Archive | Dessert RSS feed for this section

Lemon Bars

17 Jun

My Father-in-Law is one of the hardest people to shop for.  We never know what to get him for Christmas or his birthday… or Father’s Day.  In fact, my sisters-in-law were all in Europe a couple months ago and brought home gifts for everyone:  an Irish teddy bear for Keira, a claddagh ring for yours truly, a beer opener for my husband, a dish for my mother-in-law, a t-shirt for my brohan-in-law.  They were stumped on what to bring home for Dad.  They finally decided he would be most grateful for good European chocolate that you just can’t get here in the states.  They brought home a stash of assorted ridiculously good dark chocolate candy in the form of bars, truffles, baggies – you name it, they bought it – that should last the average person at least 3 months (though I think he happily finished it all in about two weeks).

He loves Harley Davidson paraphernalia.  But he’s got a big ol’ bike and Harley coffee mugs galore.  His tools and garage are his most prized possessions.  But not only do I know nothing about tools, he’s got duplicates of just about everything.  He’s been happily married for 30 years and has a big loving family to show for it… and we already gave him his first grandchild!!

One thing I can always fall back on for the guy is sweets.  He.  Loves.  His.  Sweets.  He’s got a sweet tooth that just won’t quit.  Though he’s probably one of chocolate’s biggest fans out there, if it’s got sugar in it he’s all in.

I thought about what kind of treat I could surprise him with for his special day.  I had already made dark chocolate truffles at Easter and wanted to mix it up a little bit.  I remembered that a few years ago Mama Roy brought over lemon bars for Christmas to my in-laws.  Dad raved about them forever after that.  And so, I grabbed the oh-so-easy recipe from her and on this dreary, rainy, chilly June day, I made the bars to give to Dad for Father’s Day.

Makes 12 bars


For the crust:

1 stick softened butter

1/2 cup white sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

For the lemony top:

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 lemons, juiced

Powdered sugar, for dusting


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Using an electric hand-held mixer, mix together the butter, sugar and flour.  Press into the bottom of a greased baking pan (I used a 9 x 13 ceramic dish).  Bake for 15-20 minutes until firm.

3.  While the crust is baking add eggs, sugar, flour and lemon juice in to a clean bowl.  Whisk until well combined.  Pour mixture over your baked crust and stick it back into the oven for 22 minutes.

When I took it out of the oven, I felt like they still needed more time but followed the recipe exactly.  Within a few minutes of cooling I could tell that it was beginning to firm up.  Just let the dish cool to room temp before cutting and they should be easy to remove from the dish.

4.  Dust the bars lightly with powdered sugar.

– Alex

Simple Choco-Chip Cookies on a Stick

14 Jun

This Sunday is Father’s Day and what better way to celebrate than to bake up some good ol’ fashioned chocolate chip cookies for the one I love?  These are not the most healthy version… mainly because I had all these ingredients in my pantry and just wanted to get rid of it all!  It’s a simple dessert that will pair nicely with the more involved dinner I’ve got planned.

We’re celebrating Father’s Day tonight because the rest of the week is busy, busy, busy and we’ll be spending the weekend with our families.  I like to cook up fun meals for special occasions so I thought today is as good a day as ever to celebrate Father’s Day just the three of us as a family.  I found this recipe here.

I decided to put some of the cookies on sticks and into the mug I bought for Mike… just to make it cuter and more interesting 🙂

Yields about 20 cookies


1/2 cup softened butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. hot water

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup chopped walnuts


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth.  Beat in the egg then stir in the vanilla.  Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add to the batter along with the salt.  Stir in flour, chocolate chips and walnuts.

3.  Form dough balls using your hands and drop onto baking sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes.  Cookies will be crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside… mmmm.

If you know Mike & me, you know that we very seldomly call each other by our first name... it's always just "Bear"... hence the mug.

Keira (with my help) made this frame in art class a couple weeks ago!

And in the words of Keira “ta-da!”  A simple Father’s Day dessert is done!  Just wait until you see what I’ve got cookin’ for dinner… Check back lata!

– Alex

Jamie Eason’s Homemade Chocolate Protein Bars

13 Jun

Ever since jumping on the healthy train a few months ago, I found myself navigating around websites on the internet to gather as much information as I could about living a healthy lifestyle.  I picked up magazines dedicated to clean eating and exercising.  I researched information about the body and how it really works when it’s fed carbs, proteins, fats, and so forth and so on.   All of these things let me to discover Jamie Eason – A fitness model, writer, and spokesperson for  She is such an incredible woman to look up to because she changed her life around at just 22-years-old when she had a breast cancer scare.  Her doctor suggested she start changing her eating habits which ultimately motivated her to begin living more healthily by eating cleanly and exercising regularly.

She is my go-to person to get nutrition and fitness advice from.  Between her blog and, I’ve collected recipes and fitness tips that have contributed to my own weight-management and fitness successes.

This is one of my favorite recipes of Eason’s.  Store-bought protein bars can be extremely expensive, not to mention ridden with sugar and artificial ingredients.  These protein bars (more like brownies or pieces of cake, if you ask me) are not only easy to make but a great on-the-go snack you can count on for nutrition and a chocolate fix!


1 cup oat flour (just a cup of rolled oats ground up to a flour consistency)

4 egg whites

2 scoops vanilla protein powder

1/2 cup Splenda

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

8 oz berry flavored baby food

3 tbsp. cocoa

4 oz water


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Mix dry ingredients (oat flour, protein powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa) in a large bowl.

3.  Mix wet ingredients (egg whites, Splenda, baby food, water) in a medium bowl.

4.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.

Don't let the baby food scare you - the berry flavor brings out the cocoa flavor like whoa!

Looks and smells like cake batter now!

5.  Spray cooking dish with non-stick spray and add batter to dish.

6.  Bake 20-30 minutes and let cool completely before cutting.

I like to individually wrap these in plastic and keep them in the fridge.  My favorite way to eat them is to chop up one square and mix it with a cup of nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt.  It tastes like cookies n’ cream!

I eat this as a snack or even as a guiltless dessert 🙂  Enjoy!

– Alex

Dark Chocolate Truffles

2 Jun

For Easter this year I wanted to make each of my siblings-in-law (is that even a real term?), parents-in-law (and again?) and my mom and dad something special for their Easter bags.  I swore I wouldn’t cave in and buy the same old junk from CVS that everyone else does.  I wanted to do something a little more special.

My father-in-law (Jackie’s daddio) is a dark chocolate fanatic.  He must have a piece (or two or three) every single day.  And so, I tucked away homemade dark chocolate truffles into his very own Easter bag.

I can’t say these are the healthiest chocolatey bites ever but dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and can help keep blood pressure and cholesterol down.  So while the family is harping on Dad for eating too much chocolate, he might just be the one with the healthiest heart of us all.

Makes about 20 truffles

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup dark chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli 60% Cacao)

Splash of vanilla extract

Any kind of coating your heart desires – I like cocoa powder, shredded coconut, crumbled oreos, chopped almonds, peanut butter chips, etc.  The possibilities are endless!

1.  In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a simmer over low heat and add the chocolate chips.  Continue to simmer and stir occasionally until the mixture is smooth.  Add vanilla.

2.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and let cool at room temperature for at least 1 hour.  When it has reached room temperature, beat the mixture on a low to medium speed until the chocolate becomes light in color.  Smooth out in your bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours until firm.

3.  While your chocolate is chilling, crush up some fun ingredients you’d like to coat your truffles with.  I finely blend up (separately) oreos, shredded coconut, peanut butter chips, almonds, cashews, etc.  You could even just use cocoa powder.  Put each of your coatings in separate small bowls.

4.  Use a melon baller to scoop out your truffles.  Roll them between your hands to get them round.  This might be a little messy but when truffles melt a little in your hands they are easy to coat!  You might have to rinse your hands with cold water every so often to get a “clean slate” going.

5.  Pop them all into the coatings of your choice and roll them around until they are evening coated.  Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper and let them set in the fridge for a few minutes.

Tip:  They freeze well – just put them into an air tight baggy and grab one whenever the chocolate craving calls!

– Alex