sugared cranberry cheesecake



only TWO more sleeps.

i am going to keep this one short because the house is full of family & there is no time to be spent on the computer! we have so many christmas movies to catch up on as we rock the matching santa pajama bottoms. now as you know, every single year i make a cheesecake for christmas day. it is an annual thing because it is not often that a celebration calls for a fancy ass cheesecake! three years ago i made a red velvet cheesecake, two years ago i made an apple pie cheesecake, last year i made this salted caramel cheesecake & this year THIS sugared cranberry cheesecake! something about sugared cranberries just look so pretty & festive. now i am already thinking about next year's... gingerbread, egg nog, chai?!?! can it be christmas every month?

hope everyone has an amazing weekend & gets spoiled by santa! xo


for the sugared cranberries

  • 1/2 cup + 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries (not frozen)

for the graham crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 pinch of salt

for the filling

  • 4 packages of full fat plain cream cheese (8 oz each)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg


for the sugared cranberries

  • in a sauce pot add the 1/2 cup sugar & water. heat until the sugar dissolves.
  • stir in the cranberries, toss to coat & remove from heat.
  • strain & toss in the remaining white sugar.
  • set aside until you are ready to decorate the cheesecake.

for the graham cracker crust

  • in a large mixing bowl toss graham cracker crumbs, sugar, butter & salt.
  • firmly press into a 9-inch spring form pan with a 1-inch crust.
  • set aside while you prepare the filling.

for the filling

  • preheat oven to 475 degrees. in a mixer with the paddle attachment beat sugar, cream cheese & flour.
  • add the eggs/egg yolks one at a time. scrape the bowl after every addition to ensure no clumps!
  • once mixture is silky smooth add the vanilla, cinnamon & nutmeg. pour into the crust lined spring form pan.
  • bake at 475 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the top puffs. if the top begins to brown too quickly, lower the temperature.
  • once the top has puffed, lower the temperature to 250 degrees & bake for an additional 45 minutes or until the cake appears firm. turn off the oven & let the cake sit for 15 minutes. remove from oven & let cool to room temperature before refrigerating over night.
  • top with sugared cranberries.

artichoke + spinach dip


who doesn't love a classic artichoke & spinach dip!?! i am partnering with vitamix today to share the ultimate holiday starter. i thought something warmy & cheesy would make for the perfect dish to serve at any gathering! this one earns bonus points because you can prepare it in advance & bake it when you are ready to serve. anything that involves minimal prep the day of christmas dinner earns a gold star in my books! the presentation of this dip looks so inviting & rustic when served in a cast iron pot. the little twist i did from the classic version was use an aged cheddar cheese over parmesan. i love the flavour it adds & the gooey melt factor. while i served mine with freshly toasted baguette slices, you can serve it with just about anything you like! tortilla chips, pita, nann bread & so on.

NOW..i have made two versions of this in my vitamix, a hot dip (which you see here) & a cold dip (which turns out a vibrant green colour). while the hot dip is much more indulgent, the cold dip is perfect for serving along side raw vegetables. it involves the exact same ingredients below but everything gets pureed in the vitamix & served as is. no heating involved! because of the green colour the spinach turns it, we call this one the grinch's dip:) as for the hot one, everything but the spinach, artichoke hearts & cheese gets pureed in the blender. then i fold those ingredients into the mix to add texture & depth to the final dish.

now let's get blending!!!


  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup spinach, freshly steamed, strained & roughly chopped
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, strained & roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated old cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
  • 1 baguette, thinly sliced & toasted


  • preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • place the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, shallots, garlic, salt & pepper into the vitamix. pulse until ingredients are well blended.
  • pour into a mixing bowl. fold in the strained spinach, artichokes & cheddar cheese.
  • transfer to an oven safe skillet or baking dish & top with additional cheddar cheese.
  • bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted & browned (broil for a minute or two to crisp the cheese).
  • serve immediately with toasted baguette or warm pita.

bold & blue cheeseboard ft. castello giveaway


happy december!!! i cannot believe how fast this year has flown by, but 2016 has turned out to be quite the year. christmas will be here in the blink of an eye & i still haven't finished my decorating or christmas shopping. almost done though, almost. we put a freshly cut tree up this weekend & decorated it with all these woodsy creatures. i think christmas shopping has been the most time consuming part this year. i seem to find nothing i want when i shop for myself & everything i want when i should be shopping for others. anyone else have that problem?! the one of a kind show i went to in toronto had the most beautiful things though a little over budget;)

as christmas rapidly approaches us, i promised you one more cheeseboard with the help of my friends at Castello®. a bold & blue cheeseboard with italian meats. now this is the cheeseboard my family puts together at every single gathering. since both my mom & dad are italian, we can't go anywhere without including prosciutto, capicola & salami. oh & those olives, i can't forget about the olives. these meats pair perfectly with strong cheeses, roasted or pickled veggies & some crackers or fresh italian bread. it is pretty much a deconstructed italian sandwich on a big beautiful platter. the three Castello® cheeses i used are the traditional danish blue (i always include a type of blue cheese on my cheeseboards, be it sweet or savoury), aged havarti (currently available at sobeys) & tickler extra mature cheddar. the cheddar and aged havarti can be found in the deli section of your grocery store & you can ask for a piece to be the exact size you want. tickler extra mature cheddar has a sweet + tangy flavour & has been aged for up to18 months. this wonderful variety of cheeses and meats is a savoury centrepiece for any holiday gathering.

p.s. in case you missed last months cheeseboard feature, i made a sweet & simple board that featured creamy Castello® cheeses, candied nuts & fresh + dried fruits. you can check it out here!

p.p.s i am giving away $25 of CASTELLO® CHEESE & this gorgeous raw edge wooden cheeseboard (!!!!) so you can make your own this holiday season. to enter just leave a comment below of what your favourite holiday cheese is. winner will be picked next week!



  • place the blue cheese, aged havarti & tickler extra mature cheddar on desired serving board.
  • line with prosciutto, spicy capicola & salami. decorate with olives, red peppers, grapes & herbs.
  • serve with crackers & sliced bread.

note: i usually put the different olives & red peppers in little pinch bowls & refill if necessary.

this post was created in partnership with Castello cheese! thank you for supporting the brands that keep me doing what i love. don't forget to enter the giveaway below for a chance to win $25 of Castello cheese & the featured raw edge wood board to create your own cheeseboard:) xo