We are having a second week of unseasonably warm weather.  Things are blooming early and the windows are all open.  The front field is starting to green up, quite unevenly.

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My sad little daffodil patch is budding, even though I see fully opened daffodils in everyone else’s yard.  I will have to choose an early variety to plant this fall along the fence line, facing the road.  These are pink, peach, and frilly, but not early.  Next weekend I will plant sweet peas to climb the fence behind them.

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My constant companion has found new buttercups and dandelion flowers to pick.

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And swings to swing on. DSC00901.jpg

And here is something we baked yesterday.  These lemon bars are pleasantly tart on top, with a yummy shortbread crust.  They pack well in lunch boxes and stack just fine in the cookie jar as well.  This is a Southern Living recipe that I adapted to make more lemony.  This picture is awful, they are actually quite pretty in person.

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Classic Lemon Bars:

For shortbread crust:

-2 cups flour

-1 cup cold cubed butter

-1/2 cup powdered sugar

For lemon filling:

-4 eggs

-1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

-2 1/2 t. lemon zest (4 large lemons should give you the zest and juice you need)

-1/2 cup lemon juice

-1/4 cup flour

-1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 3650.  Line a 13×9 pan with aluminum foil, with enough of an overhang to have handles to lift out.
  2. Combine crust ingredients in food processor, pulsing 7-8 times until butter is size of small pea.
  3. Press into lined pan and bake for 25 minutes.
  4. Combine filling ingredients with whisk until well blended, pour on top of crust
  5. Return to oven for 30 minutes.
  6. Let cool in pan about ten minutes, then lift out using foil handles and place whole thing, foil and all, on cooling rack until completely cool and set.
  7. Dust generously with powdered sugar and cut into squares.

Spring Comes Early/ Lemon Bars


The gloom has finally broken around here.  We had two days in the 70s, and even though it is cold today, there is plenty of sun, and more warm weather ahead.  My daffodils are popping up, and there is time for Maddie to play outside after school before it gets dark.  A lot more eggs, too, at least six a day, which is enough to share with friends.

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Plenty of sunshine in the house. (And some dishes to do.)

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And my peach and cheery branches are blooming!

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They are all a few weeks apart.  When one starts blooming, the next gets moved to the fireplace mantel where it is warmer.

A cold day like today, baking is nice, but not something too heavy that feels like winter.  Blueberry muffins are just the thing.  I adapted this recipe a bit from a very popular one at allrecipes.  We love these!  They are simple and delicious, and a great thing to bring to a friends house.  The basic batter also works well with mini chocolate chips and a plain sparkling sugar top.

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Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins:

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 t. salt

2 t/ baking powder

1/3 cup melted butter

1 egg

1 t. vanilla

1/3 cup milk

1 cup fresh blueberries

(For the topping:

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup cold cubed butter

1 1/2 t. cinnamon

  1.  Preheat oven to 400, and line muffin tins with paper cups.  (This usually makes around 18 muffins)
  2. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.  Mix the next four ingredients in medium bowl.  combine the two, stirring by hand with a rubber spatula for forty strokes.  (Yes.)
  3. Add the blueberries last, stirring very gently until just combined.
  4. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
  5. Combine streusel ingredients using a fork or pasty blender, then sprinkle on top, using all of it.
  6. Bake 20 mins.  Cool on wire rack.

 

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Longer Days, and Blueberry Muffins