When Life Gives You Lemons

2016-01-10 17.16.59

You make lemonade and lemon bars and lemon spaghetti and … well, you get the idea. Every winter our little lemon tree gives us a beautiful bounty. Here are of my favorite ways and some new things I tried this season.

2015-11-08 09.43.49-1Warm Water with Lemon and Cayenne

I enjoy this drink first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The warm water and lemon helps flush and re-hydrate the body, improve digestion, offer a little immune boost with vitamin C and potassium and can lead to cleaner skin. Remember not to squeeze your lemon directly into boiling water, you will destroy the live enzymes in the lemon, instead use warm water. Combining cayenne with lemon increases the detoxing effect and raises the temperature of your body increasing your metabolism. To really boost your immune fighting ability add a splash of raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar. ACV is known to help to relieve allergies, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, aid digestion, control candida and more. A quick search online will reveal so many ways ACV this helps! I drink this concoction with a straw to minimize the amount that gets on my teeth and could erode enamel.

2016-01-24 14.49.34Fresh Lemonade
Recipe from Inga Garten

This recipe has you put the lemon juice, water, sugar and ice into a blender. I had never done that before with lemonade and it’s brilliant. It’s frothy, light and delicious.

img_3874Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars
Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

These have become my family’s favorite lemon dessert. The cream filling tastes like lemon cheesecake. I usually use the Better Crocker cookie mix shortcut which makes this such a simple and quick recipe but, I think I’ll try the from scratch recipe next time. Since we are all sensitive to dairy and I make these quite a bit around the holidays, I split the filling in half and made two batch last time and they tasted great.

DSCF1278Fresh Lemon Bars
Recipe from 365 Favorite Brand Name Cookie Recipes


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (although I usually add another 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • grated peel of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 and 1/4 cup flour

Lemon Layer:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 and 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • grated peel of 1/2 lemon
  • juice of 2 lemons (6 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • confectioner’s sugar

To make crust, in a bowl blend butter, sugar and lemon peel. Gradually stir in flour to form a soft crumbly dough. Press evenly into the bottom of an aluminum foil lined 13x9x2 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, to prepare lemon layer. In a large bowl whisk eggs well. Stir together sugar, flour and baking powder. Gradually whisk sugar mixture into eggs. Stir in lemon peel, lemon juice and vanilla. Pour over hot baked crust. Return to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool. Using foil on two sides, lift out the cookie base. With a wet knife cut into bars or squares. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

0228091735Lemon Spaghetti
Recipe from Giada De Laurentiis cookbook Everyday Italian

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

In a large bowl, whisk oil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper to blend. Set the lemon sauce aside. (Sauce can be made up to 8 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using).

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add spaghetti to the lemon sauce; toss with basil and lemon zest. Toss pasta with enough reserved cooking liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, to moisten. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2016-01-11 18.38.20Ways to Use Lemon Peels and Save Lemons for Later

  • Put down the garbage disposal to freshen it up
  • Place in a jar with vinegar and soak for two weeks, add vinegar to spray bottle for a natural cleaner
  • Freeze lemon juice in ice cubes
  • Freeze lemon zest
  • Freeze a whole lemon, zest the entire thing and put it on anything. Say what? Yep. I had read this a few times recently and the health benefits it touts is worth giving it a try.¬† Simply take an organic lemon, wash it and then put it in the freezer. Once it is frozen you get whatever is necessary to grate or shred the whole lemon without even peeling it first…. Read More:

I’m always looking for new ways to enjoy this delicious citrus fruit. I would love to hear what your favorite lemon recipe or way to use lemons is!

Coconut Almond Granola


I love granola and after watching an American Test Kitchen episode where they made a simple almond dried fruit granola, I decided to give it a try. I love that the ATK recipe is easy to change up with different combinations  of nuts, dried fruits and vanilla or almond extract. After trying a few different batches this is my favorite combination.


Coconut Almond Granola

5 cups of old fashioned oats

2 cups of chopped almonds

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup coconut oil (liquid form)

2 teaspoons almond extract

2 cups raisins

2/3 cups of shredded sweetened coconut

Mix the oats, almonds, maple syrup, coconut oil and almond extract together well.¬† Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and using a potato masher use a little muscle to tap the mix down on the cookie sheet. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes. While the oats are cooling, toast 2/3 cups of shredded coconut. Once oats are cooled, add coconut and raisins and store in an airtight container.¬† I love this as a breakfast cereal with almond milk. It’s also tasty as a yogurt topping.

Irish Soda Bread



Happy St. Patrick’s Day! To celebrate, I cooked my first corn beef and cabbage dinner and baked my grandmother’s Irish Soda Bread. I make this bread every year and always look forward to it. It’s so good, I could eat this entire pan by myself! My grandma’s recipe originated in Ireland and has been passed down to my grandmother, then my mother and now me. Her Irish heritage was so special to her and I know she is smiling up in heaven knowing how much our family loves her recipe. Love and miss you Grandma. xoxo


Irish Soda Bread

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups of buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups of raisins (omit for traditional “plain” soda bread)

Mix all the ingredients together. Knead for a few minutes on floured surface. Place in a cake pan. Make a cross with a knife in dough. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. There’s no doubting that soda bread tastes best still warm from the oven and simply spread with butter. So delicious and so easy to make.


Short History

Soda bread is a quick bread dating back to approximately 1840 in which baking soda is used for leavening rather than yeast. The ingredients of traditional soda bread are flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. Some believe that the cross was placed in the bread to ward off evil and some say the cross is used to help with the rising of the bread.

After some research I found that my great-grandmother’s soda bread could actually be named “Spotted Dog” due to it’s addition of raisins. Originating in Ireland, the Spotted Dog is a fruit bread made using the same key ingredients as traditional Irish Soda Bread with the addition of sugar and dried fruit. Typically, raisins or currants, which make the bread look “spotted” and thus the name.

However, my great-grandmother’s recipe contains no sugar so, maybe it’s a cross breed between spotted dog and plain soda bread? Either way it is yummy and the kids agree!