Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Lemon Lady's Favorite Lemon Bars...

Photo courtesy:

Ahh...what memories. Back when I was single and fancy free, before trading cookbooks for Dr. Seuss books, I lived and breathed from one dinner party to the next. Baking trays and trays of scrumptious desserts. A tried and true recipe from Cook's Illustrated still tops my list as an all-time favorite. Give it a try. Find a neighbor with a lemon tree. Glean a few for the food pantry. Make friends and bake yummy lemon bars!

From Cook’s Illustrated, May/June ’98.
The crust:
1 ¾ cups flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for decoration
¼ cup cornstarch
¾ tsp. salt
12 tbl. unsalted butter at very cool room temp., cut into 1-inch pieces

Lemon filling:
4 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 tbl. flour
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest from 1 large lemon
2/3 cup juice from 3 large lemons, strained
1/3 cup whole milk
1/8 tsp. salt

For the crust: Lightly butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan and line with one sheet of parchment paper. Dot paper with butter and then lay a second sheet crosswise over the first.

Pulse flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt in food processor to blend. Add butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second bursts. Sprinkle mixture into lined pan and press firmly with fingers into even, ¼-inch layer over entire pan bottom and about ½ inch up sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake crust until golden brown about 20 minutes.

For the filling: While crust is baking, whisk eggs, sugar and flour in a medium bowl then stir in lemon juice, zest, mile and salt to blend well.

To finish the bars: Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Stir filling mixture to reblend; pour into warm crust. Bake until filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 20 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool to near room temperature, at least 30 minutes. Holding edges of parchment paper, lift whole cake out of pan and transfer to cutting board, fold paper down sides and cut into serving-size squares or bars, wiping knife clean between cuts. Sieve more powdered sugar over bars, if desired.

To find a food bank or local food pantry, zip code search, nationwide, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Food Pantry Locations: Contra Costa County, Concord, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek and more local resources...

4010 Nelson Ave, Concord, CA 94520, (925) 676-7543
(800) 870-FOOD
Distributed by the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano

CLICK HERE: For ALL Community Produce Locations
East, West, Central Contra Costa County and Solano County

Local Concord, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, CA
Food Pantries Distribute Food and Accept Walk-in Donations.

Please call individual pantries to confirm hours for
food distribution or hours for donation drop offs.

Dial: 2 1 1 - It's a National Hotline with Local Resources for people in Crisis
CLICK HERE: for 211 Referral information.

SHARE Food Pantry - At The First Christian Church
3039 Willow Pass Road, Concord, CA 94519
(925) 827-4273

The Salvation Army - Concord Community Church
3950 Clayton Road, (at West street)
Concord, CA 94521
(925) 676-6180
For those who need food or assistance:
1990 Market St, Concord, CA 94520
(925) 825-7751
(non-perishable food only)
For those who need food or assistance:
Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 10am-12pm
2303 Ygnacio Valley Road
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
(925) 210-9036

Hillcrest Congregational Church - Food Room
404 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
(925) 686-3663
For those who need food or assistance
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
9:00am - 11:45am

For those who need food or assistance:
Food Pantry Tuesday and Friday mornings only.
5562 Clayton Road, Concord, CA 94521
Phone: (925) 672-5800 * Fax: (925) 672-4606

Inside the: St. Francis of Assisi Church
860 Oak Grove Road, Concord, CA 94518
For those who need food or assistance:
Operated by: St. Vincent de Paul (925) 682-5811
Mon-Thurs. 9 to 11 am,
Friday 1 to 3 PM, Sat. 9:30am to 11:30am
For those who need food or assistance:
199 Brandon Road, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
(925) 682-2486
For those who need food or assistance:
2390 Grant St. (near Almond St.)
Concord, CA 94520
(925) 825-0350
1650 Ashbury, Concord, CA
For those who need food or assistance:
Phone to confirm food distribution schedule.
Saturday Mornings
Groceries at 9:00am
(925) 685-4343

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Children's Theatre Companies and Performances Contra Costa County, Alameda County, Solano County, and Silicon Valley...

Mt. Diablo Unified School District
Most schools have Drama departments with at least one performance each year; tickets for sale to the public. Phone individual school to check on performance dates.

Del Valle Theatre
Lesher Center for the Arts
Walnut Creek, CA

Bay Area Children's Theatre
San Ramon, CA
Berkeley, CA

Berkeley Playhouse
Berkeley, CA

California Theatre Company
Sunnyvale, CA
Livermore, CA
San Ramon, CA

Byron School District
Excelsier Middle School
Byron, CA

Diablo Valley College
Pleasant Hill, CA

Civic Arts Youth Theatre Company
Walnut Creek, CA

Pacifica Spindrift Players
Pacifica, CA

Town Hall Theatre
Lafayette, CA

Firehouse Arts Center
Pleasanton, CA

Village Theatre
Local Elementary Schools perform here.
Danville, CA

Orinda Intermediate School
Orinda, CA
Seasonal Musicals / Drama Productions

Defying Gravity Foundation
Diablo View Middle School, Clayton, CA
Pine Hollow Middle School, Concord, CA
Upcoming Events:!the-club

Walnut Acres Elementary
Walnut Creek, CA
Walnut Acres Children's Theatre

Peter Pan Foundation
Various Venues from Pleasant Hill, CA to Lafayatte, CA

Actors Theatre For Children
Santa Rosa, CA

City of Santa Clara
Roberta Jones Junior Theatre
Santa Clara, CA

Playful People Productions
San Jose, CA

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Seed Catalogs FREE. 2016. Dream. Garden. Grow Inspired...

NEW YEAR 2016. I encourage parents, educators, schools, garden clubs, civic groups to order free seed catalogs; they're excellent teaching resources!

If I had a class of students, I would send the list of FREE SEED CATALOGS home so parents can order for rainy day reading. This is free education at it's best, in my humble opinion.

If we can inspire children (and adults) to learn about nutrition, biodiversity and self-sustaining agriculture, perhaps they will learn to make more intelligent food choices and promote healthier living. I have read many seed catalogs in their entirety. I believe and hope future generations will come to understand how wonderful growing our own organic food and saving seed truly is. My daughter Ava understood what a seed was long before her second birthday. It is never too early to give the gift of gardening to our babies.

Let us also teach our children what an heirloom vegetable is, how to save seeds, and which seeds can even be saved! Have fun. Grow something and happy harvesting!

FREE Seed Catalogs. NEW YEAR 2016
A few to get you started:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
(417) 924-8917

Seeds of Change
(888) 762-7333

Bountiful Gardens
(707) 459-6410

Botanical Interests

Seed Savers Exchange
(563) 382-5990

Territorial Seed
(800) 626-0866

Vermont Bean Seed Company

Kitazawa Seed Company
(510) 595-1188

Potato Garden
(877) 313-7783

Wild Garden Seed

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
(540) 894-9580

Select Seeds
(800) 684-0395

Sow True Seeds

Johnny's Selected Seeds

Urban Farmer Seeds

National Gardening Association
(800) 538-7476

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Capt. Charles Moore on the seas of plastic...

A must see video!
How to recycle plastic bottle caps: Why should we recycle plastic bottle caps? Ever wondered how YOU can help make a difference?

Please be inspired to help recycle plastic caps and lids. It really matters. With YOUR help, we can change the world if we try. This is a perfect service project for environmental conscious individuals of any age! Even my 3-year old can find bottle caps around town, on the beach, in the parks, from vacation at Lake Tahoe to our own backyard of Mt. Diablo in Clayton, California. Bottle caps are everywhere they shouldn't be, even in baby albatross bellies. Would you feed your child plastic bottle caps for breakfast? Please watch the video and learn more of what happens in our oceans.
Contact me for a collection container at:
CLICK HERE to learn more about how you can help Ava and I to "Recycle Plastic Caps and Lids."

Monday, December 28, 2015

FREE Admission Tickets San Francisco Bay Area Attractions and Museums - JANUARY 2016 . . .

First Full Weekend of the Month is upon us! JANUARY 2016

Field Trip Ideas? Visit one of the Bay Area's world class museums and local attractions. Often, there is a FREE MUSEUM DAY in JANUARY 2016, located in a town near you. (Nationwide.) San Francisco, Oakland, Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Seattle, Portland, Boston and beyond.

First Weekend of the month has the most FREE Museum Admission opportunities. Have fun. Be inspired. Below is a partial list. CLICK other Links for additional dates and venues.

CLICK HERE to find more FREE MUSEUM DAYS in a city near you.

San Francisco Bay Area Museums & Gardens:

Sunday, January 4, 2016

Sunday, January 4, 2016

Lindsay Wildlife Experience is FREE Third Friday to the general public.
FRIDAY, January 16, 2016

Pier 39 San Francisco - FREE Parking Printable Coupons and Buy One Get One Free Restaurant and Attractions. Ongoing thru January 31, 2016
Pier 39 Local Advantage Printable Coupons - CLICK HERE

Pier 39 FREE Parking Coupon: CLICK HERE

Aquarium of the Bay - Buy One Get One Free Admission - Printable Coupon with the Entertainment Book, online access. Expires 12/31/2016

Saturday, January 3, 2016 and Sunday, Sunday, January 4, 2016

Contemporary Jewish Museum w/BofA card FREE First weekend
Saturday, January 3, 2016 and Sunday, Sunday, January 4, 2016

de Young Fine Arts Museum of SF w/BofA card FREE First weekend
Saturday, January 3, 2016 and Sunday, Sunday, January 4, 2016

Legion of Honor w/BofA card FREE First weekend
Saturday, January 3, 2016 and Sunday, Sunday, January 4, 2016

San Jose Museum of Art w/BofA Card FREE First weekend
Saturday, January 3, 2016 and Sunday, Sunday, January 4, 2016

Tech Museum w/BofA Card FREE First weekend
Saturday, January 3, 2016 and Sunday, Sunday, January 4, 2016

CuriOdyssey Museum - COMMUNITY FREE DAY to the general public
Saturday, January 9, 2016

Wednesday, January 7, 2016

Napa Valley Museum - FREE Family Fun Days, 2nd Saturday of the Month.
Saturday, January 10, 2016 

Jump Sky High - PRINTABLE Coupon - FREE Hour of Jump Time, BOGO
ONGOING Thru January 2016

EXPLORATORIUM - FREE Day, Groundhog Day 2016.
Tuesday, February 2, 2016 

As an added bonus, there are special FREE days at gardens, Regional Parks, Swimming Pools, Museums not normally advertised:

San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum (located at Golden Gate Park) - FREE Admission SECOND Tuesday of the month, general public
Tuesday, January 13, 2016
Tuesday, January 6, 2016

Wednesday, January 7, 2016

John Muir National Historic Site - FREE ADMISSION seven days a week. Tour the historic fruit orchards and former home of Naturalist, John Muir.

Amazing Selection of DAILY FREE Passes through your local Library

CLICK HERE: DISCOVER and GO - Find your County. Entire list of Participating Counties.

CLICK HERE: Contra Costa County Library Discover & Go Partners and Offers.

CLICK HERE: Alameda County Library Discover & Go Partners and Offers.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Entertainment Book Membership. FREE PRINTABLE Coupons, Lindsay Museum, Ghost Golf, Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39, Tahoe Area Lift Tickets . . .

Entertainment Book has really improved their mobile and online printable coupon selection. We are thrilled with the selections this past year. They even have an online app for only 99 cents to join the first month. FANTASTIC MOBILE Coupons and PRINTABLE coupons!

If you join through EBATES, there is additional discount of 17% off and Entertainment books are 30% off with CODE: SAVE30.   This is my EBATES referral link and we each receive an incentive for joining. EBATES is FREE to join. It is an automatic Cash Rebate site that pays you a percentage back in the form of a cash rebate for your online purchases. Worth taking a look. Our family usually saves about $1000.00 or more on attraction and dining coupons available thru the Entertainment Membership throughout the year.

Buy one Get one FREE Lift passes at Tahoe Donner are worth $49.00. Buy One Get One Free Admission at Pier 39 Aquarium of the Bay is worth $22.00. Too many Buy One Get One Pizza coupons to even list. :) You can download the Mobile App in two minutes and begin saving immediately.

Little known bonus - the Mobile App allows access to coupons nationwide, so that includes famous museums, attractions, restaurants for your out of town travels and day trips.

Tahoe Keys, Mountain Sports Center, Rainbow Mountain, Ski-Run Boat Company, Tahoe Donner Lift Ticket . . . and so many more!
Buy One Get One - The Beacon Bar & Grill at South Lake Tahoe 

Cold Stone Creamery Buy One Get One Free Coupons
Coupons shown are from my Entertainment Book membership.