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Niki’s Italian Cheesecake Recipe

Niki’s Italian Cheesecake Recipe

Every time the weather begins to cool the slightest bit, I find that perfect reason to make my family famous Italian cheesecake. This cake is fluffy yet creamy, light yet rich, and so delicious! There is definitely a secret to this recipe… and I’m about to tell you!

Cheesecake filling:

  • 2 lbs ricotta cheese ( room temperature)
  • 2 packages cream cheese (8 oz. each at room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice and a couple shreds of lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 pt. sour cream

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 2 packages graham crackers — flavored or plain (the cinnamon sugar are good for this recipe)
  • 1 stick butter (room temperature)

Steps:

First, start with the crust. Completely crush the graham crackers in a bag or in a food processor. Transfer into a bowl and add the stick of butter, blending completely with a rubber spatula or your hands, then pour and press the mixture into two 10-inch buttered springform pans. You can press the crust either just on the bottom for a thicker crust or spread up the sides (whatever suits your tastes!). Set this aside while you make the filling.

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For the filling, blend the ricotta and cream cheese well and then blend in the sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla, lemon juice, cornstarch, flour, and butter. Fold in the sour cream and blend until completely smooth with no lumps or chunks of any kind.

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Pour the cheesecake filling evenly into the cake pans. Alternatively, you can also use the pre-made graham cracker crusts from the grocery store.

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Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees. Bake for 1 hour. Do not open oven door. I repeat: Do not open the over door. You’re just gonna have to peek through the glass. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake for another 2 hours without opening the oven (no peeking!). Take it out and let it cool in the refrigerator. You can leave it plain or add your favorite cheesecake toppings — blueberry and cherry are good options!

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Last Updated on January 11, 2021

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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2. Stress Relief

Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

3. Improved Sleep

Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

4. Appetite Control

Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

7. Mosquito Repellant

Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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8. Pain Relief

While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

9. The New Anti-Viral

Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

10. Improved Cognitive Function

Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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11. Money Saving

With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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