Tag Archives: sinner

S’mores Cheesecake Bars

3 Jun



The opportunity to bake a sinful treat arose this past week as my client site had a cookout.  While I didn’t have to do anything besides contribute $5, I really wanted to make a new treat.  Bryan loves when these inspirations hit me!  I thought something s’mores related would be a win.  I found a number of s’mores bars that I wasn’t all that jazzed about, but then I came across a s’mores bar WITH CHEESECAKE recipe.  Thanks to Annie’s Eats, I had some happy co-workers.  Thank goodness too because these  phenom bars involved the labor of love!  This recipe yields about 12-16 bars which was not enough for the crowd I was making them for.  Thus, I doubled this recipe.  Still, not a big deal until you 1) only have one 8 x 8 pan 2) arrive at the grocery store at 10 pm to gather ingredients and 3) don’t begin making them until 10:30 pm on a Wednesday night.  I felt accomplished as I climbed into bed at 1:30 am! 

In the spirit of being a balanced bean, I lightened this recipe ever so slightly by using reduced-fat versions of cream cheese and sour cream.  Probably did not make a world of difference, but I feel good about that choice and how the taste was not compromised in the slightest 🙂



For the crust:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake:
4 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup light sour cream
½ cup marshmallow cream
2 tsp. cocoa powder
¾ tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs

For the topping:
1½ cups mini marshmallows
Milk chocolate chips, melted (optional)


To make the crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line an 8×8″ baking pan with enough foil for the edges of the foil to be easily pulled out (this matters later on!); spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a small bowl.  Stir together with a fork until well combined.  
  3. Press the mixture in an even layer into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.  Bake 10 minutes; transfer to a wire rack while you prepare the filling.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325˚ F.

To make the filling:

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally.  Alternatively, place chopped chocolate in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 30 second increments at 50% power, stirring each time.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.  
  2. Using a standup or hand mixer, combine the cream cheese, sour cream and marshmallow cream.  Beat on medium-high speed until smooth and well combined, 1-2 minutes.  Blend in the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and eggs until incorporated.  Stir in the melted chocolate until well blended.  
  3. Pour the filling over the graham cracker crust and smooth the top with a spatula.  
  4. Bake about 30 minutes, or until the center is just set (does not jiggle when shaken gently.)  Remove from the oven.                                                                                

To make the topping:

  1. Evenly top the cheesecake layer with the mini marshmallows.  Return to the oven for 2-3 minutes, just long enough so the marshmallows begin to melt into each other.  Transfer your foil pan to a wire cooling rack.  
  2. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the tops of the marshmallows.  Alternatively, this can be done underneath the broiler with a very watchful eye.  I used the broiler for exactly one minute, but I watched it for every one of those 60 seconds!
  3. Once the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, drizzle with melted milk chocolate if desired.  (TIP: Placing melted chocolate chips in a ziplock bag and cutting a tiny tip of the bottom off creates a great little piping bag for drizzling the chocolate)  
  4. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill 2-3 hours before slicing and serving. This is important because it sets the cheesecake.  It will look like this before you begin to slice and serve:IMG_20130530_090626_777

Lightened Up Moist Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

15 Oct

Another recipe resulting from apple picking.  Bryan cited this one as one of his favorite treats I’ve made in a while.  This is big seeing as chocolate is typically his calling.  I share in this being a favorite as of late.  It was extremely moist and indicative of the fall season.  Exactly what I was hoping for.  I used this recipe from a fellow blogger who LOVES apples and has a whole series of apple recipes.  I modified slightly using whole wheat flour and greek yogurt in place of all-purpose flour and sour cream.  I would suspect the whole wheat makes it taste a bit more hearty than would regular flour, but it made me feel a little better about the stick of buttaaaa.  On a final note,  you will be shocked at how thick this coffee cake is.  I mean LOOK at this…  Enjoy!


Crumb Topping:

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup and 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour


  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Coffee Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup and 2 TBSP plain greek yogurt
  • 2 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups apples, peeled and chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease or use cooking spray to prepare a square baking dish.
  2. To prepare your crumb topping, mix all ingredients except the flour in a medium bowl.  Once combined, slowly add the flour and mix with a fork.  The delicious crumbles will form!  Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the filling ingredients. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk all of the dry cake ingredients together.  Slowly add milk, greek yogurt, eggs, and vanilla until mixed.  Fold the apples in gently.                   
  5. Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan.  Add the dry filling ingredients distributing as evenly as possible.  Add remaining cake batter.                             
  6. Break up your topping crumbs with a fork.  Cover the batter with the crumb topping.
  7. Bake 70-75 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Do your best to allow it to cool completely before serving (Full disclosure: We made it maybe 5 minutes…)

Rolo Cake Mix Bars

21 Sep

I recently discovered a go-to sinful desserts blog called Cookies & Cups.  From cookie bars to cakes to breads, she (Shelly) delivers recipes that don’t disappoint those of us with a huge sweet tooth.  I have made her Hot Fudge Cheesecake Bars, Toffee Cake Mix Bars, and most recently the Rolo Cake Mix Bars.  I’m taking you into the weekend with an easy, 4 ingredient, and totally nom-able treat here, but I can promise that Monday will bring a tasty and healthy meal to recover with.  Monday’s forecast?  100% chance of Pomegranate Glazed Skirt Steak with Roasted Green Beans.  My stomach is full of this pure joy as I write this actually.  Stay tunnnnned!


  • 1 box (18.25 oz- you need this size not 15.25 oz) yellow, vanilla or white cake mix ( I used Duncan Hines), dry
  • 5 oz evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 40 Rolo Candies, unwrapped and cut in half (the least fun part of making these is unwrapping all these little boogers)


  1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees and spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, blend cake mix, evaporated milk, and butter until combined with hand mixer. Mixture will be thick and sticky.
  3. Divide batter in half and press 1 half into the bottom of the pan.  ( I accidentally bought the smaller box of cake mix so mine was not as dry as it should have been yet it all turned out just fine.)                                                              
  4. Bake until just set, approximately 8-9 minutes.
  5. Remove base from oven and arrange your Rolos, caramel-side down.      
  6. Drop remaining batter on top of Rolos in teaspoon-sized amounts.
  7. Bake for 20-24 minutes longer until top begins to golden.
  8. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Sin City and All Of Its Sinful Food

1 May

Sin City by Night ...simply beautiful!

Pardon my absence for the past week and a bit.  I had been on vacation in Vegas and was hopeful to drop some posts from there real-time, but truthfully I was taking in all Sin City had to offer with its lavish casinos, entertaining shows, and, of course, delicious cuisine.  First, let me say that I maintained my Balanced Bean persona there thanks to a fantastic gym in our hotel, the Aria.  Also, while some out of control sinner meals were had so were some reasonable meal choices to counteract the fatness.

As the title of this post suggests, I am far more excited to share the sinner meal experiences.  I’ll pay quick tribute to some of the yummy, healthier meals but let’s spend more time exploring the bathing suit body ruining ones.  One of the first breakfasts we had was in advance of our first day at the  pool so we went the healthy direction.  I chose a lowfat yogurt with fresh berries parfait and 2 over easy eggs with a nonfat latte.  Bryan went with eggs, hashbrowns, and toast (which he left behind) as well as a latte.  Thus, we felt alright in bathing suits…for a brief time.

Aria's Cafe Vettro for Breakfast

Ok, you saw a  healthy meal.  Can we please just move on to the sinner meals?  I knew you’d understand!  One of our first dinners ended up being one of our favorite meals from a little, nothing special-looking Italian restaurant in the Venetian called Trattoria Reggiano.  Having been to Italy before, it struck me like a little streetside cafe.  The meal was nothing short of incredible regardless of the look!  We started out with homemade garlic knots which immediately gave the knee jerk reaction of “Mmmmmmmmmmm.” For an appetizer, the FILET MIGNON meatballs all but jumped off the menu at us.  Just as you would expect, they melted in your mouth like a good filet does.  Our main course was a brick oven pizza topped with super fresh mozzarella, sausage, a great tomato sauce, and obvious “hints” of olive oil.  From my description of the meal and these pictures below, don’t you want to fly to Vegas right now?

That meal set the bar high for the rest of the trip, but Bryan already knew a meal that would be had giving this one a true run for its money.  Enter Hash House a Go Go with its “Twisted Farm Food” appeal.  We grabbed this meal for Bryan’s birthday breakfast.  They offer Mango Iced Tea (mango is my all time fav fruit) which made me tre excited immediately and otherwise Bryan’s glowing reviews normally don’t steer me wrong.  We opted for the Brown Sugar Banana Flapjack and one of their signature hash dishes including chorizo sausage, tomato, jalapeno, and cheddar paired with breakfast potatoes and scrambled eggs.  The size of these dishes were NO joke.  The flapjack?  The size of BOTH of our heads practically.  The hash dish?  A definite “to share” entree.  Are you reading this FROM your flight to Vegas, my friends?

Hash House a Go Go

One more Vegas highlight for ya.  I would have loved to share the play by play of the Bellagio buffet dinner we had for my birthday dinner, but quite frankly I was SO excited (like a kid in a candy shop I wanted EVERYTHING) that I didn’t take many pictures.  Instead I spent some quality time with two of my top loves, food and Bryan.  I promise you I did it right because I did not walk out of there when we could stuff ourselves no more- I waddled.  Flowy shirts are a girl’s best friend!  So what I do have to share for a final Vegas highlight is our small plates dinner we had one night.  Another restaurant/bar in our hotel called American Fish offered $5 small plates before 7 pm each afternoon.  As we had a night of lounges and club ahead, we wanted to eat something on the lighter side at least in term of mass.   We ordered 5 savory small plates and 1 sweet small plate (ended up with 2 because they messed up our order to our advantage.)  What you see here is as follows: truffle mac n’cheese with mushrooms and peas, prime rib sandwiches, fish and chips, dungeness crab truffles, shrimp and grits, white chocolate bread pudding, and mascarpone cheesecake.

Aria's American Fish Small Plates

Aria's American Fish Small Plates

Aria's American Fish Small Plates