Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with White Chocolate Mousse

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with White Chocolate MousseHappy New Year!!!

Among the many things I hope to accomplish this year, being a better blogger is definitely at the top of my list. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day of being a mom, and so easy to put the things I love doing for myself (i.e. blogging) on the back burner. For those that have continued to follow my blog despite my absence, thank you!! I promise to try to post much more frequently than I have been, and to be a bit more active and engaging with social networks as well. As an apology for my absence, I’m sharing with you a recipe for the best cheesecake I have ever eaten. Seriously, it’s ridiculously amazing!

My husband and I enjoyed this Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with White Chocolate Mousse on New Year’s Eve, and I’m now convinced that drinking is totally overrated. Cheesecake is definitely the best way to kick off the upcoming year. Unless of course, your goal is to lose weight in the new year….this is totally worth a week straight of salads and apples though. I promise! Besides, I used reduced fat cream cheese, so you could maybe, sort of, kind of count it as diet food….I’ll shut up now, and share the recipe. I’m rambling. Enjoy!.Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with White Chocolate Mousse.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with White Chocolate Mousse

Adapted from The Inner Gourmet

Yields 16 Serving (8 if you’re really in the mood to splurge!)

Crust

1 1/2 Cups Graham Cracker Crumbs

1/4 Cup Pecans

1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup Butter, Softened

1 Large Egg Yolk

1/2 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Cheesecake

20 Ounces Reduced Fat Cream Cheese, At Room Temperature

1 Cup Sour Cream, At Room Temperature

3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened

1/2 Tablespoon Vanilla Bean Paste

3 Large Eggs

Mousse

1 Cup Heavy Cream

5 Ounces White Chocolate (I used chips, but you could use a bar too)

4 Ounces Reduced Fat Cream Cheese

3 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream (optional)

1 Cup Heavy Cream

3 Tablespoon Powdered Sugar

1/2 Tablespoon Vanilla Bean Paste

 

Dark Chocolate Shaving (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom a 9 inch spring form pan with parchment paper and set aside. Place all the ingredients for the crust into the bowl of a food processor, and pulse a few times until all ingredients are combine, and pecans are crushed. Press crust evenly into the parchment lined spring form pan, covering the bottom , and about 1/2-1 inch of the sides. Bake in the center rack of your oven for 8 minutes, and then remove and set aside.

To make the cheesecake, reduce oven temp to 325 degrees. Combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip ingredients until smooth, and then add in eggs and vanilla bean paste and continue mixing until fully incorporated. Pour cheesecake mixture into the spring form pan with the prepared crust, and bake in the center rack of your oven for one hour. If desired, you may place the cheesecake in a water bath while baking to prevent cracking. The cheesecake may still be a little jiggly in the middle after one hour, but should firm up when cooled. Remove cheesecake from the oven, and allow to cool on a wire rack for at least one hour.

To make the mousse, whip heavy cream in the cold bowl of a stand mixer until soft peaks form. Add in powdered sugar, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Place mixture in the fridge. In the microwave or a double broiler, melt chocolate, being careful not to burn it, and then allow chocolate to cool as much as you can without it hardening. Add cooled chocolate to the bowl of a stand mixer along with cream cheese, and whip until fully incorporated. Remove the whipped cream mixture, and fold it into the cream cheese/chocolate mixture. Place mousse in the fridge until cheesecake is fully cooled.

If making the vanilla bean whipped cream, combine all ingredient for it into a cold bowl of a stand mixed, and whip until it becomes the consistency of whipped cream...Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with White Chocolate Mousse..

To assemble cheesecake: Once the cheesecake has cooled completely, spread the mousse evenly over the top of the cheesecake. If you are serving with the whipped cream also, you may spread it over the top evenly, so it covers the entire cheesecake, or you can choose to pipe it along the edges like I did, or just simply serve it on the side. If you are going to pipe it on, I recommend removing the sides of the spring form pan before piping to ensure a clean look. If desired, sprinkle chocolate shavings over cheesecake. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Enjoy!-Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with White Chocolate Mousse-

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Pumpkin Turkey Chili I’m beginning to think someone pressed the fast forward button on my life. I’m in a constant forward moving motion, and relaxation and rest are only a fond, and distant memory that I hope to relive one day very soon. Alas, it will probably be a while before I locate the pause button, but in the mean time, snuggling up with a steaming hot bowl of pumpkin chili for 5 wonderful seconds before my children are calling for me, or someone needs something, will have to do!

Pumpkin Turkey Chili is the epitome of fall. It is everything comforting about the season allĀ  rolled into one. With warm spices, sweet pumpkin, and hearty meat and beans, you really couldn’t ask for a more perfect fall meal. Paired with whole wheat cornbread, this chili is sure to be loved by all!Pumpkin-Turkey Chili

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Adapted from SkinnyTaste

Yields 8 Servings

Ingredinets

2 Pounds Lean Ground Turkey

1 Medium Onion, Diced

4 Cloves Garlic, Minced

3 Teaspoons Chili Powder

3 Teaspoons Cumin

1 1/2 Teaspoons Oregano

1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper

2 Bay Leaves

2 (15 ounce) Cans White Northern Beans, Drained

1 (15 ounce) Can Pure Pumpkin Puree

1 (4.5 ounce) Can Chopped Green Chilies

2 Cups (Reduced Sodium) Chicken Broth

In a large pot, add in turkey and onions, and cook over medium high heat until meat is browned through, and onion are mostly soft. Add in garlic, and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Add in remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Cover and simmer on low heat for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaves before serving. Serve and enjoy!Pumpkin Turkey Chili.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Whole Wheat Pumpkin PancakesFall is here! Cool weather, crunchy leaves, and comforting food make this my favorite season of them all! As soon as fall hits, a switch flips in me almost immediately, and I become a crazed cooking maniac. All of my favorite soups, stews, and breads must be made immediately, and anything pumpkin gets made time and time again. Fall really is an amazing time of year. What better way to kick off the start of the season then with a hearty pumpkin pancake for breakfast?! I’m pretty sure there is no better way!

These whole wheat pumpkin pancakes are one of my daughter’s favorite fall breakfast, and for good reason. With warm fall spices, whole wheat flour, and delicious pumpkin, it’s like every great thing about fall rolled into one. Topped with maple syrup or honey pumpkin butter, these are sure to get your fall season off to a great start!Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancake

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Yields 22 Pancakes

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger

1/4 Teaspoon All Spice

1 (15 Ounce) Can Pure Pumpkin

2 Cups Milk

2 Large Eggs

2 Tablespoons Honey

Preheat a griddle or skillet to medium high. In a large bowl, stir together all dry ingredients. Add in wet ingredients and whisk until thoroughly combined with the dry. Lightly grease griddle or skillet, and pour batter into circles onto the griddle using a 1/4 cup measure. Cook for 2-3 minutes, flip pancakes over, and then continue to cook for 2-3 minutes on the opposite side. Serve and enjoy!

Whole Wheat-Pumpkin Pancakes

Low Fat Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

Low Fat Whole Wheat Zucchini BreadI’ve already mentioned my gardening troubles, so I clearly am not one of those people handing zucchini out to everyone I know, just to try and clear out my overflowing garden. Thankfully most of the people I know are one of “those people”, so I’ve still been able to make all of my favorite zucchini recipes this year despite my lack of growing any. Yay for overflowing gardens!

My favorite zucchini recipe of all time is, without a doubt, zucchini bread! I make it all summer long, and instead of being the zucchini pusher, I end up being the zucchini bread pusher. I think that makes me pretty cool, but most people probably just think I’m crazy. Oh well! I’m pushing my bread on you now!

This bread is moist, not overly sweet, and full of flavor. The best part…it’s lower in fat (and it has veggies), so I’m pretty sure it’s ok to count this as breakfast….kinda.

Whatever.

Eat it, enjoy it, and clear out your zucchini overload. Just be sure to pass some zucchini, and this recipe on to everyone you know that is as terrible at gardening as me. They’ll thank you…hopefully with a loaf of bread!Low Fat -Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

Yields 2 Loafs

Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour

1 1/2 Cups Unbleached, All Purpose Flour

1 1/2 Cups Sugar

2 Cups Zucchini, Grated

3 Large Eggs

3/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce

1/4 Cup Oil

2 Tablespoons Vanilla

3 Teaspoons Cinnamon

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1/4 teaspoon Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 9×5 loaf pans or 8 mini loaf pans with non stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, add in all ingredients and stir well until thoroughly combined, and no lumps remain. Distribute batter evenly into loaf pans, and place on the center rack of your oven to bake. For the 9×5 loaf pans, bake for 45-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out mostly clean. For the mini loafs, bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out mostly clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the bread, before removing the loaf from the pan. Serve and enjoy!Low Fat -Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread.