Apparently, snack food consumption is down in February, and the "Snack Food Association" is doing something about it! I don't think most people pay attention to these things anyway, but it does have a contrary effect on me. I just want to do the opposite - no snacking! no ready-made junk food! There are so many good things out there to grow, prepare, and enjoy together.
We're pretty good about this as a household, but sometimes the desire to pop a treat into a lunchbox at the last minute or to eat something sweet without going to any more trouble than tearing open a bag overwhelms. Not having it in the pantry in the first place helps a lot.
When the urge strikes, we have to at least pause and consider whether we have the raw ingredients and enough time to fulfill it. We did last night. We had a drawer full of gift lemons (large, Florida-type) that needed juicing and the basic ingredients needed to make old-fashioned lemon bars. These don't have any more nutrients than a box of Oreos or a bag of Cheetos - but they fun to make and a lot tastier. In fact, they truly melt in your mouth...
OLD-FASHIONED LEMON BARS
Short Bread Crust:
1/2 cup sweet butter, room temperature (or grated)
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
a pinch of cinnamon
Grease an 8 inch square pan with butter and line with parchment (a roll of parchment is definitely worth its cost if you bake often).
Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
For the Crust: Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Mix in flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon forming a light dough. Press dough into greased pan and bake for about 15 minutes, should be light brown. Remove from oven and cool in pan.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 Tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
For the Lemon Filling: Mix with a wire whisk the sugar, flour, salt, and eggs until dissolved. Add fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla just until combined. Do not over mix or too much air will affect filling. Pour the filling over the cooled shortbread crust and bake for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the filling is set.
Remove from oven and cool. After cooling at room temperature, refrigerate. To serve, cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar. Chill lemon squares until ready to serve.