Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Easter Basket Mini Cheesecakes - Fifteen Cheesecakes

My blogging friend Camilla is celebrating her wedding anniversary with the blogging event, Fifteen Cheesecakes.  You see she's been married 15 years and served cheesecake at her wedding!  How fun is this!!!  I love cheesecake and paired with a celebration ...  it doesn't get any better than this!!  Happy Anniversary Camilla.  Thanks for sharing it with me!!

Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts.  There's so many delicious varieties of this creamy dessert.  Personally I am a big fan of mini desserts.   Mini desserts are great when you just want a little something sweet!  Also, perfect for family dinners or parties.  Everyone can serve themselves!!

I found so many cheesecakes I thought about making but settled on a regular cheesecake recipe, decorated for the upcoming Easter holiday.  These would be a fun one to make with the kids.  They can help color the coconut and put the jelly beans on top.  You could also use malted milk eggs.  Fun and easy!!

 Easter Basket Mini Cheesecakes
12 vanilla wafers
2 pkg.  (8 oz. each)  Cream Cheese, softened

1/2cup  sugar

1/2tsp.  vanilla

2 eggs

1-1/2cups  coconut, tinted green

36 small jelly beans

HEAT oven to 350°F.
PLACE 1 wafer in each of 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs; beat just until blended. Spoon over wafers.
BAKE 20 min. or until centers are almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 2 hours.
TOP with coconut and jelly beans just before serving. 

Today we are helping Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla celebrate her 15th wedding anniversary with waaaayy more than #fifteencheesecakes.

Here's what everyone brought to the cheesecake table, listed in alphabetical order. Enjoy!

Berry Cheesecake Bars by Baking and Creating with Avril
Cherry Cheesecake Bites by Cookaholic Wife
Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake by Dancing Veggies
Chocolate Cheesecake by My Hobbie Lobbie
Chocolate Topped Peppermint Cheesecake by Amy's Cooking Adventures
Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars by Tara's Multicultural Table
Easter Basket Mini Cheesecakes by Little Bit of Everything
Everyday Cheesecake by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Irish Cream Cheesecake by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Layered Cinnamon Streusel Cheesecake Cake by
Famished Fish, Finicky Shark
Lowfat Blackberry Cheesecake by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Matcha-Yuzu Cheesecake with a Meyer Lemon Glaze by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Mini Churro Caramel Cheesecake by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Mini Maple Pecan Cheesecakes by Join Us, Pull up a Chair
Mudslide Cheesecake by Sew You Think You Can Cook
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake by Angels Homestead
Samoa's cheesecake by Goodie Godmother
Skinny Vanilla Bean Cheesecake by Renee's Kitchen Adventures
Twix Cheesecake Brownie Torte by Making Memories With Your Kids

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Baked Macaroni and Goat Cheese

It's my second month participating with Group C in Secret Recipe Club.  If you want to learn more about Secret Recipe Club, take a look here!

This month I was assigned the blog Rainstorms and Love Notes.  Don't you just love that name?  Who doesn't love rainstorms and love notes!!  Ashley is the creative blogger behind Rainstorms and Love Notes!  She says, "Rainstorms and Love Notes is where I share new recipes, write about life and love, and talk about my obsession with binge-watching TV shows, our 3 cats and the Pittsburgh Steelers."

Ashley has some great recipes on her site, it was hard to choose just one.  Since we're big Mac n Cheese fans at our house, her Goat Cheese Mac n Cheese spoke to me!!  I've never had goat cheese mac n cheese before and wasn't sure what to expect.   The tang of goat cheese makes a delicious mac n cheese.  I love the crunchy addition of panko on the top!!  If you're looking for a new Mac n Cheese recipe, give this one a try!!!

Baked Macaroni and Goat Cheese 
Recipe Courtesy of Rainstorms and Love Notes
Serves 4
2 cups milk
1/4 cup flour, plus 1 tbsp
4 1/2 tbsp butter
1/2 pound macaroni
6 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
olive oil, for drizzling
Heat the milk in a pan over medium heat just until it starts to bubble, or about 5 minutes.

In a separate pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Meanwhile, boil the macaroni according to package directions.

Add the flour into the melted butter and whisk constantly, until the mixture is slightly thick.

Remove the butter mixture from heat and slowly add in the milk, whisking constantly. Once the milk has been added, set back over medium heat and continue to whisk until the mixture is silky and thick, about 3 minutes.

Add the goat cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, and green onions to the milk mixture and melt over low heat, just until the goat cheese has melted.

When the macaroni has finished boiling, drain and stir in to the goat cheese mixture.
Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and top with the Panko breadcrumbs.

Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs have started to brown.

Drizzle with olive oil and enjoy!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts

We love brussels sprouts at our house.  Unlike the brussels of our childhood that were overcooked and a soggy mess, today's brussels are crispy and delicious.  Normally brussels are a side at our house.  This recipe is our hands down favorite!  When I saw this recipe in Food and Wine featuring brussels as a main dish, of course I pinned it for a future dinner.

We liked the flavors in this dish but found it a little dry. I think next time, I would combine a little pasta water with the pasta, brussels and sausage, toast the panko and toss them on top. 

Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts and Sausage Breadcrumb Topping

1/2 pound spaghetti 
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling  
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, thinly sliced (about 3 cups) 
1/2 pound loose pork sausage  
1 cup panko 
2 tablespoons snipped chives  
Kosher salt 
Lemon wedges, for serving
In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the brussels sprouts and sausage and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the sausage is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the panko and cook until crisp, 3 minutes. Stir in the chives and season with salt and pepper. Drain the spaghetti. Top with the brussels sprout mixture, drizzle with olive oil and serve with lemon wedges.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sweet Corn, Gouda and Farro Risotto and Celebrating a Blogging Milestone!

Six years ago this weekend, I posted my first Little Bit of Everything blog post.  Wow, where has the time gone?  In 2009, I began blogging as a way to work through recipes in my extensive cookbook and magazine clipping collection.  There aren't nearly as many cookbook recipes on here as I would like because of all of the recipes found on the internet.  Pinterest has replaced the magazine clippings and although I still use my cookbooks occasionally, many more recipes are inspired by the internet and all of the fabulous bloggers I follow.  I'm not blogging as much as I would like but very much enjoying the hobby when I do find the time.  Thanks to those of you who follow my Little Bit of Everything and take the time to post a comment, it means a lot!  Here's to another six years of blogging!

One of the things I love about blogging is discovering new foods, new to me that is!!!  Have you tried farro?  Farro is "a type of hulled wheat, especially spelt or emmer, typically used in salads, soups, and side dishes."  I had a hard time finding farro.  My regular grocery story only had farro mixed with something in box, like a rice mix.  I'm sure it's readily available at Whole Foods but Whole Foods isn't close to me.  I found a bag of 10 minute farro at Trader Joes.  

I bookmarked this recipe last summer when there was lots of fresh corn on the cob available.  Even though, fresh corn on the cob is no longer in season,  I decided to give this recipe a try with frozen corn.  Feeling rather lazy on a Sunday night, I wondered if I could make this in my rice cooker.  Having made risotto in the rice cooker before,  why not give it a try?  Score, the farro cooked beautifully in the rice cooker. I love that little appliance, one of my favorites!!

Of course, I knew Tim would be a little apprehensive about this Sunday night meal ... no meat.  He said it was good for a change but would be better with chicken or shrimp.  Actually, shrimp might be  a great addition.  I loved this dish, it was meaty even without meat and the nutty flavor of the farro is amazing!  Farro may be replacing quinoa on our dinner table!

Sweet Corn, Gouda and Farro Risotto
Inspired by this Foodie Crush recipe

Serves: serves 3-4 as a main, 6-8 as a side dish
¾ cup farro
1 1/2  - 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, small diced
1 small carrot, small diced
1 stick celery, small diced
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
2 cups frozen corn
1 cup smoked gouda cheese, shredded
¼ cup butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a  10-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté until transparent. Add the sweet corn and stir. Add the farro to toast for a few minutes.
Place the farro mixture into the rice cooker and add the chicken broth.  Stir well and turn on or set your rice cooker to the cook cycle.  When the rice cooker cycle is complete, stir in the butter and gouda.   Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sea Salt Caramel Carrot Poke Cake

Nothing beats a good Poke Cake, moist, delicious and easy. Does it get better than that? Add in flavors of caramel and sea salt?  Amazing!!!  Terrible for the waistline but delicious!!!


Sea Salt Caramel Carrot Poke Cake
Recipe Courtesy of Living Better Together
  • 1 box Carrot Cake Mix
  • 1 package Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 4 Eggs
  • ½ cup Milk
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • ¾ cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1½ cups Chopped Pecans (Optional)
  • 14 oz. can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • ⅓ cup Instant Cheesecake Pudding
  • ½ cup Confectioners’ Sugar
  • Stonewall Kitchen Sea Salt Caramel Sauce
  • ½ cup Chopped Pecans
  1. Preheat 350 F.
  2. Combine cake ingredients except for Sweetened Condensed Milk and mix until combined.
  3. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
  5. Let cake cool completely. Do not remove cake from pan, it cannot stand on its own.
  6. Once cake has cooled, use a skewer to evenly poke the cake about 25 – 40 times.
  7. Pour sweetened condensed milk over the cake and let set over night.
  8. Once cake has set, whip together frosting ingredients until light and fluffy, evenly spread frosting over the cake.
  9. Heat opened Sea Salt Caramel Sauce jar in the microwave for 20 – 30 seconds.
  10. Pour Sea Salt Caramel Sauce over the frosting and top it with chopped pecans.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Butterscotch Banana Bread - SRC

I have two exciting things to share today!  First it's Secret Recipe Club reveal day, seems like it's been forever.  Second,  I am now a member of Secret Recipe Club Group C!  I've been in Secret Recipe Club since  May 2011 and have always been a member of Group B.  When our leader said she was looking for a few volunteers to change groups, I volunteered.  I loved my fellow bloggers in Group B but change is always good!!  If you're not familiar with Secret Recipe Club, you can find out all about it here!  SRC is so much fun, one of my favorite things about blogging.  

This month I was assigned, Steak N Potatoes Kinda Gurl.  Desiree describes herself as " indecisive, messy, a night owl, emotional, guarded at times, an introvert, shy, impatient, stubborn, sarcastic, and pessimistic at times, yet loyal, detailed, empathic, silly, intelligent, hard working, friendly, humble, mature yet a kid at heart, open-minded, and thoughtful. " Sounds like qualities for a great friend.  She writes poetry and has some great recipes on her blog.  Check it out!!

The recipe that really caught my eye was her Butterscotch Banana Bread.  I love banana bread!  No matter the flavor, it's a delicious treat with morning coffee.  Have you ever made French Toast out of leftover bread (if there is any)?  Delicious!!!

When I began gathering ingredients, I realized I did not have any butter.  I substituted 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Also, her recipe called for melting the butterscotch chips, I chose to stir them in instead!!

I love the addition of butterscotch to this moist and delicious banana bread.  If you're looking for a new version of banana bread, give this one a try!!!

Butterscotch Banana Bread

*Makes 1 loaf
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and cook 3 minutes, whisking frequently until butter foams and turns golden brown. Whisk in mashed banana and cook for 2 minutes, stirring until creamy.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter-banana mixture and brown sugar until combined. Then whisk in the eggs and vanilla until combined.

Sift the dry flour mixture into the wet banana mixture, folding in and combining until well mixed, like a batter.
Pour batter into greased pan. Swirl the melted butterscotch into the batter using a knife or any other appropriate utensil. Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. A toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the loaf. Cool completely before slicing.

Saturday, February 14, 2015