I really like how lemon bars make me feel

Lemon Bars 1

I wonder when this seed was planted. The more I think about it, the more I realize just how unhappy I have been feeling with my life. And I don’t mean it in the aspect of comfort and luxury. I’m grateful for those, sure. I can’t discredit my parents for giving those things to me. But the more time passes, the more I grow anxious: What is going to happen with my life? What about where I’m going? No one has ever attempted to talk to me about this topic. Maybe that’s why I feel a little lost.

I’ve been baking because it removes me from all the fears and apprehension that swirl around in my mind constantly, but that’s only a few precious hours in a week. The rest of the time I feel like I’m stuck in a ditch, frustratedly clawing my way out of the hole I’ve dug myself into in my head. And you know what I realized? I am the only one who can get myself out.

I am relieved that I began to understand this fact from an early age, and especially now, at 21, I’m beginning to understand a lot more about how life works. I am glad I have an ability to figure things out quickly just by observing them, and although the time it takes me to adapt varies depending on the situation, just knowing what I’m dealing with helps quite a lot in the adjustment. During these small moments of discovery, whether positive or negative, all you can really do is push yourself up and move on. If you dwell so much on one thing, again, whether it be positive or negative, you get stuck there. Rooted. Life has a way of doing that because life is all about moving onwards.

Lemon Bars 2

Yet there are days like today when my arms are a bit tired, and I stay flattened against the ground, breathing in the dirt; days when I berate myself for being unhappy because I’m supposed to be grateful for the things I have in my life. It’s days like today when I let my imagination run into so many other better things out there that constitute what I really want; when I feel like I’m wasting all my potential away simply staying where I am. Is it wrong for me to think about these things? Am I feeling this frustration because I have no idea at this point how I will even begin to pursue my dreams? Am I having some sort of quarter-life crisis?

This is all so tiring for the soul.

I wish life could be half as straightforward as a lemon bar. Buttery crust underneath a soft, lemony and tart filling that melts in your mouth– that’s all one really needs to know. Can you explain life in a short phrase like that? Probably not.

Martha Lemon Bars 300x300 - I really like how lemon bars make me feel
Martha's Lemon Bars
Martha Lemon Bars 300x300 - I really like how lemon bars make me feel
Yields 24
Buttery crust underneath a soft, lemony and tart filling that melts in your mouth– this is what makes this one of my favourite lemon bar recipes.
For the crust
  1. 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen, plus more for dish
  2. 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  4. 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
For the filling
  1. 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  2. 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  3. 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  4. 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  5. 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  6. 1/4 cup whole milk
  7. Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Make the crust
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 9 x 13" baking dish, and line with parchment.
  2. 2. Grate butter on a cheese grater with large holes; set aside. Whisk together flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add butter. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined and mixture looks crumbly.
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  4. 3. Transfer mixture to prepared dish; Press evenly onto bottom with your hands. Freeze crust 15 minutes. Bake until slightly golden, 16-18 minutes. Leave oven on.
Meanwhile, make the filling
  1. 4. Whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, flour and salt in a bowl until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and milk. Pour over hot crust.
  2. 7862394694 bfdbf547cd b - I really like how lemon bars make me feel
  3. 5. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F, and bake until filling is set and edges are slightly golden brown, about 18 minutes. Let cool slightly on a wire rack (maybe 10 minutes).
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  5. 6. Lift out using the parchment paper overhang. Let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into 2-inch squares. Dust with confectioners' sugar.
  6. 7862377286 3761807bda b - I really like how lemon bars make me feel
  7. Storage: Lemon Squares can be refrigerated in airtight containers up to 2 days.
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Cookies
The Tummy Train http://www.thetummytrain.com/
It’s really days like these when I need to remind myself of the things in my life that could make me feel as lighthearted as a lemon bar can. In the meantime, all the lemons and yellows help a little bit.

stacked lemon bars


  1. chewtown
    28 August, 2012

    I think many of us have a quarter life crisis of sorts. I think the key is that life is continually evolving and we just have to follow the best path we can from the choices in front of us at the time.

    I sang opera full-time for 8 years, was singing professionally and on the verge of great things. It was the only thing I had ever wanted to do. At 25 I started to have voice problems and had no choice but to quit singing and start down another path. It was tough, but for me the trick was to get on and do something else so I didn’t sit there and think constantly about what I’d lost. its the best thing that ever happened to me and It made me who I am today. I realised I was good at more than just singing!

    But, back to the lemon slice… these look spectacular! Their brightness would pull anyone out of a dark day!

    1. Clarisse Shaina
      28 August, 2012

      Good point. I guess it’s important that I keep moving forward no matter what happens and believe that things will turn out for the best.

      And thank you for sharing your story. 🙂

  2. We all have our ups and downs. I am twice as old as you and still often wondering about life…. Baking surely lifts me up and totally can change my mood from bad to overjoyed! Keep doing what you love! 🙂

    1. Clarisse Shaina
      30 August, 2012

      Thank you for the kind words. I will. 🙂

  3. Oh, and your lemon bars are exquisite! 😀

  4. Shelvia Loveridge
    1 September, 2012

    You wrote beautifully on that feeling of lost that often pops up in my days not long ago. I agree with chewtown that many of us (more for those who think about things) have a quarter life crisis of sorts.
    I still feel lost sometimes, but I found that, if I just move on and do something, one thing, anything, the feeling goes away.
    The thing is, the beauty of “not knowing what is going to happen to your (my) life” is at the fact that we (you and i) get to DECIDE what is going to happen to our life! 🙂 Isn’t that awesome?
    Keep baking, keep blogging, keep reading, keep doing what feels right at the moment. Do it with passion, do it with love. Hopefully, it will lead you down a path that you want, and even if it’s not, it will make it so happen that … your life is constantly filled with passion and love.
    Just my two cents… 😀

    1. Clarisse Shaina
      1 September, 2012

      Well said! Thank you for such a beautiful comment.

      You’re right that people who think too much about things often have this sort of problem; and I also agree that keeping busy doing things we love and enjoy often takes the mind off these kinds of thoughts. I often forget that how my life goes is still my decision to make, and more importantly I seem to think that my happiness is dependent on external factors when it really is up to me. Thank you for reminding me. 🙂


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