Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tastes like Summer

Tonight was my night "off"! No gym, no real plans...just me and some time to do what I wanted (as soon as MrP headed off to golf of course) So he made sure I had some supper and around 7, headed out, leaving me to my tasks, which I'd decided on earlier. I found this recipe for Strawberry Lemonade Bars on Baking Bites, which is always loaded with great recipes and informative tidbits (What kid wouldn't love this?! My nephew would gobble those pancakes) on everything delectable.
The idea of a bar that didn't appear to be too difficult, yet promised a mouthful of summer in every bite?! Count me in!

Since I don't have a food processor, I use the next best thing for small batches - my multimix! It's one of the "must have" items from when I moved out on my own that rarely gets used, but when it does, I'm glad we have it around. It turned about a cup full of strawberries into a puree smoother than a baby's bottom (I'd like to know who started that saying....lots of babies I've known have had diaper rashes....and while I'm no expert, I think that's likely less smooth than they're claiming)

Anyways, the butter & sugar are whipped together until smooth, then add in the flour & salt until it's meal-y. You know, NOT smooth...

then press it into a lightly greased 9x13 pan

Once you throw that into the oven 1t 350 for 17 minutes, get to work on the lemons, man. I'm telling you - they're not that bad. I debated "cheating" and just using lemon juice from a bottle, but I went to the store and picked up 7. I had one left over, having squeezed out a cup of their juices. That little trick about heating them in the microwave for 8-10 seconds seems to work, too. They weren't awful to juice. And heck, I don't have a reamer. I just jammed my little weiner tongs (well I don't know what they're called....I use them to pull boiled weiners out of the water) Look in the picture and you tell me what they are.

I even managed to zest my lemon! (now that I reread the recipe, I grossly undersupplied the lemon zest, but whatever!) Toss everything into your food processor (in our spacially challenged kitchen, a blender is a decent replacement until one day when the stars align in favour of a food processor. Oh Cuisinart, how I'll treasure you!)

then pour it into your hot out of the oven pan

At this time I would like to make a safety announcement. Please do not forget that the pan was recently removed from the oven and attempt to replace it back into the oven for the required baking time without the use of a heat transfer device such as a set of baking mitts. Thank you!A safety demonstration will not follow, but please remember's for your own good. (And my palms don't wish that discomfort on another set of palms. They're kind, gentle souls that way.)

Now that it's in the oven, you have time to do a little cleanup. What?! You're done? Sweet! So am I. Not a dirty dish in sight thanks to Boschy, my bestest kitchen buddy.

Just over 11 minutes left?
Let's get cracking!

Oh no....someone broke in & rummaged my craft area!

Call the police.

Wait. Call the...
Call me. What a disaster. It was time for a little clean up and then I could get crafting.
And craft I did. With my bars cooling, I managed to get through the Verve June 2009 Release Week Challenge 1 (also known as Mojo 92)

Stamps: All Year Cheer I, Cause for Celebration
Paper: River Rock, Groovy Guava, Whisper White, Ruby Red, Ginger Blossom DP
Ink: Ruby Red, River Rock, Groovy Guava
Accessories: River Rock Stitched Grosgrain, Nestabilities

I loved this sketch and I'm really hoping to make more with it. It can be simplified or made as extravagant as you want. I did manage to get one other card done, as well, but it's 11:54, Chris is home from golf and I need to shower and get my sorry butt to bed for another long day of work!
Oh - and you're probably wondering about the finished bars? (No? Then don't look below...)

Strawberry Lemonade Bars
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup fresh lemon juice
2-3 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup pureed strawberries (about 3/4 cup berries)
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. Begin by making the crust. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until smooth and fluffy. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Pour into prepared pan and press into an even layer. Bake for about 17 minutes, until set at the edges.While the crust bakes, prepare the filling.In the bowl of a food processor, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, strawberry puree, sugar and eggs and process until smooth. Add in flour, baking powder and salt, then pulse until smooth.
Gently pour the filling over the hot crust when it has finished baking. Return pan to oven and bake for 23-26 minutes, until the filling is set (There will be a light colored “crust” on top from the sugar in the custard - nothing to worry about). Cool completely before slicing and use a damp knife to ensure clean slices. Store bars in the refrigerator, especially on a hot day (like those happen in Canada!). Makes 24 bars.
Oh yeah - and Happy Birthday to TheMrP, MrP's Pa, who is the youngest 50+er I've ever met. He also pledged my upcoming walk, allowing me to hit $800, which is just $200 away from my original goal! I suspect MrP might have a pledge up his sleeve....if not, I know his credit card #!

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