raspberry lemon bars

Ok everyone, here it is!  The recipe for raspberry lemon bars!

Now, this is not my original recipe...  I found it here on Tasty Kitchen.com.  And then I found out that my great-aunt used this exact same recipe for years!  So, I'm going to claim it as a family recipe.  Because I want to and I can.  ;o)

I did (of course) change things a little bit.  But not much, and I think the little adjustments made a huge difference!!  First of all, I took away about 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice (and I love lemon!  I just think it was a little over the top against the berries!) and I also doubled (or sometimes even tripled!) the berries.

I have also made these with blueberries, and they would be great with strawberries too!  Personally, next time I think I will do a mix of raspberries/blueberries.  Oh wait, we have blackberries coming soon, so scratch that...  I will probably make blackberry lemon bars next!!

Oh and here's a few tips:  First, always zest your lemons before you juice them.  It makes things much easier!  (and you can always freeze the zest for later use...  the zest of one lemon = about 1 packed teaspoon.)  Also, please please PLEASE don't ever make this recipe with bottled lemon juice!  It just won't even be worth it and will be a waste of perfectly good berries!!  Thank you!

Raspberry Lemon Bars Recipe

1 sleeve graham crackers, crushed (about 1 1/2 cups crumbs)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
zest of one lemon
2 egg yolks
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
juice of 3 large lemons (about 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons juice)
zest of one lemon
3 cups fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, etc.)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Grease an 8" or 9" square baking dish.

In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, butter and lemon zest.  Press firmly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool completely while you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and condensed milk until blended.  Whisk in the lemon juice and zest and continue to whisk for a few minutes until the mixture thickens a bit (it will feel lighter as you stir).  Very gently fold in your berries and pour the filling into the cooled crust.

Bake for 15 minutes, until the filling is just set, and cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge to chill for at least an hour before serving.

This dessert is prettiest the first day, but keeps well and tastes just as good the second and third day!  (If there is any left that long, that is!)  :o)


blueberry crumble coffee cake

We went berry picking this weekend and got a bunch of raspberries and blueberries.  Normally, I just love to eat fresh berries plain, preferably ice cold out of the fridge!  But we really did pick a ton of berries, and I can only eat so many before they will go bad.

So I have been trying to think of ways to use them up and this morning I woke up dreaming of a tall, steaming, crumbly piece of coffee cake loaded with juicy berries...  I couldn't resist whipping one up, and it was the perfect way to showcase these glorious fresh blueberries!

Blueberry Crumble Coffee Cake Recipe

for the crumble topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 cup butter, softened
for the cake:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen, do not thaw!)

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Grease a 9" square pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients, mixing together with a fork until crumbly; set aside.

In another medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, cream together the remaining butter and sugar.  Blend in the egg and vanilla until smooth.  Blend in the flour mixture and cream alternately, beginning and ending with the flour (flour, milk, flour, milk, flour).  Fold in the bluberries.  (The dough is quite stiff, so be patient as you're folding in the berries!  Don't mush them up!)

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the crumble topping.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cool, and cut into 9 large squares.

This is perfect for breakfast or brunch with a big mug of coffee...  and of course, if you wanted to add a slather of butter, you know that never hurts!  ;o)


summer fun

Some say there's nothing better than a summer day spent at the park.

Just ask this guy...
I'm pretty sure he would agree!


counting my blessings...

Lately I've been learning how to be content with my life instead of always thinking about how it could be, or even should be.  I know that might sound like a 'duh' thought to you, but it's not an easy thing for me.  I struggle with a bad case of the 'if only's' and always tend to think that the grass must be greener on the other side.

If only we had a smaller house, my husband wouldn't have to work so hard and I wouldn't have to feel guilty for staying home and raising my babies.  If only we had more time together, we would all be happier.   If only I had family nearby, I wouldn't be so lonely all the time.  If only I felt as connected to my church here as I still do to my 'old' church, I would be more content.  If only there were more things to do in this small town, we wouldn't be so stir-crazy all the time.

And then there are my own personal 'if only' struggles.  If only I wasn't so stubborn, life would have much fewer arguments.  If only I was better at budgeting and making money in creative ways, I wouldn't make my husband's life so difficult.  If only I felt more connected to this house, I would be motivated to keep it spotless at all times.  If only I wasn't so tired all the time, I would be able to get so much more done.  If only I didn't spend so much time pondering life's 'if only's', I would be so much happier.

Well that last 'if only' is the one that finally pushed me over the edge.  Why shouldn't I be happy?  Why should I spend so many of life's fleeting moments focusing on the 'if only's'?  My life is what it is.  And it's a beautiful, loving, happy life.  I don't need anything more or anything different, all I need is to learn how find joy and contentment in today.

I have a beautiful family who bring so much joy and happiness to my heart.  I have a loving husband, who cares so much and would do anything for this family.  I have an amazing extended family who loves us and enjoys being a part of our lives.  I have a beautiful house that my husband built with his own two hands, and I am so proud of him for that.  He poured his tears, sweat, and love into every inch of this house and we are so blessed to be here, even if it feels overwhelming at times.  I have a husband who is willing to support my desire to stay at home with our kids, even though he doesn't really understand it.  We have food on the table, and clothes on our backs. We are blessed!
My daily challenge is to turn the 'if only's' into the 'we have's'...  whenever I feel the urge to whine and complain, I am going to do my best to focus on counting my blessings instead.  It's not always easy, but it does always work to change my attitude and outlook on everyday life!


baby boy #2's 20 weeks ultrasound!

here's the pics of our newest baby boy!  :o)  So excited to meet him this fall!!


fudgy Andes mint brownies

Brownies are good.  Minty brownies are even better.  Of course, that is just my opinion, but since this is my blog, I'm gonna stand up for myself!  :o)

These are fudgy, chewy and dense, and the mint is a perfect light accent...  And making homemade brownies is so easy and good, you'll never need to go back to a boxed mix again!

Fudgy Dark Chocolate Brownies Recipe

3/4 cup dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup butter, melted & divided (1/3 cup + 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups flour
1 bag Andes mint baking chips (about 2 cups)

Preheat your oven to 350ºF and butter a 9x13" glass baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cocoa and baking soda.  Stir in 1/3 cup of the melted butter until smooth.  

Stir in the boiling water until the mixture is smooth and thick.  Then stir in the sugar and eggs with the remaining 1/3 cup melted butter, the vanilla and the salt.

Place the Andes mint chips in a small bowl and stir combine with the flour, tossing to coat well.  Stir the flour-coated candy into the batter and spread the mixture into your prepared baking dish.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the pan.  (Better to under-bake than to over-bake these!!)  Cool completely in the pan, and cut into squares.  If you're not going to eat them out of the pan with a fork, that is!  :o)

**If you can't find Andes Creme de Menthe baking chips, you could also just chop up regular Andes!**


boy, OH BOY!!

Yep, we are having another BOY!!!

We are so excited for our little guys to grow up together, hopefully as best friends!  I love my house-full of crazy boys, and we are excited to meet this little guy and see how he blends in with the chaos!!

Yes, we know the name.  No, we are not telling the name until he is born!  :o)

I will try and put up a few of the ultrasound pics as soon as I get a chance to get them onto my computer!


20 weeks!

Here it is!  The 20 week belly picture...
We're halfway there!!

(Oh, and we hopefully find out the gender on Monday!  
Be watching for an update!!)


mexican spiced chocolate pudding

I know it's been a while since I last blogged.  And for those who care, I'm sorry!  The busiest part of summer is over, and my pregnancy is almost to the halfway point (on Friday!)...  I'm settling into our routine, and am hoping that cooking, baking and blogging find their way back into our new normal!

I woke up this morning thinking about pudding.  I never thought I liked pudding, until my husband asked for it one day and I decided to make it from scratch.  Of course I had to change things up, because I never can seem to leave a recipe alone!  :o)

This version is what I came up with, and it is a simple, creamy, not-too-rich pudding with just a slight kick and a hint of mexican flavors.  So yummy!

Mexican Spiced Chocolate Pudding Recipe

2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups whole milk
1 cup chocolate chips
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon coffee liqueur (or strong coffee)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch and sugar.  In a medium saucepan, stir together the milk, chocolate chips and salt, cooking over medium heat until the chocolate is just melted.

Ladle two scoops of the chocolate milk mixture into the eggs slowly, whisking constantly.  Slowly whisk the now-tempered egg mixture back into the rest of the chocolate in the pot.  Stir in the coffee liqueur.  Cook, stirring until the pudding is thick, around 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, cinnamon and cayenne and then pour into individual dessert cups.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight!

Related Posts with Thumbnails