Sunday, March 2, 2014

Strawberry Lemon Squares

So I wanted to explain why I sometimes call myself a "new cook" even though I'm closer to 30 than I am to 20. Growing up I had parents who were great cooks. They always made wonderful dinners and there were hardly ever complaints about what was on the menu. And as a teenager I thought I had anything better to do than learn how to cook. Therefore, I never learned before I left the nest.

When college rolled around I hadn't even figured out how to make pasta. Seriously! I didn't know how to make macaroni and cheese. Seeing as pasta is pretty much a college students only food group, I thought I was going to be in trouble. Luckily my freshman year I lived in a dorm with a food court (Wright Dormitory, IU!! :) and was able to prolong learning how to cook another year.
I honestly think I was afraid to learn how to cook. I guess it's because the few times I did try and cook on my own, they ended in epic failures. Like the time I tried to make a frozen biscuit in the microwave and almost set our apartment on fire. Or the time my sister and I tried to make cookies on my parent's nice Pampered Chef stone and dough ended up pouring over the edges and got all over the oven and ended up breaking the nice expensive stone and we tried to hide what we did only to be found out when our parents opened the drawer under the oven and found cookie dough EVERYWHERE! Or when I tried to make my first omelet and burnt the crap out of the frying pan and it had a million tiny egg shell pieces.
Needless to say I hung up the apron (more like burned my apron) for a long time. I was so lucky to have roommates the rest of college that cooked for me all the time. I would've starved without them! After college I moved in with my big sister and she felt so bad that I had the worst paying job in the world, she always paid for me to go out to eat with her. She, too, didn't have the cooking gene so we went out to eat a lot. Saved me from having to learn how to cook again!

Finally I met the man of my dreams, my Hubby. All I have ever heard growing up is "A way to a man's heart is through his stomach." or "To keep a man you gotta feed a man!". I know those are just funny phrases, but I started to take them seriously and told myself if I was going to marry this man and love him forever I needed to learn how to boil water cook! At the time we both lived in small apartments and the kitchens were not easy to learn in. I jokingly told him one day if he bought me a house with a big kitchen I would learn how to cook.
He just so happened to decide it was time for him to buy a house shortly after I said that :) So we went and looked at a few dozen homes, and fell madly love with one. The kitchen was huge! We ended up looking at it six times we loved it so much. A couple days later I get a phone call from my future Hubby and he says to me "Honey I love you and want to buy you the house of your dreams. I put a bid on the one you love and I'm going to buy it for you!"! I laughed hysterically and then started bawling. It was the happiest I had ever felt...not because I was getting a house, but because I realized the man I was hopelessly in love with loved me back just the same. It was an amazing feeling. From that day on I vowed I would learn how to cook so I could feed my man and my future family.
That was about four years ago. I'm now a great baker and still becoming a pretty darn good cook. Dinner is rarely thrown out and replaced with pizza and I still manage to make yummy new dishes that Hub loves. My forte though by far is baking sweet treats. I've actually been making lemon squares for...well about four years. It was one of the first things I learned how to bake. I had a craving for some the other day but this time I decided to jazz 'em up with some strawberry jam making Strawberry Lemon Squares!
First I made the yummy crunchy crust. This time around though I added vanilla wafers to it. Since I don't have a food processor (yet!) I threw a few cookies in a bag, smashed them up as well as I could, and cut a hole in the corner so that only the small crumbs would fall out.
Then I let it bake for a few minutes. While that was in the oven, I added together the rest of the ingredients but the jam and whipped it together. Then I poured it over the baked crust and dropped big ol' spoonfuls of jam into the lemon mix. Baked again, let them cool, added as much powdered sugar as I can handle, cut them and devoured!!
1 3/4 Cups flour
1 Cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/4 Cup crushed vanilla wafers (about 10 wafers)
1 tsp salt
1 Cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice (or lemon zest if you have it)

4 eggs
2 Cups sugar
1/4 Cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
5/8 Cup lemon juice (it's basically a whole bottle of the lemon shaped lemon juice)
3-4 Tbsp strawberry jam
Powdered Sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a 9x13 pan with parchment paper or coat it like crazy with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine the flour, powdered sugar, vanilla wafers and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the butter, vanilla and lemon juice until smooth and press into the pan. Make sure the crust is the same thickness throughout the pan.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until slightly golden.

While baking, beat the eggs for 2-3 minutes.

Combine the sugar, flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Pour into the beaten eggs and mix it all together. Then stir in the lemon juice.

Pour the lemon mix on top of the crust as soon as it comes out of the oven. Drop the strawberry jam into the lemon mix randomly.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the bars are set. Remove and let them cool completely. I usually open my oven and let the squares sit there until the oven is cool. Then I put the whole pan on a wire rack and let them finish cooling that way.

Top with tons of powdered sugar (if you want) and allow to sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Cut up and enjoy!!

Do you have any terrible cooking stories? Almost burn any apartments down like me? :) Love to hear your stories!!

Thanks for stopping by!

**I linked up to super saturday link party, link party palooza, weekend bloggy reading, weekend potluck, tickled pink, foodie friday, thursday style, kitchen fun and crafty friday, friday flash blogthe homeacre hopbloom designs, pin it thursday, full plate thursday, all things thursday, create it thursday, tasty tuesday, work it wednesday, inspire me wednesday, whats cookin wednesday, wicked awesome wednesday, too cute tuesday, tutorial tuesdaylink party tuesdaycreate link inspire, share your stuff tuesdays, titus 2 tuesdaythe scoop, the diy'ers, make it pretty monday, metamorphosis mondaymade by you mondayfrugal crafty homemuch ado about mondayamaze me mondaybusy monday


  1. These look so delicious!! I love lemon square and never thought of putting strawberry in them before.

  2. I stopped by from the In and Out of the Kitchen linkup to check out your recipe because I love lemon bars and thought this was a fun spin on them Thanks so much for sharing! I'm adding this to my cookbook to try sometime for SURE! HUGS

  3. Delicious! I love lemon bars so I'm definitely pinning this to my must-try collection.

  4. I pinned this so I could try it later - I love the added twist of the strawberry to these classic bars! Self taught cook here - plenty of burned pots along the way...

  5. These sounds great! I would love it if you shared these on my Tasty Tuesday linky party!

    1. Thanks Penny! Linked up and linked back. Great blog! I'll see you next week :)

  6. These sound delicious!! A must try recipe. I would love it if you would come join us for Centerpiece Wednesday on my blog and share your recipe with us. Hope you will come and party with us.
    Karin 

  7. Beautiful story! I would definitely learn how to cook too if the man of my dreams bought me a house! :) And the strawberry lemon squares look absolutely scrumptious!

    Thanks so much for sharing on Turn It Up Tuesday! We love having you! :)

  8. What a perfect combination the sweetness from the strawberry's and the fresh tartness from the lemon. Thank you for sharing it on our Four Seasons Blog Hop. Pinning Now.

  9. The strawberry jam is the perfect addition to lemon squares. Great idea! These look so delicious!

  10. I love lemon bars, and I've tried adding blueberries, but not strawberries. I bet it's delicious, like strawberry lemonade in a bar! Thanks for sharing at Turn-It-Up Tuesday!
    Amber @

  11. Oh yum, those look and sound delicious!!! Love your stories too!

  12. Looks yummy! I hope I can create this.Coming from Weekend re-Treat Link Party ! Come-by and visit my blog!

  13. Just wanted to stop by and let you know you're featured on Share Your Stuff Tuesday this week! :)

  14. Your Strawberry Lemon Squares look delicious, I love that combination. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope you are having a great week.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  15. Your bars looks delicious! You are so funny. It's funny how our priorities change over the years. I've raised a 25 y/o daughter and made my first lemon bar last month!! HA I didn't start learning how to cook desserts until I started blogging last year and learned you can make them pretty just like crafts. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  16. I love lemon bars and the addition of strawberry sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe on the HomeAcre Hop hope to see you again tomorrow! - Nancy The Home Acre Hop

  17. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with us. My kiddos would die for these! Thanks for linking it up over at Tell it To Me Tuesday and we hope to see you again next week!

  18. Oh these look so scrummy ... pinned! ... thanks for sharing at #EmptyYourArchive Alice @mumsmakelists