Sunny Lemon Bars

To most people, the holidays mean pumpkin pie and gingerbread, much enjoyed with a dollop of sweet cream. But this year, our daughter Dani, who gets to choose our Christmas menu by virtue of the fact that she missed Thanksgiving, has requested tangy lemon bars. It might just be nostalgia for one of the comfort foods of her childhood, or maybe there’s a clue in her remark that she’s ready to be back home in warm Atlanta – since her move to Pittsburgh, she’s had enough of gray skies and snow.

On Christmas Eve, I'll be making this recipe, published several years ago in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I’ve occasionally experimented with other versions, but these Sunny Lemon Bars are the best I’ve found. The fruit layer, more of a lemon curd than a custard, is intense and contrasts perfectly with the crisp, sweet, shortbread crust.

Hope Dani enjoys them. If the weather forecast proves true, I’ll be serving them up on Christmas Day with – what else – gray skies and rain….turning to snow!


Back Home

Time spent with family is the best part of the holidays, and I got to do a lot of that on last week’s trip to Louisville for my first trunk show with my sister. I stayed at my daughter’s house, and my 3-year-old grandson, Nate, got caught up in all the holiday excitement, especially the dinner table with the special touches the holidays brought – the cheerful holly and berry tablecloth, set with red and green plates and Christmas salt and pepper shakers.

When Nate wanted the pepper, he would use his best manners and ask for "the Santa," and when he needed a bit of salt, I was bemused to hear him ask for someone to pass “the Grandma.” I could only hope that the portly, bespectacled shaker called to mind an image from a Disney movie, and not the flesh and blood relative who sat across from him at the table!

The day of our sale arrived with a surprise snow storm, keeping some of our expected shoppers at home, but we had a great time visiting with those who ventured out. Granddaughter Abi tagged along, and spent the afternoon admiring the glittering jewelry piece by piece, testing each of my sister’s scarves for the instant style and coziness they brought, encouraging shoppers, and planning a few purchases of her own!

As we packed everything back into the car, she was heard to say that this was the best day ever- and how awesome it was to have a grandmother and an aunt who made such cool things. Making my first sale was exhilarating. Hearing that I was definitely not a salt shaker grandma - priceless!