I'm always adding new articles because I have found so much good stuff to share that you will surely find of great use to you and your family and friends. Much of what I share involves getting back to the basics and doing for ourselves. Simply click the above image to see the latest of the greatest finds.

I'm big into DIY projects and finding ways to improve things, saving time and money. Quite frankly, I'm tired of paying for overpriced junk and for other people's mistakes. If I'm going to pay for anyone's mistakes, they should be my own. If you agree, then click the above image for all sorts of ingenious ideas.

There's a plethora of stuff and information that I've found to share and I like to feature my favorites for quick and easy future reference -- for myself as well as all of you. Some I've already tried myself and will do again; some I am looking forward to trying. Just click the above image to see what I've added to my faves list.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Try These Scrumptious Holiday Recipes!!

Are you ready for Christmas? It's that time of year when sugar plums go dancing around in our heads. Especially when it comes to wondering what else we could make to ensure there's enough food for everyone and to suit their different tastes!

So I'm always looking for new recipes to try, particularly around the holidays. Even if it's something I wouldn't normally eat -- like cheesecake and Brussels sprouts! I used to steer clear of cheesecake because I simply didn't like it -- until I discovered chocolate cheesecake!

After having a store bought one that was so incredibly good, I went on the hunt for a chocolate cheesecake recipe and have since made my own variations of it. I like to put different toppings on it each time I make it. Whatever I put, it's any combination of peanut butter sauce, chocolate sauce, Heath bits, peanuts, Reese's bits, caramel, or whatever else comes to mind that sounds yummy!

Then I discovered pumpkin cheesecake! last year at Olive Garden and thought, "OMG! That's even better than chocolate cheesecake!" Shhh...don't tell anybody I said that. LOL So, of course, the holiday season is upon us and I find myself looking for new recipes and this one was a MUST HAVE!

I have yet to try Brussels sprouts EVER in my life, but thought the recipe below sounds mighty good. Good enough for me to actually try Brussel sprouts! While my family doesn't plan on making them for the holidays, every last one of us are interested in trying them out soon -- and not one of us has ever liked Brussels sprouts!

So I do encourage you to try both of these recipes. Once we've tried out the Brussels sprouts recipe, I'll come back here and report how wonderful it was! I really would like to get into eating healthier foods, so I'm actually looking forward to trying it. Anyway...

I hope you enjoy!

The Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake

Prep Time: 40 mins Total Time: 1 hr 44 mins Servings: 8


1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs 1 tsp vanilla
5 tablespoons butter, melted 3 eggs
1 cup sugar, plus 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar 1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 8-oz pkgs cream cheese, softened 1/4 tsp allspice
1 cup canned pumpkin whipped cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and put foil part way up the outside part of an 8-inch springform pan.
  2. Make the crust by combining the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and 1 T sugar in a medium bowl.
  3. Stir well enough to coat all the crumbs with the butter, but not so much as to turn the mixture into paste. Keep it crumbly.
  4. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about two-thirds of the way up the sides of the springform pan. Be sure not to go all of the way up.
  5. Bake the crust for 5 minutes and set aside until you are ready to fill it. For best results, make the crust the night before and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth.
  7. Add the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and continue beating until smooth and creamy.
  8. Pour the filling into the pan and bake for 60-70 minutes until the top has turned a bit darker.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool. Once it has reached room temperature, put it in the refrigerator.
  10. When the cheesecake has chilled, remove the pan sides and cut the cake into 8 equal pieces. Serve with a generous portion of whipped cream.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnut Brown Butter

Prep Time: 10 mins Total Time: 30 mins Servings: 4

1 tablespoon butter (only real butter - no substitutes)
1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons water

  1. Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 450°F.
  2. Put butter on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast until butter is melted, browned and fragrant (4-5 minutes).
  3. Remove baking sheet from oven and toss Brussels sprouts and hazelnuts with the browned butter; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Return to oven and roast for 7 minutes; sprinkle with water, toss, and continue roasting until the sprouts are tender and lightly browned (another 7-9 minutes).
Note: I recommend using a bit more butter and adding extra hazelnuts to help dress up the flavor. You might even try some of your favorite spices -- oregano and thyme are two I'm considering.