Cookie Butter Cheesecake

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This Cookie Butter Cheesecake transforms a classic cheesecake into the most delicious dessert with a speculoos cookie crust and cookie butter swirl.

This Cookie Butter Cheesecake transforms a classic cheesecake into the most delicious dessert with a speculoos cookie crust and cookie butter swirl.

I kind of nailed this one out of the park. I’m not too modest to admit that. I nailed it.

This Cookie Butter Cheesecake transforms a classic cheesecake into the most delicious dessert with a speculoos cookie crust and cookie butter swirl.

For me to explain how incredibly delicious this recipe is, you must have a solid understanding of what cookie butter is. If you know it, I’m sure you already love it and that makes me happy. If you’ve never heard of it, I’m willing to forgive you because I assume a) you can’t shop at Trader Joe’s because there’s not one within 50 miles of you or b) well, that pretty much covers it. Cookie butter, I’m pretty sure, is something the folks in the US are obsessed with, but they’re all about a European cookie.  Here’s a bit more information I found using my super smart friend, Google, in case you wanted to learn more about cookie butter.

This Cookie Butter Cheesecake transforms a classic cheesecake into the most delicious dessert with a speculoos cookie crust and cookie butter swirl.

So, this recipe was a bit of an experiment. I started with my standard classic never fail cheesecake base which I use in every cheesecake recipe like this apple compote cheesecake, but I did a few things differently in order to crown it with the title of Cookie Butter Cheesecake. First off, instead of your traditional graham cracker + sugar + butter crust, I made the crust out of speculoos cookies and butter. I could have happily stopped right there and shoved my entire face in that bowl only to regret it when my jeans no longer fit the next week, but I held back. Then I made my traditional base but I folded some of the cookie butter into the mixture. It has the consistency of peanut butter so it mixed well. Then, I warmed some more up so it was pourable, spreadable, and swirlable and made that gorgeous design on top. Lovely, don’t you think?

This Cookie Butter Cheesecake transforms a classic cheesecake into the most delicious dessert with a speculoos cookie crust and cookie butter swirl.

The result: an insanely perfect mouthwatering cheesecake. I brought it into work and everyone freaking loved it. There was enough for my husband to take over to his area (we work for the same company) and they inhaled it. In fact, one of his co-workers offered to pay me to make him an entire cheesecake.

This Cookie Butter Cheesecake transforms a classic cheesecake into the most delicious dessert with a speculoos cookie crust and cookie butter swirl.

I thought about serving it with additional melted cookie butter drizzled over the top with some crushed cookies, but honestly it didn’t need it. The cheesecake was perfect as is.  Like I said – I nailed it. I hope you’re able to get your hands on some cookie butter so you can make it too!

This Cookie Butter Cheesecake transforms a classic cheesecake into the most delicious dessert with a speculoos cookie crust and cookie butter swirl.

This recipe uses pure vanilla extract. Did you know you can make your own homemade vanilla extract? It makes the perfect gift too. Watch how in the video below.
Cookie Butter Cheesecake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This Cookie Butter Cheesecake transforms a classic cheesecake into the most delicious dessert with a speculoos cookie crust and cookie butter swirl.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Yields: 12 servings
Ingredients
crust:
  • 1 (7 ounce) package Speculous cookies
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
cheesecake:
  • 24 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cookie butter
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 eggs, whole
swirl:
  • 3/4 cup cookie butter
Instructions
To make the crust:
  1. Line the bottom of a 9" springform pan with parchment paper and secure the bottom.
  2. Turn your cookies into fine crumbs in the food processor or by smashing in plastic freezer bag.
  3. Combine crumbs with melted butter in medium sized bowl and then flatten on the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. Set aside.
To make the cheesecake filling:
  1. In a stand mixer bowl, beat cream cheese on medium high speed with the paddle attachment until completely smooth and fluffy, scraping occasionally, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the sugars and 1/4 cup of the cookie butter to the cream cheese. Cream mixture until well combined. Scrape again.
  3. In a separate bowl mix cornstarch, salt, vanilla extract, heavy cream and lemon juice. Stir very well to get any and all cornstarch lumps out. Combine well with the cream cheese mixture.
  4. Add whole eggs one at a time. Mix until combined. Scrape again.
  5. Pour cheesecake batter onto crust in springform pan. Allow at least 1/2" of room at the top for the cheesecake to expand while cooking, so you may end up with a bit of excess batter.
  6. Heat 3/4 cup cookie butter just until melted, about 40 seconds in the microwave. Pour onto filling and use a knife to swirl.
To bake the cheesecake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. You may want to line the bottom rack with foil just in case any butter from the crust seeps out while baking to keep your oven clean.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 275 degrees F and bake and additional 70-80 minutes until center jiggles but edges are set. Turn oven heat off, crack oven door, and allow cheesecake to finish cooking in turned off oven.
  4. Chill overnight before removing from springform pan.
This Cookie Butter Cheesecake transforms a classic cheesecake into the most delicious dessert with a speculoos cookie crust and cookie butter swirl.
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Pork Wellington

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I participated in the National Pork Board Porksgiving program as a member of One2One Network. I received compensation but all opinions are my own.

If you're looking for an easy dinner that is sure to impress everyone because of its amazing taste and presentation, choose Pork Wellington.

I’m going to throw a curve ball at you and declare that this holiday season is all about Porksgiving – sharing meals with friends and family – and giving back in inspired and unexpected ways- with pork. Who doesn’t love pork? Why, just last night my daughter asked if we could ever just have bacon for dinner. I kid you not. We enjoy fresh and cured pork in our house on a regular basis. This dinner features a fresh cut pork tenderloin along with the beautiful combination of puff pastry, prosciutto, dijon mustard, and sautéed mushrooms to deliver the most flavorful, moist, and downright delicious dinner that is actually quite easy to prepare and perfect to share with friends or family to show your appreciation.

I made this particular dinner for my stepson who is a proud Marine and we are fortunate to have him at home for a visit. He is beyond deserving of a hot, delicious, homemade meal – not only for serving our country but just because of all the hard work he puts in every single day. Besides, can you think of a better way to a young man’s heart than serving him a dinner like this?

If you're looking for an easy dinner that is sure to impress everyone because of its amazing taste and presentation, choose Pork Wellington.

The first time I made a Wellington for dinner, I was a little intimidated and worried that it wouldn’t turn out. The process is not only easy, but if you use a meat thermometer, you’re sure to get perfect results. The National Pork Board advises the following temperature range when preparing pork chops, roasts and tenderloin: cook pork to an internal temperature between 145°F (medium rare) and 160°F (medium), followed by a three-minute rest. For ground pork, cook to an internal temperature of 160°F. Because you’re wrapping this beauty up in a toasty puff pastry blanket, I recommend removing it from the oven before you hit your temperature because the internal temp will continue to rise while the meat is resting.

If you're looking for an easy dinner that is sure to impress everyone because of its amazing taste and presentation, choose Pork Wellington.

The process for this recipe is simple. Roll out the puff pastry so that it is big enough to wrap around your tenderloin. Cover it with a blanket of thinly sliced prosciutto, slather on some dijon mustard because we all know how wonderful pork and mustard are together, and cover that with some sautéed mushrooms and shallots. Before you add your tenderloin, you’re going to want to give it a nice sear in that mushroom pan to lock in all the flavor and juices. You’re starting to drool, now, aren’t you? I can tell. Wrap it all up, seal it with a bit of egg wash and then paint on some more egg wash to give that pastry a golden brown shine while it cooks. Easy!

If you're looking for an easy dinner that is sure to impress everyone because of its amazing taste and presentation, choose Pork Wellington.

Then, all you need to do is invite over someone to say “thank you” with a home-cooked meal from the heart. Think about it… in today’s busy and complicated world, can you think of a better way to show your appreciation and gratitude than by serving them a delicious home cooked meal? I cannot.

If you're looking for an easy dinner that is sure to impress everyone because of its amazing taste and presentation, choose Pork Wellington.

This recipe was absolutely outstanding and my entire family loved it. I’m sure yours will too. You can see this recipe posted on PorkBeinspired.com and be sure to visit this page for all sorts of pork inspired recipes.Find more recipes to share during Porksgiving at www.Facebook.com/porkbeinspired and follow the brand on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

If you're looking for an easy dinner that is sure to impress everyone because of its amazing taste and presentation, choose Pork Wellington.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Pork Wellington
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
If you're looking for an easy dinner that is sure to impress everyone because of its amazing taste and presentation, choose Pork Wellington.
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 (1 1/2 pound) pork tenderloin
  • salt, pepper, dried thyme, as desired
  • 1 sheet puff pastry dough
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 egg, beaten
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Season pork tenderloin with salt, pepper, and dried thyme. Set aside.
  3. Roll out thawed puff pastry dough so that its as long as your tenderloin and wide enough to fully wrap around it.
  4. Arrange the prosciutto so that there is a thin layer covering the dough. Spread dijon mustard over the top.
  5. In a large skillet over high heat, melt butter with olive oil. Cook mushrooms and shallots in a single layer, stirring only occasionally, until golden brown, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  6. Add seasoned pork tenderloin to the hot pan and brown on all sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.
  7. Spread sautéed mushroom mixture on top of the prosciutto in a single layer. Add seared tenderloin. Insert meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat at the end - the thermometer will be able to stick out even after rolled. Roll tenderloin in dough and seal the edge with the beaten egg. Place the wellington on a parchment lined or stone baking sheet, seam side down. Brush top of dough with egg wash and cut slits in the top to release steam.
  8. Cook in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven when the internal temperature has reached between 145 degrees F (medium rare) and 160 degrees F (medium). Allow meat to rest 3 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

If you're looking for an easy dinner that is sure to impress everyone because of its amazing taste and presentation, choose Pork Wellington.
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Lynne’s Cream Wafers

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I loved baking  Lynne’s Cream Wafers, a buttery and perfectly sweet cookie with a creamy filling, every Christmas with a very special person in my life.

I loved baking Lynne's Cream Wafers, a buttery and perfectly sweet cookie with a creamy filling, every Christmas with a very special person in my life.

Welcome to day 9 of my 12 Days of Holiday Treats series. There are no better recipes to share than those that have meaning, and this one is particularly special to me.

12 Days of Holiday Treats | Self Proclaimed Foodie

I call these cookies Lynne’s Cream Wafers. Did Lynne create the recipe? Nope – this one is straight up old school Betty Crocker. But these cookies are more than special to me. It was actually quite sad making them this year, because I hadn’t enjoyed them since I made them with Lynne about twenty years ago. Lynne was my high school/college sweetheart’s mom. He and I were together for quite some time and it was during some incredibly impressionable years. During that time, I spent A LOT of time with his family. So much so that I really felt like I had become a member of their family. I went on many vacations with them and spent birthdays and holidays in their loving company. I value every second I got to spend with that family because they truly loved me as if I were part of it.

I loved baking Lynne's Cream Wafers, a buttery and perfectly sweet cookie with a creamy filling, every Christmas with a very special person in my life.

Christmas was a big deal for Lynne’s family. I was always in awe of the amount of Christmas decorations that went up each year. I remember spending an entire weekend doing nothing more than decorating. We’re talking every room in the house, including the bathrooms and the hallway up the stairs, had some kind of tinsel garland and/or lights. It was definitely a time that I really looked forward to. Lynne always made these cream wafers and, despite my memory not always being the best, I have very crystal clear memories of making them with her. I remember it feeling like it took forever to cut out and cook all those tiny little cookies. I remember spreading the filling between the two fragile flaky cookies, trying to keep them from crumbling between my fingers. And I remember sneaking a cookie or two every time I walked past the tin in the kitchen. Making these cookies took me back 20 years. I can still hear Lynne’s laugh and see her smile and feel her loving embrace.

I loved baking Lynne's Cream Wafers, a buttery and perfectly sweet cookie with a creamy filling, every Christmas with a very special person in my life.

It breaks my heart to not have a truly beautiful, caring, loving, and giving soul like Lynne in this world anymore. She was taken decades too early from the people who loved her so much. I will fondly hold on to my many memories of Lynne and will proudly make (and steal when no one is watching) these delicious cream wafers in her memory. Christmas time is about making memories with the people you love, and I’m so grateful I was able to make so many memories with Lynne and her family.

I loved baking Lynne's Cream Wafers, a buttery and perfectly sweet cookie with a creamy filling, every Christmas with a very special person in my life.

This recipe uses pure vanilla extract. Did you know you can make your own homemade vanilla extract? It makes the perfect gift too. Watch how in the video below.
Lynne's Cream Wafers
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
I loved baking Lynne's Cream Wafers, a buttery and perfectly sweet cookie with a creamy filling, every Christmas with a very special person in my life.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: original recipe from Betty Crocker
Yields: 5-6 dozen sandwiches
Ingredients
Wafer cookies:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • Confectioner's sugar for rolling
  • Granulated sugar for coating
Filling:
  • 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (can use vanilla, lemon, or almond extract instead if desired)
  • Food color, if desired
Instructions
  1. In bowl of stand mixer with paddle attached, beat butter until creamy smooth. Add heavy cream and mix on medium speed until smooth. Add flour and mix on low speed until incorporated, then flash on medium speed for five seconds to mix. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 1 hour or until firm.
  2. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Roll some of the dough to 1/8 inch thick on lightly powdered sugar surface (keep remaining dough refrigerated until ready to roll). Cut into desired shapes small cookie cutters (I used 1 1/2 inch tree shapes). Cut as many cookies as you can out of the first roll, then squeeze the dough together to roll and cut again. Your goal is to roll the dough the minimum amount of times. Finish that first chunk of dough before moving on to the next. Fill small bowl with granulated sugar and coat both sides of each cutout with sugar and then transfer to baking sheet (I found that a silicone covered metal baking sheet worked best). Prick each cutout with fork about 4 times.
  3. Bake 7 to 9 minutes or just until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, use a stand mixer with the whisk attached to cream butter for filling. Add powdered sugar and extract and mix on medium speed until smooth. It will be thick. Spread a thin layer (about 1/2 teaspoon) filling between bottoms of pairs of cookies.
  5. Store in airtight container.
I loved baking Lynne's Cream Wafers, a buttery and perfectly sweet cookie with a creamy filling, every Christmas with a very special person in my life.

To see all of 2014’s holiday treats, click the links below:

2014 Holiday Treats | Self Proclaimed Foodie

Five Minute Fudge | Holiday Sugar Cookies | Peppermint Candy Cane Cookies

Peppermint Chocolate Pie | Hazelnut Lemon Curd Thumbprints | Homemade Peppermint Marshmallows

Chewy Molasses Sugar Cookies | Easy Petite Palmiers | Triple Threat Peppermint Brownie Bites

Toasted Coconut Cookies | Walnut Spiced Rum Balls | Mexican Chocolate Truffles

To see all of 2015’s holiday treats, click the links below:

Holiday Recipes | Self Proclaimed Foodie

Easy Candy Cane Chocolate Truffles |  Cherry Almond Thumbprints  | Easy Brown Butter Pecan Fudge

Toasted Macadamia Nut Cookies  |  Salted Vanilla Bean Caramels  |  Chocolate Peppermint Swirl Cookies

Lynne’s Cream Wafers  |  Mini Pecan Pie Bites  |  Eggnog Poundcake

Christmas Tree Corn Flake Treats  |  Devil’s Food Crinkles  |  Chewy Brown Sugar Cookies

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Loaded Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole

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Take your mashed potatoes to the next level by serving this delicious Loaded Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole as the perfect side dish at your next dinner.

Take your mashed potatoes to the next level by serving this delicious Loaded Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole as the perfect side dish at your next dinner.

Oh man, these were sooooo good. I’ve been wanting to make a cheesy potato casserole for quite some time and I’m happy to say that I nailed it! You and your family are totally going to love this recipe. Just about every single time I plan out what I’m going to serve for dinner, it revolves around a protein, a starch, and a veggie. Do you do that too?

Take your mashed potatoes to the next level by serving this delicious Loaded Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole as the perfect side dish at your next dinner.

I had to show a picture of the potatoes because its my new favorite cooking method. I used to peel and chop my potatoes before I boiled them. Gone are those days! All I do now is score the skin all the way around, cover them in water, and boil until soft. Then, as soon as the potatoes are cool enough to handle, the skins slip right off. If you haven’t tried this method, I insist you must! Prior to putting your potatoes in the casserole dish, you basically make mashed potatoes that you would happily set out on the table as the perfect side dish to your family’s dinner.

Take your mashed potatoes to the next level by serving this delicious Loaded Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole as the perfect side dish at your next dinner.

But wait – all it takes is a couple more steps and a few more minutes to transform them into the loaded cheesy mashed potatoes that you know you want.

Take your mashed potatoes to the next level by serving this delicious Loaded Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole as the perfect side dish at your next dinner.

Oh yes. You see what I’m talking about now, don’t you? Trust me. These will be the best potatoes you’ve ever had.

Take your mashed potatoes to the next level by serving this delicious Loaded Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole as the perfect side dish at your next dinner.

How much would you love this one your dinner plate? YUM!

Take your mashed potatoes to the next level by serving this delicious Loaded Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole as the perfect side dish at your next dinner.

Loaded Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Take your mashed potatoes to the next level by serving this delicious Loaded Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole as the perfect side dish at your next dinner.
Author:
Recipe type: Sides
Yields: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds gold potatoes
  • 8 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 8 ounces cheddar (I used a cheddar gruyere blend), shredded and divided
  • 4 tablespoons (half a stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons onion dip mix
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • freshly ground pepper
  • garnish with 4 scallions, sliced
Instructions
  1. To easily cook your potatoes, score a circle through the skin around the middle of each potato. Add whole potatoes to a large pot, cover with water, cover pot with lid, and bring to a roaring boil. Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender, about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes. Drain off water and allow potatoes to cool enough to handle. Peel off skin with fingers.
  2. While potatoes are cooking, cook bacon until crisp. Set aside.
  3. In large bowl, combine half of the shredded cheese, butter, sour cream, milk, onion dip mix, garlic powder, and pepper. Add warm peeled potatoes and mash. Combine to desired consistency.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lovingly butter a 9x9 casserole dish. Add potato mixture to greased dish. Top with remaining cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon. Cook in preheated oven until potatoes are heated through and cheese has melted, about 5-10 minutes. Top finished potatoes with sliced green onions.
  5. Serve with your favorite protein and an easy vegetable side. Enjoy!

Take your mashed potatoes to the next level by serving this delicious Loaded Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole as the perfect side dish at your next dinner.

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Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad

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This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.
This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.

I can honestly tell you that this is the most delicious salad I’ve had in a very long time. It has everything which equals an explosion of flavors and textures that you will love. You’ll taste bitter and sweet, crunchy and juicy, salty and spicy, chewy and soft. It even keeps well overnight. I tossed the kale and apple in the dressing and stored the leftovers in the refrigerator. I polished off what was left yesterday after a full day in the refrigerator and it tasted just as good, if not better, than the night I made it!

This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.

In addition to the bacon, the oh-so-wonderful bacon, I made a batch of candied hazelnuts. I needed to create a whole separate post dedicated to these hazelnuts because they were so tasty.

This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.

I picked up this gorgeous dark green kale and these juicy tart granny smith apples at the farmers market this past weekend. Aren’t they just beautiful?

This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.

I wanted to cut matchsticks for the apples because those long skinny pieces are easy to stab with a fork and they really absorb the dressing.

This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.

Don’t you think a salad like this would impress anyone at the dinner table?

This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.

This was definitely one of those recipes that I loved and will make over and over again in the future.

This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.

Who loves to watch bacon cook? I do! I do! I made the VIDEO below just for you. Click play and try to imagine the glorious smell!

 

4.7 from 3 reviews
Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad
 
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This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.
Author:
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 16 ounces thickly sliced bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cooked bacon fat
  • 1/4 cup white wine (or white balsamic) vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons caper brine (from a jar of capers)
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into matchsticks
  • One 8-ounce bunch kale—stems discarded, leaves finely shredded
  • 3 tablespoons snipped chives
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Place hazelnuts in an oven safe dish and roast for 20 minutes. Transfer to a towel and rub away as many skins as you can. In a bowl, cover the hazelnuts with water. Transfer to a sieve and shake out the water. In another bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, cayenne, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the hazelnuts and toss. Transfer to a sieve to shake off the excess coating. Arrange the hazelnuts on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the sugar is lightly caramelized and the hazelnuts are golden.
  3. Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook until crisp in a skillet. Transfer to paper towel lined plate to drain and discard all but the last remaining tablespoon of bacon grease. Whisk the vinegar, olive oil, caper brine, and maple syrup into the bottom of the bacon skillet and set dressing aside.
  4. In a large bowl, toss apples, kale, and chives with salad dressing. Mound the salad on plates and top with candied hazelnuts and bacon pieces.

This delicious Candied Hazelnut Kale Apple Bacon Salad is bursting with flavor and the perfect addition to any dinner, including Thanksgiving.
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Vegan Pumpkin Oat Protein Smoothie

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Take on your day knowing you've taken care of yourself already with this healthy and satisfying fall inspired Vegan Pumpkin Oat Protein Smoothie.

Take on your day knowing you’ve taken care of yourself already with this healthy and satisfying fall inspired Vegan Pumpkin Oat Protein Smoothie.

Take on your day knowing you've taken care of yourself already with this healthy and satisfying fall inspired Vegan Pumpkin Oat Protein Smoothie.

It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote about how I like to start my day, every single morning, with a healthy protein smoothie. The main reason is because it just makes me feel good. In addition, you have the quick and easy factor, which is always a bonus on a busy weekday morning.  I’ve been using Vega protein powder for months now and I truly love it. In the past I’ve used whey and soy protein powders but was always looking for something that was better for my body. Vega Essentials is made from real, whole food ingredients you’ll feel good about. When I drink my smoothies, I can feel the nutrition giving me energy. This protein powder has 20 grams of plant-based protein, three servings of greens, 25% daily intake of food-based vitamins and minerals, plus fiber and Omega-3s—all with only 130 calories per serving. Vega Essentials kinda makes good nutrition a breeze. Plus, its non-GMO Project verified, gluten-free, vegan, and made with no added sugar, dairy, or soy ingredients, artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. If you haven’t yet tried it, I highly recommend you do!

Take on your day knowing you've taken care of yourself already with this healthy and satisfying fall inspired Vegan Pumpkin Oat Protein Smoothie.

As much as I love my regular daily smoothie, I was inspired to make something with pumpkin. Oh, I don’t know… could it because I’m pumpkin-obsessed lately? Perhaps. I just so happened to have a remaining 4 tablespoons of pumpkin puree from a pumpkin I had just roasted, so that’s what went in my smoothie, along with some almond milk, pumpkin pie spice, and groats, along with the vanilla protein powder. If you’ve never had groats, they’re just steel cut oats that haven’t been cut yet. I love putting them in smoothies because they give the smoothie a bit of chew and they keep me feeling fuller even longer.

Take on your day knowing you've taken care of yourself already with this healthy and satisfying fall inspired Vegan Pumpkin Oat Protein Smoothie.

The result is a wonderfully delicious smoothie that is definitely the equivalent of a good meal that tastes a wee bit, dare I say, like pumpkin pie!

Take on your day knowing you've taken care of yourself already with this healthy and satisfying fall inspired Vegan Pumpkin Oat Protein Smoothie.

This recipe uses pure vanilla extract. Did you know you can make your own homemade vanilla extract? It makes the perfect gift too. Watch how in the video below.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Oat Protein Smoothie
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Take on your day knowing you've taken care of yourself already with this healthy and satisfying fall inspired Vegan Pumpkin Oat Protein Smoothie.
Author:
Recipe type: breakfast, drink
Yields: 1 (20 ounce) smoothie
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 tablespoons pumpkin puree (I used freshly roasted)
  • 1 level scoop Vega vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 cup groats
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ice
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

 

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Angel Food Cake

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No matter the time of year, nothing beats my favorite fluffy, pure white, perfectly sweet homemade Angel Food Cake smothered in fresh fruit for dessert.

No matter the time of year, nothing beats my favorite fluffy, pure white, perfectly sweet homemade Angel Food Cake smothered in fresh fruit for dessert.

No matter the time of year, nothing beats my favorite fluffy, pure white, perfectly sweet homemade Angel Food Cake smothered in fresh fruit for dessert. 

I wish I could tell you how much I love a good angel food cake, but I’m afraid my love for this perfect dessert is immeasurable. That’s like trying to quantify how much you love your kids. The safe answer is just to say “more than you could ever imagine”. Okay, perhaps that’s a little extreme, but you get my point.No matter the time of year, nothing beats my favorite fluffy, pure white, perfectly sweet homemade Angel Food Cake smothered in fresh fruit for dessert. 

If you’ve never made an angel food cake, it basically consists of ultra fine sugar, ultra fine flour, egg whites, and some pure extracts. You can totally eat the whole cake without any guilt because there’s no fat! I kid… sort of. That’s the argument I use when I shove half the cake into my face.No matter the time of year, nothing beats my favorite fluffy, pure white, perfectly sweet homemade Angel Food Cake smothered in fresh fruit for dessert. 

I have one of those nonstick pans with the removable bottoms. Because I had never made an angel food cake before, I really didn’t want to screw it up, and more times than not I screw things up when I can’t successfully get them out of the pan, so I used that nifty removable bottom to trace a circle out of parchment paper. then I poured the batter right on top. It definitely helped!

No matter the time of year, nothing beats my favorite fluffy, pure white, perfectly sweet homemade Angel Food Cake smothered in fresh fruit for dessert. 

One of the ways to get a light and fluffy angel food cake is to use cake flour which is finer than all purpose flour. But I took it a step further and ran my sugar through the food processor to make a fine powder. I looked like a cocaine addict as I stood over the processor while it ran inhaling the sweet fumes of white sugar dust that floated up. Then I sifted the sugar and the flour back and forth a good five times. That was loads of fun. It was so fluffy and powdery white, I just wanted to jump in. The final batter was just beautiful! No matter the time of year, nothing beats my favorite fluffy, pure white, perfectly sweet homemade Angel Food Cake smothered in fresh fruit for dessert. 

Ah, the outside of angel food cake. You taste so good. It wasn’t until I baked my own that I realized what it tasted like – marshmallows. Now I know why. This cake is basically the same as homemade marshmallows except it has flour.No matter the time of year, nothing beats my favorite fluffy, pure white, perfectly sweet homemade Angel Food Cake smothered in fresh fruit for dessert. 

I served my cake up with some gorgeous deep red locally grown strawberries with a healthy dollop of my cheesecake fruit dip. I could have used regular old whipped cream, but the cheesecake fruit dip already has whipped cream in it along with some other delicious ingredients, so why not? No matter the time of year, nothing beats my favorite fluffy, pure white, perfectly sweet homemade Angel Food Cake smothered in fresh fruit for dessert.

This recipe uses pure vanilla extract. Did you know you can make your own homemade vanilla extract? It makes the perfect gift too. Watch how in the video below.

Angel Food Cake
 
Prep time
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No matter the time of year, nothing beats my favorite fluffy, pure white, perfectly sweet homemade Angel Food Cake smothered in fresh fruit for dessert.
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 12 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Process sugar in food processor for 1-2 minutes to create a fine powder.
  3. In a large bowl, combine sugar, cake flour, and salt. Using a fine mesh sieve and another large bowl, shake flour/sugar/salt mixture through sieve from one bowl to the other five times to fully sift. Each time, it should go through faster.
  4. Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed. Once they start getting foamy, add the cream of tarter and all of the extracts. Continue processing until medium to firm peaks form.
  5. Add a layer of the flour and sugar mixture to the egg whites and gently fold to combine. Continue process until everything is well combined and smooth, but be sure to fold gently to maintain as much air as you can.
  6. Line the base of a tube pan with with parchment paper. Spoon in cake batter. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden stick comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes.
  7. Slide a knife around the sides of the tube and invert the cake pan on a cooling rack. The cake shouldn't slide out but by inverting it, the cake should cool nice and fluffy (kind of like stretching your back on an inversion table). Once the cake has cooled, slide it out of the pan.
  8. Serve alone or with fresh strawberries and cheesecake fruit dip.

 

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Tropical Tapioca Parfait

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This Tropical Tapioca Parfait made with fresh mango, toasted sweetened coconut, and rich creamy tapioca pudding is the most perfect summer time dessert!

This Tropical Tapioca Parfait made with fresh mango, toasted sweetened coconut, and rich creamy tapioca pudding is the most perfect summer time dessert!

This Tropical Tapioca Parfait made with fresh mango, toasted sweetened coconut, and rich creamy tapioca pudding is the most perfect summer time dessert!

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it a hundred more times over the course of my blog’s life: I love pudding. Love it. I have to say that although chocolate pudding is the flavor I ate daily during my first pregnancy, my favorite flavor now is actually tapioca. My love affair with this flavor started at some point in my young adult life. There’s just something so satisfying about it. Of course I think a good tapioca is perfect on its own, but my most recent vacation inspired me to turn something really good into something extraordinarily good. I went to Maui with my family a couple months ago. When I travel, one of my most favorite things to do is EAT (go figure, right?) and all I want to do is enjoy the culinary offerings of the place I am visiting. So, while in Hawaii, I ate everything I could that was local, including a homemade coconut tapioca pudding that was made at this tiny little market. Because I’ve raised a couple of mango monsters, we had a plentiful supply at all times. One day when I was enjoying my coconut tapioca out on our lanai, I decided to put some sliced mango on top as well. Perfection.

This Tropical Tapioca Parfait made with fresh mango, toasted sweetened coconut, and rich creamy tapioca pudding is the most perfect summer time dessert!

I wanted to create that same wonderful dessert I enjoyed so much in paradise. It was pretty easy to do. I just grabbed a fresh mango, some Kozy Shack Tapioca Pudding, and some sweetened toasted coconut flakes. Now, you can totally toast your own sweetened shredded coconut and it will be absolutely divine in this dessert, but we’re right in the middle of a gorgeous summer and I’m all about being quick in the kitchen so I can enjoy the outdoors as much as possible so I bought some coconut flakes that had already been toasted. Easy peasy.

This Tropical Tapioca Parfait made with fresh mango, toasted sweetened coconut, and rich creamy tapioca pudding is the most perfect summer time dessert!

Wanna know how to pick out a perfect mango? Of course, it needs to be a little soft to the touch. That’s the main indicator of a ripe mango. But if you want one that is guaranteed to be sweet, just look for the sugary sap that oozes out of the stem. If you can find one like this beauty, you’ll know you have a good one. And, oh my, was this fruit exquisite.

This Tropical Tapioca Parfait made with fresh mango, toasted sweetened coconut, and rich creamy tapioca pudding is the most perfect summer time dessert!

I love ingredient shots. Aren’t they pretty? Can you see the size of those tapioca balls? SuperYUM.

This Tropical Tapioca Parfait made with fresh mango, toasted sweetened coconut, and rich creamy tapioca pudding is the most perfect summer time dessert!

You can layer the ingredients any old which way you want. My only advice is to make your layers thin so that your spoon doesn’t have to dig down to the bottom with every bite. I’m one of those weird proportional eaters where I like every bite to have a little bit of something.

This Tropical Tapioca Parfait made with fresh mango, toasted sweetened coconut, and rich creamy tapioca pudding is the most perfect summer time dessert!

And there you have it: one Tropical Tapioca Parfait that literally took you less than 5 minutes to create four servings. This yumminess meets all of my criteria for a perfect summer dessert: cold, fast, sweet, delicious. Plus its pretty.

This Tropical Tapioca Parfait made with fresh mango, toasted sweetened coconut, and rich creamy tapioca pudding is the most perfect summer time dessert!Did you know Kozy Shack is hosting the Summer of Pudding – a three- month celebration dedicated to enjoying the simple moments in life and making moments even more delicious with Kozy Shack® Pudding. The Summer of Pudding is centered on three pudding holidays – National Chocolate Pudding Day on June 26, National Tapioca Pudding Day on July 15 and National Rice Pudding Day on August 9 – those are my kind of holidays!  You can find out more at Facebook.com/KozyShack . If you have a love of pudding like I do and post any photos about how you enjoy it this summer,be sure to use the hashtags #SummerofPudding and #KozyShack on Instagram and Twitter – Kozy Shack is hosting giveaways on their social channels all summer long!

This Tropical Tapioca Parfait made with fresh mango, toasted sweetened coconut, and rich creamy tapioca pudding is the most perfect summer time dessert!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Tropical Tapioca Parfait
 
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Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 22 ounce container Kozy Shack Tapioca Pudding
  • 1 ripe mango, skin removed and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sweetened toasted coconut flakes
Instructions
  1. Using four glasses, layer ingredients. I prefer thin layers that get repeated so that each bite is guaranteed to have a little bit of something. Pass out four spoons and enjoy!

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Bacon Wrapped mini Meatloaf

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Take the ultimate comfort food to a whole new level and make Bacon Wrapped mini Meatloaf for dinner. Whether you use the oven or the grill, you'll love it.

Take the ultimate comfort food to a whole new level and make Bacon Wrapped mini Meatloaf for dinner. Whether you use the oven or the grill, you’ll love it.

Take the ultimate comfort food to a whole new level and make Bacon Wrapped mini Meatloaf for dinner. Whether you use the oven or the grill, you'll love it.

You know I’m a bacon lover. If you’re familiar with my blog, you’ll know that I cook with bacon all the time. There’s nothing quite like it on earth. I love it so much I think it should be its own food group. For that matter, parmesan should have its own as well. I digress. Let’s get back to bacon. Bacon can and should be enjoyed at any meal. Why should breakfast have dibs on bacon when there are so many wonderful things you can do with it? Take these bacon wrapped mini meatloaves. I’ve made plenty of meatloaf in my day – it is one of the best comfort foods, after all. But when I wrapped it in thick wonderful bacon and topped it with crispy onion pieces – OH MY. I can’t even begin to explain how good it was.

Take the ultimate comfort food to a whole new level and make Bacon Wrapped mini Meatloaf for dinner. Whether you use the oven or the grill, you'll love it.

Everyone knows a bacon wrapped filet mignon is pure decadent heaven, so it was a given that this would be outstanding. I have to admit, I made the actual meatloaf portion different than I normally do. When I had made meatloaf in the past, I had mixed the ketchup in along with water and dried onion soup mix (with the egg and bread crumbs, of course). I went in a pretty different direction this time by including onions and garlic that I had sauteed along with milk instead of water. At first, I was hesitant, but then I reminded myself how delicious country sausage gravy was and I accepted that I was pouring milk on raw meat. Secondly, I put the ketchup mixture on the top instead of mixing it in. I know that’s how a lot of people make it, but I had never done it that way. The crispy fried onions on the top added the perfect amount of crunch and flavor. But most of all, creating individual servings and wrapping them in thick hard wood smoked bacon – Ugh, it was just so darn delicious.

Take the ultimate comfort food to a whole new level and make Bacon Wrapped mini Meatloaf for dinner. Whether you use the oven or the grill, you'll love it.

I was a little unsure how long to cook it and was tempted to increase the temperature, but I kept it at a solid 350 degrees for a full hour and fifteen minutes. I wasn’t worried one bit that it would dry out because the bacon and the sauce were keeping everything perfectly moist and flavorful. I just waited until the bacon reached perfection and then I served them up with some fresh green beans and mashed potatoes. YUM!

Take the ultimate comfort food to a whole new level and make Bacon Wrapped mini Meatloaf for dinner. Whether you use the oven or the grill, you'll love it.

4.8 from 11 reviews
Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Take the ultimate comfort food to a whole new level and make Bacon Wrapped mini Meatloaf for dinner. Whether you use the oven or the grill, you'll love it.
Author:
Recipe type: main dish
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 6 Wright® Brand Bacon slices
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1/2 cup fried onion pieces
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven or grill to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean up.
  2. Melt butter in saute pan over medium heat. Cook onions until fragrant and slightly brown while stirring occasionally, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add garlic, cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. In large bowl, combine ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and cooked onions and garlic. Use hands to mix well, but try not to over work the meat. Divide into six equal sized portions and shape into disks.
  4. Wrap bacon slices around edge of disks. Diameter of meatloaf should be so that the bacon ends just meet or slightly overlap.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine ketchup with mustard and brown sugar. Divide equally and spread over the tops of the mini meatloaves. Sprinkle tops with crispy fried onions.
  6. Bake in preheated oven or grill until bacon is just golden, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

 

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Damn Good Chicken Wings

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These flavorful and tender Damn Good Chicken Wings are the best damn wings you will ever enjoy and make the perfect addition to your game day feast.

These flavorful and tender Damn Good Chicken Wings are the best damn wings you will ever enjoy and make the perfect addition to your game day feast.

By far, hands down, the best damn wings you will ever eat. Ever. I will not lie to you. Much like my Damn Good Roast Chicken is the best damn chicken you will ever eat, these wings will change your life. And here’s the beauty – they are so darn easy to make. All you have to do is throw together the One Spoon Dry Rub, massage it lovingly over every bit of those wings, and grill them up. That’s all.These flavorful and tender Damn Good Chicken Wings are the best damn wings you will ever enjoy and make the perfect addition to your game day feast.

They are perfectly tender and perfectly spiced and fabulously flavorful. The dry rub delivers the perfect balanced trifecta between spicy, salty, and downright flavorful. Much like I can’t stand under cooked bacon (I’m very particular about rendered fat), I cannot stand biting into a chicken wing and gagging on a loose piece of rubbery skin or having to really pull to get the meat off the bone. Gross.These flavorful and tender Damn Good Chicken Wings are the best damn wings you will ever enjoy and make the perfect addition to your game day feast.

Not with these wings. You know the skin is there because its covered in seasoning, but it completely melts into the meat. As soon as you take a bite, the entire wing falls apart and all of that wonderful meat completely slides off the bone.  Oh yes, these are the best damn wings ever. These flavorful and tender Damn Good Chicken Wings are the best damn wings you will ever enjoy and make the perfect addition to your game day feast.

Damn Good Chicken Wings
 
Prep time
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These flavorful and tender Damn Good Chicken Wings are the best damn wings you will ever enjoy and make the perfect addition to your game day feast.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Yields: 10-15 wings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine seasonings for my one spoon dry rub (directions listed in post). Add seasonings to a gallon sized storage bags. Add spices, wings, and oil. Squeeze and massage the bag so that the spices thoroughly coat the chicken. Refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight (I refrigerated mine for 24 hours).
  2. Set your grill to 350 degrees F. Spray grill with olive oil spray to prevent sticking. Place the wings, skin side up, on the grill and cook for 30 minutes. Flip and cook for another 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from grill and enjoy!

These flavorful and tender Damn Good Chicken Wings are the best damn wings you will ever enjoy and make the perfect addition to your game day feast.
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