Oventabulous!

just a little excited

Houston (and everywhere else too), I have an oven!!!!

It is so great. It is the best thing EVER.

You know the best way to make someone bake tasty treats? Take their oven away for half a year. It worked like a charm on me. I never knew I used an oven so much until I didn’t have one.

It was so exciting to have one again that I was baking in that thing less than three hours after it was installed. I’d probably have baked sooner but I wasn’t in town yet. I was still out at the beach for our weekly visit with Toby. But you can bet I hightailed it out of Orange County as fast as I could so I could get home and put this hunk of 1970’s junk to work. I was soooo very happy.

My Dad is here this weekend and in less than two days he has installed my oven, painted my bathroom floor mint green (that actually clashes terribly with the avocado green tub but is a zillion times better than the water-damaged press-board that used to be there), fixed the one spot in my yard that Holly was escaping from AND taken the cover off my swamp cooler so I can be cool as a cucumber once summer gets here.

Tomorrow if he has time after jury duty (he’s a busy guy) he might even install a motion sensor light in my backyard so I can do laundry in the dark without having to plug an extension cord in. Is my Dad awesome or what? He blows me away with his selflessness and this is just how he is. He’s always like that. He’ll give you the shirt off his back and then ask if you’d like his shoes too.

sparkling it up

Anyway, back to my best-thing-ever oven. I do not care one bit that it’s an old hand-me-down from my mom’s trailer on the other side of town. It is a thing of beauty in my eyes. And it works!!! That’s all I care about! So I shined it up…

NEW working oven!

(I’m just a wee bit excited with the Fonzie thumbs.)

lemon bars!

…and put it to use making lemon bars of course! (I seem to have forgotten the “s” in my recipe. Oh well.)

The cherry on top of this whole first-day-of-baking after not being able to bake for five months was that I finally got to use the hand-me-down Kitchen Aid that Bethany gave me back around New Years. I know! Do I score when it comes to hand-me-downs or what?!! It even came with stickers! Bethany got a new one for Christmas and mailed me her old one. You know that postage was a whopper.

Sadly, when I got it I had to leave it in the box and hide it in the back corner of Bug’s room. It didn’t fit on my counter and I knew that I couldn’t really use it for anything until I got the oven fixed, which seemed it like wouldn’t happen until the tenth of Never the way we were going around and around trying to find a thermal couple that didn’t exist.

Well the tenth of never did come! And baking with a Kitchen Aid is about a thousand times better than I even expected. The ease! No wonder all you crazy foodie people love baking so much! It’s easy when you have a handy dandy mixer machine that does all the hard work for you. I had no idea!

makings

So I mixed and I whirred and twirled that Kitchen Aid like I was a musician and it was my guitar. And then I texted Bethany excitedly, of course, and took about a thousand pictures. If you ever want to know why there is flour in the buttons on my camera, now you’ll know why. But don’t worry, I blew a bunch of compressed air on it afterwards and I think it’s still as good as new—I hope. What can I say? I use my equipment.

pop it in the oven

Then I popped those lemon bars in the oven and went outside to enjoy the sunset with the neighborhood kids.

twilight clouds

There were these really cool lenticular clouds out that looked amazing at twilight. I tried to capture it on the camera but unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to take a photo of them without all the distracting houses and trees in the way. Distracting cat-fairies riding by on tricycles are great though.

drive-by fairy

all done

And then the lemon bars were done! They were so tasty. Except I got a little over-zealous with my backyard lemons and added an extra tablespoon of zest that wasn’t in the recipe. Ooops. All the kids in the neighborhood have been reporting with puckered lips that the lemon bars are way way way too sour, which leaves way too many lemon bars for all the adults who are so annoyingly watching their calorie intake. Watching calories can be so tiresome. Thankfully, I have had company over in the last few days and I’m happy to report that I only have about four lemon bars left in my fridge taunting me. Tomorrow I’ll have to take a glamour shot of one so I can share the taunting with you. It’s only fair.

towel racks!

I’m happy to report that I have baked lemon bars, roasted cauliflower and cooked a Sunday roast (actually my mom cooked it but I still got to take credit for it). And! As if that wasn’t enough good news I now have towel bars, something my kitchen was sorely lacking.

Life is good. It’s oventabulous.

Lemon Tree Very Pretty

lemon tree, very pretty

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.
–Peter Paul and Mary song

It’s that time of year again: Lemon Season.

I have a crazy little dwarf Meyer lemon tree in my backyard that practically turns itself inside out every year to put out a bumper crop of bright orange lemons. I don’t know why they are orange. They just are. But the color isn’t that big of a deal, it’s the sheer amount of lemons that blows my mind every year.

There are so many lemons I don’t know what to do with them! I try to give them away but everybody around here has their own lemon tree that is exploding. When I drive into Orange County I take a bag or two with me but I still can’t get rid of them fast enough. I don’t know why lemons cost 49 cents in the store. They should be free! I wish I could sell mine at the store, I’d make a killing!

picking lemons

Bug and I have picked basket full after basket full and we have not even made a dent.

I didn't even make a dent baskets and baskets of lemons

When I cut the lemons off the branches, it’s almost as if the branches sigh with relief and raise up an inch or two. Poor poor over-productive lemon tree.

lemons lemons lemons!

So that’s what we’re doing in our spare time. Picking and juicing lemons. I don’t know what to do with them all. I don’t even have an oven to make lemon bars!

Of course Bug knows what to do. She wants a lemonade stand. She’s been begging and begging so finally this last Saturday I let her set up business again. She had high hopes since she made a whole eight dollars in one hour last year. But the problem here is we don’t really have the traffic we had at the beach. There are no trucks full of contractors driving by, falling all over themselves to give a smiley kid a quarter. Here we live on a cul-de-sac and the most traffic we get is an ice cream truck and a gardener or two. Sometimes people come down our street to look for recyclables in our trash. They certainly don’t want to buy anything.

smiley

So we painted a sign. (My favorite part.)

orange lemons

juicing lemonade sprite

And we juiced about a thousand lemons. I saved some in ice cube trays for those months when we have no lemons.

zesty!

I also grated a ton o’ zest. And I froze it on a cookie sheet so I could fill a giant plastic bag with it without it sticking together. (It worked like a charm.)

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade 25 cents

And then she set up shop. Poor kid. She only had three customers. One was her buddy across the street and the other two were just neighbors. Grandma wouldn’t even buy any because she’s on a no-sugar diet. I guess next time we’ll have to make some with Splenda.

1st customer Buddies

Then her friend across the street joined her business and they hatched up a plan to make more money next weekend when our neighbors have a garage sale. Lemon sandwich boards were even discussed. It could be quite exciting. Except I think I have to babysit in Orange County on Saturday so those plans might be dashed.

making money

We’ll have to think of something. It’s a shame to let all this enterprising spirit go to waste.

rock star break

Maybe we’ll take the lemonade stand-rock star show on the road.