joyeux cuisine

a blog about good food, family, friends, and life.

hello again with rhubarb bars

Oh, hey there, Internet friends. It’s been awhile huh?
So lots of things have happened lately and I mostly forgot that I had a blog…that’s cool right? My last post was about being engaged and trying to plan a wedding but that wedding has come and gone…about a year ago. So let’s recap.

I moved back to Iowa from Illinois. I left my jobs, packed up my stuff, and headed outta there. Leaving many a great friend behind. Thankfully there’s Skype!

I got married! I went from Joy Matthews to Joy Byard and it was a extremely wonderful day. I felt so full of love and so loved, not just by Zack, but by everyone there. I wish we could time travel there now. It was perfect.
Here’s some highlights:

Zack+Joy-56  Zack+Joy-252   Zack+Joy-162  

(MANY MANY thanks to our spectacular photographer Cymone Wilder!!)
Then. My brother got married! A mere 20 days after Zack and I! (Mom cried a lot last June) I got to be a bridesmaid and that was also a really great day. We partied in a barn after they got married and it was cool. Stephanie looked beautiful and Ian looked okay too. (Also, today is their anniversary! Happy anniversary you crazy kids!)

Next. I was unemployed for awhile in Des Moines while Zack had time off from school. So I did a lot of knitting, reading, Netflix watching, and general laying around. Seriously, I read Gone Girl in one day. We also moved to a new apartment in July and then I had to leave for a week to go play in a musical in Illinois. Gotta love Les Mis.

Finally. I got a job though a temp agency and now am full time! I am so thankful for that. It’s been a pretty sweet gig so far. Our department is fairly small and we have food days sometimes, so I still get to flex my baking muscle for people there. I’ve made banana bread so often for everyone. And cupcakes and brownies. I like to think I’m pretty liked there for my food skills.

And now here we are. That’s really the highlights of the past long while. Married life is hard, but really worth it. I really enjoy having someone to make food for that really appreciates it. And that’s where the rhubarb bars come in!
Zack loves rhubarb. Me? No thank you. So I literally cannot tell you how these taste. I’ve tried so many times to like rhubarb but I can’t. Zack however said they were delicious and ate two and then said I was the ‘bestest bestest best.’ So I think they’re pretty good.


They’re also really easy. You mix up the crust with a pastry cutter (is that what’s that thing is called??) and bake that and then make the topping. It’s pretty easy and turns out really well. They look really good too which is always a bonus.


Happy cooking, friends!

Rhubarb Bars
recipe from garnish with lemon
makes 9 bars

crust ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup powdered/confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) of very cold butter cut into small cubes

topping ingredients:
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/3 cups roughly chopped rhubarb

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust: combine the flour and powdered sugar in a medium sized bowl. With a pastry cutter, cut in the butter to the flour and sugar until the mixture is crumbly and looks similar to sand. Spread into a greased or parchment papered 8×8 square pan and press down with the backs of your fingers. Bake for 15 minutes.
For the topping: lightly beat the eggs in a medium sized bowl. Add the flour, sugar, and salt and stir until well combined. Fold in the chopped rhubarb until all the rhubarb is covered in the egg mixture. Pour the rhubarb over the crust as soon as the 15 minutes are up and return to the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the topping mixture doesn’t move when you shake the pan. (Mine was a little jiggly still, but my taster said it was delicious anyway.)
Cool the bars completely before removing from the pan and cutting into squares.
Store cut bars in an airtight container at room temperature.

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A Beginning. With Brownies.

So here we are. The summer of 2012. I’ve finally done what I’ve been saying I’ve been going to do for awhile: starting a food blog. But there’s so many food blogs on the internet that I am determined to make this one different.

I want this to be a blog about how food brings people together and how no matter how far you are from where you call home or who you call your family, food can always take you back there.

There will be recipes here. There will be stories here. There will be lots of emotions here (just can’t help it sometimes). There will successes and failures here. But mostly there will be food and happiness.

Let’s start with brownies. A very good place to start.

Allow me to introduce you to two of my favorite foods: chocolate and peanut butter. These are probably your old friends too, but put these two ingredients together in these brownies, and you will be in heaven. Or at least, pretty dang close. These are an old family recipe from my Great Aunt Cathy. She’s legit Dutch, and anything that comes from the Dutch has to be good, right? Right. (that’s the excuse I always use anyway…) We call them Batter Up Brownies, and to be perfectly honest, when I was younger these are what I considered brownies. Not chocolate brownies. I know, I know. A travesty. But seriously, make these and you will understand. I promise.

This is a normal recipe. It starts with flour, baking powder, and salt. Combine that with canola oil, eggs, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla.

Before chocolate chips.

All those things are good, but then you add chocolate. Now I understand the different kinds of chocolate like semi-sweet, bittersweet, and the fancy ones that say 70% coco or something like that. These brownies need plain old milk chocolate though. The point of these is not to be fancy, its to be delicious and carefree. Don’t go too crazy here.

After chocolate chips. So good, friends.

Bake these delicious friends up and consume. Warning: these do not last long! My brothers and I can eat a pan in about a day and a half. My roommates and I have a good 3/4 of this pan gone and it hasn’t even been a day yet. Just be aware. I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but this batter is ridiculously delicious. Don’t be afraid to lick the beaters or spatula or bowl. You have total permission.

Perfect with a glass of milk. Seriously. Perfect.

Batter Up Brownies

Makes 1 9×13 pan


1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup canola oil

3 large eggs

1 and 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup peanut smooth peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup (give or take a 1/4 cup) milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 pan with oil/cooking spray

Measure flour, baking powder, and salt and combine in a small bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixture with the paddle attachment or in a bowl with an electric hand mixer combine oil, eggs, and sugar until well mixed, or about 2 minutes. Add dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla and peanut butter and mix. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into greased pan and bake for 25-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the brownies are set. Cool in the pan and consume quickly. With milk.

These brownies will last, in an airtight container, for about a week. But they probably won’t last that long. Just saying.


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