recipe scrapbook

November 8, 2007

AJ’s Sweet Potato Cheesecake

Filed under: Holiday recipes, recipes — Ashley @ 9:53 am

I made this last year for Thanksgiving and people are still talking about it.  It’s kind of a rough recipe because I cook based on my mood and how my taste buds are feeling that day, but feel free to play with it and make it your own.  Hopefully you’ll find the same success I did.



-3 packs of finely crashed cinnamon sugar flavored graham crackers
-1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
-1 stick of melted butter
Cheesecake Mixture
-4 packages of softened cream cheese
-4 eggs
-4 medium sweet potatoes
-1 cup of flour
-1 ½ cup of sugar
-1 ½ cup brown sugar
-1 tablespoon of vanilla
-1 tablespoon of nutmeg
-1 tablespoon of cinnamon
-1 stick of butter

  1. Mix the crushed graham crackers, nutmeg, and butter.
  2. Mold to a spring form pan.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees to set the crust.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  4. Boil sweet potatoes until tender.  Peel and chop into manageable chunks.
  5. With an electric mixer, slowly combine ALL of your cheesecake mixture ingredients.  The batter should be smooth and creamy.
  6. Pour into baked crust.
  7. Bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees; or until the center of the cake is firm (the top should be golden brown too).
  8. Let the cheesecake set and cool off for several hours.
  9. Serve as is, a la mode, or top with whip cream and sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg.  It doesn’t matter, it’s heavenly either way!

That’s it for me, until next time…

November 7, 2007

I Dub Thee Hostess

Filed under: Holiday recipes, holiday ideas — Ashley @ 2:41 pm

Thanksgiving is two weeks away and some of you are just now being dubbed with the title of hostess. Don’t panic.  You can pull off an awesome meal in no time as long as you keep a few things in mind.

First, consider your guest list and determine your menu. Are you having all adults over for dinner, or do you have to create a more kid friendly menu?  That’ll make the difference between a Roasted Pumpkin Casserole with Glazed Pecans versus Sweet Potatoes Topped with Marshmallows.  Can you add sausage to your stuffing or should you avoid that because you’ve got vegetarians coming to dinner?

Once you’ve figured out your menu, now you can create your shopping list. Check your cabinets first. See what kind of stock you already have like frozen veggies, gravy or broth, flour, spices, etc.  Also decide what’s best for you; do you want to do all of your shopping at once or break it up and take advantage of last minute sales?

Now that the shopping’s taken care of, come up with a plan of action for preparation.  When will you do all of your prep work like chopping veggies, boiling noodles, and greasing pie plates; the night before or morning of?  Also, are you doing all the work yourself or will you recruit the help of a significant other, kids, or whoever else is in the house that can lend a hand?  Don’t forget; timing is everything when it comes to the turkey. You’ll need enough time to thaw it out and cook it too.

In addition to a plan of action for the kitchen, consider what you hope to do with the rest of the house.  Obviously, check your supply of dishes and make sure you can accommodate your guest and that everyone will have a place to sit down to eat.  Next decide whether or not you’re going to decorate.  Will you simply add a cornucopia to the table, or do you plan to pull out chair covers, centerpieces and candles, and dress your windows as well?  And of course, if you anyone plans to stay overnight, or even if you anticipate someone needing to sleep off that extra glass of wine, spruce up your guest room or have an extra pillow and blanket on hand just in case.

Finally, as host for the evening, make sure there’s a plan for FUN!  Thanksgiving isn’t just about a group of people who only see each other a few times a year getting together to stuff their bellies and go home.  It’s a time to reflect on things and people we’re thankful to have in our lives.  Usually that comes naturally when people are having a great time.  Pull out those old board games, photo albums, and even old records to play the sounds of yesteryear.  Enjoy the food, the company, and most importantly, take some time to enjoy the moment; it’ll be gone before you know it.

That’s it for me, until next time…

November 5, 2007

Planning for Thanksgiving

Filed under: Holiday recipes, holiday ideas, meal planning — Kate @ 6:36 pm

Thanksgiving is 2 weeks from Thursday.  Can you believe it?!  My mother is coming to Seattle from North Carolina to eat Thanksgiving with me this year, and she called yesterday to remind me that she’ll see me very soon.  I’m very excited about her visit.  Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday- delicious food, family, friends, and of course, the Macy’s Day Parade!

Whether you are cooking a feast at home, traveling to see family, or preparing a dish for a Thanksgiving potluck, it’s time to start planning!  Mom and I are eating Thanksgiving dinner with friends, but we still have preparations to make for her visit, including travel plans and cooking several dishes for our feast. 

I found this great article today that will help you plan your menu and suggests a great timeline for preparing your feast.  Remember that the earlier you start, the more time you will have to relax and enjoy the day.  Thanksgiving can be stressful enough without all the cooking!  Why not plan for smooth sailing?  Click here to read this helpful article at What’s Cooking America.

Don’t forget: December 1 is the last day to order your Keepsake Cookbooks for the holidays.

Have a great day,

October 8, 2007

Recipe Inspiration for Fall

Filed under: Holiday recipes, recipe inspiration — Kate @ 4:25 pm

Fall is here!  This is my first fall in Seattle with Secret Ingredients, and I now know why some of the best food bloggers are Seattlites.  Fall brings grey skies and rain to the Emerald City which makes us all want to stay in and cook! 

I’ve been cooking up a storm since fall arrived.  I’m on a roll of comfort food classics: chicken pot pie, chicken dumplings, meatloaf sandwiches, squash souffles, salads filled with apples and nuts.  Flickr is one of the web’s best places to find inspiration, and that is where I found the images below:

(HINT: To read more about the photographer, click on the photo.  Some of these photos come with recipes!)

Fall CookiesFall Medley Vegetable SoupPumpkin PancakeHoney Crisp ApplesApple and Quince TartletsFall FoodsMaple-Walnut Cupcakes

Fall GourdsPumpkin GnocciThanksgiving FoodsPumpkin Pecan Pie

Have a wonderful day,

July 31, 2007

Tasty Months All Year Round

Filed under: Holiday recipes, family cookbook, family recipes — Ashley @ 9:26 pm

For those out there who are lucky enough to have a summer break, and even for those of us who aren’t, here’s a cool way to wrap up the last month of summer with a bang.  I’ve done some searching and found out that August is National Catfish Month and National Peach Month.  So fry up a meaty filet, and cut yourself a sweet slice of cobbler, because this is the month to do it.

Turns out, there are several food holidays for every month of the year; and since Secret Ingredients cookbooks come with several pre-organized food sections, I put the two concepts together and came up with a great idea…

Here’s a fun way to add new recipes to your cookbook project: Pick a month, then do some tasty research and figure out what food holiday people are celebrating that month.  Use the notes section of your Secret Ingredients cookbook to explain the story behind the recipe.  For example, I’ve had a dish before called “Everything But the Kitchen Sink Casserole”.  No surprise, it has a little bit of everything in it, but there’s actually a month to honor such a dish.  November is “National Clean Out Your Refrigerator” month.  So, if I was to add this recipe to my Secret Ingredients cookbook, this is what it would say in my Notes section: In honor of National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Month, this dish is best served in November… and only with items that haven’t expired yet!

You can also take this trick to the next level and pick a month with meaning to it (a favorite relative’s birthday month, your grandparents anniversary month, or the month you finally finished remodeling your dream kitchen).  Find a delicious recipe, incorporate it into the sentiment of the special month, and share the story with everyone that gets to read your Secret Ingredients cookbook!

That’s it for me, until next time…


November 27, 2006

Delicious Rum Cakes Make Perfect Holiday Treats

Filed under: Holiday recipes, Secret Ingredients events, cake recipes — Kate @ 6:38 pm

Last Friday I appeared on the KGUN (ABC-9) morning show in Tucson, Arizona. I shared my favorite holiday recipe, Rum Cakes, with the audience and the crew. They were a huge hit! Not only are these cakes the perfect size to give your favorite people as a holiday treat, but they are also incredibly yummy… and, well, a little addictive!

Secret Ingredients Rum Cake Recipe

1 cup pecans, chopped
1 (18.5 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) vanilla instant pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup dark rum Glaze:
1/4 pound butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup rum


Grease and flour bundt pans. Sprinkle nuts over the bottom of the pans. MIx all cake ingredients. Pour batter over nuts. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Prepare glaze while cake is in the oven.

For the Glaze: Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in rum. Cool cakes. Invert on serving plate. Prick top. Drizzle and smooth glaze over top and sides. Allow cakes to absorb glaze. Repeat until all glaze is used. Be sure to enter our contest for your chance to win one of ten FREE Secret Ingredients Heirloom Cookbooks!

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