cheesecake stuffed strawberries with milk chocolate.

I have no idea where I first saw this recipe, but I know it’s been circulating around the interwebs for a many years. It’s one of those recipes that looks super impressive when served, but it is amazingly simple to make. Whoever came up with this originally: You are a genius.

Here’s how I made mine:

Cheesecake stuffed strawberries

– 1 pint of strawberries

– 1 bar of your favorite milk or dark chocolate

– 4 oz. cream cheese

– 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream

– 1-2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar (more if you want a sweeter cheesecake filling)

– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring (or the inside of 1 vanilla bean)

Directions:

1. Melt your chocolate, either over a double boiler, or in the microwave, stirring every 15-30 seconds to prevent scorching.

2. Wash and gently pat dry your strawberries. Cut off the tops and a small part of the tip of each. (This will allow your strawberries to stand straight up when served.)

3. Carefully hollow out the top of each strawberry.

4. Dip the bottom of each strawberry in chocolate and place on a foil or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Place in the freezer to let set for about 5 minutes.

5. While your strawberries are setting, whip your cream cheese, cream, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until fluffy.

6: Fill each strawberry with about 1 teaspoon of cheesecake filling. (I piped mine into the strawberries using Ateco #30 tip)

6. Garnish with sprinkles, or drizzle with remaining chocolate.

7. Chill until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

smokey sweet corn gouda dip.

Today’s experiment came out of sheer necessary. It may not be Tuesday, but it is certainly Taco night.

In the back of the refrigerator sat a beautiful jar of gourmet salsa, waiting to be eaten. And I figured tonight would be as good a day as any – so I served it up with some corn chips.

Bad idea.

That salsa was, apparently, of the devil. Straight from the fiery pits of hell. As evidenced by my beau’s unfortunately scorched tongue. Whoops.

So, of course, I tried to make an alternative dip to put out the fire:

Smokey sweet corn Gouda dip.

2/3 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1.5 tablespoons cream cheese

3-5 dashes Tapatio hot sauce

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1-2 teaspoon garlic

1 can whole kernel corn, drained

1/3-1/2 c. Gouda, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Heat sour cream, heavy cream, cream cheese, Tapatio and seasonings over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.

2. Once heated through, add corn and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in Gouda cheese.

3. Cool and serve with tortilla chips.

Enjoy!

impromptu rotisserie chicken and garlicky golden mashed potatoes.

So, about this Instant Pot situation. I’m a bit hooked:

The beau came home with a beautiful 6 lb chicken and a bag of golden potatoes, so of course I had to see what this beautiful appliance could do.

Rotisserie Chicken

Ingredients:

-1 6-lb. chicken

-1/4 c. olive oil, plus more for drizzling

-1.5 tablespoons smoked paprika

-1 tablespoon ancho chili powder

-1 tablespoon garlic powder

-1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

-1-2 teaspoon Himalayan sea salt

-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

-1/4 teaspoon black pepper

-1 small onion

-3 tablespoons parsley

-3 carrots, chopped in quarters

-1 celery stock, chopped

-2 garlic cloves, chopped fine

-3 cups water

– 1-2 tablespoons parsley

Directions:

1. Wash and dry your chicken, making sure to remove and giblet packets.

2. Make rotisserie rub by combining olive oil through black pepper. Rub chicken with olive oil mixture, placing some under skin and inside cavity.

4. Place half of the carrots, celery, parsley and garlic inside chicken cavity.

5. Place the other half of the chopped vegetables in the bottom of Instany Pot with water.

6. Put stuffed chicken on steam rack, lower into Instant Pot. Seal cooker, pressure cook on high for 25 minutes. Do a natural release.

7. Place cooked chicken in a greased pan and drizzle with some olive oil. (You can also add extra smoked paprika, ancho chili powder and salt).

8. Put under broiler on high for about 2-4 minutes. Watch closely as skin crisps up quickly!

9. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Enjoy!

Garlicky Golden Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

-2.5 lbs golden potatoes, washed and chopped in half, skin on

-1/4 yellow onion, chopped fine

-2 cloves garlic, smashed

-2 c. water

-3 tablespoons butter

-1/2 cup whole milk

-1/4 cup cream cheese

-salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Place 2 cups water in instant pot. Followed by steam rack. Place potatoes, onions and garlic on rack.

2. Seal Instant Pot, Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. Do a natural release.

3. Unseal Pot, drain potatoes, onions and garlic and place in large bowl.

4. Using a hand mixture, whip potatoes, garlic and onions with butter, whole milk, cream cheese to desired thickness.

5. Season with salt and pepper.

vegan wings & the big game


Back in my vegan days, one of my favorite past-times was learning how to make vegan versions of some of my favorite foods.  Sundays, however, always presented a problem, as most game day foods usually didn’t lend themselves easily to vegan cooking.  A good friend sent me this recipe a few years ago for Vegan Cauliflower Wings, and ever since I’ve been trying my own variations on this very easy dish.

Somehow, I was able to muster enough strength to cook up a batch today, as to not show up at my sister’s place empty-handed.

It must be a “Big Game” miracle.  Here’s today’s version of Vegan Wings:

Gluten-Free, Vegan Wings

  • 1 cup flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Baking Flour)
  • 1 cup milk (Unsweetened Original Almond Milk)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ancho Chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • Hot Sauce (Cholula, or use your favorite)
  • Vegetable oil or vegan butter

Wash and cut up your caulifower into bite-sized pieces and set aside.  Mix up your batter (flour through ground pepper) and then toss the cauliflower pieces in the batter to coat.  Bake at 450 on a greased baking sheet, for about 15 minutes, then put under the broiler for another 5 minutes.  Toss the wings in your hot sauce (slightly thinned with vegetable oil or vegan butter).

Vegan Wing Dip

  • 3/4 cup Vegan Mayonnaise (Hellmann’s)
  • ~2-3 Tablespoons Almond Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1-2 pinches Himalayan sea salt, if needed

Combine all ingredients and serve.

Go Falcons! (Just for today),

-C

hello writing, my old friend

Welcome to my newest experiment: a place for me to share my musings on life, death, human nature, purpose and the biggest mysteries of the universe.  Of course, such an endeavor wouldn’t be complete without pretty pictures of things I like to bake and decorate (and give away at the office, lest I eat them).  And of course, let’s not kid ourselves, there’s going to be pictures of puppies.

Lots and lots of puppies.

Originally, this site sprang out of my desire to practice my HTML and CSS.  Thankfully, when I was picking my sister’s brain about a fun way to do so, she reminded me that I miss writing regularly. Here I am.

So stay awhile, watch this site change and develop as I shake the cobwebs off of both my writing and coding and (hopefully) be mildly entertained by my amateur cupcakes and even more amateur philosophy.

With love,
-C