Blueberry Tofu Mascarpone Cheesecake

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Yep, totally unheard of! Tofu in a cheesecake? Where did that idea even come from?

Well, I send all my gratitude to the “bombogenesis” that we had at the start of the year. I was craving for a good blueberry cheesecake on the day we had that massive winter storm, but was not really in the mood to brave the cold storm. So, I ransacked our pantry cabintets and fridge to see if I can make something to ease my cravings. I know that we still have some blueberries that we froze last summer in our fridge, so I’m not worried about the fruit topping. What I’m worried about was the cheesecake itself. My regular cheesecake recipes often requires about 3-4 cream cheese blocks, but I only had one (and it’s not even real cream cheese, it’s neufchatel cheese). I do have one tub of mascarpone, and I know that I would definitely use that. But still, I felt like I still have to add something to increase the volume I want for the cheesecake. If we only had ricotta cheese in the fridge, I would have definitely used that, but no such luck. That’s when I noticed the unopened soft tofu in the fridge. A bulb suddenly lit in my mind. Tofu is technically a cheese, so I figured why not use that in cheesecake?

Tofu doesn’t have any flavors at all, so it’s a pretty good addition to a lot of things, such as smoothies, soups or even stir-fries. It’s a lot like a blank canvas on which it is up to the painter’s imagination to paint something out of nothing. Tofu is pretty good at absorbing any flavors, not to mention the good kick of protein you could get from it. In this particular case, I merely wanted something to add volume to my cheesecake batter without losing or disrupting the flavors. Tofu is my greatest answer to that.

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Cold Chicken Macaroni Salad

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This is our family’s favorite snack time. Well, actually, I don’t even know if this is an appetizer, main meal, dessert, or just merely a snack meal in our family! But it’s good and very easy to prepare. Just like with any other salad, you just simply have to stir all the ingredients in the bowl. Not to mention, this is quite flexible when it comes to fruits, vegetables, and even the meat you desire. This is something kids would love to eat! (Believe me, I was once a kid who devoured this anytime I could have it!).

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Baked Pineapple Ham

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It is a tradition in our family to always (always!) have ham on our Christmas celebration. Ham is the heart of our Christmas table. Luckily, my brother’s company provides ham every year, so we won’t have to buy it. The one we usually received is Smithfield’s Hickory Smoked Spiral Sliced Ham. The ham tastes good as it is, especially with its own glaze. However, my dad finds the taste salty and lacking some sweetness and in-depth flavor. So, every time we have ham, he made some tweaks in it, and it always turns out definitely more delicious. I stalked him when he was making this, and took pictures along the way, so as to remember how he usually elevates the flavor. He’s extremely secretive when it comes to his food, but I didn’t let him get away this time!

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Hershey Chocolate Kisses Bonsai Tree

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This idea came to my mind during the brain-wracking search on what to give to my co-worker who had an upcoming 60th birthday. She already has everything, and I wanted to be able to give her something memorable. One thing that I do know very well about her is that she adores Hershey Kisses chocolate. And that is saying it simply! She won’t eat any other chocolate except for Kisses. She’s quite loyal and devoted to it, and always keep a bag of Kisses in her locker and drawer. If she eats Ferrero Rocher chocolates, I would probably just give her Ferrero Rocher Christmas Tree. However, she’s not fond of it (much to my aghast!). I initially had thought of making a tree like that but using Hershey Kisses. From there, my imagination started to wander. Ideas started coming in, and then this came out. I’m quite proud of this! My sister jokingly even called this “The Tree of Life”.  Chocolate is life, so why not?

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Warm Chocolate Melting Cake (Lava Cake)

 

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I first had the chance of feasting on this decadent and luscious dessert on a Carnival cruise to Mexico. It was just a pure, unadulterated, and chocolatey deliciousness! It was paired with a good vanilla ice cream. The combination of warm chocolate cake and cold vanilla ice cream is one of the best in my vocabulary! Carnival Cruise Lines is willing to share the recipe to everyone, and it’s easy to find online as well. The caveat? The recipe that was given to me by a cruise staff is a recipe for a huge batch of this dessert (not surprisingly, I guess). As much as I like to devour this, I don’t think my family and I can eat that much. So, here’s my take on their warm chocolate melting cake. I tweaked some changes, reduce the amounts of ingredients (especially the sweetness), and it came out soooo delicious!!

Not to mention that you can make this in advance. Yes! I’ve experimented on this during the weekend and I was very successful. Initially, I had thought that the batter has to be cooked almost immediately as there could be some textural changes and such. Additionally, you can only serve this warm, meaning you have to make this just minutes before serving, which may not be ideal at times. However, after last weekend, I found out I was wrong on both accounts. No changes in the batter as long as it’s kept in the fridge, and even though it’s no longer served warm, it’s still quite delicious!!

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My Mom’s Meatloaf

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My mom rarely cooks these days, but whenever she does, it’s eventful. I grew up eating her meals and baked goods, so there’s always nostalgia involved whenever I eat one of her foods. Sadly though, she doesn’t keep recipes most of the time. She goes by taste, look, and what ingredients are available, and not by any written recipes. Admittedly, this makes it hard for me to sometimes replicate the foods she made for us before.

Last weekend, she had the time and decidedly made us meatloaf for our meals. When I saw her, I immediately grabbed the camera and took pictures of the whole process. Don’t want to miss this for the world!

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Tres Leches Bundt Cake

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This is probably the second time I’ve made a Tres Leches Cake. The first Tres Leches cake I made was when I was still in my teens. After that, for some reason, I never made it again until last weekend. Such a shame, as this is one of the most delicious, moistest, one of the easiest and probably the milkiest cake you’ll ever have! Before, I had baked this in a rectangular pan, topped it with whipped frosting and sifted cinnamon. It had turned out awesome and delicious! One of my most successful cakes I had made back then, despite it’s plain appearance. Recently, I acquired a medium-sized bundt cake pan that looked like new from a thrift store. I was itching to use it, but I just couldn’t think of what cake should I make that would entice my family. And then my brother came to me and asked if I could bake a Tres Leches cake for him. He told me one of his co-workers made one for everybody and he totally loved it. Hence the idea of baking a Tres Leches in a bundt cake!

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Ferrero Rocher Christmas Tree

Update 12/20/17:

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By request, I made another one to give as a gift for a family friend. We found this snowman topper in a local craft store, and it just looks so adorable as a topper. Then placed the chocolate tree on Christmas theme plate, then filled the plate with Lindt hazelnut chocolates which are darker in color. I would have filled the plate with more Ferrero Rocher chocolates, but we ran out of those while we still have an abundance of Lindt chocolates currently at home. You can wrap the whole thing up with a cello wrap, and a ribbon on top. If this doesn’t make any chocolate lovers’ dream come true this Christmas, then I don’t know what is!

 

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There was once an idea nagging in my mind to make a Ferrero Rocher Christmas Tree that could wow the people who see it. Yes, I know Ferrero Rocher chocolates alone already has that wow factor to it, but more so if you presented it as a Christmas tree. I didn’t know how to make it to fruition, however. I had this unwavering determination to do this without the help of internet. Haha! So much for my self-confidence! My first attempt was a failure. I was thinking of making a pyramid cardboard and glue these chocolate candies to that cardboard. It was a pretty good idea in my mind but the reality was not. First off, it didn’t look like a Christmas tree but more of, well, a pyramid. Second, it’s very fragile, and wavered. It didn’t have a very good base. Hence, I gave up on that idea. Mind you, I didn’t waste any Ferrero chocolates. That’s a crime right there to waste extremely good chocolates, I tell you! They were glued on the paper liner and cardboard, so nothing touched the candy at all. It’s still safe for consuming.

For my second try, I used a styrofoam pine cone as my tree base and it went so much easier. Instead of gluing the chocolates, I used toothpick to keep them stuck on the base. Less messier that way, too!

So here’s how to make a sweet Christmas Tree filled with Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

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Chocolate Peppermint Candy

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I’m pretty excited about this chocolate peppermint candies! This is my first time making these and it’s outrageously easy and good. It was truly by chance that I came upon these two silicone molds at a store and bought them for really cheap. Upon paying, my mind was already racing with thoughts on what to make using these molds. I initially thought of gum candies or chewy ginger candies, or marshmallow. And then I thought, why not make chocolate peppermint bark in a molded candy form?

I never made chocolate peppermint bark before. We’re usually loaded with all different kinds of chocolate and sweets every Christmas, so I don’t see the point of adding more chocolates to consume (not that it’s a bad thing!). I’ve always wanted to make one, though. Although I had never made one before, I do know for certain that a good quality chocolate is very much needed for this type of candy, if you want yours to stand out.

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