Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed
- PREP 30 mins
- COOK 40 mins
- READY IN 4 hrs 10 mins
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
- In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
- Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.
Quick Double Chocolate Cupcakes
1 box devil’s food cake mix, such as Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
2 to 3 cups White Faux Buttercream, recipe follows, colored or swirled with your favorite color
Crushed peppermint candies
Crushed lemon drops
Multicolored jimmies or nonpareils
Mini white and dark chocolate chips
Small chocolate candies
Colored decorating sugars
Cereals such as corn pops, fruit rings or graham cracker cereal squares
White Faux Buttercream:
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons whole milk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Food coloring, such as yellow, blue and red, or your favorite, if desired
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two 12-cup standard muffin tins with paper cupcake liners and set aside.
In a bowl, using an electric mixer, mix the cake mix, 1 1/3 cups water, oil and eggs on medium speed until moistened and smooth. Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, stirring it occasionally to redistribute the chocolate chips. The batter will nearly fill each liner to the top. Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips over the tops of the cupcakes. Bake until the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
When cool, put the White Faux Buttercream out with spoons or small spatulas along with bowls of the cupcake toppings for the kids to decorate their own cupcakes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, whip the butter on high speed until very soft. Meanwhile, place a large sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. Using a large sifter, sift the confectioners’ sugar onto the parchment. This helps prevent clumping and makes the mixing easier. Lower the speed of the mixer and, using the parchment as a funnel, pour half the sugar into the bowl and mix slowly until combined. Add the milk and mix until combined. Once combined, add the remaining sugar with the vanilla and mix. Once it is combined, turn the mixer speed up and beat the icing until very light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. If desired, divide the icing into smaller batches and color with food coloring.
Spread the icing on cooled cupcakes while at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftover icing, but be sure to let it come back to room temperature before using. Re-whip the icing to make it fluffy again. Makes 4 cups (enough for 24 cupcakes).
Yield: about 8 cups, enough for at least 6 dozen cupcakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Ease of preparation: easy
Loaded Chicken Carbonara
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 large eggs
- 1 gallon water
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 2 cups frozen peas
- PREP 20 mins
- COOK 45 mins
- READY IN 1 hr 10 mins
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove bacon from skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Drain fat from skillet, reserving 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon bacon drippings in the skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken breast halves in the bacon drippings until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear, about 5 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Transfer to cutting board and tent with foil. Rest chicken for 5 minutes before slicing; set aside.
- Heat remaining tablespoon bacon drippings in skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Cook and stir garlic and ground black pepper in skillet until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour wine into skillet; cook at a simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Whisk Parmesan cheese and eggs together in a bowl. Slowly stream wine mixture into the Parmesan mixture while whisking continually.
- Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Remove 1/2 cup of the water from the pot for later use.
Put the peas in a large colander. Drain the pasta in the colander with the peas. Return drained pasta and peas to the pot. Stir bacon, chicken, and wine mixture into the spaghetti. Thin sauce with reserved pasta water as desired.
Here are some of the most disgusting additives you are eating when you “treat” yourself to a MacDonalds.
Ammonium Sulfate – This is used to mass-produce bread, it is alsoused to fertilizer soil and kill bugs and more commonly used in strong household cleaning products. Unbelievably, the FDA has deemed it safe at the low levels which are found in food products, but the issue has been raised as to effects on people who eat bread daily. Ammonium sulphate has been linked with irritation to the gastrointestinal tract causing diarrhea and nausea.
Silicone Oil – Chicken McNuggets are full of dimethylpolysiloxane, a silicone oil that is often used to make contact lenses and other medical items. Dimethylpolysiloxane is also an anti-foaming agent.
TBHQ – You can find this additive in 18 McDonald’s menu items. TBHQ, is ususally listed as an “antioxidant,” what it doesn’t state is that it is a SYNTHETIC chemical with antioxidant properties and NOT a natural antioxidant. The chemical stops oxidation of fats and oils which helps to prolong the shelf life of processed foods. It is used in processed foods of all kinds, but it is also found in varnishes, lacquers and pesticide products. It is also used in cosmetics and perfumes to reduce the evaporation rate and improve stability. It is a chemical preservative so deadly that just five grams can kill you, but don’t panic, the FDA says it’s generally regarded as safe (GRAS).
Cysteine-L – Fast food restaurants use Cysteine-L, it is an amino acid derived from human hair, duck feathers and hog hair and is used to flavor their meat and soften their breads and pastries. This is an amino acid which also shortens the baking time of mass produced bread. This is mostly produced in China by dissolving the hair or down in acid and sent around the world as a bread softener.
Prescription Drugs -Researchers from Johns Hopkins University tested feathers from farmed raised chickens and found some interesting facts. Anti-depressants as well as other prescription drugs are added to chicken feed for fast food “poultry”. Basically, the chickens are raised on a steady diet of prescription, over-the-counter and banned drugs.
Propylene Glycol -Propylene glycol is a chemical compound that can be found in anti-freeze, e-cigarettes and fast food.
Carminic Acid – derivived from Cochineal beetles, Carminic acid is used to dye foods, especially meats, red.
Dimethylpolysiloxane - This is found in almost all fried fast food menus and it can be also found in contact lenses, silly putty, cosmetics, shampoo and conditioners, polishes, heat resistant tiles to name a few!
Silicon Dioxide - This usually added to processed beef and chickento prevent clumping and is listed ingredient for chili from Wendy’s and Taco Bell. Experts suggest that it isn’t harmful for consumption, but it’s interesting to know that the ingredient keeping chili meat nice and non-caking is also the primary component of diatomaceous earth, commonly used as a natural insecticide.
Cellulose – ~This is processed wood pulp and is found in nearly every fast food menu item. It is used in proactically everything ranging from cheese to salad dressing, from muffins to strawberry syrup. Food processors use it to thicken and stabilize foods, replace fat and increase fiber content. It also lowers the cost due to minimizing on ingredients such as oil or flour. Powdered cellulose is produced by cooking virgin wood pulp in chemicals to separate the cellulose which is then purified. Modified versions require extra processing, such as exposure to acid to break down the fiber further. Here are just a few of the fast food restaurants that include cellulose in their foods: McDonald’s, Arby’s, Jack in the Box, KFC, Pizza Hut, Sonic, Taco Bell and Wendy’s.
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Credit: Natural Cures Not Medicine
Louisiana Seafood Gumbo
Olive oil, for sauteing
1 1/2 medium-sized onions, coarsely chopped
1 cup celery, cut crosswise into 1/3 (use the middle 1/3 only) and coarsely chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
6 cups baked okra, sliced 1/4-inch thick and baked for about 10 minutes in baking pan
Roux, recipe follows
6 tomatoes, roughly chopped
Stock, recipe follows
1 pound shrimp heads reserved for stock
2 or 3 crabs, cleaned,and chopped into chunks
Chopped green onions
Serving suggestion: with rice or as a soup
Coat a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with oil and cook the onions until translucent. Add the celery, garlic, bell peppers, and okra. Add the roux and mix thoroughly to pick up all the excess oil in the pot.
Next add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. When mixed, strain the stock and add it to the pot, mixing thoroughly to prevent lumps. Cover with lid, bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes. Clean the shrimp and saute in a separate pan to get rid of any excess moisture. When they have turned pink add the shrimp and crab to the gumbo. Cook for 10 minutes. Lastly, add lemon slices and chopped green onions
1/2 cup flour
Combine the ingredients in a separate pan. Brown on a medium high heat until it turns light brown.
9 cups water
1 stalk celery
1 bay leaf
3 basil leaves
Creole seasoning (recommended: Dash)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine ingredients in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 hour.
Yield: 6 servings
Caramelized Onion, Sausage and Basil Pizza
Cornmeal, for dusting
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 onions (about 1 1/2 pounds), thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound spicy turkey or pork sausage, casings removed, crumbled
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 (13 to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola or blue cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Sprinkle a heavy baking sheet (without sides) with cornmeal and set aside.
In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the sausage. Using a wooden spoon, break up the sausage and cook, stirring constantly, until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 13-inch diameter circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Spread the onion mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese has melted, about 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with chopped basil. Cut the pizza into wedges and serve.