Thursday, February 23, 2012

Luscious Lemon Bars

Oh luscious lemon bars, how can you not adore these or pass them up when at a party, unless of course, you do not like lemon! I love lemon desserts and more on the tart side than sweet. The cool, tart, light and semi sweet filling cuts through those heavy or spicy meals. We always had a lemon meringue pie for Thanksgiving & Easter dinners. They are perfect for that Superbowl buffet or the ending to a Mexican meal. Tacos anyone??? My family does not care for lemon desserts unless I am making lemon slice cookies, so when asked to make these for a friend's wine & appetizer party, I was thrilled. This recipe comes from one of my dearest friends who is amazing baker herself. Not only does she pass along delicious recipes, but blesses me with a friendship that is beyond what I could ever imagine. Her love for God and her faith & family is Who she is. I am so thankful that God has placed her in my life, she sets the bar of which helps me to continue to grow in my faith! She makes an awesome apple cake that now has become a standard for our Thanksgiving dessert menu. I am so glad that this is one recipe she put in the church cookbook. One thing about church cookbooks, or school PTO cookbooks and such, the recipes are tried & true. Family favorites. The recipe is uncomplicated, and I usually have all the ingredients on hand. If bringing to a party, you can cut into small squares, then cut those squares on the diagonal and place in paper cupcake liners, perfect for bite size desserts. When I heard many people oohing and going back for more and commenting on how delicious these bars were, and have you tried these lemon bars yet?, they are delicious, I only had to smile and quietly thank a friend for another yummy dessert!!

Romans 12:9-13 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Luscious Lemon Bars-


1 cup flour
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup confectioner's 10x sugar
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind ( I used the rind from the whole lemon)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice (I used the juice from the whole lemon)
3 oz cream cheese, softened
confectioner's sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Grease the bottom of an 8" square pan.

For the crust- mix flour, butter & 1/2 cup of the confectioner's sugar until fine crumbs form. Using a drinking glass, press the crumbs evenly into the baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.

While the crust is baking make the filling- Beat eggs, granulated sugar & salt until light and fluffy. Add the lemon rind, lemon juice. Blend in the cream cheese. When crust is done remove from oven and pour the filling over the hot crust. Return to oven and bake for another 25 minutes or until the center is firm when touched. Cool completely before dusting with the confectioner's sugar.

When cool dust liberally with confectioner's sugar. Cut into equal squares. If bringing to a party you can cut into smaller squares and then cut them on the diagonal, place in paper cupcake liners. From this 8" square pan I had well over 20 bite size dessert bars.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pantry Cookies

I wanted to make a batch of cookies on Saturday and did not have a full bag of chocolate chips. So, I resorted to "create what you can with what you have" mode. I have this fetish about saving scraps of all sorts of food items for future dishes. Sometimes our freezer looks like a food junk yard! For example, leftover veggies in one bag can be added to soups, stews or meat pies. Since composting is not all that possible in the middle of February, all veggie peels from carrots, onions, celery tops that aren't used, garlic, onions, etc., go in a bread bag and when filled becomes the makings of a great vegetable broth. All the end pieces from bread and rolls go in another bag and later become bread crumbs or cubes for stuffing. I rinse out our ketchup bottles and save the juice, this I add to vegetable soups, stews or sauces. Poultry scrapes in one bag and beef scrapes in another. It's amazing that all this adds up to some great stocks, soups & stews. Don't forget those cookies, they can be ground up for pie crust. I also save leftover candy from Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's day, etc., and that brings me to my cookies. I have a basic chocolate chip cookie dough that I use from www.annieseats.com. I dumped whatever I had in the pantry to make 2 cups of chocolate. I used white chocolate chips, chopped up a chocolate rice crispy bar along with a plain chocolate candy bar. My family is not big on nuts in cookies so I left them out and add an extra handful of chocolate pieces. They were "The Beast" as kids lingo goes for something that taste awesome!!! I love the challenge of looking at our food junk yard and creating something absolutely delicious for my family & friends. It's recycling at it's best....What scrapes await you to turn them into something yummy?

1 Corinthians 13:6-8 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Pantry Cookies-


2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups assorted chocolate pieces, candy, etc.
1/2 cup nuts or assorted nuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk dry ingredients together. Beat the melted butter and sugars together and then add eggs & vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients and combine. Mix in your assorted chocolate goodies and nuts if using.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 11-15 minutes. Just till the edges are lightly brown.

Cool and enjoy your pantry creation!

Eat Well, Sonya

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Double Chocolate Snack Cake

I acquired this cake recipe shortly after I was married and have been making it for over twenty years. It's one of my go to chocolate cakes. It requires a small list of ingredients that I usually have on hand and no frosting. It's perfect for a small dinner party, to take on a picnic and for those bring a dessert to pass occasions. It makes a small 8x8x2 inch square pan, so I don't feel like we are eating cake for a weeks on end. Not that any cake lasts that long in our house. This gives me another reason to bake up something yummy in a few days. One of the ingredients that you will notice that is not on the list is eggs, and makes a perfect treat for someone with an egg allergy. The cake is full of chocolate flavor and incredible moist. I always like to add extra chips for the topping. If you have some leftover Halloween candy bars in the freezer, chop them up and use them in place or in combination with the chips for the topping. You can't go wrong with experimenting with the topping. I bet toffee bits with the chocolate chips would be delicious. You can change up the cake base by adding a smashed banana. With it being February, chocolate is the only way to go!

1 Corinthians 13:4 & 5 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs.

Double Chocolate Snack Cake-


1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use whatever chocolate chips on hand-even bittersweet)


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour square pan 8x8x2 inches. In a small mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla, beat until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top. (This is where I add more chips or use the chopped candy bars, for me, more is always better!!) Bake 35-50 minutes or until a wooden picked inserted in center comes out clean. Cool and cut into square. Serves 6-8.

Variation for Chocolate Banana snack cake-

Decrease water to 1/2 cup, stir in 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (1 medium banana) before pouring batter into pan.

Eat Well, Sonya

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Mixture before it sets overnight

I love fresh smelling clean clothes, but loathe spending tons of money $$$$ on laundry detergent. I'd rather use that money for lard, chicken thighs, chocolate, coffee, cookbooks, etc.... My friend passed along this recipe for homemade laundry detergent that she has been making for a couple of years. I finally broke down and bought the three (3) ingredients needed, already had a five (5) gallon pail and I was on my way. It took me all of 20 minutes and has lasted just over three months. Yes, that is right, I have not had to buy laundry soap for over three months. Glory!!! Now on my second pail I will not have to think about making another batch until April. One of the ingredients called for is 20 Mule Team Borax. Do you know that you can use this not only for your clothes, but to clean you kitchen and bathroom? One product that can multitask! After the mixture sets up it will be a mix between snotty and watery looking which is fine, just give it a stir once in a while. I keep my pail next to the dryer and use a 1/2 cup per load of wash. Our clothes are coming out clean, really how dirty do you get on any given day? Our boys have come home covered from head to toe with mud and the clothes have come out clean. I use a stain remover as needed for those greasy stains. If you can boil water and grate cheese then you can make this and save a ton of money. It cost me just under $15.00 not including the pail. It is so worth it and your house smells good while it is cooking away on the stove. I use my regular stock pot, wash & rinse well. My sister and dad are now making this as well. You can find this recipe pretty much all over the Internet. Thanks KP for a great money saving recipe.

Proverbs 31:17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her task.
Proverbs 31:27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. I have decided to make things that we use a lot of and is far more economical than purchasing. Laundry soap and liquid hand soap are a good start. Making homemade vanilla is next on the list.

Homemade laundry detergent-


1 bar of Fels-Naptha Soap (buy 3 & you will have enough for 4 batches-using the leftover thirds of each bar to make a batch of soap)
1 box Mule Team Borax                                                                                   
1 box Arm & Hammer Washing Soda


Grate two thirds of the bar of soap in a large stock pot (just as if you were grating cheese) and add 12 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer until all the soap is dissolved. Then add 1/2 cup of Borax and 1/2 cup of Arm & Hammer Washing Soda. I let the mixture cool for about 15 minutes and then pour into the five gallon pail. Fill you stock pot up with water and dump into the pail with the soap mixture. Continue filling up your pail until it's just about to the rim. I leave about 1" space. Let stand overnight. Give it a stir in the morning and cover. You are now ready to wash your clothes.

Clean Well, Sonya