It was only a matter of time before the skink living in the yard and featured in a previous post was finally captured on camera. As I was measuring out the peanut butter and the sugar, Michael came into the kitchen from the yard, tip-toeing like Elmer Fudd through the middle of the Looney Toons forest and whispered, “Put on yuh swippers and fowwow me! Huh-huh-huh-huh-huh!”
Cut to the backyard where he was pointing into the middle of our hillside of ivy and saying, “Can you see it?”
“Okay, lean down a little. Now… see that one leaf that’s kind of brown and tilted to the side, just in front of all the green leaves and that little open patch of dirt.”
“Well, that’s where it was, but it’s not there anymore.”
Five more minutes of comedy routine and I was finally able to spot the skink. Can you?
I was blown away by the size of the thing, but now in the way I expected. From Michael’s menacing description when he first spotted it, I was led to believe this thing ranked in size somewhere between a vacuum tube and the hoses cops used to scatter rioting college students in the sixties.
Instead, it’s basically a shoelace with a head. The drawstring in my jammy bottoms causes me more anxiety.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars adapted from Martha Stewart and Ina Garten, Found at So I Married a Chef
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature + more to grease pan
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 3 cups all-purpose flour + more for flouring pan
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract 1
- 1/2 cup jam/preserves
- 3/4 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350. Parchment line, butter, and flour a 9 x 13 pan.
Cream butter and sugar using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping bowl between each addition. Add peanut butter and beat until combined, about 2 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to mixed in two additions, mix each time until just combined. Stir in vanilla extract.
Press 2/3 of dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread jam over dough. Sprinkle jam with 1/2 of the chopped peanuts. Crumble half of the remaining dough on top. Sprinkle with the remainder of the chopped peanuts. Crumble remaining dough on top and press down gently.
Bake for 45-60 minutes rotating the pan after about 25 minutes. Remove when lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pan on a wire rack to room temperature. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and refrigerate for about 1 hour. Remove bars from pan and cut into 32 bars.
**Martha says an airtight container for up to 3 days**