When We Tried to Make Key Lime Bars


We tried, really hard.  We even gave it a second try.  And we will see how that turns out.  All I know is that sometimes it’s not in the stars to come out with a victory.


But maybe you shall succeed with these!  I wish you luck.  They are a good challenge.  And if they turn out, you will be in possession of squares of paradise: desserts that taste like a vacation in a hot Florida sun.


As far as nutrition goes, I’m not sure these are really chock full of valuable vitamins and minerals.  They’re chock full of animal crackers and condensed milk, however!  Quite the trade off, am I right?


Even though these aren’t healthy, the act of making them is quite therapeutic (even if you don’t end up succeeding at following the recipe…).  I spent time with friends and laughed!  On a Sunday!  Didn’t think that was possible (whaaat?).

We also ordered Thai food for lunch that was much more vegetable oriented than these dessert bars.

Also, this recipe is straight out of Cooks Illustrated.  Yeah…


from cook’s illustrated

5 ounces animal crackers (about 1 1/4 C crumbs) (Try to resist eating all the animal crackers)
3 tbs light or dark brown sugar packed
pinch salt
4 tbsp butter melted and cooled slightly

2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tbsp grated lime zest
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg yolk
1/2 C lime juice (do not use bottled juice) (BE STRONG!!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!!)

Garnish (optional) (NOT AN OPTION!!!! 🙂 )
3/4 C shredded coconut toasted until crisp  (I RECOMMEND THIS!!!!!)

~~note:  I used about 5 limes~~

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut about 12-inch length extra-wide heavy duty foil; fold cut edges back to form 7 1/2-inch width. With folded sides facing down, fit foil securely into bottom and up sides of 8-inch square baking pan, allowing excess to overhang pan sides. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.

2. To Make Crust. In workbowl of food processor, pulse animal crackers until broken down, about ten 1-second pulses; process crumbs until evenly fine, about 10 seconds. Add brown sugar and salt; process to combine, ten to twelve 1-second pulses. Drizzle butter over crumbs and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened with butter, about ten 1-second pulses. Press crumbs evenly and firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until deep golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling. Do not turn off oven.

3. To Make Filling: While crust cools, in medium bowl, stir cream cheese, zest and salt with rubber spatula until softened, creamy and thoroughly combined. Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk vigorously until incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain; whisk in egg yolk. Add lime juice and whisk gently until incorporated (mixture will thicken slightly).

4. To Assemble and Bake: Pour filling into crust; spread to corners and smooth surface with rubber spatula. Bake until set and edges begin to pull away slightly from sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled at least 2 hours.

5. Loosen edges with pairing knife and lift bars from baking pan using foil extensions; cut bars into 16 squares. Sprinkle with toasted coconut if using, and serve. (Leftovers can be refrigerated up to two days; crust will soften slightly. Let stand at room temperature, about 15 minutes before serving.)


Life is Wonderful


I can now say that if I died today, I would die happy.  Let that not be a morbid statement.  That is a statement full of…JOY!

I’m about to namedrop like nobody’s business.  I met Joy the Baker.  I spoke to Joy the Baker.  And yes, I know her real name is not Joy the Baker.  IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHO JOY THE BAKER IS, YOU LIVE UNDER A ROCK.  Your life is sad.  Get some Joy in your life.  Now.


There are so many things to be thankful for every single day.  At this time of year we start to think more about what matters, who we love, who we haven’t told we love.  Tell someone you love them!  Even if you don’t know them.  Even if you do know them, and they don’t know you.  I just did that!  I know Joy!  Does she know me?  In my head, yes.  I told her I loved her!  Is that weird?  Who cares.


Joy wrote in my cookbook.  Well, her cookbook.  That I own.  It’s a beautiful cookbook.  Newest prized possession.


In short, life is now complete.  December 9 should last forever.  I think I’ll mark this day in my calendar and celebrate the anniversary of this momentous occasion forever.

More wonderfulness (and a hockey elbow pad serendipitously placed in the background):


Also, if you were wondering where this happiest moment of my life occurred, it was at the Eat Boutique, which is basically the best thing ever.  I managed to pick up some Coffee Syrup (yup, heaven does exist), sample approximately 83 different types of granola (and finally decide to buy some), caramels, ice cream, popsicles, and get a free cup of drip-brewed coffee from a wonderful person named Alessandro who should totally be my new best friend (um).


Oh by the way, here’s a picture of food if that’s what you came looking for.  Obviously it’s one of Joy’s recipes, created with love.  It’s name is Honey Almond Butter Chocolate Tart and it is not healthy but do we really care?!  EnJOY it!


also follow me on twitter @unleeshed4

Musings about life. And lunch for one.

Friends.  Family.  Strangers.

Cats.  Dogs.

Lovers.  Haters.

Happy daylight savings day, to those of you who live in participating states.  To those of you who do not, never fear.  I think it’s safe to say you’re not missing much.  Unless you get some sort of thrill out of setting your clocks back.  Then I don’t know what to tell you.

Do you remember getting participation awards?  I don’t think they were ever called that, but how many medals did you get just for showing up?  I probably have more of those than awards I’ve actually won.  No big deal though, I’m still a winner, right?  Everybody wins!  Duh.  For real though, when did they stop giving those things out?  I’ve run in a lot of races, people.  Can someone just hand me a dang ribbon?  Is that too much to ask?

Congratulations to all the people who contributed in any sort of way to the Pan Mass Challenge.  $37 million, a new record.  Amazing, right?  How can we not beat cancer with resources like that?  Every year we get better.  Let’s keep it up.

What do I write my next column about?  My last one was written at 11 PM after watching a presidential debate.  And turned in a week after my deadline.  What do you want to eat?  Ugh.  Life is tough.  But I need ideas…seriously.  Like, fast, too.  I’ve got to get eating.  And writing.  That part’s kind of important.  And can I please be reimbursed for this whole column business?  Eating out all the time is not cheap, I will tell you that.  School newspapers…they think everyone’s wallets are limitless!  A word to my editor: that’s just not true!

Here is a lunch for you.  It’s a lunch for one.  Does that sound lonely?  It’s not.  Don’t be worried.  You can make a second for you friend/brother/unicorn/insert [pro]noun here.  You should do that.  All it takes is a little bit of effort and you’ve got a warm dish of yum.  Yay.  Yay for you and me!  Friends forever, right?


adapted from Running to the Kitchen

[serves 1]

1 T evoo

as much kale as you can handle

just under 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced

1 clove of garlic, minced

red pepper flakes, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 or 1/3 cup tomato/marinara sauce

1/3 cup cottage cheese

2 large eggs

Preheat your oven to 375˚F.  Grease/oil an oven-safe ramekin.

In a skillet, saute onion and garlic in oil.  Once onion is translucent, add kale and red pepper flakes and stir around until kale is wilted.  Spoon 2 T sauce into the bottom of the ramekin.  Top with half of the kale mixture followed by half the cottage cheese.  Top with more sauce and then remainder of kale.  Crack two eggs on top, sprinkle remainder of cottage cheese, salt, and pepper.  Bake in oven for 15 minutes.

If eggs are still undercooked at the end of 15 minutes, turn on the broiler and broil for a few minutes until they have reached the desired consistency.

Serve with some good bread 🙂


Time Stops for No Man

Busy, busy, busy.  No time.  Not good.  Messy sink = proof!

Instead of a creation of my own, this week I bring you what’s on my list.  Get inside my head!  Consider this an exclusive, behind-the-scenes pass to my brain.  How excited are you?!

I’ve got a lot of things I want to make right now.  Fall temperatures have me craving roasted flavors and warm food.  Katie’s roasted carrot and peanut butter soup sounds so good right now.  Go make it!  I dare you.

Chocolate chip cookies are a timeless classic, blah blah blah.  Here are some more interesting ones.  Paleo-friendly and gluten-free.  Thank you, Gina!

insert: peaches.  They have gone with the summer.  They are unrelated.  I apologize.

I really like oatmeal.  A lot.  Joy has too many great ideas to go through them all, but here are two of her best oatmeal creations:

Brown Sugar Roasted Fig Oatmeal

Cranberry Toasted Coconut Flax Seed Oatmeal…yeah, I know.

And if I failed you in providing you with a lunch idea, look no further than Shutterbean, where you can find a delightful and healthful tuna salad sandwich.  Tuna is not gross!  Get over yourself.

Forgive me for slacking.  I’ll do better next week.  Eat some kale for me and promise to love me anyway.