When life hands you lemons

Flaskback to October of 1997 and picture yourself sitting in front of your family’s oversized, non-flat screen TV eating some unhealthy snack from the 90s. You’re watching Nickelodeon and you hear a quick beat of a drum followed by that familiar keyboard riff, “Bum bum bum bum bum bum bum” and so on. As you watch the introduction, you feel happy knowing that you are about to watch your favorite characters battle another day in the life of a baby. That’s right, folks. We just flashed back to a viewing of Rugrats.

I am a huge fan of the show. First of all, the kids are freaking adorable. Second, the show celebrates diversity. There are babies of all races, non-traditional families, and some pretty controversial topics (including, but not limited to, beauty contests, robots, potty training, old people dating, Hanukkah, the circus, the sky falling, and kilts). The characters are fantastic. I relate most to Chuckie in that I am sick more often than not, I am clumsy, and my best friend is a bald baby. Wait. Whatever, let’s move on.

Rugrats entertained audiences of all ages (but basically 12 and under) for 13 years. Each of the 172 episodes was 23 minutes of pure gold. Of all the lessons I carry with me from that show, there is one that trumps all others. It was on October 4, 1997 that I learned the value of lemon juice. In an episode titled “Angelica’s Last Stand,” all of the babies are forced into child labor so that big, bad Angelica can make a giant profit off cups of “lemilade” that she sells for a dime. Though I learned a lot about labor laws, I mostly learned about how awesome lemons are.

Though I didn’t apply this great wisdom until recently, I am grateful to Rugrats for introducing me to the greatness of lemons before any other show or being. Lemons can be used for an outrageous amount of things. Just to name a few:

  1. Cooking
  2. Baking
  3. Videotaping babies eating them 
  4. Household cleaning
  5. Preserving
  6. Scents
  7. Getting rid of weeds
  8. Curing body odor
  9. Removing armpit stains

If you need more proof, please Google “uses for lemons” and keep a notebook handy. Some things will astound you.

Lemons provide the ultimate “bang-for-your-buck.” Keeping a few lemons (or even a bottle of store-bought lemon juice) in your refrigerator can save you from so many unsustainable choices (i.e. buying extra stuff you don’t really need if you have lemons). Once I realized this I went batshit crazy with lemons and lemon juice. Here are some ways I have started to use lemons almost every day:

  • Cleaning: Lemons are an amazing way to clean household and everyday objects like cutting boards and tshirts. Cleaning cutting boards with lemons is something I picked up from my family, but it really works. And lemons really get the job done with tricky armpit stains on tshirts.
  • Cooking: I provide snacks for my guests no matter what. I feel like if I am not feeding people I am not doing my job as a Jewish woman. After I started to keep lemon juice in my refrigerator, I found some amazing go-to recipes to keep my guests satisfied. My favorite two are these incredible Lemon Sugar Cookies and the most delightful Herb and Yogurt Dipping Sauce. Both recipes are explained below.
  • Smelling: You cannot beat the smell of fresh lemons. For a while I was keeping slices of lemons in my refrigerator (instead of actually cleaning it) to make everything smell more fresh. I also placed a lemon in my sink to help with the nasty smell coming from the drain.

I just know I will find more amazing uses for lemons and lemon juice. Until then, I will be happy to share the few that have made my life easier and search for more uses too.


Lemon Sugar Cookies

½ cups butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 whole egg
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoons baking powder
⅛ teaspoons baking soda
1-½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease light colored baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar. Whip in vanilla, egg, and juice. Stir in all dry ingredients (expect powdered sugar) slowly until well-combined. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a small tablespoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 12 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte (not melty or shiny).

*I love to add white chocolate chips to the dough to add a little more sweetness!

Herb and Yogurt Dipping Sauce


Fat free yogurt (individual serving)

1 teaspoon fresh dill or basil

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Lemon juice


Chop up dill or basil into tiny pieces. Combine all ingredients in a small serving bowl. Serve with pretzels or vegetables.


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