30+ Recipes to Make for Easter

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Easter is only 5 days away! Can you believe it? I intended to share this with you earlier than less than a week away, but time got away from me (as it always seems to). If you're like me and have just realized the holiday full of chocolate bunnies and eggs is rapidly approaching, I hope I can help you find something to make!


I went through my recipes and complied a list of just a few items you could make this Easter. I know some people celebrate Easter with brunch so I tried to include as many of those recipes as possible this time, but there are also appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, desserts and drinks to choose from.


Appetizers:
Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips
Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs
Caprese Skewers
Mini Tomato-Parmesan Tarts
Mini Cheese Ball Bites
Spinach Dip 
Lighter Veggie Dip




Brunch Items:
White Cheddar and Dijon Baked Eggs
Prosciutto Egg Cups
Tomato Tart with Garlic-Basil Crust
Cinnamon Crunch Braided Brioche Bread
Cinnamon Sugar Pull Apart Bread
Blueberry Oven Pancake
Zucchini, Mozzarella and Bell Pepper Frittata
Basil, Bacon and Heirloom Tomato Frittata
Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
Herbed Cheese Souffle
Green Eggs and Ham Frittata
Cheese and Onion Quiche
Breakfast Crostada
Triple Lemon Blueberry Muffins 













Main and Side Dishes:
Brown Sugar and Spicy Mustard Ham 
Brown Sugar and Mountain Dew Ham 
Garlic-Herb Pork Tenderloin
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
Macaroni Salad
Corn, Onion and Tomato Salad
Parmesan Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Cucumber and Tomato Salad
Parmesan Asparagus
Glazed Carrots 








    


Desserts:
Easter Kit Kat Cake 
Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake
Egg's Nest Rice Krispie Treats
Hot Cross Buns 
Egg Nest Cupcakes
Mini Fruit Tarts
Angel Food Cake
Fruit Trifle

Drinks:
Strawberry Lemonade
Strawberry Basil Lemonade
Nichole's Party Punch
Limoncello
Orange Creamsicle Martini




Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake

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Mother Nature has been a stingy about letting the season of spring actually hang around. First she decided to allow a significant amount of white stuff to fall from the sky on the first day of spring and then she's held onto these bitterly cold temperatures and keeps teasing us with a day of warmth followed by another cold front.



At this rate, it's going to be June before it's actually warm again. But unlike last year I refuse to accept this fate and my heavy sweaters are already put away. Take that Mother Nature! To further prove that spring is finally here, I've made a variety of spring-like recipes and this bundt cake is just another one of them.

Lemon + Poppyseed = Spring. Right? I've always thought so at least.



Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake
Source: Sally's Baking Addiction
Servings: 12
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Ingredients:

for the cake:
    • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 4 eggs, at room temperature
    • 2 tsp. vanilla 
    • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • zest of 4 large lemons (about 1/3 cup)
    • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
for the lemon simple syrup:
    • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 cup sugar
for the lemon glaze:
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 tbsp. lemon juice, or more if needed 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a bundt cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In the bowl of your stand mixer beat the butter on medium speed for 1 minute or until light and creamy. Slowly add in the sugar and beat for 2 minutes more, then add the eggs and vanilla.
3. Meanwhile add the flour to a large bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch, poppy seeds, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
4. Add the lemon zest and just to the stand mixer then alternate between adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk until both are fully combined. The batter will be thick.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, prepare the simple syrup by combining the lemon juice and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to let cool slightly.
7. Place a wire rack over a serving dish or pie plate. Invert the cake onto the rack. Pour the slightly cooled simply syrup over the cake. Allow the cake to continue cooling.
8. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until a glaze of your desired consistency and taste is reached. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.
9. Slice and serve.



It doesn't get much more lemon-y than this. I only managed a small slice or two of this cake but the tart lemon flavor really came through in this cake. The simple syrup and glaze really enhanced the flavor, adding just enough sweetness to this somewhat dense cake.



Florida Vacation Recap

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During the holidays Tom decided that we should go back to Universal Studios this year. They had recently opened the new portion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and his brother had recently moved to the Tampa area. We were both more than done with the cold weather and decided some Florida sunshine was in order. 

We actually flew out of BWI a few hours before a really ugly storm dropping 6+ inches of snow on the Baltimore area arrived. The weather app on my phone was a bit of a joke in predicting the temperatures since they frequently were at least 10 degrees higher before factoring in humidity. So, we landed, ooh'd and ahh'd over palm trees and the lack of below freezing temperatures and then went to my nephew's baseball game. I wore flip flops and felt like a cat parked in a patch of sun. It was wonderful. 

That night we went to a BBQ/Sushi place which I unfortunately forgot the name of. You'd never think sushi at a BBQ place would be good, but the availability of fresh seafood in FL really overshadows any thoughts you might have about that. 

The next day we visited the Clearwater area and had some drinks in the sand at the beach bar of a hotel. 


Coconut mojitos quickly became one of my favorite drinks while visiting. 

Last time we went to Universal, we only had one day to visit both parks. This time, we had 3 days because they had a deal going on where if you purchased two days, you got the third one free. I highly recommend visiting during a deal like that. 

We also had early park admission all three days. The only thing open in the Islands of Adventure is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We got there as soon as early admission folks were being let in and joined the crowds there. We managed to get on all of the rides we wanted and walk through the stores before they became unbearably crowded all before the general public was allowed into the park. It made for some great picture taking. 

 
Aside from the entirely new park they added for Harry Potter, they also added in interactive wands. We stood in a small line at Olivander's and watched how a wand chooses a wizard before entering the gift shop where you could purchase your own. Since we both had wands from our last visit, I had no intentions of purchasing another one, but Tom convinced me otherwise. 

Throughout the Hogsmeade section and also in Diagon and Knockturn alley, there were emblems on the floor where you could stand and wave your interactive wand to make something happen. I should have taken video instead of pictures, but I didn't think of that at the time. 

Since we had more than enough time to explore both sides of the park, we decided to have a sit-down breakfast in The Three Broomsticks. Of course now I can't remember the names of the meals, but my breakfast was full of fruit and scones and Tom's was a more traditional American breakfast with bacon, eggs and home fries. Not wanting to overdose on butterbeer so early in the morning, we opted for apple juice. 


My brother and sister in law joined us at the park on the original Universal side and did some of the rides over there. We didn't really get to do that last time we visited, as we spent the majority of our time in WWOHP and Seuss Landing. 

You have two choices to get from the Islands of Adventure park to the Universal Studios park. One is to exit IoA and walk past the Hard Rock Cafe to get US and the other is to take the Hogwarts Express. The first day we opted to walk. The continuation of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the US park includes King's Cross station, Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley, the Knight Bus and Grimmauld Place. 

King's Cross is huge and set up to be just like an actual train station. There are even advertisements on the walls of the station. 

You can hardly see the 12, but this is the front stoop of 12 Grimmauld Place. Standing back, you're able to see the different colors in the bricks where the headquarters for the Orders resided. Of course, I didn't get a good picture of that. I won't ruin it for you, but if you visit, make sure to stand in front of the house and look up at the windows for a few minutes. You'll get a surprise! 

I was not expecting there to be an actual Knight Bus, but there is was, complete with Stan hanging out outside. You couldn't go on the bus, but you could take pictures in front of it. 

You could actually go inside the phone book that transports you to the Ministry of Magic. Of course, I couldn't remember what you were supposed to do while in there, so we didn't get to test it out to see if it was simply just a photo prop or if it made noises or something. 

Diagon Alley was amazing. I really don't want to ruin it with too many pictures. One of the coolest things was the dragon that sits atop Gringott's and breathes fire down on the people ever so often. 

 Diagon and Knockturn Alley are mainly shops, but one of the best things there is the Gringott's money exchange. You go inside the small bank and you can exchange either a $10 or $20 bill into Gringrott's money. The money is accepted anywhere throughout the parks, but I opted to just take it home as a souvineer. The goblins in Gringott's are incredibly realistic. Can you tell from the above picture that's not a man with a mask? Because it's totally not. 

We spent the rest of our first day on the US side of the park. The Transformers ride was just being built when we visited last time, so we made sure to get on it. It was by far one of the best 3-D rides I've ever been on. We also did the classic Men in Black ride and the Simpson's ride as well. We ate lunch at the street taco cart which had impressively good Korean beef tacos. Pretty much the only ride we didn't end up getting on was the Despicable Me minions ride because, as the first ride when you enter the park, the lines were ridiculous. It had no less than an hour wait for the entire day. 

Something else I was incredibly excited for was to eat dinner at Cowfish at Universal Citywalk. There is another location in NC and one of the ladies on the message board I frequent had talked about how incredible the restaurant was. It's a combination of Burgers and Sushi hence the Cowfish. I got a Fusion Specialty Bento Box which is like the best combination of both worlds -- a burger slider, 4 pieces of sushi and some sides that are really incredible. 

Ruby Panther drink. 

Cheeseburger slider, Mark's specialty sushi roll, cucumber salad, sweet potato fries and edamame. 

Exhausted from our nearly 10 mile hike around the parks, after dinner we went back to our hotel and crashed. Our second day at the park, we took advantage of the early admission and went immediately to the Hogwarts Express so we could be first in line to get on the Escape from Gringott's ride. Taking the train over was really neat, I wasn't expecting it to be as interactive as it was, but let's just say that they covered every single detail you could think of. 


Make sure you take the train from Hogsmeade to King's Cross and then back the other way. The ride is entirely different. 

And this is where our trip hit a bit of a snag. We put our stuff in the ride lockers and got in line for the Escape to Gringott's, the main Harry Potter attraction on this side of the park. We made it through the entire part of the ride, right up to where we got to sit down in the seats. And then we had to get back up and go stand in line again. There was a lap bar on the other side that wasn't staying down as far as it should. We waited 20 minutes while they let all the previous riders off and then finally they decided that the delay would be longer than anticipated. We were told it should be open within an hour and were given a fast pass. 

Disappointed, we got off the ride and found that during our wait, the Diagon Alley portion of the park had become so crowded it was nearly impossible to walk around without tripping over people. We decided to be good adults and have ice cream from Florean's Forescue for breakfast. It's a little pricey for ice cream, but totally worth it. You get two scoops on a waffle cone and I opted for clotted cream and salted caramel brownie. Seriously, they were amazing. 

We did some of the rides on the US side of the park again, constantly checking back in to see if the Escape to Gringott's was open. Figuring we might as well make the most of our experience with what was available to us, we had lunch at the Leaky Cauldron. 

I had the Ploughman's lunch, which prior to this my experience with it was seeing Ina Garten eat one on an episode of the Barefoot Contessa. It was all really good, but never something you would want to eat on a date. The vinegar-garlic-onion components were rather strong. It was the first time either of us ever tried a Scotch Egg, which I am pleased to say I will figure out how to make in the near future. The real accomplishment with that is Tom hates hard boiled eggs but liked the Scotch Egg. Never would have imagined that one. 

He had the classic fish and chips. I'm not a big fan of fish, especially fried but for a quick service restaurant in an amusement park, this had great flavor to it. 

Never one to turn down chocolate, we figured if we weren't getting on a roller coaster we might as well have fun with food. Tom didn't like the clotted cream ice cream so I wasn't expecting him to like the chocolate version of the dish, but he proved me wrong again. I guess you really can't go wrong with chocolate, ever. 

It started to rain after lunch and was supposed to only last for an hour or two. Instead of trying to find somewhere to stay dry within the park or pay outrageous prices for ponchos, we decided to head back to the hotel for a little while. But first, we might as well get our souvenir shopping done. 

Which is a really dangerous thing for two people who love all things Grinch. And when there is a store entirely dedicated to Christmas near the exit of the park. We could have easily spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in there if we bought one of everything we wanted. 


It was nothing short of a miracle that we reined in our Grinch purchasing tendencies and managed to get out of there only $120 poorer than when we entered. 

It ended up raining the rest of the day so we didn't return to the park and instead decided to just go to one of the restaurants near the hotel for dinner.

(We didn't stay at a hotel on site, which in hindsight turned out to be a mistake. It was $110 more to stay on site and I figured a hotel less than a mile away didn't justify that cost. I forgot that it's $17 a day to park and the on-site hotels all offer free shuttles to the parks. $59 was not a worthwhile savings.) 

At this point we had walked nearly 20 miles in two days and I'm pretty sure my legs were just operating on auto pilot. Earlier in the day Tom had mentioned steak and we figured some protein for dinner surely wouldn't hurt us and headed on over to Longhorn. And here's where I'm not sure if I should be embarrassed or proud. 


Above is a Porterhouse for Two and is somewhere near 20 ounces of meat. It comes with two sides and two side salads. Having eaten well both days, we only opted to get this simply because it covered both cuts of steak we wanted to eat and was cheaper than purchasing them individually. And here's the embarrassing or proud part. I had a slice of the free bread with butter, a side salad with dressing, grilled asparagus and the entire filet portion shown above. Tom had 3 pieces of the bread with butter and a double serving of french fries along with the entire t-bone steak shown above. And, we both were full, but not the uncomfortable full you'd expect from eating that much food. 

The plus side, the large quantity of protein got rid of our aching legs and feet overnight, making the third day of walking around the park a breeze. 

We started off our first day by waiting to get on the Hogwarts Express from Hogsmeade. The staff let us know that the Gringott's ride did open for an hour or so the previous afternoon and they expected it to be open. But in the fifteen minutes we sat there waiting for the Express to begin boarding, they said it was closed. The Diagon Alley section of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was the entire reason we planned this trip, especially this ride. 

Tom decided to enjoy a breakfast worthy of putting anyone in a diabetic coma with a incredibly large sugary donut from the Simpsons area. 

Not dead yet from sugar consumption, we wandered back and forth between both parks, getting on rides multiple times and stopping to take pictures with The Lorax and the Grinch.



A message board friend of mine was coming to the park that day and we ended up hanging out with her and her husband for the majority of the day. We kept checking in with the staff at the Gringott's ride and they kept saying it wouldn't be closed all day. At nearly six, when the park was scheduled to close in an hour, we gave up and visited guest services. They gave us a fast-pass with no expiration date so whenever we can manage to return to Universal, we can get on the Gringott's ride. 

That night we drove back to Tampa to spend the remainder of the week with my brother and sister in law. The next day, we went back to the Clearwater area and ate at the Pierogi Grill. Months before our visit, my brother in law had checked in there on Facebook and I told him we definitely wanted to go. 

The restaurant is not much on the outside or even on the inside, but the food more than makes up for it. I opted to have a combination meal of 6 pierogi (I went with potato and cheddar cheese filling) along with a link of kielbasa and some sauerkraut.  
I was so excited to eat it, I forgot to take a picture before cutting everything up. It was incredible and if you even barely like pierogi and live in or are visiting that area of Florida, it's totally worth going there. The restaurant also has a deli/store attached with all Polish foods. We had fun looking at the different types of chocolates and candies they sell as well as trying to figure out what some of the other items were. 

They had a honey liqueur listed on their menu that I couldn't pass up trying. Okay, so I've had a few different types of honey whiskey, but this stuff was amazing. It was thick and sweet with the perfect amount of alcohol burn. I was seriously considering how much room we had in our suitcases so I could bring a bottle home. Eventually I decided I would find a recipe instead and make some, or see if my aunt who drives from Florida to Delaware and back every year would be interested in picking me up a bottle to avoid all of the TSA related non-sense of traveling with alcohol. 

Apparently this stuff is referred to as Krupnik and I've found a recipe here that I intend to follow. (Assuming I can find a decent replacement for Everclear that Maryland no longer sells.)

The next day we visited the Dunedin area of Florida which I am simply incapable of pronouncing. They call it Dun-Edin and my brain refuses to see it as anything other than Dune-din. While there we visited a place called the Draught Haus and I had an awesome drink. 

In Maryland, we're known for a drink called the Orange Crush which was supposedly created by a bar on the Eastern Shore. It includes freshly squeezed orange juice a few different liquors. In Florida, they had their own version with a Peach Crush that contained an actual half a peach. 


Never one to really go against the culinary offerings of my home state, I must admit this peach crush blew an orange crush entirely out of the water. We wandered around the town, visiting a few more bars and trying out their drinks before returning back and eating a few appetizers which were also incredible. 

I didn't intend for our trip to Florida to really be all that food-focused (aside from the fact that I knew I'd be taking pictures of what I was eating, like I always do when we go somewhere) but it definitely ended up as a foodie filled vacation. We were not disappointed by any single restaurant we visited and that even includes the $4 meal from Steak N Shake and the eggs benedict that sat in a warmer at a restaurant we attended for brunch. 

Mother Nature was kind to us and decided to drop the temperatures and bring in the rain for the day we left. It still didn't make up for the barely above freezing temperatures we were going to return to, but it surely helped out not to be leaving the sunshine state during a hot and sunny day. (We did torture ourselves by looking at the forecast after returning home, only to find the temperatures were going to soar into the 80's and we were going to get snow. Lame.)

So there's my Florida/Universal vacation recap! 

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

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Hard-boiled eggs are something that I typically leave to my aunt. She is the one who always makes deviled eggs for the holidays and she usually makes a few more so we can partake in our annual Easter tradition of "picking eggs".

Apparently, this is not a common tradition, so if you have no idea what I'm talking about, let me explain. Two people pair up, each with a hard-boiled egg of their choosing (typically one you have dyed yourself for Easter) and you take turns tapping your egg against the other persons. If your egg cracks first, you lose. The winner of the round goes up again the winner of the next pair of people until you eventually have one winner. (Although this has lead me to realize we never give out a prize or anything, you just get to keep your egg.)

Until I started doing the Whole 30's, I rarely ate hard boiled eggs outside of a day or two surrounding the Easter holiday. Actually, as I've probably mentioned a thousand or so times, I didn't even like eggs for the majority of my life and only tolerated them just a few times a year. Now I eat them all of the time.

For something as simple as a hard boiled egg, there are tons and tons of recipes out there all with different tips and tricks to achieve the perfect hard boiled egg. Some people cover the pot once the eggs start boiling, others add vinegar to stop the yolks from turning green. Some only peel their eggs under ice water and others simply skip the boiling method all together and bake them in the oven. (This I'm curious to try, to be honest.)

But for this recipe, I opted to go with what I believe is the classic preparation not involving anything but eggs and water of varying temperatures.



Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs
Source: Cookaholic Wife
Servings: 12 eggs (1 dozen)
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Ingredients:
    • 1 dozen fresh eggs
    • water
    • ice bath 
Directions:
1. Place eggs in a large pot and fill with water until there is about 1 inch of water covering the tops of the eggs.
2. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the temperature to medium-low and allow the eggs to boil for 10 minutes.
3. Prepare a large bowl filled with ice cold water and ice cubes. Once the 10 minutes are up, use a slotted spoon to transfer the eggs to the ice bath, making sure to shake off the excess hot water before emerging the eggs.
4. Allow the eggs to cool to room temperature before peeling.

*A lot of people suggest that you crack the top or bottom of the egg to perfectly peel off the shell, but I've always had good luck with gently tapping the sides of the egg on the counter just until they crack and then the shell usually comes off in nearly half.



So with Easter quickly approaching, now you have a recipe for those wonderful hard-boiled Easter eggs for egg hunts or the start of a deviled eggs recipe! And if you are part of a family or group that also picks eggs, please let me know! I'd love to know who else shares this tradition! 

#Fifteen Cheescakes: Cherry Cheesecake Bites

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Camilla, the host of Group B for the Secret Recipe Club, and the mastermind behind Culinary Adventures with Camilla recently asked if 15 bloggers were interested in making a cheesecake for her 15th wedding anniversary.

Instead of the traditional wedding cake route, she and her husband opted for cheesecake. Not a bad idea in my mind!



Never one to turn down an option to bake (I've recently been reminded just how relaxing it is too me) I quickly signed up. Apparently, I'm not the only one as so many of us were interested, Camilla is ending up with 25 cheese cakes for her 15th Anniversary. So that's just 10 extra years of good luck and happiness, right?

I don't know why I even bothered to ask Tom what type of cheesecake he wanted me to make. The second the words were out of my mouth, I knew he was going to say cherry. I opted to go for a bite sized version since I find full slices of cheesecake are just too rich for me. Plus, portion control! (Well, if you're able to eat just one.)



Cherry Cheeescake Bites
Source: I Wash You Dry
Servings: 12
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Ingredients:
    • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (8-10 crackers)
    • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 3.4 oz. instant vanilla pudding packet
    • 1 cup cold milk 
    • 21 oz. can cherry pie filling 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Place 12 paper or foil liners in a cupcake pan.
2. Combine the graham crackers, melted butter and sugar together in a bowl and stir until fully mixed and mixture is moistened.
3. Scoop 1/4 cup of the graham cracker mixture into each cupcake liner and press down firmly with the measuring cup.
4. Place the cupcake pan into the oven and bake for 5 minutes. This is just enough for the graham cracker mixture to set.
5. Meanwhile, add cream cheese to a bowl (or stand mixer) and beat for 2-3 minutes on medium speed or until light and fluffy. Add in the dry pudding mix and milk, alternating between both until fully combined into the cream cheese. (You should have a yogurt-like consistency. If not, you can always put it in the blender to smooth it out.)
6. Scoop 1/4 cup of the cream cheese mixture on top of the prepared graham cracker crusts. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes but up to overnight to ensure the filling sets.
7. Top with 2-3 cherries from the pie filling on each bite. Refrigerate until ready to serve.



I didn't intend to make a mainly no-bake version of cheesecake (this is actually my first time doing so) but I realized I didn't pick up enough sour cream that my original choice recipe was looking for so I began searching for a new recipe where I had all of the ingredients. Vanilla pudding is not something I typically keep on hand, so I'm just going to take it as a sign that I really needed to make these decadent little bites of cherry cheesecake-y goodness!





Berry Cheesecake Bars by Baking and Creating with Avril
Cherry Cheesecake Bites by Cookaholic Wife
Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake by Dancing Veggies
Chocolate Cheesecake by My Hobbie Lobbie
Chocolate Topped Peppermint Cheesecake by Amy's Cooking Adventures
Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars by Tara's Multicultural Table
Easter Basket Mini Cheesecakes by Little Bit of Everything
Everyday Cheesecake by Things I Make (for Dinner)
Irish Cream Cheesecake by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Layered Cinnamon Streusel Cheesecake Cake by Famished Fish, Finicky Shark
Lowfat Blackberry Cheesecake by A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
Matcha-YuzuCheesecake with a Meyer Lemon GelĂ©e by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Mini Churro Caramel Cheesecake by Cheese Curd In Paradise
Mini Maple Pecan Cheesecakes by Join Us, Pull up a Chair
Mom's New York Cheesecake by Taste Cook Sip
Mudslide Cheesecake by Sew You Think You Can Cook
{No Bake} Marshmallow Cheesecake by An Affair from the Heart
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake by Angels Homestead
Samoa's cheesecake by Goodie Godmother
Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars by The Savvy Kitchen
Sopapilla Puff Pastry Cheesecake by Pink Cake Plate
Skinny Vanilla Bean Cheesecake by Renee's Kitchen Adventures
Twix Cheesecake Brownie Torte by Making Memories With Your Kids

Paleo and Vegan Wild Mushroom Risotto

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If you're a long-time reader you'll know that risotto has always been one of my favorite dishes and the first risotto dish I mastered was of the wild mushroom variety. I know a lot of people shy away from this dish because it is often referred to a very time consuming and warns that you'll need to stir constantly.

I've never had this be the case. Yes, you do need to remain in the kitchen and keep your eye on the risotto, but not once in the probably 100 times or so where I've made it, have I ever needed to stand directly in front of the saucepan stirring constantly while crossing my fingers that the rice wasn't going to stick. And this is coming from the person who has a stove that only boils things not simmers them. It's all about the timing and knowing when the rice needs more liquid. And confidence. Believe in yourself that you can make risotto and you will! (Okay, random pep talk over.)



Risotto, in it's original form isn't exactly healthy. The recipe usually calls for a decent amount of butter, followed by topping off the dish with cream and then cheese to really pull together the rice dish. Since trying to follow a more Paleo lifestyle, it's definitely one of the dishes I miss the most.

As anyone living a Paleo, Whole 30, vegetarian or vegan lifestyle knows, finding foods to eat in restaurants is not always an easy task, so when I heard that Chef Tal Ronnen had created a vegan and vegetarian-friendly menu for restaurants at the Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas, I had to check it out and see what he did.

Unfortunately, this is did not come with a trip to Vegas to actually try the food, but my fingers are crossed I can do that sometime in the near future.



Paleo and Vegan Wild Mushroom Risotto
Inspired by: SW Steak House at the Wynn
Servings: 2
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Ingredients:
    • 1 large head cauliflower
    • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 6 oz. wild mushroom mix
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 3/4 cup vegetable or mushroom broth, warmed
    • 2 tbsp. coconut milk
    • salt and pepper, to taste 
    • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
Directions:
1. Wash cauliflower and remove the outer leaves. Cut into medium sized florets.
2. Place the cauliflower in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until the cauliflower is the size of rice.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook for 5-6 minutes or until both are softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer to a plate.
4. Add the cauliflower to the skillet along with the warmed broth. Increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently until the cauliflower has reached your desired texture. (I prefer to keep mine with a little bit of a bite to it since its naturally softer than rice.)
5. Reduce the heat to low and return the mushrooms and onion to the skillet. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter and the coconut milk until melted/warmed through.
6. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with the freshly chopped parsley.


To be honest, I wasn't really sure what to expect with this but I really enjoyed the dish. It's quite similar to a traditional risotto and actually, the best thing about it is that you can reheat the leftovers and its still just as good!




Weekly Menu 3/22 - 3/26

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Well this month surely passed by in a hurry. I have no idea how it is practically April and I'm that much closer to 30. With a little less than three weeks to go until I enter my third decade of life, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm ever going to encounter the freak out stage that so many people have.

I'm probably jinxing myself, by typing this but I don't think it is going to happen. Ever since I was about to turn 22, I started off the beginning of that year thinking about what life would be like being one year older. (So far, it hasn't actually been that different each year.) I thinking spending 2-3 months thinking about myself as the age I'll turn in April tends to eliminate any freak outs.

Plus, it's just a number. I don't feel 29 right now and I've never actually "felt" any other age that I've ever been so why should 30 feel any different? I guess if I really wanted to be all negative I could say that this is not what I expected for my life at 30, which is true, but the last time I really thought about how I wanted my entire life to end up, was right before my high school graduation and should my life have actually turned out exactly as planned, I'd probably be more creeped out about that fact.

Anyway, all of this talk about ages and birthdays is not just because my birthday is approaching but because I'm doing something rather fun in early celebration. I've had friends on a message board for over 5 years now and as I've mentioned, we sometimes get to meet. One of them, who lives in Massachusetts is turning 30 on Friday and we're having a big get together to celebrate with her. I've never been to MA and I've never flown alone. With less than a month til I turn 30 I figured there was no better time than to cross those two things off my not-actually-written-down things to do list.

But you're not here to hear me babble about birthdays and entering new decades of life, you're here for the recipe so let's get onto sharing with you what we're going to eat this week!


Sunday: shepherd's pie

Monday: grilled hawaiian chicken and green beans (as a sandwich with fries for Tom and with coconut "rice" for me)

Tuesday: potsticker meatballs, cauliflower rice, stir fry vegetables

Wednesday: gnocchi with bacon butter sauce, green beans

Thursday: breakfast potatoes 

For breakfast this week I'm having prosciutto egg cups and lunch will be a kale and bacon salad. 

Don't forget to get your weekly printable menu here!

And for some non-birthday related things, make sure to come back and check out some cool posts this week. I'm making a Paleo and Vegan friendly dish for The Wynn in Las Vegas and I'm also joining up with some other bloggers and making cheesecake for a fellow bloggers 15th wedding anniversary. I'm also terribly overdue to give you a recap on how our Florida vacation went so that will be coming up this week as well. 

Improv Challenge: Paleo Orange Chicken and Zoodles with Stir Fry Veggies

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The Improv Challenge theme for this month is Chicken and Noodles. Of course, the first recipe your brain comes up with is most likely chicken noodle soup. Which doesn't sound like a bad dinner choice right now, if only I could eat those pesky noodles.

But since I can't, and there are only so many ways to spice up your standard chicken noodle recipe, I decided to think outside of the box a little bit and factor in the Whole30.

Which brings me to zoodles. Yes, the word is funny but it's much easier to say zoodle than it is to say "Zucchini Noodles". When these first hit the blog scene, I skeptically raised an eyebrow. Zucchini as a noodle? How in the world did that work out?

Apparently with a spiralizer and a quick boil or two minutes in the microwave followed by draining. Unfortunately the spiralizer that I bought has not arrived yet (long story) so you get regular old vegetable peeler zucchini strips for this recipe. I'm kinda bummed because the spiralizer makes it all nice and pretty, and well, pretty food is kind of a necessity for blogging.

Anyway, let's get onto the recipe:



Orange Chicken with Zoodles and Stir Fry Veggies
Orange Chicken Source: Fake Ginger
Servings: 2
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Ingredients:

for the orange chicken:
    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
    • 2 tbsp. coconut or olive oil 
    • juice of 2 oranges 
    • zest of 1 orange
    • 3 tbsp. coconut aminos
    • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
    • 1 tsp. garlic chile sauce or sriracha
    • 3 green onions, chopped 
for the zoodles:
    • 2 medium zucchini, washed 
Directions:
1. In a large skillet, heat the coconut or olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 6-8 minutes or until the chicken is a nice golden brown color.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together the fresh orange juice, orange zest, coconut aminos, ginger and sriracha.
3. Use a vegetable peeler to make long strips of zucchini. Stop when you get to the seeds. (Or use a spiralizer.) Place in a microwave safe dish and microwave for 2 minutes, then drain excess water.
4. Pour the sauce into the skillet and once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and allow the sauce to reduce and thicken.
5. Serve over or alongside the zoodles. Garnish with the chopped green onion,


This is by far one of the easiest and quickest recipes that I've made in a long time. The ingredients are simple and typically things that I keep on hand. So if you're having a busy week with little time to cook after you get home, don't discount this recipe. I had this on the table in less than 30 minutes.


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