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Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cupcakes


Does anyone in this wide, wide world dislike cheesecake?   My hope would be that everyone likes it.  Because I care that everyone is normal and okay.   Anyone who doesn’t like cheesecake is unfortunate and needs to seek help. ;)

Well, since everyone DOES like cheesecake and I’m sure we all like cupcakes, I put them together and made a cheesecake/cake/chocolate/vanilla/goodness kind of treat. :)

It’s basically a chocolate cake with cheesecake filling.  And chocolate frosting.  And graham crackers.

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Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cupcakes    makes 18 cupcakes

ingredients~

for the cheesecake filling~

  • 1/2 (4 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (semi-sweet or bitter sweet also work)

for the cake~

  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unprocessed cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup butter or coconut oil, melted but not hot
  • 1 TBS. white vinegar

for the topping~

  • 1 graham cracker sheet, crushed into chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place liners in a cupcake pan.

For the cheesecake filling, mix together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, egg, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a small bowl.  Beat well until everything is incorporated and smooth.  Fold in the chocolate chips and set aside.

For the cake, sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Mix in the 1 cup sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk the water, butter/oil, and vinegar.  Drizzle this mixture into the dry ingredients while gently mixing.  Stir until combined.

To put it all together, spoon the cake batter into the cupcake liners half way up.  Top this off with about a tablespoon and a half of the cheesecake filling.

Bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the chocolate cake part of the cupcake comes out clean.

Let the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

Ingredients for the frosting~

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 TBS. unprocessed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (4 TBS.) butter, melted
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the frosting, beat together the cocoa, butter, and vanilla.  Beat in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until combined.  Drizzle in the milk while mixing the frosting.  Add in just enough to make it easy to spread with a knife or squeeze out of a piping bag.

Frost the cool cupcakes as desired.

Top the cupcakes with the crumbled graham crackers.

Enjoy! <3

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Whole Wheat Tomato Basil Bread


Baking bread is such a wonderful skill to master. You can save so much money by doing so and it is healthier too. Not to mention so much yummier than bread you can by in a store.

There are endless recipes and techniques to use and create to bake bread. You can check out my Honey Wheat Bread and Cinnamon Bread too.

This is a wonderful recipe to use for serving alongside soup or salad.

It has a fresh taste from the tomato to compliment the heartiness of the whole wheat.

Whole Wheat Tomato Basil Bread           makes 2 medium loaves


ingredients~

  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour
  • 2 TBS. yeast
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1 TBS. sea salt
  • 5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2-3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2 TBS. dried basil
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, chopped
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Mix together the first four ingredients and cover. Let it sit for 45 minutes so that the yeast dissolves and causes the mixture to bubble.

After the 45 minutes, uncover the dough and mix in the remaining ingredients. Add enough flour so that the dough is not too sticky to work with.

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Knead the dough on a floured surface and shape into two oval shaped loaves. Place each loaf on a floured baking sheet and cover with a light towel. Let the loaves rise for 30 minutes.

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When the loaves are rising preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

After the 30 minutes of rising, slice the tops of the bread loaves three times to create slashes across the loaves. Spritz the loaves with cool water and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Remove the baked bread from the pans and cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve!

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This bread would be good with oil and vinegar, butter, or a garlic spread.

Enjoy!

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Buttermilk Lemon French Toast


Some people have a favorite day of the week. I don’t know if I have a favorite day of the week.

I mean, Sundays are wonderful because we get to go to church and worship and hear the Word and fellowship with our friends.

Fridays are wonderful because it’s the start of the weekend and we eat pizza and stay up way too late and get really hyper. And then there is Saturday. Ahh…. The day where my family has a really fun breakfast and works outside and plays games.

We usually have buttermilk pancakes. With bacon. I think that is my favorite breakfast.

We are cool and make butter so we have homemade buttermilk. Buttermilk is a fun thing to cook and bake with.

It makes everything so…… Fluffy.  And fluff is good.  Oh so good.

Well last time we had buttermilk I thought.  ‘Why not use it for French Toast? It would make it so fluffy and mmmmm….’

And it did.  Applause for you, sweet buttermilk.

Buttermilk Lemon French Toast   serves 8-10


ingredients~

  • 1 loaf crusty bread of regular size
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk (fresh and homemade is best)
  •  zest of 1/4 of a lemon
  • butter (raw and homemade is best)

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First, crack your eggs in a baking dish or pie pan.

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Whisk them up.

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Then whisk in your lemon zest and buttermilk.

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Slice the bread into the desired amount of pieces.

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Heat a griddle or an iron skillet over medium-high heat. Drop on a teaspoon or two of butter and let it melt.

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Soak a few pieces of the bread in the buttermilk mixture.

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And place them on the griddle/skillet. Let them cook for about 3 minutes before flipping them. Nice and toasty brown.

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Oh dear. They look like rabbits. I promise I used regular bread. Ehehe.

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Poor bunnies.

Cook them until they are lightly browned on both sides and toasty. Place the finished toasts on a baking sheet and keep them warm until ready to serve.

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Serve the French Toast with butter and maple syrup. I also served mine with strawberries. Mmm hmm.  I  like my Saturdays. <3

Hope you all enjoy this one.

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Thai Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry


I love making Asian food. 

The flavors are bold and full of taste. Simple spices like black pepper, ginger, and garlic can transform a dish when used properly.

Thai Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry Serves 8 – 10
ingredients-

  • 1/2  tsp. coconut oil  x  3
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 6 asparagus spears, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked and cooled
  • 2 TBS. tamari sauce

In a medium frying pan, melt 1/2 tsp. coconut oil over medium-high heat.  In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork and pour in the frying pan.  Let the eggs cook for about 1 minute without mixing them, like you are making an omelet. Flip the eggs over and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer the eggs to a cutting board and chop then up into 1/4 inch pieces. Like so~

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After the eggs are done, melt another 1/2 tsp. coconut oil in the frying pan. Add the cubed chicken breast pieces and cook them until done.  Sprinkle on the black pepper and cook for 1 minute. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Melt the last 1/2 tsp. coconut oil in the pan and add in the asparagus, onion, carrots, broccoli, ginger, and garlic salt.  Cook the veggies on medium heat until tender.

Now, mix in the eggs, chicken and cooked quinoa. Stir together gently.

Just before serving, drizzle on the tamari sauce.

Serve while still hot.

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Soft Pretzels with Coarse Sea Salt

I love pretzels. From the Snyder’s minis to the cinnamony Aunty Anne’s.

So I decided to make some yummy homemade ones. They are so easy to make too. Messy, but easy.

I coated them in egg and coarse sea salt. You could of course do a cinnamon-sugar topping too. That would be really good with vanilla ice cream. ♥

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Soft Pretzels with Coarse Sea Salt      makes 15 medium pretzels

ingredients~

  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1 TBS. yeast
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 5-6 cups unbleached,all-purpose, flour
  • water
  • baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • coarse sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the 2 cups of warm water. Slowly mix in the flour one cup at a time. Knead the dough with your hands, adding more flour until the dough is soft and not sticky. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

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After the ten minutes, flour your work surface and knead the dough jut a bit. Then separate it into fifteen equal sized balls.

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Let the dough balls rest for another ten minutes. You want these pretzels soft!

After that, shape these dough balls into whatever shapes your heart desires.

I did a few different ones.

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Next, place about 8 cups of water in a frying pan or iron skillet. Add 3/4 teaspoon of baking soda to this and bring it to a rapid boil.

Now here’s the fun part! (Besides eating the pretzels, of course.)

Plop the shaped pretzels into the boiling water two at  a time, making sure they don’t touch. Boil them for one minute.

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Remove them to a baking sheet and brush on a bit of the beaten egg. Then generously sprinkle on the coarse sea salt.

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Repeat with all of your pretzels.

Bake them for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool the pretzels on a wire rack.

Best served while still warm.

Delicious!

You could serve these with any number of dipping sauces. I had mine with honey mustard and it was quite wonderful.

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Chocolate Easter Egg Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Chocolate Cupcakes    makes 1 dozen regular or 3 dozen mini

ingredients~

  • 2 TBS. butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup water, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place liners in the muffin tin.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar lightly. Add the egg and egg white, one at a time, beating gently after each addition.

In a measuring cup, add the buttermilk and water. Stir in the vanilla. Beat this into the sugar mixture.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, soda and salt. Gently and slowly beat this into the master mixture until fully incorporated.

Fill the liners 2/3 of the way full and bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes if regular size, and 10-12 minutes for mini size.

Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

ingredients~

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 TBS. milk
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Beat together all of the ingredients in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Frost cupcakes in a swirl and top with a small chocolate egg.

Perfect and ready for Easter!

Enjoy!

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Homemade Graham Crackers

Making something is always much more fun than buying something.

There are so many things one can make that will taste better than the store brand and also be much healthier. Things like cereals, chips, breads, desserts and graham crackers. This particular graham cracker recipe is much better than anything you could buy in the store.

It’s not filled with preservatives and bleached flour. It’s filled with real ingredients.

Real is always so much better than fake, isn’t it? But, of course.

These graham crackers will make your kitchen smell lovely.  Like a bakery or tea parlor.

Speaking of tea, the graham crackers are quite good for dipping in tea. Or coffee. Or cocoa.

I had two little assistants while I made these today. My twin sisters Lila and Gracie love to help in the kitchen and are wonderful helpers.

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They enjoyed the graham crackers with blueberry tea after they were finished baking.

Here is the recipe.

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Homemade Graham Crackers             makes 6 dozen

ingredients~

  • 5 – 5 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 TBS. cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup olive oil or coconut oil, melted
  • 2/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 TBS. vanilla
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup milk

Combine 5 cups of the flour in a large bowl with the brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, honey, molasses, vanilla and 1/2 cup milk.

Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until it comes together to form a dough. If the dough is too sticky, add the remaining flour. If it is to dry, add the remaining milk. Finishing mixing with your hands.

Form the dough into a ball and let it chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

When the dough is ready, separate it into three balls.

Flour a baking sheet and roll out one of the dough balls on the sheet.

Cut the dough into 24 squares and prick each square 3-4 times with a fork.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

Bake the graham crackers for 15-20 minutes, just until the edges start to turn brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly on the baking sheet.

Separate the squares with a knife and let cool completely on a cooling rack.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Meringue Frosting

Here is a new cupcake recipe.  I love anything banana flavored so I thought I’d create a recipe for banana cupcakes.  I do have a recipe for Banana Muffins on here too and those are pretty tasty.  :)

I also tried making meringue frosting for the first time.  It was easier than I thought it would be and the frosting turned out quite yummy.

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Banana Cupcakes with Vanilla Meringue Frosting           makes 12-15 regular sized cupcakes or 30-35 minis

ingredients~

  • 5 TBS. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1 medium banana, mashed
  • 1/3 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
  • 3 TBS. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place liners in a muffin tin.

In a small bowl, stir together flours, baking soda and allspice. Set aside.

I a medium sized bowl beat together the coconut oil, sugar and egg whites just until combined and foamy.  Gently beat in the dry ingredients.

In a small bowl, stir together the mashed banana, yogurt and milk.  Beat this into the batter until just combined, about 15 seconds.

Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake regular cupcakes 20-25 and minis 10-12 minutes.

Cool completely before frosting.

I used this easy recipe/tutorial to make the meringue frosting.  It turned out perfectly and I will definitely be making it again!

Vanilla Meringue Frosting

Enjoy! ♥

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Chocolate & Vanilla Cupcakes with Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting

On New Years Eve, I made two different kinds of cupcakes.  I used the same batter for both chocolate and vanilla cupcakes.  Some people in my family prefer chocolate over vanilla, and vice versa.

When it’s comes to chocolate or vanilla, I choose vanilla.  Unless it’s these Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Cupcakes.  Those are my favorite.  :)

I’m not really a big frosting fan.  I’m a cake lover.  But with these cupcakes I did a Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting that went well with both flavors.

Here is the recipe for those cupcakes, along with the frosting.  I used whole wheat flour and they turned out just as fluffy and moist as they do when I would use regular flour.  Hope you enjoy! ♥

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Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes          makes 12 cupcakes

ingredients~

  • 1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup organic sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup plus 2 TBS. milk, at room temperature
  • 2 TBS. cocoa powder  (for the chocolate cupcakes)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place liners in a muffin tin.

First, beat together butter and sugar until just combined, 10-15 seconds.  Gently beat in the egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour and add the baking powder and salt.  Add half of this into the wet mixture and beat gently.

Add half of the milk into the batter and beat gently.  Repeat with the remaining flour and milk.

Divide the batter in half and place half of it in a small bowl.  This will be for the vanilla cupcakes.

With the remaining batter, add in the 2 TBS. cocoa powder and beat until combined.

Fill the liners two thirds of the way with batter, six vanilla and six chocolate.

Bake the cupcakes for seventeen minutes, then test with a toothpick.  If they are not quite done add another minute to the baking time.

Let the cupcakes cool for five minutes in the pan and then place them on a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Here’s the frosting recipe.

Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting         frosts 12 cupcakes

ingredients~

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 TBS. instant coffee granules
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese, coffee and salt until smooth.

Add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until the frosting is thick and creamy.

Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

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Vanilla Macaroons

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Macaroons are a perfectly wonderful kind of cookie.  They are so very…. Fluffy!  Thats the best way I can describe a macaroon.  I like fluffy things.  Except cotton candy.  That weird stuff dissolves into blah in ones mouth.  :)

They are easy to make and there are so many flavor possibilities

My recipe for Vanilla Macaroons has only five ingredients.  I like recipes with only a few ingredients.  :)

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Vanilla Macaroons   makes 2 dozen

  • 2 cup organic, shredded., unsweetened coconut
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except the coconut.  Whisk until the mixture is foamy.  Add the coconut and stir until it’s completely coated.

Using a tablespoon cookie scoop or a tablespoon measuring spoon, make balls with the coconut mixture.  Turn each ball onto the parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake the macaroons for 15-17 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Let the macaroons cool completely before removing from the parchment paper.  These are best chilled before serving.

Enjoy! ♥