On Writing, eBaying, and Baking Cookies

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Sometimes I wish time would just sit down and take a rest once in a while. Even with all the time I have on my hands, I barely have time to attend to all the things I want to do on any given day. This month my biggest time gobbler is my NaNoWriMo project, but in truth it’s mostly taking up head space rather than actual time. I can sit there for two hour tops and bang out two thousand words with a minimum of effort, but the story is there in the back of my mind all the time. Thinking about these characters I’ve made up and wondering what they want out of life and where they’re going to next is quite an exercise when I can barely figure out what I’m going to be doing with my own life from one day to the next. Apparently, many writers enjoy playing God to their characters. According to every good writer I’ve taken advice from, I’m supposed to torture my characters and put them through hell, but mostly I don’t have the heart to make them suffer like that. So I’ve decided that everybody in my story has secrets so terrible that they hold on to them until they inevitably explode—or implode, depending on their temperaments—and only they can tell me when they’re ready for that to happen. I don’t know if that makes me a good or a bad writer, but I do know it helps to spread the responsibility around a little bit. Not for me playing God. How does he handle all that crushing responsibility?

These days I’ve had to make a choice between blogging or… novelling. And then there’s been that other thing which is “should I be blogging, novelling or… eBaying.” My stupid spell-check doesn’t want me to write the words ‘novelling’ and much less ‘eBaying’, but that’s just too bad, because when you’re as consumed by activities as I tend to be, you’re not just “writing an novel” or “selling on eBay” no. You become novel writing and your whole world starts to look like the inside of the eBay interface. I’d been wanting to sell on eBay for years, and there was always something keeping me from doing it. Mostly I thought it seemed too complicated, but when I finally figured out that there are loads of complete morons selling on eBay too, I decided why shouldn’t I join them? So my place right now looks like I’m the process of moving. There are boxes of every size with just one item in them just piling up everywhere, and all we’re waiting on is for bidders to do their thing so that I can put my old crap through the mail and make new room for all the new crap I keep bringing home. It’s a good system. Makes sense to me. Now I’m looking at everything in my place as a potential eBay sales item. Even my lovely Mimi who’s just now wrapped herself up in a leopard-print blanket with just her black tail sticking out. I think: “no how could I preserve this moment so I can write up a listing and sell it to the highest bidder?”. “Cat in a blanket for sale”. That’s kind of catchy, isn’t it? I doubt I’ll be making much money out of the whole eBay thing because they really kill you with all the necessary extras that end up costing an arm and a leg all in hopes that one more gadget is going to get more people to notice your stuff. It did occur to me that eBay could possibly help turn me into the next Mrs Fields with my yummy, crumbly, lemony oatmeal cookies, but I’d have to check first if they’ll put food on the bidding block. Which brings me to…

The recipe! Now obviously if I share the recipe, my cookie empire dream will crumble before it ever gets a chance to get started, but I’m not too worried, because the fact is I haven’t perfected the recipe yet. Which is why it’s taken me all this time to finally share it with you. As it is, this recipe is basically glorified apple crumble topping, and as we all know, apple crumble is… crumbly. Which is part of what makes this recipe appealing to me because I happen to like cookie crumbs, though I realize this aspect of these cookies will probably doom them to only a limited commercial success. I’ve gained many pounds, all in the name of concocting the perfect oatmeal cookie, and though I’m not quite there yet and there are more sample batches to devour, I’ll share my findings so far.

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Delicious “Country Style” Crumbly Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup oats (slow cooking is best but quick is ok too)
1 1/4 cup unbleached flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons freshly ground flax seeds
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
chopped lemon rind from a whole lemon
3/4 cup butter cut into small cubes (room temperature)

Warm oven to 375º. Combine and mix all dry ingredients including lemon rind until well blended. Add the butter and work the mixture into a dough. The dough should have a crumbly consistency, but should hold it’s shape when you form and handful of it into a ball. If it doesn’t hold, add a little bit of butter. On a large greased cookie sheet, form balls of dough and then press them down into thinner circular shapes. Bake for 10-15 minutes. The cookies are ready when the edges start to brown slightly.

A note about substituting ingredients: of course you can substitute whatever you want, but you won’t be making the same cookies! That being said, if you use bleached flower and want to skip the flax seeds and wheat germ (which add texture and nutrition) make sure to use a total of 1 1/2 cup flour. I do feel strongly about substituting butter—which there is plenty of in this recipe—because nothing else makes baked goods taste so heavenly, but if must, use margarine, but NEVER shortening! If you want to use less butter, which is a binding ingredient in this recipe, you’ll have to add one to two eggs. This will make the mixture very sticky and you will have to use plenty of flour to roll the dough down and use cookie cutters since it’ll be too sticky to manipulate with your hands. This makes for less crumbles and a neater-looking cookie, but I like them crumbly and messy.

Let me know how it goes!

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