lemon vanilla bean cheesecakelettes

The other day I was scrounging around in my cupboards and fridge and discovered three items that needed to be used up. Triple Ginger Cookies from Trader Joe’s that were in danger of staling, a whole bag of delicious lemons in danger of rotting and a block of cream cheese that begged to be used in a delectable marriage of lemon, cheesecake and gingersnaps. ๐Ÿ™‚ So I dialed up my favorite food blog: Smitten Kitchen and found a lemon curd recipe and a new york cheesecake recipe to tweak to my own nefarious plan. Success!

I used my fun Hipstamatic app on the iPhone to capture each stage of the process and typed up my tweakings for your amusement and delight, should you have the proper ingredients. (I had to go get eggs – I hate it when I’m out of just ONE thing necessary for my culinary whims of fancy!)

Without further ado, I present to you…lemon vanilla bean cheesecakelettes.

Gingersnap Crust:

1 ยผ cups gingersnap crumbs (I used Trader Joeโ€™s Triple Ginger Cookies โ€“ oh delish!)

3 tablespoons melted salted butter

Make crumbs in food processor, drizzle in melted butter and pulse to combine.

Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of crust mixture into lined muffin cups, press down cover bottom of cup. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes. Prepare cheesecake filling.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake:

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped out (put the bean scrapings into the mixture)
1 large egg
1/2 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla bean scrapings with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, then the egg and yolk, one at a time, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated. Scrape bowl down between additions! Split evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until puffed and slightly dry. Cool completely.



baked and ready for a lemon overcoat

Lemon Curd
Adapted fromย Gourmet

Makes a little shy of 1 cup

6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest, finely grated
6 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and egg in a 1-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour.

To finish:

Dollop lemon curd on top of cooled cheesecakelettes. Try not to devour the whole dozen at once. ๐Ÿ˜‰


I love accessorizing. ๐Ÿ™‚ Even a black tee and jeans can be dressed up with the proper additions. This week my mom had some new Silpada bling delivered to my house because she was on vacation in FL. She is going to have to wrestle it back – bwahaha! ๐Ÿ™‚ The turquoise and smoky quartz palette work really well for me – I have a lot of blues in my wardrobe, but the turquoise shade works the best. I love keeping my wardrobe simple and basic and adding pops of color and pizazz via accessories. I almost never wear anything less than a necklace, a ring and a simple silver bracelet. Usually I do necklace, earrings, a ring (besides my wedding rings) and at least two bracelets.

But that’s just me. ๐Ÿ™‚

sportin' some bling

linky love: cooking/baking blogs

A friend recently asked me to link my favorite cooking and baking blogs, which I am happy to share! ๐Ÿ™‚

smitten cake
  • Smitten Kitchen – this is my top, go-to, most-trusted site. Deb researches the heck out of her recipes, does it all from a tiny NYC apartment kitchen, uses as few bowls and gadgets as possible (yay for less mess!) and has a penchant for really amazing recipes including fresh fruits and vegetables. I’m definitely smitten. ๐Ÿ™‚ So is Kyle. I found last year’s birthday cake for him on this site and unless he begs me for a repeat, I plan to make this one for him this year.
  • Brown-Eyed Baker – Michelle’s blog is full of decadent treats and very delicious baked goods. Even just looking at her pictures I gain a lb. or two. Good stuff.
  • Noshings – a very well rounded recipe and baking blog with offerings like brioche caramel rolls (oh. my.) and her take on sloppy joes. I approve.
  • Joy the Baker – Joy is funny, creative and has incredible recipes for delectable bakery items. On my current “try very soon” list from her recipe archive is lemon cornmeal breakfast cake. She also shares vegan and vegetarian meals and recipes, which is a fun break from the typical American fare. I really love her offerings!
  • The Kitchen Sink – I like this one a lot – Kristin is originally from Minnesota. So every once in a while she’ll reference something unique to MN and I feel all warm and cozy inside. Like “awww – she’s talking about home”! ๐Ÿ™‚ Both baked goods and savory dishes make it on to her pages…and everything I’ve tried, I’ve liked.
  • Tasty Kitchen Blog – the Tasty Kitchen site is something like All Recipes for Ree Drummond fans. ๐Ÿ™‚ Many cooking/baking bloggers contribute, as well as lil’ ol’ home bakers/cooks like me and you. My favorite posts are the recipe collections. They will pick a theme like chocolate cookies and then link photos and recipes for about 30 different variations on that theme. It’s brilliant. Grill recipes, cake recipes, ice cream recipes, you name it – they’ve done it or will. I <3.
  • A Cozy Kitchen – the recipe blog of two friends:ย Adrianna and Caroline, A Cozy Kitchen is another blog of tastiness. Well rounded with baking and cooking options, these two have fun posting new things often. It’s another great one!
  • Healing Cuisine – my friend Elise started this blog. It focuses on really healthy eating with an emphasis on mostly raw, sugar-free, gluten-free, soy-free recipes. Lots of lean protein and veggies, along with tasty smoothies and surprise treats fill up the pages of this colorful blog. Try the quinoa apple salad – one of my faves.
chocolate peanut butter spread: smitten kitchen
chocolate peanut butter spread: smitten kitchen

Other cooking websites I rely on:

  • Epicurious – this site includes recipes from the magazines Bon Appetit and Gourmet. Definitely a more upscale, inventive recipe source. For our epic Christmas feast last year, I used many recipes from this site, or tweaked recipes I found here to suit what I was going for with the meal. Well-tested recipes and I can usually get all the ingredients at my local small town grocery store, avoiding a trip to the “big city”. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • All Recipes – in a pinch or when I’m trying to find an “old recipe” I have in my head but can’t find easily. These aren’t always the best tested or accurate recipes, but if I’m trying to concoct something, the recipes are usually a very good place to start. I combined two recipes I found here for our favorite fish tacos.
  • Food Network – not my first go-to, but there are a lot of great recipes on here. My all time favorite turkey brine came from Alton Brown…bless his overly detailed soul.

So there you have it, folks. All my favorite cooking and baking resources in one, nice list. What are your favorites? Where do you go for reliable and delicious recipes?

foto friday: little bit

Can I get a shout out for a fun new blog layout? My dear friend Brenda over at Unsolicited Advice designed my awesome retro header and adorable background. I love it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, Bren!

yesterday we got the sweet privilege of seeing our little person via ultrasound. ๐Ÿ™‚ Maybe because we get sent to the actual ultrasound technicians at the hospital, the pictures we got of Jack and of this baby were super clear even as early as they are. I was right on target with my estimated due date, so we’re officially at 10 weeks 4 days. Due October 3. But I’m telling myself he or she will appear by October 7, just to avoid feeling annoyed if I “go over”. lol.

hi world!

It was very reassuring to see the fast little heartbeat blinking on the screen. I breathed a prayer of thanks and thought of all my friends that have been heartbroken by miscarriage or infertility…how I pray they get the joy of seeing the same miracle again or for the first time.ย I sure don’t take this life for granted. I know he or she is ours for as long as God ordains, and even then, this little person belongs ultimately to our mighty Lord.

In other happiness: all week our weather has been warming up. Today its supposed to be around 40 degrees and all next week might approach the 50’s! ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, this makes me happy. I have even more hope that upon our return from Nevada, the great meltdown (aka SPRING!) will be underway.

Another happy thing is that I’m starting to feel a lot better more of the time. Every once in a while a wave of nausea rolls over me, but for the most part, I’m feeling like myself again. I had prepared myself for another 3-4 weeks of feeling dreadful, so I’m grateful.

So combine better weather with feeling better and you get a more active Johanna again! Just add water. ๐Ÿ™‚ Tuesday and Thursday Jack and I got out for a long walk and today I’m going to attempt an abbreviated version of P90X Legs and Back. It just feels so good to feel good again. Praise the Lord!

I hope wherever you are, you have some sunshine in your day. Whether its a beautiful day, your favorite tea in a beloved mug, a smile from a friend, a hug from your honey or cuddles from a kid, puppy or cat. ๐Ÿ™‚


I forgot that I used to do these posts every so often on my old blog. I came across the last one I did back in September of 2010 and thought “oh yeah! I should do a new one.” So here it is. ๐Ÿ™‚

currently 5.0

current reading material: I just finished “So Brave, Young and Handsome” by Leif Enger. It was great. Also reading “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan. Ouch. It’s really convicting and super good stuff on following God in the reality of life. I am glad we’re going through it in our church small group. Skimmed “Exercising Through Your Pregnancy” and got some great activity ideas from “The Toddlers Busy Book” this past week too. So that’s my fiction, spiritual and topical “where I’m at in life” reading list for the past few weeks.

current songs o’ delight: Adele’s Rolling in the Deep. I have this weird thing for LOVING break-up songs. Like I don’t usually realize its a break-up song until I am in love with it. lol. This one is totally awesome. Her vocals are incredible and the melody and beat are just driving and intense. Loves.

current projects: spring cleaning. I was inspired to start doing it now before the weather gets beautiful so I’m done when I’d rather be outside! So nitpicky stuff like wiping down all the kitchen cabinets, the baseboards, washing windows, dusting high cobwebs, etc. ๐Ÿ™‚

current recipes I’ve tried: jacked up banana bread by smitten kitchen. YUM. Made this into muffins this evening with some overripe nanners and man oh man…they are delish. I would reduce the sugar down to even 1/2 cup – I used 3/4 and they were slightly too sweet, but not bad. I love how Deb’s cake/bread recipes are almost all one-bowl preparations.

cinnamon sugar pull-apart bread by Brown Eyed Baker. This sounded soooo good, but didn’t turn out as fabulous as I hoped. I probably did something wrong but the dough was a little heavy and by the time it had baked in the middle, the ends were hopelessly dry. Nothing a cup of coffee or milk to wash it down can’t help, but it wasn’t AMAZING.

current hair color: almost my totally natural color. A few highlights and lowlights left in the lower half that have blended in well, but its almost completely the genuine article. Too bad I’m not a fan! It will be time to change it soon.

current events:

1. We went downhill skiing on Saturday to celebrate Kyle’s sister Molly’s 13th birthday. It was a beautiful afternoon and we had fun tearing up the hills. We had to get some practice under our feet for our big ski trip to Tahoe coming up next week (see below)!

2. ย Ultrasound for Little Bit tomorrow afternoon! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love getting to “meet” our kids for the first time. I’m praying that everything is as it should be and have been acknowledging God’s sovereignty even over this little life. It is His and He is in control. Can’t wait to see the little person!

upcoming events:

1.ย Trip to Lake Tahoe and environs next week!!! I’m so excited. We are vacationing with our awesome friends Rob and Rosanna and get to ski on real mountains for the first time in our lives. It will be an adventure flying with two very active 18 month old boys, but there’s four parents and two of them, so with that ratio, enough snacks and iPad/iPod movies and games we should be in good shape. I hope. lol.

2. SPRING!!! I sure hope its here and starting its transforming magic on the world when we come back from NV. ๐Ÿ™‚ Please, God?!

current photos:

1. molly’s birthday 2. Jack’s abstract Mr. Potato-Head creation

skiing at Wild Mountain
Jack style

the motherhood: being here when its hard

Tonight I’m feeling a little weary in mothering. Jack has been difficult lately – whiny, clingy, unhappy with the things I want him to do, demanding his pacifier when we’re trying to wean him from it, finally picky in his food likes/dislikes (darn it!), and just a little sinner in general. There are definitely bright spots, and I know much of his inability to handle his emotions stems from feeling poorly (he’s had croup and then a cold) – but I would love to just rewind about 10 months to when he would eat ANYTHING and be perfectly happy to gum a toy and crawl across the floor and back for hours. ๐Ÿ™‚ And crying was only a symptom of something being wrong, not a reaction to everything I suggest.

I knew these days would come. He’s only human and so am I. And I don’t want them or him to go away…I want to lean into this and learn what God wants to teach me about Himself and about Jack. I want to figure out the best way to instruct and correct Jack so he knows the world does not revolve around him, yet his mom and dad love him to the moon and back.

I’ve been totally blessed and challenged this year by a short, yet powerful book on mothering called “Loving the Little Years” by Rachel Jankovic.

In its 104 pages and short, easily digested and exceedingly practical chapters I found much wisdom and encouragement for this journey. If I could buy a copy for every single one of my friends that is a mom, especially in the throes of early parenthood with little people that need much shaping and love, I would.

Relating to my recent experience of Jack being restless and different, I found much comfort in her chapter called “Growth Spurts”.

Whenever this happens, this ambiguous restlessness in the house, I try to think of it as a growth spurt. It’s like they develop new needs. This is only a problem when Mom doesn’t have a growth spurt herself. If I pray for a growth spurt, for ideas on how to help them, how to make this a fun new phase, and how to appreciate their new needs, then the change on my part usually clears up a lot of things. I’m not saying it eliminates the need for discipline…but my attitude is no longer a player and it is no longer a big “situation”. It’s just normal life. Growing is, after all, what God wants them to do.

I also was really challenged by this one small phrase: “Who you are is where you are.” In this season of life, I am a mother. The Lord has led me here and while some days I do not love everything about being a mother, I amย inseparable from it. This is me! And I want to be the best child of God, wife of Kyle, mother of Jack and Co., and whatever others need of me there is. I can only be that by God’s never-failing help.

Last night when Jack was up for the fifth time in the night and was inconsolable to the point I was almost in tears – hot, frustrated ones, not sympathetic, sweet ones…I wearily tried to recall the verse that talks about coming to the throne of grace where we can obtain help in time of need. Or as John Piper has literally translated it: “A well-timed help.” I had no burst of inspiration and Kyle didn’t come running through the door to save me from a horrible night’s sleep with a screaming 19 month old, but I did find comfort. And eventually the cries of a very upset child calmed and elusive sleep came back to both of us.

The morning began with more tears and frustration on both our parts, but I hold on to hope that this growth spurt or whatever it is will pass and I will be a better mom and Jack will be a sweeter kid on the other side. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can pray, right?


I’m tired of winter. I think we’re supposed to get another snow storm this weekend. I really, really hope its the last one and that when we get back from our Tahoe ski vacation ย near the end of the month, that spring will be only a few weeks away. At most.

But! I washed my front windows today! Some friends inspired me to start my spring cleaning early so that when it is actually spring, I won’t have as much to do and can get my pale-faced self outside to enjoy it. ๐Ÿ™‚

clean windows and I

So today’s picture is me, tired of winter in front of my sparkling clean windows. Happy weekend!