Sunny Lemon Bars

Lemon bar recipe

Dusted Sunny Lemon Bars

These lemon bars are my hands down favorite bar cookie. Their yummy sweet, tart and sunny yellow goodness scream summer to me. Though I eat them year round, many fun summer days growing up and playing at my grandparents involved my favorite treat. I simply love, Love, LOVE them!

This recipe is my favorite, and you will find it very easy as well!  An insider tip…the corners are incredible!

Sunny Lemon Bars

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Don’t Toss Your Vanilla Beans

Vanilla bean sugar

I am trying to switch my blogsite over to a newer site design, so I apologize for my lack of posts. Nevertheless, I decided to pop up a tip post this morning.

Many people do not realize they can purchase entire vanilla beans for enhanced flavoring in baking. The inside of a vanilla bean holds pure magic. These skinny little beans can be purchased at most grocery stores.  McCormick® Spice Company sells them in a bottle in your herb and spice aisle at local grocers but if you are unable to find them, here is a link to purchase them online Madagascar Vanilla Beans.

I cannot tell you how many vanilla beans I’ve tossed after scraping clean their yummy centers. It killed me, they smelled so delicious!  Finally, I came across a tip that basically called me out. I was a “Vanilla Bean Waster”. <—-Is that even a word?

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A Quick Tip For Keeping Sliced Apples From Browning and A Yummy Recipe

Braeburn Apples

Braeburn Apples, excellent for cooking

I make caramelized apples as a side dish to pork or chicken. It is also an easy topping for ice cream. My kids love them and they are soooo easy!

Whenever I am getting ready for a tailgate, barbecue or dinner and know I will inevitably be running crazy, I prefer to do any prep work before I actually need to start cooking.  A friend shared this tip with me one day when I was making a huge batch of Chicken Salad, which required diced apples. Whenever I sliced my apples early before cooking them, they always without fail turned brown. Still delicious but not very pretty.

A Crazy Tip For Keeping Sliced Apples from browning

After slicing and/or dicing apples for a dish; to keep them from browning pour Sprite® or any lemon-lime soda of your choice over the fruit and pop it into the fridge.  If you need the fruit to remain  crunchy, throw some ice cubes in. Easy, right? Who would’ve thought? Not me, but it works every time!

Caramelized Apples

Caramelized Apples

 

Caramelized apples

Ingredients for caramelized Apples

  • 4 Apples (any good cooking apple, such as Braeburn or Granny Smith)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)

Directions for Caramelized Apples

  • Peel the apples and cut into quarters. Remove the cores and cut quarters into 1/2″ thick slices.
  • Cover the apple slices with Sprite® or any other lemon-lime soda to prevent browning. Add ice cubes to keep them crunchy.  Once you are ready to use them, drain the apples and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • In a large skillet, heat your butter until it is bubbling.
  • Add the apple slices to your skillet and continue to cook over medium high heat for approximately 5 minutes or until tender crisp and beginning to brown. Turn several times to brown evenly.
  • If you using cinnamon*, mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together completely with a fork.
  • Add the brown sugar* and continue to cook until sugar has melted and started to caramelize.
  • Apple slices should be tender. Serve as a side dish or over ice cream while still warm.

My Raspberry Addiction

Fresh Raspberries

I absolutely loooove raspberries.(I may be addicted) My love for them began when I was little girl and my Dad told me they were his favorite fruit. Dad and I had a really special relationship, so I stored this little fact for future use. I was always trying to make him happy and proud, so when weeks later my sweet Mom bought me a little raspberry bush from a road side stand, I hatched a plan to make my Dad super happy. Mom and I planted that little bush and I tended to it like a tiny baby; sitting by it for hours with the hopes of seeing the first berry pop. In my little gardening head I was already envisioning myself carrying a huge basket of raspberries to show my family and feed to the neighbors. After a couple of weeks, I was really starting to lose the faith. My raspberry bush was broke, I decided, nonetheless I awoke early one morning and walked outside in my jammies to check my broken little bush. And there they were! 4 plump little raspberries and 1 mutant little raspberry looking thing, which looked a little sketchy.

I plucked those berries so fast, I practically ripped up the entire bush. I remember putting them in a ginormous bowl and carrying them into my Dad, like I was bringing him gold. I had a moment where I thought he might laugh at my teeny little crop, but as soon as he saw them he made a huge fuss, ate all of them, even the little mutant one. Once done with my little raspberry feast, Dad gushed and smacked his lips like my raspberries were the best thing he had ever tasted. In hindsight, I realize now they were most likely awful and bitter, but because my little 7 year old brain just wanted a darn berry, I had given no thought to letting them grow into a real raspberry. I do remember feeling incredibly proud of myself, and without ever even tasting one, I declared from that day forward, raspberries were now also my favorite fruit.

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How to Trick Your Kids Into Eating Something Healthy

Applesauce Oat Cupcakes

Yep, I said “trick” and I feel absolutely no guilt for saying nor doing it. What they don’t know won’t hurt them, is incredibly true in this case.

I’ve got some pretty picky eaters in my house and the lengths I go to sneak healthier options into all of my cooking and baking knows no bounds.

This is just an easy-peasy deliciously moist muffin, with a wonderful top crust that everyone will love, especially your kids!

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