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Triple Chocolate Flourless Brownie-Bottom Cheesecake

Triple Chocolate Brownie Bottom Cheesecake

Death by chocolate… very appropriate for Halloween, don’t you think?

I made this a few years ago, when my grandmother had to go gluten-free so we planned an entire gluten-free Thanksgiving for her. This cheesecake is rich, decadent, and oh so chocolatey… and completely flourless! Highly recommended for all the chocolate-lovers in your life.

Triple Chocolate Brownie Bottom Cheesecake

Recipe originally found on Fridgg, but sadly the original link to the recipe no longer works.


For the brownie bottom:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
For the cheesecake:
  • 2/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup fat free ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup honey

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom of a pie tin with a bit of coconut oil.
  2. Combine the first 5 brownie ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with a hand mixer until all the ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Combine 3/4 cup of milk chocolate chips with 3/4 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Melt the chocolate chips by microwaving on low and stirring every 20 seconds until the chocolate is melted. Make sure not to overcook the chocolate chips!
  4. Pour the melted chocolate into the existing brownie batter stirring the batter as your pour. Once incorporated, pour the brownie batter into the prepared pie dish and bake for 15 minutes at 350°F.
  5. After 15 minutes, remove the pie plate from the oven and set aside to cool while you make the cheesecake part. The brownies will be very underdone at this point, but that’s ok. Reduce the oven heat to 325°F.
  6. Combine the 1/3 cup of milk chocolate chips and the 1/3 cup of semisweet chocolate chips and melt them in the oven using the technique described above.
  7. Once chocolate is melted, combine the mascarpone, ricotta, egg, egg yolk, vanilla, cocoa powder, honey and melted chocolate in a large bowl and beat with a hand held mixer until smooth.
  8. Pour the cheesecake filling onto the partially baked brownie bottom. Bake in a 325°F oven for 40-50 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake springs back when touched.
  9. Let cool, and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Vietnamese Chicken and Bok Choy

Vietnamese slow cooker chicken and bok choy

I’ve got a persistent cough, the kind where you always get an itch in your throat at exactly the wrong time (such as, right at the moment when someone asks you a question in the middle of a conference call), and leaves you sounding like a chain smoker.

Son’s getting over an ear infection, which, as he put in an uncharacteristically poetic manner earlier tonight, “I feel like there’s a tiny hummingbird in my ear, making love to my eardrum.”

I’ve spent the last week staying up working until 4am every night, trying to meet crazy deadlines. (The glamorous life of a freelancer!)

The dishes are piling up, and there are boxes and boxes of miscellaneous kitchenware all over my living room floor, because they’re cleaning out grandma’s house and I couldn’t bear to let them just get rid of it all.

This is real life.

Which means, well, there couldn’t possibly be a better time to break out the slow cooker. What a lifesaver it is. Just toss the ingredients in a pot, turn it on, and don’t think about it again until it’s time to eat. It doesn’t get better than this.

I originally wrote the above back in May (yes, it takes me five months to finish a blog post), and liked it so much I decided to post it anyways. It’s finally cooling off in LA right now, after a summer and fall filled with heat waves, so it feels like slow cooker season again. I’ve already made this again this season just a couple of weeks ago, and I’m already craving it again. It’s that sort of hearty, comfort food-delicious sort of meal that fills you, warms you, and makes you feel good about yourself because it manages to be pretty healthy, too.

Slow cooker Vietnamese chicken and bok choy

Recipe adapted from Yankee Kitchen Ninja. We like to make lots and have leftovers all week, and the bok choy is our favorite part so we make quite a bit extra. However if you have a smaller slow cooker or just want enough for a meal, you can refer to the original recipe.


  • 10 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup shoyu
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced (I usually add more because we really love garlic)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • lots of bok choy (I usually go with 5lbs or so; other greens can also be used)

Cooking Directions

  1. Put everything except the bok choy in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours.
  2. Wash the bok choy, discard the last inch of the base. When the chicken is finished cooking, carefully transfer it to another bowl. Place the bok choy in the slow cooker, stirring to make sure it is coated with the sauce. Replace the lid, and cook on high for another half hour or so, until the bok choy is wilted and soft.
  3. Serve over white or brown rice. Enjoy!

Potato Salad with a Vegan Maple Mustard Dressing

With the Labor Day weekend coming up, picnics and barbecues are on my mind. This weekend feels like summer’s last big hurrah, before school really starts to get under way and temperatures start to cool down.

(Of course, I have no kids and temperatures in LA are going to stay hot for another month… but that’s beside the point. I’m still ready for all the apple and pumpkin-spice things that fall will bring!)

One of the dishes that is always a must-have for barbecues and picnics both, is potato salad. And this version ought to make an appearance at your Labor Day celebration this weekend! While I’m all for mayonnaise-heavy potato salads, this version is great because it’s a little lighter (who wants to go swimming in the ocean after feasting on heavy potato salad?), it won’t go bad like mayonnaise-based potatoes will in the hot sun, and (if you leave off the bacon and eggs) it’s vegan, too!

The tangy-sweet dressing is addictively good, and this goes great with whatever meat (or non-meat) you’re grilling or serving alongside. I made this potato salad for my family’s Fourth of July celebration, and it was loved by vegans and carnivores alike (seriously, there were no leftovers).

Potato salad

Potato Salad with a Vegan Maple Mustard Dressing, from Cooking and Beer.


  • 1.5 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 3 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • optional toppings:
    • chopped green onions
    • chopped parsley
    • diced hard boiled eggs
    • crumbled bacon

Cooking Directions

  1. Put the potatoes in a large pot. Fill with just enough water to cover the potatoes, and salt the water generously. Turn the heat to medium-high, and cook the potatoes until just tender, but not mushy. Remove from the stove and drain. Immediately transfer the potatoes to the refrigerator to chill.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the whole grain mustard, vinegar, dijon mustard, and maple syrup until completely smooth. Continue to whisk as you start drizzling in the olive oil, and don’t stop whisking the dressing until it is perfectly smooth.
  3. Toss the potatoes with the dressing and add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the optional toppings, or leave them on the side for everyone to garnish their own potato salad. Eat immediately, or refrigerate until you are ready to serve!
  4. Enjoy!

The easiest mashed sweet potato dinner (or breakfast)

Mashed sweet potato, bacon, egg

These days, my dinner prep sounds something like this:

What can I make that’s super easy, takes as little time as possible, uses up whatever random ingredients I have laying around, and is hopefully a bit healthy?

Also, I would like to please not turn on the oven, because it’s summer and already quite warm to begin with.

Most days that either ends up being a sandwich, rice + some protein from the freezer + whatever veggies we have… or cereal.

Which brings me to last night’s dinner. So easy and satisfying, I just had to tell you about it, crappy iPhone photo and lack of a proper recipe be damned.

Just a few ingredients, super easy to make, and although the bacon takes a while to bake, it still counts as quick because I didn’t have to babysit it the entire time. Also, because bacon. Worth it.


Bacon. Preheat the oven (or, in my case, toaster oven) to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with a couple of layers of aluminum foil, to make clean-up easy. Lay out the bacon strips so they’re not overlapping, cover loosely with another piece of foil (optional, but it helps prevent splatters), and bake for 30-40 min, flipping the bacon after 20 minutes. Check it at the 10- and 30-minute marks, to make sure it doesn’t burn. (It took me 40 minutes, but I was using a toaster oven, with convection heating, and had it covered in foil, so YMMV.)

Sweet potatoes. Wash, prick with a fork, microwave on high for 5-10 minutes. Let cool a bit, then scoop out flesh into a bowl and mash with a glug of heavy cream (that you just happened to have in your fridge because your mom had it leftover from making ice cream. the usual.). You could also mash it with butter or olive oil, either would work just as well.

Egg. Fry it in sesame oil (or butter or bacon fat or olive oil or…), over medium heat.

Put it all together, season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, (add your preferred hot sauce, if you’re like Son), and enjoy!


Easy-peasy. And delicious!

Blueberry Strawberry Crumble Bars

Happy Independence Day!

Ever since making these strawberry rhubarb crumble bars, they’ve become a family favorite and I’ve found they’re very adaptable.

Blueberry Strawberry Crumble Bars

Since we have a vegan family member these days, I’ve also tried making these with coconut oil instead of the butter so she could have some too.

Best. decision. ever.

Son and I actually ended up liking the coconut oil version even better! Both versions are delicious, and it’s a super easy substitution to make.

Since these bars are so easy to make, it was a simple decision to make them for our 4th of July celebration! Instead of rhubarb, I used frozen blueberries and strawberries for a red, white, and blue theme.

They’re so easy to make, and so delicious, that if you’re like me and always have frozen fruit on hand, then you have absolutely no excuse not to make them!

Blueberry Strawberry Crumble Bars

Vegan Blueberry Strawberry Crumble Bars, adapted from Smitten Kitchen.


  • 2 cups (160g) rolled oats
  • 1.5 cups (190g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (190g) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 12 tbsp coconut oil, melted (or butter, if not vegan)
  • 1.5 tsp cornstarch
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1.5 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1.5 cups frozen blueberries, thawed and drained
  • 1.5 cups frozen strawberries, thawed and drained

Cooking Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Line an 8×8″ square baking pan with parchment paper, so they’ll be easy to remove.
  2. Mix oats, flour, brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add melted butter, and stir until medium-sized clumps form. (Mine ranged from pea-sized to grape-sized, and that worked wonderfully.) Press half of the crumble mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan.
  3. Spread the blueberries evenly over the crust. Sprinkle with half of the the cornstarch, lemon juice, and granulated sugar.
  4. Spread a thin layer of the oat mixture over the blueberries.
  5. Spread the strawberries evenly over the crust. Sprinkle with the remaining half of the the cornstarch, lemon juice, and granulated sugar.
  6. Spread the remaining crumble evenly over the fruit, and bake bars for 30-40 minutes, until the fruit is bubbly and the crumble is golden and smells delicious.
  7. Let cool in pan; Deb recommends doing this in the fridge, so they’ll become crisp once chilled, and that worked out great for me. Cut into squares to serve. Store leftovers in fridge.
  8. Enjoy!