Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Lem-O-Nut Bars

Lem-O-Nut Bars is a weird name, I know, and this recipe looks like one of the really old ones as you can see by the fountain pen used to write it out. This one comes from one of Grandma’s sisters, and it’s so delicious, I could hardly believe it. It has all the usual and simple ingredients, but they come out so good and chewy, you can really taste the bit of lemon and lemon rind in them.

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These are so good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lem-O-Nut Bars

Mix:

2 cups flour, sifted

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Press into bottom of a greased 9″ x 13″ cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Mix:

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Stir in:

1 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

Spread over crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Top will be lightly browned.

Cut into bars when cool.

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The bottom crust partially bakes first.

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Then on goes the topping.

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It doesn’t look like much when it’s done, but man are these good!

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These are thin, but packed with flavor.

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Here is another treat just perfect for afternoon coffee or tea. Lem-O-Nut Bars are tasty and very quick and easy to make. Yes. Just perfect.

 

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Limoncello and Freezing Lemon Juice

Making Limoncello was my daughter’s idea after she brought home those beautiful lemons from California last winter. We had a lot of lemons, and after making all of those wonderful recipes with them, I still had a bunch left over. Why not? I’ve never had Limoncello and it sounded delicious. I’m up for it.

See what I mean? They’re seriously beautiful lemons.

This is MY lemon tree. My kids gave it to me for Mother’s Day several years ago, and it has barely – and I mean barely – survived the winters in my kitchen where it gets the most sun in the house. The poor thing really needs A LOT more sun than it gets here. Let me add that in this picture, it is looking VERY good. I’m not even going to show a photo of what it looks like right now – a lot of blossoms, but yellow leaves that are falling off faster than summer is getting here. The tree has done well being out on our deck in the summertime, and it NEEDS to be out there. It’s done well enough to give me 2 whole lemons! Just enough to make myself 1 lemon drop cocktail!!! There are recipes all over the internet for making Limoncello, and that’s where I found the instructions to make it.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Limoncello

Wash and scrub 12 lemons (organic, if possible). Peel them with either a vegetable peeler or knife, getting the peel as thin as possible, without any of the white pith on it. The pith makes it bitter, so you could use a little knife and carefully cut or scrape off the white pith.

Juice the lemons, but don’t waste that wonderful juice.

I froze the juice in 1 cup amounts in zip top freezer bags. Freeze them flat and you can stack them in your freezer to take up less space. It’s also easier to break off what you need when it is frozen flat. Use this over the summer to make Lemonade, Lemon Meringue Pie, or Lemon Meringue Pie #2.

Put the peel into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and add one bottle of grain alcohol (which I couldn’t find) or 100 proof vodka (which is what I used).

Let it sit for 3 weeks and get all nice and lemony from the oils in the peel. I labeled it so I wouldn’t forget how long to leave it alone.

After 3 weeks, filter the peels out of the vodka. I used a coffee filter put inside my mesh strainer to do this. Press all the vodka out of the peel and filter. Don’t waste a drop!

Now you have the beautiful, fragrant vodka, but you need to add some simple syrup. Heat 3-4 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let it cool. Add the simple syrup to the lemon vodka and combine. Now you have your Limoncello.

I used a funnel to pour it into a bottle – we had a few clean, old plain glass bottles and that’s what I used. Top it with a cork and you’re done!

Here is the beautiful, yellow, lemony Limoncello. It had a mellower, less lemony taste than it might have if I had used regular lemons – these are Meyer lemons with a sweeter, milder flavor. This also makes a great gift – tie a pretty ribbon around it, add a gift tag, and you’re good to go!

I’m glad I tried this. It’s delicious, and when you store it in the freezer, it’s nice and icy cold – you can even enjoy it with some sparkling water and/or over ice. Or try it over cake or ice cream. Try this stuff on anything. Limoncello is the perfect after dinner cocktail for a warm summer night.

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Lemon Cutting Board Cleaner

Today we’re “cleaning up” our recipes using the lemons my daughter brought home from California. Ha! No pun intended. Well, yes, the pun IS intended. This is the last one where we’re letting the “sun shine in”! It’s time to move on to other things, but I had to do one last thing using those beautiful lemons.

I use my cutting boards a lot to cut up onions and garlic, and they tend to get a bit smelly. Do you ever have that problem? There have been times when I have cut fruit or bread on my board, and they end up smelling like onions. I need to clean them from time to time and keep them in tip-top shape. Because we’ve been doing so many lemon recipes, I happened to have a lemon leftover. Aha! It’s the perfect time to clean and disinfect my cutting boards! I had used the rind, but didn’t need the juice of this lemon, so – time to give the boards a good scrubbing.

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Cut your lemon in half and sprinkle on some kosher salt.

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Squeeze on some of the lemon juice.

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Take the lemon half and give it a little scrub on top of the salt, then let it sit for a few minutes. Wow – this lemon doesn’t look so great after losing it’s rind and sitting for a couple of days, but the juice will still do the trick. You could also use a half of a lemon after you juice it, just scrub it like it was a normal half of a lemon. Also, you can do this with lemons that are a bit past their prime and don’t look so great.

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After the juice sits on the board for a few minutes, give it a GOOD scrub with the lemon half. Wipe it down, give it a thorough rinse, and that’s it!

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This doesn’t take out the cut marks, but it does do a good job taking out the smell. It’s fresh and clean!

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I like to put some mineral oil on a cloth, rub it in, and give it a pretty shine, too. The boards get so much use, they tend to get dried out. There you go – all ready to go and good as new! I’ll miss using those bright, sunny, and fragrant lemons, but spring will be here soon, and it’s time to move on. Check back for springtime recipes coming soon!

 

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Lemon Sherbet

We’re still doing lemon recipes with the lemons my daughter brought from California. Let’s just continue to let the sun shine in until spring actually comes. Well, maybe not that long, but at least for one more week.

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I was looking through some of Grandma’s old church cookbooks recently, and found recipes where she had written notes on them. There were some she had made: some good ones and some she marked as not so good. There were even some with check marks where she had written “try this one”. Some of them even had the year she made them. I love that we have her remarks on those recipes. It’s almost like still having her here to chat about them and tell us which ones to try and which ones to let well enough alone. Which ones to change or tweak just a bit, and maybe how to make them a bit better. It makes me not miss her quite so much.

I found the recipe for today in one of those old books, and even though it wasn’t in a cookbook from her church, it’s one of those great recipes you always find in those old church cookbooks. I still say everybody put their best recipes in there, so they’re always just the best ones! This recipe for Lemon Sherbet is no exception. Wow.

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Sherbet? Naw – this is more of an ice cream.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lemon Sherbet

Beat until lemon colored:

2 eggs

Add gradually:

1/2 cup sugar

Beat until thick.

Add:

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 teaspoon lemon rind

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 cups top milk (I would say this is cream, or you could also use half-n-half or whole milk)

Mix well.

The recipe says to pour into a shallow refrigerator pan. When soft in the center only, beat quickly, and refreeze. I used our ice cream maker and it took about 30 minutes to freeze.

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Because this recipe uses raw eggs, I recommend using the freshest eggs you can find, or use pasteurized eggs. We didn’t have a problem with the raw eggs.

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Make sure you beat the eggs until lemon-colored.

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Add the sugar, and then squeeze those beautiful, bright lemons for the lemon juice. Don’t forget to take the rind off FIRST.

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Mix in the top milk. Haha! Now we know that this is a very old recipe. I used cream, but I’m sure you could use half-n-half or even whole milk.

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I put the mixture into our ice cream maker, and then I put the frozen mixture into a chilled container before putting into the freezer. Because this recipe includes corn syrup and eggs, it stayed easy to scoop, even after freezing for a few days. It didn’t get icy or crystallized at all.

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I wouldn’t call this sherbet. It really is ice cream. It’s so lemony and so creamy and so good and so EASY to make. You’re not going to believe this amazingly delicious ice cream. I recommend you make this right away. Now. You won’t be sorry!

 

 

 

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Lemon Dessert #2

The recipe for today is one of the most delicious recipes I’ve done to date. I’m so grateful to my daughter for hauling home the lemons and for her college roommate for letting her pick the lemons off of the tree in her backyard. Those lemons have definitely brightened up our winter.

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Today’s recipe for Lemon Dessert #2 is very similar to another Lemon Dessert I posted about a couple of years ago. But this one is better! I just have to say up front – that this dessert is the most delicious thing I’ve eaten in years! I’m not even kidding. I wouldn’t kid you about a thing like this. It is – and I don’t use this word often – AMAZING.  My family decided it was like eating baby angels. So ridiculously “melt in your mouth” good. This dessert is a lot like a Pavlova, only it’s in a cake pan instead of on a baking sheet.

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Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lemon Dessert #2

Beat for 15 minutes:

8 egg whites

2 cups sugar

1/2 Tablespoon vinegar (I used white vinegar)

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Put into a 9″ x 13″ pan and bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour.

Turn oven off and let stand in oven for 20 minutes.

For filling:

Cook in a double boiler until thick:

8 egg yolks, beaten a little

1 cup sugar

Grated rind of 2 lemons (Grandma noted that she didn’t use this, but I did)

6 Tablespoons lemon juice

Cool both crust and filling.

Whip:

1 pint whipping cream (it doesn’t say to add any sugar to the whipped cream, but I added about 2 Tablespoons – it seemed weird to me to not have it sweetened just a bit)

Put about half of the whipped cream on top of the crust, then the lemon filling, then the rest of the whipped cream.

Sprinkle coconut on top of everything and refrigerate overnight.

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This is my double boiler – a glass bowl sitting on top of a pan of simmering water. Does anyone use double boilers anymore? This works just fine.

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Here are more of those beautiful lemons!

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There was so much meringue for the crust that it almost overflowed in the oven! I pushed it down a bit around the edges so I could get the other goodies on top.

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The filling doesn’t seem to get thick when you’re mixing it in the double boiler. I cooked this for about 20 minutes and finally just decided to take it off the heat. It did firm up and got thick as it cooled a bit.

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So beautiful – layer by layer.

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Not everyone in my family loves coconut. I do. Love it.

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Here it is – like eating baby angels. I’m not even kidding.

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You’re going to want to try this dessert. It takes some time to make, but it’s very easy to do. You’re going to have to trust me on this one and just do it. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll love having this recipe in your arsenal. It’s a very elegant and very delicious dessert – just ask the baby angels.

 

 

 

 

 

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Lemon Pasta with Shrimp

The recipe for today is one continuing our sun-shiny lemon recipes, but today we’re not making dessert – we’re making a pasta dish.

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Lemon Pasta with Shrimp is a main dish that’s also going under the heading of Money-Saving Meals. If you find a good deal on shrimp (frozen in this case), this is a very economical meal. This one is loosely based on Ina Garten’s recipe for Lemon Pasta with Roasted Shrimp, but as usual, I had to put my own spin on it. It’s easy, it’s lemony, and it’s delicious – sounds like it fits all the criteria for letting the sun shine in.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lemon Pasta with Shrimp

Thaw:

2 pounds frozen cooked shrimp (you can roast raw shrimp, like Ina does, but this was what I had on hand)

If using cooked shrimp, remove tails once the shrimp is thawed.

Meanwhile, cook according to package instructions:

1 pound thin spaghetti, angel hair pasta, or other pasta – whatever you like

Drain pasta and reserve a cup or so of the pasta water to add to the sauce, if needed.

Melt in a large skillet:

4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

zest and juice of 2 lemons

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 green onions, greens only, thinly sliced

Add the shrimp just long enough to warm through.

Add cooked pasta to the sauce in the skillet.

Combine.

Add some reserved pasta water, if needed.

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It helps to zest your lemon rind and juice the lemon before starting.

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I had cooked frozen shrimp on hand, so that’s what I used.

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My skillet isn’t big enough to put the pasta into, so I combined the pasta and the sauce right in the bowl.

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I made a mistake and didn’t notice before starting, that the recipe calls for 2 pounds of shrimp and 1 pound of pasta. I only had 1 pound of shrimp and should have used only 1/2 pound of pasta. I used the whole pound, but because of the amount of juice in the lemons from California (they were incredibly juicy), the amount of sauce was just fine.

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This is a delicious and lemony pasta dish, and you’re going to love it! Make this one tonight! It’s faster to make than fast food!

 

 

 

 

 

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Lemon Meringue Pie #2 (Filling Made in the Microwave)

We’re continuing the lemon recipes today and letting the sun shine in with a great pie recipe.

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I found this photo from sometime in the 1950’s of almost all of the family – Grandma’s siblings and their spouses and children – and I had to share it today when we’re making a recipe that sounds perfect for a family gathering.

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You can see that even without absolutely everybody there, they were a large group. I imagine that when they got together, they would share their best recipes and make the most delicious ones for the family. This is just that kind of recipe.

This recipe for Lemon Meringue Pie #2 (Filling Made in the Microwave) came from Grandma’s youngest sister, and it sounded like another easy one. When getting ready to make this, I knew that I have done a Lemon Meringue Pie post here already (I shared it in my last post), so I thought I’d better check that recipe before starting this one. The funniest thing happened! They are the SAME recipe! Well, I had to try it both ways, so I made this one, too! In the other pie recipe, Grandma wrote it out for me, and indicated that she got if from someone else. Maybe it’s a totally different recipe, or maybe she left out that little part about it being done in the microwave. Either way – and funnier still – it worked both ways!!! You can do it in the microwave, or do it in a saucepan on the stove! They both work! That being said, it was so easy to do this in the microwave, that I’ll never do it in a pan again.

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Note the “V Good” connotation on this one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lemon Meringue Pie #2 (Filling Made in the Microwave)

Get a 9″ baked pie crust ready (wanting to try something different, I used a graham cracker crust for this one).

Combine in a 2 quart bowl:

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup lemon juice

5 egg yolks (whites reserved)

Stir until smooth.

Add:

2 Tablespoons butter

Cook on high until mixture thickens and boils – 7 1/2 to 8 minutes – stirring 2-3 times.

Stir in:

1-3 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Let stand, uncovered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meringue:

In a large bowl beat until foamy:

5 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Add:

1/2 cup sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time

Beat constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are glossy and stand in soft peaks.

Beat in:

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Pour filling into pie crust.

Cover filling with meringue – all the way to the edges.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.

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I just laughed out loud when I realized that the two recipes were the same, and worked both ways! Too funny!

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It seems weird to just add a chunk of butter, but remember that this will be going into the microwave and it will melt.

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It’s so fast to do and comes out so thick and delicious – THEN you also add the lemon rind!

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I tried something different using a graham cracker crust for this one. I would use a regular crust next time, but my family didn’t seem to mind the graham cracker one. They loved it even though for some reason, it did get a little wet (I read that sometimes that happens when you overbeat the egg whites).

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I used too small of a pie pan, so I also made a couple of “pudding” cups.

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The meringue is fluffy and delicious – don’t forget to top the “puddings”, too!

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I am now a lover of lemon pudding. You can always do this instead of using a crust.

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The pie is beautiful and so amazingly delicious!

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This was so easy to do in the microwave. It’s one of my new favorites – I love it this way. Try this recipe at your next family gathering. You’ll never go back to doing Lemon Meringue Pie on the stove again!

 

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Lemons, Lemons, and More Lemons

My daughter recently traveled to California to visit her college roommate in San Francisco and brought home a whole suitcase full of lemons. Just look at these gorgeous little beauties!!

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They picked the lemons off of the lemon tree growing in her friend’s backyard. My daughter loves lemons and she gave them to me with the instructions that I should make some lemon specific recipes for the blog. Can do! Grandma and her sisters were great lemon lovers, and there is no shortage of lemon recipes. We’re experiencing a bit of the winter blahs here in Minnesota (which usually happens this time of the year), so for the next few weeks, I’m going to make some uplifting and refreshing lemon recipes to perk up the winter and bring in a little sunshine. But first, just for today, I’ll share some favorite lemon past post recipes. So since it’s citrus season, and my countertop is full of Lemons, Lemons, and More Lemons, let’s get going and let the sun shine in!

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Lemon Love Notes

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Lemon Meringue Pie

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Lemon Chicken with Croutons

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Lemonade

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Lemon Nut Bread

 

 

 

 

 

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Lemon Chicken with Croutons

We’re talking about Sunday dinners today. Grandma came from a large family and I can imagine the Sunday dinners that they had, all seated around the round dining room table that I still have in my kitchen today. I love these photos – one of all the girls, including their mother, and one of all the boys, including their father. I think these were taken sometime around the late 1920s or early 1930s. I absolutely love the haircuts on the girls, and the boys all have on a shirt and tie (their mother sewed ALL their clothes back then).

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I’d like to think that this was a Sunday afternoon, after they had their dinner all together. It may have not been as raucous around the table as my family is today, since Grandma once told my middle child (who really never stopped talking when she was little) that sitting around the table was for eating, not for talking. I’m sure she told her that because she wanted her to just stop talking, not that it was really important to be silent at the table. Maybe, with all of those people around the table in Grandma’s family, they needed to keep everybody calm and told them that they couldn’t talk at the table, who knows? My family tries to have Sunday dinner together every week, and it can get loud when we all get together. We know we’re lucky to be able to do it, and we’re going to enjoy it as long as we can.

Today’s recipe for Lemon Chicken with Croutons comes from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook. This has become one of my family’s favorite and most requested dishes, and we have it often for Sunday dinner. Because it comes from Ina, it’s so easy and SO GOOD!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lemon Chicken with Croutons

1 (4-5 pound) roasting chicken

1 large yellow onion, sliced

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 lemons, quartered

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

6 cups (3/4 inch) bread cubes (she says to use 1 baguette or round boule – I used a multigrain loaf)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Take giblets out of chicken and wash it inside and out.

Remove any excess fat and pin feathers.

Toss the onion with a little olive oil in a small roasting pan (I use a cake pan).

Place the chicken on top and sprinkle the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper.

Place the lemons inside the chicken.

Pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels, brush it with the melted butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Tie the legs together with kitchen string (I didn’t do this as I made two chickens at the same time) and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Roast for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh.

Cover with foil and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes (the onions may burn, but the flavor is good).

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil until very hot.

Lower heat to medium-low and saute the bread cubes, tossing frequently, until nicely browned, 8-10 minutes.

Add more olive oil, as needed, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place the croutons on a serving platter.

Slice the chicken and place it, plus all the pan juices, over the croutons (I just put the whole chicken on the croutons and sliced it at the table).

Sprinkle with salt and serve warm.

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Here they are, all stuffed with lemon and ready for the oven.

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It’s important to make sure the croutons are good and crispy so they will readily soak up all of the delicious juice.

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Out of the oven and these little beauties just need to rest a bit before we dig in.

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This little chicken is resting on top of the crispy croutons. There was A LOT of pan juices from these 2 chickens. I also squeeze the juice from the lemons before removing the chickens from the pan. It makes a lot more tasty juice that way. The onions didn’t burn in the pan this time, but if they do, it’s just tastier!

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All we needed to add for dinner were some green beans from our garden.

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This is the most delicious and moist chicken. The lemon just makes that pan juice so amazing. Try this dish and your family will be requesting this as much as my family does. Maybe at your next Sunday dinner?!

 

 

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Lemon Love Notes

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I first made these Lemon Love Notes when my oldest daughter played volleyball. The volleyball club would hold a spaghetti dinner fundraiser every year, and each family had to contribute a couple of pans of bars as part of the dinner. This was one of the bars I made, found in what cookbook? Grandma’s church cookbook. That’s where I looked, because that’s where there are the best tried and true recipes. Well, the rest is history. I have made these ever since and they’re the favorite of the two lemon lovers in the family, and pretty much everyone else, too.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lemon Love Notes

Crust:

Mix as for pie crust:

1 cup flour

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup butter

Pat into a 8″ x 8″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Filling:

Mix rest of ingredients:

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice

2 1/2 teaspoon flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 lemon rind, grated

Pour over crust and bake again for 25 minutes.

Cool.

Topping:

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon milk

1 Tablespoon butter, softened

Spread topping over bars.

Cut into squares.

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The crust seems weird and very dry, but it works.

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There’s nothing like the smell of fresh lemon.

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After baking the crust, pour on the filling and back into the oven.

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The top looks a bit strange right out of the oven, but the frosting will cover that right up.

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I love these bars as much as the lemon lovers in the family. The frosting on top is so good!

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The crust seriously just melts in your mouth, the filling is lemony and tangy, and it’s all topped off with that sweet and creamy frosting. These bars are so easy to make and they are delicious. Period. Lemon lover or not, you’re gonna love these!

 

 

 

 

 

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