Turtle Cheesecake

Hey Hey Hey I’m alive!
Yup, I know you were worried, but don’t fret, I’m still kickin. We are just crazy busy and I have been everywhere but in my kitchen lately. BUT, I was in there a while back making a delicious cheesecake for one of my closest friends, Jenna (if you don’t know her, she’s an amazingly talented photographer. Check out her work here!!!!)

I’ve been missing my kitchen soooooo much but I have to just take life as it comes and right now it means ordering in and going out to eat a lot…oops. I gotta say, I don’t hate it…although my waste and my wallet are not big fans.

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This cheesecake is super amazing and is a simple graham cracker crust. You could 100% do an Oreo crust. I think I would have actually preferred that in this case even though I’m a sucker for a graham cracker crust. The actual bones of this cheesecake could be left as is OR made any way you want. You can add any cookie or fruit to the cheesecake batter before baking (oreos, blueberries, reese pb cups, chocolate chips, Peanut butter, Nutella, etc) or you can add any different drizzle you want on the top: Fruit sauce, any cookie or candy topping, marshmallow/chocolate/graham for S’more…literally I can go on for days.

Whatever you decide I’m sure it will be amazing! As always, this cake is super rich and a large glass of milk is a must!

With summer in full swing I hope to see you as often as possible, I miss my baking and blog world dearly and look forward to bringing you something delicious soon! DSC_0878

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Dirty Girl Scout Shooter

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Keeping with the theme of ice cream and girls scout cookies…I made a boozy shooter. Because what do you do when you have a ton of milkshakes in your freezer…? You add booze of course!

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These are like, stupid delicious. I know there is a real shot called a dirty girl scout and I think it has ice cream, creme de menthe and creme de cacao (or something like that). I made mine with ice cream, creme de menthe and thin mint cookies. You don’t have to drink this as just a shooter either. It would make a delicious after dinner dessert and you can adjust the alcohol level to taste (adding Bailey’s would be great too).

Sometimes things keep evolving and they just get better. Unlike my physique after the evolution of ice cream experiments.

I am actually a little bit Irish! Or like, a quarter maybe (Mom, can we fact check that? K, thanks).

Mikey is half Irish (he clings hard to the other Italian half, i.e. super loud, tan, and the use of his hands at all times) but the biggest way you know he’s Irish is that he is covered in freckles and he can drink like a fish.

When we were dating we visited Cork, Ireland together and it was such a fun place to be. We went to the Blarney castle and kissed the Blarney Stone. It was foggy and rainy the whole time and literally everything I imagined Ireland to be. I would love to go back someday and explore different areas, but for now I’ll remember the teeny little pubs and the amazing food that made the trip so memorable!

Today is probably Mikey’s favorite day of the year. St. Patrick’s day and The NCAA Tournament begins. Cheers, my friends, it’s a good day (unless your our poor pup, Badger. he’s getting snip-snipped as we speak, Lord help him).

Oh, one last thing! My sister-in-law and great friend/boss are about to pop and I’m crossing my Irish fingers as hard as I can that they have them today! I can’t image a better Holiday to share a Birthday with!

Sláinte!

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Dirty Girl Scout Shooter

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
2 Scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
1 Shot (1.5oz) Creme De Menthe
2 Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies

Directions:
Combine all in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve chilled in a small shooter glass OR large glass as a dessert! Cheers!

Witches Brew (Halloween Snack Mix)

I got into a discussion this past weekend with Mikey and his cousin, Danny, about candy corn.

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It all started when I pulled out this bowl of Witches Brew and they commented on how candy corn is only good when combined with something salty, otherwise it’s gross. I fought them on it for a while (I’m stubborn) and tried to convince them that they taste like marshmallows because really they are only made of sugar and food coloring (another fact they didn’t believe).

They then went on to say that the candies don’t even look like corn, which was when I brought up the pumpkin shaped candy corn (still bad according to them but I think even better). I always loved the pumpkin candy corn the most for a few reasons.
A. They were bigger. Bigger = more sugar, duh.
B. You could bite the green tops off first and that’s super fun (although with regular candy corn you can eat it in 3 bites/colors, also fun).
C. My grandma always sent them to us/had them at her house so they evoke great memories of her which makes everything taste better as well.

DSC_0003 This brings me to another factor within this delicious and thought-out combo of Witches Brew…Bugles!

Mikey was golfing with a friend about a month ago and he brought him lunch, which included a few bags of Bugles. Ever since then, Mikey has brought up Bugles and how great they are at least twice a week. I obviously had to include Bugles in this mix and boy am I glad I did. It lead our group of friends into quite the hilarious discussion about this underrated snack food.
I too have to agree that yes, they are indeed very salty and delicious. They are fun because you can put them on your fingers like a witch and (this is just me apparently) they taste “cold” when you bite into them (Probably from all the saturated fat/oil in them).
Who knew this Witches Brew could bring up so much conversation?!?

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The last couple nuggets I want to share about this yummy mix is that you can ALWAYS switch ingredients to make it your own. For example: Candy corn with just salted peanuts is a dream come true. Think a fluffer-nutter sandwich.  You could do regular popcorn instead of (my favorite) Chicago mix popcorn. If you’re not familiar, let me change your life. It’s cheese popcorn mixed with caramel popcorn. If you ever get a chance to try Garrett’s Chicago Mix popcorn, you MUST MUST DO IT. Your life will be forever changed forever.

That is all I have for you on this wildly exciting snack mix. The sky is the limit when it comes to flavor combos in this mix. Sprinkle it with melted chocolate, add any chip or pretzel flavor of choice. We added chocolate covered pretzels by the end of the night and that was great too!

Whatever you do, throw together a batch and watch it quickly disappear (or notice what people pick out of it first, probably the Bugles, and then just add more of that next time).

It really feels like fall today in Chicago! I don’t really mind the cozy rain and cooler temps to be honest. I feel blessed to have enjoyed so many warm fall days so far this year so I won’t complain. Plus, I can’t wait to see all the cute kids dressed up and trick-or-treating this weekend for Halloween! This would be a super fast, easy and fun “craft” to make with some kiddo’s as well. Have them pour all the different ingredients into a bowl and stir it up! Or make this hump day a little better and make yourself/friends/office an afternoon snack!
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Witches Brew Snack Mix

  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
1 Bag Bugles
2 Cups Candy Corn
2 Cups Salted Peanuts
1 Bag (or 1/2, about 5-7 cups) Chicago Mix Popcorn
2 Cups Pretzels (I actually wished I had smaller shapes. Small O’s would be great)

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss. Serve and enjoy!

Classic New York Style Cheesecake (With Mixed Berry Sauce)

I made this masterpiece for Mikey’s birthday. 
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OK, so maybe it’s not a masterpiece to you…but to me it was!

It was his only request and I’ll be honest, I was nervous.
I’ve only ever made mini-cheesecakes and was very intimidated by the 3 plus pounds of cream cheese that were going into this sucker.

Thankfully it went off without a hitch and there were NO CRACKS!!! Sadly, this cake was served at night with poor lighting and I don’t have a picture (that is quality enough) to show you. But trust me, it was crack free!

This is the BEST cheesecake I’ve had. It is super light and fluffy but at the same time so rich and decadent. The mixed berry sauce helps cut through that rich, creamy cheese and the slightly salty crust is the final touch. I would probably double the crust next time and press it halfway up the sides of the pan (because I’m obsessed with graham cracker crust) but you do you!

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I saw somewhere that it’s national dessert day! HAPPY NATIONAL DESSERT DAY!!

I’m doing a juice cleanse…so editing this post and looking at these pictures and thinking about dessert is NEARLY KILLING ME. But, I’m on the last day (day 3) and I am glad to say I’m almost through. I can’t wait to chew something!

Mikey had a great birthday. We sang and ate cheesecake and watched the Cubs bring home a win. It was a great day celebrating my favorite human and the fact that he loved the dessert was all I needed 🙂

Hope you’re enjoying this day, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE eat some dessert for me!!!! DSC_0097
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The cheese stands alone.
Literally. It can be eaten plain. It’s soooo good.

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Glazed Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies

There is a gloom that has fallen on Chicago. The sun refuses to shine and there is a haze that sticks heavy on everything.

Baking saves me when the gloom takes over. It brings the sunshine in and I forget that the warm days of summer are gone and the days of hibernation are looming.

I recommend you grab the ingredients for these cookies and make them asap. I brought a bunch of them to my yoga studio and they were gone within the hour. They are fluffy and sweet with a spicy chai flavor from the pumpkin pie spice. They are just slightly pumpkin flavored and the perfect treat for fall! They have vegetables in them so they count as at least one serving of veggies!


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Tomorrow is an exciting day for the Evon family. My favorite human is entering into the last year of his twenties. How is it possible that I have known him for a decade? Someone please explain the speed at which life goes by?!

Tomorrow is also an incredible day because Mikey gets to spend his birthday watching the Cubs play a very important game…I won’t say any more about that because I get too nervous.

Needless to say I’m going to spend the night making a cheesecake for him. It was his request. ACTUALLY the specific request was to “Make a cheesecake like the one your Mom makes”. So, props to you, Donna (I know you’re reading this). Thanks for:
A. making the best desserts
B. texting me all morning with answers to my questions
C. being “on call” with all the questions I (and everyone you know) always have about baking
OH, and also,
D. for teaching me everything i know 😉

So, as I feel all sentimental about all the things tomorrow, I’m also going to go and eat 12 of these cookies so I can get my daily vegetable intake as well as eat my feelings on this gloomy day.
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