Sunday, February 24, 2013


I remember the first time I had cheesecake, I was about 10 years old at a church potluck. My best friend's mom brought a cherry cheesecake and I thought I had died and gone to heaven! And that is quite fitting because today my friend, Annie, is making cheesecake with me. She is 10 years old, loves to dance and loves One Direction. I'm not quite sure who they are, but I have a feeling I'm the only one! I'm super excited to have a girl in the kitchen with me today, let's get cooking:)

Beginning with the graham cracker crust, place crackers, sugar and butter in a food processor and pulse until fully combined. Pour it into a spring form pan, pat down with a drinking glass and bake for 10 min. I would give you pictures of this, but Annie & I were having so much fun that we forgot to take them!

Ok, moving on to the filling (and the pictures!), place cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Make sure it's at room temperature or your cheesecake will be lumpy- not good! Give it a mix to break it up.

Next add in the vanilla and sugar and mix well, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Isn't it already looking delicious?!

Finally, add in your room temperature eggs 1 at a time, scrape down the sides of the bowl and give it one last mix. Definitely nice having extra hands in the kitchen, thank you Annie!!!

While the crust is hot, pour the cheesecake mixture into the crust and give it a little shake to even out the filling. Reduce the oven temp and place the pan back in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Start checking after 35 minutes so that it doesn't over bake.

You'll know when the cheesecake is done when the center 2-3 inches jiggles a little when you tap the pan. At this point turn your oven off and crack the door a few inches, let sit for about an hour. When the cheesecake is at room temperature move it into the fridge to fully chill.

While the cheesecake is chilling make the topping. In a small mixing bowl combine sour cream, sugar, vanilla and salt.

Mix until sugar is fully dissolved.

To unmold the cheesecake, gently unlatch the hinge on the spring form pan and wiggle til the cake is free from the sides of the mold. Run a long knife all the way under to loosen the crust from the bottom of the pan and place on a serving plate.

Pour the sour cream topping on top of the cheesecake and spread evenly.

Annie- that looks great! Thanks for all your help today, I had so much fun:)


1 pkg graham crackers
6 T melted butter
¼ c sugar

In oven place rack on middle shelf, second rack on bottom. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse ingredients in food processor till desired consistency and combined (I like mine super fine). If you don’t have a food processor then place crackers on a Ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin. Place crushed crackers in a med bowl along with remaining ingredients, combine well. Place in a 9” spring form pan and pat down with a drinking glass. Place spring form pan on a cookie sheet and bake for about 10 min, or till lightly brown. While the crust is baking prepare the cheesecake filling.

1 ½ lb cream cheese (3 pkgs)
1 c sugar
1 t vanilla
3 eggs 

1 c sour cream
¼ c sugar
1 T vanilla
1/8 t salt

Bring cream cheese and eggs to room temp (I leave mine out over night and bake in the morning, if you’re baking in the afternoon then pull out that morning). Place cream cheese in mixing bowl and beat on med speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add in sugar and vanilla till well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each egg. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix briefly making sure to mix thoroughly.

When crust is done remove it from the oven and turn the oven down to 300 degrees. Place a pan of hot water on the bottom rack. While the crust is still hot pour in the cheesecake filling and bake at 300 degrees for about 45 min, start checking after 40 min. The cheesecake is done when the middle 2-3 inches is still slightly jiggly when the pan is tapped. Turn oven off, leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door cracked for 1 hour. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let chill completely in the fridge. When cheesecake is cooled mix the sour cream, sugar, vanilla and salt till completely combined and spread over the top of the cheesecake. Cover and chill. About 1 hour before serving pull the cheesecake out of the fridge to remove the chill. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Butternut Coconut Kale Soup

This soup is a new recipe for me. I love that it has that comfort food feel on these cold winter days, but it's super healthy, too. The butternut squash is a little sweet, coconut milk makes it really creamy and the kale gives a nice added texture, not to mention that it's super nutritious! I hope you like it:)

I've peeled and chopped up a medium butternut squash.

Add the squash into a crock pot along with onion, garlic, water and seasonings. Set to high and cook for 3 hours.

At this point, using a hand blender, puree the veggies til smooth.

Add a handful of kale (make sure you remove the thick stems) and cook on low for another hour.

Once the kale has cooked down add coconut milk and stir until it's combined well. Coconut milk will loose flavor the longer it cooks, since it doesn't need cooking I'm adding it at the end so I get the full yummy coconutty flavor that I love:) At this point it's done, just give it a little taste for seasoning (mine just needed some salt) and enjoy!

Butternut Coconut Kale Soup

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped
1 c water
1 T basil
salt & pepper
handful kale, rinsed, chopped & stems removed
1 can coconut milk

Place onion, garlic, squash, water, basil, salt & pepper in crock pot. Set to high and cook for 3 hours. Using a hand blender, puree cooked veggies until smooth. Add in kale, cook on low 1 more hour. Once the kale is cooked down add in coconut milk and stir til combined. Taste for seasoning and enjoy.

*If you want to omit the kale just add coconut milk after you blend the veggies, it's ready to serve at this point.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Aunt Lovilla's Salsa

May I begin by saying that this salsa rocks? Well, I just did so there:) Seriously though, if you're going to take the time to make fresh salsa, then this is the salsa you want.  Just after I had my first son my husbands aunt Lovilla came for a visit.  She made this amazing salsa and my husband asked if I would get the recipe so that I could make it for him. Being the dutiful wife that I am (hey now, I herd that snicker!) I obliged. Little did I know that it would soon become a favorite not just of my family's, but friends, too. Yes, I have been scolded more than once for not bringing it to a potluck, or preparing it for guests. Please learn from my mistakes, bring it to all your functions and enjoy the praises that abound for your diligence:)

Begin by finely chopping the jalepenos and garlic cloves. First remove the stems and seeds from the jalepenos, and the paper from the garlic cloves.

With a food processor or blender on, drop the jalepenos and garlic cloves into the machine. You can see in the bowl I've already dropped the garlic in here.

Scrape down the sides of the work bowl and add in tomatoes and seasonings, puree.

Place that into a medium size bowl.

Back in the work bowl of your food processor or blender add in the remaining tomatoes along with the tomatillos and cilantro. Pulse until chopped but still chunky.

Pour that on top of your puree.

Last into the bowl go the sliced green onions.  Stir to combine and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips and enjoy!

Aunt Lovilla's Salsa:

2 cloves garlic
3-6 jalapeƱo’s (I use 3)
1 ½ t salt
1 t ground oregano -or- 1 ½ t crushed oregano
½ lb fresh tomatillos (about 3-4 medium sized)
¾ bunch cilantro, chopped
1-28 oz can diced tomatoes, divided
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin

With a food processor or blender on, drop the jalepenos and garlic cloves into the machine. Place 1 c tomatoes, oregano and salt in food processor or blender and puree. Place that in a medium sized bowl. Place remaining tomatoes along with tomatillos and cilantro in processor/blender. Pulse til chunky and add that to the bowl. Add thinly sliced onions to bowl and mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, over night is better. Enjoy!