Showing posts with label Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Spring has arrived, and so have Easter, which came early this year! What is more befitting than to make everyone's favorite Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting...and the best part is to top it off with Shredded Sweetened Coconut, and the best...of the best part of this fabulous cake is
the Candied-Spiced Walnuts
which I happened to think of at the last minute! You can certainly skip the spice, and just go with the sweet, and crunchy glaze. Once they are dry and separated, it can be easy spread on the cake for decoration and an added yumminess that I guarantee will be the first to disappear before cutting the cake!


This was our first Easter holiday without family and friends, and not a very comforting feeling to all of a sudden just have a complete change. Just like from childhood, mine and yours perhaps, we can see the changes that are happening in our lives when it comes to the holidays that are spent with our loved ones and friends, and one day...everything changes, just like it did this year! Death of a loved one, family being separated from each other, dearest friends moving away across the United States whom you've been close to and spending the last 15 years each holiday, and now...gone, perhaps forever; very sad, but total reality which we must learn to adjust to!

Note: the only change I made to this recipe...I used 1 cup of canola oil (instead of 1 1/2 cup)...I omitted the sour cream. My addition was the shredded coconut, and the Candied Walnuts for decoration!

We have to appreciate everything in life...the small and simple things especially, family, friends, and our health, which is not to be taken for granted! Learn to be happy with ourselves, and one-another is the key to life's simple pleasures! I don't always have the energy or passion to cook and bake at home since this is what I have been doing for decades as a professional career, but I always make an exception to do my best for family and friends if the occasion calls for it. No holiday has gone by without my contribution to a special occasion, and that will always go on as long as I can physically make it happen. It brings me joy, and contentment to see the smiles on the faces of the people I love!
As the lyric of the song goes..."I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden"...we are not promised a rose garden, but we can certainly enjoy one, especially this particular one from 2 years ago when I visited extended family in Como, Italy. Could not believe my eyes, and how much joy it gave me to enjoy this beautiful little rose garden on a tiny little balcony overlooking a spectacular tall mountain, so actually I fared better, and I was promised a 'rose garden' ...and much more than that...love and devotion from a beautiful Italian family!
This beautiful white rose was from 'the actual' rose garden of Teresa...she so lovingly takes care of them, and they in return give so much peace and beauty for all eyes to gaze upon them!
I picked these gorgeous roses from the rose garden to put them in water, to enjoy!

As another saying goes..."stop and smell the roses"...yes indeed, you should take time to stop and smell the roses, whenever, wherever you might get the chance to do so. The only ones that really matter with such a beautiful perfume fragrance of their own are the ones that are naturally growing in a garden, and when you get the chance, don't pass them by!

I feel so blessed to have this opportunity to enjoy 'life's simple pleasures'...like this gorgeous scene looking out from the back of the house...never, ever, pass up the opportunity to find beauty in nature which are the simplest gifts from nature. You will never see the most beautiful healthy and the tallest pine trees, like in northern Italy, in the Como, and Lago di Como region. I was fortunate to spend 2 weeks there and loved every minute of it. I am so happy to share this with all my blogger friends!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cream Cheese Filled Banana Bread

By the time I get to catch up posting again...I will be going back to Cleveland for another visit to check on my sister; who is not improving with her mental and physical health...sad to say! In the meantime, I have not spent any time on my blog for one month. I do have several photos of things I have made that I would love to share with you and this amazing Banana Bread with Cream Cheese filling is one of them!
Now that I have joined Weight Watchers again, for the 'upteenth time'...in my opinion, this time is the best time joining and still losing the desired weight is beyond my 'wild' expectation. It is so easy to track the points and stay within the 'portion control' is so important. The extra point allowance of (49) is used at your own convenience, which I chose for Saturday and Sunday. That's when I can bake and cook to my 'heart's content' and I love it.
We all love a good homemade banana bread and my daughter and I make a loaf every week makes a loaf with the leftover ripe bananas. Actually I just make the special ones every now-and-then when a new recipe catches my eye! Since I'm a Pinterest addict, I save quite a few interesting and new recipes...although this may not be so new, but 'new to me'!

Cream Cheese Filled Banana Bread
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 TB sour cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 TB Sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
Cream Cheese Mixture :
  • 8-10 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TB flour
Instructions
  1. Mix sugar, butter & eggs. Dissolve baking soda in sour cream, add bananas, salt and 2 cups flour. Mix all together.
  2. Divide ½ of this mixture into 2 floured loaf pans.
  3. Combine cream cheese ingredients and spread over mixture in pans. Spread remaining banana batter on top.
  4. Sprinkle top with 1 TB sugar mixed w. ½ teaspoon cinnamon before baking.
  5. Bake at 350 for 50 min. Cool and serve. 

Been having much needed rain here in Palm Beach...just wanted to share this beautiful photo with you that I snapped at the 'spare of the moment' with my Smart Phone...also, all the previous photos have been taken with my cell phone since most of the time I'm not prepared to take photos and do not have my camera 'on hand'.
Wishing you all a beautiful Sunday...although in most parts of the globe Sunday has ended, so have a beautiful and pleasant week, to all my friends!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Green Beans with Garlic Vinaigrette

Steam the green beans, (1 lb)... but do not overcook; for the vinaigrette, you need 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped or pressed, juice of one lemon, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
In a small food chopper or a bowl, mix everything together, (except the olive oil)...slowly drizzle the olive oil...you can also use a wire whisk if not using a mini food chopper!
You would think that after MIA (missing in action)...I would come back to post an incredibly (WOW) post; so not happening! You see, since Mother's Day, I've been feeling so 'bummed' out...and carrying such sadness in my heart over the death of my dear friend Dianne's mother's sudden death; right on Mother's Day! She, herself is battling lung cancer (never smoked) for the last 2 years! I've been trying to be a good support for her (age 60). Anybody that says second hand smoking is not dangerous?...think again!

I've been also keeping myself busy with my private chef work...catering, as well! Just have to get my mind off of things that I cannot change. I have made some really nice dishes, and desserts, but just did not take even one photo of them...especially my N.Y. style cheesecake, my Yellow Cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting, my Caprese Ziti Pasta with the fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil, just to name a few! I have not gone on any social sites at all...such as facebook, have not visited blogs, or commented;...shame on me!

Pinning on Pinterest has been my only entertainment on the web! You don't have to comment, just keep on pinning on all your favorite boards which can take up hours of your time!

Also, I've noticed how bloggers have just abandoned their blogs...some favorite follower friends stopped commenting; some have totally ignored my previous comments...but I'm sure, that has happened to most of us in the near past!

I am so thankful to you, my sweet food, and other blogger friends that are still active and keep up with your lovely blogs. We all have our private lives, our jobs, families, significant 'others'...and mostly our daily routines, sometimes health related issues to worry about! Life has its ups-and-downs but we have to keep a positive outlook...and sometimes that positive outlook can be clouded by doubts and fears which we have to overcome!
Avocado and Tomato Basil Bruschetta
Also, I have made a really healthy, and yummy bruschetta a couple months ago...I could not upload the photos during that time, and have forgotten all about it! I used the yellow cherry tomatoes, the avocado pieces were diced rather larger, or maybe I should have smashed them, but it's based on the very similar recipe that I found on Pinterest!

Smashed Avocado + Tomato Basil Bruschetta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Whole grain slices of french bread are toasted to perfection and topped with smashed avocado and a garlicky tomato basil mixture.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer, Lunch, Healthy
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 loaf whole grain french bread (or 1 petite loaf), sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 avocados, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus exta
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 basil leaves, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven on broiler setting.
  2. Place slices of bread on baking sheet, spray with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt; broil slices in oven about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from oven and rub with one clove of garlic (make sure to cut it in half before rubbing).
  3. In a medium bowl, mix smashed avocado, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and ground pepper.
  4. In a separate large bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Mince other garlic clove and add it into tomato mixture.
  5. Spread smashed avocado mixture onto each slice of toast, then generously spoon tomato topping on top. Garnish with basil and serve immediately.
Recipe by Ambitious Kitchen at http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2012/08/smashed-avocado-tomato-basil-bruschetta/

My New York Style Cheesecake...from 2 years ago, and also made it recently...original recipe can be found here; also video as well!
NEW YORK CHEESECAKE...by Joy of Baking


Friday, May 2, 2014

Santa Fe Brownies

At the rate I'm going with my post...I'll be ready for the next holiday; which is Mother's Day! Not doing too well on facebook either, or twitter, for that matter, and forget about Google + which I'm still figuring out, just randomly Google + ing people I don't even know, and try to keep up with friends that I do know!
Aside from the fact of 'social media'...which I seem to be 'anti-social'...I will still carry on with my food blog because I made so many friends there, and consider your friendship as if you lived close by!
Does it happen to you like me, sometimes?...you open up an old unforgotten cookbook, and suddenly see a fabulous dish or dessert that in the past you thought about making it?...but now, in the present, knowing the book is over 20 or 30...maybe even 40yrs old, and you know you have to make modifications...big time! A challenge is what it is; otherwise you will have to stick to more recent recipes, which are on the lighter side; and you can actually see photos...which in some of these old books you're lucky if you have diagram of some drawings and illustrations.
If I remember correctly, I have made a similar amazing decadent and rich brownies with the cream cheese marbleized swirls and posted it on my blog, in the past couple years (not looking for it now) This is Maida Heatter's recipe who's last copyright was in 1992; but I haven't seen any more of her books, since then...she might have even passed on!

Good thing that I always have the basic ingredients on hand, because I made this at the last minute's notice...allowing myself a couple of hours. I took this to my son's house...even though they are all 'health conscious'...a piece or two of brownies is a comforting simple dessert!
Besides the fact that my son Joe is an artist, and has a full time job; he has a huge project that he is involved with, and is the founder of it... cleaning up our beaches in Palm Beach county...called,
 BE OCEAN
which you can find on facebook!
This surely is a proper balance of light and delicious dinner: Steamed, and sautéed Kale...Baked Spaghetti, and Baked Salmon, (rubbed with a raspberry spice rub)...yumm!


 Maida Heatter's Santa Fe Brownies from one of Maida Heatter's chocolate dessert cookbooks.
Cake Ingredients
1 ½ c unbleached flour
1 ½ t baking powder
¾ t salt
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate
8 oz unsalted butter
5 eggs 4 eggs
1 ¼ c sugar 1 cup sugar
1 ½ c brown sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 T vanilla 2 teaspoons
8 oz walnuts optional
Line a 9-by-13 pan (with vertical sides, if possible) with aluminum foil. Put a few dabs of butter in the pan and put it in the oven to melt the butter. Then use some crumpled plastic wrap to spread the butter over the foil Spray pan with Pam, or other brand name veg. or butter spray, and also the aluminum foil as well.. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. no need to sift!Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. you can melt it in the microwave oven, adding a few drops of water to the chocolate. Follow instruction for melting chocolate!Mix the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the chocolate mixture, then the dry ingredients. Stir in about 2/3 of the walnuts. Set aside 2¼ cups of the mixture, and spread the rest in the pan.  Cream cheese topping ingredients
(This may be doubled for very cheesy brownies.) I did not double the ingredients (no need to)
12 oz cream cheese
3 oz butter
1½ t vanilla
¾ c sugar 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs 1 egg
Warm the cream cheese and butter to room temperature. Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Then beat in the vanilla and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Pour the cheese mixture over the chocolate in the pan. Soften the remaining 2¼ cups of cake mixture by stirring it briskly. Then pour it over the top of the cheese mixture in the pan. Cut diagonally through the top two layers to marblize them. Lay the remaining walnuts on top.
  Bake for 75 minutes. If you doubled the cream cheese, bake for about another 30 minutes. When the top is sufficiently brown, put some foil on it, especially around the edges, to keep the cheese from burning. Total bake time is 35-40 minutes. The instruction for bake time in the original recipe is totally incorrect!Put the whole business in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, turn the cake out of the
pan onto a board, peel off the foil, and carefully
cut the cake into small pieces. Wrap the pieces in wax paper to keep them from sticking together.
As soon as brownie cools down, you can lift it out with the foil that is hanging over, and start cutting up the brownies; as I have in my top photo shown!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Smoked Salmon on Toast Points

I already posted two "Wordless Wednesday' post...almost did a 'Silent Sunday', but I can't stay 'wordless'...and I can't stay 'silent'! It's been such a torment and grieving period for me; first, the 'denial', and second the 'shock and grief'. Never in my life have I witnessed a favorite pet, passing away, and I never want to experience that as long as I live. I really think that poor little Mush missed Prince so much since he's been gone for the past two years...she grieved for her 'best buddy' for over a year. A few months ago, I found out that she has 'heart murmur' and I have been giving her pills daily, but in the end she gave up.

Although, she has been a lot closer to me (meaning, that she wanted to sit on my lap and literally patting my hand to pet her, (so cute, which I did anyway)...I cancelled her last appointment to the vet, and I cannot forgive myself. The hardest part is; when I walk through the door...just like to 'poem says'...she is no longer there to greet me!
I always have fresh herbs on 'hand'...eggs, capers, cream cheese, and occasionally buy smoked Nova Salmon. Not cheap by all means, but oh, so good. The best way that I love it is to make little 'open faced' sandwiches, or on bagels. These cute little whole grain party breads are a perfect choice...better than cutting up bread for 'toast points'...I prefer making toasts out of the little party loaf, and you have the perfect little snack to enjoy...and healthy too!

I have not been eating dinners at all since Mushy died...just snacks in the middle of the day, skipping breakfast as well! (not a good idea, just have no appetite)

Now that I pulled out my dear departed Hungarian grandmother's hand crocheted doily from my 'secret' drawer; she made this lovely piece and more for me, years ago which I kept it in meticulous condition; I'm proudly displaying that, as well!
As for me, I can totally just eat appetizers, and skip dinner! I love the Spanish inspired Tapas, as well and have been checking them out to make something really inspiring. Of course, the Italian Antipasti is not too 'shabby'...love the small bites!


Smoked Salmon on Toast Points
slightly adapted from Williams- Sonoma

For the herbed cream cheese:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
  • 6 slices white or wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed, each cut into 4 triangles
  • I used whole grain party bread
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 oz. smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup capers, finely chopped
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and grated
  • Dill sprigs for garnish

To prepare the herbed cream cheese, in a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, chives and dill. Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat an oven to 350F.

Brush the bread on both sides with the melted butter. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Bake until the toast points are golden and slightly crispy, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

To assemble, spread the herbed cream cheese on the toast points and place 1/2 to 1 whole slice of salmon on top. Garnish with the onion, capers, hard-cooked eggs and dill sprigs. Arrange on a platter.

Alternatively, arrange the toast points and smoked salmon on platters. Place the herbed cream cheese, onion, capers, hard-cooked eggs and dill sprigs in separate serving bowls and let guests assemble their own hors d’oeuvres. Serves 8 to 10.


Thank you for all your kind and caring words of comfort, I appreciate each and every one of your kind comments. I do apologize for not visiting and commenting on your blogs for almost 1 week now. I am getting back to the normal routine, and will not abandon my blog, or my favorite blogger friends! Your friendship means a lot to me, and I hope to stay in touch with you for a long time to come! Hugs,
Elisabeth

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hot Pepper Jelly




So, this is my awesome 'Hot Pepper Jelly' that I have never made before! As you notice those pretty swatches of holiday material...I would have loved to place around the jelly jar top...unfortunately; they were a little small, except for the one jar on the top, but they were extremely slippery for me to try to tie them around the jars, so I left them as 'it is' a little 'place mat'...or a small cocktail napkin, if your prefer, but the jelly turned out so awesome and just the right peppery taste!

My granddaughter Gabby was not impressed...to say the 'least! She was expecting a mild light sweet pepper jelly, which I should have known from the start to make them with all sweet peppers...instead of mostly hot peppers add to some of the sweet. No problem...next time I will use all sweet peppers. At least...we, adults, get to enjoys these lovely gems, slathered over cream cheese topped little crackers...yummm!
It's so easy to make it, just follow the instructions on the recipe.

These are the peppers I used...purchase from the Green Market...the long red ones are the super hot pepper, and all the others are sweet!
KRAFT SURE JELL...Hot Pepper Jelly recipe... 

and I only used red, and orange peppers. The red ones were the hot peppers!
I washed, peeled, and chopped my peppers, and
put them in the food processor to chop them fine.
(be sure to remove the seeds first if you don't want them to be extremely hot)






Bring it to a boil, and skim off the foam...you are ready to ladle them into sterilized jars!










Aren't they so festive...red, and so pretty?
Well, you're not quite finished yet!














Cover the jar with the sterilized lids, and put them into water that covers them almost, to the top.













Cover the pot with a lid, and boil for 10 minutes.
Carefully remove the jars, and let it sit on a kitchen towel on the kitchen counter until it cools down...and your are ready to refrigerate them.









They are so good, served on Ritz crackers, with a dab of Philadelphia cream cheese and a small spoonful of the pepper jelly on top of the cream cheese...yumm! A perfect holiday treat!










Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

As you can see, this is a well decorated platter with just an 8x8 inches of simple cheesecake bars...a total of 4 large pieces, with the ends trimmed off, but every thing is in the "decoration"...the "presentation"...otherwise, it would be just a simple Cheesecake Bars, if not for the above mentioned...and of course, most important, the "platter"...Originally, I was going to do the next guest post for Lora's blog, with this easy dessert, but she is home now, from her huge surgery, and is getting her strength back little by little. I was at her house making this dessert, and both Teresa, and her husband Domenico kept asking me..."che fai?" What are you doing? ...because I was trying to uplift my photography skills, by enhancing the shots, at every different angle. It certainly helps when you have a nice camera, and a pint of gorgeous fresh, and perfectly ripened strawberries.
Instead of having the glaze on top of the overturned strawberry slices, I added the jam glaze directly on the cooled cheesecake bars, and sprinkled powdered sugar over the top of the strawberries, overlapping on the cheesecake, and on the platter...within a few minutes, the strawberries get their own natural glaze, just from the sugar...the rest is "trick photography!"...my theory...you aim, shoot, and hope for the best!


Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake Bars
my own recipe

For the Crust:
2 cups of vanilla wafers ground
1/4 cup butter (1 stick) melted
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp grated orange rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grind the wafers in a food processor to make 2 cups. Add sugar, and grated orange, stir in the melted butter, just to moisten evenly, and press into a large non-stick tart pan, with a removable bottom.
Use a large soup spoon to press down, and not with your fingers, or hand, (so butter does not get too pressed into the crust) Also, do the same on the sides of the tart pan. Bake crust for no longer than 15 minutes, and follow the topping, and filling process.

Filling:

8 ounces of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
(at room temperature)
1 cup of sour cream (at room temperature)
7 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Line a 8x8 inch baking pan with aluminum foil, and let it overhang about two inches. Spray the bottom with cooking spray. Mix the cookie mix with the butter and sugar, and pat down into the baking pan with about an inch around the sides. Mix the filling ingredients in a food processor, or blender for about a minute or two till blended and creamy, and pour the filling right over the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and lower the temperature to 325degrees and continue baking for another 25-30 minutes till it gets a little color on the top. Cool, and glaze with melted strawberry jam. Just heat about 1/4 cup of strawberry, or other seedless berry jam, adding the juice of 1 lemon. Spread on cooled bars. Let it chill, and lift out from pan for easy cutting. Garnish with fresh berries. Such an easy, and delicious cheesecake bars, with or without berry topping. It is more dense, than actual cheesecake, but the same taste, especially with the glaze, and topping. Enjoy!

I'm linking this to: Swathi-Hearth and Soul Hop #43