Turtle Cheesecake

Oreo Turtle Cheesecake Recipe
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Well… have you missed us?

We’ve taken a bit of a hiatus over the past few months from blogging for some very good reasons! A lot has happened during 2014, almost all of it unexpected.

There have been some difficult things that happened in our family such as major health issues, hospitalizations, and job loss. But on the bright side, there have been some wonderful events that have occurred as well! New job opportunities, health recoveries, and most exciting of all, BABIES!

Though I’m not expecting at the moment, there have been some new additions in our extended family AND some new additions on the way! We couldn’t be more thrilled!

Anyway, we apologize for our absence, but we all know that “life happens” for better or worse. But we praise God through the highs AND lows, and thank Him for bringing us through all of it! I can’t make any promises on how often we’ll be posting on the blog over the next couple of months, BUT we hope to be bringing you some more delicious recipes soon!

Today’s recipe is the cheesecake I made for Herb’s birthday this year. He is a cheesecake fanatic! Cheesecake has always been a little intimidating for me, but this one was super easy AND extremely delicious. So if you are also a cheesecake novice, this is a great beginner recipe to get you started.

Recipe Ingredients

  • 24 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping
  • 1/2 cup chocolate fudge topping
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves

Recipe Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In small bowl, combine crushed cookies and melted butter. Press into bottom and sides of 9 inch pie pan.
  2. Drizzle 1/2 cup of caramel topping over bottom of crust. Place in refrigerator. Optional: cover crust with 1/2 cup pecan halves.
  3. In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer until creamy. Add sugar, sour cream, eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture over caramel cookie crust. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until center is almost set. Loosen cheesecake from sides of pan, cover loosely and chill in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
  4. To serve, drizzle with your choice of caramel sauce, fudge sauce, pecan and top with pecan halves.

Oreo Turtle Cheesecake Recipe

Oreo Turtle Cheesecake Recipe

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OH. YEAH. Herb and the rest of our family absolutely loved this cheesecake. We will definitely be trying it again!

 

Oreo Turtle Cheesecake Recipe

 

We give this recipe 4.5 out of 5 herbs!

 

 

Turtle Cheesecake
Author: Mrs. Herb
Ingredients
  • 24 chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup caramel topping
  • 1/2 cup chocolate fudge topping
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In small bowl, combine crushed cookies and melted butter. Press into bottom and sides of 9 inch pie pan.
  2. Drizzle 1/2 cup of caramel topping over bottom of crust. Place in refrigerator. Optional: cover crust with 1/2 cup pecan halves.
  3. In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer until creamy. Add sugar, sour cream, eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture over caramel cookie crust. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until center is almost set. Loosen cheesecake from sides of pan, cover loosely and chill in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.
  4. To serve, drizzle with your choice of caramel sauce, fudge sauce, pecan and top with pecan halves.

 

 

Smores Casserole

Smores Casserole

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This weekend, I just wanted to make Smores.  I was craving the gooey marshmallows, the melty chocolate, and crispy graham crackers.  However, it was around 25 degrees outside, and making a fire or using the grill was out of the question.  So, I did a simple Pinterest search for “smores desserts” and found this recipe for a Smores Casserole by Shawn over at I Wash, You Dry.  The results were amazing and a huge success with some friends who came over to enjoy it!

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 2 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 16 oz Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 7 oz Marshmallow Creme
  • 1 pack (8 or 9 sheets) graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup butter melted and divided
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows

Recipe Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 375.  Unroll tube of crescent rolls and press into a greased 9×13 pan.  Cream together softened cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar.  Once creamy, add marshmallow creme and beat until mixed well.  Spread evenly over crescent rolls.  In a gallon ziplock bag, finely crush together graham crackers with 2 tbsp butter and 3 tbsp sugar.  Spread over cream cheese layer.  Sprinkle chocolate chips over the graham crackers, then the marshmallows.  Spread second tube of crescent rolls on top and bake for about 13 minutes or until golden brown.  Brush with remaining butter.

Smores Casserole

 

The results are a deliciously rich, gooey, and creamy mixture of the best Smores ingredients!  I like it served warm, of course, but Mister Spice enjoyed this after it had been refrigerated overnight and was chilled.   We both give this recipe 5 out of 5 herbs!

Smores Casserole

Smores Casserole

Smores Casserole

Smores Casserole

Smores Casserole
Author: Sister Spice
Ingredients
  • *2 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
  • *16 oz Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
  • *7 oz Marshmallow Creme
  • *1 cup sugar, divided
  • *1 pack (8 or 9 sheets) graham crackers
  • *1/2 cup butter, melted and divided
  • *2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • *2 cups mini marshmallows
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375.
  2. Roll out one tube of crescent rolls into greased 9×13 dish.
  3. Cream together cream cheese and sugar; add in marshmallow creme, and spread over crescent rolls.
  4. In a gallon ziplock bag, finely crush together graham crackers with 2 tbsp butter and 3 tbsp sugar. Spread over cream cheese mixture.
  5. Sprinkle chocolate chips and marshmallows on top, then cover with second tube of crescent rolls.
  6. Bake for 13 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with butter when removed from oven.

 

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pork Loin

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Pork Loin

 

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This week, I decided to go easy on the grocery bill and use up some of the meat in our freezer.  I found a 2 pound pork loin (not a tenderloin, like I am used to making), so I wanted to use ingredients I had on hand to fix it up.  The result was a tasty, if a little dry, pork loin that Mister Spice and I ate on for a few days.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 2 lb pork loin (a well-marbled one may turn out a little more moist than my lean one did!)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions:

Sprinkle pork loin with salt and pepper, then prick all over with a fork.  In a bowl, mix garlic, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, and cinnamon, then rub all over pork loin.  Place in slow cooker on low for 7-8 hours.  Serve sliced or shredded; sprinkle with a little bit of cinnamon if desired.

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Pork Loin

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Mister Spice and I give this 3 out of 5 stars…it got a 5 for taste but it was a little dry.  I don’t know if it’s because it was so lean, or if pork loins in general just don’t cook up and turn out as juicy as a tenderloin.

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pork Loin
Author: Sister Spice
Ingredients
  • *2 lb pork loin
  • *1 and 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • *3 cloves garlic, minced
  • *1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • *1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • *1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • *salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle pork loin with salt and pepper, then prick all over with a fork.
  2. In a bowl, mix together brown sugar, garlic, vinegar, mustard, and cinnamon, and rub all over pork loin.
  3. Place in slow cooker on low for 7-8 hours.
  4. Serve sliced or shredded with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon.

 

 

Gasthaus Edelweiss in Weber City, Virginia

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Restaurant Review of Gasthaus Edelweiss in Weber City, Virginia

Hidden in a small home in Weber City, Virginia is an excellent, authentic German restaurant. Those are hard to come by in the mountain region where we live! We discovered it sort of by accident, and we are so glad we did!

The owners are husband and wife Edwin and Ingrid Carter, who met in Berlin during the Korean war. Edwin was a young American soldier from Virginia and Ingrid was a cute young German girl. They met, fell in love, and eventually moved back here to the states. You can read the full story here.

Later in life, the couple built an addition to their home in Weber City to make a restaurant. Seating is limited, so reservations are a good idea, and Gasthaus Edelweiss is only open Thursday through Saturday evenings. If you are interested in visiting, you can give them a call at 276-386-3724.

Gasthaus Edelweiss in Weber City, Virginia

When we visited, they were already decorated for Christmas! First, we were served a hard, crusty bread preferred by the Germans with butter.

Gasthaus Edelweiss in Weber City, Virginia

Herb ordered Wienerschnitzel with homefries.

Gasthaus Edelweiss in Weber City, Virginia

I got Sauerbraten, which is tender marinated beef that was served with potato dumplings and red cabbage.

Gasthaus Edelweiss in Weber City, Virginia

Both of us were extremely satisfied with the entire experience, from the ambiance, to the people, to the food. If you want delicious German food served in a friendly, home-like atmosphere, do yourself a favor and make a reservation!

Gasthaus Edelweiss in Weber City, Virginia

 

Creamy Parmesan Tomato Soup

Creamy Parmesan Tomato Soup

 

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Ever since our colder, crisper weather hit, I have been craving a big bowl of creamy tomato soup.  I love tomato soups of all kinds: regular tomato soup, tomato basil soup, creamy tomato soup, and so on.  And tomato soup is so easily paired with a yummy grilled cheese or with some croutons or crackers.

This week, though, I just wanted the soup by itself, so I thought I’d throw in some Parmesan cheese for a little extra flavor.  I also opted out of using heavy cream (even though it makes tomato soup SOOOO heavenly and creamy) just to have a healthier version.

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans whole tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • basil (about a 1/2 cup chopped, if fresh; about 2 tbsp if dried flakes)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1.5 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • shredded cheese, sour cream, or anything else you may prefer for a garnish

Recipe Instructions:

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, melt butter; cook onion until translucent over medium-high heat.  Add garlic and allow to cook for just a minute or two, stirring constantly so as not to burn.  Add tomatoes (juice and all), chicken stock, Parmesan, and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes on low heat.  If you have an immersion blender, use it to blend ingredients to your desired consistency.  I like mine as smooth as possible so I blended for a while.  If you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully transfer small portions or batches at a time to a regular blender then return to sauce pan.  When blended to your desired texture, add basil and half and half.  Stir until well-incorporated.  Serve immediately and top with cheese and sour cream, if desired.

Creamy Parmesan Tomato Soup

Mister Spice and I give this recipe 3 out of 5 herbs.  While it was flavorful, I think that using heavy cream would have made it “creamier” (duh!) which is what I was really craving.  However, it was unique and different from a lot of tomato soup recipes I have tried before.

Creamy Parmesan Tomato Soup

 

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Creamy Parmesan Tomato Soup
Author: Sister Spice
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans whole tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped; if using dried flakes, about 2 tbsp
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1.5 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • shredded cheese and sour cream for garnish, if desired
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in large saucepan or dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook onion until translucent; add garlic and stir around pan for one minute.
  2. Add tomatoes, chicken stock, Parmesan, and salt and pepper and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Use an immersion blender to reach desired consistency, or transfer soup in batches to a regular blender before returning to pot.
  4. Stir in half and half and basil; serve immediately with garnish.

 

Great Grandmother’s Pecan Pie

Great Grandmother's Pecan Pie Recipe

How many of you had pecan pie with your Thanksgiving dinner last week? I’m guessing quite a few! The Herb family also had this delicious pecan pie that I baked using my great grandmother’s tried and true recipe.

One of the best things about this pecan pie is how EASY it is! Seriously. You pretty much just mix everything together, pour into an unbaked pie shell, and bake it. Super simple.

I have to tell you, by the time I made this pie I was absolutely craving it because I had been looking forward to it for so long. There wasn’t much pie left over, and I’m seriously considering making another one soon to get my fill! Yum!

Great Grandmother's Pecan Pie Recipe

Great Grandmother’s Pecan Pie

Recipe Ingredients:

  • Unbaked 9-inch pie crust (I use Pillsbury frozen deep dish pie crusts)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup (light is just fine! I used it for this one)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecans, whole or chopped (my family prefers chopped)

Recipe Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat eggs slightly. Mix in the next 5 ingredients, then stir in the nuts. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350 and continue baking for 30-35 minutes. Filling will be slightly less set in the center than around the edges.

Great Grandmother's Pecan Pie Recipe

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We give this recipe 5/5 herbs!

Great Grandmother’s Pecan Pie
Author: Mrs. Herb
Ingredients
  • Unbaked 9-inch pie crust (I use Pillsbury frozen deep dish pie crusts)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup (light is just fine! I used it for this one)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup pecans, whole or chopped (my family prefers chopped)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Beat eggs slightly.
  3. Mix in the next 5 ingredients, then stir in the nuts.
  4. Pour into unbaked pie shell.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350 and continue baking for 30-35 minutes. Filling will be slightly less set in the center than around the edges.

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

thanksgiving feast

It’s that time of year again! Time to count your blessings and stuff your face full of turkey. Herb and I are enjoying some time off from work and look forward to seeing our family and eating some yummy food.

It feels much more like winter than fall right now as we got our first snow of the season last night – several beautiful inches of that glorious white stuff! We don’t see a whole lot of snow here in northeast Tennessee, so we always appreciate it when we get more than a dusting.

Today I’ll be making some pecan pie – my great grandmother’s classic recipe that I’ll share in a future post! I’ll also be making our delicious breakfast casserole, because we do brunch with my dad’s side of the family. Dad will be making his signature french toast, of course!

On the menu tomorrow night: dad’s cajun deep fried turkey, honey baked ham, mom’s macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, green beans, dressing, and rolls. Can’t wait!

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving. Love your family!

Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili

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I don’t know what the weather has been doing in your neck of the woods, but around Northeast Tennessee, it has been going back and forth between 70 degrees one week and 30 the next.  Confusing and frustrating, to say the least.  However, on those 30 degree days, it is awfully nice to hunker down with a hearty, comforting meal like this Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili!  Easy to whip up, super healthy, and makes for some fabulous leftovers!

Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili

Adapted from www.skinnytaste.com

Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1.5 lbs lean ground turkey (93/7 works best)
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 10 oz can Rotel tomatoes with green chilis
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • fresh cilantro and sour cream for garnish, if desired

Recipe Directions:

Brown turkey in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up into small chunks.  Add salt and cumin.  When meat is cooked through, add onion and garlic; cook for three minutes over medium heat.  Add remaining ingredients, then cover and simmer over low-medium heat for 25 minutes.  Make sure potatoes are soft and cooked through.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream and some fresh sprigs of cilantro.

Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili

This dish is sure to please and last a few days!  We give this recipe 4.5 herbs!

Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili
Author: Sister Spice
Ingredients
  • *1 to 1.5 lbs lean ground turkey
  • *Kosher salt, to taste
  • *3 tbsp minced garlic
  • *1/2 cup chopped onion
  • *8 oz can tomato sauce
  • *10 oz can Rotel tomatoes with green chilis
  • *15 oz can black beans
  • *3/4 cup water
  • *1/2 tsp cumin
  • *1/4 tsp chili powder
  • *1/4 tsp paprika
  • *1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • *fresh cilantro and sour cream for garnish, if desired
Instructions
  1. Brown turkey in large skillet over medium-high heat; season with salt and cumin. Add onion and garlic and cook for three minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add remaining ingredients except for sour cream and cilantro. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Serve immediately with garnish.

 

Chocolate and Coffee in Portland, Maine

 

This past winter, Herb and I had the chance to take a week long trip to Portland, Maine. Why Portland? Well, it was a little bit random for us as we live in Tennessee. But we both love the snow and skiing, and I’ve ALWAYS wanted to try snowmobiling, and it just seemed like a good place to go for all of those things, which it was!
And boy, did we get the snow! Portland had already had a few big snows before our trip, and the day before we arrived they got an additional 8 or so inches, so there was plenty of snow around for our enjoyment. We bundled up every day of our trip, which included one day of skiing at Sunday River Ski Resort, and one day of snowmobiling (one of my favorite parts of the trip!) about 2 hours west of Portland.
The other days were spent bundled up exploring the streets of Portland. All the cold and snow definitely made us want to curl u with a great cup of coffee! One day, we discovered an awesome little coffee shop – Mornings in Paris Old World Cafe. We each enjoyed warming up with a great cup of coffee, and we also split a delicious piece of crumb cake. It was wonderful!

Mornings in Paris Coffee in Portland, Maine

Mornings in Paris Coffee in Portland, Maine

 

Mornings in Paris Coffee in Portland, Maine

 

Another one of our favorite places was just outside of Portland in Scarborough, Maine – Len Libby Chocolates, which is the home of Lenny, the 1700 pound chocolate moose!!! Lenny was joined by some huge chocolate bears as well. Now if that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is.

Len Libby Chocolates near Portland, Maine

Len Libby Chocolates near Portland, Maine

Len Libby Chocolates near Portland, Maine

Herb and I had to purchase some chocolate while there, of course. I got some truffles that were delicious, and Herb got this wonderful chocolate covered Twinkie. This was around the time last year that we thought Twinkies were going extinct, but in any case it was yummy. Len Libby is definitely worth a visit!

Len Libby Chocolates near Portland, Maine

 

We had a wonderful trip to Portland and would definitely like to return for a visit. I think we’d like to go in the summertime, because I imagine it’s very different when it isn’t 10 degrees outside!

So if you’re in Portland, now you know where to go to warm up with a nice cup of coffee or to enjoy some great chocolate.

Check out our other Portland posts:

Becky’s Diner

Portland Pie Company

King of the Roll Sushi

Saturday – Trophy Edition

Mummy Dogs Halloween Recipe Trophy

You may recall from my recent post that I was making Mummy Dogs  to take to a Halloween party. They were quite a hit! In fact, we won a trophy for Most Creative Dish with them. Not to mention they are quite tasty!

Mummy Hot Dogs for Halloween

Herb dressed up as Harry Potter, and I went as Luna Lovegood.

Halloween Party

 

Our lovely host and hostess had some good costumes as well – Sandy Patterson from Identity Thief and 50 Shades of Gray (notice the paint chips around his neck :-))

Halloween Party

It was a great party! Loved spending time with my wonderful, beautiful friends.

Halloween Party

And of course it was fun to go home with a trophy. Now the challenge will be finding something great to make for next year’s party. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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