Mom’s Lemon Cake

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I’m excited to be joining another Fiesta Friday!  If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, Fiesta Friday is The Novice’s Gardener’s weekly blog party and you should definitely join! Check out the info the guidelines here.

Well, every party needs a cake right!? So that’s what I’m bringing this week! This is my mom’s lemon cake recipe that I altered just a tiny bit. She usually puts a delicious lemon glaze on it, but I’ve been good about going to the gym and eating fairly healthy this week so I decided to just dust it with some powdered sugar instead (I know it’s not really healthier but it helps me feel less guilty). She also usually doubles the ingredients shown below and bakes it as a bundt cake but again, I’m trying to make it a little bit lighter. This cake looks deceivingly simple and plain, but it is incredibly moist while still being light, fluffy and feels super soft in your mouth. This cake also fills your kitchen with the smell of fresh lemons and if you close your eyes and take a deep breath you can almost pretend it’s finally Spring.

Mom’s Lemon Cake
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degree and grease a round cake pan or spring-form pan.

2. Cream the butter, sugar and shortening in a large bowl. Next add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Then add your lemon juice and lemon peel.

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3. In another bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add half of the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and combine. Then add half your milk and combine again. Finally add the remainder of the dry ingredients and the remainder of the milk and mix well.
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4. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and cook at 350 for 30-35 minutes, until you can insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake and it comes out clean.

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5. When the cake has cooled sift the powdered sugar over the top, enjoy!

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Tabbouleh

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I love making dishes that I can make a big batch of and bring to lunch every day for a week. This helps prevent me from going out and buying lunch. It also gives me a lunch I can look forward to – not just some sad sandwich that I don’t really want to eat. Tabbouleh is an excellent example of this, this recipe makes enough for nearly a week’s worth of lunches and paired with a nice warm pita it’s a lunch you’re sure to look forward to!

If you haven’t used bulgur before it’s a type of wheat that’s common in Middle Eastern cooking. You can find it in most grocery stores near the rice or the international aisle. Unlike other grains, you cook it by pouring boiling water over the wheat and letting it sit and absorb.photo(33)

This recipe is very light and fresh while still being filling. I definitely suggest making some pitas to go with it. This King Arthur recipe works every time! You can also substitute some of the flour for whole wheat if you like.

Tabbouleh
1 cup bulgur wheat
2 cups boiling water
1 pint cherry tomatoes, each cut into quarters
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup dried mint
6 green onions, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1. Place your bulgur in a heatproof bowl, boil your water and add the boiling water to the bowl with the bulgur. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and let it sit for about 30 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the bulgur is softened. Fluff the bulgur lightly with a fork.

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2. While waiting for your bulgur, chop your tomatoes, parsley, cucumber and onions and add them to a separate bowl. Next add the mint. Once the bulgur has cooled, add the chopped vegetables and mint to it and stir to combine.

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3. Finally, make the dressing. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the bulgur mixture and stir it thoroughly to combine.

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4. Chill for at least an hour before serving, enjoy!

Bite-Size Lemon and Cranberry Sandwich Cookies

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One thing I do love about being in the DC area is the way people react to snow.  Having grown up in Upstate New York, it took a pretty decent storm to get a snowday.  I’m used to people fearlessly driving on slushy roads and taking to their shovels without a second thought.  Down here, pretty much just the *chance* of snow is enough to close down most offices.  I’m delighted that today’s snow predication did come true.  Although it’s not too much, it’s just enough to beautifully coat the ground and warrant a work from home day.

I decided to take the extra time at home to work on some more holiday baking.  I quickly whipped up this cookie dough before a 9am meeting and finished baking and frosting them during lunch.  These cookies are inspired by this recipe that mom often makes.  There are always so many great baked goods around at the holidays it’s easy to go overboard.  So, I decided to make these little bite-size sandwich cookies (although since they’re sandwich cookies I guess 2 small ones kiiind of equals one big one, but we’ll just ignore that)!

Bite-Size Lemon and Cranberry Sandwich Cookies
Dough:
1 cup room temperature butter
1 cup 10x sugar
2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Frosting:
1/2 cup butter
2 cups 10x sugar
juice of 1 lemon

1. Begin by making your dough, combine the butter and the sugar and mix well with a hand mixer, whisk or stand mixer. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine well, the dough should feel slightly soft and buttery.

2. Let the dough chill for about 30 minutes. While it’s chilling make your frosting. First, add the butter and the lemon juice. Then add your sugar. Depending on how juicey your lemon is you might need to add more sugar. Continue adding sugar and mixing until you have a frosting like consistency.

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3. Roll out your dough about 1/4 inch think and use a small cookie cutter to cut out the circles. Bake at 350 for about 6-8 minutes.

4. Let the cookies cool after baking them. When cooled, add a small amount of the frosting on the flat side of one cookie and top it with another, enjoy!

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