Vanessa's Recipes

Challah Back Girl

I have no idea why a low-carb Gentile girl suddenly feels overwhelmingly compelled to make Challah bread for Shabbat, but there you go. 

And I am beyond proud to say it turned out epic!  Whew!  Woo!

Recipe here: Challah – Averie Cooks

Before 2nd rise

After 2nd rise, before baking

After baking

Before eating

Ummm, you don’t want to see any pictures after that.  Winking smile

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cross posted on my daily blog

A really good read about recent dietary headlines!

I saw the scary headlines a couple of days ago. You probably did too. The one that caught my attention was this:

Diabetes expert warns paleo diet is dangerous and increases weight gain

Fat Head » Of Mice And Men — Again

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Le Cordon Bleu


Le Cordon Bleu announced it is closing all 16 of its culinary schools across the country.

Career Education Corporation—the for-profit parent company that owns the brand, announced Wednesday it will no longer enroll new students after Jan. 4, 2016, and will begin discontinuing operations.

Existing students will be able to finish their programs and all campuses are expected to remain open until September 2017, said a release from the company.

Le Cordon Bleu to close US schools

Well that will be a dark day for foodies!  Sad smile 

You will be missed, Le Cordon Bleu.

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National Blueberry Cheesecake Day May 26


Each year on May 26, people across the United States, celebrate and enjoy National Blueberry Cheesecake Day.

National Blueberry Cheesecake Day May 26

via May 26, 2015 – NATIONAL BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE DAY | National Day Calendar.

Oh my goodness, did you know it’s National Blueberry Cheesecake Day?  I had no idea!  I love cheesecake, it was always one of my favorite desserts.  But I think blueberry must be my absolute favorite version.  More than cherry or strawberry, for sure.

If you love blueberry cheesecake too, here’s a recipe (below) for you!  Enjoy!

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Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake. – Sallys Baking Addiction

Ultra creamy homemade cheesecake swirled with sweet blueberry sauce. All on top of my favorite buttery graham cracker crust.

Ultra creamy homemade cheesecake swirled with a sweet blueberry swirl. All on top of my favorite buttery graham cracker crust!

“Uh, Mom?  Why are you taking pictures of the chicken?” asked my son. 

“I thought I’d blog how I make chicken,” I responded, “so people can see.”

“Then you’ll be doing them a favor, because then everyone will be able to make chicken as awesome as you.”

Isn’t he the sweetest boy?  I should tell you about all the times he was little, and he’d walk past the kitchen and cry out, “EWW!  What smells so bad in here?!” with absolute horror.  So, you know, balance.  Open-mouthed smile

Anyway, this is my son’s favorite “mom-made” chicken dish. 

Start with ordinary chicken.  You can use whatever kind of chicken floats your boat – white meat, dark meat, skinless, skin on, boneless, bone-in – doesn’t matter.  I have about 4 pounds all together in this photo.


Then, the tweaking.  I think, many years ago, I saw a recipe from Kraft for parmesan chicken, and decided to play with it.  What I love about this recipe is that it’s so versatile.  There are so many different kinds of marinade sauces out there and you have so many options!  So, you can have chicken on a regular basis but have a different chicken dinner every time simply by changing out the one sauce. 


I confess, I don’t measure.  For roughly 4 lbs of chicken I use 4 blobs of the Miracle Whip.  It’s at least half a cup, I’m sure.


Then I add about a quarter bottle of the marinade sauce.  Perhaps 3-4 oz.


Lastly, I dump in about a quarter cup of parmesan.

I should add, at this point, you could put in whatever herbs and spices your heart desires, if you wanted.  Heck, you could skip the marinade all together and just use the Miracle Whip and the parmesan and add all kinds of  different flavorings – let your imagination run!  Use cayenne for a southwest flavor, or maybe some mustard and honey for a spicy sweet taste – I’ve used mustard instead of the marinade and it turns out really well, too.  I like Gulden’s for that.  A dijon would be cool.  Ooh, even crushed pineapple for a Hawaiian flair!  I hadn’t thought of that before.


Mix it up and glop it on the chicken.  It will be thick, like a paste, so I just use the back of the spoon to kind of smooth it over the pieces. 


As a finishing touch and to help aid browning, I sprinkle some more parmesan over everything, and when I have them on hand, I also sprinkle some sesame seeds over the whole thing too.  Those don’t show up in this image.


But you can see them here!  Golden brown and delicious.  You could also add some chopped nuts, maybe sunflower seeds, almost any kind of herb – rosemary, parsley, lemon or orange zest.


This is great with rice, potatoes, even noodles would go really well with this.  Add a nice salad or vegetable and you’ve got dinner. 

This takes about 10 minutes to slap together, and I bake it at 350 for 2 hours, or 375 for 90 min, you could go 325 for 2 and a half hours, too – it will work with pretty much whatever time you need it to. 

It’s easy, fast, versatile, and budget friendly for the win. 


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> cross posted on my regular blog, Vanessence <

National Chocolate Mint Day

Oh my goodness, Chocolate Mint Day?!  Joy!  Time to break out the homemade chocolate mint coffee creamer in honor of the day.  Smile

Below the article are 3 Chocolate Mint recipes I’ve collected that I thought you might enjoy.

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National Chocolate Mint Day - February 19

Recognized by the US National Confectioners Association, National Chocolate Mint Day is celebrated annually by thousands of people, across the nation, on February 19th. This holiday has been set aside for all the chocolate mint lovers to eat their favorite treats all day long.


Below is a favorite frosting recipe for chocolate cake.  It looks great decorated with chocolate mint candies……Perfect to celebrate National Chocolate Mint Day!

Mint Frosting for Chocolate Cake

1 package  cream cheese (8 0z), softened
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon mint extract
Green food coloring

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. On low speed, beat in mint extract, 2 to 3 drops of green food coloring and 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar until mixed –  beat on medium speed until fluffy. Store frosted cake in refrigerator.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Following are some other “tried and true” chocolate mint recipes for you:

And, for those who are thirsty:

via February 19, 2015 – NATIONAL CHOCOLATE MINT DAY | National Day Calendar.

**********Mini Grasshopper Cheesecakes Mini Grasshopper Cheesecakes recipe from




St. Patrick’s Day Mint Chocolate Cake | Created by Diane





Oh goodness – An entire day dedicated to the awesomeness that is chocolate cake!  You know I couldn’t let this one go past without notice.  Open-mouthed smile

If you need a recipe (hahaha you probably have a ton, too!), check out my Pinterest Board dedicated to cakes – probably half of them chocolate. 

Follow Vanessa’s board Recipes – Cakes on Pinterest.

or you can check out the recipes I have just waiting to be organized over on Memit, I have lots of chocolate cake recipes there too:

Vanessa’s Recipes Collection

Or maybe you have a chocolate cake recipe of your own?  That’s what the comments section is for!  Post the recipe or a link to one you’d like to share.  Smile 

Have a yummy day!

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[cross posted on my regular blog]


National Chocolate Cake Day – January 27


January 27 is National Chocolate Cake Day. Although it is an unofficially recognized holiday, it is celebrated by chocolate lovers everywhere. If you are a chocolate lover then this is the day for you! You can bake a chocolate cake, buy one, eat it all yourself or share it with family and friends.

via January 27, 2015 – NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CAKE DAY | National Day Calendar.

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