Archive for November, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Bars

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Hi everyone! I hope your week is going well. Mine is flying by so quickly! I feel like there are so many things going on, but I love it. It calls for organization and productivity and results in great sleep at night.

Anyway, the other day I had the thought that I should do a Christmas Cookie Recipe Roundup on this blog. I’ll probably post primarily Christmas cookies/desserts for the next month or so. These recipes will be simple but delicious, and very convenient to bake for parties or the actual holidays. Some of the recipes will be family favorites, and others will be new to me. I’m excited and I hope this will be helpful for you as well!

This first recipe was pulled from one of my Hershey’s cookbooks. It has a very similar look to the Double Chocolate Mint Brownie recipe I posted last year (you can find that recipe here).

This dessert was so easy to make. The only thing to remember is to give yourself plenty of time, as each layer needs to chill.

I found this online after I made it, and the instructions were exactly the same. I didn’t change anything, so I’ll send you directly to the recipe, which can be found here:

Note: I used raspberry preserves rather than a liqueur.

If you have any ideas, or any flavors you would like to see on this blog, let me know in the comments below. See you soon with more Christmas desserts!

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Thanksgiving Weekend Recap

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Hi everyone! I hope you had a really great long weekend. I had such an enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend, I thought I would recap it for you:

Wednesday night I saw Breaking Dawn with my sisters. During the trailers they showed the preview for the new Les Miserables movie. This preview has made me cry more than once already, but I was not prepared for the extended version. I suddenly found myself starting to lose control and move to the sobbing stage. I regained my composure and looked over at my sisters….who were both hunched over with tears streaming down their faces. It was so funny! If you haven’t seen the long trailer yet here it is:

Thanksgiving was everything it should be…family time and platefuls of homemade food. That night my sisters, brother, brother-in-law, and a couple friends went Black Friday shopping. It was my first attempt, but I couldn’t say no because our destination was Target.

Target opened at 9pm so we arrived around 6. The line was existent but not too long. The first two hours went by quickly as we played games and chatted, while Target employees handed out snacks and hot coffee. The most interesting part of the experience was the final half hour before 9. We all suddenly realized that the three girls in front of us weren’t there before…we didn’t bother to actually say anything to them, although my brother-in-law Sky mentioned in a carrying voice that the sheriff was checking the line for cutters, and would probably shoot first and ask questions later. The girls looked kind of guilty but not too worried as the sheriff was grey-haired and kindly, and was walking up and down chatting and joking.

Five minutes before things got way more intense though – suddenly an entire crowd started creeping in from the sides, getting ready to jump in line out of turn. People who had been waiting for awhile were yelling at them, but there was really nothing to be done. Once the doors opened it was a flurry of elbows and wild-eyed shoppers on a mission.

It actually was pretty well organized and we had a good time. I was mostly going for the cultural experience and didn’t buy much. Here is a pic as we waited in line – you can see the kindly sheriff in the background.

Friday was relaxing and fun, and Saturday marked my first chai eggnog latte of the season:

In the evening we spent some time at my sister’s house, and watched Bride Wars with their dog flopped among us, enthusiastically puffing his dragon breath on anyone who showed him attention. He sure is cute though!

Today (Sunday) was balanced and restful. Church in the morning, a run at Green Lake (which was beautiful with November sunlight and gusts of wind blowing leaves everywhere), and lots of organizing for the coming week.

I’m grateful for such an ejoyable weekend and for the family and friends who made it that way. I hope yours was equally good – I know that holidays can sometimes be a bit complicated or stressful, but I hope it’s not that way for you. Have a great Monday and see you soon with some baked goods!

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Pumpkin Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving week! I come to you with yet another pumpkin recipe. I promise this is the last one this season!

This recipe is inspired by my mom. One day on a whim she spread both pumpkin butter and peanut butter on french toast. She told me about how delicious it was and suggested I blog about it. I would never have thought of putting those two flavors together, but after giving the combo a try I became a believer. This breakfast dish is one big scrumptious blob of comfort food.

If you can get your hands on some challah bread, I highly recommend it for french toast (I picked mine up at Trader Joe’s).

After the bread is soaked in a pumpkiny custard and cooked in butter, a long slice needs to be cut along the top. This is the pocket for the butters.

After this the process is simple – just slather pumpkin butter and peanut butter inside. If you’re not a fan of the combo, you could just do pumpkin, although I really do think the peanut butter adds a little complexity to the flavor.

I used pumpkin butter from Trader Joe’s, but if you don’t have one nearby I shared a recipe for a home cooked version here.

I hope you can give this a try! It really was delicious. If you have family or friends in town for Thanksgiving, this would be an impressive breakfast to make for them. I hope you have a great holiday weekend!

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Stuffed French Toast

Adapted from Bobby Flay and Kitchen Chronicles

Serves 4

4 slices day old challah, sliced 1 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 3/4 cups whole milk, plus more if needed
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons butter
Approx 4 tablespoons each pumpkin butter and peanut butter (plus more pumpkin butter for the top)
Whipped cream for garnish (sweetened if desired)
Pumpkin pie spice for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place a baking sheet inside the oven.

Add sugar, eggs and salt to a baking dish, and whisk together until smooth. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, milk, cream and vanilla and whisk until combined.

Place two slices of challah bread in the custard. Soak for at least 2 minutes, then turn over and let sit for another two minutes or until soaked through. While bread is soaking, add 3 tablespoons of butter to a griddle or large pan and heat on medium-high until it’s sizzling.

Place bread on griddle and cook each side for about two minutes, or until golden brown. You may want to also cook the edges for a few seconds since the slices are so thick. Place the first two slices in the oven so they stay warm. Wipe the griddle with a paper towel, add more butter, and repeat the process with the last two slices of bread.

Make a long, deep cut into the middle of the bread slices, cutting from the top. Place large dollops of pumpkin butter and peanut butter inside. You can alternate them or slather on top of each other – whatever you like. Spread more pumpkin butter on top of the bread. Serve with whipped cream and pumpkin pie spice sprinkled on top. Enjoy!

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High Five for Friday

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Friday has arrived again! I want to take a moment and just savor where we are – the weekend ahead, a short week including Thanksgiving after that, and then Christmastime!

I thought I would link up with Lauren of From My Grey Desk and write a High Five for Friday post. So here are five things from my life this week:

1. My friend Grace and I both have a weakness for nail polishes. I’m always so tempted to pick up a new shade when I go to Target, but then again I’ve never finished a whole bottle. So Grace had the idea that we lend each other colors. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before!

This is the color I borrowed from her this week: Big Spender by Essie. I really like this berry color for fall.

2. The season for cooking competition shows is here: Top Chef Seattle has started as well as Next Iron Chef! I don’t always like Top Chef because of all the negative drama but I just have to watch the Seattle season.

Next Iron Chef is one of my favorite competition shows – I’m rooting for several of the chefs (especially Alex – she’s so intense and I love it) and I hope Alton Brown keeps hosting everything and anything.

3. I don’t have a gym membership right now, so I’ve been searching for workout options for rainy days. I see a lot of these list workouts on Pinterest and other blogs, and sometimes I like doing those more than watching a dvd. It’s nice to be able to listen to my own workout music.

This week I tried Lauren Conrad’s version, and I liked this one a lot. The exercises were simple (so no need to stop and look up how to do each one) and I was able to use it as a foundation and add in a couple of other exercises. I’ll definitely be doing it again!


photo from

4. I have been loving the Martha Stewart home office products at Staples! Such a beautiful color.

5. In an effort to balance out all the sweets to come during the holidays, as well as just to eat more fruits and vegetables, I’ve been experimenting with some more green juices. I’ve discovered the magic ingredient – lemon juice. It makes a huge difference and adds a bit of brightness.

I know this smoothie basically looks like mud, but I’m finding this to be the best way to get several cups of spinach into my system. It’s interesting that the spinach flavor doesn’t really show up when blended with fruit.

So that’s my week! I’m ready for the weekend – I’ll probably be seeing a movie but not sure which one yet.

What are you up to this weekend? Any fun plans? I hope you have a great one with both fun and rest!

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Jessie's Kitchen Chronicles