Cheesecake Dream

I was looking through the Kitchen Kneads cookbook the other day and ran across this recipe.  For some reason I had never noticed it before, but it sounded so good, I had to make it.

I was right.  It's delicious.  It has a very nutty flavor not only because of the nuts, but also because of the whole wheat flour.  This is a recipe you need to make if you want a cheesecake, but don't want to take the time to make a full-size one.  It will definitely satisfy any cheesecake craving.

Cheesecake Dream

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup dried sugar cane
  • 2 T milk
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease an 8x8 pan, set aside.
  2. In a mixer, combine brown sugar, flour, and nuts.  Mix well.  Stir in butter until combined.  Reserve 1/3 cup of the mixture.  Pat gently into prepared pan and bake for 12-18 minutes.
  3. Beat cream cheese and dried sugar cane until smooth.  Beat in remaining ingredients.  Pour over crust.
  4. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture on top.  
  5. Bake 25 minutes.
  6. Cool on a wire rack and cut into 2-inch squares.

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Homemade Wool Dryer Balls

You're right- wool dryer balls aren't food.  So, what do they have to do with Kitchen Kneads?  I'll tell you- essential oils.  We are not only advocates of healthy eating, but also just general healthy living.  That means we carry essential oils and medicinal herbs.

Lately we've been delving into the world of cleaning with essential oils.  Laundry should not be excluded from that.

Wool dryer balls save you time, energy, and money by decreasing the drying time.  As they roll around in the dryer, they separate and fluff your laundry, allowing air to circulate better and may decrease your drying time by 25-50%.  The more balls you use, the faster the drying time will be.

Wouldn't you also like to get rid of those nasty chemicals that are in commercial fabric softeners and dryer sheets, but still have a nice, fresh scent on your clothes?  This is where essential oils come in.  Before you put your wool dryer balls in the dryer, put 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil onto each ball, toss them into the dryer, and let them do their work.  Lavender is a popular choice, but lemon or any of the citrus oils will work nicely too.  Really, use whatever oil you prefer.

So, how do you make them?  First you'll need some wool yarn.  It has to be 100% wool or other animal yarn, otherwise it won't felt and hold together.

Next, wrap the yarn around three of your fingers about 20 times.

Slide it off your fingers and wrap the yarn around the middle, creating something that looks like a bow.  Then fold that in half and wrap around the middle again.

From there, start winding the yarn around your little ball (tightly) until it grows to the size of a tennis ball.

When it's the size you want, tuck the end of the yarn under some of the other strands of yarn to secure it.  (I actually threaded the end onto a yarn needle and poke the end through the middle of the ball to secure it.)

Repeat this process until you have four or more balls.

Now you'll need one leg of an old pair of pantyhose.  I actually used an old pair of my 2-year-old's tights and they worked well.  Put one ball in the toe of the pantyhose and tie a knot to keep it in place.  Next, put another ball in and tie a knot on top of that.  Repeat until all the balls are in.

Now for the felting process.  This will cause the yarn fibers to fuse together so the balls don't come apart when you're using them as dryer balls.  Put your balls into the washer and wash on the hottest setting and then dry them on the hottest setting in your dryer.  (I actually repeated this process twice because after the first time my wool balls didn't appear to have fully felted.)

After they're completely dry, they're ready to use!  Put 2-3 drops of your favorite doTERRA essential oil on each ball and toss them in the dryer with your next load of laundry.  This amount of essential oils should last for a few loads.  Add more oil if you'd like a stronger scent.

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The 10 Most Handy Kitchen Gadgets You Should Have

There are lots of things we have in our kitchens.  Some of them we use all the time and others we rarely use.  I've put together a list of 10 gadgets that the Kitchen Kneads crew and myself use all the time.  Things that are practically indispensable in our kitchens.

1. My Favorite Spatula.  That's really what it's called, although it really is my favorite spatula.  I ended up getting a second one because one seemed to always be in use.  It's great for removing cookies from the cookie sheet because of its flexibility and the beveled edge.  I use it for getting enchiladas out of the pan because of its length.

2. Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons.  Measuring spoons are a no-brainer in any kitchen, but it pays to have a set of high quality ones.  Stainless steel is my choice of material because it's less likely to break, doesn't stain, and doesn't retain any odors.

3.  Stainless Steel Measuring Cups.  Like measuring spoons, measuring cups are also indispensable in any kitchen.  I like these particular ones for the same reasons as the measuring spoons, but I also love the handles.  You get a more accurate measure because nothing can pile up on the handle.

4. Silicone Spoonula.  This is my all-time favorite kitchen gadget.  I have multiple spoonulas in my kitchen because I use them so frequently.  It's perfect for scraping down bowls, scraping out the last delicious bits of cake batter into the pan, stirring anything, and serving anything.  It's made of silicone, which resists heat up to 400 degrees and it stays flexible to get into every curve of every bowl.

5. Square End Spatula.  Yes, this spatula really is very useful.  Think brownies, sheet cake, and bars.  I use this spatula all the time for serving things that are baked in a rectangular baking pan or a sheet pan.  It's small, so it's easy to get the first piece of dessert out of the pan.  From there, the size of the serving part is a perfect size for a bar or brownie to be.  The stainless steel spatula is not flexible, making it easy to get desserts out of the pan without sacrificing the bottom of the dessert.

6. My Favorite Scraper.  Okay, so what is this?  Most commonly this scraper is used for scraping stuck-on food off of dishes.  It makes the task easy and fast.  I've also used it to scrape stuff off of counter tops.  It can also be used to cut small pieces of dough for things like monkey bread.  We've also had customers buy these to use on grout when installing tiles.

7.  Santoku Knife.  No kitchen is complete without a good knife.  In this knife, hollow recesses along the blade edge prevent foods from sticking, resulting in clean slicing, dicing, chopping and mincing.  The handle is very comfortable to grip.

8. Mid-Sized Whisk.  This is a 9" stainless steel whisk.  I've had one for several years and use it every time I need a whisk because the larger ones are just that - too large.  This one is the perfect size for smaller hands, smaller pots, and smaller bowls.  For me, it's more comfortable to use and because of the smaller size, it does a more effective job because you can get more movement.

9. Tomato/Strawberry Corer.  Okay, so what is this thing?  I'll tell you it's the most handy way to get the core out of a tomato or strawberry.  Knives make it awkward to get the core out and most of the time you end up taking out more than just the core.  This handy little guy scoops the core out in one quick twist of the wrist.

10.  Strawberry/Mushroom Slicer.  You probably have one of these, but with wire blades for slicing eggs, right?  While the wires are great for soft things like eggs, sometimes it's nice to be able to slice something harder into uniform slices.  Like strawberries, mushrooms, kiwi, and bananas.  I made a fruit pizza a while back and my then 2-year-old helped me slice all the fruit with this slicer.  It's that easy to use.

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Whole Wheat Sweet Quick Bread Mix and Banana Bread

Who doesn't love sweet quick breads?  While they're not too terribly time-consuming to make, in my opinion anything that can be sped up is worth speeding up.  Enter the Whole Wheat Sweet Quick Bread Mix.

Make one large mix and enjoy quicker quick breads all the time.  I will be making different breads with this mix throughout the fall and winter, so be sure to mix some up so you can enjoy the other recipes when they come.

Whole Wheat Sweet Quick Bread Mix

  • 12 cups whole soft white wheat flour
  • 2 T baking powder
  • 2 T baking soda
  • 1 T salt
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups brown sugar, firmly packed


  1. In a large bowl, stir all ingredients with a wire whisk until blended.  
  2. Put in a large container (or multiple small ones) with a tight-fitting lid.  
  3. Label with date and contents.  Store in a cool, dry place and use within 6 months.  Makes about 20 cups.

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

  • 3 1/2 cups sweet quick bread mix
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 3 medium bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 325.  Grease one 9x5 loaf pan or two 7x3 loaf pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, stirring to blend.
  3. Turn into prepared pan or pans.
  4. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a wooded toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool 5 minutes.  Turn out of pan onto a cooling rack. 

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Vanilla Peach Coffee Cake

Peach season is finally here!  To celebrate, I made a vanilla peach coffee cake.

I have to admit that this is most definitely not the most healthy thing to eat, or even a healthier version.  If you want, you can definitely make it using soft white wheat flour or oat flour (my favorite).  Every once in a while, though, I just need some good-for-my-soul food.

Take those peaches you haven't devoured or canned and use them to make this delicious coffee cake.  Your taste buds will appreciate you making it because they love things like vanilla, cinnamon, and peaches, right?

Vanilla Peach Coffee Cake

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup oil*
1 tsp vanilla*
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups flour*
1 cup sugar*
1 tsp baking powder*
1/2 tsp baking soda*
1/2 tsp salt*
5 or 6 large peaches, diced
3 T butter, melted
1 1/4 cups brown sugar*
1T cinnamon*
1 tsp nutmeg*
4 T flour*
Vanilla Icing:
1 T butter
1 tsp vanilla*
3/4 cup powdered sugar*
2-3 T cream or milk
*These ingredients can be found in our store


Prepare a 9-inch spring form pan with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350. Beat eggs on medium for 1 minute. Add oil, vanilla, milk and sour cream then beat for another two minutes. In separate bowl, mix flour baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar. Add this dry mixture to the wet and mix for a few minutes until well incorporated. Do not over mix. Pour the batter into the spring form pan.

Peach filling: In separate bowl, mix the peaches, melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and the flour. Evenly distribute the mixture over the batter.
Bake for 1 hour and 5- 10 minutes. Check the cake after about 55-60 minutes, the add additional time if not done. When a toothpick or skewer poked into the center comes out clean the cake is finished.  Let cake cool and then drizzle with icing. 

Icing: Mix vanilla, powdered sugar and vanilla in a bowl, it will be lumpy so don't worry. Slowly add cream a little at a time until the frosting is the consistency you like.

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Sweet Potato Raisin Snack Muffins

School is right around the corner if not already in session and these little snack muffins will make the perfect school lunch treat of after school snack.

And what's best about them is that they're made of unrefined ingredients, so you know you're getting nothing but the best.  There's no reason to feel as guilty when you've downed your 10th one. 

Sweet Potato Raisin Snack Muffins

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup grated sweet potato
  • 1/2 cup raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a mini muffin tin by lining the tins with mini muffin liners or lightly spraying with cooking oil. In a medium bowl, sift whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt
  2. In a large bowl, combine coconut oil, honey, and the egg. Whisk until blended. Add the dry mixture to the wet and stir until just combined.
  3. Shred the potato with a cheese grater until you have 1 cup of shredded sweet potato. To the batter, add sweet potato and raisins and stir until combined.
  4. Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin tin. Place the muffin tin into the center of the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffin tin from the oven and allow the muffins to remain in the tin for 3 minutes. Once the muffins are stable, carefully remove the muffins and place on a cooling rack to cool. 

*Recipe adapted from In Sock Monkey Slippers.

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Whipped Grapefruit Mint Sugar Scrub

Your skin is exposed to hot and cold weather on a daily basis and this can cause your skin to become dry, itchy and flaky. Taking baths can clean away dirt but it does not remove the dry, flaky skin.
Sugar scrubs can be very healing for people with skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema.

Sugar scrubs are a perfect way to get rid of dry, flaky skin that develops over the day.  Repeated use of sugar scrubs can lead to healthier, glowing, and uniformly textured and colored skin.

Exfoliation, or the removal of dead skin cells from the skin, should be done on a regular basis. It is a process that makes skin look and feel healthier by improving skin circulation and riding it of toxins. Exfoliation also increases the production of collagen that gives skin its tone and elasticity.

Whipped Grapefruit Mint Sugar Scrub

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil*
  • 1/2 cup white sugar*
  • 1 T grapefruit juice
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil*
  • 25 drops grapefruit essential oil (lime and lemon are also great options)*
  • 1/4 tsp beet juice (optional for color) 1 or 2 drops of red food color can also be used

*These ingredients can be found in our store.


  1. Place unmelted coconut oil and sugar in a bowl.  With an electric mixer, beat on low speed until a thick paste forms.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed until incorporated, then turn the speed up to medium and beat for about 20 seconds or until the mixture is light and fluffy.  
  3. Store in a glass container in the refrigerator.

Recipe from The Kitchen McCabe

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