Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Moving Woes

Well, the Obenhaus family has officially moved. And while the move itself was uneventful, we still had to unpack.
You know, all of those things that didn't go into storage. Those things we can't live without for the next 4-6 months.
This 900 sq ft camphouse that was built as a weekend getaway is having a hard time supporting almost twice as much stuff.
But things are coming along, albeit somewhat slowly. We still don't have internet and aren't sure when we will get it. We were supposed to have it Saturday, but apparently there were too many trees between us and the tower to allow us to receive the broadband signal.
Ah, the joys of going rural.

The dogs are in heaven, though.
And who can blame them when you get to have morning tea/coffee on the porch and look at this.
The rest will work itself out.

Unfortunately, I've been so busy unpacking and trying to find a place for everything, that I haven't done much cooking. So as I was remembering one of my favorite sweet treats and lamenting not having the time to bake, I though we would revisit one of my all-time favorite desserts.


When life hands you lemons, forget the lemonade. Make Lemon Bars.
Actually, lemon bars are more than just a Texas fave, they're a quintessential southern tradition. 
One problem I have with these tasty treats, though, is that sometimes they're too sweet. I prefer mine with a little more tang. And this recipe has the perfect balance of sweet and citrus.
Best of all, they're really quite easy to make. For years, I opted for a box kit but, really, this scratch-made version doesn't take much longer.
**FYI - refrigeration time is required, so plan accordingly**

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil.

For the crust you will need:
2 sticks of cold butter (I prefer unsalted)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix dry ingredients together, then cube butter before adding.
Cut butter into the flour, sugar, salt until crumbly, yet incorporated.
Then dump into foil-lined pan.
And press to cover bottom of pan.
Bake 20 minutes or until golden.

While that's baking, let's make the filling.

For the filling, you will need:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 eggs
Zest and juice of 5 lemons
Okay, so this is where homemade versus a box-kit might cost you a little more time, because you have to zest and juice the lemons.

First, you want to wash them. Yes, that means soap. Just be sure to rinse them well before drying.
I have three larger lemons and two smaller. What can I say, one store had big ones, the other small and I failed to purchase them at the same time.

Now I'd like to introduce you one of my new favorite kitchen gadgets.
This is called a microplane. You can use it for finely grating lots of things, like citrus peels, whole nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. I used to just use the fine grate on my standard cheese grater, but I was over the moon when I found this in my Christmas stocking. I can't tell you how much easier it makes things. And no more bloodied knuckles or chipped fingernails.

Simply drag the grate across the peel and it traps everything in this little channel. Then you simply tap what's there into the bowl. 
Once all you're lemons are zested...
Simply cut them in half and squeeze out all the juice, taking care to strain out any seeds. A task I usually just use my hands/fingers for.

Now, whisk together your flour, sugar and eggs until smooth.
Then add the lemon zest and juice...
And stir to incorporate.

Once your crust is done...
Pour the lemon mixture over the top.
Put it back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until just set.
Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.

When ready to serve, lift foil from pan and dust with powdered sugar.
Cut into squares and serve.
So pretty. SO tasty.
And that citrusy tang is perfect for summertime or a nice compliment after any rich meal.

Okay, so the microplane is one of those things I couldn't live without. At least it doesn't take up much room. And now I can't wait to use it to make some lemon bars.

Lord willing, I will have internet next week so I can give you the scoop on all that's been going on here at the ranch. Until then...

Mindy Obenhaus lives in Texas with her husband and the last of her five children. She's passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com 


  1. 900 square feet.... This will be a challenge, but fun, too!

    Okay, are you building bigger there? Adding on? Or is this midlife downsizing so that the kids don't move home?

    Because there is a shot of BRILLIANCE in that, my friend!

    Love the lemon bars, they're a family fave here but I have to make zest free for kids. They don't want "things" in them...

    But the grown ups love "things" so I've been known to either ignore small children... or make two separate batches!

    Thanks for this, Mindy, and I love the thought of you guys settling into the ranch. Yee haw!

    1. Ruthy, it could be the microplane, but I've never seen the zest things in the bars. Of course, it could also be because I tend to scarf them down so quickly. But I hear you on the kids. Like the one who wanted his cake without "fingernails," which was actually coconut.

      Our downsizing is only temporary, THANK GOD, while my MIL's house is being renovated. We'll be knocking down walls, raising ceilings and the kitchen and baths are gut jobs. Lord willing, we'll be able to move in by Thanksgiving. Halloween, if I have anything to say about it.

    2. OH! I didn't realize this was temporary! I thought you had planned to move to the ranch. Well, I'm glad you won't have to permanently downsize. :)

    3. Missy, we are/will be living at the ranch. The camphouse is temporary while we renovate the big house which is also on the property.

    4. Oh, I didn't realize your MIL's home had been at the ranch. I guess I had been thinking of your mother's.

  2. So the upheaval isn't going to be over anytime soon? Oy. Glad the dogs are enjoying their new digs. Bet they think it was worth all the strange packing shenanigans of weeks past! Appreciate seeing the fuzzy mugs surveying their view.

    1. Kav, I thought that was kind of a cute shot, too. They just sat there, watching for who knows what while I drank my tea.

  3. First of all, I love the lemon bars! Thanks for the reminder - we have folks coming over tomorrow for dessert, and these will be perfect.

    Second - You're making me remember those commandments that are so important, especially the tenth one. You know, the one about coveting? But I'm so happy for you all! I know you've been waiting a long time to take this step!

    1. Jan, I am so ready to make these. Maybe for Memorial Day.

      Please tell me you're not coveting my chaos, Jan. Because that would just be weird. It won't be long before you'll be working on your house in the hills, though.

  4. Mindy, thanks for sharing photos! It's difficult to downsize. We did so on our past move and I'm still struggling to find places for things almost a year later! But I'm sure you'll feel settled before long. The view is GORGEOUS!

    1. Missy, I've decided that we have too much stuff to downsize. Plus I gotta have room for grandkids.

  5. Your move is intimidating me, Mindy! But I love this lemon bar recipe!

  6. Oh, these look SO delicious! We're no sugar here again (something we do about three times a year) and I'm saving this for when we're back to eating sugar. I'm CRAVING these now!