Cheesecake (The Best 5 Ingredient Dessert)

I am still using the same recipe I first learned in FACS class in high school. Thanks Mrs. Carr! I’ve refined my method and made some fun variations over the years (16!). Homemade cheesecake has great wow factor no matter how simple it is. If you make a cheesecake like one of these and bring it to any event, you will be asked, “Did you make this?” And, “It’s the kind of cheesecake you bake?!”

Yep. And soooo much tastier than any no-bake cheesecake.

The five ingredients…

1. Graham pie crust… I most often buy my crust. This one will be a chocolate and vanilla swirl cheesecake and I had a coupon for Keebler, so I opted for the chocolate graham crust.

2. Eggs

3. Sugar

4. Cream cheese

5. Vanilla

That’s it.


Chocolate cheesecake… Add 1/4 c cocoa powder AND 3 oz melted chocolate (semi sweet chips or Dark or bakers depending on your own taste and what you have)

Key lime… Add 1/3 c lime juice and grated lime zest if you have some (preferably Nellie and Joe’s key lime juice, and preferably eat it with the ocean in sight… ahhh)

Peanut butter… Add 1/2 c creamy peanut butter or to taste.

Back to it…


Cream 2 8 oz packages of cream cheese (softened… like on the counter for hours softened) and 1/2 cup of sugar until well blended, scraping the bowl if necessary (it’s always necessary).

Add 2 eggs one at a time and blend until smooth, scraping the bowl if necessary (always scrape the bowl!)

Add 1 tsp of vanilla and blend.

Voila… vanilla cheesecake/base for all my cheesecakes

Add any variation ingredients or keep it vanilla, pour into graham crust. Place on a half sheet pan and put into preheated 350 degree oven.

Pour warm water in sheet pan for a water bath. (Helps the cheesecake bake evenly)

Bake for 45 minutes then check every 5 minutes. Try not to open the oven during the baking time. You want the top completely set but without brown spots or cracking. (Though when this happens it still tastes very good.) It may jiggle a little.

When done, cool cheesecake completely on a wire rack, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

Cut in 8 slices and serve.

The one I made today was a vanilla and chocolate swirl. I eyeballed 1/2 vanilla cheesecake and put it in the crust.

Then I added 2 Tablespoons cocoa and 2 oz melted dark chocolate to the mixer.

Then I spooned the chocolate in dollops on the vanilla and swirled with an offset spatula.

Submerge your knife blade in hot water between slices to help make clean cuts.

My swirl method needs work, but I’m not turning down this slice and I bet you wouldn’t either.


Open-toe Ready

Someone I considered very fashionable once said, “Never show your toes without some polish on them.” I have pretty much abided by that ever since (does that make me a slave to fashion?) So, after giving my toes the winter off, it’s time to get them show ready.

My friend Jenny in college French tipped her toes. The first time I watched in awe as she did it in the passenger seat of a moving 15 passenger van. She didn’t even use guides.

I have them, but now I never use them either. It’s not that I’ve gotten any better at it, it’s that your toes are so far from people’s eyes, no one can really tell how wobbly your white tip is up close.

The French tip is great if you want to coordinate your outfit to your polish. White tips go with everything.

I usually do white then the pinkish then clear.


When your polish is wearing and starts to chip, no need to redo it all…

I seriously keep the white in my cosmetic bag, right with my tweezers, for touch ups. Camping, beach vacation, just the daily rush… my tips keep getting a fresh coat until I have the time to do them from scratch.

If you paint them Spring will come?

De-clutter with a Piñata

For the kids’ birthdays we’ve begun having piñatas. If you need a party game and you don’t want to make a bunch of goody bags for favors, this is a great two-birds one-stone.

It’s supposed to be a doughnut and my son’s favorite color is green. This was my first homemade piñata. I’ve always bought them before. I made it following the instructions on this page.

The best part…

I’ve got a use for leftover Halloween candy in December (daughter’s) and Easter candy in April (son’s). Plus, I keep a gallon size bag with the little plastic treat bag junk they get all year in the game closet…

Then, using my favorite jar funnel, I stuff it in the trap door…

Then my husband wraps the broomstick used as a lock on our sliding glass door, puts an eye hook in the beam, strings the piñata and we all back up.