Sometimes it seems like it’ll be really easy to get what you want, until you actually try.
When we moved into our new house, we knew that we wanted chairs for a small seating area in our kitchen/family room area. There isn’t a lot of space, so I don’t want anything huge, just a couple armchairs. I wouldn’t complain if they reclined. My only requirement, besides the obvious challenge of something being comfy for both myself and Carl, at more than a foot taller, was that they be blue. I’m not picky about the kind of blue since we haven’t painted yet – anything from light blue to navy to royal blue to sapphire, so long as it isn’t aqua. Pattern or no pattern, doesn’t matter. In fact, I could even be convinced to leave the blue in favour of a good vintage floral or a nice yellow stripe.
Alas, such chairs, my friends, seem not to exist. I’ve found shapes I like, but only that come in terrible, muddy paisleys, or odd abstract graphic patterns or, worst of all, script you can’t even read, where sentences run into seams and thoughts are forever left hanging. I’ve then found fabrics I love, but they only come in tiny wing chairs unsuitable to broad shoulders, or futuristic armless chairs where every move is a gamble.
We’ve established that I am severely out of style, as one furniture salesman kindly informed my frustrated face that companies “just pick what’s popular” to base their fabric selections on. I’ve never been one to be too concerned with popularity, which often leads to more trouble finding what I’m after. I am, however, slightly cheesed when something I’ve loved through lean times, such as flamingos, see a sudden massive surge in popularity and now my long-time love of the wackily stunning pink birds just seems downright trendy. On the bright side, it does lead to easy access to gems like this, which clearly needs to be on my bedroom wall for my amusement.
Being out of touch with trends doesn’t mean changing my plan, it just means patience. There hasn’t been a thing I loved yet that hasn’t eventually caught on for at least 15 minutes of fame. Not to say I’m secretly a trendsetter, but I do know what I want and how it will look good together, and I will bide my time. For now, we stand.
While we’re standing, we might as well bake.
I have been baking astonishingly little lately, as Carl tries to virtually eliminate sugar from his diet and I try to virtually eliminate my children asking me when their next sibling is due. Yeah, no, not joking, it happened twice in one week, folks, and if the other two were more verbal I’m sure they would’ve asked too. I told you I gain weight like a madwoman when I quit breastfeeding…that and I need a new wardrobe NOT made up of things I wore while pregnant that are still stretched in all the wrong places for not being pregnant.
But crumbles are healthy, right? Brown sugar is better, right?
But what is life without brown sugar and oats and butter in all their combined crumbly goodness? No life I want to live, you can rest assured.
And lemon? I wasn’t sure about lemon crumble, but I had one lemon needing a use and I was just really craving oats and butter, so together they went. It was definitely surprising at first, because you don’t know from appearance you’re going to be experiencing lemon flavour. I felt like I had to warn people. WARN THEM IT WAS GOING TO BE DELICIOUS.
Haha. You know me. I wouldn’t be sharing them if they hadn’t won me (and others) over. While they don’t replace apple crumble in my ranking of true (food) loves, I liked them rather lots. And so much more portable than apple crumble, and no need for ice cream! See, that makes them low sugar.
Health food logic, my friends. It’s the real deal.
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1⅓ cups lightly packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup butter or shortening
- 2 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- GLAZE (optional):
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar (aka icing sugar)
- 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice or milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 9x13" pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
- With electric mixer, cream brown sugar and butter until light and creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and juice, and blend until well combined. Stir in flour mixture, then oats and walnuts, if using. Spread evenly in prepared pan (it will be a fairly thin layer - slightly damp hands or the back of a spatula sprayed with cooking spray work well to help with this step).
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and set in the middle.
- Remove from oven and let cool slightly while you make the glaze. Mix confectioners' sugar with enough of either lemon juice or milk to achieve desired consistency (don't mix lemon juice and milk, or they may curdle - if you don't have quite enough lemon juice, supplement it with water). Drizzle randomly over warm bars and let cool completely before cutting.
- Store at cool room temperature or in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 7 days.
Adapted from The 250 Best Brownies, Bars and Squares by Esther Brody.