Friday, April 8, 2011


I love the look of lemons on the kitchen window sill.  I start doing this every spring, when the days start to get longer and the weather turns from bitter cold to just chilly.

The way the sun shines in through the window onto the lemons makes them look more YELLOW and lemon-y.  Little balls of sunshine.  Happy me ~

They call to me in the grocery store - 4 for a $1.00 - Buy me!!!  And in the basket they go.  I don't know what I'm going to do with them, but there they are, ready to be sliced, squeezed, and made into something delicious.

The best thing about lemons is that you can literally do anything with them.  Here are some of my favorite things to do with lemons:

Susan Branch's Lemon Coconut Cake - I make this cake every year for my mother's birthday in July.  The best part is the lemon curd filling.  It is soooo good.  I love making this cake as much as I love eating it.  (if that's possible...)

After squeezing lemons I always grind up the rinds in the garbage disposal.  They clean the drain and fill the sink with a fresh citrus scent. (I also do this with oranges)

For a dinner party, put fresh lemon slices into a glass pitcher of ice water.  Jazzes up plain water and makes your table look fancy. 

Put lemon half's into the bottom of a glass vase filled with flowers - especially yellow roses.  It looks so pretty and elegant.

Attention Gardener's:  Plunge your finger tips into a lemon half and it will help keep your finger nails white.  This is a very good trick after you've been digging in the dirt all day. 

Put some sugar and lemon rind or zest in an air tight container and make lemon sugar.  Divine in tea!

I could go on and on...lemon squares dusted with powdered sugar, homemade lemonade with mint, and of course my Lemon Zest Yankee Candle.  This candle is a kitchen must have.  I burn it for a few minutes after cooking anything stinky - fish, broccoli, etc.  It cleans the air and makes the kitchen smell fresh and clean.

This past Sunday we had my parents over for dinner.  Naturally I had just purchased 3 beautiful, plump, lemons from the grocery store on Saturday.  My mother had offered to bring desert, so I knew that I wasn't going to bake with them, I would use them in the main course.  Hmmmm....  Lemon Chicken Tenders.

The weather was beautiful that day.  It was still a bit chilly, but the sun was shining and we didn't need our heavy coats - only light jackets.  My little one had been nursing a cold all week and was itching to get out of the house.  It's amazing how much energy a three year old has, even with a cold.  We thought that a little fresh air would be good for him so we spent our first afternoon of the season at the playground.  I was almost teary-eyed when I realized how much he has changed in a year.  Last summer he needed help going up and down the ladder of the slide.  Now he's up and down so fast I could hardly keep up with him.  He has no fear and is a definite risk taker.  The higher the swings and the faster the slide the better.  I'm so happy for him because that's what being three is all about.  He doesn't have a care in the world and I want to keep it that way for as long as possible.  My hubby and I love to watch him and we dream of what he'll be someday.  He has the ability to be anything he wants to be and in time he'll realize that.  For now he's happy being three, watching Scooby-doo, eating a rice crispy treat. 

One of the best things about having kids is how much they ground you.  Sometimes I get so depressed watching the news and hearing about all the terrible things going on in the world.  My heart breaks for people in pain.  And then I see my little guy in his Toy Story jammies and all is right in my world - and in his.  I'm so grateful for that.  I pray for those in need and thank God for the blessing I have.

We came home from the playground in plenty of time to prepare dinner.  Mom & Dad would be here within the hour so it was time to get to work.  The boys went outside to draw with chalk on the driveway and I had the kitchen all to myself.  Just the way I like it!

Lemon Chicken Tenders - This dish is so easy and requires very few ingredients.  Here's what you need:

15-20 Chicken tenders
1 1/2 cup flour
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1 cup chicken stock
Juice of 3 lovely lemons

Between two pieces of wax paper, pound chicken tenders with a mallet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Melt the butter and oil in a skillet (or electric fry pan).  Fill a plastic bag with flour and drop the chicken pieces in to coat.

On med-high heat, brown the chicken - about 3 minutes on each side.  When both sides are browned, turn the heat to low/simmer and add the chicken stock and lemon juice.  Let simmer for about ten minutes or so until the chicken is done.  (The chicken stock will make it nice and tender).  Sprinkle with parsley and serve.  (serves 6)

I served this with baked potatoes and a veggie.  I cooked frozen broccoli and cauliflower in the microwave. For a special treat I put a few cubes of Velveeta Cheese on top and put it back into the oven for a few minutes, just to melt the cheese. 

The Velveeta makes an unbelievably good cheese sauce that will make any three year old want to eat his veggies (get my angle....wink, wink...)

I turned to the Pillsbury Doughboy for help with the bread.  My family is a family of bread eaters.  We do NOT have a meal without bread.  I once heard Rachael Ray say that on her table bread is considered a utensil.  I can relate to this.  The first thing my father says to my mother as she's serving dinner is "where's the bread?"  It cannot be forgotten.  I happen to love, love, Pillsbury rolls and bread.  To me, it's the closest thing to fresh baked bread you can get unless you spend the day kneading and rising.  For our Sunday meal I chose the Pillsbury Italian loaf.  Within 25 minutes my house was filled with the aroma of fresh baked bread. 

And no one cares I cheated.  It's that good.  I served it warm, right from the oven and it was sooo delicious. Is there anything better than melted butter on warm, freshly baked bread?  I think not.

My mom surprised us and brought cream puffs for desert.  My day keeps getting better and better!  I would not let anyone touch them until I took a picture.  It was tough keeping little three year old fingers out of the shot.  For something different she filled them with vanilla pudding instead of whipped cream.  I liked it better.  The pudding has more flavor and goes so well with the light and flaky pastry.  Rob, the hubby, asked her if maybe next time she would soak them in rum...haha.  Good for us, but maybe not for the kids.  :)

Our Sunday was one of those days where nothing too exciting happened, but everything was just right.  I went to bed that night feeling very content with my life and the people around me. 

Happy Days ~

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog. It makes me feel so happy when I read it.
    I am so proud of you. You are a wonderful young woman and an ausome mother.