Strawberry Jam Crumble Bars

IMG_4682

I baked a couple desserts for a Father’s Day BBQ Matt and I hosted last week, and the Strawberry Jam Crumble Bars were a hit amongst everyone in attendance. It has been the most highly requested recipe to date, so naturally I had to post it on the blog. I hope you enjoy, and please review my notes at the end if you want them to turn out just like mine did. Also, I LOVE using a scale when I bake for both ease and accuracy, so I posted both the U.S. and Metric measurements where applicable.

Strawberry Jam Crumble Bars

Makes 16-20 Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (100 grams) old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (73 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 3/4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Quick Strawberry Jam

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, and spray with baking spray with flour.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, oats, melted butter, sugars, and salt with a wooden spoon until crumbly. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle it with the chopped strawberries, cover it with the Quick Strawberry Jam, and then sprinkle the remaining crumble on top.
  3. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 55 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Quick Strawberry Jam

Makes 2 Cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring frequently and mashing the berries with a potato masher, until the mixture thickens, about 20 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for about 30 minutes before transferring to a clean jar. The jam will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Note: The ripeness of berries can affect the cook time of the jam. This jam could take anywhere from 20 minutes for very ripe berries to 45 minutes for less ripe berries. To test your jam for doneness, scrape the bottom of the saucepan with your spoon; if the jam parts for a few seconds, it is ready.

Additional Notes:

  • I doubled the entire recipe, and that also meant that it took about an hour and a half to make the jam, and even then, it wasn’t the exact consistency as requested in the original recipe (it wasn’t as thick), but it turned out great! 
  • Also, I set the crumble into two 8-inch pans, topped them with the chopped/diced strawberries, and then set them in the refrigerator to chill for about five hours, along with the leftover crumble in a prep bowl covered with saran wrap. Once the jam was finished and cooled for about 30 minutes, I jarred it into three separate 8 oz. mason jars and refrigerated it for about five hours. Then, I took everything out, spread one jar onto one pan, and the other onto the other pan. I had one jar leftover for other use. I finished with the crumble and then refrigerated again until about two hours before I served. 

Xo, Ash

Advertisements

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

IMG_4044IMG_4051IMG_4057

This chocolate chip banana bread is one of my few original recipes, and it quickly became a hit when I first made it earlier this year. It is moist, gooey, flavorful, and delicious. It can be served as a breakfast dish or dessert, so you can basically eat it at any time (no judgement). I have gotten several requests to share the recipe, so here it is!

Serving Size: 10-12

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs, Beaten
  • 3 or 4 Bananas, Mashed (I use 4, because I like my banana bread extra moist and delicious, but it can cause the bread to collapse, so 3 is a safer option if you’re gifting it)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Cup Guittard Milk Chocolate Chips, Chopped (plus a little extra for garnish)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cream together butter and sugar
  • Add eggs and mashed bananas to butter/sugar mixture, and combine well
  • In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt, then add to the creamed mixture
  • Add vanilla
  • Fold in chocolate chips
  • Pour batter into greased and floured loaf pan
  • Garnish with chocolate chips
  • Bake for 55 minutes
  • Try not to eat the whole thing by yourself

Notes: Frozen bananas work really well and add even more flavor to the bread. Just set them out to thaw for about 30 minutes beforehand, or microwave them for about one minute. I’ve done it both ways, and they’re both efficient methods.

Bon appetit!

Xo, Ash

FearLESS

Admittedly, today’s post is on a more serious note, and I was inspired to write it after watching a documentary titled Sharkwater. Rob Stewart, the director of the film, raises awareness about the mass killings of sharks and how they are rapidly becoming an endangered species. It is a very sad but powerful and inspiring movie, and it truly begs the question: What are we so afraid of? Fear is really what drives a lot of heinous acts, including the killings of humans and a variety of animal species. We, as humans, have become such a conceited and superior race to think that we can dictate the longevity of someone’s or something’s life, and the truth is, none of us should have that power. We are all on Earth for a reason, every one of us serves a purpose, and we do not have the right to take that away from someone, simply because we believe we are worthier. So, I urge you to open your mind and your heart to the many people and animals out there who need us to support and fight for them. We are stronger and better together!

Xo, Ash

Making My Way Back

Happy Thursday, Devoted Readers!

Wow, I cannot believe 10 months have passed since my last post, but who’s counting?! I guess I am, because I have missed blogging so much. I felt like things started off really strong, but before I knew it, I was getting busier and didn’t have the necessary resources to keep my blog up and running.

That being said, allow me to bring you up to speed. Since my last post in December, Matt and I moved and settled into our new home, I student taught and completed the last semester of my teaching credential program, and ultimately earned my single subject English teaching credential (woot! woot!), I celebrated my 28th birthday and our two-year wedding anniversary, we traveled to Los Angeles, Scottsdale, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Japan and Indonesia, I have grown spiritually and intellectually, and we are now working on starting our own little family! No news to report yet 😉

In regard to blogging, my passion for it is still there, and if anything, it has become even greater, but the truth is, with our work schedules, Matt just doesn’t have the time to photograph me (so I need a photographer!), and it gets costly to purchase so many outfits (so I need partners)!

In the end though, I’m tired of waiting around and not contributing to my blog, even if it means that I just write for a while until I have access to or the means for the above-mentioned resources. So, consider this my little diary, where I will be writing about daily occurrences and the like. I’m also open to ideas, so please leave a comment below and tell me what you want to see. I would love to hear from you!

As always, thank you for your loyalty.

Xo, Ash

Celebrating the First Day of Winter

img_1308img_1310img_1330img_3299img_3300img_4887img_4894img_4913

Unfortunately, it doesn’t snow in Orange County, so I needed to kick off the first day of winter another way, and why not with gingerbread houses? I also wanted to do a round-up of the three best/most recent gingerbread houses I have created. The first three photos are from December 2011. I loved how much creative freedom I had with that house because it was made out of graham crackers, and I had enough to make it look more like a mansion! The next set of photos are from December 2014, and I made the gingerbread house from a kit I bought at Trader Joe’s. Finally, the last set of photos are from December 2016. Matt was sweet enough to surprise me with the gingerbread house kits from Trader Joe’s earlier this week to initiate the Christmas festivities, and it made me so happy! Although we had fun decorating the houses, we decided we want to go back to graham crackers next year and on because we have a lot more flexibility as far as design is concerned, and we like that.

Xo, Ash

Busy as a Bee

I don’t have any pretty pictures for you today, but what I do have is a few words I want to share with you. I’ve been pretty hard on myself, because I really made it a point to post regularly and be consistent with my blog, but SO much has happened in the last few weeks, and I just didn’t have the time to get around to it. What I do know though, is that I enjoy blogging very much, and to the few of you who actually read my posts and keep up with it all, I am so appreciative, so thank you, it means a lot to me. I have some exciting things planned for this week and the weeks to come, so hopefully it will make up for the lack of content thus far. While I haven’t been blogging, I have been completing my second semester (of three) of my teaching credential program (final exams included), substitute teaching, working at Planet Beauty, blogging (or attempting to), spending time with my family, celebrating Matt’s 30th birthday, and in the process of closing escrow on our new home!! Please stay tuned for the great things to come, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Xo, Ash

Three Weeks and Waiting

img_4860img_4861img_4862img_4871img_4872img_4863img_4864img_4865img_4867img_4868img_4870

Our move-in date has changed yet again, but this time, only by one day, so our new move-in date is December 29! This whole process has been so new, informative, stressful, exciting, emotional, and I can’t think of any other adjectives right now, but I think you get the point. At the end of the day though, it has all been worth it. It is a proud moment to buy/own a home, share it with your partner, and make it your own, so Matt and I have A LOT to be thankful for. We cannot wait to move in, get settled, decorate, and share more pictures with you. Things are moving pretty quickly at this point, so I’ll have even more to show you next week!

P.s. I’m most excited about our kitchen island, and it’s been bothering me that they have had it covered with protective paper, because I want to see it and share it with all of you! The material is the same New Carrara Quartz we used for every other countertop in the house, but I am just too obsessed with it! BUT, I guess I can’t be too upset about the fact that they have had it covered all this time, because, well, it’s keeping it safe and pretty until the grand reveal (or at least that’s what I keep telling myself).

Xo, Ash