“Healthy” Cheesecake

Healthy Cheesecake ~ via The EGGI say “healthy” because come on, when you are baking how healthy can you really be? But in terms of cheesecake this one is definitely not AS bad for you as the standard to die for cheesecake. It does not contain any of the usual cast of guilty characters, cream cheese, sour cream, or milk. Rather it substitutes all of that wonderful go straight to your thighs goodness with Greek Yogurt. And trust me when I tell you, it looks like cheesecake, smells like cheesecake, feels like cheesecake… Heck it even tastes like cheesecake. It must be CHEESECAKE! Or maybe it’s yogurt cake dubbing as cheesecake. Who cares? I will take it if it means less time on the treadmill. Ha! Who am I kidding? It is hard to spend less time on something that I never use. All well it sounded good. Here is how I made mine…

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups greek yogurt (plain or vanilla) I used vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 pre-made graham cracker pie crust

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Take your pre-made crust and crumble it smooth into the bottom of a springform pan. If you like you can make your own, but I just assume using the store bought kind.

Beat together the eggs and the sugar. Add the vanilla and flour and mix to blend thoroughly then gently whisk in the yogurt.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until barely set in the center. You want the cake to still be jiggly in the middle but have that perfect done look to it. The edges of the cake will start to pull away from the pan exposing the dark edges. Be sure to not over bake. Turn off the oven and allow cake to cool inside.

Healthy Cheesecake made out of Greek Yogurt ~ via The EGGBring cake to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. I let my sit overnight in the fridge and then dressed it up the next day to serve for desert after a lovely Beer Can Chicken dinner.

Healthy Cheesecake made out of Greek Yogurt ~ via The EGGServe cake with your favorite topping. I used peaches because it is what I had on hand, but you can use cherries, strawberries, blueberries… You get the idea. If you really have a sweet tooth, you can warm honey and drizzle it over the fruit.

Healthy Cheesecake made out of Greek Yogurt ~ via The EGG

EGG Signature

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Homemade Candied Walnuts

Ingredients

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups raw walnuts (halved)
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 1. Lay walnuts out on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for about 5 minutes. Taste test your walnuts. If not quite toasted enough, toast for 1 or 2 more minutes. Be careful not to burn.

Step 2. While walnuts cool on a cooling rack, pour sugar into a medium saucepan. Cook sugar on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon as soon as the sugar begins to melt. Keep stirring until all the sugar has melted and the color is a medium amber.

Step 3. Add the walnuts to the sugar, quickly stirring and coating each piece. (Sorry there are no pictures of this step. I had to move very quickly and my hands were a little preoccupied.)

Step 4. As soon as the walnuts are coated with the sugar mixture, spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use two forks to separate the walnuts from each other, working very quickly. (You have less than a minute before the sugar hardens and forever joins the walnuts in one big mound of walnut. Don’t freak out. You are not going to get every piece of walnut separated. You just want to get them in a single layer and separated as much as possible. You can always break them by hand once the sugar has cooled.)

Step 5. Sprinkle the nuts with the salt. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Notes: Candied Walnuts are great as a simple snack or can be used as an ice cream topping or even a salad topping. I love to use them in my Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad recipe. Be sure not to burn your nuts and to move very quickly for this recipe. Preparation is the key! Oh and don’t freak out…

Sweet Crescent Rolls

One word describes these little buggers… Mmm! I would totally make these again, and again, and again, and maybe even one or two more times after that. They are super simple, and totally tasty. However, while eating them the Hubby and I did have a revelation. Add apples to make them more like little personal sized apple pies. I will totally try that next time.

Ingredients

  • Package of crescent rolls
  • Butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the cinnamon and sugar together and mix well. Place the unrolled crescent rolls onto an ungreased cookie sheet (I used my silpat mat). Spread a layer of butter on each triangle; top with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Roll from the bottom of the triangle to the point.

Place in the oven and bake for 10-11 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve while hot. Enjoy.

Happy Birthday to Me!

pink lemonade pie bigger

“Go, go, go shorty it’s your birfday. We gon’ party like it’s your birthday.” Yep that’s right, it is my birthday and I will cry if I want to. Unless, somebody makes me some Pink Lemonade Cake. Well technically they call it a pie, but it’s my birthday and I want to call it a cake, so a cake it is. Doesn’t it look delish? I love how pretty it is! I am not a big pie person in general, but my uncle made me an apple pie for my pre-birthday dinner and it was not half bad. Normally he cooks us Sunday Pasta dinner and I have to say he has perfected the art of Italian cooking to a T. Recently he has added pies to his repertoire and it was pretty darn tasty. I will have to pass this recipe along to him and see what he thinks. Hopefully the whole pink thing won’t throw him.

Ingredients

The Crust:

  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter

The Filling:

  • 1 8-ounce packet of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ cup pink lemonade concentrate (not mixed with water)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
  • AmeriColor Red Red food coloring or equal

Directions

The Crust:

  1. Mix the crumbs, sugar, and butter in a nine-inch pie pan or spring form pan. Mix until the crumbs have absorbed the butter and the mixture is uniform.
  2. Press the crumbs across the bottom of the pan and up the sides.
  3. Bake for eight to ten minutes at 350 degrees.

The Filling:

  1. Using the whip attachment and your stand-type mixer or with a handheld electric mixer, mix the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk together on medium high-speed until the mixture is smooth. (If you place the sweetened condensed milk in the bowl first, the cream cheese will not stick to the bowl and you will have little need to scrape the sides.)
  2. Add the lemonade concentrate and lemon juice and continue beating. Color with red food coloring as desired.
  3. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and place it in the freezer while you mix the topping.

Wait wait wait. Look what I stumbled upon… An actual Pink Lemonade Layer Cake that looks pretty awesome as well. Now that I found the actual cake version, you are allowed to call the above recipe a pie. See how that works? The birthday girl gets whatever she wants. However, when it comes to these sweeties, I am not quite sure which one I want to eat on my actual birthday, plus I am not a big fan of decisions, so I think I will take both please.

Ingredients

  • One box of strawberry cake mix (plus oil, water and eggs as directed on box)
  • 8oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 packet of Kool-Aid Lemonade (0.23oz.)
  • Yellow food coloring gel, as desired for color
  • 2 cups Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip Topping
  • Fresh strawberries to garnish

Directions

  1. Make cake according to box and bake in 2- 9 inch round cake pans as directed. Turn finished cakes over on cake racks and allow to cool completely.
  2. Cream together cream cheese, lemonade and yellow food coloring until smooth.
  3. Mix marshmallow creme in and then mix in Cool Whip until completely smooth. Refrigerate until cake is cooled and cut.
  4. Cut each cake layer in half.
  5. Alternating layers of cake with layers of filling, assemble cake.  End with layer of filling.
  6. Top with sliced strawberries.
  7. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

DIY Wedding Cake Decor

Ok, so I like to think of myself as kind of creative. In other words, I have a couple of crafty bones in my body, however, I am the first to tell you that I am not an artist. I can’t draw and I can’t paint for the life of me. I definitely don’t think I could do something as artistically driven as decorate a cake and have it look professional. Well, that is until I saw this awesome DIY cake by Wild Orchid Baking Company on The Wedding Chicks. It is very reminiscent of my Poof Balls, which of course makes me love it even more! I wish I could get married again so bad. I could do that shit on the cheap this time fo sho! Check out how to become and cake artist…

Supplies

  • Fruit leather (We used store bought for this project. If you wanted to match a specific color, then making your own might work better for you.)
  • Round cookie cutters
  • Small bowl of water
  • Small paint brush
  • Floral wire (tooth picks or skewers would work as well)
  • Piece of foam

Directions

The Flowers:

Step 1. Using a round cookie cutter, cut circles out of the fruit leather. The size of the cutter you use will determine how large of a puff you have at the end. For these puffs we used round cutters that were 1/2” to 2” in diameter.

Step 2. Pick up a fruit leather round, and using your thumbs and forefingers, press the sides of the round together towards the center of the circle. You’ll end up with a shape resembling a ruffled “x”. Just be sure to press towards the center of the circle, so that you don’t close the “x” entirely. The open loops are what give the puff it’s shape.
(Repeat with other circles. For a nice full puff we used 6 fruit leather rounds per puff. You can use more or less depending on how full you’d like the puff to be. To begin to form a puff, press 2 of the ruffled fruit leather rounds together at their points.)

Step 3. If the fruit leather has begun to dry out, brush on a small amount of water so that they stick together. Add more ruffles until you achieve the desired puff shape. Set formed puff onto a piece of styrofoam. Use floral wires or tooth picks to prop up the fruit leather puff into it’s desired shape. Allow to dry out over night. Using the wires or toothpicks helps keep the puff from drooping or loosing it’s shape as it dries.  You may need to allow puffs to dry out longer depending on the humidity.

The Small Circles:

Step One. Add dots to your cake or cupcake design by cutting out small circles from the leftover fruit leather. Apply using royal icing or water, just like the puffs.

Step 2. Apply to a finished cake using small dots of royal icing, or if applying to fondant just brush on a small amount of water where you’d like the puff to stick.

For cupcakes: Set onto freshly piped frosting.

Notes: How easy is that? I wish I could get married again or at least one of my girlfriends so I can make this. Can’t find fun fruit leather colors? No problem. Make your flowers out of tissue paper, like Martha Stewart’s Pom Poms. Who says the flowers have to edible?

Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Sandwiches

Say what you want about Paula Deen and her ongoing weight, and new-found health issues. I think she is a genius. I don’t care if you are 90 lbs or 490 lbs, who would not want a peanut butter and jelly ICE CREAM sandwich? Okay, maybe my vegan aunt wouldn’t, but that is besides the point. I personally can not wait until I can make these. Keep in mind, when I make them I will probably go the semi homemade route. I am talking store bought ice cream, homemade cookies, but not necessarily from scratch. We will see what kind of mood I am in when it comes time to actually making them. One thing I do know, either way you make them, they will be FABULOUS!

Ingredients

Peanut Butter Cookies:

  • 1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Strawberry Ice-Cream:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups diced strawberries

Assembly:

  • 6 tablespoons strawberry preserves
  • Peanut butter chips or chopped peanuts, optional

Directions 

Peanut Butter Cookies:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large baking sheet.

In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, the egg, and vanilla, and stir well with a spoon. Roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. With a fork, dipped in sugar to prevent sticking, press a crisscross design on each cookie. Bake for 12 minutes, remove from the oven, and sprinkle the cookies with some of the remaining sugar. Cool slightly before removing from pan.

Strawberry Ice-Cream:

In a small bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients. Puree the strawberries in a food processor and add to cream mixture. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker. After freezing in the ice cream maker, transfer to a container and place in the freezer, to freeze solid, for 6 hours before serving.

Assembly:

Spread the strawberry preserves on a peanut butter cookie. Top with a small scoop of strawberry ice cream and cover with another cookie. Roll sides in peanut butter chips or peanuts, if desired.

  • Source: Paula Deen
  • Cook Time: 12 min
  • Recipe Yields: 8 to 9 servings

Peanut Butter Pie

Ingredients

Peanut Butter Pie:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • ¾ cup creamy peanut butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, plus whipped cream, for garnish, optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces shaved milk chocolate
  • Chopped peanuts, optional

Hot Fudge Sauce:

  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Directions

1 (9-inch) baked chocolate cookie pie crust

Hot Fudge Sauce:

Add the cream, brown sugar, corn syrup, cocoa powder, salt, and vanilla extract to a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the chopped chocolate. Stir continuously until the chocolate is melted and the sauce has thickened, roughly 3 to 4 minutes. Let the sauce cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Peanut Butter Pie:

In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar and the peanut butter until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until thick and light. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

Carefully fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture. Pour the batter into the pie shell, sprinkle with the shaved milk chocolate and freeze for 4 hours.

Notes: If desired, serve with the hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, and chopped peanuts.

  • Source: The Neelys
  • Prep Time: 10min
  • Inactive Time: 4hr 10min
  • Cook Time: 8min
  • Total Time: 4hr 28min
  • Recipe Yields: 8 servings

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Soon after my Hubby and I got hitched, he asked me what my/our holiday treat was going to be. Meaning, what was I going to make that looks pretty and tastes yummy that we give to our family and friends in fancy little tins and cellophane wraps? I was really surprised he asked me this, because I thought boys didn’t care about that kind of stuff, but I guess I was mistaken. I tossed out a couple of ideas, such as mint candy bark and such, but wasn’t sold on anything special. That is until now. A couple of days ago I found a How-To make chocolate covered pretzels tutorial on Love from the Oven and got very excited. I love this idea because first of all I love chocolate covered pretzels, and second they are so easy to customize for every holiday. They are perfect for Christmas, St Patty’s Day, 4th of July, Birthdays and even days like today, Valentine’s Day. Fabulous!  Here is the How-To…

Ingredients

  • Pretzels
  • Chocolate
  • Sprinkles

Directions

  1. Set up work area. Have pretzels open and ready, sprinkles open and ready, a pan to sprinkle over and plenty of wax paper to sit the pretzels on after they take a dip in the chocolate.
  2. Next, you will want to melt your chocolate according to the package directions.  Two things to NOT do – over cook the chocolate or add water.   I usually cook mine for one minute in the microwave at 50% POWER, than stir. They usually are barely starting to melt at this point. Then I return them to the microwave for another 30 seconds at 50% power. I usually stir it really well, than go for one more spin in the microwave.
  3. Dip pretzel in the chocolate and then gently tap of extra chocolate and scrape excess off the back on the side of the bowl.
  4. Hole pretzel over bowl and sprinkle with sprinkles.
  5. Place on wax paper and let set.

How-To Video

Peanut Butter Balls

My girlfriend Myra is getting married this Saturday in Mexico. Actually she is more than my friend. She was my sorority sister, old roommate and was one of my bridesmaids. We have been through a lot with each other, and now she is marrying my Hubby’s best friend from college. Isn’t it a small world? She is actually the one responsible for introducing my Hubby and me, so I have her to blame thank. In honor of her pending nuptials, I thought I would dedicate this week’s entries to her favorite food. PEANUT BUTTER! First up, Paula Deen’s Peanut Butter Balls. Happy Wedding Week Myra! I can’t wait to celebrate with you and your wonderful family and friends.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup honey
  • 2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 ½ cups crushed corn flakes
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

Mix peanut butter, honey, and milk together in a large bowl to form very thick mixture. Roll mixture in small balls about the size of a walnut. Roll the balls in either the crushed corn flakes, finely chopped nuts, or powdered sugar. Place on waxed paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  • Source: Paula Deen
  • Prep Time: 20min
  • Inactive Time: 20min
  • Total Time: 40min
  • Recipe Yields: 18 to 24 balls

Super Bowl Menu

First the Saints lost… Then Houston lost… Then my last resort 49ers lost… It is official, I don’t care about the Super Bowl. However, that does not mean I can’t still have people over to watch and care about what I am serving. The Hubby is having some friends over tomorrow, and I have invited one of my girlies to come keep me company, so it should be a fun time. Now its time to come up with a Super Bowl menu that is sure to score touchdowns. Oh jeez, that was bad. Sorry, but I could not resist. I will try to refrain from the cornyness from here on out. Now on to the eats…

Wow, that might be way too much food for 4-5 people… Hmmm I may have to pare it down a tad. We already have the wings, so they are a for sure. I am thinking a 7-Eleven Layer dip and the spinach dip will go nicely. Maybe I will make the whoopie pies for dessert. If not, I have a cake mold in the shape of a stadium… I might have to make an actual Super Bowl cake. What do you think? I am thinking yes!

Click below for the recipes…

1. Buffalo Chicken Wings // 2. Spinach Dip // 3. 7-Eleven Layer Dip // 4. Queso // 5. Bite Size Tilapia Fish Tacos // 6. Football Whoopie Pies