We make a mad dash to the grocery store. Snow is on the way and ice there soon after. Grab the milk, eggs, yeast, oranges, fruit snacks and apple juice. A five minute drive at the most, in super-suburbia. All the while the snow topped branches and roofs are beckoning. I turn around and see those two little faces staring back at me...
Do you want to go for a walk?
"The park with the water, Mama?"
Yeah, why not? And remember it's called a RI-VER
Throw the eggs, milk, cheese, whatever in the fridge and grab the hats, snow pants, gloves and...oh we will be fine, just go. Warm and dry that's all that matters. Camera. Check. Five minutes more and we're there. Big open blue skies and snow, the most beautiful snow I have seen in years. Spring is more then welcome to arrive next week, but for right now I am completely content living in a fairy tale of snow and ice.
I am grateful for so much right now. Unburdened from the normal struggle to unearth the cars, fight the traffic, only to arrive at a place where you dissimulate any real feelings just to survive. I worked hard for years to get where I am today. Always planning for what I wanted my life to look like when the time arrived. Now I am trying to be mindful and enjoy what I never could before. The ability to be spontaneous is a gift unlike any other. To wake up stress free on a snowy morning and quickly hop outside to feed the birds our leftover bread crumbs. My husband safe at work in our spare bedroom, and my little boys enjoying their crepes. Will my situation change in the future? More than likely it will, but I will be forever grateful for the time we have now.
Lemon bars have been on my mind lately. We just celebrated my great-grandmother's one hundredth and third birthday. A constant thought in my mind has always been to make and document all her beloved recipes. I would love to have a collection with notes and pictures to share with the rest of my family in honor of her one day. On the top of her collection is these amazing lemon bars. Everyone's favorite dessert, no matter who you ask. I had tried this recipe once before and we quickly learned that even though her recipe states to bake in a 9 X 13 inch pan, she did in fact divide this recipe into two pans. When you have a large family to feed there are always little tricks to make the most of what you have. This critical step made all the difference and suddenly her iconic lemon bars were now in my possession.
The recipe you will find below is basically a small batch of these original lemon bars. Since I would be stuck inside my house for a few days with these, I knew that having too many would be quite detrimental to the size of my thighs. All I did was half the recipe, so if you are looking for something to take to a large party, follow the amounts in the original recipe and divide it into two pans. Her original recipe also calls for regular lemons, but why not use Meyers if you have them. The season is coming to a close and I am happily eating my way through the last of the twenty one pounds I purchased from The Lemon Ladies Orchard. There are a few little things I did differently for this recipe. I added some powdered lemon peel to the crust and I included the zest from one Meyer lemon into the filling. I also increased the amount of lemon juice even though the recipe was halved. Meyers are not as tart as regular lemon so I wanted to make sure these bars would have enough zing as the originals. I also decided to use parchment paper to line the pan because it helps greatly when taking the bars out of the pan, trust me on this one! It just so happens that I have a nice little supply of powdered Meyer lemon peel. I like to add some of this to the crust for additional flavor. Making powdered lemon peel is quite easy (see here) but you could also purchase some regular powdered lemon peel from Penzeys Spices. It is a nice thing to have around and I hear that it is great to use when making cheesecake.
Meyer Lemon Bars
one glass cake pan 8 X 11 inches or 9 X 13 inches
1/2 cup (one stick) melted butter
1 cup flour
1/2 (scant) cup of powdered sugar
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5 Tablespoons Meyer Lemon juice (about two large Meyer lemons)
Zest from one Meyer lemon (optional)
Additional powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a glass baking pan (8 X 11 or 9 X 13) with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl mix the melted butter with the flour and powdered sugar until combined into a dough. Press the dough evenly into the parchment lined baking pan with your fingers or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. While the crust bakes whisk the remaining ingredients in a large bowl until combined. When the crust is done pre-baking, pour the lemon mixture over the top and return back to the oven to bake for an additional 20-25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the bars cool completely before sprinkling on some powdered sugar. Cut and serve.