Matcha Mini Cheesecakes

Last Friday, price Anthony, search Kennedy, Maya, Quinn and I loaded up the car and drove to Bentonville for the day. I had wanted to take the kids to the Scott Family Amazeum since it opened, and we finally got a free day to go. Our 12-year-old Madison was at church camp, so unfortunately she missed out this time.

amazeumAmazeum lives up to it’s name! We all had such a great time. Even though it’s geared toward kids ages 4 though 9, it has two play areas for toddlers, as well as managed to peak the imagination of our teenager. Anthony and I enjoyed watching our daughters have so much fun.

We had lunch at Crepes Paulette, a food truck in downtown Bentonville — not too far away from the Amazeum. There was a long line, but the wait was worth it. Maya got a strawberry and Nutella crepe.

Crepes PauletteAfter lunch, we went back to the Amazeum. We had 2:15 passes to the Hershey Lab. I thought we would get to play with chocolate (as in EAT chocolate) in the Hershey Lab, but instead it was an experiment about weights of items. This was my only disappointment of the day because I WANTED CHOCOLATE of course.

After we left the Amazeum, we drove back to downtown Bentonville and parked near the square. We walked to the Walmart Museum and did a quick tour through there, then walked over to Onyx Coffee Lab for a pick up me before the drive home.

It was an awesome day. We definitely want to spend more time in Bentonville — and spend the night next time; maybe even a whole weekend. There is so much to do in this bustling, little town.

Maya and Quinn conked out on the drive home. I call that a sign of a good day. asleep in the car

Please share your favorite family town to visit in Arkansas. I want to do more of these family roadtrips and welcome your suggestions.

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Tea GiftsIt is no secret that matcha is swiftly being recognized as a wonder tea from East to West. Much of this has to do with how much of the benefits of green tea are multiplied by the total immersion of stone ground green tea leaves.matcha

These little matcha cheesecakes are a great addition to any afternoon tea time or party. We’ve added the element of sesame seeds to compliment the elegance of matcha. (For more on Matcha, check out our Introduction.)

Matcha Mini Cheesecakes

You may choose to make the crust a day ahead, to save on waiting on time. We used our Grade A Matcha for this recipe, but it would be very nice with our Ginger Matcha.


  • 1 cup of cookie or graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted. (Keep a bit extra at room temperature for greasing the pans.)
  • 3 Tablespoons raw cane sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon fine grain salt
  • 3 Tablespoons black sesame seeds, toasted.


  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¾ cup raw cane sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ? cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 Tablespoons matcha powder
  • ¼ cup ground black or white sesame, powder, for dusting


Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease four 4” springform pans. Wrap the entire exterior of the pans in tin foil.

Grind your cookie crumbs in a food processor until they resemble a fine powder. Add butter, sugar and salt. Pulse until combined evenly. Transfer to a bowl and add sesame seeds. Mix until evenly combined.

Divide the raw crust evenly between your prepared pans. Press down on the top of each crust with the backside of a measuring cup for an even layer. Place pans on a baking sheet. Bake 15-18 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and firm to touch. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

In an electric mixer, with paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium high, until light and fluffy. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and incrementally add in the dry mixture. Mix until smooth.

Add sour cream, vanilla and almond extracts. Mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time. Mix until just combined – do not overbeat.

Add the matcha powder to bowl. Stir gently to combine. Divide the cream cheese filling between the four pans. Set the well sealed pans in a shallow roasting pan. Carefully fill the roasting pan with boiling water, so that it reaches halfway up the springform pans.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. The cakes should be set, with a slight wobble in the center. Turn off your oven and leave the door slightly ajar, with the cakes still inside. Let sit for 45 minutes. Carefully remove cakes to a wire rack. Let cakes cool completely.

Refrigerate uncovered overnight, or at minimum 4 hours in their springform.

Release the cakes from the springform. Dust with sesame or matcha powder before serving.

Tea Gifts

Hummus-Crusted Chicken: #HummusMadeEasy

This post is sponsored by Arkansas Women Bloggers to promote Bush’s Hummus Made Easy. I received free product to sample for this review and am being compensated for my time. However, phthisiatrician all photos and ideas on this blog are my own.Hummus Made Easy

I am on a hummus kick this month, and it’s all thanks to Bush’s Hummus Made Easy. I love this stuff! And it’s a breeze to whip up in a blender, food processor, or with an immersion blender.

Last night I made Hummus-Crusted Chicken using the Black Beans Hummus flavor and the Classic Hummus flavor Hummus Made Easy. I also included some veggies I had on hand: carrots and a zucchini.

First I prepared the hummus according to the package instructions. Next I pounded out four chicken breasts to an even thickness and sliced up my veggies into spears.hummus  & veggies

I placed the carrot and zucchini spears in a 9×13 baking dish and drizzled olive oil over it, then salt & pepper, then tossed to combine. Next I spread hummus on both sides of the chicken breasts — two with the Black Bean Hummus and two with the Classic Hummus — and placed the chicken over the vegetables. hummus-crusted chickenFinally I sprinkled seasoned Panko bread crumbs over the top and added a little extra spice (because we like spicy at the Valley house).

I baked the dish at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes until chicken was done throughout. Hummus-crusted chickenIt was so delicious. The hummus from the bottom of the chicken breasts made a rich sauce for the vegetables, and the hummus and Panko on the top made a crunchy-gooey topping for the tender chicken. It was a hit with all the Valleys.

You can find Bush’s Hummus Made Easy at Walmart on the canned beans aisle. Hummus Made Easy

You should also check out my Zucchini Hummus Wraps that I made last week using Hummus Made Easy. This recipe is so good that I made it THREE TIMES last week.

Zucchini Hummus Wraps: #HummusMadeEasy

This post is sponsored by Arkansas Women Bloggers to promote Bush’s Hummus Made Easy. I received free product to sample for this review and am being compensated for my time. However, this all photos and ideas on this blog are my own.Hummus Made Easy

Hello May! It’s a busy month ahead with Kennedy’s high school graduation, summer plans to make for the kiddos, and several birthdays (including my own!). And with the warmer weather, I am in need of some fresh menu ideas for my family. My go-to soups and slower cooker dishes are too heavy for the hot Arkansas summer, so this month I’m going to try out some all-new-to-me recipes. Hopefully you will like them too.

Hummus Made EasyMy first recipe to share is Zucchini Hummus Wraps. I made the wraps for the first time today, and it was so fresh and delicious. The basis of this recipe is Bush’s Classic Hummus Made Easy and a can of Bush’s Garbanzo Beans. To make the hummus, you just rinse and drain the garbanzo beans and combine with the packet of Hummus Made Easy. You can do this in a blender, a food processor, or using an immersion blender like I did today.Hummus Made Easy

Zucchini Hummus Wraps (makes 2)

  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 2 slices cheese (your choice)
  • 2 large tortillas (flour or gluten-free, your choice)
  • 4 tablespoons Bush’s Hummus Made Easy
  1. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat.
  2. Remove the ends from the zucchini and Hummus Made Easyslice length wise into strips. Toss sliced zucchini in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Place sliced zucchini in hot skillet and let cook for 3 minutes, turn and cook for 2 more minutes.
  4. Set zucchini aside.Hummus Made Easy
  5. Place the tortillas one at a time in the hot skillet for approximately one minute, or just until a little crispy.
  6. Remove tortillas from skillet and assemble wraps: 2 tablespoons of hummus, one slice of cheese, zucchini slices, ½ cup baby spinach.
  7. Wrap tightly and enjoy immediately.

Recipe adapted from Maebells blog.

Hummus Made Easy

I even impressed myself with this recipe! I can’t wait to see what other recipes I can make using this yummy hummus.

You can find this Bush’s Hummus Made Easy at Walmart on the canned beans aisle. Hummus Made EasyBush’s Classic Hummus Made Easy (the one I used for this recipe) is a perfect blend of olive oil, tahini, garlic, and lemon juice. There are two other flavors available: Bush’s Southwest Black Bean Hummus Made Easy and Bush’s Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Made Easy. I can’t wait to try them all!

Check out for more information and up-to-date recipe inspirations. And stay tuned to my blog and social media this month for more recipes from me.

Come on, May! I’m ready for you.

New Favorite Recipes: Paleo Cooking

I’m not 100% paleo — yet. But I really do feel better eating this way, buy cialis and I have found a number of delicious recipes that I can make on the regular and not get bored. Here are a few of my favorites lately (mostly from Melissa Joulwan from the Well Fed cookbooks):

Gingered Zucchini Soup

Meatballs — Cuban and Bacon-Jalapeno Burgercuban meatballs and pan-fried plantainsPan-Fried Plantains

Loaded Tuna Salad Mason Jars

Red Curry with chicken and carrots (or whatever I have on hand)curryBrussels Sprout HashBrussels Sprout Hash

For snacks, shop sliced carrots with guacamole is my go-to the past few weeks. I found little individual containers of guacamole at Sam’s that are perfect to take to work with my baggie of sliced carrots. I have also discovered that I like sliced whole carrots better than baby carrots. I find them sweeter and more flavorful. Other items I like to keep on hand are eggs, sweet potatoes, avocados and apples.

Here is a link to my Pinterest board where I park many of the gluten-free and paleo recipes that I find.

I still totally fail on occasion — like yesterday when I made a BREAD pudding. But hey, my family was happy.

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Noodleless Lasagna

photo 1(61)Lasagna is fun to make — and you can create so many different versions depending on what you have on hand. Today I made one without noodles using thin slices of zucchini and squash instead. photo 2(59)Ingredients I used:
2 yellow squash
1 zucchini
baby spinach
15oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
big handful of shredded mozzarella (the more the merrier!)
smoked turkey sausage, nurse sliced
jar of Newman’s Own spaghetti sauce
salt, viagra 60mg pepper, look parsley flakes

Slice the squash and zucchini as thin as you can. Don’t worry about slicing perfectly — it’ll be covered in ooey-gooie cheese!

Mix the ricotta, mozzarella, egg and seasonings in a bowl with a fork. photo 3(48)Now the fun starts — layer it however you want alternating sauce, veggies, meat, cheese, REPEAT. Top with extra mozzarella on top. photo 3(49)

photo 2(60)

photo 1(62)Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 45 minutes or until bubbly hot.

You can use whatever ingredients you want. Have fun with it!photo(64)
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Cranberry Pie

photo(60)My go-to cookbook is still the 1980 El Dorado Service League cookbook called In Good Taste — especially for pies. The Mystery Pecan Pie is a spectacular layering of cheesecake and pecan pie. Grandma’s Light Chocolate Pie will make you slap somebody it’s so good. And the Cranberry Pie is easy, pill beautiful and delicious. So when my sister-in-law, Ines McBryde, asked me to make a dessert for her women’s ministry thank you dinner, I immediately went to In Good Taste.

I decided to bake the Cranberry Pie since its festive red, and I can easily make two at the same time.


2 c. cranberries (fresh is best) photo 1(56)
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. nuts (I used pecans)
1 stick butter
1/4 c. oil (I used coconut because that’s what I had on hand)
2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour

Grease pie plate and spread cranberries over bottom. Sprinkle 1 cup sugar and nuts over 2(55)

Beat butter, oil and eggs. Add sifted flour and sugar. Beat well and pour over cranberries, sugar and nuts. photo 3(45)

Bake 1 hour at 300 to 325. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream on top.

You’re welcome. photo 5(21)

Chicken with Mushrooms & Mashed Potatoes

I love Hello Fresh! They deliver a box of fresh ingredients for three recipes to my door on Wednesdays, thumb and then I get do the fun part — COOK!

Tonight’s recipe is sautéed chicken with mushrooms and mashed potatoes.

Ingredients (2 generous servings)photo 1(55)
2 chicken breasts
8 oz. button mushrooms
1 bunch parsley
1 sprig thyme1 lemon
1 T. flour
12 oz. Yukon potatoes
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 T. olive oil*
2 T. butter*

* not included in Hello Fresh package

Peel and cut the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Quarter the mushrooms. Strip the thyme leaves off the sprig. Finely chop the parsley. Halve the chicken breasts lengthwise. Halve the lemon.

photo 2(54)Place the potatoes in a pot with water and a large pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15-20 minutes, until easily pierced with a knife. Drain and return to the pot. Mash with a fork with a tablespoon of butter and a couple of tablespoons of milk (or water).

photo 3(44)While the potatoes are boiling, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Season each chicken cutlet with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with flour. Sear for about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Set aside.

photo 4(35)In the same pan over medium heat, cook the mushrooms with thyme and the remaining tablespoon butter. Cook for about 6 minutes, or until golden brown. Add 1/2 cup chicken stock. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until the liquid has reduced and thickened slightly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

photo 5(20)Return the chicken to the pan and toss to coat with the sauce. Finish the sauce with a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.

Finish: Serve the mashed potatoes with the chicken cutlets and spoon the mushroom sauce on top. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

photo(59)You can order your own Hello Fresh box using this link:


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Cajun’s Christmas Camp

I was recently invited to Cajun’s Christmas Camp at Cajun’s Wharf in Little Rock as part of an Arkansas Women Bloggers promotion. Although I was compensated with food, pathopsychology wine and booze, all opinions here are my own.

2014-11-08 12.54.05-2Jodi Coffee and me (after a glass or two of wine)

2014-11-08 13.29.31-2
Sarabeth Jones photographing the Oysters Bienville

Cajun’s has long been the BEST RIVER VIEW SPOT for cocktails in Little Rock. In fact, 150 years ago when I turned 21 years old, this is where my friend Janet took me to celebrate. But there is much more to Cajun’s than drinks (Play De Do!), bands, and bar food. The seafood in the dining room is outstanding. Their wine list is extensive. And now they are open weekdays for lunch (M-F, 11-2).

2014-11-08 13.12.54-2

2014-11-08 12.49.15-1Dan, our wine tour guide

I can highly recommend the Oysters Bienville, the Crab Au Gratin, and the Kung Fu Girl Riesling (see cool bottle above). Seriously, I could have just stopped there, but then my panini came out, then the dessert platter. Oh my. Don’t go here if you’re on a diet. Trust me. 2014-11-08 14.07.15-2We were given a holiday cooking demonstration by Chef Mary Beth Ringgold. Not only did she cook up some awesome mussels and clams in a tomato broth, she shared secrets to the perfect Thanksgiving turkey.

2014-11-08 15.03.05-2Then we had a whiskey tasting. Mine was more of a whiskey smelling, since straight whiskey isn’t my thing.

2014-11-08 15.33.20-2Next was mini pizzas and holiday cocktails. Really!?! 2014-11-08 16.15.09-2Here’s the recipe for the Holly-De-HoHo (pomegranate sangria) pictured above:
One bottle of red wine
2 cups pomegranate juice
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup triple sec
1/4 cup simple syrup
Garnish with pomegranate seeds, green apple, grapes

So please give Cajun’s a try if you’ve never been or haven’t been in a while. You won’t be disappointed. And check them out for lunch sometime soon. If you go this Wednesday, you just might see me there. Please stop and say hello!

2014-11-08 12.59.47Angie Albright and Kyran Pittman enjoying Oysters Bienville

Roasted Pork with Balsamic Fig Sauce

I recently re-subscribed to Hello Fresh, visit a meal delivery service. (If you join, anesthetist please use my referral code: JAWS3N.)

Each week, stuff I get a box of fresh ingredients for three meals. The first meal I made this week was Steak Tagliata with roasted potatoes and tomatoes. Delicious! SteakTagliataFriday night, I made the Chicken Tortilla Soup. Also a winner! TortillasoupThen last night, I made the Roasted Pork with Balsamic Fig Sauce. OMG! I’ve never cooked with figs before, but I certainly will start now. This recipe was amazing! Screen shot 2014-10-05 at 6.37.02 PMThe recipes that come with Hello Fresh are super easy to follow and have photos with the instructions. The only additional ingredients that I needed were a tablespoon of butter and two tablespoons of olive oil.

The recipe said this was a 2-person serving, but I split it up into four smaller servings for me, my husband, and two of our daughters. (Our oldest was at a band competition, so she missed out.)

I think the presentation was lovely too. photo(53)Screen shot 2014-10-05 at 6.51.51 PM

Screen shot 2014-10-05 at 6.52.15 PM

Screen shot 2014-10-05 at 6.52.26 PM
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Pesto Pinwheels

photo 3(30)Homemade pesto is so yummy! When I got a bunch of fresh basil in my CSA box on Friday, viagra order I knew that I was gonna make a batch of pesto this weekend. Then I came across a recipe for Cheese Pinwheels and decided to alter the recipe a bit to include some of the pesto.

Vitamix Pesto Recipe

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, decease peeled
  • 2 cups (80 g) fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tablespoons (25 g) pine nuts
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Place all ingredients, except salt and pepper, into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 7.
  4. Blend for 1 minute, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.

Stacey’s Pesto Pinwheels

Ingr?di?nts: photo 2(41)

  • 1/2 ?up shr?dd?d mozz?r?ll? ?h??s?
  • 1/4 ?up shr?dd?d p?pp?r j??k ?h??s?
  • 2 t?bl?spoons ?r??m ?h??s?, soft?n?d
  • 1 t?bl?spoon m?yonn?is?
  • 1 ??n Pillsbury ?r?s??nt rolls
  • 1/2 cup pesto


1. H??t ov?n to 375 d?gr??s F.
2. In sm?ll bowl, mix ?ll ?h??s?s ?nd m?yonn?is? until w?ll bl?nd?d ?nd soft.
3. Roll dough into long r??t?ngl?. Spr??d ?h??s? mixtur? ?v?nly ov?r dough alternately with the pesto.
4. St?rting ?t short?r sid?, roll up into ? ?ylind?r.
5. Cut into 16 sli??s. Pl???, ?ut sid? down, on ?ooki? sh??t.
6. B?k? 12-15 minut?s or until gold?n brown.

Then eat and enjoy!

photo 1(42)