home was built in 1929, and I have closet space issues?  Well, guess what?  Aside from plumbing and modern appliances, my kitchen remains in the same state it was in 1929, which means I have cabinet/pantry space issues as well.  There is simply no room for gallons of ketchup and a dozen boxes of rice.

kixI remember on one occasion, I bought Kix in bulk (someone must not have been sleeping through the night to prompt me to make such an egregious purchase mistake).  As you can imagine, when I arrived home, I was faced with an unsolvable dilemma: where to put the Kix?  I ultimately placed the cereal boxes on top of the dryer, but after the 10th load of laundry went in, the OCD in me kicked into overdrive, and I simply couldn’t handle looking at the Kix one more time.  So I started dumping them into casseroles, cookies and granola-esque bars in an effort to use them up and get them out of eyesight.  Most of these recipes don’t bear repeating, but the cookies were sort of a hit, and we still occasionally make them.  In case your Christmas cookies are gone and you too have over-purchased and are desperate to get Kix out of your garage, linen closet and foyer, here you go!

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter

1 cup peanut butter

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

8 cups Kix cereal

2 cups chocolate chips

Preparation:

Combine all except Kix and chocolate chips.  Beat until fluffy.  Add Kix and chocolate chips.  Mix well.  Drop by teaspoon on cookie sheet.  Bake at 325 for 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.

I’m not too sure whether to tell you to enjoy the cookies or the free space – maybe both!

Going Bananas over Cereal

Every year, the second grade class at my daughters’ school holds a Rice Krispie treat sale.  Each second grade child brings at least ten homemade Rice Krispie treats to school, and during lunch, the treats are sold for 50 cents a piece.  The money is then donated to a charity.  I love this little event.  Not so much because my daughter gets to practice making change (important!), and is learning to give to others in need (even more important!), but because the moms (and dads!) knock it out of the park with the Rice Krispie treats.  Some are pink, some have sprinkles, some are drizzled with chocolate and caramel.  Some incorporate Fruity Pebbles, others use colored marshmallows, and there are always a few with candy bars crushed on top.  It is a Rice Krispie treat smorgasbord, if you will.  The kids LOVE it, and the table of over-the-top goodies outside the second grade classroom doors always gives me a laugh.

Last week, the girls and I were online trying to decide how best to doctor up our treats.banana-nut-cheerios-snacks  We ultimately cut them into the shape of a Christmas tree with a cookie cutter and gave them licorice garland and Skittle ornaments.  (Yep, it was a little too-much project, and in hindsight, I think I bit off more than I can chew for a weeknight after 6:00.)  But while online, we stumbled across this recipe for Cheerios treats.  I thought it looked promising (and I think the sunflower nuts at least give it the illusion of being healthier). I have several boxes of assorted Cheerios in my house right now, AND someone told me it is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day (now there’s a nice holiday), so why not give it a go?  In case you care to join us, here’s the how-to:

Banana Nut Cheerios Snacks

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons butter (do not use spread or tub products)

1 bag (10.5 oz) miniature marshmallows

6 cups Banana Nut Cheerios cereal

1/3 cup roasted sunflower nuts

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 teaspoon canola oil

Preparation:

Spray a 13×9 inch pan with cooking spray.  In a large, microwave-safe bowl, microwave butter uncovered on high for 30 to 45 seconds or until melted.  Add marshmallows.  Toss until coated.  Microwave on high 1 minute 15 seconds to 1 minute 45 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until mixture can be stirred smooth.

Stir in cereal and sunflower nuts until well blended.  Press evenly in pan.

In small, microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips and oil uncovered on high 45 to 60 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds, until melted and smooth.  Drizzle over bars.

Cool one hour until glaze is set.  Store loosely covered.

And yes, I’ll be throwing down some Kashi and GrapeNuts over the next couple of weeks in a desperate attempt to prove to you that I don’t always eat my cereal with assorted candy and marshmallows.

Enjoy!

Mmmm…..Mangoes

I am normally not a fan of mangoes.  To be honest with you, it’s not the flavor or the smell, it’s really the consistency.  I think they’re “mealy,” and therefore they’re just not my tropical fruit go-to (give me a guava any day!).  🙂  But last night, I fixed pork tacos for dinner for family and friends, and Martha Stewart, in her infinite wisdom, suggested I follow her pork tacos dinner recipe with baked mangoes for dessert.  Not one to argue with the high priestess of hostessing, I followed her advice – and I’m so glad I did!  These took a little time in the oven, but they were so tasty!  And since the weather turned cold yesterday evening, it was nice to tee up a warm dessert.

Baked Mangoes with Cinnamon Sugar Tortillas

Ingredients:

For the Mangoes :

4 to 6 ripe mangoes (about 4 pounds total), peeled

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar

For the Tortillas:

4 flour tortillas (6-inch)

3 tablespoons butter, melted

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Salt

Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional, but I highly recommend it!)

Preparation:

Bake mangoes: Preheat oven to 400  degrees. Slice mangoes into 4 pieces; cut each piece into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Pour butter into a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Add mango slices and sprinkle with brown sugar; toss to coat. Arrange slices in one layer. Bake, tossing once halfway through, until mangoes are tender and juice is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes. While mangoes are baking, prepare tortillas.

Prepare tortillas: Stack tortillas and cut in half. In a large bowl, toss tortilla halves with melted butter until well coated. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place tortillas on a large (or two small) rimmed baking sheet; sprinkle both sides with cinnamon-sugar mixture, and arrange in a single layer. Place in oven while mangoes are still baking, and bake until golden and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool.

Assemble: Divide mango slices among plates. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired, and serve with cinnamon-sugar tortilla halves, broken again in half.

Now, I know you’ve heard me complain about my lack of spoons, but it occurred to me yesterday that unlike the spoon situation, I actually have many baking sheets at my disposal.  However, my baking sheets are starting to look really worse for the wear.  Some are warped, and I think some of the “don’t put in the dishwasher” ones have in fact been put in the dishwasher.  Short of giving everyone in my family tetanus shots, I think it might be time to replace at least a couple.  Williams Sonoma has several baking sheets on sale, and I intend to take advantage. And since I learned the very best way to peel a mango is actually with a vegetable peeler (a few poor attempts with a paring knife put this lesson front and center) I’m going to pick up a new set of vegetable peelers too (Love the fun shades on these!  And I think the orange-ish one is the color of a mango!).

Enjoy, and have a great weekend!