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Niki’s Italian Cheesecake Recipe

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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 November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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