Easy Holiday Cheesecake

Holiday season is the perfect time for festive baking. And it doesn’t get more festive than easy holiday cheesecake, decorated to the nines. 

Easy Holiday Cheesecake

Let’s talk for a minute about cheesecake. People either love it or hate it. I personally love it, big surprise there. But cheesecake is a bit multi-faceted. There’s New York cheesecake, cheesecake bites, pumpkin cheesecake, no-bake cheesecake, cheesecake brownies. Dreamy, smooth, creamy cheesecake really is the best, no matter which way you slice it. No matter what style you like, cheesecake is a perfect dessert for the winter holiday season.

So what better way to start off the holiday baking season than with easy holiday cheesecakes? No better way, really. We whipped these up in all of twenty minutes and then decked them out with some festive, beautiful sprinkles. Tiny candy canes, little gingerbread men, sparkling sanding sugar, red and green and gold crystals. Decorating them is really the best part, the most fun.

Easy Holiday Cheesecake

The cheesecake itself is pretty simple. I like to think it is a bit lighter since I used Greek yogurt cream cheese but really, I’m not fooling myself. When I say easy here, I mean it. Whip a bit of softened cream cheese up with sugar and eggs and your filling is already set and done. The crust is equally as delicious as the filling. Typically, cheesecake uses a graham cracker crust but I’m just not into that. Instead, I used vanilla wafers. They are perfect here, sweet and crunchy, delicious.

These would be ideal for any holiday party, creamy perfection. Decorate them how you see fit, just be sure to have fun with it. And let the holiday baking extravaganza begin! Enjoy, friends!

Easy Holiday Cheesecake
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Serves: 6 to 8
 

Ingredients
  • 1½ cups crushed vanilla wafers
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine vanilla wafers, melted butter and 3 Tbsp. sugar until well-mixed. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 13″x9″ baking dish. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand-mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream together cream cheese and sugar until well-mixed. Add in vanilla and mix until combined.
  4. Add in the eggs, one at a time, and mix until fully combined.
  5. Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the vanilla wafer crust and spread it into an even layer. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool then refrigerate for at least an hour.
  7. Slice and decorate with your choice of sprinkles.

 

Frothy Vanilla Macchiatos

Frilly coffee drinks are ideal for the holiday season but the price tag is a stinker. Try making them at home instead and save a few bucks, starting with this frothy vanilla macchiato.

Frothy Vanilla Macchiatos

A few weeks ago on an impromptu trip to Ikea, Brian bought me a milk frother. I’d seen it there months ago and wanted to buy it but refused to wait in line for 3 hours just to buy a 2 dollar milk frother. Wasn’t going to happen. He happened to be there mid-afternoon on a weekday and picked it up for me. And let me say here in all seriousness, my life is not the same. This thing was worth every single penny spent. I’ve been drinking lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos and coffee with frothed milk like it is my job. I’m staying up nights and accomplishing an amazing amount of work simply because I’ve got the energy of the pink bunny.

My most favorite coffee concoction as of late is the frothed vanilla macchiato. I am in love with macchiatos. We have them at work but there is a Youtube video to figure out the machine and honestly, I can’t be bothered that much. Instead, I make them at home in half the time. The method is simple. Froth your hot milk (if you don’t have a frother, use a whisk and a lot of arm power) until it is really frothy. Pour it into a glass, let it sit for a minute then add in your hot espresso. For those of you who do not want to stay up all night, I suggest measuring out your espresso. I guessed and ended up with what is most likely a triple shot.

I added in a splash of vanilla to my macchiato, just for fun. I’d love to test this out with caramel or maybe using some vanilla bean sugar instead of extract. And I’m thinking with the holidays coming, a gingerbread and peppermint macchiato may be on the horizon. I can’t be sure but I would say it seems likely. Until then (because we can’t REALLY get into the holiday spirit until after Thanksgiving), I’ll enjoy this vanilla version. After all, most of us are in the freeze zone that is the entire U.S. nation. Maybe you’ll drink it while ice skating or walking the dogs or sitting by the fire, laughing at everyone who is outside freezing their tails off.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Frothy Vanilla Macchiatos
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Serves: 1
 

Ingredients
  • ¾ cup milk, half and half or cream
  • 1 shot of hot espresso
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. sugar

Instructions
  1. In a glass or container, combine milk, vanilla and sugar. Heat in the microwave until hot, approximately 1 minute.
  2. Using a frother (or whisk), froth your milk mixture until very bubbly. Pour into a glass and let sit for 1 minute.
  3. Pour the hot espresso into the glass, allowing it to combine with the milk.

 

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Orange Chipotle Dressing

When it comes to fall salads, there is nothing more flavorful and perfect than the roasted fall veggie salad with chipotle orange dressing. 

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Orange Chipotle Dressing

Thanksgiving is so soon, right? I’m nowhere near where I want to be, with only half my menu planned. Even though we don’t go anywhere and never have a huge crowd, I still go all out and this year will be no different. There will be obligatory parade watching (so I can catch up on my Broadway musicals) followed by dog show viewing and then the rest of the afternoon in the kitchen. I’m planning on trying a few new dishes this year and this salad is definitely making an appearance.

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Orange Chipotle Dressing

It’s chock full of fall veggies including sweet potatoes, carrots and butternut squash. If you’ve never roasted these veggies, definitely get to it. They already have a sweetness and the roasting only brings it out. Dress the entire thing in a chipotle orange dressing for a bit of spicy tang. I also mixed in some dried cranberries, about a handful or two. And some pipettes for good measure. They give a nice textural crunch.

Ultimately, this salad is a perfect crowd-pleaser for your Thanksgiving table. When you show up with this, grandma will stop pinching your cheeks and mom will stop criticizing your outfit, if you have that type of family. Take this and it will immediately shut down any negative thoughts. Promise.

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Orange Chipotle Dressing

Roasted Fall Veggie Salad with Orange Chipotle Dressing
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Serves: 4
 

Ingredients
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1½ Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 chipotle chili, minced finely
  • 1½ tsp. adobo sauce
  • ¼ to ½ cup pepitas

Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the veggies on a baking sheet with oil. Roast for 30 minutes until tender.
  2. Prepare sauce by mixing juice, honey, chili and adobo in a sauce pan. Heat until just boiling then cover and reduce, cooking for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Toss the veggies in a bowl and pour dressing on top. Add in pepitas and toss the entire mixture until coated and well mixed. Season with salt.

 

Wasabi Cream Dip

Wasabi Cream Dip

There are certain ways to gauge the worth of a recipe. When it comes to desserts, my mom is the ultimate test. If she loves it (like these Butterbeer cupcakes), then it’s good. For dinners, it’s usually when the husband raves about it. But if my step-dad raves about a recipe, you know it is delicious. He is the type that just eats to live. He doesn’t live to eat. He could survive on hots dogs and baked beans and not blink an eye. Food just isn’t his thing.

So when he raved about this wasabi cream dip he’d tried last time he visited, I knew it’d be good. He and my mom had some slathered on shrimp at a restaurant and my mom immediately set out to recreate it. She brought the recipe down here, I tried some and immediately demanded more. It’s fantastic! Creamy, smooth with a healthy kick from the spicy wasabi. Of course, adjust this to your spice likings. I like mine really spicy so I added a lot. But start small and build.

Per my step-dad, I need to tell you about sour cream. I haven’t used sour cream in years. Not since I discovered Greek yogurt had a similar enough taste to get me by. That’s what I’ve used here and it works fine for me. But my step-dad insists the Greek yogurt tastes different and sour cream is better. He could be right. Try it both ways. Grab some Cheez-It grooves and slather it on. Dunk your veggies in it. Toss it into a salad or dollop it onto grilled shrimp. Just make it. Trust me. My step-dad would not steer you wrong!

Wasabi Cream Dip
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Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2-3 Tbsp. wasabi paste

Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well-combined. Add more wasabi paste to your liking.

 

Cranberry Stuffed Cupcakes

Cranberry Stuffed Cupcakes

Over the weekend, Brian gave me one of my Christmas gifts early. He ordered all of the premium channels for the house. I sat in front of the television for a good hour and a half on Saturday, wrapping gifts and watching Girls. And then spent Sunday wondering why it took me so long to realize that Girls is one of the best shows I’ve seen, ever.

I always hate when I get wrapped up in the hype of something so I’m glad that it took me this long to come around. But the show is hilarious. It shows those awkward moments that happen in real life that everyone hates. And also, Hannah Horvath is gross but I still love her, because she’s real. Either way, this show is great.

Cranberry Stuffed Cupcakes 2

And these cupcakes, cranberry stuffed cupcakes, they’re also great. I used a little leftover cranberry sauce for the center of the cupcakes and then toss a bit in with the buttercream as well. It was definitely a home run. I took them into work and they were promptly devoured. I even convinced my cranberry-hating co-worker to try one. So needless to say, they’re pretty good.

Cranberry Stuffed Cupcakes3

There’s still time to make these for Christmas. However, let the record show these babies would make an excellent New Year’s treat. The sugared cranberries on top are not only tasty but also stunning to look at. So whip some up for your next party. Enjoy!

The glaze recipe can be found here. Sugared cranberries can be found here.

Cranberry Stuffed Cupcakes
Recipe type: cupcakes, dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 16
 

Ingredients
  • Ingredients
  • For cupcakes:
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • 1½ cups milkFor icing
  • 2¼ cups butter, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 4 to 6 Tbsp. cranberry glaze

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. In the bowl of a stand mixer. combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add in vanilla and eggs and mix until well combined. In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder.
  3. Add the flour mixture and the milk alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, ¾ to the top.
  4. Bake in the oven for 22 minutes until cooked-through. Allow to cool completely.
  5. Use a butter knife and slice a circle out of the middle of the cupcake. Pour some of the cranberry glaze into the middle of the cake.
  6. Combine butter, powdered sugar and cranberry glaze in a mixer and mix well until completely combined. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe onto the cupcakes.
  7. Top with sugared cranberries