December 9, 2010

Christmas Countdown 2010 - #2

Of course holiday food has been happening around here. We've had a couple of gatherings that called for festive eats and a few more to come. There are some favorite things that I can only make when we're going to a large gathering and cheesecake is one of those things - baking a cheesecake for two is a little much! This cheesecake started with gingerbread flavored grahams (hope you have them in your store since they are yummy!) and some fresh cranberries.

What is it about that graham cracker crust pressed into a pan that is so comforting?! I bought a really nice set of nesting, spring form pans from WalMart. Wilton makes them and it's an 8, 9, and 10 inch set. Nice and sturdy too.

This is a Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake and you make a fresh cranberry jelly to be swirled into the cheese mixture. The recipe is from the Joy of Baking site and the only ingredient change I made was using the gingerbread flavored grahams.

I also cooked it a little longer than the recipe suggested, but then again it could have been because a certain hungry husband was opening and closing the oven to cook sweet potato fries - ha! This is a softer set cheesecake so it was a little tricky to tell when to take it out, but it worked out just fine. I totally blew taking a final product picture, and it was wiped out at the luncheon, so no chance to photograph leftovers either! That's a good thing though, and now that I know I have a cheesecake audience, I think I'll make a habit of baking these desserts!

On to more decadence - the infamous ham ball! This recipe came from Taste of Home, and these went to the luncheon as well.
If you're not from Iowa, you may not have the courage to look at this recipe. If you're from pork country and ever had the privilege of sitting down to these at Grandma's table, then go for it and count it as a once-in-a-while treat! By the way, I made half of this recipe and got 35 ham balls - whew, that's a lot of porky goodness!

Sometimes it's good to keep it simple too. We had my dear aunt and uncle over for soup last Sunday evening, on the spur of the moment.
For dessert, I served peppermint Oreos, ice cream, and homemade chocolate sauce. The recipe is from Real Simple Magazine - 2/09. It absolutely could not be easier, but what a nice treat to serve!
1/4 C sugar
3 Tbs. cocoa powder
1/4 C water
Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, simmer and stir until slightly thickened (2-3 min.).
Let cool slightly before serving.

I miss my far-away family today. I wish I was cooking for all of you too! You're all in our prayers and I thank God for you every day.

"Now to the Lord sing praises, All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace..."


  1. Jill, I love cheesecakes! when I'm reading this post, you remind me a lot of Ina Garten, barefoot contessa. always entertain your family and friends with wonderful food.

  2. That's a nice compliment - thanks! I forgot about how much you like cheesecake. Now I know what to make for dessert when you guys come down here! Let's set a date.

  3. Yes. I just left comment on your next post saying that we may not be able to come visit until spring, but if you got cheesecake, we will come tomrrow. Haha... I would send yoy an e-mail once we are done with Christmas travel. We are going to KC for a fre days.