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!!! :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Home Economics

I'm currently reading this book on home economics. Well I guess I can't say that I'm reading it, because it's not something that you really read from cover to cover. It's more like all of these amazing sections on things like entertaining, cooking, canning, gardening, etiquette and a million other things.

I wanted to share a page with you that I really thought was great:

(Source: Home Economics compiled by Jennifer McKnight Trontz)

That is what I want our home to feel like. Like a reflection of who we are and not at all similar to anyone else's home. And not because I'm a snob that wants all of my own things- but because I think EVERYONE'S homes should feel this way.

I am so thankful that God has blessed us with this place to live and to share with others.

Which reminds me-I'm planning on having a super cute tea party at our house SOON! I just need to decide on the perfect day. So ladies get ready and let me know if you're interested in attending! :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First Things First....

In my last post, I mentioned that I was going to start working on the house again. Unfortunately, cleaning and organization come before decorating.


But you know what makes organizing more fun?? Storage cubes! I've been wanting these for a long time to organize all of my craft stuff. Thanks to some wonderful family, I received some Target gift cards for Christmas and my birthday, and I was able to get one!

It took a little while to assemble, but it was fun because Bryan and I (and Ollie) did it together.

Fast forward to the next day.... And I had it FILLED.

It is packed with books, paintbrushes, crayons, yarn, fabric, candle wax, and LOTS of other things.

Now, you may be thinking:

"Great job, Corinna! You finally cleaned out the spare bedroom/craft room and you're all done!"


Or maybe you're thinking:

"Wow Corinna- it's so great that you found some storage for ALL of your craft stuff!"

Also, FALSE.
We are actually considering getting a 2nd unit to store the rest! YOWZA.

It feels SO good to be making progress, but there is so much more to do! But I love changing up stuff in the house. Sometimes thoughts of organization and decorating keep me up at night. Literally.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The New Year!

Well happy New Year (a few days late)!!! I hope you had some fun times with family and friends through out all of the holidays and that the New Year has started out well for you.

I really enjoyed Christmas AND New Year's, but I celebrated something else on New Year's Day- my 24th birthday! So it's been a fun couple of weeks for us (minus the few days directly after Christmas when I got really sick and felt  crappy almost the entire time that Bryan was off work- LAME.)

Anyway, I've been thinking lately about what direction I want this blog to take and I have a plan- at least for the next few weeks. If you look back at some of my very first blog posts, I was doing a lot of work on the house last year. But somewhere along the line I stopped, for whatever reasons.

But now I am ready to get back on it! It's going to involve lots of work: boring de-cluttering and hopefully lots of not-boring designing. I definitely have lots of work to do! But I still want this house to look like a reflection of who we are, and feel like home to anyone who walks in. We made some good strides last year, but I'm ready to do more! Let's do this thing!
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