Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Happy National Cheesecake Day!

Usually when I hear about these holidays, I'm like, 'Really?  Should we really be calling that a holiday?'  With cheesecake, I'm totally on board.  It's National Cheesecake Day!  And if you live near a Cheesecake Factory, you can get a slice of cheesecake for half price.  If you don't, or only believe in homemade, here's a couple ideas for you.  These are some of my favorite cheesecakes.  I like most of these more than any cheesecake I've ever eaten, restaurants included.  Hurry and make one today! :)

Cookies and Cream Cheesecake- Oreo cookie crust, vanilla cheesecake with Oreo chunks.  Topped with crushed Oreos and white chocolate drizzle/ganache.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake- Graham cracker crust with vanilla cheesecake, covered with cinnamon apples, caramel, pecans and melted marshmallow.  (And I think toasted coconut would be good here.  Like it on an apple?  Throw it on your cheesecake.)

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake- Spiced graham cracker crust with pumpkin cheesecake covered with caramel and toffee bits.  Maybe it's just for fall.  Maybe not.

Turtle Cheesecake-  Vanilla wafer crust with a chocolate cheesecake base, pecans, caramel and white and dark chocolate.

Have a great Cheesecake Day!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Table Talk: Southwestern Black Bean Salad

 It's my week to host and when I chose this recipe, I wanted to pick something easy.  I haven't really been feeling like spending a ton of time in the kitchen lately.  I think it's because I'm pregnant (with someone else's baby) and nothing really sounds that great.  Then, late last week, we got some devastating news.  My little baby nephew had passed away in his sleep.  It was the most heart-breaking experience but at the same time, there was such an out-pouring of love for my brother and his family, it was lovely to see.  Our weekend was spent crying and driving and then more crying and driving and I don't know that we'll recover anytime soon.  This recipe ended up being about all a person can handle after something like that.  I knew it would be easy and once I got in the kitchen to make it, I found my kitchen to be what it always is-therapeutic.  I know some people won't understand but sometimes I think cooking keeps me sane.  Once I got in there I decided to bake some bread because fresh baked bread makes everything seem a little better.  And also because I knew Calvin wouldn't be too savvy on the dinner plans but he always likes bread. :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Table Talk: Pasta Salad plus Sun-Dried Tomatoes minus Arugula

 Last time I made something with Arugula in it, my family wasn't impressed.  I decided to leave it out of our pasta salad since I didn't want to watch everyone pick it out and waste it.  I'm wondering though if I should have given it a go.  I'm thinking that the vinegar in the dressing might have been enough to tame the overwhelming flavor that arugula can have.  Next time, I'll have to throw it in and see how it goes.  I threw in some olives and I had deli sliced provolone that I cut it into strips.  The recipe called for whole wheat penne but whole grain works too, right?  I didn't have parsley so I substituted basil.  Next time I would add quite a bit more than 1 T.

My husband and I liked this dish.  It was easy to make and worked perfectly for last night because I made it and then put it in the fridge for an hour while I took Hadlee to swimming and it was ready to eat when we got home, starving.  Calvin didn't love it but his palate is pretty sensitive and things with vinegar usually aren't his cup of tea.  He took a couple bites and then poured himself a bowl of Life cereal.  
I think this would also be great with some cucumbers for crunch and anything else you like with vinegar-like dressing.

If you'd like the recipe you can buy the book or get it at Jen O's blog.  She was our host for the week and chose the recipe.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Berry Cheesecake Salad (Red, White and Blue)

Are you still deciding on your 4th of July menu?  I, personally, like to wait until the last possible minute.  I'm one of those people.  Decisions are hard for me.  Especially really big ones, like menu finalization.  I have to think about it for a few days and weigh all options before committing.  Some people might say it's smart planning to look at every angle.  Others might say I should just make up my mind already and quit being such a procrastinator.  (I tend to fall in with the latter crowd, I don't know what my problem is.)  Well, if you're anything like me and you're still looking for ideas for what to take to a barbecue or what to make for guests, this 'salad' is super easy and a complete crowd pleaser.

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