Friday, April 13, 2012

Lemon Cream Bars and Vacation Update

I'm back! It's been a loooooong week, but it sure was fun! It rained most of the time we were in San Francisco, but that's okay! Sightseeing was still a ton of fun! And of course, as soon as we get home, it's raining here, too! Rainy days are wonderful, but I love thunderstorms best. I even saw the windows shake from the close thunder. Makes me feel like I'm back home in New Mexico almost. The clouds just need to be a little more black, but I'll take what I can get. Anyways, back to our trip. You want to see some vacation photos? Good. Here goes!

Our first stop was Monterey. I've always wanted to go to their aquarium, and I learned that it's in an old cannery. How cool is that? We went to Fisherman's Wharf for dinner, and every single seafood restaurant on the wharf handed each of us a sample of their "world-famous!" clam chowder. I think they knew I was coming. We finally chose one (hardest decision ever!), based on their exceptional chowder and the recommendation of one of the sample girls from another restaurant. I had crab cakes with this amazing sweet orange glaze.

The next morning, we visited Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I can seriously spend HOURS at an aquarium. But Sam can't, so I tried to keep my nerding-out to a minimum. But I took lots of pictures!

Sea Pens! I would totally have an actual pen like this. And you can see a skate in the background!

Us in front of the Shorebirds exhibit.

Umbrella Jellies!

Blubber Jellies. They come in White (naturally), Blue, Plum, and sometimes Brown, like this one! So weird, but so neat!

Elegant Jellies. I'm kind of a jellyfish nerd, so bear with me.

A Mediterranean Jelly. Man, they're cool!

This baby seahorse was about the size of the first joint on my pinky. So adorable!

Only in Monterey would they sell all of John Steinbeck's novels in a souvenir shop! I love it!

Our next stop before San Francisco was the Winchester Mystery House. We couldn't take any pictures on the inside, so I'm sorry all I have are pictures of the outside. That house was HUGE!

Sam is standing in front of a door that opens from one of the rooms to eight feet above the ground! There were stairways that led all the way into the ceiling, doors that opened to brick walls, and my favorite was the stairwell that zig-zagged with steps that were no more than 2 inches high. It was a pretty weird place.

I won't bore you with too many more pictures, I promise. Just hang in there! We finally made it to San Francisco, where we dined at the Burger Bar, high above the city, overlooking Union Square. And here are some more tourist pics!

On the pier looking out to Alcatraz.

This store is called Chocolate Heaven. Can you tell how excited I was??

These were the size of a cupcake. I think I will have to make these soon!

Of course, you can't go to chocolate heaven and not get some fudge. So I did! The hubby got some salty caramel white chocolate goodness.

And of course, our trip wasn't complete without some Boudin sourdough bread!

We checked out the painted ladies of Alamo Square.

And the Conservatory of Flowers. Which was more like a plant conservatory, since there weren't THAT many flowers (most of them orchids, too), but it was still pretty cool to see!

We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge!

And our last night in San Fran, we indulged in a Ghirardelli hot fudge banana sundae. So good.

We crossed off riding a cable car from my bucket list just before we left for home!

Now, I know you didn't just come by to see my vacation pics, and don't worry! I've got a new recipe to blow you away! Here goes!

Lemon Cream Bars
from Pip & Ebby

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
One (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Zest from 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease an 8 by 8 pan with cooking spray.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set it aside.

In a larger bowl, cream the brown sugar and the butter together.

Now you'll gradually add the flour mixture, just a little at a time, mixing in between to fully combine them. It's gonna look fairly crumbly, but that's fine! You'll be pressing it into a pan soon anyways.

Press half the crumb mixture into the pan, and set that puppy aside!

Mix the oats into the leftover half. This will be your topping.

Now, in a smaller bowl, combine the condensed milk, zest, and lemon juice. Whisk it until it's very creamy. That won't be too hard, since the milk is already almost perfect!

Spread this heavenly concoction over the crust in the pan.

Top it with the other half of the crumbly mix.

Bake it for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until it's golden brown.

Let it cool, and then enjoy!

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