Sunday, July 18, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons...

... make Lemon Snow!

I grew up in Los Angeles, which if not the land of milk and honey, is definitely the land of lemons and avocados. Almost all social gatherings included an exchange of surplus, and I pretty much figured that they were always free.

Imagine my shock when I moved out on my own to San Francisco, and was expected not only to pay for lemons and avocados, but to pay through the nose! Luckily, for the past two years I've lived in a home with a prolific lemon tree that thrives on benign neglect.

A few weeks ago I got up the gumption to pick a lot of lemons and spend an hour or so zesting and juicing. I used some of the juice for making lemonade for the boy to sell at our recent yard sale (yes, I squeezed the lemons and make the lemonade, and he kept the profits. I've got to fire my agent) Making the lemonade was not without its hazards - see the end of this post for what will go down in Starr family legend as The Lemonade Story.

While sales at the boy's stand were brisk (a few senior citizens even tossed him a couple of bucks extra as a reward for my, I mean his, industriousness) there was some leftover at the end of the day, which we froze in ice cube trays

Today I made the kid and his pal a treat of Lemon Snow - both to reward them for playing nicely all afternoon, and to kill the last 15 minutes before the designated Wii time

To make Lemon Snow, fit your food processor with the grater attachment

Pass lemonade ice cubes through the feeder tube

Et Viola! Fluffy, cold, sweet, tart lemon snow

For the kids, I piled it into a cup, added a slash of lemonade, and served it to them with Slurpee spoon-straws. For grownups, I'd add a shot of cold vodka.

And now...

The Lemonade Story

I made my first genuine batch of old-fashioned homemade lemonade

2/3 cup sugar
1 cup water
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 quarts water

Add the sugar, water and lemon zest in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let the syrup cool, and strain out the lemon zest. Combine the syrup, juice and water in a large pitcher and chill. Serve over ice

I'd made it in a gallon jug with a spigot and added sliced lemons. It was picture-perfect! I placed the jug in the fridge and spent 10 minutes or so cleaning up the kitchen. I went to put something else in the fridge and the lemonade was.... GONE!

There was only an inch or two in the jug. I hadn't left the kitchen, and no one else had come in or out. Can you guess what happened?

The shelf in the door of the fridge had activated the spigot, and the lemonade had flowed out and filled the fruit crisper drawer! Can you believe it? I was definitely glad it hadn't flowed onto the floor, but it was still a big ol' mess to clean up, and a waste of "free" lemonade which had been pretty darn time consuming to make.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Have you seen my bagel?

Some might call me a caffeine addict, I prefer coffee achiever. I drink strong black coffee and plenty of it. I can't indulge in the truly gourmet coffee and still afford to keep a roof over my head, and I'm not about to drink the swill they sell pre-ground at the grocery store. Trader Joe's French Roast beans fall right in the middle, and comes in these cool cans:

John Starr came up with a nifty idea that solves two of our breakfast-related dilemmas: how best to store bagels, and what to do with the empty coffee cans:


You can even peel off the TJ's label ....

And make your own!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This is the Happiest Day of My Life!

I started using these Ziploc 3-compartment containers for the boy's lunch back when he was in preschool. (with props to Mr. Starr, it was he who first spotted these things at the store)

They are the ULTIMATE lunch container. Cheap, easy to wash, holds a variety of food and plenty of it. No baggies, no millions of little containers to wash and dry before you can make a new lunch and the lids are easy for the kid to remove and replace.

AND they fit perfectly in a lunch box.

Then, when he was in Kindergarten, the unthinkable happened. Ziploc stopped making them. I'd been dutifully washing the ones I had, but every once in a while a lid might tear or the boy might lose one. No problem, $2.50 and a trip to Safeway and I could get more, right? WRONG!

I scoured every store I could. I looked on eBay. I sent a queries out on Freecyle and Craig's list. I enlisted friends and family far and wide in my search. I even wrote to Ziploc (they sent me the standard "crazy lady" letter and a few coupons). I freaked out a bunch of senior citizens when I squealed - yes squealed - upon spotting one at a yard sale. I poured my tale of woe to my friend Deborah at lunch one day and she said, "I think I have some of those at home, I'll send them too you" -I practically jumped her I was so excited. Except for those two infusions, I've been washing and drying the same two containers for the past 6 years. John Starr will go no where near them - he's not gonna get blamed when the last lid breaks.

And then... and then... tonight I get home and there are two brand new packs of Ziploc 3-compartment containers on the counter! John had been to the store and had dutifully done the usual check in the vain, valiant hope that they'd reappear on the shelves. And today, my prayers were answered.

I don't know what you use to pack your kid's lunch, but it's nowhere near as efficient as in these lidded trays. Run, don't walk to a store near you and get some - while you still can!

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