Monday, February 28, 2011

Chocolate Lover's Cheesecake

So I found I love cheesecake. I also love making it. This weekend I made some cheesecake with a chocolate twist. I got the recipe from one of my cook books.


  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semi-sweet mini-chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 extra serving-size packaged graham cracker crumb crust (9 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream.


  1. Pre-heat oven to 450F.
  2. Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with mixer until well blended.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla. 
  4. Stir in 1 2/3 cups small chocolate chips.
  5. Pour into crust.
  6. Bake for ten minutes. Do not open the door.
  7. REduce temperature to 250F. Bake for an additional 30 minutes or until set.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool.
  9. Cover, and refrigerate until chilled.
  10. Place remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips and whipping cream ina  microwave-safe bowl. 
  11. Microwave at HIGH 20-30 seconds or until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when sitrred.
  12. Allow to cool slightly and then spread over top of the cheesecake.
  13. Refrigerate to allow topping to set.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Double Chocolate Cocoa Cupcakes!

It was my boss's birthday the other day so I made him some cupcakes. :-)

Those are double chocolate cocoa cupcakes on the left and German Chocolate cake on the right.


  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine or oil
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
  2. Line muffin cups with paper bake cups.
  3. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well.
  5. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Add the flour mixture and milk alternately to the butter mixture.
  7. Stir in chocolate chips.
  8. Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full.
  9. Bake 20-25 minutes or the cupcake springs back when touched lightly inc enter.
  10. Sprinkle powdered sugar over cupcakes. 

Monday, February 14, 2011


I have been trying to update this more regularly. If you want to stay updated follow my blog. You can do so by clicking the follow button on the right.
I will be updating with a double chocolate cupcake recipe later this week!

Stuffed Grape Leaves!

Grape leaves. My absolute favorite food. I could eat them more or less everyday.  See they are not easy or fun to make, but the results are amazing. Just looking at the perfectly wrapped leaves...Or maybe it is just my OCDness. Anyways, for the longest time my mom made the stuffing, I stuffed, and she cooked.  I always wanted to try it on my own, because I refuse to say I made anything unless I made it from start to finish.
I got my chance to do so this past weekend. So I decided to finally give it a try.
They turned out pretty good. I did not have the kind of rice my mom usually uses. She usually uses the medium rice (Egyptian rice), but I could only find Basmati.   The  only thing with that type of rice is that it does not puff up and become soft and mushy.  Some people like that, others dont. So it really depends on what you like. I like the mushy type, but my dad likes the "normal" kind and he loved the grape leaves!

Ok, here we go. :-)

  • 1.5 cans Grape Leaves
  • 1 tomato
  • 4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 cups water
  • ¼  tsp. salt
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil

Rice Mixture:
  • 4 cups Medium Rice
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp. vegetable oil + extra on hand
  • 2 tsp Dried mint
  • 2 tsp. Dill weed

  1. Wash rice.
  2. Mix all ingredients of rice mixture in large bowl. If mixture is dry add more vegetable oil. Keep oil on hand throughout wrapping.  Use hands to mix!
  3. Wash grape leaves in water.
  4. Cut stem off grape leaves.
  5. Place grape leaves rough side up.
  6. Add one tbsp. of mixture to the base of the leaf.
  7. Wrap leaves as depicted in the pictures below.
  8. Slice tomato.  You can also put potatoes, chicken, or meat.
  9. Line the bottom of a pressure cooker with slices of tomato.
  10. Line grape leaves in pressure cooker.
  11. Place metal plate (comes with pressure cooker) on top of grape leaves
  12. In small mix tomato paste, water, salt, and olive oil.
  13. Pour this mixture over grape leaves.
  14. Place a glass bowl (that can withstand heat) on top of metal plate. (This is put pressure on grape leaves, or your wrapping will come loose). Add some water to bowl.
  15. Cover. Place on high heat.
  16. When the top whistles, leave the cooker on high for two minutes.  Then lower to medium for 5 minutes, then lower the heat to medium low for forty minutes.
  17. Take off heat. Let cool.
  18. Remove glass bowl (try to not spill any of the water), and metal plate. Flip pot over on big plate.
  19. Eat and enjoy! Saha wa hana!

How to wrap grape leaves!
Place leaves "rough" side up.

Add around 1 tbsp. rice mixture.

Bring up the bottom pieces of the grape leaf. Tuck in mixture.

Wrap in the sides.

Start rolling!

Keep rolling.

So some bumps you might hit are that the leaf might be really big, or it might have holes in it. That is very easy to fix.  
-What is too big? You just have to learn from experience. If you look at the leaf above. That is a perfect size.  If it is too big just cut it right along the middle. If you follow the stem it is very easy.
-if there are holes, what I usually do is  save one leaf that has many holes in it. Anytime I get one leaf with a whole I just tear a piece of the really bad leaf and cover up the hole.

Hope this helps. :-)

Monday, February 7, 2011

BBQ Chicken and Greek Salad with Balsamic Vingerette

So I had a couple of friends over for dinner and this is what we had:

BBQ Chicken from here, I changed a couple of things.

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 1 lb. chicken
  1. Mix all ingredients. Marinate chicken for at least four hours. (I could only do 30-45 minutes, but it still tasted good :-))
  2. Heat up some oil in a pan.
  3. Also, place a kettle of water on the stove.
  4. Place chicken in pan. Save some of the marinade. Cook 5 minutes on each side on medium-high. This allows the chicken to brown.
  5. Lower heat to medium. Add a bit of the  marinade and the hot water. Cook like this for 20-45 minutes depending if it is bone-in-chicken or not. Bone-in-chicken needs more time to cook.  Add water when water level gets too low.
  6. Every once in awhile check to see if chicken is cooked by cutting it open and seeing the color. Pink is bad, white is good.

Balsamic Vingerette. This makes enough for many salads. I got it here.
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vingerette
  • 2 tsps. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
Mix ingredients in re-usable bottle. Shake well.

Make sure you shake well before you use it every time.

The Greek salad just consisted of lettuce, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, and black olives.
The feta cheese offsets the the strong taste of the balsamic vinegar.

Enjoy. We sure did :-)