Saturday, December 31

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake With a Ginger Crust and Orange Curd Sauce

I made this cheesecake for our Christmas Eve dessert at my Inlaws. It was SO good... Orange Creamsicle turned cheesecake!

It was so good we dived in before taking pictures... so I apologize for this half eaten snap shot!!

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake w/  a Ginger Crust and Orange Curd Sauce



2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup melted butter

2 tbs sugar

1 tbs ginger


3 packages of room temp cream cheese.

16 oz container of sour cream

1 1/3 cup sugar

5 room temp eggs

1/4 cup flour

2 vanilla beans

2 tsp fresh squeezed orange juice

Orange Curd Sauce:

The zest of 4 large oranges

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 stick of butter cut into 1 tbs chunks

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat oven to 325.

Make a water bath by filling a large pan with hot water about half way. (I use my turkey roaster)

Wrap a spring form pan with foil on the outside sealing the bottom so no water can seep through to the cake during the baking process.

In a small mixing bowl combine all of your crust ingredients with a fork. Press into your spring form pan going about and inch up the sides. Set in the freezer while mixing your cake ingredients.

In your electric mixer on medium speed cream your cream cheese and sugar together. Add in your sour cream. And then your eggs one at a time.

split your vanilla beans in half length wise, with the back of a spoon or butter knife remove all the seeds from the pod. Add into cream cheese mixture.

Add in your orange juice.

Mix in your flour.

Remove crust from the freezer and add in your cheesecake batter.

Place spring form pan into your water bath bake for 60 minutes.

Open your oven door and let the cheesecake sit until it cools to room temp.

Refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours before serving.

For your Orange Curd Sauce

Fill a 2 qt sauce pan half way with water. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium.

Place an oven safe bowl on top of your boiling water pan creating a double boiler.

 In your double boiler, whisk together your eggs, sugar, zest and juice. Constantly whisk dropping in 1 tbs of butter at a time. Wait for your butter tbs's to completely melt before adding the next.

Continue to whisk until your sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

Mix in a pinch of salt.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Pour over slice of cheesecake.

Tuesday, December 27

My Favoirte Recipes of 2011

Here is a list of MY favorite recipes that I have shared with you all on my blog this year.

These are all recipes that got rave reviews from my three bigest critics.... My husband, my 4r old, and my 2 yr old.

#10: Crock Pot Roasted Chicken

We make this chicken WEEKLY. It is moist, flavorful, and has a crispy skin. What more can you ask for in a roasted chicken? Not only is it great the first night... you have fantastic chicken leftovers for soups/stews/salads/casseroles....

#9 Brown Butter Strawberry Banana Muffins

Are these not the cutest looking muffins ever? This was a Joy The Baker inspired recipe.

#8 S'more Pie

Words can't describe this pie! It was a HUGE hit in our home.... especially with the hubby!

#7 Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes

I have to admit... I have never made these for my husband. He's been missing out big time! These are a favorite with the boys.

#6 Lemon Basil Muffins

This muffin was love at first bite!

#6 Baked Chick Peas

What a great healthy snack. The hubby boys and I all love these!

#5  White Chocolate Wild Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

You all know how much fun the boys have in the kitchen with me.... well this genius cookie was a creation of my 4yr old son Owen.... My future baker!

#4 Maple Brown Sugar Cream Pie

This pie was a winner and  all around perfect! Huge hit at Thanksgiving as well!

#3 Cinnamon Bun Quick Bread

Oh my was this good, and easy, and wicked cute!

#2 Apple Pie Pops

This was another fun project to do with the kids this fall... they were a hit at my Owen's Preschool snack time!

#1 Orange Curd Cheesecake

Start off 2012 with this recipe! It's fanflippintastic.

Thursday, December 22

White Chocolate Cashew Caramel Popcorn

White Chocolate Cashew Caramel Popcorn
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 quarts popped popcorn
1 cup cashew pieces
4 oz melted white chocolate (I use vanilla candy coating... or almond bark)


 Preheat oven to 250. 

Place popcorn  in a very large bowl.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat. 

Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. At your 30 minute mark mix in your cashews. 

Remove from oven and drizzle melted white chocolate over the pieces. Let it completely before braking it into smaller pieces.

Spiced Pecan Brown Sugar Meringue Cookies

I love brown sugar meringue on top of pies or used for cookies. So much yummier than the average meringue!

I adapted this recipe from a previous post I did over the summer.

Spiced Pecan Brown Sugar Meringue Cookies


3 egg whites
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup pecans
pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 225.

In your mixer beat eggs and salt on high till soft peaks form. Slowly add in brown sugar continue to beat on high till stiff peaks form and it's glossy looking. Beat in vanilla and spices.

Fold in pecans.

Drop in 1 to 2 tbs dollops or pipe kisses onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 1 hour.

Turn oven off and crack the door let them stay in there until they completely cool.

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm sure so many of you have seen this this amazing combo floating around on Pinterest or on other blogs.

If you have not done it yet.... DO IT.

I want to kiss whoever came up with this genius idea!

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe adapted from Rock Recipes

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 oz semisweet chocolate
1 pack of double stuffed oreos
Preheat oven to 350.
In your electric mixer cream sugars and butter together until light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time on medium/low speed.
In a medium a sift together flour, salt and baking soda.
Add into sugar/butter mixture. Mix until it is all combined.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Roll into 1-2 inch balls. place oreo on top of one ball and then top that with another. Push them together sealing the oreo in the cookie dough.
Bake for about 15 minutes. Or until cookies are golden brown.
Makes about 20 large cookies.

Monday, December 19

Milk Chocolate Toffee Fudge. The best easiest fudge you'll ever make!

This is my go to Christmas Fudge recipe. I make it every year because I am normally pressed for time when it comes to making my cookie/candy tins.

This is truly fool proof ANYONE can make it!

Easy Milk Chocolate Toffee Fudge

3 cups milk chocolate chips
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 cup toffee bits (optional)


In a medium sauce pan over low medium add in your can of milk and chocolate. Stir until smooth and every piece of chocolate has melted.

Stir in vanilla and salt.

Pour into a foil lined dish (the small the dish the thicker it is, the larger the dish the thinner it is)

Sprinkle toffee bits over the top.

Let it set at room temp overnight OR refrigerate for 2 hours.  Peel back foil and cut into squares. Store in an air tight container at room temperature.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake

Cheesecake is hands down my favorite food on earth.

If I had to plan my last meal it would consist of any and every kind of cheesecake you could think of!

Considering how much I love it.... I rarely make it. There is something somewhat intimidating about making the perfect Cheesecake.

I had given up on making them because my Sister In law Lindsay makes the best cheesecakes known to man. In the past few years the few times I actually get to eat a slice is when she makes them for family events.

BUT last Christmas I gave it a whirl... I made a delish almond cheesecake that my Aunts and Uncles raved about at the family party and I was requested to make one again this year. What they didn't know was that cheesecake had a giant crack down the middle that I masked with a whipped cheese topping. Yes it tasted great... but it was NOT blog worthy.

This cheesecake is more than blog worthy.... it's the best one I have ever made. It consisted of a traditional graham crust, a cheesecake layer, a white chocolate peppermint cheesecake layer, then a sour cream whipped peppermint layer with teeny tiny bits of candy cane crunch.


White Chocolate Peppermint Cheesecake
Adapted from Hannafords Magazine Nov. 2010

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tbs sugar
1/2 cup melted butter

5 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese at room temp
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 each eggs
1 oz of melted white chocolate
1/2 cup finely ground peppermint candy canes
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup coursly ground candy canes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a 9-inch springform pan with vegetable cooking spray. Wrap the outside of the pan with aluminum foil. (This will keep water from getting in while the cheesecake bakes in a water bath.) Have ready a large roasting pan that will hold the springform pan.
In a medium bowl combine graham crumbs, sugar, and melted butter until well mixed. Pour into the prepared pan and press into an even, compact layer, going slightly higher (about 1 inch) on the sides. Chill until filling is ready.
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar and mix on high speed with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly and scraping sides of bowl with a spatula after each addition.
Pour 2/3 of the batter into prepared pan.
Add finely ground candy canes to remaining batter and melted chocolate mix until well combined. Pour candy cane batter in an even layer on top of the first layer. Place pan in the larger roasting pan (like a turkey roaster) and fill with hot water about halfway up the side of the spring form pan (but not above the foil).
Bake 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 325. Continue to bake for about 30-40 more minutes. It is done when it is evenly browned on the top and slightly giggles. (if it cracks it is overcooked). Open oven door and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for about another 15-30 minutes. Remove and cool to room temp, run a sharp knife around the edges then refrigerate for 2 hours.
In your electric mixer on  high speed whip 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add in 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of sour cream whip until it is combined and the sugar dissolves. Add in your 1/4 cup of coarsely ground candy canes. Fold in with  a rubber spatula. Spread over the cheesecake in an even layer and refrigerate at least another 2 hours.
I refrigerated mine for about 24 hours before adding the sour cream layer and then placed it back into the fridge for another 2 hours before serving.

Friday, December 16

Brown Butter Toffee Pecan Blondies

Don't you just want to jump into a bowl of browned butter and drink it?


Well I do!

The combo of brown butter, dark brown sugar, toffee bits and pecans is aaaawwweeeessome!!!

Brown Butter Toffee Pecan Blondies
Adapted from Martha Stewart


1 1/4 cups butter
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup  sugar
3 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup toffee bits
Melted chocolate (optional)

In a medium bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

In  a small sauce pan over medium heat brown your butter. (melt and cook until it is a golden brown color and gets a nutty smell) Set aside.

In your mixer with the paddle attachment mix your sugars, eggs, and vanilla together.

Slowly pour in your browned butter.

Slowly add in your flour mixture. Mix until everything is just Incorporated.

Fold in your toffee and pecans.

Pour batter into a greased or parchment paper lined  9x13 baking dish.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Drizzle with melted chocolate. (optional)

Chocolate Hugs and Kiss Blossom Cookies, A Santa Favorite

My boys have been making Santa cookies up the wazzoo. This was a fun cookie for the kids to get involved with.

They had a blast rolling balls of cookie dough, then rolling them through sprinkles and colored sugar  pushing kisses into the centers and last but not least dunking them into their glasses of milk.

Chocolate Hugs and Kiss Blossom Cookies
Recipe adapted from HERSHEY'S


1 cup butter                                  
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cupsall-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoonsalt
1bag Hershey hugs/kiss (or other kiss flavor)
Additional sugar/ sprinkles for rolling


Preheat oven to 350.

In your electric mixer cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add in eggs one at a time mixing on medium speed.

Mix in vanilla.

In a medium mixing bowl sift flour, cocoa, and salt together. Slowly add into you electric mixer.

Mix on medium about 30-60 seconds until it is all combined.

Roll you dough into 1 inch balls, then roll in sugar or sprinkles.

Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 minutes.

Let cool for 60 seconds and then push a kiss into the center. Cool on cooling racks.

The white chocolate kisses are fussy if you are not careful they will melt into a pile of goo. For quicker hardening to prevent this I popped mine in the freezer.

Thursday, December 15

Congrats to the winner of my first Giveaway!

Tara from Crunchier By The Day you have just one a Cuisinart Immersion Hand Blender.

You have until tomorrow at 9pm  to claim your prize! So Check your email.

Thank you all so much for entering and helping me raise 1000 facebook fans! You are all the best and I can't wait for the next giveaway!


Tuesday, December 13

Honey Drops (DIY Cough Drops)

When my kiddos get sick with a cough or sore throat. A spoon full of honey does the trick.

Not only does it help the scratchy throats they LOVE honey. We even used honey as a bribe to potty train my oldest son. When he did his business on the potty, I gave him a squirt of honey in his mouth.
Worked better than stickers and M&M's!

Being that this is our first year having a child in the school system (Owen is in Preschool) our whole family has been hit hard this fall with colds and sickies that we just can't seem to kick. My youngest son Chase has had a slight cold/cough off and on for weeks. He gets better than he catches something else with in days!

 I saw these on Pinterest I knew I needed to make them asap to help my poor boys throat!

So if you find your self in a house of sick kiddies and you want to give them something to sooth their throat that is all natural whip up a small batch of these drops! They last allot longer than a spoon full honey that's for sure!

Honey Drops


Honey as much or as little as you'd like! I used 3/4 a cup.


In a small sauce pan over low/med heat add your honey. Bring to a low boil. Clip your candy thermometer to the side of the pan. When it reaches about 300 (hard crack stage) remove it from the heat being very careful because honey burns easily!

On a piece of parchment paper or wax paper, pour tsp sized drops leaving room for them to spread a bit.

You can also lay a pop stick and pour about a tbs sized drop on top of it making honey pops... which works great with the kids!

Leave them on your counter to harden. Takes about 20 minutes.

Wrap individually in parchement paper and store in an air tight container. Should last 3-4 weeks.

This recipe was linked at...

Monday, December 12

Mint Fudge Ecstasies Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap Recipe

What fun this Great Blogger Cookie Swap has been!

I was so Excited to see that Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen were going to host a Blogger Cookie Swap. I jumped at the chance to sign up!  

So far I have only received 2 of my 3 boxes of cookies from fellow bloggers. I think there is a good chance the 3 dozen will show up any day now.

I received my first dozen from a blogger named Krissy @ Krissy Creations. They were a Black Forest Chocolate Crinkle Cookie. YUM.

My second dozen was from a foodie friend! I was so excited when I got the package and I saw the City/State I was like I KNOW this if from Hilary @ Baking Bad!  

Which is funny because I had this gut feeling for weeks that it was going to be her!

 She sent some Rain Deer Crunch Cookies. My kids loved… I told them a whole story about how I have a friend who works in Santa’s Bake Shop, and she sent us some of Santa’s Rain Deer's favorite cookies! They were over the moon excited. Someone from the NORTH POLE sent THEM something!!

Fun fun…..

Now for my cookies! I stuck to what I knew on this one… And combined 3 of my most favorite cookies of all time. So these were inspired by That Skinny Chick Can Bake  Black Gold Cookies and my Own Mint Chocolate Cookies. For years I made a BHG Chocolate Ecstasy Cookie…. If ever a cookie deserved the name Ecstasy it  is that cookie… as does this chocolate Mint Ecstasy cookie!

It's fudge, it's cookie, it's brownie.
 All in one!

Mint Fudge Ecstasies


1 ½  cups mint chocolate chips ( I use Andes)
1 ½ cups semi sweet chocolate chips
3 oz unsweetened Bakers Chocolate
3 tbs unsalted butter


2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour

 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp baking powder


Pre heat oven to 350

In a sauce pan over medium/low heat melt butter, unsweetened and semi sweet chocolate together until smooth. Set aside.

In your stand mixer with the paddle attachment mix the eggs and sugar together for 4-6 minutes on med speed.

Add in the chocolate. Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds.

Sift flower, baking powder and salt together. Hand mix it into your chocolate mixture. Mix in vanilla and mint chips until just combined.

Drop 1 tbs mounds onto  parchment paper lined cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Let them cool for 1 minutes on cookie sheets before transferring them to your cooling racks.

Enjoy with a LARGE glass of milk!! 


UPDATE: I just got my 3rd box of cookies!! Thank you Jillian DNA and Dessert your Chocolate Chip Chia Bars were a hit!

This recipe was linked at....

Sunday, December 11

DIY Eggnog Latte

I love love love love a Latte. Lattes of any kind!

This fall I was a fan of the Pumpkin Latte.... now this winter I'm a fan of the Eggnog Latte.

This one blows the pumpkin out of the water... it's the best!

And it costs probably 1/4 of the price as a Grande at Starbucks!

Eggnog Latte

3/4 a cup of milk ( I use 2%)
1/2 cup eggnog
2 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 shot of espresso
Dash of nutmeg (freshly grated preferred)


In a small sauce pan heat milk, eggnog, sugar, and vanilla until hot. DO NOT BOIL. Make sure to stir it so it doesn't curdle.

Pour into your favorite jumbo mug.

With your immersion blender submerge into mug until it is nice a foamy. If your mug is over filled.... you will have a big mess on your hands!

Pour in your shot of espresso.

Sprinkle with nutmeg.

This recipe was linked at...

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Beer and Cheese Veggie Soup

I started my Saturday off with a big plan to make a loaded baked potato soup. Once I got looking around in my fridge I saw some veggies that needed to be used up and I also had some of Hubby's beer...

This is the perfect weekend hearty soup to having going on the stove.

I like to to have it ready by lunch time and them simmer my soups through the afternoon, so I can have small bowls all afternoon long! I probably eat way to much this way but on a cold Saturday afternoon who cares!

Friday, December 9

Butt Kicking Chicken White Bean Chili (Game Day Recipe Post)

It has been awhile since I posed a Game Day Recipe.... I've been in Holiday mode for quite sometime....

But oh how I love Chili.

So I just have to share this one with you all! Cookies and Candy will be back next week!

My parents practically live off the stuff.

My dad doesn't cook much... but one thing he makes every week sometimes more, is a big batch of his chili.

Now we have this ongoing argument... that HIS chili is not chili at all... I think it is more of a soup if anything.

And he puts mushrooms in it... I'm not a fan. Mushrooms in chili just don't do it for me.

Though I do have to say despite the thinness and the shrooms it has great flavor.

Not too long ago I had a batch of MY chili (which kicks butt!) made up for when he came over to help me fix a lawn mower so I dished him up a hot bowl topped it off with lots of shredded cheese and the works.

He ate maybe... 1/2 of it and wouldn't finish it.

The man obviously doesn't know good food when it kicks him in the head. I think he wouldn't eat it just on principle and wouldn't admit that it was any good.... because according to him he makes good Chili!

I'm telling you my chili rocks!

Normally I do a traditional hamburg, black bean, pinto bean chili. But from time to time I like to use shredded beef, venison, chicken, or turkey.

This recipe can easily be adapted to any kind of meat you' d like or even if you want to switch up the beans.

Tuesday, December 6

Sea Salted Cashew Nut Brittle

When I was growing up my mom made these huge baskets filled with candies, fudge, jellies/jams, pickles, relish... and many more homemade goodies every year for Christmas gifts.

I looked forward to helping her with the candy every year. Some of my favorites were her peanut butter fudge, rocky road, chocolate covered cherries, and church windows.

I used to think Church Windows were the coolest by far... I had so much fun seeing what they would look like once she sliced into them. And what kid doesn't love colored mallows?

For those of you that don't know what they are here is a picture....

Photo from

When I became a teen I started making my own things. The 2 things I mastered in high school were peanut butter cookies... and peanut brittle.

I made peanut brittle for  years afterwards as Christmas gifts.

I have made it so many times I've memorized the recipe.  I think this might be one of the few recipes I know just like that.

So here is a twist on my peanut brittle recipe....

Monday, December 5

Chocolate Fudge Caramel Cashew Cookies

Is it a cookie? Fudge? Or a Brownie?

A little of all 3 I suppose.

And to bring it over the top... salty cashews and gooey chewy caramel.

These cookies were a HUGE hit over the weekend!

When I saw these Black Gold Cookies on Foodgawker. I immediately pinned it. The next day I new I wanted to make them.

I had a big ol' tin of cashews and a bag or caramels calling my name as well.

So there you have it....

I'm alive

Sorry for the lack of recipes lately! I have been a bit busy with sick kiddos, Christmas shopping, Christmas parties and other festivities.

I have a couple new cookie recipes to share with you soon!

But until then check out some of these great Holiday Recipes I've come across the past few days that I HAVE to make.....

Peppermint Red Velvet Roll

Red Velvet Hot Cocoa.... w/ Cream Cheese Whipped Cream!!

Ginger Snap Ice Cream Cones

Voot Beer Floats

Snicker Doodle Creme Brulee

Turtle Cookies

Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

Thursday, December 1

Almond Raspberry Cookies

Are these not the perfect looking holiday cookie for you cookie swaps or Christmas gift baskets/tins?

These were a spur of the moment kind of cookie.

I needed Marzipan for a recipe I wanted to make this week... but I being me... and not reading the labels. I grabbed Almond Paste. Which is not quite the same as Marzipan.

I came across these cookies on foodgawker the other day and I knew I wanted to make something for the Holidays that looked similar.

Then I found myself with a box of almond paste....

So I googled almond paste cookies.... and I found these cookies.

I guess I was supposed to make some star cut out cookies!