April 24, 2017

Irish Car Bomb Cheesecake

I have yet to have an Irish Car Bomb, the actual drink that combines Guiness, whiskey and Baileys. Quite frankly, I have no interest in drinking one. I'd much rather eat all the Irish Carbomb desserts. I've made Irish Car Bomb cupcakes, including an ice cream version.

I made Irish Car Bomb cake milkshakes this weekend, using leftover ingredients from those cupcakes. Those were delicious as well, but I loved this cheesecake from Yes to Yolks. I'm not sure if I was just in the mood for cheesecake, but this was phenomenal in my opinion. My only change would be to use a larger springform pan, which I've indicated in the recipe below.

Irish Car Bomb Cheesecake  
1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate sandwich cookies
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup stout beer
24 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
2 Tbsp. flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
Pinch of fine salt
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. Irish whiskey 
1 1/2 Tbsp. Irish cream liqueur
4 oz. dark chocolate, for grating over top

Arrange your oven racks so that one is in the middle of the oven and one is below that. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 10-inch springform pan with butter and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Place the springform pan on a baking sheet.

In a food processor, process the chocolate cookies until fine crumbs form. Add in the sugar, and pulse to combine. With the machine running, slowly stream in the butter, and process until the mixture resembles wet sand. Pour the mixture into the prepared spring form pan and press down evenly to form a compact layer. (I smushed some up the sides, and used the bottom of a glass to press the crust into place. Set aside.

In a pot over medium high heat, add the chopped chocolate and the beer. Stir until melted, and then remove from heat. Allow to cool to close to room temperature. Place the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of stand mixer. Turn on the mixer, and blend until the cream cheese is fluffy. With the machine running, crack in the eggs, one at a time, and mix until smooth and incorporated. Beat in the vanilla bean paste. Pour in the cooled chocolate-beer mixture, and beat until well combined.

Whisk together the cocoa powder, flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Gradually add to the cream cheese mixture, a little at a time, and mix on low speed until just combined.

Pour the batter into the pan with the prepared crust. Place the baking sheet with the springform pan into the preheated oven on the middle rack. Place a baking dish on the lower rack of the oven and carefully fill that dish with warm water.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake is set. Remove from the oven, and set aside while you make the topping.

Add the topping ingredients to a bowl, and whisk until well combined. Top the cheesecake with the sour cream topping, and return to the oven for 8 minutes. Remove cheesecake from the oven, allow to cool to room temperature, and then transfer the whole pan to the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours (longer is even better!). Before serving, grate the dark chocolate over top and slice. Makes one large cheesecake that serves 12 reasonably, less if you want larger portions.

April 18, 2017

Smokey Roasted Sweet Potatoes

This recipe from Meals Made Simple is my new favorite way to eat sweet potatoes. It involves no added sugar and makes sweet potatoes, which are usually not my favorite, one of my favorite lunches. Here's the adapted version I make for one large serving or two normal side servings.

Smoky Roasted  Sweet Potatoes
1 large sweet potato
1 piece of bacon
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, tossing to coat. Spread evenly on a large cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Toss ingredients together to coat potatoes with bacon grease. Continue baking an additional 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are crisp.

Note: I find it works well if the bacon is still slightly frozen. Otherwise, the bacon tends to get a bit too crispy before the sweet potatoes.

April 13, 2017

Banana Bread Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Muffins

These muffins from Bakers Royale are incredibly delicious, probably made more so by depriving myself of sugar with mostly Whole 30 eating. The author modified a recipe from Simply Recipes to create these muffins rather than a loaf.

I thought my 5-year-old son would absolutely love these because baking banana bread is his thing, with his secret ingredient of chocolate chips. He enjoyed these but wasn't head over heels the way I was. The best part, obviously, is the peanut butter cup hidden inside.

Banana Bread Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Muffins
2 to 3 very ripe bananas, peeled
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp. baking soda 
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
12 mini peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mash bananas, and mix with butter. Mix in the remaining ingredients, in the order listed, except the peanut butter cups. Line a muffin pan with 12 liners. Fill muffin liners about 1/3 of the way with batter, and then top with a peanut butter cup. Divide the remaining batter evenly among the liners, covering the peanut butter cup.

Bake about 20 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes, and then remove from pan to cool completely. Makes 12 muffins.

April 4, 2017


Barba-what? It's some sort of delicious meat, loaded with Mexican flavors. (Or at least what I think of as Mexican flavors.) It has a bit too much spice for our children, but I could still enjoy it even without sour cream to cool the heat. My husband loved it ... granted, he probably thought it was really flavorful but had no heat. We're completely different on our spice preferences.

This will be a repeat for tacos, burritos, burrito bowls and the likes. Gimme Some Oven did well with this recipe, and it's extremely easy thanks to the slow cooker doing the work.

3 lbs. chuck roast (fat trimmed), cut into 2-inch chunks
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles
1 small white onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 cup beef broth or water

Combine all ingredients together in a slow cooker. Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours until the beef is so tender that it easily shreds with a fork. Shred the beef, and let it stand in the juices for at least 10 minutes to absorb them. Serve with desired toppings. (Leftovers freeze well for later use.)

Asian Burgers

So I think this is my second-favorite Whole 30 entree, ranking right up there by the beloved Prosciutto Chicken. (For Whole 30, I omit the cheese, and it's still insanely delicious. I modified this recipe from Bev Cooks, and we're already planning to eat it a second night this week. It's plenty fast for a weeknight meal, cooking in about 20 minutes with about 20 minutes of prep earlier in the day.

I struggle with the idea of a traditional burger while eating Whole 30 because that means no bun, which is meh because wrapping lettuce around a burger is not the same. I've come as far as accepting no bun, but I really can't accept no cheese, bacon and BBQ sauce because then, seriously, what's the point? So I've looked for alternatives to burgers that are different enough to trick my mind into being satisfied. The taco sliders I've made are a solid choice, but these are phenomenal.

There's so much flavor in the burger itself, and the mushroom saute compliments it perfectly. My husband does not know what he's missing out on without the sauce, which is as close to the icing on the cake as I'll get during Whole 30.

Asian Burgers
1 lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp. freshly minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. coconut aminos (or 1 Tbsp. soy sauce)
1 Tbsp. freshly minced cilantro
1 scallion, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1 pinch freshly ground pepper
Mushroom Saute 
5 oz sliced mushrooms, chopped (I used Oyster)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 Tbs. minced cilantro
2 tsp. coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
1 Tbsp. olive oil (I'd omit this next time)
4 tsp. sesame oil
1 pinch salt and pepper
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
1 Tbsp. freshly minced cilantro

Everything can be prepped ahead of time, so your flavors can develop all day while you eat truffles and relax ... or chase children if you're me.

Combine all burger ingredients together, and stir with your hands to combine. Cover, and chill until ready to grill.

Combine all mushroom ingredients together, and chill until ready to saute.

Combine all sauce ingredients together, and chill until ready to slather on delicious burgers.

Grill burgers (or cook using desired method). While burgers are cooking, saute mushroom mixture over medium heat until mushrooms are slightly golden. (I sauteed the entire time the burgers were cooking, adjusting the heat as needed.) Serve burgers topped with mushroom mixture and sauce. (And buns unless you're avoiding carbs.) Makes 4 burgers.