I don't want to downplay the significance of my role as a parent BUT... I have to say that my lemon tree is one of my greatest accomplishments. 😂2021 was a good year for the 13 year old tree. It produced giant Meyer lemons in abundance. 🍋 I think my favorite 4 year old said it best when he saw the oversized yellow lemons hanging from the branches and announced to everyone - "She's growin lemonade!!!"
Unfortunately, despite my diligent care and watering schedule, my lemon tree isn't always so prolific. By this time in the year, my potted tree should be covered in tiny, lime colored fruit. Safe to say, 2022 will not be a good year for lemons because even though I had lots of blossoms earlier this Spring, for some unexplained reason, they've all fallen off and now I'm left with zero fruit. 😥
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” You know the saying. It's not intended to be taken literally but - you know me. 🤣 This year, life gave me lemons and I made lemon bars, lemon cake, lemon scones, grilled lemon chicken and lemon fettuccini. It was so much fun to walk to the porch, pick a lemon from my tree and use it to turn the sour fruit into something sweet and delicious. 😋
If you're a fan of citrus in your food - I recommend that you go to the recipe index and type the word "lemon" into the search bar in the upper right corner and browse through all of my lemon recipes. And just in case you wondering - my newest (and favorite) lemon recipe are these Lemon Cookie Squares. If you're a fan of traditional lemon squares you really need to meet their even more delicious and more portable cousin - the lemon cookie square. You can thank me later.
Lemon Cookie Bars
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup oil
2 ounces cream cheese
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
5 teaspoons lemon zest
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
Spread evenly over bars.
Decorate with sprinkles. Let set 1 hour.
Cut into 24 pieces.
I recommend these lightly frosted, slightly tart, sweet treats for any summer gathering. I don't want to throw shade at traditional lemon squares but these are definitely easier to make and easier to transport and eat. Trust me on this one - these cookie squares are amazing.
Over the last 5 weeks - I've been working my side hustle as part time strawberry picker (and taster). 🍓I'm not a professional - but picking enough fresh berries to keep up with my family's demand and my catering needs has turned into more than a casual gig. 😅
I sell a lot of chocolate dipped strawberries at this time of year but we eat a LOT of fresh strawberries too. Can you blame us? Who doesn't love homemade pound cake, drizzled with chocolate and topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream?
This Spring, I made strawberry cake, strawberry ice cream, chocolate drizzled strawberry skewers, strawberry cupcakes, strawberry pie, strawberry cheesecake muffins and strawberry cookies. Are you starting to see why I spend hours and hours at the strawberry farm every Spring?
To me, the best strawberry desserts are the ones that highlight the fresh flavor of the berries and don't mask it behind more dominant flavors. If I'm going to go through the trouble of picking each and every berry by hand, I want to taste them in every bite of my dessert.
I adapted this recipe for Strawberry Cream Pie from the Magnolia Table cookbook. If you have the cookbook, you'll notice that my version is quite a bit different from the original recipe. I really wanted to create a pie that was light and fluffy but also firm enough to hold its shape when sliced. A pie that everyone will love. 🍓
Strawberry Cream Pie
1 cup frozen strawberries
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 ounces condensed milk
2 Tablespoons fresh strawberry puree
1/2 fresh strawberries, diced
graham cracker crust
Swirl in the leftover strawberry solids. It makes more sense to do this before you pour it into the crust but... I forgot. 🤦🏻♀️
Garnish with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.
In classic Amy fashion - I'm posting my super cute Easter desserts 2 days AFTER Easter. 🤦🏻♀️ Sorry. I realize that it's too late to be making yellow chick macaroons for your Easter dinner guests but I'm hoping that just maybe you can find another reason to make these adorable, buttercream filled cookies. 🤷🏻♀️🐣
Two days late is pretty much my new normal these days. Laundry - cleaning - sending out birthday cards - yup - pretty much 2 full days behind on all of those things this month. 😅Contrary to what my social media accounts might lead you to believe - I don't have it all together. It's probably more accurate to describe myself as just barely holding anything together. 😂
Macarons are a perfect example of how disorganized my life can be at times. I've gone through the process of making macarons dozens and dozens of times and I still manage to mess them up --- every single time. 🤦🏻♀️ I get lumpy cookies or I end up with cookies that spread too much or I don't get the much desired "feet" on the bottom of my macarons. It doesn't seem to matter just how much macaroon experience I have - there's always something that goes wrong with my first batch and I end up remaking them.
It's safe to say - macarons are finicky, quirky and temperamental little cookies. Ironically - those are the same adjectives that I would use to describe myself on most days. I'm basically a macaron in human form. It takes at least 2 tries for me to master most tasks and I really am mostly made up of mostly sugar. 😅😅
Now that I've pointed out all of the difficulties and frustrations that I've experienced in my macaron making, you're probably thinking "Why would I ever make those?" My goal wasn't to discourage you but to challenge you. That's the reason that I continue to make macarons over and over again. The process is hard but the rewards are soooo sweet.
3 egg whites - room temperature
1/4 cup white sugar
2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup almond flour
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
Pipe circles onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Tap pans on counter to release air bubbles. Let sit 30 minutes. Bake 20 minutes at 300.
Pipe buttercream on the bottom of half of the cookie shells.
Top with another cookie shell.
Since Easter is over - I hope that you'll save this recipe for next year or better yet, find another reason to make these super cute chick macarons. Fourth of July yellow chick macarons anyone?
Remember last Spring when we were all dreading the thought of working from home for three months? 😬Fortunately, there's a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel. 😷Working from home wasn't a new thing for me - working from home while other people were in my space - took some getting used to. 😅
Yard work is my therapy these days and spending more time at home means that I have more time to work in my yard. This week, I witnessed the first signs of Spring. Tulips, daffodils and hyacinth leaves with buds ready to burst into bloom! 🌷
Warm, sunny afternoons inspire me to get outside and work in my yard. Unfortunately, February brings super erratic weather patterns to Georgia. A sunny, 70 degree day can easily be followed up by a cloudy and windy day with a high of 30. The drastic swings in temperature are unpredictable which means that my yard work is also inconsistent. I guess that explains why I still have piles of dead leaves blanketing my lawn. 💁🏻♀️#Iblametheweather 😅
I like to spend warm days outside but cold February days, you'll most likely find me in my kitchen - cooking up something warm and hearty. 🍲One of my favorite things to make when the weather starts to get warmer is quiche. For reasons that I cannot explain - Spring and quiche go hand in hand in my world. 🤷🏻♀️Maybe if I cook my Spring favorites - I can will the beautiful Spring weather into coming to stay. 🌤
There are so many varieties of quiche. This recipe is very basic and uses the simple flavors of Gruyere and spinach but you can swap those out for your favorite quiche flavors. I normally like to use up ingredients that I have on hand when I make a quiche but these are my absolute favorite quiche ingredients:
* turkey bacon
* goat cheese
* sun dried tomatoes
1 deep dish pie crust
2 Tablespoon butter
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (or cheese of your choice)
10 ounce package frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
This is your chance to get creative and create something completely new and exciting. If you've got a secret quiche ingredient that you want to share - I'd love to know what it is. I'm always looking for new ideas.
20 yers ago, when I decided that I wanted to learn to the game of golf, I signed myself up for lessons and as luck would have it, I was assigned the world's most patient instructor. 🏌🏻♀️After our first lesson, I'm pretty sure that he didn't share my feelings of good fortune. 😅Armed with potentially harmful weapons made of iron, it's safe to say that I was a hot mess on the golf course. I didn't have any idea what I was doing and no idea how to hit a tiny white ball with a what seemed like an impossibly small rectangle on the end of a very long stick. ⛳️
He probably should have written me off as a lost cause but instead, that aforementioned uber-patient golf instructor, broke down the game of golf into very small, achievable steps for me. Even though I was ready to pull out each shiny new club in my bag and start swingin' on the very first day, he took the time to slowly and deliberately teach me the skills required to safely swing those clubs.
I strive to have this kind of patience with the people that I interact with every day. I have the patience to stand at my kitchen counter for hours on end piping the most intricate designs on sugar cookies but I get super irritated if I have to wait in line at the grocery store for more than 5 minutes 🤷🏻♀️ I can spend an hour meticulously picking leaves and weeds out of a flower bed until it's in pristine condition but I don't have the patience to wait more than 2 minutes for chocolate chip cookies to cool before I pop it in my mouth, sacrificing a burnt tongue. 🍪
It's obvious that I need to work on my patience. 😅 I think I need a little risotto therapy to help be work on my patience. Risotto isn't going to tolerate haste, swiftness or hurried cooking. It requires a certain amount concentration and focus. Stirring with one hand while periodically ladling hot liquid into the pan with the other. There's no room for multitasking while making risotto.
Lemon and Shrimp Risotto with Fresh Basil
12 ounces extra large shrimp, peeled (shells reserved)
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 egg yolk (optional)
2 Tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
Adjust consistency with a Tablespoon of water if needed.
Lemon and Shrimp Risotto is hearty enough to stand on it's own as a main dish but you can also serve it alongside a grilled chicken or delicate fish dish. Either way - I think you'll agree that this risotto is delicious.
Like my page on facebook.
Follow me on Instagram