It’s been three months since I posted a recipe. I’ve been in a cooking rut.

Last week I briefly got out of that rut and made two different cheesecakes. Probably because I am on a diet and cheesecake sounded heavenly. The cheesecakes sat in the fridge, staring at me, until I took them to a MOPS event. I did eat a piece of each which very much blew my diet. I’m back on my diet now but hopefully you aren’t on one and can enjoy these recipes!

The first is a popular mini cheesecake recipe. I made it exactly as the recipe called. No need to change perfection!

Mini Cheesecakes

  • 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 can pie filling of your choice or fresh fruit (I used cherry pie filling and only used 1/2 of the can for 12 cheesecakes.)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line muffin tin with foil muffin cup liners and spray with Pam. (Not sure you need the foil liners or the Pam but that’s what I did and nothing stuck.)
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter with a fork until combined. Measure a tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup, pressing firmly. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes, then remove to cool. Keep the oven on.
  3. Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla until fluffy. Mix in the eggs.
  4. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the muffin cups, filling each until 3/4 full. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. (I checked a few times after the 20 minute mark to make sure I didn’t overcook them. You want them set but not overdone.) Cool completely in pan before removing. Top with pie filling of your choice or fresh fruit.

The second is my mom’s version of fruit pizza. It’s a cross between cheesecake and fruit pizza. I’ve never loved fruit pizza because the cookie crust is usually very sweet. This recipe makes a pie crust which is just the right sweetness in my opinion.

Fruit Pizza Cheesecake

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • dash salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (Really Mom? Does it need 1/2 cup of oil? I made it that way but I’m wondering if less would work…)
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Fruit, chopped (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, kiwi, etc.)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a pie plate use a fork to mix the flour, salt, and 2 Tablespoons sugar. Add the oil and milk. Mix and press into pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes until light golden. Cool.
  2. Combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Spread over cooked pie crust. Arrange fruit over cream cheese.

Dave and I had cheesecake groom’s cakes at our wedding. Not these- I think they were chocolate- but seriously yummy. I am of the opinion that cheesecake is in a whole different ballpark from regular cake. Enjoy!

By |June 11th, 2012|Recipes|4 Comments

Hot Chocolate

It’s chilly here every morning and evening so I often make hot tea. Yesterday I was wishing for something different so I made hot chocolate.

Hot Chocolate

1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla

Heat the water, cocoa powder and sugar in small saucepan until hot. Add the milk and heat until the mixture reaches the temperature you would like for hot chocolate (do not boil). Take off heat and add vanilla. For more decadence, add whipped cream.

This recipe makes one very generous serving of hot chocolate or two small servings.

Hmmm, good.

By |March 14th, 2012|Recipes|7 Comments

Everyone’s Favorite Veggie: Brussel Sprouts

In our weekly farm produce bag, we got Brussel sprouts. What in the world should I do with Brussel sprouts? If you were thinking of experimenting with a different type of brussel sprout, you can take a look at purple brussels sprouts and see how they may be a more colorful choice for you!

Well, I searched around on and found a recipe. I loosely followed the recipe and WOW they turned out yummy.

Balsamic Bacon Brussel Sprouts

  • 3 slices bacon, chopped and cooked until crispy
  • a pat of butter (1 Tablespoon?)
  • some chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • balsamic vinegar- I have no idea how much I poured into the pan. Maybe 1/4 cup? 1/3?
  • Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
  • chicken stock- to dilute the vinegar and to have enough liquid. Again maybe 1/3 cup?

I’m sorry I don’t have more exact amounts. I just cooked the chopped-up bacon in a skillet, took the bacon out, added a pat of butter and the onion and garlic, sprinkled with salt and pepper, cooked until the onion and garlic were lightly browned, poured in some balsamic vinegar, cooked until the vinegar was a bit thicker, put the bacon back in, added the Brussel sprouts and some chicken stock and cooked for 10 minutes or just until the Brussel Sprouts were tender but not mushy.

I can’t say I have ever LOVED Brussel sprouts before so I was sort of leery but gosh, I enjoyed every bite of these! Bacon makes everything better.

By |March 8th, 2012|Lana's Journal, Recipes|14 Comments

Got Salmon?

For Christmas my in-laws gave me a Paula Deen cookbook. Yummy yummy!

I’ve made the Maple-Glazed Salmon twice now and oh how delicious it is.

Maple-Glazed Salmon

4 salmon filets, 6 oz. each
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon mustard powder

Grease 9×13 casserole dish. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper and place skin side down in the dish. In a small bowl whisk the melted butter, maple syrup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and mustard powder. Pour over salmon. Bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes or until done. (I had to cook the salmon a couple of extra minutes. But, I would still start with 12 minutes and then check cause you don’t want to overcook and dry it out.)

After dinner, we had one lone piece of salmon left. We ate up all the sides so today’s pictures is just salmon, maple salmon.

By |February 5th, 2012|Recipes|10 Comments

One last recipe…Amish Breakfast Casserole

Today ended my cooking streak for the week. Maybe I won’t cook again until the New Year. I love to cook but with Dave out of town (Indianapolis and Chicago) this week and holiday festivities at every turn, I am a wee bit exhausted!

I guess I need to up my percentage of successful dishes because I made a totally yummy breakfast dish for my MOPS group today. Seriously yummy. I am not bragging. At least, I don’t think I am. Just in case it comes across that way, I will add that I BURNT the sausage to ashes and had to start over and cook entirely new sausage. Burnt sausage stinks. I can still smell it in the air today! Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to assemble the dish last night and bake this morning, so I had time to redo the sausage! I was going to use Original Boerwors but I had a pack of sausages in the fridge that needed using. If you want to recreate this recipe, feel free to use any kind of meat you like, it doesn’t have to be sausage!

Here is the recipe, courtesy of, with a change or two by me:

Amish Breakfast Casserole

  • 1 package sausage links, sliced (I used Trader Joe’s Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage With Pure Vermont Maple Syrup….so good! If you use chicken sausage, you will need to brown it in a little olive oil so it doesn’t burn. Pork sausage doesn’t need any extra fat.)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups small curd cottage cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Swiss cheese (I didn’t have any Swiss so I used some random package of shredded Italian cheeses but I think Swiss would have been great.)
  1. In a large skillet, cook sausage and onion until sausage is browned; drain. In a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; stir in sausage mixture. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish.
  2. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until set and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

The MOPS ladies ate the entire casserole except for one small piece. Thanks ladies for leaving a piece for me to photograph! 🙂


Yesterday, the Tay Sachs community lost a very precious little girl. Rachaeli had Tay Sachs and was 9 years old. Reaching that age was nothing short of a miracle. If you would like to read a very touching tribute to Rachaeli, click here for her mom’s Caringbridge site. To Rachaeli’s family: Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter with all of us. The day we found out Carmen most likely had Tay Sachs, I came home and googled and found your website. I was grieved and inspired and amazed. Four years later, I still feel the same for Rachaeli and your entire family. Dave and I will be praying for all of you.

By |December 15th, 2011|Recipes|5 Comments