Archive for September, 2012

Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Bars and Life of Pi

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Hi everyone!

Today I have two different items on the agenda. They don’t really relate to each other, but neither one quite warranted its own blog post, so I thought I’d combine them.

Firstly – these Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Bars. This is absolutely an A+ recipe. The only reason I didn’t dedicate a whole post to rhapsodizing about them is because they are simple, and the photos are as well. However, just know that the simplicity does not detract from the flavor – in fact it’s part of what makes them so scrumptious.

Essentially, peanut butter is used instead of marshmallows and the result is just a bit tastier, denser and more addictive than regular rice crispy treats. Recipe at the bottom of the post!

The second item on today’s agenda is…Life of Pi.

This book…….sigh. The only reason I couldn’t dedicate a whole post to it is because there is very little I can say about it without giving away the ending, which is something you really should discover on your own.

I always knew the ending was kind of surprising, by the way those who have read this book nodded at each other significantly, keeping their comments vague and mysterious. Actually, that’s one of the main reasons I read it – I do enjoy a good plot twist.

I was talking to my sister about it when I was about 2/3 through, and even then I couldn’t summarize what the book was about. Religion, wild animals, and a survival story were clearly primary subjects, but I knew there was a main point that wasn’t clear to me just yet. However, after the end, and not until the very end, did everything come together.

I actually am a bit troubled by this book, and in some ways I like what the author was saying, but in others I don’t agree with him at all. Unfortunately I have to be really vague because I just don’t want to give anything away!

Am I glad I read it? Uhh..I think. I’m just still dealing with it.

However, I AM excited about the movie – it looks really beautiful. I’ve included the preview below, and the recipe is below that. Have a great night!

Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Bars

Makes 16 bars

Slightly adapted from The Seattle Times

1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups salted creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 or 4 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal (either amount works – it just depends if you want the bars more melt-in-your-mouth or more crispy)

Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

In a large saucepan, heat corn syrup and sugars over medium heat until boiling. Remove from heat, and stir in peanut butter until melted.

Quickly add in vanilla extract and cereal. Add mixture to pan. Let cool, and cut into squares.

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Raisin Sour Cream Bars

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week!

Mine was great. I’ve been taking advantage of all this sunshine we’re still experiencing, and running a lot at Green Lake. This picture was from earlier in the summer, but it gives you an idea of why I keep going back.

I also tried some different sweet treats around the area, including this Guava Pocket from the French Bakery in Bellevue.

I had some time to bake as well. I was definitely feeling drawn to something easy. I love when you look through an ingredient list and realize there’s no need to go to the store. These Raisin Sour Cream Bars were perfect for that kind of day.

This recipe was clipped from the newspaper several years ago by my mom, so I’m not sure of the original source or which paper it was. It’s so good though – the raisin cooked together with the sour cream results in a rich custard that is heavenly between the oatmeal layers.

I absolutely recommend that you give it a try this weekend!

Raisin Sour Cream Bars

2 cups raisins
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 3/4 cups flour
1 3/4 cups quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a saucepan, cook the raisins in a small amount of water over medium heat. Once the raisins are cooked and plumped a bit, remove saucepan from heat. Cool for at least 10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, using a pastry blender, mix together the brown sugar, butter, flour, oats, and baking soda.

Spread half the mixture in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan; bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes.

In a saucepan, mix together the egg yolks, sour cream, sugar and cornstarch and cook over medium heat until thick. Drain the raisins of any excess water, and add to the mixture along with the vanilla.

Pour raisin mixture on top of the baked crust. Spread with the remaining oatmeal topping and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. When cool, cut into bars. Keep refrigerated.

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Simple Back to School Outfit

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

This post is part of a new series of posts, featuring the unique styles and tips from different people in my life. The first installment was Grace’s Late Summer Maxi Dress.

This second post features none other than my little sister Halley! Halley is currently going to school at University of Washington.

It’s hard work to be in school, and sometimes you just can’t be bothered to take an extended amount of time beautifying yourself. Halley’s outfit in this post is stylish and striking, but also simple. It can be put together quickly so you make it to that 8am class!

These photos were taken in and around the Seattle Central Library.

Sidenote: Halley hasn’t started school yet, but I realize we’re a bit late for many others heading back. We hope these tips will still help you out, as of course you want to look great throughout the year!

Please enjoy Halley’s 3 tips for simple back to school outfits.

Tip #1: Choose statement pieces, like an oversized sweater or a striking hat. These require little time, but still result in a creative outfit. (Note: Remember to keep balance. If your sweater is oversized, keep your jeans skinny.)

Tip #2: Go vintage! Explore thrift stores for pieces that are unique and affordable. Example: This satchel is from the ’70s, and is actually our dad’s old work bag.

Tip #3: Prepare the night before, as much as possible. Lay out your outfit, then wash your hair and go for beachy waves.

Thanks so much for reading!

Sweater purchased at H&M
Skinny jeans from Love Culture
Satchel – old
Hat purchased at local Korean supermarket
Boots – purchased at Nordstrom
Nails are Sephora by O.P.I. in the color And a Cherry on Top

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Baked Apples a la Mode

Monday, September 10th, 2012

As I write this, it feels like fall has arrived. The wind has ushered in some blustery clouds, the treetops are swaying, and the air smells like rain. It’s refreshing actually, and not at all disheartening since the weather forecast promises more sunshine this week.

I’m finally feeling ready for fall. I think I was ready the moment I experienced the burst of autumn flavors contained in these baked apples.

I’d actually never had baked apples before this, but I can now say I absolutely love them! Especially when they are stuffed and topped with ingredients that come together to form one big buttery, nutty, creamy mass.

When selecting your apples, be sure and choose ones that are marked as good for cooking. I used Fuji.

Don’t be afraid to be generous with the filling – next time I will add even more than what you see in the photo above.

My favorite part of this dessert was the syrupy, fragrant filling after the apples were baked – a result of the brown sugar marrying with the juice from the apples.

My second favorite part was the ice cream flavor I chose – caramel butter pecan. It fit so well with the other ingredients.

My third favorite part of this recipe was its simplicity. I will definitely be making these again in the near future – I hope you can give them a try too!

Baked Apples a la Mode

Adapted from Rachael Ray and Oooey Gooey Goodness

Makes 4 apples

4 Fuji apples (or any apple that’s good for baking)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup instant oatmeal mix or rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Approx 1 pint ice cream, flavor of your choice (vanilla, dulce de leche, caramel swirl, etc. I used caramel butter pecan ice cream by Tillamook which was PERFECT)
Whipped cream
Caramel topping

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Core apples. Scoop out a little extra if you want the apples to resemble a bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice.

Mix together the next 6 ingredients. Stuff apples until they are overflowing. Place in a baking-safe dish and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until apples are tender.

Place apples on a plate or in a bowl. Top with ice cream, whipped cream and caramel sauce. Enjoy!

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Jessie's Kitchen Chronicles