Thursday, December 29, 2011

Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Chocolate Drizzle

I hope you all enjoyed a blessed Christmas season! It was a wonderful relaxing day here at the Hardin household, and believe it or not I didn't even cook Christmas dinner. We went out to eat on Christmas day at the galley on base. I had heard that they served a good holiday meal, and to be honest I was exhausted from a very busy season and just needed a break. So we took a chance and ate at the galley. It wasn't bad, but not near as good as home cooked. I am not complaining since I didn't have to cook or clean after dinner so that made it all worth it. I did make Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast so I wasn't a total slacker. These are the most delicious cinnamon rolls I have ever had! I definitely recommend trying them.

As I have stated in earlier posts, I am not a good cook just a good recipe finder.  Sometimes I find the recipes, but sometimes the recipes find me, case in point with this recipe.

A few weeks ago at small group the food theme was a baked potato bar with chili, pulled pork, broccoli, cheese, bacon bits, sour cream, salsa, chives, and butter for toppings. It was a really good spread.

I love baked potatoes and the fact that they are fat free makes me love them even more. When I was in high school and college one of my favorite meals was a grilled chicken sandwich and baked potato from Wendy's. My husband, who at the time was my boyfriend, thought it was so weird that the only thing I would put on my potato was salt and chives. I didn't want the added fat from butter or sour cream, but nowadays I also add light sour cream to my potatoes. Just recently I tried using low fat cottage cheese. I friend suggested I try it and to my surprise it was tasty and even less fat than light sour cream. But at small group, I will admit, I added the chili and a little pulled pork as well.  It was so good. Well, enough about potatoes.  I am sure you are really more interested in the cheesecake than my love of baked potatoes.  One of the men that attend our small group baked this cheesecake and brought it to our baked potato night.  I was so excited and anticipated that I had a new recipe to share with you so I snapped a quick photo before anyone had a chance to cut it.

The cheesecake was amazing and how couldn't it be with peanut butter and chocolate so perfectly matched? Thank you, Chris, for sharing the recipe!!

You will think I have lost my mind, which is quite possible, but lately when I think about peanut butter and chocolate, I think of the song Love and Marriage by Frank Sinatra. 

Sing with me:

Love and marriage, love and marriage
Go together like a horse and carriage
This I'll tell you brother
You can't have one without the other

Love and marriage, love and marriage
It's an institute you can't disparage
Ask the local gentry
And they will say it's elementary

It is a perfect unity just like love and marriage. The union has stood the test of time and will continue to be a culinary delight for many more to come. It is a simple combination, but oh so perfect.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake
  • 1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 3 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
  • 1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips, melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE (recipe follows)
  • Whipped topping (optional)
  • Hershey’s mini-kisses
  1. Heat oven to 300°F. Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup sugar, cocoa and butter; press into bottom of 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk, then melted chips, until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Pour over crust.
  3. Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven. With knife, loosen cake from side of pan. Cool. Remove side of pan. Garnish with CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE. Refrigerate until cold.
  4. Add mini-kisses before serving.  Whipped topping as desired.

    CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE: Melt 2 tablespoons butter over low heat; add 2 tablespoons Hershey’s Cocoa and 2 tablespoons water. Cook and stir until slightly thickened. Do not boil. Cool slightly. Gradually add 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, beating with whisk until smooth. About 3/4 cup.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Preventing Holiday Weight Gain Part 3 ~ featuring registered dietician Jenny Cooper

            Stay Active

The trick to staying active during the busy holiday months and the cold winter season is to plan ahead. Pick a time during the day when you plan to exercise and stick with it. Lay your workout clothes out the night before to save time and energy. Ask an exercise buddy who will keep you accountable to join you when you don’t feel like exercising.  On those days when you really don’t want to exercise and all other tactics to find motivation have failed, tell yourself you will exercise for 5 minutes and stop after 5 minutes if you’re still unmotivated. Chances are you’ll exercise longer than just those 5 minutes. Be sure to listen to your body and give yourself a break if you really need to take the day off to rest.

If you just can’t stand the cold weather during the winter months, find ways to exercise indoors. Fitness centers usually run deals around the first of the year when people are starting those New Years’ resolutions. Or you can exercise in the comfort of your own home with a home workout DVD. Don’t worry, these have come a long way since the days of Jane Fonda! Some of my favorites are by Jillian Michaels and The Biggest Loser workout series.

Make exercise a family event! Get the entire family involved in physical fitness by walking or running together, playing tag football or yard bowling, or throwing a Frisbee in the park. Sign up for a holiday themed 5K walk/run race and compete as a family. Most cities have a local Thanksgiving or Christmas 5K that benefits local schools, churches or charities so you can reap the benefits of exercising, spending time with family and helping out a good cause!

Hoping ya’ll enjoy a healthy and happy holiday season shared with friends and family. And remember what the season is really all about; celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

                                                                                                                                        Jenny Cooper, RD, LDN