{Food & Entertaining}

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bar Recipe | www.thebudgetsocialite.com

Fall is almost upon us, but that doesn’t mean we have to leave all our summer treasures behind. One such treasure is lemon bars! This is tangy goodness on top of a buttery crust. This all that is good in the world. This is highly addictive. You have been warned.

Consider this my farewell to summer. If I were you, I’d make these bad boys, crank up the heat and lounge in your bikini just for old time’s sake.

And, lemons are good for you… They are cleansing and alkanzing, right? Plus it’s fruit. Fruit can’t be bad. Shhh… Just go with it. It’ll be worth it. I promise.

Lemon Bars for the Win

For the Crust

  • 1 ¼ cups flour (spooned and leveled)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • ⅓  cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the filling

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • ¼  cup all-purpose flour
  • ⅔  cup lemon juice (About 4 juiced lemons)
  • 1 lemon zested

Lemon Bar ingredients | www.thebudgetsocialite.com

I keep wheat berries on hand and mill flour as needed in my VitaMix. If that’s your thing too, 1 cup of wheat berries will yield the 1 ½ cups of flour you need for this recipe.

  1. Put all the dry ingredients for your crust in a food processor. Process for a few seconds to get the sugar, salt and flour mixed up. Add the small pieces of butter and process until moist crumbs form (this may take up to 1 minute).
  2. Sprinkle mixture into a prepared pan (either line the pan or use cooking spray). Press the dough firmly into the pan.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Freeze crust until firm, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Check after about 10 minutes if your crust starts to puff up prick it with a fork to let the air out.
    Note: if you are using a ceramic or glass pan, DO NOT put the pan into the oven straight from the freezer. Let the pan come to room temperature before putting it into the oven. Instead preheat your oven after you take it out of the freezer instead of before.
  5. In bowl, whisk together 1 ½ cups sugar and ¼ cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice.
  6. Pour the filling onto the warm crust (not hot but still warm) and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  7. Bake for about 18-20 minutes until the filling is slightly firm.
  8. Let it cool to room temperature. The bars will firm up as they cool.
  9. Optional but awesome: Sprinkle with powdered sugar
  10. Cut those babies into bars, Instagram your greatness and enjoy!

Lemon Bars | www.thebudgetsocialite.com

My go-to crust recipe comes via Martha Stewart. You can’t go wrong with Martha. I use this crust for everything. I’ve even made it for a vegan friend using vegan butter and it’s still pretty tasty. The filling is adapted from this recipe. I made it a bit more lemon-y because I’m crazy like that.

 What’s your favorite summer dessert? Let us know in the comments!

tp_contributer_pic

Co-founder | Trinidad Pena
Trinidad Pena is a blogger, foodie, and design superhero bent on helping others kick-ass online, world domination and convincing the world that wine belongs in the fruit food group since it’s made from grapes.

 

{Food & Entertaining}

9 Healthy BBQ sides

Healthy BBQ Sides

This has been the summer of gluttony. After a few months of healthy eating and juicing, I fell from grace hard. No cupcakes have been left behind. No burgers spared. Hot Dogs. Cheese. Bread. Pizza. Ice Cream. Milkshakes…. were all consumed without a lick of guilt or regard. And damn it was glorious, but now it’s time for me to buckle down; before I can longer buckle at all.

I’m sure YOU, my dear reader ate like the guru of health and self-resistance I know you are. I bow before thee and I offer up these 9 Healthy BBQs sides to bring to your next soiree, so that you may forgive my trespasses. I hope you and the buttons of my skinny jeans keep the faith and hold out a little longer because I’m getting back on track, I pinky swear!

Healthy BBQ Sides

  1. Sun-Dried Tomato and Chili-Walnut Layered Dip
  2. Carrot and Apple Slaw
  3. Arugula, Potato, and Green Bean Salad with Walnut Dressing
  4. Watermelon Cucumber Feta Salad
  5. Veggie Cakes Recipe With Chard, Ricotta And Saffron
  6. Lean, Mean Mac Salad
  7. Green Beans With Pistachio Pesto
  8. Grilled Corn Salad
  9. Quinoa Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

Writer’s note: Week 2 of being back on my green juice and smoothie kick. My skin is starting to get back that magic glow and my jeans are less snug. Who woulda thunk it? Eating right is the best beauty secret there is.

(Image Sources: Fit Sugar | Martha Stewart | Skinny Taste | Real Simple | Food Republic | Self)

What are your favorite healthy BBQ sides? Have any tips for getting back on track after getting badly? Let us know in the comments.

tp_contributer_pic

Co-founder | Trinidad Pena
Trinidad Pena is a blogger, foodie, and design superhero bent on helping others kick-ass online, world domination and convincing the world that wine belongs in the fruit food group since it’s made from grapes.

 

{Food & Entertaining}

The Art of the Cheese Plate

Hello Socialites! Summer dinners al-fresco, July sunsets over wine…the season is made for elegant entertaining!

When you think of elegant entertaining, is there anything more elegant, decadent, and thoroughly indulgent than a well crafted cheese plate? If you’re a cheese lover like me (see cheese platemy bio), there can’t possibly be. Always picture perfect at catered affairs, at restaurant dinners, at wine bars in bite size portions for boat sized dollars, there’s something intimidating about recreating the magic at home. Yes? NO!

Socialite, get your notepad and throw away that Velveeta. Your next cocktail/dinner event just got FANCY! We’re going to master the art of the cheese plate! And it’s easier than you think…

Selection

It’s all about the cheese! However, you don’t have to serve ten types of cheese to have an amazing cheese plate.

Easy Elegance: Select three cheeses of varied textures (soft, semi-soft, hard). My favorite go-to cheeses: herbed goat, brie, manchego or an aged cheddar. You can find them all in most supermarkets, usually in an “international cheese” or “gourmet” section.

Fancy Fab: Stop into your local gourmet shop for some Mimolette and the Roquefort of your choice. Most gourmet shops will let you sample before you commit, so definitely do some exploring! With your guestlist in mind, find flavors you like and try cheeses from multiple countries!

The Tools

Kitchen knives will NOT do for your elegant cheese plate, Socialite. You need proper cheese knives and a serving board. I’m partial to a marble serving board, but a ceramic or china tray will do the trick. For large groups, I like to cut everything before setting it out. But for smaller service, feel free to set out whole portions and allow guests to cut their own. One knife per cheese is ideal, but it’s not required.

Easy Elegance: Two knives will easily have your needs covered. For the soft cheeses, such as goat, use a spreader. For firmer cheeses, you’ll want a classic multi-tasking cheese knife, with holes in the middle of the blade (to keep cheese from sticking to it) and prongs at the end for picking up what you’ve just cut. You can find both at any chain home store for under $10: think Marshall’s, HomeGoods, and Target.
cheese knivesFancy Fab: A friend gave me this wonderful set of four knives, which includes the two types above, as well as a wide slicer and an angled knife for hard cheeses. The slicer is great for difficult cheeses like mimolette. Google it. How does one cut a cantelope shaped cheese? Verrry thinly! The angled knife lets you exert pressure needed to get through a harder cheese like manchego with ease and uniform slices.

“What’s This?”

porcelain markersLabel your cheeses. Consider adding the type of milk its made from (sheep/goat/cow) or the country of origin under the name. Take your guests around the world on a cheese plate!

Easy Elegance: Affix a label to a toothpick and place one on each cheese you serve. Place setting cards in front of your serving tray work well, too. Just use stiff cardstock paper, write your cheese name, fold it over like a tent, et voila!

Fancy Fab: These porcelain markers were a steal, on clearance, at Murray’s Cheese in Grand Central Station. The set of 6 came with a gold marker, but you can use any dry-erase marker in any shade. Wash and store carefully after each use.

Bonus Yum

Garnish your cheese plate with edible goodies that compliment your cheese selection. Forgo the corporate parsley decor and think tasty tidbits!

Easy Elegance: On the same board, add a small amount of assorted berries, a handful of almonds or walnuts, and a small portion of apricot preserves to your presentation. Not only can you find all these in the supermarket aisles, but they lend themselves to almost ANY cheese selection. Encourage your guests to experiment with the pairings.

Fancy Fab: Drop back into the gourmet shop for some fig and orange jam (my personal pick to pair with manchego!), a bar of 80+% cocoa chocolate, and some oil cured olives.

Cap the entire presentation off with a tray of assorted flavor water crackers, pita crackers and/or crusty baguette slices.

And just like that, your cheese plate is dressed to impress! Serve with your fave wine and enjoy! But don’t reserve your new skills as a cheese master JUST for entertaining. I’ve been known to make a small cheese plate as dinner. And why not? Every Budget Socialite deserves a little elegant indulgence.

Image Sources: Evasaidit.com and Jordan Johnson

But don’t stop there! Have some Master-of-the-Cheesyverse tips to share? Leave a comment below and share the knowledge!

See you next month!

tp_contributer_pic

Contributor | Eva Said It
Eva is a mother, writer, entertaining doyenne, and snark expert based in New York City. Money can’t buy happiness, but it buys her lots of wine and stinky cheese…which is close enough. Catch more of her stiletto clad sarcasm at www.evasaidit.com.