Stylish, Stealthy & Healthy.


Look Ma, I Made A Cheesecake

So I have a confession to make… sometimes I get a wine buzz and I bake things.  I know.  It’s weird and random, and I don’t know what it is about the 4th glass of hooch that get’s my baking palm twitching (sorry for the FSOG reference there), but it never fails.  Friday night, home alone, bottle of Sauv blanc = a preheating oven and flour all over my sweatpants.

This weekend I decided to make something for my Grammy’s birthday (which we traditionally celebrate at the cabin every year) and couldn’t get Jess’ goat cheese cheesecake concept out of my head.   Partly because I currently have about a pound of goat cheese in my fridge with a rapidly approaching expiration date, and partly because I highly suspect she and I were separated at birth and therefore I love her. So I routed through my fridge, googled some recipes, and that my friends is how I came up with:  Nutella Cheesecake with Goat Cheese.

Now I know you’re expecting me to be all “oh, I SWEAR you can’t even tell it’s goat cheese or that any of the ingredients are low fat!”  but I’m not.  Ok, I am.  Because, for realsies.  The goat cheese flavor is really light, and balances so well with the sweetness of the Nutella.  Also my Grammy said “this tastes so rich!” and my nephew said he hated cheesecake but ate his piece in less than a minute and admitted he was a changed man.  So it’s Grammy and Nephew approved, people.  If that’s not the standard for excellence, well then I don’t know what is.

Nutella Cheesecake with Goat Cheese
(Adapted from Anne Burrell)
Baking time:  About 55 minutes
Serves: 8-10
You’ll Need:
1 cup crushed graham crackers
1 stick butter, melted
4oz 1/3 less fat Neufchatel cheese
4oz goat cheese
1/4 cup plain, fat free Chobani Greek yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Nutella
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:  Preheat oven to 350.  Mix crushed graham crackers and melted butter in a small bowl, and then push into a pie dish, covering the sides and bottom until forming a thin crust.  Combine the remaining ingredients (except the chocolate chips) in a mixing bowl using a hand held mixer, until mixture is fluffy.  Fold into pie crust and smooth with a flat spatula.  Sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Place pie pan onto a baking sheet and into oven for 55-60 minutes, turning halfway through the baking process.

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And what better way to serve a cabin birthday cheesecake than with a tea light plopped right onto the middle of it?  We keeps it classy.



Be Kind, Please Unwind.

When I finally got home Friday evening, I was fully prepared for a weekend of…well nothing.  And minus a few family obligations (dinner with the Grandma, nephew’s baptism) and some light cleaning around the house, that’s just what I got.

Dinner Friday night was really nice, and I’m glad my Grammy got to finally see our house.  Plus any excuse to light a fire and showcase my beloved Eagles Christmas tree is fine by me.  So after weighing all the dinner options (thanks for all your suggestions!), I decided to go with my gut and I made an enormous pan of lasagna (heyo, leftovers) and it was definitely the right choice.  Something about the combination of cheese and carbs that makes even the longest of weeks seem not so bad.  Although, I have been craving stir fry since Friday and I blame most of you.  (I mean that in the most loving way possible, of course.)

Once everyone had their sufficient fill of lasagna and a few gifts were exchanged, our guests headed out.  Around 9, I snuggled up on the couch with Mr. Mac and a (refilled) glass of Sauv Blanc, and started what ended up being an entire season marathon of How I Met Your Mother that went well into Sunday.  I’m officially obsessed, and my previous love of Jason Segel has grown beyond what I’d imagined possible.  (Don’t worry, Amy, he’s all yours.)

And then around 10, I finally answered the sugary sweet voices coming from my refrigerator and whipped up an…. interesting batch of, what I like to call, emoticookies.

Yes, these are the things that happen in my kitchen after a bottle of wine and a crippling sugar craving.  I really think I missed my calling as a frosting artist.

What seemed like a few short hours later, we got up bright and early Saturday (read 10am) and headed over to the Church just in time for baby Brayden’s baptism.  This little baby is such a sweet tiny nugget of cuteness, and I just cannot get enough of him.  His sweet face was so animated during the whole ceremony, it was hard not to giggle.  Except of course when I got all choked up, looking at my handsome “little” brother, holding his baby son, and looking like such a proud father.  I’m getting verklemped again just thinking about it.

baby with Auntie Jess & Uncle Brandon, please note, I'm wearing super high heels, hence the towering over effect...

Sunday afternoon, we headed over to the biff’s house to watch some football.  Puppies played, and I was fortunate enough to enjoy a few varieties of the Samuel Adams winter sampler.  (For the record, Chocolate Bock… freaking delicious.)

The best part about Sunday, you ask?  Well besides an over-due and much-needed Eagles win, guess who made it to her fantasy football Super Bowl…. WOOT WOOT!  Yeah, that’s right, this girl.  It’s a Cinderella story, people.  After 4 years of crushed dreams, I’ve finally earned my place in the winner’s circle, and can only hope that the Sex Panthers have another ridiculously high-scoring week again next week.

Well, I suppose I’ll wrap up this long and super random post by stating that it’s officially one week until my birthday (I will be turning the ripe age of 29, thankyouverymuch) and am so looking forward to a 6 day Christmas vacation to celebrate.  So with that, I hope you all had equally restful and peaceful weekends, and here’s to a quick week!


Lesson Learned

Believe it or not, there was a bright spot amidst the gloom that I’ve been not-so-successfully fighting this week. And not just a little bright spot, a HUGE, gleaming warm and wonderful star of a bright spot.

What am I speaking of…?

Oh, just the birthday of a lady I love more than words can express. No no, not my birthday, my beautiful Momma’s birthday.


Not only has this woman taught me life’s most important lessons, like how to stand up for what I believe in, to always have faith in God and in myself, T.J. Maxx > everything (you can take that one to the bank), oh and of course, there’s the whole gift of life thing. But she also gave me another gift. One that keeps on giving. She taught me the importance of how to be a family.

She revealed the secrets of how to make a special meal, as well as showed me how to make a meal special. How to savor every crumb and gulp while simultaneously soaking up every second spent with the people you love. Sure we didn’t always want to miss the game, or the Simpsons reruns, but when dinner was on the table, the TV shut off and our butts were in the seats. We told jokes, discussed school, complained about work, talked friends and sports, sometimes we fought (ahem, older brother), but most importantly, we were together.

And now as a 28-year-old woman with a husband, a job and a home, and all the other chaos that is life constantly whirring around me, I often sit down to eat the dinner I’ve just prepared, and before I can even take a bite, I am reminded how blessed I am to have all these wonderful things. I peek over to the side at my husband as he cuts up his food and I see a pattern. A pattern of love and irreplaceable family time spent together, which was first created and sewn together by my mother through the lessons she bestowed upon me. And as we share the details of our day, whether they be good or bad, we are together and we are a family and I’m grateful for that.

I may not have always appreciated the nightly dinner-time rule then, but much like every other guideline that so readily spilled forth from my mother’s lips, she was right. And I appreciate it more than she’ll ever know.

And while we’re at it, I probably should have worn my retainer more and it is a good thing I wasn’t allowed to date that older senior boy when was I was just a little impressionable freshman. (She was spot on about those ones too.)

Love you, Momma. Happiest birthday. xo

(Stay tuned for the delicious dessert recipe I made for her b-day dinner tomorrow!  I also made these and they were amazing.  Again.)


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