Spring time, bring on the Lemons

It’s SPRING and for me, spring is just a precursor for what summer is going to be.  Lots of sun, tan skin and cute sandals.  Oh, did I mention backyard parties, BBQ’s, pool time and lots of lemonade?  But summer is not here yet and from the view out all my windows, winter is still here and shows no sign of leaving.  Three inches of new snow on April 1st is not a spring day…and it’s not an April Fool’s joke either.

Despite the winter wonderland outside (of which I absolutely love) I am in the mood for spring and the best way to welcome it in is with lemons.  Lemonade, lemon pie, lemon squares, lemon cleaning supplies…lemon, lemon, lemon! 

With that in mind I decided to give a few of my favorite lemony ideas to bring in this spring!

Facial Cleanser – 3 tablespoons organic plain yogurt, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Mix together and apply liberally to the face and neck. Rinse with warm water or gently wipe off with a warm wash cloth.

Lemon-Ginger-Honey Tea – Not feeling well? 1 cup water, 1 half fresh sqeezed lemon, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger.  Place in a small pan and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Strain liquid into a cup, add honey to your personal taste. (I add about 1-2 tablespoons) let it cool down enough so it doesn’t burn you and enjoy.  You can also try this drink in the summer over ice.

Lemon Squares (an Emeril Lagasse special!)  

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 9×13-inch sheet pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, so that the ends of the foil hang over the sides and set aside.

In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour with 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Press in an even layer into the bottom of the pan and bake until pale tan, about 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling (the filling will set up better if the crust is still warm). In large bowl, beat the eggs and granulated sugar until pale yellow and frothy. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, and the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour over the warm crust and bake until set, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before cutting with a thin, sharp knife into squares

Remember that while lemons are great kitchen decoration they are also so much more.  These little spheres of extraordinary fruit can be used for anything from household cleaner to health boosters.  Take a second look at your lemons and use them all over, anywhere, in everything!  Lemons… just use them!

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