SIMPLE SITE, SIMPLE RECIPES

The name of my site host is SimpleSite.  This gave me the idea of making a website that is simple, informative and fun.  This section, SIMPLE RECIPES, will be changed peiodically to include new ideas--hopefully some of yours.  Please feel free to send me your "simple" recipe ideas via my CONTACT ME page.  If you want your name and state location added at the bottom, please let me know.   All recipes should be healthy and "simple." 

SIMPLE HOMEMADE VANILLA EXTRACT

HOW TO MAKE 4 KINDS OF VANILLA EXTRACT

You will need:

2-3 vanilla beans for each bottle
Bourbon, rum, brandy or vodka liquor (purchase in glass bottles only--plastic can leach into the liquor and will also allow the alcohol content and taste to lessen in a short time)
Bottles with tight fitting lids (The ones shown in the picture are my favorites.  These can be found online, TJ Maxx, thrift stores, etc.  A pint-sized, Ball-type jar will work.)
Labels to mark type of vanilla extract and date prepared.
Sharp paring knife, kitchen scissors and funnel

1.  Slice beans lengthwise with a sharp knife.  With scissors, cut bean into one-inch pieces over the jar or bottle opening.  Use of a funnel might make this a little easier.  The less handling of the bean, the better.

2.  Add your choice of liquor.  Place lid.  Label bottle.  Gently shake bottle.

3.  Store in a cool, dark place for 3 to 6 months.  Shake bottle periodically during that time.

This homemade extract is sooo much better than store bought which many times has added water and sugar.  Make several bottles, but be sure to label each one.  When a recipe calls for a teaspoon of vanilla, I generally add a TABLESPOON. 

SIMPLE WHITE CHOCOLATE RUM LATTE

This is delicious.  You will get terribly spoiled.  It will be difficult to sip it. 

DIY WHITE CHOCOLATE RUM LATTE

You will need:

Sunspire White Chocolate chips (the sugar in these is Sucanat) - 1 rounded Tbls per cup
Organic half & half and/or heavy cream slightly heated - 1/4 cup per cup
1 Tbls homemade rum vanilla extract per cup (if using store bought, use to taste)
Brewed coffee, stronger than regular, hot, amount as needed per cup
Whipped cream for topping
Nice cups or mugs for serving

In your cup or mug, add chips, vanilla and half & half/cream.
Pour in the coffee, stir to mix all ingredients and add topping.

Be sure to serve this with a spoon as some of the chips might gather at the bottom.  I called this buried treasure!  A variation of this would be using Sunspire 42% or 65% cacao chocolate chips and a different vanilla flavoring. 

The amount of ingredients listed above is to taste or preference. 

ALMOND/PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

These cookies are especially good to use while right out of the oven for a cookie base for cheesecake or other similar needs. Just put them in the pan, press firmly by hand or use the bottom of a glass. They are hot, so watch your fingers.

Amounts in brackets to the left are for 1/2 recipe.  This will work, with leftovers, for a standard-size springform pan.  Recipe makes about 24 cookies.

[1/4]  1/2 c. soft butter, organic
[1/4]  1/2 c. almond or peanut butter, organic
[1/2]  1 c. coconut sugar
[1/4]  1/2 tsp baking SODA
[1/4]  1/2 tsp baking POWDER
[1]     1 egg, organic
[1]     1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp almond extract (almond cookies)
[1/2 c. + 2 Tbls]  1-1/4 c. wheat flour, organic (unbleached white or freshly ground)

1.  Mix together all wet ingredients until creamy.
2.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.
3.  Using a candy scoop or making 1" balls, place on ungreased cookie sheet.  These might need to be flattened a bit.
4.  Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes.
5.  Cool on wire rack.  If using some for crust, place cookies in bottom of pan while still hot.  Press down using the bottom of a glass.  Cookies can be broken and used to fill in empty spots in crust.

Yummy! Enjoy!

INSTANT POT ALMOND CHEESECAKE W/ CHOCOLATE GANACHE

Cheesecake in 28 minutes cooking time thats perfect every time!

This recipe originally came from Twin Cities Youtube site.  It is an offshoot from their NY-style cheesecake.  I made some changes and WOW! 

CRUST:

I use the cookie recipe above and alter it for each of my cheesecakes.  I prefer this to graham crackers.  Besides, I can't locate any that don't contain white sugar. If using the almond cookie recipe, press the freshly baked cookies in the bottom of your springform pan.  Refrigerate while preparing the filling. Note: I cover the bottom tray of the springform pan with parchment paper wrapping it all the way around.

If you prefer to use graham crackers, here is the recipe:

1 package graham crackers (just the package, not the box), crushed
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbls butter, softened
2 tsp coconut sugar or sucanat

Mix all ingredients well.  Press into the bottom of the springform pan.  Refrigerate while making the filling.

FILLING:

This can be mixed by hand or machine.  I do not recommend an electric mixing stick or wand.  

2 - 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, organic, room temperature
2/3 c. coconut sugar or sucanat
2 Tbls cornstarch, non-GMO
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbls vanilla extract

Mix above ingredients well, until smooth.
Add 2 eggs
and 1/2 c. sour cream, organic
Mix until creamy smooth.

Set up your Instant Pot with 1 cup water in the bottom of the stainless steel pot.
Place the wire rack in the pot.
Check that the black value on the lid is set for pressure cooking.

Pour the filling mixture into the springform pan.
Smooth the filling over the entire area of cookie crust.
Carefully place the pan into the Istant Pot centering it on the wire rack.
Close the lid.

Pressure cook on HIGH for 28 minutes.
Allow for 10 minutes natural pressure release time.
Carefully release the additional air.
Carefully remove the springform pan and place on a rack.  
Note: the pan will be hot to the touch.  I use a thin cloth towel as a potholder to accomplish this.
Using the edge of a clean paper towel, remove all excess water that has accumulated on the top and edges of the cheesecake.
Refrigerate 1 hour.

TOPPING:

1/2 c. sour cream, organic
2 T. Coconut sugar or sucanat
2-3 Tbls almond butter, organic
1/4 tsp almond extract

Mix well and gently spread over cooled cheesecake.
Refrigerate cake for 4 or 8 hours or overnight.

GANACHE TOPPING:

4 Tbls butter, organic, softened
3 squares Ghirardelli 100% cacao or equivalent
3-4 Tbls coconut sugar or sucanat
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 Tbls half and half or whole milk

Melt butter and cacao squares over low heat.
Add sweetener and extract.
Stir until well mixed and melted together.
Add half and half or milk.
Continue to stir until mixture begins to thicken.
Remove from stove and continue stirring to cool mixture.
Pour over very cold cheesecake.
Refrigerate until ganache thickens on cake.

ENJOY!