Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Favorites: Recipes

Hello!  Welcome to another Friday Favorites!  This week we'll be concentrating our posts on favorite recipes or dishes that we've discovered/stolen from others.  Isn't that how it works?  You find some amazing dish and it slowly becomes your own, though it originally came from someone else.

That's how I feel about my favorite recipe.  Sometimes I think my husband and I ultimately ended up together because we both LOVE plain New York-Style Cheesecake.  No strawberries, no topping, no swirled flavor inside... just PLAIN cheesecake.  He even added it to his mental list of "reasons I love my wife".  There you go.  :)

So a couple of years ago, when I was trying to think of a really special dessert to make for Valentine's Day, I decided to venture my first cheesecake.  I looked up a recipe on for "plain cheesecake", and found this recipe.  I have no idea who Chantal is, but I've mentally thanked her many times for this recipe.

If any of you are like me, you're probably intimidated by the idea of making a cheesecake that takes close to 8 hours.  It's not that bad, and I'm going to share my tips/tricks to make it PERFECT!  Most of them I found online, or from others that have tried this recipe, but I'm taking credit for applying them.  I'm not going to brag too much, but I've used this recipe 4 times now, and they've all been amazing.  No splits or cracks... just perfect!

-I'm not going to retype the recipe here, but I'll list what I changed about the actual recipe or the steps given.

#1- If you like a sweeter graham cracker crust, add just a little sugar to your crushed crackers and butter.  The cheesecake itself is plenty sweet, so it's not really needed, just depends on preference.

#2- I didn't change any other ingredients, but I did reduce the oven temp to 325 degrees and altered the baking time to 45 minutes.  When the 45 minutes is up, turn the oven off and forget about it for a couple of hours.  For real.  Don't open the oven every 5 minutes, just let it set.  (This part is hard to do, as you'll want to make sure it's not cracking.)  Just walk away...

#3- I used a water bath.  I think it's the reason that my cheesecakes have never cracked.  It's not too difficult.  I use the heavy duty tin foil around my springform pan (though regular would work... just double it up/overlap it), to make sure the water doesn't get in. I wrap it almost to the top of the springform, and place it on a cookie sheet.  Once they're both in the oven, pour enough water to fill the cookie sheet, but not too much that it'll overflow (duh).  I only had water seep into my pan once, and that was because the springform wasn't completely "closed" before I added the crust.  Oops.  Check that.  Ironically, it still turned out fine.  Just with crust a little more "moist" than usual.  :)

#4- DON"T OVERMIX YOUR CHEESECAKE FILLING!  That will create bubbles, and won't make it as pretty.  Make sure your cream cheese is room temperature before mixing with a hand blender.  After that, I only used the blender to add the sugar and milk to the cream cheese.  The rest I mixed by hand.  It's a bit of a work out but not too bad.  

#5- After your cheesecake has been in the cooling oven for hours, you can leave it on the counter (I put mine on a cooling rack) for awhile longer.  But you can also just leave it in the oven until it's completely cooled.  I usually venture to remove the springform pan edge then.    If the edges look a little ragged, you can smooth them with a wet table knife (if you're a crazy perfectionist, like me).  

#6- This part is tough.  It will be so tempting to try a slice, but it really is best overnight in the fridge, or at least for a few hours.  To me, it seems to get better the longer it cools.  Mmmm... my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  

#1- I think I took the springform off too soon. #2- I discovered the wet knife technique... much prettier.  I also doubled the graham crackers, but the crust became a little too much.  #3- My best by far!  Yum!  No picture of #4.

Okay.  That was a lot of info, but really not as crazy as I made it sound.  The actual prep for this recipe doesn't take too long and the results are AMAZING!  My husband says this recipe rivals any cheesecake he's ever had, including The Cheesecake Factory.  That's pretty high praise from someone who would choose cheesecake over almost any other dessert.  I hope you venture this amazing recipe.  If I left anything out, please feel free to ask.  Good luck, and happy baking!!



I have an obsession with bread.  

Not just plain old bread but fresh-out-of-the-oven-covered-in-butter (and-sometimes-honey) bread.  When we make it, whether it be by hand or in the bread machine, the loaf is gone within an hour.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.....

Photo from

My only issue with fresh-out-of-the-oven-covered-in-butter bread is that by the time I think about actually wanting it, I don't want to wait the 3 hours it takes to make it.  Soooooo, when I found the following recipe, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  (Honestly, this bread isn't as good as the 3-hour bread BUT it is perfect when, if you're like me, you decide at 4:00 PM you want to have bread with your dinner which is supposed to be at 5:00 PM.)  The original recipe I found was on the Recipes Chez Moi blog.  I, however, after making it many times, have changed several things and want to share the recipe with you.

 1(ish) Hour Bread


5 1/4 c. white flour (if you feel the dough is too sticky, you can add another 1/4 cup)
1/4 c. sugar 
1/2 T. salt (I think I actually added 1 T. on accident and it was still great)
1  T. yeast
1/3 c. oil 
2 c. hot tap water


Mix together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl (I used my Kitchen Aid).  Add oil and hot water to the dry ingredients mixture.  Mix for one minute, scraping the bowl once (this is where if you think the dough is too sticky, you may add the additional 1/4 cup of flour).  Mix dough for five more minutes on a medium high speed without scrapping the bowl.  When you finish mixing, the dough will be sticky.  ITS OKAY :)  On a floured surface, divide the dough into two equal portions.  Shape the dough and put into a greased (I used Pam spray) bread pan.  Let sit, covered, for 1/2 hour (I accidentally left mine for 1 hour the other day...still perfect).  Bake in a 375* oven for 35 minutes.  Makes 2 loaves.

I hope this delicious bread finds its way to your home soon.  

Sara Jane


Lisa here!  One of my favorite things in summer is to not use my stove.  At all.  I love food that my family and I can eat raw, grill or cook in the crock pot.  One of our favorite crock pot recipes is a very simple pot roast on Sundays.  We have a late church and we often don't get home until 4:30pm and we are all super hungry!  To walk in and smell the roast is heaven!  And this one couldn't be simpler!  I've seen this recipe a lot of places but I orignially got it from a friend when we were living in Arizona (talk about hot!).

Courtney's Pot Roast
3-4 lb Chuck roast (mine was frozen and it was perfectly alright!)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pkt. Lipton onion soup mix (or Walmart brand)
1 large onion, sliced
3 large potatoes, chopped
a handful of baby carrots

Spray the inside of the crockpot with a non-stick cooning spray, like Pam.  Place roast in bottom and vegetables on top of the roast.  Mix soup and soup mix together and pour over everything.  Cover.  Cook on high for 6-8 hours. 

It really is such a favorite with my family.  The meat is super tender and the vegetables are perfectly cooked.  Thank you so much my Arizona friend!!!

I've gotten into the habit of making a big breakfast every morning to feed my growing boys (that includes the husband).  One of my favorite things to make are pancakes with homemade buttermilk syrup.  It is especially fun because Clark is starting to help out now.


2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
3 tbs unsalted butter, melted
2 cups buttermilk

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.  In a separete large bowl mix all wet ingredients together.  Add the dry to the wet ingredients and mix till a few lumps remain, be careful not to over mix.

Using a buttered hot griddle, pour pancake batter according to the size you prefer and flip once bubbles appear on top.  Serve hot with your favorite syrup!



  1. I can honestly say that I plan on trying ALL of these recipes. Maybe the same day! :)