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Yummy Lemon Bars


Who doesn’t think about lemon desserts in the springtime? This lemon bar recipe is old, but tried and true. They cut, keep, and carry well. That is, if they last that long!


  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar (plus more for decoration)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoon butter, slightly cooler than room temperature, cut into 1″ pieces


  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoon flour
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest from 2 large lemons
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice from 4 large lemons, strained
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter a 13″x9″ baking dish and line with a sheet of parchment paper. Dot the paper with butter, then lay a second sheet crosswise over it.
  2. Pulse the flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a food processor or blender. Add the butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds. Pulse until the mixture is a pale yellow and resembles a coarse meal. Sprinkle the mixture into the lined pan, and press firmly with your fingers into an even 1/4″ layer over the entire bottom of the pan and about 1/2″ up the sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then bake about 20 minutes.
  3. While the crust is cooling and baking, whisk together the eggs, sugar and flour for the filling in a medium bowl, then stir in the lemon zest, juice, milk and salt to blend well.
  4. When the crust is done baking ,reduce the oven to 325F. Stir the filling mixture to re-blend, then pour into the warm crust. Bake about 20 minutes, or until the filling feels firm when lightly touched (about 20 minutes). Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Lift the confection up by the parchment paper and transfer to a cutting board. Fold the paper down and cut into serving size bars.
  5. Sift confectioners’ sugar over the bars for decoration.
  6. Enjoy!


Mary Z.

Quinoa & Vegetables Recipe

Ah…Spring! Time to toss off the old and spring into the new. If you are like me it is time to transition the wardrobe, get a new hair cut…and dig for recipes with veggies and a lighter touch. This recipe packs a punch of goodness in flavor and texture. I think you will enjoy!


Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables and Arugula


Ingredients                                                                                        Yield: 4-6 servings                                                                                               

1 cup quinoa or whole wheat cous cous, uncooked

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 red onion, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 large sweet potato cut into medium chunks

2 large carrots, peeled, halved, and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 large parsnips, peeled, halved, and cut into 1-inch pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

4 tablespoons pine nuts

6 ounces baby arugula leaves

1 cup Parmesan shavings, divided




Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare quinoa according to package directions. In a small skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the garlic. Turn off the heat and allow it to sit for 5 minutes.

Arrange the vegetables on a large baking sheet with sides. Pour over half of the melted garlic butter, sprinkle on salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast the vegetables for 35 to 40 minutes, tossing occasionally, until they’re nice and deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool slightly.

Add the pine nuts to the same skillet over low heat and toast them for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing occasionally, until light golden brown. Set aside.

Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl. Toss in the roasted vegetables and half the Parmesan shavings. Squeeze lemon in the remaining melted garlic butter and add to roasted vegetables. Toss in the arugula (it will wilt slightly) and the pine nuts, then sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan on top.

~ Mary Z.

Yummy Yellow Cake

Yummy Yellow Cake

No matter the celebration, be it springtime, a birthday, or a special treat for guests, a yellow layer cake is a classic. Our family favorite version of this recipe was to layer it with sliced bananas and lots of whipped cream. Yum!

2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus extra for dusting             1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda                                           3/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups sugar                                                          3 tablespoons vegetable oil

10 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature                          2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 large egg yolks, room temperature                         3 large egg whites, room temperature




  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9″ cake pans and line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper. Grease the paper rounds, dust the pans with flour, and knock out the excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 1/2 cups sugar in a large bowl. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and yolks.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy (about 30 seconds). While beating, gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Continue to beat until stiff peaks just form (30 to 60 seconds). Set aside.
  3. Gradually add the butter mixture to the flour mixture while mixing until it’s fully incorporated, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, stir in 1/3 of the egg whites into batter to lighten, then add the remaining whites and gently fold into the batter until no white streaks remain. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans, and tap the pans against the counter to dislodge any large air bubbles.
  5. Bake until the cake layers begin to pull away from the sides of the pans and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (20 to 22 minutes.) Cool the cake on the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Loosen the cakes from the sides of the pans with a small knife, then invert onto the greased wire rack and peel off the parchment. Invert the cakes again and cool completely on the rack about 1 1/3 hours before icing.
  6. Enjoy!

Mary Z.





Pumpkin Bread


Pumpkin bread was an autumn standby when I was growing up. This moist quick bread recipe from my grandmother’s recipe box spoke of nurture through all the spices, flavors, and aromas. Today when I make this tasty bread, it reminds me to be thankful and resourceful–thankful for the gift of hands to gather fall produce, and thankful for the farm where I grew up and was so privileged to be able to help harvest.


Pumpkin Bread

2 cups flour                                                     ½ teaspoon salt

½ teas. baking powder                                    1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon cloves, nutmeg & cinnamon        2 eggs

2 cups sugar                                                    ¾ cup butter

1 can (15oz.) pie pumpkin


In a medium sized-bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients thoroughly. In a larger bowl, with a hand mixer beat together the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until fluffy and light. Beat the can of pumpkin into the egg mixture. Beat the flour mixture in just until combined. Transfer to two lightly greased loaf pans. Bake at 375 degrees for 60-70 minutes.


(If you choose to use fresh pumpkin, cut the pumpkin into quarters and bake on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Puree the flesh to equal 15 oz.)




Minestrone Soup

Nothing beats a hearty bowl of steaming soup

on a chilly fall day!


       Mary’s Minestrone Soup


1 # Italian pork Sausage                                 1 T. fresh basil

1 large onion                                                   1 t. fresh oregano

4 large carrots                                                             ¾ t. sweet marjoram

1-2 cans white beans                                      2 cans stewed tomatoes

1 large clove garlic                                         2 cans beef broth



Cook all (but the canned beans) together for a couple of hours…then add the beans and a handful of pasta.


When the pasta in tender, serve up hearty portions of soup with a bit of parmesan cheese on top.




~ MZ

Old-Fashioned Baked Beans

For Your Next Picnic . . .

Old-Fashioned Baked Beans – The Easy Way


1 lb. ground beef                                         4 tbsp. molasses

1 lb. bacon, chopped                                  1 tsp. chili powder

1 onion, chopped                                        ¾ teas. pepper

½ c. catsup                                                    2 (16 oz.) cans red kidney beans

½ c. barbecue sauce                                   2 (16 oz.) cans pork and beans

1 teas. salt                                                     2 (16 oz.) cans butter beans

4 tbsp. prepared mustard                         2 tbsp. vinegar


Brown ground beef, bacon, and onion. Drain excess fat. Combine and add other ingredients, except beans; stir well. Add beans and combine thoroughly.

Bake for 1 ½ hours at 350®


Lemon Sour Cream Pie

  Lemon Sour Cream Pie

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1 1/2 cups flour

3 tbsp. flour

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. cream

1/2 t. salt



1 cup sugar

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup oil

2 eggs

1/3 cup fresh lemon


Heat oven to 400 F.  Stir up the pie crust in a bowl and pat into a 9 inch pie plate.



In a large bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, flour, and salt. Add eggs, sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla.

Pour into pie shell. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350* F; bake 25 minutes longer. In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over pie. Bake about 15 minutes longer or until topping is browned.



1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

1 teas. Cinnamon

a dash of salt

1/4 cup butter


Wow Your Friends — Or Your Spouse — With Baked Fudge!

Want to impress your friends some evening for dessert and coffee?  Or
surprise your spouse for Valentine’s Day!)  This simple six-ingredient
dessert is super-easy, but it requires ramekins. You know–those small
baking dishes you can find at any retail store that handles
kitchenware. Or, better yet, comb the Goodwill Store and buy them for
Baked Fudge-2

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • A splash of vanilla

Beat eggs until light and fluffy.  Add sugar and beat some more.  Add
the cocoa, flour, butter, and vanilla.  Place the ramekins in a large
tin pan and add hot water to the pan to about one inch deep.

Pour prepared fudge into the ramekins and bake at 325 degrees for
about 45 minutes.  Don’t overbake.  The inside should be gooey.

Be naughty and serve warm with maple nut ice cream!


Mary Z.

Spiced Nuts

Spiced Nuts


A Holiday Season Treat


Bake at 350 about 20 minutes

1 egg white

5 cups pecans

½ cup each brown & white sugar

1 teas. cinnamon

¼ teas. allspice & nutmeg

A few shakes of cayenne, chili powder, and Hot Shot (that is black & red pepper blend)


Grease a cookie sheet. In a large bowl beat the egg white with 1 teas. water, using a fork. Add the nuts and toss and coat well. In small bowl combine sugars and spices…sprinkle over nuts and toss well to coat them all. Spread out in the pan and bake.

When you take out of oven…turn out onto waxed paper and break into pieces. Store in cool place in an air-tight container.


Mary Z.

Jan Hagel Bars – A Quick and Easy Dutch Holiday Cookie

Jan Hagel Bars  – A Quick and Easy Dutch Holiday Cookie


From Holland come these crisp, buttery-rich strips with baked-on glaze. Quick and easy, especially nice for teas or as an accompaniment to ice cream desserts.

1 cup butter                                                 ½ tsp. cinnamon

1 cup sugar                                                   1 tbsp. water

1 egg, separated                                        ½ cup very finely chopped walnuts


Heat oven to 350. Lightly grease a jelly roll pan. Mix butter, sugar, and egg yolk. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting.

Blend flour and cinnamon; stir into butter mixture. Pat into pan. Beat water and egg white until frothy; brush over dough; sprinkle with nuts. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cut immediately into finger-like strips. ENJOY!

This recipe has been a “keeper” to any one I have served. These bars are great for the holidays. The recipe is from the Betty Crocker’s Cooky Book 1963, first edition.


Mary Z.