Showing posts with label bars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bars. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This Means War!

I love summer. I love staying outside until almost 9:00 when the last of the sun disappears, I love hot, sweaty days at the beach, and I love a glass of ice cold lemonade after spending time in the July heat. When I was a kid, my brother and and I would set up a lemonade stand in front of our house and charge a dime per cup. Back then, that was a lot of money and we would use our profits to buy a new Nintendo game. (No, not a Nintendo Wii--the original Nintendo. Yes, I'm that old.) We didn't tell anyone that it wasn't really lemonade, but Crystal Light. It was much easier not to deal with all that sugar and lemon-squeezing business. Plus, that's what my mom kept in the pantry. Ahh, childhood...

Now that you know how big of a lemonade (or lemon-flavored Crystal Light) fan I am, it will come as no surprise that I picked up The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies.
The two main characters, Evan and Jessie, are brother and sister, each with a problem. Evan is going into fourth grade and can't think of anything worse than having his baby sister in the same class next year (Jessie skipped a grade). Jessie, who loves math and numbers, doesn't even realize Evan is upset, until he starts a lemonade stand with his friend and doesn't include her. To show him up, Jessie gets Megan Moriarity (Evan's crush) to help her build a lemonade stand, with a fancy sign and free snacks. Before long, the two of them realize that they are lemonade competitors and declare war. The first sibling to earn $100 is the winner (or whoever earns the most money by Sunday), and the loser has to hand over whatever earnings he/she made to the winner.

Jessie and Evan will do anything it takes to win the war, including giving away freebies, lowering prices, franchising (opening up more businesses), and sabotaging each others' stands. The results are pretty funny and will have you rooting for either Jessie or Evan to win the war.

The book also includes Ten Tips for Turning Lemons into Loot written by Jessie and Evan and gives the definition for lots of business terms, such as joint venture, underselling, negotiation, and total loss. ***DO NOT have a lemonade stand this summer without reading this book! It could be the difference between making enough money to buy a game for your Wii or making enough money to buy a Wii!

Recipe to Read By: Zesty Lemon Squares
You don't have to squeeze any lemons for this recipe, although if you really like juicing lemons go right ahead. (Just be careful not to squeeze any lemon juice in your eye--that burns like a banshee and will ruin the whole baking experience.)

1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon zest (I looove zesting lemons. They look so funny when you're done, like they're naked. Hehe.)
2 tablespoons sugar
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the confectioners' sugar.
Mix the flour and the salt together in another bowl, then add this to the butter mixture.
Add in the vanilla and the lemon zest and mix well.
Gather up the dough into a ball and wrap it in wax paper. Put the wrapped ball in the refrigerator for four hours. (Or one hour, if you're really impatient like me.)
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it sit while the oven is preheating. (Turn the oven on to 325° F.)
Press the dough into an 8-inch-square pan. Sprinkle it with the sugar.
Bake about 20 minutes, just until the edges of the dough start to turn a light brown.
Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool.
Cut into 2 x 2-inch squares.
Serve with lemon-flavored Crystal Light to balance all of that sugar.
*Recipe courtesy of

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

I’ve always wanted a sister. Having a sister meant double the wardrobe and slumber parties every night of the week. Not that growing up with a brother was completely awful. He played his fair share of Barbies and was my “student” every time I played school in the garage. He never even put up a fight when I ordered him to write I will not pick my nose and wipe it on my desk 50 times on the chalkboard. (Thanks, Hayden—you’re the best!) But sharing clothes was never an option and I would have died before sharing a secret with a boy. Those are things reserved for sisters. The Penderwicks is a book about sisters. It’s the kind of book where you want to say goodbye to your family and jump right in and become a part of theirs.
Each of the four Penderwick sisters is wonderfully unique and likeable. There's Rosalind, the oldest of the four and a mother-figure to her younger sisters; hot-tempered Skye, dreamy Jane-an aspiring author; and shy Batty, the baby of the family who doesn't leave the house without her wings. Mr. Penderwick is a widow who takes his daughters on a summer trip to the Berkshire Mountains, where they rent a cottage at the back of an enormous mansion. The mansion belongs to Mrs. Tifton, an uptight, high-heel wearing snob who reminds me of Cruella DeVille (minus the streaked 'do). Mrs. Tifton has a son, Jeffrey, who immediately befriends the adventure-loving Penderwick girls, much to his mother's chagrin.
The plot of the story involves the girls' attempts to keep Jeffrey from being sent to military school and dodging Mrs. Tifton's efforts to keep the girls away from Jeffrey. The ending leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling and a strong yearning for mischief. (Yes, I am 27 years old and still found myself plotting a way to jump through hedges and chase bulls).
Even if you don't want a sister or truly despise the one you have, you'll still find yourself wanting to be a part of the Penderwick clan.
Top five reasons I want to be a Penderwick:
5.) They use cool acronyms like MOPS (Meeting of Penderwick Sisters) and OAP (Oldest Available Penderwick)
4.) Their dad lets them get away with ANYTHING. Then he gives them a hug and a kiss on the head and tells them to "stay out of trouble" with an endearing look on his face. Honestly. Whose dad does that??
3.) The oldest Penderwick bakes a mean batch of brownies.
2.) They keep each other's secrets.
1.) Four sisters? That's quadruple the wardrobe!
Recipe to Read By: Rosalind Penderwick's Brownies
If I were a Penderwick sister I definitely would want to be Rosalind. She has a heart of gold and more patience than I ever had at the age of 12. As the oldest Penderwick, she often bakes brownies for her doting father and younger sisters. However, as Rosalind, I would know better than to ask Skye to keep an eye on anything in the oven. She'll let them burn and then blame it on me. That might cause me to lose my temper, which is very un-Rosalind-like. Hmm. Maybe I should be Skye Penderwick...Or write mystery novels like Jane...Or talk to dogs like Batty...
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons water
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Powdered sugar

PREHEAT oven to 350º F.
Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
COMBINE granulated sugar, butter and water in large bowl.
Stir in eggs and vanilla extract.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in medium bowl; stir into sugar mixture.
Stir in nuts.
Spread into prepared baking pan.
BAKE for 18 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky.
Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Cut into bars.
*Recipe courtesy of Nestle