Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

I love sweets…who doesn’t? However, since I am careful with my sugar consumption and because I am now on a diet, I limit myself to only one dessert a day. But in spite of that, I still haven’t reached my ideal weight yet. Sigh! Just a mere .5 kilo and yet, it is so difficult to attain— especially now with the stay-at-home request from the Tokyo Governor.

Ever since I started working from home, I get to eat lunch and dinner with my kids everyday. “Why not breakfast?”, you might ask. Well, nobody in this house wakes up early! Sigh again!

Anyway, since I get to eat with the kids now, I get to finally chit chat with them (yup…no phones, no iPad and no TV while eating). But the chit chat ends when they finish eating. So like any other typical mom, I want them to stay longer at the dining table so I can chat with them longer . What is the best thing to do then? Bake them desserts that they definitely love!

One sunny quarantine day, I casually told them that since I wasn’t as busy as before, I could bake them something. They got excited and they started flipping through my recipe notebook. They didn’t like apple pie at that time, and cupcakes with frosting are just too much work for me. They then settled with lemon bars.

The first time I baked these lemon bars, they were an epic failure. They were too dry and the crust was too hard. I definitely thought I sucked at these dessert bars so I stopped baking them altogether. That was two years ago.

But on that day when my kids wanted me to bake lemon bars for them, these sweeties turned out to be really good! So from then on, we eat lemon bars with freshly brewed coffee (except for Zach) right after lunch. And from then on, I have been baking lemon bars every week!

So for my blog today, I will share with you my recipe for lemon bars. I got this recipe from my cousin who loves baking as much as I do. You can check her account on Instagram: The Bad Brownies.

I hope that through these lemon bars, you will also be able to encourage your kids to stay longer at the dinner table just to have those treasured chit chats with you…like what I did (and do).

Have fun baking!

Lemon Bars Recipe

For the Crust

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 sticks Butter, softened at room temperature
  • ¾ cup Powdered Sugar

For the Filling:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Grated Lemon Peel
  • Powdered Sugar to sprinkle on top of the bars

For the Crust:

  1. Combine flour, butter, and powdered sugar. Mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. I use hand mixer for this process.
  2. Pat into an 8 x 8 baking pan. Bake at 180°C for 21 minutes.

For the Filling:

  1. Beat eggs.
  2. Add sugar, flour, baking powder, lemon juice and lemon peel.
  3. Beat until frothy.
  4. Pour over the crust.
  5. Bake for 21 minutes or until light golden brown. Do not over cook.
  6. Cool on a wire rack.
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Working from Home

For the past week now, we have been working from home. I’m a teacher for small kids, so it is a little challenging for me and my co-teachers to be doing something like teaching from home. We’ve never done anything like this so it’s somehow difficult but manageable.

Teaching from home is not as busy as a usual school day, I admit. We have to take videos of our lessons. During video shootings, I will have to talk to the camera while imagining the kids replying to my questions. I sing songs and dance the action songs with the music playing in the background. It’s like the usual teaching that we do every school day but without the kids.

Me at work…while shooting our videos

One morning, when I was about to post one of my lessons in our teaching website, I reviewed my lesson by watching the video. Then I felt sad. I thought to myself that this lesson would have been much better with the kids.

Yes, the usual teaching days are hectic. Yes, the usual working days can be chaotic and exhausting. But their smiles, their laughter, their antics and the look of amusement on the kids’ faces while I teach them my lessons are always priceless. Maybe I’m just being sentimental or maybe it’s just a teacher thing…but for me, teaching is still better with the students around.

Hopefully soon, this COVID-19 will end and everything will be back to normal. For now, I will cherish the time I have with my own not-too-small-but-still-my-babies kids while we’re stuck at home doing a lot of eating. I’ve been baking a lot of lemon bars lately. So for my next post, I will share with you a recipe of our favorite lemon bars.

Keep safe and healthy!

Finally…

Finally, the long-awaited State of Emergency has been declared in Tokyo and several other prefectures last Tuesday, April 7, 2020.

Don’t get me wrong. I was waiting for this not because I don’t want to work because honestly, I do! I love seeing the cute faces of my little students and I always look forward to their antics and learning moments each day. So why was I waiting for that declaration? With the rising coronavirus cases here in Tokyo, being outside (especially in a very packed train) has become very scary for me. For the past two weeks, the Governor of Tokyo has already asked Tokyoites to stay in their homes during the weekend. Fine. Most people followed the request. The usual busy streets of Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro among others were unusually quiet. But then comes Monday. Crowded stations. Jam packed trains. What is the use of being at home the entire weekend when you will be in a crowded train the next Monday, right?

I know I’m being paranoid, but we all know that this virus can be passed on easily if people are standing close to each other which is exactly the scenario in a train every single workday morning.

Just imagine how scared I would be the moment I’d step inside. I would be looking around, suspicious of everyone around me because they might be virus carriers already. It’s like watching the horror movie, The Nun, in a scene where the girl was walking along the dark hallway with a candle in hand and she didn’t know that the demon nun was already behind her. She felt it but she didn’t know where it was because she couldn’t see it. It’s the same when I’m inside a packed train these days. I know that the virus is there somewhere but I just don’t know where it is. And that scares the hell out of me.

What kept me sane throughout my train ride from Kita-Senju to Ikebukuro though is the fact that when I’d look around, everyone (well except for a handful of stubborn people) would be wearing masks. Then once inside the train, people would be very quiet that you would hear even the slightest sound coming from a plastic bag.

“This scenario reduces the chances of saliva or any kinds of fluid from flying or dropping on any surface.”, said me to myself.

Yes, talking to myself and telling this to myself can calm my nerves. Plus, I have already mastered the art of standing (or sometimes sleeping!) in a moving train without touching anything and with my hands inside the pockets of my jacket. Well, I still sometimes wonder until now how I do it.

The declaration of the State of Emergency is indeed a welcome respite for me and for some others who are also paranoid like me— a respite from all the anxiety, fear and paranoia of the unknown and of the invisible nemesis. I just hope that this COVID-19 pandemic will end soon.

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