Creamy Lemon Bars

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Lemon Bars are one of my favorite desserts, but I always feel it is hit or miss whether I like it or not. When I’ve tasted it at parties, cafes, and coffee shops, I either love it or hate it.  Sometimes the lemon flavor tastes way too artificial or way to pungent.  The level of sweetness has to be perfect too.  Most lemon bars to me don’t taste sweet enough to me.  I’ve also tried the lemon bar mixes in a box and have found the filling way too “gel like”.

Why is there so much inconsistency in the taste of a lemon bar?

So here is a recipe for lemon bars that suits all of my tastes and my family loves them too!  The key ingredient?

Condensed milk.

Oh my goodness I love condensed milk.

It makes it creamy and combined with the fresh squeezed lemon juice, it makes it PERFECT!!!  I’m thinking if you switch lemon juice to lime juice, they would make awesome key lime bars!! (boy do I have to try that some time…)

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The shortbread crust is awesome too.  I love the saltiness it brings to the sweet.

Sweet and salty…hmmm…a running theme with my palate!

Here it is!

Creamy Lemon Bars

For the filling…

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  •  3 Tbs flour
  •  3/4 cup lemon juice or juice from 4 lemons
  • a pinch of salt
  • grated lemon zest

For the shortbread crust…

  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter (12 Tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cups powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 13 X 9 baking dish.
  2. Cut the butter into separate tablespoons into a bowl and let sit for 10-15 minutes to get to close to room temperature.
  3. Once the butter is close to room temperature, add the remaining ingredients for a crust.  In a food processor or using an electric mixer.  Lightly pulse/mix until everything is blended into a grainy meal.
  4. Press the mixture into the bottom of the 13 X 9 pan.   Bake the crust for 20 minutes.
  5. When the crust is done, remove it from the oven and lower the temperature to 325 F.
  6. Mix all of the ingredients for the filling using an electric mixer.  Pour over the hot crust.  Bake for 25 minutes (or until center is firm).
  7. Let cool for 30 minutes.  Sift powdered sugar on top.

Enjoy!

~Lani

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Lemon Blueberry Flaxseed Pancakes

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I have to include this recipe on the blog because it is one of my second daughter’s favorites.  Lemon, blueberries, and pancakes…what else do you need in the morning?  Part of the reason I started this blog was so my kids would have an archive of some of our favorite eats and experiences.  This is a popular breakfast for us aside from the classic filipino breakfast (which now that I think about it, I should blog about as well).  I especially like it because it has flaxseed in it, which has always had a positive effect on my daughter’s eczema issues.  She especially loves it because it is loaded with tangy bluberries!  Yummy!

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I’m not a chef, I’m a cook.  So I basically use my favorite pancake mix or Bisquick…whichever I have in stock in the pantry (above is my toddler son mixing it up…so fun for kids!).  I suggest you use your favorite pancake recipe as well!  Note, that depending on your recipe, the lemon juice may affect the thinness of your batter.  So adjust accordingly.

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It’s as simple as making your favorite pancake batter, dumping in the bluberries, flaxseed, and lemon juice…quick and easy is how I like it…and NEED it!!!

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My kids also prefer to eat their pancakes without syrup.  Basic butter on top, “naked” or sometimes a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar…cinnamon sugar is a staple in my house!

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The bigger the blueberries the better!  If the pancake is hot off of the griddle, when you eat the pancakes you’ll get a burst of blueberry juice when you take each delicious bite!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Bisquick mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 3 Tbs flaxseed
  • butter

Cinnamon-Sugar toping:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon

Method:

Mix Bisquick mix, 2 eggs and milk until well blended.  Add vanilla, lemon juice, and flaxseed.  Add blueberries.

Melt 1 tbs butterPour batter onto medium griddle or frying pan.  Pour batter and cook pancake until you see a few holes or bubbles pop through the batter.  Flip.  Probably will take just another minute on the other side.

Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar topping, syrup, butter…or however you like it!

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Enjoy!

~Lani

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Easy Korean Beef and Rice (Cheater’s Bibimbap)

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If you are looking for something super-quick, tasty, and inexpensive to cook for dinner, this is a great option.  If you’ve ever tried Korean bibimbap, you probably love the taste of marinated meat, sauteed veggies, eggs, rice, and anything else you want to throw in.  The popular “mixed rice” dish ranks up there with other comfort foods.  Even if you haven’t had it before, it’s worth a try!  My version is a cheater’s version, of course with tons of flexibility to add more veggies.   This is all I had on hand tonight, and it hit the spot.

I cooked this for dinner tonight because of two reasons:

  • I am extremely tired from a weekend trip we took this weekend (the kind where my eyes are closing and my body is aching with the slightest movement).
  • I had ground beef in the fridge.

When I took the ground beef out to thaw, I automatically thought to cook spaghetti.  I had the ingredients, but eh…I am so not in the mood for it.  For some reason, I associate spaghetti as a fall/winter recipe.  When it’s warm I want something with tons of vegetables, perhaps even raw vegetables.

Plus I happened to be watching a show on TV that was going over tons of west coast asian dishes (cue salivating mouth).

So I switched gears and decided to use the ground beef in the form of

CHEATER’S BIBIMBAP.

Since we were out of town, I didn’t have tons of veggies on hand, but I do have a garden outside (yezzz!!! and snagged some pok choy that was already starting to bolt.

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So here goes nothing and here’s to satisfying my Asian craving:

 

Easy Korean Beef and Rice (Cheater’s Bibimbap)

  • 1 pkg ground beef
  • 1 TBS fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup of vegetables (here I used pok choy…which is like bok choy.  You can use carrots, cabbage, spinach…or anything you have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped green onion
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Eggs
  • Sriracha, salt, and pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Chopped fresh basil
  • rice

 

Method:

Chop up vegetables and set aside.  I like how the pok choy added a nice crunch.  I think for this dish, crunchier veggies like cabbages and carrots work best!

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Fry up the ground beef with salt and pepper, set aside.  Remove any excess oil from the pan.  Chop garlic cloves and ginger and stir fry in the remaining ground beef oil until fragrant.

Mix brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes to make a sauce.  Add to the ground beef and mix well.  After the vegetables have softened, add chopped green onion.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

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Fry eggs (or scramble eggs if you prefer).

How to serve?  On a bed of rice, place a scoop of the meat mixture on top.  Place fried egg or scrambled eggs on top of all and drizzel with Sriracha if you want to kick it up a notch!  Sprinkle chopped basil and cilantro to taste and voila!  You’ve got Cheater’s Bibimbap!

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It’s so tasty and an easy way to sneak vegges in there for the kids!

Enjoy!

~Lani

 

 

 

 

 

 

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