A Cozy Autumn Treat

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More than ever, I’ve been looking for more ambitious recipes to try.

When I first looked this up, I thought, “Wow this looks delicious.” When I read how to make it, I put my phone right down. Yeah right! There were so many steps and I was not about to take a day making a cake. About an hour later, I looked at it again.

If you have a good solid amount of time and want to tackle a fun Autumn dessert, I firmly urge you to create this, because it was hands down the best thing I’ve ever baked, ever. I got the original recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. 

Ingredients:

Cheesecake Portion:

-16 ounces cream cheese, softened
-3/4 cup sugar
-1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1 Tablespoon flour (The small amount lets the cheesecake rise)
-3 large eggs

Pumpkin Cake Portion:

-3/4 cup vegetable oil
-1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
-2 large eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract (You can add a bit more for a more intense flavor in the pumpkin part of the cake)
-1 and 1/3 cups pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
-1 cup flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
-1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (Again, add more if you want it more flavorful)
-1/4 teaspoon salt

Frosting:

-4 ounces cream cheese, softened
-2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
-2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Add more for more flavor)
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1-2 Tablespoons normal milk
-chopped pecans, optional

Directions:

1. Adjust oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spray your Cheesecake Springform pan with a non-stick spray. Wrap aluminum foil on the bottom and tightly around the outside walls of the springform pan. Set it aside to be ready for the Cheesecake and Pumpkin Cake batters.

2. Make the cheesecake first: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium speed in a large bowl – about 3 full minutes until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the sour cream, vanilla, and flour and beat it on a low level working up to a medium speed. On low speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until just blended. Do not overmix the filling after you have added the eggs. Set aside.

3. Make the pumpkin cake:Before adding your ingredients, take your pumpkin and measure it out not a paper towel, and then blot it dry with another paper towel. In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and blotted-dry pumpkin together until mixed and there are no bumps in the texture. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix it until it’s smooth. Avoid overmixing the pumpkin cake batter.

4. Spread 1 and 1/2 cups of the pumpkin cake batter over bottom of prepared pan. On top of the pumpkin batter, drop large spoonfuls of the cheesecake batter. (I did this until it almost covered the pumpkin layer.) Add the rest of your remaining Pumpkin Cake batter. Repeat with remaining cream cheese batter. Mine actually covered the pumpkin batter almost completely, as seen in the picture. Do not swirl with a knife. See photo above of what my cake looked like before going into the oven.

5.Find a roasting pan and put your springform pan inside. You’re basically going to have a cheesecake bath and the foil around the springform pan prevents the water from leaking from the bottom. Fill with about 1 inch of hot water. This allows the cake consistency to remain spongy and moist instead of baking like a normal cake.

6. Bake for 65-75 minutes or until the center is almost set. If you find the edges are browning, loosely place aluminum foil on top of the cake as it bakes. Do not open the oven while it bakes, or the cheesecake will crack! When the timer goes off, lift the oven door a crack. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 1 hour. After, take it out and let it sit until it’s cooled completely. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight (preferred). Loosen the cheesecake from the rim of the pan and remove the rim.

7. Make the cream cheese frosting (this can be made up to 2 day sin advance – cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.) Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature before starting, it makes a difference. Use a handheld mixer to mix the cream cheese and butter together on a low speed, working your way up to a medium one until the texture is creamy. Add the confectioners sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on a lower speed for about 30 seconds, then turn up to high speed and beat until it’s a creamy texture. Beat in 1-2 Tablespoons of milk, depending how thick or thin you want the frosting. Spread onto chilled cheesecake. Top with pecans, if desired.

8. Cut into slices and serve cheesecake chilled. This made a lot of very dense, rich cake, so you most likely will have leftovers unless it’s for a party. You can cut the cake into slices and refrigerate them for up to 4 days.

I know this was more complicated than a pumpkin latte, but it was so rewarding and it’s a perfect Thanksgiving dessert idea! Side note- I actually made this on the day of the lunar eclipse, and my mom and I drank some cleansed moon water with our cheesecake the next day!

If you try out the recipe, let me know what you think of it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

-Heather

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My Current Favorite Breakfast

Breakfast

Suffering from the same boring breakfast? I know I was for awhile until I started trying different things. Instead of having the same cereal every day (sorry, Lucky Charms) I introduced fresh fruit into my morning. It’s summer, so if you can get your hands on some in-season fruits, I’d take advantage of it! I’ve generally been having Nutella on toast with cut up strawberries and yogurt on the side. I thought I’d share this and see what you’ve been enjoying for a refreshing summer breakfast.

-Heather

Chocolate Overload

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Happy June!

I made homemade brownies for the first time yesterday, and I had to share them with you! The recipe I found is from Style Me Pretty. I decided to give them a try, and they were delicious.

 Ready in 40 Minutes                   Moderately Easy                  Made 16 Squares

Ingredients

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch slices
1¼ cups pure cane sugar
¾ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 cold large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
⅔ cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup overflowing cup chocolate chips

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees placing your rack in the lower third of the oven. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper (we used coconut oil spray but anything will do).
To brown your butter, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter, while stirring constantly with a whisk or rubber spatula. After about 5 minutes, you should notice the butter foaming a bit and starting to turn a deep golden color. Keep stirring for another 3-5 minutes until the tiny reddish specks appear and your butter smells nutty and delish.

2. Remove your pan from heat and stir in the sugar until incorporated. Next, stir in the cocoa powder, salt and baking powder until completely blended,. Let this mixture cool for 10 minutes. **Very important to remove mixture from heat source and let cool for 10 minutes or a minimum of 5.

3. Add one of the eggs, stirring the mixture vigorously. Once incorporated fully, add the second egg, again stirring vigorously. The mixture should thicken a bit and have a glossy texture, but shouldn’t separate or become difficult to stir.

4. Add in the vanilla extract and the flour, stirring until just incorporated. Now, beat them brownies! Stir vigorously for about 1 minute.

5. Fold in the chocolate chips. Or chocolate slivers or almonds or whatever else you can dream up. Traditionalists…stick to chocolate chips or chunks and you can’t go wrong.

6. Pour batter in the lined pan, swirling the top with a knife if so you fancy,.

7. Bake on the lower rack for about 25 minutes. Some ovens might go a little longer, but the important thing is not to overcook.
Once the brownies are completely cool, dig in. And maybe scoop some vanilla ice cream on top.

-Heather

Spring “Sneak Peak” Issue of the Gathering magazine

A few days ago I posted about writing and editing for the digital magazine the Gathering, but I wanted to showcase the cover page and give you another link to take a peak into the issue. We are hoping to have a nice big fall issue that people will be interested in! Here is the link for the Spring Sneak Peak. I love the front page picture! Those pumpkin spoons look amazing.

I hope you will be interested in some of the content inside. Easter is coming quickly! I loved seeing the place cards and decorations.

There are also some pieces about fine wines and what they can be served with. I think because this is a lifestyle publication, there is a little something for everyone. I love looking at recipes and what you could make that would be in season. This is also a good sneak peak for a spring or summer wedding. There are menus and stationary ideas set up on the tables. One Fine Day is the event planner that styled the table settings, and she is super talented!

Let me know what you guys think of this.

I know that I am once again posting about this, but I really am proud. This is only our first issue and it’s a sneak peak, but it looks really professional to me. I love working with Blonde On The Run Catering that made all the delicious food for the shoot. These are people who are real professionals working with things they love. It’s such an inspiring environment!

-Heather

Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies

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I was in the baking mood yesterday and though it was time for chocolate chip cookies. After being sick for about 2 weeks, I was happy that I was feeling myself again. I love baking, it usually brightens my spirits. I did a twist on my normal chocolate chip cookie recipe.
First of all, this was the first time I’ve used a pudding mix instead of granulated sugar. We still used brown sugar, but the taste of the pudding mix replaces the large amount of normal sugar that is usually used for cookies. I just used a Jello Vanilla Pudding package. The recipe called for 4 ounces, and the Jello packed was 3.4 ounces. But it all worked just the same!

These are pretty rich, so I suggest if you’re making them that you make a lot of small ones so you can eat them in small doses. That’s what I did and everyone seemed to like the portions. Also, this might be a good recipe for an Easter dessert! Lots of chocolate and great flavor.

Also, I didn’t crush up my oreos too much. I left some of them quite big and it made for interesting cookies!

I got this recipe from Food Fanatic. I was excited to find an oreo cookie recipe that wasn’t the ones where you just bake the whole oreo. That sounds good, but would be way too much for me! This gives enough of oreo flavor without being overwhelming. I’m really happy with how them came out.

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
4 ounces vanilla pudding mix, instant
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg white
10 oreos, crumbled and crushed
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, instant pudding, and baking soda.
3. In a large bowl beat the butter and brown sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg plus egg white and mix until just combined.
4. Add the flour-pudding mixture and mix until the dough is moist all the way through. Then stir in the crushed Oreos and chocolate chips.
5. Spoon the batter onto the prepared cookie sheets by the rounded teaspoon (these cookies are small!) about 2″ apart.
Bake for 10- 12 minutes.
6. Let the cookies cool slightly before removing them from the cookie sheet.

10 Favorite Foods

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First off, how could I not have done a favorite food post before? I think one of the most enriching parts of life is what food we choose to eat. And to me, it’s one of the more exciting things in my day. I love food! I’ve picked out my 10 favorite foods to share with you today.

1. Macarons

I’m talking about the French ones, and the ones pictured are some that I got at the Patisserie on Newbury Street in Boston, and this picture I took pretty much showcases how delicious they are.

2. Cheese

I know this is kind of vague because most of my favorite foods have cheese in them. But I just love cheese! I love going to fancy parties where there are cheese platters. My nonnie calls me a “cheeser”.

3. French Toast

I think this has become my favorite breakfast food. I used to love chocolate chip pancakes the best, but French toast has come in first now. My boyfriend makes the best version by using lots of syrup and cinnamon when cooking it, and it’s literally to die for. I also like having fruit on top of it. There is so much that you can do with flavoring in French toast, so it’s made my list.

4. Burgers

I’m slowly realizing this unhealthy list. But burgers are so delicious and usually if I’m having a hard week, a nice Five Guys burger will do the trick for me.

5. Salad

Finally, a healthy option. If I’m going out for lunch, my everyday choice is usually a salad because it refuels me and doesn’t leave me feeling groggy from 1-5 p.m. when I have a bunch of work to do. My favorite salads are Southwest and Asian Chicken.

6. Pasta

I’m Italian, so I have pasta around twice a week (minimum). I know this isn’t particularly healthy, but I grew up on spaghetti! I love Alfredo and Penne A La Vodka sauces. My favorite pasta is from a small gourmet restaurant down the street from my house.

7. Ice Cream

I have a serious weakness for ice cream. I’ll even eat it in the winter or fall, it’s so good that I just don’t care. My favorite flavors are Cookie Dough and Peppermint Stick. However, me and my friends have been going crazy for Ben & Jerry’s Core ice creams lately.

8. Chocolate

How could I not include this? I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate most of the time. Some of my favorites are Hazelnut and dark chocolate, Ghirardelli’s mint chocolate squares, and the Orange chocolates that you crack and they split into slices. I usually get a bar of chocolate when I’m making the drive to Boston, and it’s the best treat for the road. Dark chocolate is also slightly better for you (that’s what I keep telling myself).

9. Tuna Melts

This is probably the least luxurious food on the list. However, I love a god tuna melt for lunch. I love getting it at Subway, but I also love making at my house. A can of tuna is pretty cheap, and toasting it on some good bread with cheese makes my whole afternoon happier. I also sprinkle parmesan on top after it’s been toasted and it’s a delicious touch.

10. Pizza

If you ask anyone who knows me at all, they’ll tell you my favorite food is absolutely pizza, and I literally eat it almost every other day (again, not that healthy).

What are your favorite foods?

-Heather

September Faves! Beauty, Fashion, & Random!

Hello everyone!

I decided every once in a while when I’ve been really enjoying some items throughout a month, I’ll blog about them at the end of the month. October is here and I used a lot of items over and over throughout September, and thought it’d be nice to share! For my first favorites post, I thought I would add a little bit of everything, so I included some beauty items, some fashion items, and then some everyday lifestyle items. I hope you enjoy!

1. Makeover Essentials Palette

My favorite shades in this palette are the first three because those are the eye shadows, and the rest are actually lip colors. If you like the Naked basics palettes, you’ll enjoy this.

2. Benefit “They’re Real” Mascara

I’ve been using this forever and I just really enjoy the length of the wand and the type of brush. I think it works really well! To me, it’s amazing, but there are good and bad reviews on this mascara. It won’t give you huge fake looking lashes, but it does extend them and give you a beautiful fluttery look. When using too much, it tends to stick lashes together a little and that can be hard to remove. This is what keeps me from saying it gives a “false lashes” look, because it won’t give every individual lash an extension, it tends to group them together.

3. Nyx Single Eye Shadow

This is a shimmery eyeshadow. I tend to use it with a nice thick liquid liner.

4. Green Skirt from Target

I wear this a lot with a loose silk-type shirt. It reminds me of old movies with a simple high waisted skit that gives me a vintage feel. I believe this was around $15 or $20, which is pretty expensive for Target! I also have noticed this forest green color everywhere for fall, so I can’t wait to keep paring it with other Autumn neutrals.

5. Asos Boots

I won’t say too much since I have a whole post on them here. I honestly think this is a shoe everybody would enjoy wearing. In my opinion, they were a great buy!

6. “It” by Alexa Chung

Here’s the description of the book: “A wholly unique collection of Chung’s personal writings, drawings, and photographs, It covers everything from her candid thoughts on life, love, and music to her favorite ensembles and how to decide what to wear in the morning. With Chung’s characteristic wit, charm, and refreshingly down-to-earth attitude, this full-color compendium is a must-have for anyone who loves fashion, music, and just about everything Alexa Chung”. I wasn’t entirely sure what the book would be about, and I was very pleased with everything about it.

7. Diptyque Figuier Candle

This company is sometimes known and sometimes not. This candle smells so fresh and natural. The scent can really just be described as amazing! Specifically the scent is “Fig Tree” which is so different and interesting. The price was about $60 which I know is expensive, but I quite literally felt the need to buy it right at that second. They certainly aren’t cheap, but so many bloggers and professionals have said the splurge is worth it. I would definitely recommend more candles from this brand, especially this specific one. I think they are made similarly to Jo Malone candles, so the quality is very apparent. I also love the jar and packaging because it’s so beautiful and sophisticated. The wax lasts a long time, as I bought this in the spring and it has so much left to burn.

8. Bear Naked Granola

The flavor of this kind was vanilla. There are so many ingredients like flax seeds and almonds. Those types of seeds with the oats and vanilla flavor are so delicious in my yogurt! I bought this at Walmart and there were many other flavors, but I imagine you can buy them at other grocery stores or even Target. Every time I use this granola, I feel like my yogurt and oatmeal are Instagram worthy, they make all my meals look so healthy and delicious. The packaging is fun and still kind of health-concious, so it made me feel responsible buying myself some granola. There are also a variety of flavors to pick from that my boyfriend loves, so I’m guessing there’s a flavor for everyone!

-Heather

Fall Treat!

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Hey guys!
I made this adorable fall treat with my awesome friend Meg that was so easy, as well as fun! All that’s required is:
Nilla wafers
Hershey kisses
Nestle butterscotch mini kisses
Icing

All you need to do is attatch a hershey kiss upside down to the bottom of a nilla wafer with a dime size amount of icing. After, attatch the smaller butterscotch kiss to the top with icing and hold for a little bit before letting them dry for a good half hour.
These are festive, easy, and so tasty! It would be a great idea to make for thanksgiving, or even as a little Christmas treat.
Tell me what you think!

-Heather

Valentine’s Day Treat

Hey guys,

You know my immense love for treats and holidays and, well, holiday treats. When I saw this I had to post it! I did not make this, but it is a quick and easy guide for a perfect Valentine for your loved ones!

I hope you all have great Valentine’s Days, and please give me feedback if you tried this adorable idea 🙂

-Heather

Let’s Get Healthy

This year, I am trying to eat a little bit healthier without going without the food I love. I found  a bunch of great substitutes for fattening breakfast meals, but when it came to lunches, I was lost! But then it hit me, there are ways to make our favorite dishes healthy! I will continue to post some if I see some more that are delicious and good for you!

This one is just a chicken fajita quesadillas. But we love those! So to make it healthy, grill your chicken, and when cooking it, use very light oils. I put lettuce and tomato in it, and went light on the sour cream. Have it for lunch or dinner! It is healthy and tasty. Enjoy!

 

-Heather