Cheesecake Party

I’ve gotten behind on my blogging again :( But I’m SO excited for all of the cooking I’m going to do over Thanksgiving! Since I’m so behind, I’ll make this a double recipe post just to make it up to you. The first one is a dessert you can definitely have at your Thanksgiving. Yes, it’s pumpkin. Of course.

A couple weeks ago, we had a party at our house. I’d been wanting to use my mini cheesecake pan again, so I thought, why not make cheesecake for the party? My roommates said, “WHAT? What kind of college party has cheesecake?!!” The best ones, of course. And everyone appreciated the cheesecake, so I win.

If you don’t have a mini cheesecake pan, you can still bake this in a regular springform pan, but scale everything back to 2 packages of cream cheese.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake
Makes 2 1/2 dozen.

Ingredients
for the crust
26 regular (not Double-Stuf) Oreos – 2 rows in the package
4 Tbsp butter, melted
for the cheesecake
3 8oz packages cream cheese
3 eggs
1 15oz can pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 C brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Instructions
1.
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease cheesecake pan.
2. Put Oreos in a food processor until you have fine crumbs. Pour in melted butter, stir. Press about 1 1/2 Tbsp into the bottom of each well in the pan (I found a shot glass works best for this – it’s really difficult with your fingers).
3. Bake crusts for 10 min. While they are cooling, begin the cheesecake.
4. With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla until completely smooth.
5. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg until combined.
6. Pour into each well, filling completely to the top. Bake 20-25 minutes until set.
7. Let cool about 15 minutes then remove from pans. Chill in fridge (or on your porch if it’s cold enough and your fridge is full like mine…) for at least 1 hour before serving.

So to go with all that cheesecake, I guess you might need some real food… maybe… Sometimes…

Quinoa Risotto
Serves 2-3.

Ingredients
1 C uncooked quinoa
2 C vegetable broth
1/2 C sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 C diced red onion
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 C white wine
1/4 C parmesan cheese
1/4 C goat cheese
3/4 C fresh spinach
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions
1.
Cook quinoa in vegetable broth, either on the stove top or in a rice cooker.
2. Saute mushrooms and onion in oil over medium heat until onions are translucent. Add quinoa and cook a couple more minutes.
3. Add wine and stir until absorbed. Turn off heat.
4. Add cheese and spinach and stir until cheese is melted and spinach leaves are wilted. Serve immediately.

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Back to the Grind

I’ve been in Pittsburgh for a week now, and it still feels weird. I haven’t been here since May, and it’s surprising how much I’ve forgotten. Not important things of course, but just little things like where certain classrooms are or what street that one restaurant is on. It’s nice to be back with my friends, but I miss Hong Kong. And LA. Mostly just warm weather.

I always say I hate snow. That’s a lie. I mostly just hate cold. I don’t mind snow when it’s like this:

Beautiful. Clean and white and all the sidewalks are nicely shoveled so I don’t have to walk in any of it. What I don’t like is this:

Gross. It’s disgusting and brown and dirty and slushy and you have to walk through it to cross the street and your shoes get all wet and blahblahblah I hate it. Unfortunately the entire walk from my new apartment to campus is gross snow like that.

Speaking of new apartments, my kitchen is tiny. Not that I was expecting anything fancy, but honestly I don’t think I could possibly have any less counter space. We’ve got a decent number of cabinets, but drawers? Try two. TWO DRAWERS IN THE ENTIRE KITCHEN. I wish I could take out the dishwasher and replace it with drawers.

I’m going to share with you my delicious breakfast from this morning. I’ve made it before, but this time I actually took the time to measure out the ingredients. It’s really filling, so I eat it on days when my schedule is weird and I know I won’t get lunch until 2 or 3 o’clock or if I know I’ll need extra energy, like today! Today we had dance auditions, so I needed the extra fuel AND I’d be getting late lunch. So it was a perfect day for this.

Quinoa Oatmeal

Ingredients
1/2 C dry quick oats
1/2 C cooked quinoa*
1 Tbsp brown sugar
dash cinnamon
dried cranberries (as many or as few as you want)
2 tsp flax meal
1 tsp chia seed
2/3 C soy milk

Instructions
Mix together all dry ingredients in a bowl, then pour in soy milk. Microwave for 1:00-1:30.

*I usually keep a big container of quinoa in the fridge since I go through it so quickly, so I just have it on hand in the morning for breakfast. It cooks 2:1 with water in a rice cooker, or you can do it on the stovetop.

Black Bean and Corn Quinoa Salad

Quinoa (that’s KEEN-wah) is my new favorite superfood. It’s so easy to use – it has a pretty mild flavor, so you can incorporate it into anything. Cooking it is a breeze – it cooks the same as white rice. And, of course, its most important quality: it’s a complete protein. Whaddup.

This salad is nice and summery, not to mention super filling. One bowl of it was enough for me for dinner. I ate it hot, right after the quinoa cooked, but it would probably be good cold too.

I made a bunch of changes to the original recipe, mostly because I was too lazy to go to the super market, but it came out delicious. Also, I increased the amount of quinoa because the original looked like veggies with quinoa, not quinoa with veggies, which is what I wanted, and this had to feed a family of four.

The original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients:
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced (I used green, but red might have been better)
1 green onion, chopped
1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
Mango salsa (My package was half-eaten since my mom decided she needed a snack this afternoon, boooooo) – optional
1 1/2 cup uncooked white quinoa
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin
dash salt

Special Tools:
Rice cooker (the quinoa can be cooked on the stove, but this way is easier I think)

Not all the ingredients made it into the photo…

Instructions:
1.
 Rinse the quinoa and cook in rice cooker with 3 cups water.

2. Drain and rinse the beans and corn.

3. Chop your veggies!

4. In the biggest bowl you can find, mix the beans, corn, and the rest of the veggies.
5. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, and salt.
6. When the quinoa has finished cooking, toss it in with the veggies. Pour in the dressing and mix. Serve.

So fluffy!

Delicious (: