Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jezebel Bars

I know this stuff doesn't look particularly pretty, but you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover right?

I'm not in denial. This stuff looks gross. But BELIEVE me, it's WONDERFUL.

So what is it? It's a pan full of Jezebel Bars! Jezebel Bars are a really easy to make a dessert. Basically, it's a shortbread cookie base, with a layer of melted chocolate, some potato chips, and then a layer of salted caramel sauce. A little sweet, a little salty.

I know, potato chips in dessert sounds WRONG but it's not!!! Try it!

I got the recipe from a web article/interview with Reine Bayoc, who co-owns the St. Louis bakery/cafe, SweetArt with her husband Cbabi.  SweetArt is an amazing place, located near the Botanical Gardens, that sells vegetarian and vegan cuisine, plus some of the best desserts ever. I could eat their cupcakes every single day. You should go there.
(SweetArt's website)

(Source: Pinxit Photography)

Anyway,I've only made these bars a few times, but when I have I've been asked for the recipe! So friends, here it is:
Reine Bayoc's Jezebel Bars

The recipe is so great! But here are a few notes about it:
  •  the caramel sauce recipe is a little confusing/incomplete. It doesn't mention how much water to boil with your sugar. You could just take a guess- like I may have done- or you could use the other salted caramel recipe I've shared on the blog from The Cooking Channel's Kelsey Nixon. That recipe is also THE BOMB.
  • I used milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate, just use whatever you prefer
  • She mentions a certain brand of Potato Chips that you can get in the St Louis area, but I didnt want to make the drive just for chips, so I used regular kettle-style chips. I think their crunchiness stands up well to the melted chocolate and caramel sauce. I used some other chips the first time and they weren't as successful.
  • Fleur de sel is a French sea salt (according to Wikipedia). Just use what you have and taste as you go. Table salt or kosher salt will give different result because of their different textures/grain size, but if you go super slow and keep taste-testing, you'll probably be ok.
Sorry to add so many notes! But I have a bad habit of not following recipes very closely, and just switching thngs out for what I have on hand. I hope you try these!!! :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

The New PB&J?

You know how people say things like, "Pink is the new black" ? Black is the classic color, a staple that everyone owns, and the person thinks that pink (or whatever color) is the modern equivalent and an improvement.

Well I think I've found the "new PB&J". Yes, a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich is the classic sandwich that everyone has had, but I think I've found an improvement. Hear me out on this!

 I give you the new PB&J:
The Nutella and Banana Jam sandwich!!!!

This sandwich is DELICIOUS!!!

I got the recipe for banana jam from a website that I was going to put a link to, but my computer says it's unsafe to look at right now. I guess they've been hacked or something! Eek! It's called Neo-Homesteading (enter at your own risk!)

Here's the recipe for an 8oz jar: (I made a few adjustments to the original)
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar 
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons butter (see note)
Plus just a little kosher salt- the original recipe called for sea salt, but I didn't have any! So I made it work!

Basically, you just put all of the ingredients in a saucepan (except the salt) on medium heat.

 Whisk the mixture so that the sugar gets dissolved and the banana gets softened and, eventually, mashed.

 Once everything is all combined and mashed, let it continue to cook and carmelize with minimal stirring for about 8-10minutes. The mixture should turn a nice brown color but never burn.

Add a little salt to taste if you want. Remember to taste test with a cold spoon and with extreme caution. This stuff is HOT!

And that's it! Now you have jam! Enjoy on a sandwich with Nutella! Or I guess some other way would be fine.

Just FYI: don't try to can this jam in the traditional way. Apparently the canning process is not good for bananas, so this is more of a "refrigerator jam". You can probably keep it in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

Thanks for reading! :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Decorating and Embroidering

Well changes are happening between the blue houses, a little at a time.

As you know, I have been working to change up the house recently.Today I have some pictures from our guest bath room. Those that have visited our house before may remember our guest bath room matching the living room- the colors were red and chocolate brown. We really liked it, but I thought it could use an update. So all of the red and brown decor is going to to move to the bathroom connected to our bedroom.

We've only made a few changes to the bathroom so far, but I think what we've done has made a huge impact!

#1. New Shower Curtain- Thanks to a wonderful family member, I got an Urban Outfitters gift card for Christmas and was able to purchase this beauty:

#2. And I just knew it would go perfectly with the painting that used to be in the kitchen. It's from a local artist- Bryan won it for me in an auction! :)

And #3. This Blue Tinted Mason Jar! I received this lovely jar as a birthday gift from some of our dearest friends (it WAS full of Oreos, but I took care of those pretty quickly). I thought it would match the color scheme nicely and be a great place to keep toothbrushes!

I really like the way this room is turning out. I still need a few things though, like matching towels and a new bath mat! But I want to do it as inexpensively as possible! :)

I've also been embroidering a little more lately. I purchased this book:
( Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray)

Here is the first project I've started using her patterns.

I can't wait to do more and hopefully make something out of all of the cute embroidered pictures!

I hope you all are having a fun day and enjoying this strange, nice weather!!! :)
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