Mini cherry cheesecake bites

mini cherry cheesecake bites (2)

Last week my friend threw a Pinterest/wine tasting party. We all had to make a recipe we had been wanting to try off Pinterest and bring a rare or favorite  bottle of wine for tasting. Since I couldn’t participate in the wine part, I brought my own bottle of alcohol-free merlot, which sort of made me feel like a part of the fun! Boo! I can’t wait to have my first glass of wine after baby and breastfeeding. The food tasting however, I was all about that. I made 2 recipes: the first was a super easy, to-die-for version of salted caramel creme brûlée from Tastefully Simple, and the second were these adorable mini cherry cheesecake bites. I have had my eye on them for a while via Pinterest of course, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to whip them up!

mini cherry cheesecake bites

The great thing about this recipe is that it’s easy peasy to throw together, and the finished product looks so fancy. I mean all you really have to do is mix the cheesecake ingredients; beyond that the hardest part is separating all the mini baking liners and spooning a cherry on top of each little piece. So simple! One tip I have is to make sure you bake them long enough…I ended up baking mine a few minutes longer so the wafer became more of a crust and wouldn’t get mushy. 
mini cherry cheesecake bites (3)

Mini cherry cheesecake bites
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Ingredients
  • 2 packages cream cheese (8oz)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Vanilla wafers
  • Mini aluminum baking cup liners
  • Cherry pie filling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well combined, stir in vanilla and lemon juice.
  3. Place a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each mini aluminum baking cup, rounded side down (they won't lay perfectly flat).
  4. Spoon the batter evenly over the wafers.
  5. Bake for ~15 minutes or until edges appear set; remove from oven and let cool.
  6. Top with cherry pie filling and refrigerate.

One more helpful hint before you go: The vanilla wafers are slightly too large for the mini cup liners so they won’t sit just right. Don’t freak out though, once you start filling the cheesecake mixture on top of them, they will straighten out a bit, trust me. Even if the wafers are a little slanted in the bottom of the liners, you won’t even be able to tell once they are baked and covered with the cherries.

 

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Fresh Waldorf salad

Waldorf salad (2)

Today is Ralph’s 27th birthday. When it’s my birthday I want the royal treatment. I want to be pampered and waited on. Not Ralphy. He woke up just like any other day, made us all eggs and toast, took all the garbages out, did the dishes that I left from the night before, and helped me get the kids off to school. Every morning his selflessness amazes me and his birthday is no exception. Among many other great qualities, one of Ralph’s greatest qualities is putting others before himself. Although his life is incredibly busy and stressful with his work load, he is always thinking of ways to not only help make my life easier ,but for everyone that he cares about. He is one of those people who does really nice things for people who he doesn’t even know and wants no recognition for it. Most times I will find out months later about something generous he did for someone because he doesn’t even tell me. 8 birthdays ago was the first birthday I got to celebrate with Ralph and he still makes my heart flutter just the same. And only people who make my heart flutter get fresh Waldorf salad in the fridge for the week!

Waldorf salad (4)

You know those salads with apples, whipped cream, and snickers that someone always brings to a baby shower or get together? Those are my favorite. This recipe reminds me of those salads but a little bit healthier? Maybe, maybe not. When I came across this recipe I had written down ages ago, it sounded so refreshing and I thought it would be perfect to keep in in the fridge all week for a snack. Oh and it didn’t disappoint! It turned out beautiful and so yummy. The kids thought it was ice cream with fruit in it. Jokes on you kids. This salad isn’t totally bad for you if you use the right ingredients; it’s just bad-ish for you. The sugar is the only thing really, but as long as it’s real organic cane sugar we will all live to see another day I think. So whip this up for your next get-together and everyone will want your recipe! I am curious to see how it keeps in the fridge this week, I will get back to you on that.

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Ingredients
  • 5 apples, your choice, diced (unpeeled)
  • 1 8-ounce can pineapple tidbits (drained)
  • 1 cup seedless red and/or green grapes, cut in half
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • ½ cup cream
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 8-ounce carton whipped topping or favorite whipped cream
Instructions
  1. In a small pot, whisk together sugar, flour, cream, butter and juice.
  2. Heat on medium until boiling.
  3. Remove from stove and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Fold in whipped topping.
  5. Mix with fruit and nuts just before serving.

 

Here is my favorite post I wrote last year about Ralph in case you want to know more about my Mr. Wonderful. The birthday boy requested a chocolate chip cheese cake (his favorite), my Merlot meatballs, lobster bisque (courtesy of Costco!), and loaded baked potato crisps. Works for me. Happy Monday playas.

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Cranberry lemon loaf

real (1)

So my pregnancy migraines disappeared for a couple weeks and I was like “HA, I beat you silly migraines!”. You silly, silly, terrible, depressing migraines. And then last night I had the mother of all the migraines. The worst migraine in all of the land. I couldn’t move without my head feeling like it was going to explode or feeling extremely nauseous. I slid my lavender eye mask over my eyes and just laid in bed trying to forget about the pain and trying not to get sick. Meanwhile Ralph did some research for me, trying to find something that would help soothe my pain. He discovered that a little bit of eucalyptus essential oil, mixed with a dab of coconut oil, rubbed on your temples and forehead would do wonders for migraines. I swear by my essential oils so I was like “yeah!” that sounds great. So he scrummaged through our cupboards to make sure we had the right essential oil and whipped up the concoction.real (2)

All I can say is that I hope last night was not a fluke because I rubbed that mixture on my temples like it was do or die and it completely cured my migraine! Completely cured! How did I not know about this before? I am all about using essential oils for healing and how did I not think they could help my migraines as well? I feel like a fool for suffering through hours and hours of migraines now. If you know anyone who suffers from migraines please pass this on! It really was an alleluia moment for me, and I would hate for someone else to keep on suffering if this could help. (Keep in mind that I am not a doctor and this treatment may not be for everyone. Also beware of rubbing essential oils directly on your skin as they can burn.) Also speaking of skin can I just tell you guys that I also have PUPPP with this pregnancy? I had no idea what it was either. Basically chronic hives all over your body that only 1 in 150 women get during pregnancy, and there ain’t nothing you can do about it! Super exciting when my midwife informed me about that. Am I 40 weeks yet?!

And now since you ought to be sick of my whining and complaining, let’s talk about this beautiful cranberry lemon loaf shall we?real (3)

Oh boy have I ever been craving tart sweets during this pregnancy. I had some cranberries that needed to be used up so I dreamed up a perfect cranberry lemon loaf and scoured food blogs until I found the perfect one. After a few tweaks of my own, I settled on this recipe for cranberry lemon cake from Foodess. There you can find an additional recipe for a lemon icing if that’s your thing. I left out the icing because it sounded too sweet for me. The loaf was moist and cake-like just as I had hoped, and you all know how much I love cranberries. So the loaf lasted exactly 24 hours in our house. The boys and Ralph loved it! Success!

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Ingredients
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1¼ cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cups fresh cranberries
Instructions
  1. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in one small mixing bowl.
  2. In another small mixing bowl, whisk yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.
  3. In the large bowl of your stand mixer (or another mixing bowl if your using beaters), beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, on medium speed.
  4. Beat in eggs, one at a time, with sugar and butter until fully incorporated.
  5. Turn mixer speed to low and alternatively beat in flour mixture and yogurt mixture until all is incorporated.
  6. Make sure to scrape the sides to get all the batter mixed in.
  7. Fold in cranberries.
  8. Pour batter into butter greased loaf pan.
  9. Bake for 50-65 minutes at 325 degrees, making sure a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
  10. The batter is heavy so make sure the middle is done!

Recipe adapted from : Foodess.

Don’t forget you have until Tuesday (tomorrow!) to enter the giveaway for tights and leggings.

real (4)

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White chocolate cranberry cookies

maternityreal

Aren’t cranberries just the prettiest Christmas baking accessory ever? I have a few baking projects I do every year that call for sugared cranberries and they are just so beautiful. There is something about those bold, red little fruits covered in sparkly sugar, that make my heart sing. This probably explains why most of my holiday decor has cranberry hues. Last year I even scored the most beautiful frosted cranberry garland at a local thrift shop.

Plus since I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, desserts with cranberries in them are my favorite. It’s that perfect little tangy zip that I need with my sweets! I am such a weirdo when it comes to sweets. I either need something salty & sweet or at least something to distract my tastebuds from something that is overly sweet. maternityreal (5)

I don’t recall ever coming across a cookie dough recipe that called for powdered sugar before this one. I admit I was a little skeptical, but the powdered sugar really seemed to help the dough have a smooth, creamy consistency. The cookies turn out with perfectly hard edges and soft middles, just the way I like ‘em! I will certainly be using this cookie recipe as a base for a ton of other cookie combinations. I am thinking next time I will try a peanut butter butter cream, with chopped Reeses peanut butter cups on top.

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Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup powder sugar
  • 2 cups whole wheat white flour
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup white chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup powder sugar
  • few drops of milk
  • dried sweetened cranberries
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix 1 cup of butter and ½ cup powdered sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add the flour, vanilla, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Stir in the white chocolate chips.
  4. Roll balls of dough on butter-greased baking sheets and store in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  5. With a spatula, lightly press down on each ball of dough to flatten a bit.
  6. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until just slightly golden.
  7. Be sure not to over bake.
  8. While cookies are cooling make the buttercream frosting.
  9. In your mixer cream together ¼ cup butter, ¾ cup powdered sugar and a few drops of milk. Add more milk if the frosting becomes too thick.
  10. Frost cookies and place dried cranberries on top.

Recipe ℅: Roxanna’s Home Baking

 

A small roundup of some other good cranberry recipes:

 Cranberry Walnut Tart 

Cranberry Lime Vodka 

Cranberry Bread Pudding

Fresh Cranberry Jello by Lulu the Baker

^ I just made this jello recipe last week and it is INCREDIBLE!

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Chocolate Guinness cake w/ cream cheese frosting

Guinness cake (1)Hey strangers! This post is brought to you by all the people who came to our Holiday Open House Friday night and wondered why I don’t post recipes very frequently anymore. Guys! I didn’t even know that so many of you read my blog. So thanks, super flattering! Also made me blush a little though because I really have been slacking. Although this time of the year is incredibly busy, I am finding that any free time I do have, I am wanting to just spend relaxing with my boys. Guinness cakeThis will be the last Christmas in our house (our first house!) and I have been soaking it all in. Honestly, even though I am excited to have the space we need for our family in a larger home, I am so emotional about leaving our cozy little house. We have made so many memories in our 1200 square feet of space and we have completely transformed it into a space that reflects our style perfeclty. We will have gone from being a family of 3, to a family of 6 in this home. We are always together at home because there aren’t many places to go and we don’t have the space to accumulate junk. But we know that it’s just time to move on. The kids are sure excited to have more room to run around though! In the meantime I have a million recipe posts piling up to share with you and am just lacking the time and energy to post them! Anyway, thanks friends for lifting my blogging spirit and here is a delicious cake just for you! Guinness cake (3) I do not have a sweet tooth. I honestly don’t. Except when I am pregnant, then I need a little sliver of something sweet every day. Now I try really hard not to eat sugar throughout the day but I figure one bite of something sweet a day isn’t too harmful? This cake is my favorite ever ever. It’s not rich and oh so damp and dark. The cream cheese frosting is thick and creamy but not too sweet. And I just love how after frosted it looks just like a big frosty, pint of Guinness. Do I even have to tell you how much my Guinness loving husband liked this cake? Guinness cake (4)

Chocolate Guinness cake w/ cream cheese frosting
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Ingredients
  • 250 ml Guinness
  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 5 ounces sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 10 ounces cream cheese
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Pour the Guinness into a large pot, at the butter in slices.
  2. Heat until the butter melts.
  3. Whisk in cocoa and sugar.
  4. In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, beat the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla.
  5. Pour mixing bowl mixture in with the Guinness in the pot.
  6. Whisk in flour and baking soda.
  7. Pour the cake batter into a butter greased 9 inch cake pan.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
  9. While cake is cooling, make the frosting.
  10. Whip the cream cheese until smooth.
  11. Slowly add the powdered sugar while mixing until all is incorporated.
  12. Add the cream, a little at a time, and whip until you reach a good consistency.
  13. Ice your cake!

   Do yourself a favor and make this cake! It’s really simple, even for us non-baker types. Is it snowing by you? It’s really coming down in the midwest and we are quite giddy about it! Have a great week.

 

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