Unhelpful Recipes: Lemon Cookies

Is it just me or does lemon add a sunny flavour to any food? This lousy Smarch weather has me craving some sunshine so I decided, if it was going to be snowy outside, at least I could pretend like it was bright inside. Isn’t lemon just a perfect, springtimey flavour?

(The answer is yes.)

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Traditional Unhelpful Recipe Caveat: I’m a terrible baker. (It’s because I hate following recipes. Stop telling me what to do!)

At first I thought I could just add some lemon extract to sugar cookies. It turns out that adding additional liquid to batter greatly affects consistency.

Then, I was in the grocery store, and I spotted a mix for lemon cookies. While, I generally prefer my goodies from scratch (don’t we all), I was starting to get desperate. I mean, we had a snow day. Here in Baltimore. At the end of March. Come on!

Needless to say, they brightened my day. Just look at those beauties.

Little drops of sunshine, I tells ya.

Lemon Cookies

Other Lemon Things You Might Enjoy:

My La La Lemoncello

The messiest but most delicious Summertime Olive Oil Cake featuring a delicious lemon curd layer.

Lemon the Frenchie! (Seriously you guys. Cuteness overload.)

What are your favourite springtime flavours?

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Budget Friendly Allergen Free Halloween Treats That Don’t Suck

For the most part, we all know that Halloween is about the C-A-N-D-Y, but it can never hurt to have a few options for those kids who don’t have a sweet tooth. I’ll have to admit, that even when I was little, I was always delighted to receive goodies that were not the typical fun-sized chocolate bar. Houses that offered gum, stickers, or the JACKPOT, a whole can of pop, were always my personal favourite.

These days there are also those wee ones who have an array of food allergies that prevent them from enjoying many of the popular teats. As a lactose-intolerant gal, I totes get it. Still, there’s no reason they can’t also have some super fun goodies to score while trick-or-treating, eh?

First Up, Sweet Treats

I was walking through the aisles of the grocery store, looking for something that was nut free and gluten free but still something that would be fun for the kids to get.

 

I spotted these hilarious “Dinos and Sharks” fruit snacks and they checked a bunch of the must-haves for allergen-sensitive kiddos: no artificial flavor or synthetic colours and they’re gluten free. Oddly enough I’m also kinda pleased that they’re a product of Canada – no idea why though. I got them from a German grocery chain in an American city!

These were $2.99 for 24 packs.

Favourite Characters

It’s been a few years since my babysitting and swim coaching days so I’m, admittedly, a wee bit removed from kiddie culture. Still, I know it’s a generally safe rule of thumb to go with characters that seem to have recent movies.

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Here we’ve got a great mixture of random fun stuff, including:

  • Spider-Man magic towel
  • Notepad with the chick from Frozen – the one with the ice queen powers
  • Basketball iron-on patch
  • 3 Trolls pens – opened to make 3 individual treats
  • Minions sticker game thing
  • A bunch of glowstick bracelets (15) – opened but not pre-snapped
  • Gel cling of the less badass sister from Frozen
  • Shopkins Gel Cling
  • 2 Shopkins erasers – undecided if these should be split up or not

So, here’s the inside scoop: I got all these new-in-package, unopened and unused from…..Goodwill! Bet ya didn’t see that coming!

Some of the thrift stores around Baltimore have a good selection of new, overstock products from stores like Target. This one had a bin of goodies for 57¢ each! It took some digging but I think I have a jackpot of goodies for Halloween!

That makes $5.13 for 25 treats.

Other Inexpensive Non-Sucky Suggestions

  • Halloween pencils
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Sugar-free gum
  • Bubbles
  • Plastic fangs
  • Bouncy balls

Of course, I have a bag of fun-sized chocolate for the traditionalists.

What allergy-sensitive treats to suggest for those on a budget?

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How to Avoid Sticky Situations with Shelf Paper

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are living the rental life here in Baltimore. That means, despite some of the features being in sore need of updating, we’re limited as to how much improvement we can actually make. Or, for that matter, how much time and how many resources we’re willing to invest.

That being said, the kitchen was in a sad state of affairs when we first arrived. After some major scrubbing, like, BIG TIME elbow grease, the cupboards still weren’t anywhere I wanted my dishes. Ultimately, I thought that the best measure would be to freshen up the cupboard interiors with some thick, clean, fresh, fun, clean, barrier-like, and did I mention clean?, shelf paper.

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If you’ve never tried lining your drawers or shelves, it can be easy to jump into the cutting and peeling and sticking head first. However, if that’s your method, you may soon find yourself in a sticky, rippled, ill-fitting mess.

First, make yourself a template! I cut mine from an empty cereal box. It doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to fit.

Once you’ve measured and fit your template, you’ll find that most shelf paper has handy-dandy grids on the back to help with cutting nice straight lines.

After cutting out your shelf and drawer pieces in the correct sizes, DON’T DO ANYTHING ELSE.

Okay, I just wanted to make sure I had your attention before you got sticker happy and started peeling off the backs of the paper.

Before that oh-so-satisfying-step, you should lay out all the papers in their places just to have a final guarantee that they all fit properly.

Okay, have you done that?

Guess what?

Now, yes, NOW, you can start to peel the stickers.

But, and you’re going to love this part, there’s another trick involved!

If you’re bubble-averse like I am, then this method is a life saver.

I call it “the underneath-er quicker sticker”

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haha No I don’t.

If I did, though, it would be an accurate and effective description. Basically, you want to peel the backing away slowly from below, while applying even pressure to the top and smoothing away bubbles as you go.

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Finally, you can trim any uneven edges with a craft knife but that’s only if you’re a stickler for edges like I am.

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You’re done! You did it! Hooray!

Now for some sweet Befores & Afters

From BLAH to BAM!

Not too shabby, eh?

Hope this is helpful for your shelf lining efforts!

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