Category Archives: summer

New York Chocolate Cheesecake

My family went to our family friends house for a father’s day party and I was put on dessert duty.  I have wanted to make chocolate cheesecake for a while and when I mentioned it to my dad his face lit up with joy.  This recipe is taken from Emeril Lagasse who is my favorite food network star.


  • 1 ½ cups of chocolate wafers
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 ½ (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Grease the bottom of your 9-inch spring form pan.
  3. Crumble chocolate wafers
  4. In a bowl mix wafers, powdered sugar, and melted butter together.
  5. Press crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan, this is your crust.
  6. In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds until mixture is creamy.
  7. Add flour to mixture
  8. Melt chocolate and once the chocolate has come to room temperature add to the cream cheese mixture.
  9. Add sour cream
  10. Add eggs 1 at a time mixing on low
  11. Bake for 1 hour or until center is almost set.
  12. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Everyone at the party could not stop raving about this rich desert.  I will definitely have to make it again!



PS: I apologize I forgot to take a picture of the whole cake before half of it was eaten!


A Tall Glass of Lavender Lemonade

This lemonade is addictive. I tend to gravitate towards lavender for some reason, and it’s an unexpected and refreshing twist to your basic homemade lemonade. The lavender gives the lemonade a gorgeous pink color, and the taste is obviously present but not at all overwhelming. This stuff is super easy to make and is a great drink for summer parties or just to keep in the fridge.

This recipe is adapted from Amy’s Lavender Lemonade on The basic ingredients are the same, but I think the procedure makes more sense this way. (Of course, there are a ton of ways to make lemonade, so do what’s simplest for you.)


  • 1 tray ice cubes (crushed if desired)
  • 1/4 cup dried lavender
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3/4 cups white sugar, or as needed
  • 8 lemons
  • 5 cups cold water, or as needed


  1. Place the lavender in a large loose tea filter bag, if you have one available, and place the lavender in a medium heatproof glass bowl. (If you don’t have filter bags, you can just put the loose lavender in, but you’ll need to strain it out afterwards.) Allow to steep for about 10 minutes before removing the filter bag and discarding the lavender.
  2. In the meantime, squeeze the juice from the lemons into a separate bowl or cup, making sure to catch seeds and excess pulp.
  3. Add the sugar to the hot lavender water (after the lavender is discarded) and stir until dissolved.
  4. Place the ice cubes in a 2 quart pitcher and immediately pour the lavender mixture over the ice.
  5. Top off the pitcher with the cold water and stir. Be sure not to add a lot of extra water, or else the lemonade will begin to loose its flavor and intensity. Add extra sugar and stir, to taste.
— Halie