Lemon Cheesecake Pie {Almost No-Bake}

Lemon Cheesecake Pie 2
Ok, so I have to apologize for being so MIA lately around here. I don’t really have a big excuse for it, just a lot of little things. Joel was in NYC last week, Hannah is teething and will only allow me to hold her (every waking minute) and Noah is in the nonstop questions stage. So I’m pretty sure my brain has melted which really makes it impossible to blog. Dramatic much? Seriously though, it’s just been a bit hectic but I promise I’ll be better!
Lemon Cheesecake Pie 4
I made this cheesecake pie about a month ago when some friends were visiting from Seattle. I had been craving cheesecake but wanted to make it a bit summery and bright. I also didn’t want to crank on the oven since it was incredibly hot and humid. And out of these things I came up with the almost no-bake lemon cheesecake pie.

The crust is a combination of graham cracker crumbs, almonds and coconut for a bit of a tropical feel. It’s lightly baked, cooled then topped with a no-bake cheesecake layer. And the grand finale is a thin layer of homemade lemon curd spread on top. It’s a nice combination of rich, creamy, light and zippy.
Lemon Cheesecake Pie 1
This pie would be a great end to your 4th of July celebration.

Lemon Cheesecake Pie

Crust:
1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup sweetened coconut
1 stick butter, melted

Cheesecake Layer:
recipe from Martha Stewart

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup lemon curd

1. For the crust: pulse the almonds in a food processor until you get coarse crumbs. Add coconut, graham cracker crumbs and butter and pulse until it just comes together. Press into a 9-inch springform pan and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.

2. Meanwhile, for the cheesecake layer: beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the condensed milk, 1/4 cup at a time. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into cooled pie crust and cover with plastic wrap. Let chill in refrigerator for 3 hours.

3. After cheesecake has chilled, gently spread the lemon curd on top. Recover with plastic wrap and refrigerator until ready to serve.
Lemon Cheesecake Pie 3

Creamy Citrus Vinaigrette

Creamy Citrus Vinaigrette Since starting this blog, I’ve began making a lot more things from scratch and dressings are one of my favorites. It’s amazing how much healthier and cheaper it is to make your own. And bonus, it’s incredibly easy. Creamy Citrus Vinaigrette

This weekend I tried a new pork chop recipe that incorporated lots of citrus so I wanted to serve a simple salad alongside them to get in our greens for the day. I did a little searching and found this simple, delicious vinaigrette. It’s creamy, zingy and perfect atop some mixed greens sprinkled with toasted pecans. Just throw everything in your blender and let her run for a few seconds. Way better than buying a bottle! Creamy Citrus Vinaigrette

Creamy Citrus Vinaigrette
recipe from The Kiwi Cook

½ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Zest + Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 small lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
Grated ginger (to taste – I used 1/2 teaspoon)
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh herbs (like flat-leaf parsley, basil, lemon basil, chives, etc.)

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until incorporated and creamy.

Lemon Coconut Poke Cake

Edited-2
Remember the lemon curd from Monday? Well, this is the reason behind it, Lemon Coconut Poke Cake.

Not only is this cake super easy to make but it tastes absolutely amazing. The flavor combination of lemon and coconut screams summer and was perfect for the high 90s weather that my mom’s birthday brought.Edited-3

The sweetened condensed milk and cream of coconut brought some sweetness to the cake while the lemon curd brought some bright zingy-ness. And who doesn’t love Cool Whip? It’s incredibly moist and almost soggy, but not in a bad way. Like a kicked up tres leches cake, yum! It was just perfect and I foresee it appearing in my future quite often.Edited-1

Lemon Coconut Poke Cake
recipe slightly adapted from Taste and Tell

1 (16.25-oz) white cake mix + required ingredients
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (15-oz) cream of coconut (usually found with the drink mixers)
2 cups lemon curd
1 (8-oz) container Cool Whip Lite, thawed
2 cups sweetened coconut

1. Mix and bake white cake according to package directions. Remove cake from oven and poke all over with a wooden skewer.

2. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk and cream of coconut together and pour over warm cake. Allow cake to cool on cooling rack.

3. Spread lemon curd over cooled cake. If you are not serving the cake right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. To serve, spread Cool Whip over the lemon curd and sprinkle with coconut. Enjoy!

Lemon Curd

Lemon Curd 1
I love lemon desserts. Besides pumpkin, it is my favorite flavor for sweets. I have always wanted to make a homemade lemon curd but I just never have known what to do with it. Well, I found the perfect reason when my mom’s 50 birthday rolled around. We ordered a cake from our favorite bakery for after her birthday dinner but I wanted to make something homemade to surprise her with at work. And it was so delish! Don’t you want to know what it is? No worries, I will be sharing it with you this week.
Lemon Curd 2
I know lemon is a spring or summer flavor and it’s winding down but my mom feels the same way about lemon as I do so I knew it would be perfect. It all starts with this zippy homemade lemon curd. Although it takes a little bit of time to whip up and you have to allow time to cool, it is so much better than the store-bought version (and a lot cheaper too). Plus, I usually have all the ingredients on hand…can’t really beat that.
Lemon Curd 3
Lemon Curd
recipe from Taste and Tell

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 4-6 lemons)
zest from 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter, cut into small cubes

1. Fill a small pot with about 1 inch of water and place on the stove over medium heat.

2. In a larger glass bowl, (you’ll want it big enough to sit on top of the pot of water on the stove without the bowl touching the water), combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and eggs.  Whisk well.  Place on the pot on the stove, and start whisking.

3. Whisking the whole time, cook until the mixture starts to thicken and will coat the back of a spoon.  This will take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.  Once it has started to thicken, start adding in the butter.  Add the butter, one cube at a time, waiting until one cube is almost melted before adding the next.  Once all the butter has been incorporated, transfer the curd to a jar or container and refrigerate until cool.

*Photos updated 6/6/14

Spring Sangria

Spring Sangria 3
Looking for the perfect cocktail to serve at all your spring and summer barbeques? Well, I’m sharing it with you today! While I can’t report on the full tastiness of this because of that big news I told you on Friday I can say I sampled it before the wine was added and it was so yummy. I can only imagine how much more tasty it was with the Moscato.
Spring Sangria 4
But, don’t worry, I got the full report from the peeps I made it for and I totally trust their opinions! It was light, refreshing, citrusy, bubbly and (a bit to Joel’s disappointment) not very boozy. It’s a wine cocktail for goodness sakes, it’s just supposed to taste good. That’s what I think at least. I personally really don’t like the taste of any kind of alcohol and would almost always opt for a cherry coke over a cocktail. I’m not a big wine fan (and now you are wondering why I’m writing about wine) but if I am going to drink it, I like the fruity, bubbly, juice tasting variety. So, I know I would have liked the spiked version of this.

It was just amazingly refreshing and will be especially perfect once the hot, humid weather strikes! I can’t wait to be able to try the full version of this.
Spring Sangria 2
Spring Sangria
recipe from Eat, Drink, Love

1 (750 mL) fruity white wine (I used Moscato)
3 cups lemon lime soda
2 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup orange juice
Sliced lemons, limes and oranges
Sugar, optional

1. In a large pitcher, stir together the wine, lemon lime soda, pineapple juice and the orange juice. Then gently stir in the slices of fruit.

2. Place the sangria in the refrigerator for about 2 hours and serve. This is something you don’t want to make ahead of time because of the fruit. If you do need to make this more than two hours in advance, mix all the liquid ingredients together and chill. Then right before serving, add the sliced fruit.

3. If you want to pretty up the rims of your glasses, dip them lightly in water then in a shallow dish filled with sugar. Then fill ’em up and enjoy!

Spring Sangria 1

Cuban Grilled Salmon

Cuban Grilled Salmon
We are still dreaming of our Florida vacation and that delicious Cuban food we devoured so I wanted to make something reminiscent of our trip. This Cuban-Style Salmon (chicken for me) was just what we needed. The flavors were bright due to the lemon {or lime} and cilantro. Plus, it was super easy to throw together on a busy weeknight.

I served it with brown rice and black beans and it was totally delish!
Cuban Grilled Salmon
Cuban-Style Grilled Salmon
recipe from Food Network

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons or limes
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 large shallots, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
4 6-ounce center-cut salmon fillets, skin removed

1. Preheat a grill to medium high. In a large bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, the garlic, shallots, cumin, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt and half of the cilantro. Add the salmon and turn to coat. Let marinate 15 minutes at room temperature.

2. Brush the grill with vegetable oil. Grill the salmon, round side down, until marked on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn and continue grilling until marked on the other side and cooked through, 2 to 3 more minutes. Divide the salmon among plates.

Strawberry Lemon Sorbet

Strawberry Lemon Sorbet
If you are looking for a light, refreshing alternative to ice cream this month I have the recipe for you. When I say light, I don’t necessarily mean healthy, it does have 2 cups of sugar (or more)…it’s just not heavy and custardy like a traditional ice cream.
Strawberry Lemon Sorbet
I love strawberry lemonade so when I was making ice cream for a gathering recently I thought it would be a nice combination. I looked around and found this recipe which uses a whole lemon. I had never heard of using a whole lemon in a recipe until I made Whole Lemon Blueberry Walnut Muffins and I was amazed by the lemon flavor it imparted in the muffins. For the sorbet though, I think the rind may have made the sorbet just a touch bitter so when I make this again I will add more sugar to balance it out. My strawberries may not have been sweet enough too. I’m not really sure which it was but it just needed a bit more sweetness for me. I think maybe 1/4-1/2 cup more sugar would have done it for me. If you like a really tart lemonade, then it’s probably just perfect the way it’s written.

It was a gorgeous color and really refreshing in the heat. Definitely a delicious treat to cool off with this summer!
Strawberry Lemon Sorbet
Strawberry Lemon Sorbet
recipe from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

1 lemon, seeded and roughly chopped
2 cups sugar (or more if your strawberries aren’t very sweet or you don’t like it super tart)
2 pounds strawberries, hulled
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons

1. Place the chopped lemon and sugar in a food processor, and pulse until combined. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Puree the strawberries in a food processor, and add to the lemon mixture, along with the juice of 1 lemon. Taste and add more juice as desired. The lemon flavor should be intense but should not overpower the strawberries. Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn until frozen.

Recipe linked to Cast Party Wednesday and Full Plate Thursday.