Monday, October 3, 2016

Lemon Meringue Tarts


For the Tart Shells:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 egg yolk (reserve the white for meringue topping)
1/4 tsp almond extract

For the Filling:
2 egg yolks (reserve the whites for meringue topping)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
juice and grated zest of 2 large lemons

For the Meringue Topping:
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To make the tart shells:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixer cream together butter and sugar. Add egg yolk and almond extract. Gradually add in flour and salt. Once it's all combined pinch off a small piece and roll into a ball, press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a silicone muffin tin. You want the dough to be thin because it puffs as it cooks. Repeat with remaining dough. (Alternately you can press the dough into a pie pan and use as crust for a lemon meringue pie)

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden. Let cool for only 2-3 minutes before carefully removing shells from pans. This will prevent them from crisping too much and breaking as you remove them. If this does happen, just pop the pans back in the oven for a couple of minutes to soften the shells a bit. Let cool completely before filling. The shells may be stored in a tightly covered container in the freezer for up to 1 month.

To make the filling:
Fill the bottom of a double boiler with 1 to 2 inches of water and bring to a rolling boil. Place the whole eggs and yolks in the top of the double boiler off the heat. Whisk until the whites and yolks are thoroughly mixed. Place the top of the double boiler back in place over medium-low heat. Stir constantly, watching the eggs carefully so that they don't start to curdle. Add the butter, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Cook over gently boiling water, stirring often with a wooden spoon until the mixture is the consistency of mayonnaise. This takes 10 minutes or so and you do need to let it sit for a minute or two without stirring or else it won't thicken. You'll see it thicken around the edges of the double boiler. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Pour the filling into a glass bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap across the the surface of the top (so that a skin doesn't form) and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

To make the meringue topping:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until foamy, about 30 seconds. Reduce speed to medium and add the sugar and vanilla. Mix until egg whites are glossy, about 1 minute.

To assemble: Place the tart shells on a baking sheet, fill the tart shells with lemon filling, spoon a heaping spoonful of meringue on top of each one. Bake for 4-5 minutes until slightly browned.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Toasted Coconut Cupcakes with Lemon Frosting


1 pkg. white cake mix
1 pkg. instant coconut pudding mix (3.4oz)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
3 egg whites
1 1/2 cups coconut, divided
1/3 cup oil
1/2 tsp coconut extract

4-5 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 tbsp whipping cream
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
yellow gel food coloring (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Evenly spread coconut on a cookie sheet and toast it under the broiler until lightly browned (approximately 3-5 min). Stir it around about halfway through to get it evenly toasted.

For the cake- In an electric mixer, combine cake mix, pudding mix, coconut milk, egg whites, oil, coconut extract, and 1 1/4 cups toasted coconut until well blended. Divide evenly amongst 24 cupcake liners. Bake for 16-19 minutes (or until internal temp. reaches 210 degrees)

For the frosting- Beat butter until smooth. Gradually add 3 cups powdered sugar. Beat until no lumps remain. Add lemon juice and vanilla. Thoroughly mix again. Add remaining 1-2 cups of powdered sugar and whipping cream until you reach your desired consistency, then add in food coloring if you're using it. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and garnish with remaining toasted coconut.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Healthy-ish Oatmeal Bars

1 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats
1/2 Cup Pecans, Chopped (or any nut you like)
1/2 Cup Dried Fruit (any combination you like- raisins, craisins, dates, cherries, strawberries, apples, coconut)
1/4 Cup Milled Flax Seed (or other seeds- pumpkin, sunflower, etc.)
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips (optional)
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
1 1/4 Cups Milk
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees

Mix wet ingredients together. Add in dry ingredients. Pour into a 9x9 or 8x11 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool, then remove from pan and cut into 9 pieces (using a pizza cutter works great).

With having a new baby I'm struggling to find time to eat. These have become a must-have for me. They are quick to throw together, very portable and they hold me over for a while. I think they taste best slightly warm so I reheat them for 20-30 seconds in the microwave. The great thing is you can make them as healthy or unhealthy as you like, depending on what you choose to add to them. And the possibilities of combinations are endless so you don't have to get tired of just one flavor.

*Recipe adapted from

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Chunky Avocado Salsa

2 medium sized tomatoes, diced
2 avocados, diced
1/2 can of black beans
1/2 can of corn
juice of 1 lime
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
salt to taste
10-20 dashes of Tapatio (or other hot sauce), depending on how spicy you want it

Mix tomatoes, black beans, corn, lime juice and cilantro in a medium size bowl. Add salt and Tapatio to taste. Mix again, then add in avocado last so it doesn't get all mushy. Give it a taste test and adjust salt and Tapatio if needed.

This recipe is a party favorite! I suggest making it not more than 1-2 hours prior to eating. It does not keep well but that's ok because it also doesn't last long. Once you start eating it you'll devour the whole bowl!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cups flour
1 bag of milk chocolate chips (I prefer the Ghirardelli brand for this particular recipe because the chips are a little larger than the standard size chocolate chips and they make the cookies way better)
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-Cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Add egg, pumpkin & vanilla and mix well. Slowly add baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and flour. Stir in milk chocolate chips.

-Drop by large spoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. They do not taste good under baked so make sure they look dry and uniform in color to ensure they are done all the way through.

-This recipe makes about 2 dozen cookies for me.

Another variation is to make pumpkin whoopie pies by leaving out the chocolate chips. Spread the dough out a little, so they don't bake up as thick. Bake for the same amount of time. Then sandwich 2 cookies together with homemade cream cheese frosting in between them.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1-2 tsp vanilla
about 4 cups powdered sugar

-With an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency and sweetness.

Pumpkin Stuffed Shells

16-20 jumbo shells
1/4 pound thick sliced bacon

1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp pepper
pinch of salt

1 can chicken broth
1 cup 1/2 & 1/2
4 tbsp butter
1 cup grated Italian cheese blend (I like the Tillamook brand) plus a little extra for the top
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper to taste

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-Boil pasta shells according to package directions, drain and set aside

-Cook bacon, drain, crumble into big pieces and set aside

-For the filling, blend pumpkin, mascarpone cheese, nutmeg, pepper and salt in a blender or food processor until smooth

-For the sauce, pour chicken broth into large sauce pan and reduce by half over medium/high heat. Add 1/2 & 1/2 and reduce again over medium/low heat. Whisk in butter a tbsp at a time. Then whisk in flour and cheese until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let thicken to desired consistency.

To assemble, use a pastry bag or spoon to fill the shells. Place them in a single layer in a 9x13 pan. Pour the sauce over the top, making sure the noodles are fully covered. Top with crumbled bacon and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Italian cheese blend. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and they're hot all the way through.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls

5 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp (rounded) saf-instant yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp oil
2 cups hot water

1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins, optional

1/4 cup butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
For the dough-
1. Mix dry ingredients.  Add oil and water.  Mix for 1 minute and then check the consistency of the dough.  The dough should be very sticky.  If it is too dry, add more water.

2. Mix for 5 minutes.  (Do not add any more flour after the dough has finished mixing.)

3. Spray kneading surface with cooking spray and turn dough out onto surface.  Knead dough briefly until it has a smooth even consistency (this will only take several turns of the dough to accomplish).

For the filling-
4. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture and raisins. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise for 25 minutes.
2013-01-08 19.54.17
5. While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

6. Bake rolls for 25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and internal temperature reaches 190 degrees.
2013-01-08 20.47.03
For the frosting-
7. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.
2013-01-08 20.54.42

I experimented by adapting 2 recipes and putting them together and I have never had cinnamon rolls turn out so well before. This recipe is a keeper!

Original recipes found here:
And here: