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Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars {Recipe}

Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake BarsNormally when I make recipes, I make them with someone else in mind – my husband, my kids, my co-workers, friends, etc.  Very rarely do I make something that’s just for me.   And for that reason, I don’t make a lot of mint recipes.  My husband is not a fan, my kids tend to avoid it, and my co-workers would prefer to pass.  But me?  Well I love mint.  In fact, if you ask me, Chocolate + Mint = Sheer Perfection.  Mint Chocolate Chip is my absolute favorite ice cream flavor and a Thin Mint cookie can turn my day from bad to good.  And I’m pretty much in love with those Mint Oreos I posted about late last year.  Yum.

But every now and again I find a mint recipe that looks so good that I just have to try it…even if I’m the only one who is going to eat it.  Because it just looks that good.  And I was pretty sure that I’d found that exact recipe in a mouthwatering mint cheesecake recipe on Pinterest earlier this week.  But in normal fashion, I didn’t pin it, and I wasn’t able to find it when I went back to make it.  Unwilling to give up on the recipe (it looked amazing, there was no way I was going to give up on it), I found another recipe and modified it a bit to include chocolate chips and an Oreo crust.  The result?  Delicious!  And just in time for St. Patrick’s Day – even though they’d be great any time…

Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars - Recipe

Okay, so the portion size on this one is probably a little too big to eat all by myself, but something tells me that I’m going to give it my very best shot before bringing the rest of them over to my friend’s house on Sunday!

You will need:
20 Oreo cookies, with cream removed and finely crushed
3 Tbsp butter, melted
3 packages cream cheese (8 oz. each), softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
3 eggs
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp green food coloring or food gel (approximate)
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp flourMint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars Ingredients

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Step 2 – Combine finely crushed cookies with the melted butter.  Once well combine, press crumb mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9 until it’s thin and even.

Step 3 – Place cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Slowly add sweetened condensed milk, then eggs, and then peppermint beating on medium speed until well combined.

Step 4 – Add food coloring or gel to desired color.  I used approximately 1/4 tsp of green food gel, so you may need more if you’re using the liquid drops.

Step 5 – Coat one half of the chocolate chips in flour (1/2 cup).  I found that the simplest way to do this is to actually drop the teaspoon of flour into the measuring cup your using to hold your 1/2 cup of chips, and then stirring.  Once coated, fold the chips into the cheesecake mixture, stirring until well distributed.

Step 6 – Pour chocolate chip cheesecake mixture into a 13 x 9 pan.  Just before putting into into the oven, top with the remaining chocolate chips (those chips do not need to be coated in flour).

Step 7 – Bake for 1 hour or until you can press down on the cheesecake and it springs back.

Note: Try to avoid over baking this one.  I left mine in for an additional 10 minutes because, although it sprung back when touched, I was concern it wasn’t quite “done”.  Turns out they were done and all I ended up doing was browning the edge pieces, which took away from the pretty green color I was trying to create.  Trust me, once it springs back – take it out of the oven!

Step 8 – Cool at room temperature, then chill for 2-4 hours.Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars Instructions


3 Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze {Recipe}

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Apple BreadAbout three years ago, I decided to try a recipe for 2 ingredient pumpkin muffins.  While I’m a lover of just about everything pumpkin, I really tried it to see if it would work more than anything else.  Because 2 ingredients?  Are you kidding?  How could that possibly work?  But sure enough, it did.  In fact, they were delicious…and supposedly a WW approved treat, so not so bad on the waistline either.  As a new blogger at the time, I even decided to write a post about it (you can find it here – please pardon the not so awesome craptastic pictures, I really was a new blogger).

Nearly 3 years later, that post still gets a ton of views, particularly in the fall.  As it saw it come up in my blog statistics last week, I remembered how delicious those muffins were and decided to put them on my fall baking list.  But then I thought, why not do something a little different?  People had emailed me letting me know that they had tried this recipe tons of different ways – they added raisins, nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, you name it, people tried it.  And although it upped the original ingredient count, they all sounded pretty delish!  So I decided it was my turn to modify it a bit, and add some apples.  And since we’d already done muffins, we’d do bread this time (I’m not going to lie, it also gave me a great reason to go out and buy that cute loaf pan that I’d been eyeing but didn’t want to spend $10 on because I already have a loaf pan).

Because I was adding an ingredient, I worried a bit about this recipe, but it turned out beautifully.  It’s sweet and dense and pumpkin-y with a little touch of apple…it’s everything that a fall treat is supposed to be.  My kids actually asked for it as their dessert after dinner 2 nights in a row!  If you love pumpkin, you’re going to love this recipe!

You will need: (makes 2 loaves)
(2) Spiced flavor boxed cake mixes
(2) Cans pure pumpkin
(1) Can apple pie filling – I used a Comstock 21 oz can

Step 1 – Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Liberally grease the inside of two 9×5 loaf pans.

Step 2 – Pour the apple pie filling into a small dish, and using a knife (preferably serrated), cut the apples into smaller chunks.  If you prefer larger apples, you can skip this step.

Step 3 – Place cake mixes and cans of pumpkin in a large mixing bowl and mix on medium-high speed until well blended (about 4 minutes).  Gently fold in apples.  Pour into 2 9×5 loaf pans.

Step 4 – Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick/knife comes out of the center clean.  I know that’s a long time to wait for bread, but don’t worry, it’s totally worth it!3 Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Bread Slice

Now if you’re someone like me, you might think this cake is missing something.  You know, a little finishing touch…like…oh…I don’t know…a glaze?  Yep, you can totally glaze this cake.  And I did!  3 Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Bread with Glaze

To top it off with a delicious glaze you only need 5 more ingredients, for a total of 8, which I still think is pretty good.  This glaze isn’t my recipe (I borrowed it from Martha), but compliments it perfectly.  Why mess with a good thing?

Cream Cheese Glaze:
4 oz of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (I substituted a small amount of lemon juice concentrate for this one)
3 Tbsp milk
Pinch of salt

Step 1 – Place cream cheese in a medium sized mixing bowl and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy.  This took me no more than 1-2 minutes,

Step 2 – Add sugar and beat on medium-high until well combine.  Then one at a time, add the lemon juice, milk, and salt, beating for approximately 30 seconds in between each new ingredient.  After the last ingredient, beat on low speed until smooth.

Step 3 – Drizzle over cake.  If too thick to drizzle add more milk until it’s the desired consistency.

Enjoy and Happy Fall!

Sweet Treats: Blueberry Bundt Cake {Recipe}

Blueberry Bundt CakeWhenever my mom comes to town I go out and buy fresh bagels for breakfast.  It’s kind of a treat for both of us.  My family loves bagels, but often can’t finish a bakers dozen – or even a half dozen – before they go stale…and as much as I always say I’m going to freeze them, life often gets in the way and I forget.  My mom loves bagels, but never buys them for herself.  So each time she comes to visit, I head out that very first morning that she’s here and buy a baker’s dozen and several types of cream cheese, because she loves flavored cream cheese.

But as it turns out, she was sick during her last visit and most of the bagels went uneaten.   That flavored cream cheese?   Totally unused.  As I took an inventory of the fridge a day or two after she left, my eyes landed on the container of blueberry cream cheese I purchased.  It was still sealed, but according to it’s expiration date, it wouldn’t make it until her next visit.  So I decided that it was time to get creative in the kitchen.

And then I thought about the ginormous blueberries that I’ve seen on sale at the grocery store lately.  Seriously, they’re huge – and it’s not even officially blueberry season!  I decided to get to work and make a blueberry bundt cake that would incorporate both the blueberry cream cheese that I already had and those massive grocery store blueberries, modifying a pound cake recipe I found a few months ago when I made my Iced Lemon Pound Cake.  It was made using a cake mix – and you know how much I love cake mix recipes.

The result did not disappoint.  My girls each ate a piece and asked begged for more.  I had a second piece myself (after they went to bed, of course) and I don’t even like blueberries.  But this cake is just perfect.  Dense, moist, sweet perfection.  It’s a must try, blueberry season or not!

Note:  If you can’t find blueberry cream cheese, don’t worry.  Simply use 6 – 8 oz of regular cream cheese and add in an extra 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries.  You can also substitute frozen blueberries if it isn’t blueberry season. 

You will need:
1 white box cake mix (18.25 oz)
1 box vanilla instant pudding (3.4 oz)
1/4 cup sugar
1 container blueberry cream cheese (6 oz)
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup fresh blueberries, or more if you prefer
1 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 Tbsp milk

Step 1 – Grease a 9.5″ fluted pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2 – In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding, and sugar.  Once combined, add the cream cheese, water, vegetable oil, and eggs.  Using a hand or stand mixer, beat for 1 minute on low followed by 4 minutes on high, until smooth and well blended.  The batter will be thick.  Make sure to scrap the sides of the bowl frequently as the cake mix will try to hide towards the bottom of the bowl.

Step 3 – Using a spoon or spatula, carefully fold in the fresh blueberries.

Step 4 – Pour batter into the greased pan and bake for 50 minutes (double check to make sure it’s baked all the way through by using a knife or toothpick).  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Step 5 – Once your cake has cooled, prepare the glaze by combining the confectioner’s sugar and milk.   My glaze turned out a bit thin and seemed to get sucked into the cake.  If you want yours to be thicker (and sit on top of the cake), try adding only 2 tablespoons of milk instead of 3.  If it’s still too thin, add some more confectioner’s sugar to thicken it up.  Once you reach your desired consistency, drizzle over the cake.

TIP:  If you want to add a little extra flavor, consider adding a teaspoon of vanilla or a little lemon juice to your glaze.

Serve with coffee or on it’s own.  Either way it will be delicious!BlueberryBundtCake-1

Sweet Treats: Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes {Recipe}

I love 2nd trimester energy!  I’ve been tackling things on my to-do list lately like it’s nobody’s business – and I’m even posting here more, too!  It’s been delightful and well deserved after an awful 20 weeks.  One of the things on my to-do list from way back around February or March was to make Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes.  Unfortunately, after I went out and bought all the ingredients, my food aversions and nausea prevented me from actually making them.  This week as I was searching through my cupboard for dinner ideas, I saw that I still had the ingredients and decided to give it a whirl.  While the recipe for the cake is my creation (with help of a box mix, of course), I borrowed the strawberry buttercream recipe from here.  It looked quick and easy (which it was), but most importantly it didn’t require pureeing fresh fruit, something I couldn’t do because it seems my food processor blade is, um, missing.  [gulp]  Gotta find that.You will need:

1 box lemon cake mix + ingredients required on the box

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 package lemon pudding mix

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup softened butter

1/2 cup strawberry jelly, strained

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Step 1 – Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line your cupcake pan or coat with nonstick spray.

Step 2 – In a medium mixing bowl, prepare cake mix as directed, then add in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the package of lemon pudding.  Mix well.

Step 3 – Spoon mixture into cupcake tins and bake for 22 minutes.  Typically, I bake things on the lower end of the recommended baking time (for this box mix that was 18-22 minutes); however, in this case, I had to bake it a bit longer due to the pudding and extra juice being added in.  Remove from oven and cool.

As a side note, don’t you wish that cupcakes stayed this way after they’re out of the oven for a few minutes?  Mine always sink a little in the middle.

Step 4 – In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter on medium speed until fluffy.  Add in strained jelly and mix well using electric mixer.  Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar and vanilla, until you reach your desired consistency.  You can always add 1-2 tablespoons of milk if you want the frosting to be softer, or add confectioner’s sugar to make it stiffer.

Although this is hands down the best strawberry frosting I’ve ever tasted, there’s no denying that it came out a little pale in color.  It’s pink, but very pale pink…and a far cry from the bright pink can variety.  If you want to make it pinker, you could always add a little red food coloring.  I’m sure just a few drops would perk it up a bit.  I would have done this, but I didn’t have any.

Step 5 – Once cupcakes are completely cooled, frost.  I couldn’t find my fancy icing gun when I was making these, so I had to frost these “high school bake sale” style.  Although not as pretty, they were still delicious and the strawberry and lemon tastes complimented each other very well.  So light and refreshing – these cupcakes are perfect for summer!


Recipe for Raspberry Lemon Muffins {Guest Post}

Raspberry lemon muffins are just delicious, perhaps the best muffins you will ever have. I love to cook for people and raspberry lemon muffins are one of my all time favorites. I love to have pastries in breakfast, but I can’t eat them all the time as they are rich in fat and sugar. However, these muffins are great as morning sweet treats. Although, low on fat they don’t lack anything when it comes to taste. These muffins are moist and tasty, and are perfect for the everyday breakfast menu. The best part is that it’s quite simple to make these raspberry lemon muffins. Here’s an easy to follow recipe for raspberry lemon muffins.

You will need:

Plain flour – 2 cups

Baking soda – 1/2 teaspoon

Baking powder – 2 teaspoons

Caster sugar – 150g

Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

Nutmeg, freshly grated – 1/4 teaspoon

Vegetable oil – 3 tablespoons

Egg whites – 2 eggs

Light brown sugar, firmly packed – 2/3 cup

Lemon extract (optional) – 1/2 teaspoon

Lemon zest, grated – 1 tablespoon

Milk – 1 cup

Unsalted butter, melted – 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick)

Raspberries or blueberries, fresh/frozen – 1 cup

Preparation method:

Step 1 – Muffin Pan Preparation

Set the oven to preheat at 425°F. Take 12 standard muffin tins or cups and use paper liners to line them.

Step 2 – Mixing the Batter

Take the flour, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, salt and caster sugar in a big bowl and stir together. In another bowl, mix together the egg whites, milk, butter, lemon zest and brown sugar. Now combine the wet egg mixture and the dry flour mixture together until they are well blended and acquire even consistency throughout. Gently stir in the raspberries until distributed evenly.

Step 3 – Baking

Fill the prepared muffin tins or cups with the batter to three-fourths full using a rubber spatula. Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes until the muffins turn golden brown. Transfer them to a wire rack and cool for about 5 minutes.

Your raspberry lemon muffins are ready to eat now.  Serve it and enjoy!

Nutritional Facts: 1 serving equals 179 calories, 30 mg cholesterol, 8 g fat, 23 g carbohydrate, 146 mg sodium, 1 g fiber and 3 g protein.

Other TipsMake sure you use fresh berries or opt for frozen berries if you don’t have fresh. Also, ensure to grease and flour the muffin tins before using them.


About the Author: Hi, I’m Allen Jennifer from Livesnet, a great site for you if you want to see reviews on baby gears and useful parenting tips as well. So to know more about baby gears, just go for our site and do check out my hot reviews on Britax marathon 70 and mamas and papas strollers.