Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lemony Birthdays and a Bit of History!

Well, today marks my stepdad's birthday (can't remember which one, maybe #56). Though, depending on whose government you talk to, his birthday isn't actually until January 1. This is probably one of the only really interesting things about his history to me, since it doesn't really have anything to do with how awful and horrid his childhood was *rolls eyes*.


You see, being an Italian citizen before 1972 meant that, he would have had to comply with a mandatory military service. For men only, until December 31, 2004, this practice continued, though in 1972 the right to "conscientious objection" was recognized. It meant that a "non armed military service", or a community service, could be authorised as an alternative to those who required it. The way they went through the lists for conscription was by birth year, and out of fear of another World War his mother made the decision to postpone the issue of his birth certificate until the new year, saving him from the possible drafts. So now, he milks this fact for all it's worth, and we celebrate his birthday twice: a small gathering on the 23rd (his actual birthday) where he's usually taken out to dinner, and a typically huge Italian bash on the first where the whole family gets together and feasts yet again after weeks of eating from the holidays.


Of course, between the two days, we have another two feast days that are celebrated as well at our house - the Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes and our famous Christmas Brunch. Needless to say, our kitchen is a tad bit more cramped than usual, our fridges are packed so full we've had to resort to our garage as a makeshift ice-box, and we still have two more major loaves of bread to bake tomorrow morning (recipes forthcoming of course) before people arrive at 5 for dinner!! As if the holiday cooking wasn't enough, I (foolishly, according to my mother) agreed to take an order for 3 white-chocolate cheesecakes (again, recipes forthcoming) that are due at my mom's office in North York tomorrow, as well as managed to bake off a pan of diabetic-friendly, completely invented Lemon-Almond Squares for the SF's birthday, and a tasty-looking birthday loaf cake for my best friend James' (belated, again by 3 months) birthday! I think our oven might just go on strike, if I don't first... I am tiiiirrrrreeeedddd!


So, happy birthday out there to James, Cel (the SF) and everyone else out there celebrating. Enjoy your day, the season, and the rest of your year!


Diabetic Lemon-Almond Squares
Serves 16
2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1/3 cup unbleached flour
1 tbsp ground almonds
4 oz butter, cold
1 tsp almond extract
Several tablespoons of cold water
2 eggs
½ cup Splenda Granular
2 tbsp honey
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 oz butter, melted and cooled
1 ½ tbsp freshly grated lemon rind
¼ cup crumbled amaretti cookies


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Mix flours and almond meal in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Cut butter and shortening into the flour mixture until it is coarse-meal textured.
  4. Stir in almond extract and 2 tablespoons of cold water, adding water gradually to form dough that is pliable but not too sticky.
  5. Press into the bottom of a 9” square pan. Dock crust all over with a fork.
  6. Bake 10 minutes and allow to cool.
  7. Reduce oven to 350F.
  8. Beat eggs, Splenda and honey with electric beaters until creamy.
  9. Beat in lemon juice, butter, and lemon rind.
  10. Pour mixture into baked pastry.
  11. Sprinkle amaretti crumbs over the lemon filling.
  12. Bake 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack and chill thoroughly before serving.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 153.3
Total Fat: 9.4 g
Cholesterol: 45.7 mg
Sodium: 14.5 mg
Total Carbs: 15.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.1 g
Protein: 3.0 g

1 comment :

Bellini Valli said...

I wanted to wish you much health, happiness and contentment over the holiday season. I hope it all that you hope for and more!
Val