The Ultimate Combo

SUNSCREEN CHALLENGE!! All weekend I protected my skin with SPF and even went hat hunting…with no success; the cute ones are always really expensive and the cheap ones just look silly.

Good morning folks and welcome back to Monday. Sometimes I cringe just saying that word but this morning I’m fairly optimistic that this will be a good day and week! I had a fabulous weekend and in just 5 more days…we will all have another. Positivity!!

WEEKEND RECAP: Friday night the hubby and I had a “date.” We went to an Irish pub called the Claddagh Irish Pub and ate some yummy food. I ordered a veggie burger that was SO gigantic it literally seeped over the side of the bun by 2 inches all around.  What did I do?? I took the bottom half of the unbuttered side and a third of the burger, making my own littler version (is littler a word?).

This was after I took apart some of the burger; Brandon ate 1/3 of it, along with his unneccessarily large 1/2 lb steak burger (he demolished the WHOLE thing!)

My waitress was looking at me funny but this is what I concocted; 1/3 of the patty + bottom burger bun split in half = reasonable portion!

When we finally got home… I baked. I have decided that baking is the perfect way to wind down from a busy work week. I love getting lost in a recipe, meticulously measuring out ingredients, and testing out what I’ve created. I don’t even mind the clean up! It’s all very therapeutic!

When I first started this blog, I had glorious images of myself  whipping up healthy baked goods with the greatest of ease, using recipes that I magically recreated into a healthier version. REALITY CHECK!

 What I have LEARNED since; baking is ridiculously difficult when altering recipes into healthier versions. Then you have to get them to taste “delicious?” Forget it.

 As it turns out, most of  the healthier baked good recipes I think up in my head leave me SO turned off after I’m done that I usually end up pitching them and making brownies ha. Call me crazy but butter is the ingredient that makes dessert worth eating…it just IS!! I would much rather have a teeny slice of a full fat dessert, then eat cookies that look, taste, and FEEL like rubber. Although I have had SOME successes with fruit based desserts (apple crisps, carrot cake, etc), most things are just better without the substitutions. Strictly speaking in terms of baked goods!!

 Now that I have given that spiel, I present Peanut Butter and Jam Bars. They contain 2 FULL sticks of butter. Believe me, it’s not easy to justify using this much butter…that’s why I halved the recipe. :)

I found these bars last week on the blog Every Last Cookie. Her pictures are something worth drooling over and once I finally got to sink my teeth into a bar, they tasted exactly like a PB and J! They were not super “desserty,” so I did what any rational person would do: I added a glob of Nutella to finish off this masterpiece.

Quite the delicate crumb

My ultimate combo is chocolate and peanut butter. What is yours!!???

I finished up with some DELICIOUS organic strawberries! (That can't be as bad as people who order a large Big Mac Meal and follow it up with a diet coke?? Can it!??)

Hope you enjoy your Monday and dream about how fantastic these will be once you make them!! I’m addicted!!

Peanut Butter and Jam Bars by Every Last Cookie

  • 2 sticks of butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups creamy natural peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups jam (I used organic strawberry jam from The Fresh Market)
  • 2/3 cup salt peanuts, roughly chopped (I used 1/4 cup natural walnuts)
  • Add nutella per piece if you dare :)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9 x 13″ pan. Then line the pan with parchment paper and either grease the parchment or spray with cooking spray, then dust the bottom with flour.

Beat together butter and sugar until fluffy (~2 minutes) and then add in the eggs and peanut butter, beating until combined (~2 minutes). If you are using natural peanut butter, I suggest letting it sit out for awhile until it gets to room temperature. It’s much easier to mix.

Whisk salt, baking powder, and flour together and slowly add to the peanut butter mixture until combined. Stir in the vanilla and transfer 2/3 of the mixture to the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Spread the jam on top and dollop the remaining 1/3 of the peanut butter mixture on top. Sprinkle with nuts and bake for 45 minutes.

Makes 3 dozen bars.

I would love to try a lower fat/calorie version of these bars. Any good bakers out there up to the challenge?? I would try but baking isn’t exactly my best skill.

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