April 01, 2008

Lisa: Do this, don't do that--can't you read the sign?

Quite a prodigious collection of passive agressive notes for one 8'x10' break room, don't you think?

This one reads: "If you make a mess on the table, sink, or in the frig or microwave, Please use these wipes and clean up after yourself immediately. Thank you. [smiling sun]"

I especially like the escalating comment penciled in on the bottom corner here: "I didn't know water made a mess! [signed,] Deeply offended Jean"

These two should be viewed as a set--the sign asking people not to leave coats at the table, and a sweater left at the table. The sweater's owner has been flaunting her disregard for that sign for weeks. Well, days.

Let's round out the set with a sign-up sheet for cleaning (only 7 of our 20 employees took the bait on that one), a "helpful" warning that personal belongings deemed objectionable will be thrown away by an anonymous judge, and a notice of paper towel machine changes (I don't even know).

April 02, 2008

Sarah: Things you might not know and perhaps still wish you didn't.

A few things the internet may not already know about me:
1. I usually misspell "magic" on my first try. It's a small, common, simply-spelled word, and yet I almost always use a "j" on my first try. Embarrassing, I know. I'm getting better.
2. I agonize over social blunders for years after the fact. I was once extremely obnoxious and refused to leave the band room (yes, and geeky. I also had braces that year.) after school when I was in the 7th grade. The 9th grade boy in charge of making everyone leave was understandably annoyed. I think his name was Carson. I've been feeling guilty and stupid about it ever since.
3. I have scoliosis. It's a very minor case and no one but my mom has ever noticed it without having it pointed out to them, but I think about my curved spine several times each day. I think I was one of few girls more freaked out by the back brace in Deenie than by the pink plastic belts described in Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret.

A few conversations this week:
1. Over 27 minutes on the phone, after hours, with a work contact, wherein she related a detailed history of the back pain she has felt since her car accident, the related visits she has made to various doctors and chiropractors, and the suits she intends to file. She also said "boob" five times. I was not ready for this call.
2. Sarah: I just took a dress that Nora spit up on to the dry cleaner. And then realized that the spot I pointed out probably looked like semen. Classy.
Mallory: Ha! You skank!
Sarah: As soon as he wrote 'soiled' on my ticket, I felt so cheap.

April 04, 2008

Lisa: five years

I can hardly believe it's been five years since we started this thing. I don't think we've really reached my initial goal of "being awesome just like Defective Yeti," but it's been fun and, you know, full of self-discovery (or at least self-indulgence).

How else does a terrible scrapbooker document her travels to the exotic locales of California (Several times, I guess. Hee.), Massachussets, Maryland, Illinois, Southern Utah, Scotland, and England?

Where in real life would I find someone willing to hear about me learning to knit or starting to cook? Suddenly caring about politics?

And you know I would have forgotten exactly when and how I did some of the stuff on my 29x29 list, like buying a house, going to grad school, starting my career (where I meet such interesting people), finishing a marathon, and having a baby.

Five years of Two Loose Teeth means a few entries I read again and smile. I'm glad there is published proof of Scrabble pee, my feelings on personal grooming, an attempt at instant messaging without a keyboard, Thanksgiving panties, humiliation at the car dealership, waxing philosophical about books and religion, feeling a mom's love for the first time, or just sharing the good times and the not so good.

Most of all, it means five years of blogging with the best pal a gal could have. Thank you, Sarah, for being my same-brain-sister and my best friend, even though I was totally mean to you twenty years ago. Here's to the next five.

April 05, 2008

Lisa: Marathon Stats

All this looking back reminded me that I intended to collect all the numerical data from our marathon entries, put it into Excel, and generate some kind of graphical representation. Because I'm a nerd and I like stuff like that.

Anyway, here it is at long last:

For each data series, you can see a line linking the actual data points (the jagged line) and a smooth line indicating the overal trend of the series. In general, as we added more distance, our spead decreased. We might have gotten in better shape, but that improvement was obviously directed toward distance, not speed. My weight stayed pretty much the same over six months of training, but my body fat percentage did exhibit a small downward trend. Now you know.

April 07, 2008

Sarah: 2008 Cooking Adventure, Week 14

Despite my slow kitchen-to-blog turnaround time, I've still been cooking at least once a week, most of those times thanks to Lisa's willingness to hang out with me. More thanks go out to our Freaks and Geeks buddies who indulge us by tasting whatever items we decide to make. By the way, you should purchase/watch/rewatch Freaks and Geeks if you haven't already. Every episode is hilarious and heartbreaking and awesome.
And so, without further ado, the cooking:
We decided that beans and rice would be a great side dish to accompany E's tasty enchiladas. We trolled Epicurious looking for a recipe (I wish you could see the look on Lisa's face when I confidently said something like "All we have to do is just cook some rice and then mix in some salsa and maybe some spices. Tasty Mexican rice." Terror mixed with a sudden loss of appetite. And looking back, I have to agree with Lisa. Why am I so confident in recipe improvisation when I am petrified with indecision in most other areas of my life?) and decided that Yellow Rice Salad with Roasted Peppers and Spicy Black Beans described exactly what we wanted.

In addition to being overconfident when cooking, I also almost invariably fail to read the recipe all the way through before cooking. This is why I didn't understand the significance of the word "salad" in that recipe. "Salad" means cold. My brain had decided this dish was hot. That, combined with the lack of Mexican flavor (they have a more eastern flair) made these beans and rice much different than I'd planned, but it was all still fairly tasty. If I made this again, I would add different spices than cumin and turmeric (maybe chili powder to give it the Mexican flavor I was missing?) and serve this warm. Or you can enjoy it cold, especially now that I've given you ample warning on what to expect.
Recipe after the jump.

Yellow Rice Salad with Roasted Peppers and Spicy Black Beans

4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups water
1 cup rice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

1 15.5 ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained (oops, I just realized that I dumped the beans and their associated liquid straight from the can into the mixing bowl. You can too! Fun!)
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers from jar
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons minced chipotle chilies*

Stir 3 teaspoons cumin in small dry skillet over medium heat just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Whisk lime juice and oil into skillet.
Stir turmeric and remaining cumin in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups water, rice and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and cover; simmer until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Cool rice. Mix onions and half of lime juice mixture into rice. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine black beans, all peppers, cilantro, chipotle chilies, and remaining lime juice mixture in medium bowl. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Mound bean mixture in center of platter. Surround with rice salad.

*Chipotle chilies canned in a spicy tomato sauce, called adobo and found in the Mexican food aisle at the grocery store.

Sarah: 2008 Cooking Adventure, Week 15

Lisa and I were in charge of dessert for a potluck, so we thought we'd try something out of the Everyday Food book that Lisa was liking. When we got down to deciding between two options, we decided on Carrot Cupcakes, since we weren't quite ready (with good reason) to face a lemon dessert yet.

Everyone has some gut feeling about what should or should not be in carrot cake. I believe strongly that raisins have no place in this delicious concoction. And you, pineapple! I love you, but once you've been cubed and heated, get off of my pizza and out of my cake! I do not want those shrunken orbs or bizarrely hot squares anywhere near my carrot cake. For Lisa, she has taken an anti-coconut stance, and I have to respect that. We searched again for a recipe void of these three ingredients. The internet embrace us in spite of our eccentricities (what is the internet for, if not for that purpose?) and delivered to us this recipe.
We set to work on the carrot cupcakes, deciding to still use the icing recipe from Everyday Foods.

Carrot cupcakes have never been prettier, you guys. They came out of the oven looking perfectly rounded and moist. The icing was just the right amount for 12 cupcakes (and I'm so glad I found a cupcake more worthy of cream cheese icing than I had in the past). Once it came time to eat the cupcakes they were good. Definitely inoffensive, but also a little boring. When did Princess Sunken Cupcake get so picky? Shouldn't she be happy with whatever non-disaster she can get? Apparently not.

The moistness was nice, and, like I said, they were very pretty and easy to make. But there was also nothing gripping, nothing remarkable. Lisa mentioned that she prefers a darker carrot cake. I think that walnuts and more spices would go a long way towards upping the interest. Still, I would make these cupcakes again if I needed something fast and, since they're missing any wacky ingredients, they're sure not to alienate someone with strong carrot cake beliefs, like myself.
Recipe after the jump.

Carrot Cupcakes

4 medium carrots
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line muffin cups with paper liners.
Coarsely grate enough carrots to measure 2 cups (we used the food processor, but you could also use a grater with large holes.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a bowl.

Whisk together oil, eggs, brown sugar, grated carrots, and vanilla in a large bowl, then stir in flour mixture until just combined.

Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted into center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on rack, about 1 hour more.

Cream Cheese Icing

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, whisk the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Sarah: Procrastinating

Since getting off work, I have:
-washed dishes
-cleaned the stove top
-played with Nora
-spent some time on the elliptical machine
-taken a shower
-researched ticket prices for Wicked in London
-written two blogs (three counting this one)
-pushed back my cuticles

Can you tell that I have an essay due in class tomorrow?

April 10, 2008

Lisa: they put the "bling" in sibling

Some of my innate awesomeness obviously rubbed off on my brothers and sister, because...

David is trying to decide between the architecture programs at Columbia and Virginia Tech (assuming his dance career doesn't work out), and I couldn't be more excited that he and Angie just got engaged.

Sarah (as you know) is on her way to Europe for a study abroad program, and will graduate from the U with a major in Being Completely Awesome next fall.

Jeffrey is serving selflessly in the slums of New Jersey for one more year, and then will return to his school for slightly socially awkward geniuses.

I'm so proud of you guys! I could just sit on you and poke you in the ribs all day.

(Happy Sibling Day, everybody!)

April 11, 2008

Sarah: Things that make me

Shoulders of people that have been cropped out of pictures.
Feist's performance in Amsterdam being sold out.
Accidentally dumping 1/4 of a pineapple onto the gravel when I get out of my car at the office.
The woman in my class who talks over everyone, breathlessly drowning out fellow students and the professor (!) so that she can loudly give her pedestrian interpretation of the text.
The guy in another class who says the most offensive remarks possible in my Children's Literature class, most recently during a discussion of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. To explain would bore you, but I may have uttered "Oh my gosh, STOP TALKING." under my breath. Two classmates heard me. Oops. At least they nodded in agreement and laughed?
At long last, Ben Folds is returning to Utah. I will be there. So will Ben Lee. You should come!
Eventually someone is going to notice that I spend the majority of one of my classes gazing at the back of a certain young man's head. It's a sickness.
Flo Rida's reign of terror.

April 14, 2008

Sarah: 2008 Cooking Adventure, Week 16

To fully embrace this recipe, one should:
- Hear one's sister exclaim "Wow. Nice, plump breasts!" to you. Unfortunately, she was talking about the chicken.
- Set off the fire alarm. When the baby is a teensy bit fussy. Because, that's considerate.
- Once again serve an untried recipe to one's friends. I wonder if they live in fear of what I'll serve to them next. At least so far no one has complained of food sickness...
- Take zero pictures. Oops.

Over five months ago, Jeremy invited me to a recipe exchange and shared his beloved Sweet and Sour Chicken. Then, when I embarked upon my weekly cooking goal, he again encouraged me to try his recipe. Finally, I got around trying it out. Thanks, Jeremy! The tasty recipe (which Jeremy recommends you try cold when eating the leftovers. It'll change your life.) is not too difficult and makes a ton of food.
Recipe after the jump.

Sweet and Sour Chicken (Not the chinese type)

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut up into strips or chunks
(we fed 6 adults, with at least one or two extra servings, with five breasts)

In container one: beaten eggs (I think I only used two eggs total)
In container two: a mixture of half flour and half cornstarch (Maybe 1/2 cup each?) Dip the strips in the egg then the flour mixture and brown in a pan with canola oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the pan) until just browned, not cooked through. Drain on paper towels. In another bowl mix:

3/4 c ketchup
1 c sugar
1/3 c soy sauce
1/2 c chicken stock

You can adjust these amounts to taste, and Jeremy recommends that you double the sauce, so that you have plenty. Don't be freaked out. I was a little worried that 2 cups of sugar for a sauce would be freaky, but it was tasty.

Combine sauce with cooked chicken and bake in a casserole dish for 45-55 mins on 350°. Serve over rice.

April 16, 2008

Sarah: Resplendent Responses

A conversation between Blake and his friend, centered around Plato (I think) takes a delightfully nerdy turn:
Blake: ... well one theory is that the universe is converging on another universe.
Friend: What's the Star Trek theory?
B: There are only four galaxies in Star Trek.*
F: Wait, but...
B: Alpha Quadrant, Beta Quadrant, Gamma Quadrant, Delta Quadrant

My response to Mallory's question was alarmingly quick:
Mallory: If you were to make a funny music video, what song would you base it on?
Sarah: Baby, When the Lights Go Out by the very underappreciated band 5ive. Or was it overrated? I can never remember.

*Note to Blake: I hope we are planning to go to this. I'm a fool for J.J. Abrams

Edited to add: I may have just spent the last several minutes contemplating whether 5ive really worked as a word, since you aren't really pronouncing it "Five-ive" but accepting the implied use of the number 5 as an "F" sound. Then I imagined forming a four-person tough girl band called 4ce, because the pronunciation would clearer, though the spelling would be at least, if not more, contrived. Stop looking at me like that. I'm going home.

April 21, 2008

Sarah: The Hids

The ugliest shoes I have seen, to date: Gladiator Jelly Sandals. Seriously.

I challenge all of you guys to find a clothing or shoe abomination even more tragic than the one linked above. I will bring back a prize from Europe to whomever out-uglies those shoes. Good luck and godspeed.

April 25, 2008

Lisa: Sorry, Mom.

I thought I'd kick off Handwritten Fridays with a few truly useless but laboriously handwritten items that have (against all reason) survived for THIRTEEN YEARS since their creation.

You see, kids, in the dark days before text messaging, public school students annoyed their teachers by passing long, detailed notes to each other, expounding upon the controversial topics of parental injustice, how close they were to failing Bio, and the heartbreak of unrequited love.

If that student of yesteryear were lucky enough, the object of her unreturned affections might pass her a sweet, encouraging note like this:

(Yes, since you ask, I had a crush on him for five years. Can't you see why?)

Sarah: Why I Don't Scrapbook

My contribution to Handwritten Fridays was going to be something hilarious yet charming, scrawled in the most effortlessly adorable handwriting you have seen to date. You were going to envy the charmed life that I lead and wish you had my penmanship. Then I remembered that the script that exits my pen is not the fine lettering that I have described above. And Lisa's entry reminded me of the ephemera I uncovered when I moved out of my apartment. I present to you my quote book, circa 6th grade.

I was truly the Van Gogh of $2 colored pencils.

This collage is truly a post-modernist masterpiece.

I was alright at basic calligraphy, I think.

But not so much at basic spelling.

For more quality submissions to Handwritten Fridays (though slightly less inspiring than the quotes above, I'm sure), check out Lisa, Marci, Andrea, E, Claire, and Angie. Because they rock.

April 27, 2008

Sarah: True Life

Last night I hung out with Mallory and we ended up on her couch watching True Life. Although we were both tired, Mallory drifted off into a peaceful slumber while I sat, transfixed, watching an episode about being in debt, and having a panic attack. Ah, how relaxing. Don't worry, I still somehow managed to fall asleep, fully clothed, with my face buried in a couch cushion.

April 28, 2008

Lisa: potato leek soup

We tried our second recipe from Everyday Foods a while ago, and it was a definite improvement over the last effort. Blake cooked while I held Nora and dispensed unhelpful advice, and he was very competent and patient. The soup was good, but not good enough to bother heating up and eating later, apparently--we ended up throwing the leftovers out a week later. If you have a recipe for a main dish you think I should try, please let me know. I can always find a dessert recipe that sounds good, but I struggle more with the main course.

Recipe after the jump--things I added are in bold.

Potato-Leek Soup

serves 4 * prep time 15 minutes * total time: 45 minutes

6 medium leeks (about 2 1/4 pounds), whites only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise, cleaned
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 baking potato (8 ounces), peeled and diced We used two potatoes, and I'm glad we did. The soup was still fairly thin.
Coarse salt
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup snipped fresh chives mental note: chives are green onions, dummy

Leeks can be extremely dirty and are best cleaned after they've been trimmed and cut. Soak cut leeks in a bowl of cool water; lift them out, replace the water, and repeat until no grit remains at the bottom of the bowl. Drain on paper towels. Good luck "lifting out" chopped up leeks. I think we used a colander.

1. In a large saucepan, combine the leeks, broth, potato, 2 cups water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

2. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, transferring it to a clean bowl as you work. (To prevent splattering, fill the blender only halfway, and allow heat to escape: Remove the cap from the hole in the lid, and cover the lid firmly with a dish towel.) Blend a little longer than you think you need to, so the potato blends in well and isn't still grainy. Stir the cream into the pureed soup, and season with salt. Garnish with the chives. Serve immediately.

3. If desired, chill the soup: Cover loosely with plastic wrap, adn chill until cold, at least two hours and up to two days. If necessary, thin with water, and season with salt. Serve the soup in chilled glasses, garnished with chives.

Cook's note:
Depending on the weather, serve this comforting soup hot or cold. You can quickly chill it by placing it into a metal bowl set into an ice bath; stir frequently until the soup reaches the desired temperature.

April 29, 2008

Lisa: chicken & broccoli quiche

Soon after I had Nora, my awesome friend Gabrielle brought over dinner. It was SO GOOD, you guys. It was a salad with homemade dressing (in a container that I complimented so much that she got me one for my birthday), and a deep-dish quiche with broccoli and chicken. Blake loved the quiche so much that he called Gabrielle and told her so. Possibly more than once. Gabrielle thoughtfully included a handwritten copy of the quiche recipe, and I finally got around to making it last week. Why didn't I do it before? I'm kicking myself, because it is so easy and so delicious. Anyway, this is definitely going to be one of the ten recipes I memorize.

Gabrielle's recipe is after the jump. Things I added are in bold. If you want to kick the whole thing up a notch (both in taste and in difficulty), make it in the homemade crust of your choosing.

Edited to add: I only have one glass pie pan, so I made the second quiche (which wasn't eaten yet by the time I took pictures) in a square baking dish. It worked fine, but the crust--which started out round--looks a little funny. Don't you judge me.

Gabrielle's Chicken & Broccoli Quiche

Serves 6. Cooking time 35-40 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1 unbaked 9" pie shell (I use Pillsbury) These are in the refrigerated section near the Pillsbury crescent rolls in the tube. Get the rolled up refrigerated kind instead of the kind in the freezer section that are already in a pie tin, because then you can bake the quiche in your own dish and crimp the edge yourself so that it looks more homemade. Tricky! They come two to a package, so you might as well make two quiches at once.
2 cups fresh broccoli, cooked and drained
1 whole chicken breast, cooked and chopped Or chopped and then cooked, which is how I did it since I was in a rush. Small pieces = faster cooking, plus they don't have to look pretty because they'll be covered with delicious, delicious egg and cheese.
6-8 ounces Swiss cheese, cut into 1/4" cubes When I was buying the cheese, I forgot I was doubling the recipe, so I bought an 8-ounce brick. When I figured out my mistake back at home, I threw in 4 additional ounces of cheddar that I had on hand. The cheddar was tasty in the finished product, and I ended up with about 6 ounces of cheese per quiche. Disaster averted.
3 eggs
1 cup heavy cream I also only got enough cream for one quiche, but I added a cup of milk to make up the difference in volume (skim is what I had on hand). I didn't notice a difference, and there was a little less fat, so...whatever. Your mileage may vary.
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
chives (green onions) to taste

Leave the pie shells out of the fridge for 15 minutes or so before unrolling. Unroll pie shell and place in pie pan while you prepare the other ingredients. Sprinkle broccoli in bottom of the shell. Top with chicken, then cheese. In a small bowl, using a whisk, beat the eggs, cream, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until blended, but not frothy. Pour over cheese mixture; sprinkle with chives. Bake in 375-degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (If you have some extra, sprinkle grated swiss over the top for the last 15 minutes of cooking.) Let stand at least ten minutes before cutting.

Since I made two quiches but only needed one, I pulled the other out of the oven at 35 minutes and stuck it in the freezer. The interwebs tell me I can warm it up in a 375-degree oven for 20 minutes. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Sarah: Mom, I've never watched anything like this. No, really.

I told a friend I was having a bit of trouble coming up with good advice for my friends on plot points for their movie. He made a suggestion:

Friend: You should start giving them porno plotlines. "The muscular mailman in his tight cutoff shorts decided to check the back door..."
S: You mean like "Then the doctor said he'd need to check her temperature. Then she said that it was a pretty big thermometer..."
F: Yes!

Then I got distracted from the conversation with, you know, work, and was thus accused of 'killing the sexy with silence.'

S: Sorry, were you left wondering how the story ended?
F: Yes!
S: She had a fever! Bow chika bow owwww!

Sarah: Not actually moving

First I copied Marci, took a quiz, and was told that:

You Belong in London
A little old fashioned, and a little modern.
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.
A unique soul like you needs a city that offers everything.
No wonder you and London will get along so well.
What City Do You Belong In?

I followed Mindy's lead and took a quiz to find out where I should live. So, I guess I'll see you guys later, because I'm moving to:

1. Baltimore, Maryland
2. Providence, Rhode Island
3. New Haven, Connecticut
4. Washington, DC
5. Little Rock, Arkansas
6. Boston, Massachusetts
7. Portland, Oregon
8. Worcester, Massachusetts
9. Hartford, Connecticut
10. Eugene, Oregon
11. San Francisco, California
12. Norfolk, Virginia
13. Corvallis, Oregon
14. Fayetteville, Arkansas
15. San Jose, California
16. Charleston, West Virginia
17. Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
18. Long Island, New York
19. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
20. Albuquerque, New Mexico
21. Oakland, California
22. Chicago, Illinois
23. Frederick, Maryland
24. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

April 30, 2008

Sarah: Boy Genius

See a similarity?

I haven't yet told my brother Dave in front of the entire internet that I'm so proud that he's headed to Columbia this fall, that he's engaged to an intelligent and hilarious (and ridiculously good-looking, of course) girl, and that he's just a generally great guy. Dave, I'm so proud of you. And your trademark swoop.

Sarah: 2008 Cooking Adventure, Week 17

Three days after we baked this week's recipe, Lisa sent me a text message that said something like "Curse you and your satan cookies!" and I couldn't agree more.

These bars were sneakily delicious. On first taste you think "well those are pretty good! And easy to make, too!" You finish a bar and think you might enjoy another tomorrow. You know, perhaps, if the mood strikes.

And then something in your brain snaps and you are a slave to these delicious little bars. They are breakfast! Snack! Dessert! Dinner! You must eat them all! Luckily, Lisa saved me from myself by putting the majority of the dessert bars in the freezer.* I have sold my soul to Blackberry Jamble. At least until I make another sugar-laden baked good.

Recipe after the jump.

*Lisa, I'm sorry. I may or may not have snuck one of these from the freezer. I am ashamed.

Satan cookies, aka Blackberry Jamble Shortbread Bars (from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Desserts)


1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
3 and 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup almond flour or very finely ground almonds
1 and 1/2 cup blackberry preserves
1/2 cup chopped almonds
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting


If you don’t have almond flour on hand, you can make it like I did by grinding up 1 cup of almonds in your food processor until they are finely ground. It’s going to be combined with the flour so texture-wise, you want to get it as finely ground as possible.

Combine the butter and sugars in a large bowl.

Using an electric mixture set at medium low speed, beat it until creamy. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined.

Combine almond flour (or ground almonds) with the flour. Mix well. Combine the dry mixture into the butter mixture on low speed, until a smooth, soft dough forms.

Spray a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and press 1/3 of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust.

Wrap the remaining dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold and firm, at least 30 minutes. Wrap it in Lisa's pink plastic wrap for a fun brain-like effect!

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bake the bottom crust until it is firm and just beginning to turn pale brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and spread the preserves evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining shortbread dough over the jam to form a pebbly, crumbled topping. Sprinkle with the chopped almonds.

Return pan to the oven and continue baking until topping is firm and crisp and lightly golden in color, about 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

Use a sharp knife to cut bars evenly into 15 large squares. Remove the bars from the pan with a metal spatula and if desired, cut in half on the diagonal to form 30 smaller triangular bars. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

The bars will keep, covered tightly, for about 1 week at room temperature, or in the freezer for up to one month.