Cheese Cake in a Jar with Fresh Berries and Graham Cookie

It’s patio time! We finally have weather mild enough to go outside with just a sweat shirt on and it encouraged us to do a refreshing dessert this weekend. I present you a dessert that requires NO COOKING,  cheese cake in a jar!

Over the weekend we decided to invite friends over for dinner. Chantal cooked a tasty chicken parmigiana (stay tune for the recipe!) and her and our neighbor friend – which you might remember from the chocolate chip cheese cake – decided we needed a refreshing dessert.

Fresh fruit and cheese blended with graham cookie. Refreshing enough?

And since they were at it, why not impress our friends? Put it in jars!

Each cheese cake in a jar turned out to be so delightful. It was like taking a bit right out of a cloud descended from heaven. It tasted like paradise.

This dessert could be made in a cake form, but it wouldn’t taste as good. Remember, we eat with our eyes first! And putting them in jars was just so impressive that it made the experience totally different.

They made the cheese cake in a jar with raspberries but it could easily be done with strawberries, blueberries or even bananas. Only your imagination limits you.

Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Recipe for cheese cake in a jar, here we come:

Meatloaf in Muffin Tins with BBQ Sauce and Salsa

Meatloaf is amazing, but you know what can make it even more amazing? When it’s made in muffin tins for individual little meatloafs! We present to you the meatloaf in muffin tins with BBQ sauce and salsa.

Making recipes with salsa, or even making some homemade salsa, is fun. It’s good, healthy and full of vegetables!

Disclaimer: This recipe may produce a lot of grease that may or may not fall at the bottom of the oven and smoke your house.

Fun fact: It happened to us!

It felt like walking in the fog for a while but it was worth it. The BBQ sauce and salsa mix was really good and tasty. The baby loved it. He ate a whole meatloaf in muffin tin to himself! Little piggy.

I guess he takes from the dad… since I ate four of them myself. They were that GOOD!

We made 12 meatloaf in muffin tins with this recipe but you can easily double it and freeze some. They make easy and fast lunches or dinners when you want to eat something good but you have limited time.

We know we will do this recipe again when I start working so I can have some amazing lunches that will render my colleagues jealous.

But for now, I’m enjoying my three weeks vacation! HOORAY!

BBQ Teriyaki Chicken Legs

Did we ever tell you we love chicken? Chicken is always tender and so delicious! These BBQ teriyaki chicken legs are no exception.

CHICKEN! ♥♥♥

Bring out your BBQ, because tonight you will be making these BBQ teriyaki chicken legs I guarantee it.

If you have kids, they surely love chicken legs because they are, normally, allowed to eat them with their hands and get messy all over. At least that’s how it works in our home.

Ribs, chicken legs, burger… hands only! The mess is part of the fun and somehow, it adds to the taste.

Somehow, it makes it even better.

I remember when I was young it was the same thing. I was allowed to eat the chicken legs with my fingers, and to be honest it is probably the reason why it took me a very, very long time to appreciate chicken breasts.

I think I was 14 years old when I started to appreciated the fullness of the chicken breast compared to the chicken legs. Before that I hated the fact that I had to use a fork and a knife to cut my chicken.

Such a waste of time.

The teriyaki sauce for this recipe is very sweet and simple to make. Kids loved it and we did as much as them. You are not limited to chicken legs, you can use it on pretty much anything you can think of and it will surely be good.

Let us know in the comments, what you cooked with teriyaki sauce that was amazing? And did you try our BBQ teriyaki chicken legs?

Raspberry Frozen Mini Cakes

Fresh and especially frozen desserts are amazing when the temperature is as hot as it is lately. These raspberry frozen mini cakes arrive just in time!

Sometimes it’s hard to be creative with frozen desserts. Ice cream always comes in mind and not much else.

I’m not saying ice cream is bad. Actually ice cream is awesome! But it can be dull by moments.

We decided to do those mini cakes, cupcakes, frozen muffins, whatever you want to call them, to show the kids how creative you can be with a recipe. They loved them!

We served them as is with a little raspberry puree. You can also serve them inverted with a nice mint leaf for look.

Like I said, the kids loved this dessert. It was refreshing, although they thaw quickly so if it is a warm day, I suggest you take them out of the wrappers quickly as it can get pretty messy, pretty fast.

The taste of the raspberries made the recipe, but personally I’m a sucker for graham cookies.

Am I the only one?

Traffic and Income Report – May 2014

Hello all, Marc here to talk about the blog’s numbers and statistics in this traffic and income report.

This report, which is published every month, will be a round up of what happened both in front of the scene and behind the scene at Smell My Kitchen.

This is also an acknowledgment of our own efforts to see where we stand as blog owners and it gives us the power to appreciate our website’s evolution. Feel free to comment or ask any questions in the comments section.

This is the first traffic and income report for our blog so I am pretty excited. Not much income since the blog is fairly new, but I hope it can still help somebody in the long run. It will help us see the evolution of the blog as well.

Let’s start with some stats about the blog.

1. Blog in numbers

This month saw the creation of 9 blog posts. This is pretty good considering the blog only has 30 posts. That means we almost double the amount of posts compared to the usual ~5 posts per month between January and April.

Looking back and the number, we can safely assume we reached our goal of 2 to 3 posts per week. The reason why it is “2 to 3″ and not “3” is because kids can be unpredictable and sometimes we are not able to take the time to cook, photograph and write three recipes per week.

The recipes for this month were:

We submitted the recipes to FoodGawker and TasteSpotting. Both with the same photo.

All of them were accepted on FoodGawker. Six of them were rejected on TasteSpotting. Erg.

In numbers we are talking:

We are fairly new to the food blog game, but from what I can see, TasteSpotting is more picky than FoodGawker and slower to process submissions.

But what about traffic? The sweet bbq ribs on the grill was accepted on both websites.

Here’s a data sheet of what the traffic looks like, and an added bonus of Fooderific:

The numbers speak for themselves. Does that mean TasteSpotting is not worth it? No, not quite.

TasteSpotting is still a reputable website and a backlink from it is worth its share. I will continue to submit our recipes to it, but I need to figure out what they like.

The pictures were rejected for one reason alone: composition. I don’t know if the pictures were really badly composed in their taste or if the reviewers are lazy and don’t like to give better explanations.

2. Traffic, followers and income

This section is probably the most important of this report. I will talk about traffic, where it came from and how much followers we gained and what I did to gain followers, if I did something.

The website’s traffic looks like this:

Compared to April, we’ve seen an increase of 76.23% over unique visitors and 37.41% more page views. Great!

When it comes to Facebook likes, we’ve seen an increase of 21 likes.

This doesn’t seem like much, and it isn’t, but at least we saw our first likes from outside our own circles of friends. Let’s hope it continues to grow as much as possible in June!

When talking about traffic, I have to talk about our top 10 traffic sources. This is something Google Analytics offers that is quite of interest when it comes to judging where to put your efforts.

As you can see, FoodGawker sent us the most referral followed by direct traffic – that was quite surprising to be honest… we may have skewed the stats with our own visits.

Pinterest takes the third spot and I really wish to invest more time in the wonderful social site that is Pinterest. Things can go viral in just a few clicks and I think it is necessary for Smell My Kitchen to build an audience on there. I need to figure out how to get more followers.

If you are not following our Pinterest board yet, please take two minutes of you time and do it or if you prefer you can follow our profile and all its set of boards!

As for income I will keep it as short as possible since there is not a lot to say.

We made 0.32$ with AdSense. That’s it.

What’s interesting though is that according to my performance report in AdSense, we didn’t have much page views compared to our report in Google Analytics. This tells me A LOT of people are using extensions like AdBlock.

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3. Changes to the Blog

This month I did a few changes to the blog itself. The most mundane one is the fact that I removed the date from the posts’ URLs (ie. http://smellmykitchen.com/recipes/spicy-chili-beans-tomatoes-thai-pepper/ instead of http://smellmykitchen.com/2014/05/spicy-chili-beans-tomatoes-thai-pepper/).

I find it cleaner, easier to know where you are (from a user’s perspective) and I also changed the date within the post to “modified date” instead of “published date”.

The major reason behind this change is because recipes are what we call “evergreen content”. A cheese cake in a jar will still be a cheese cake in a jar 10 years from now.

We are not writing a technology blog. We are talking about food and food isn’t going anywhere soon. Bacon won’t disappear overnight – at least I hope so because I would be sooo depressed! Everyone knows that bacon = life. We can’t say that about the Zune.

The biggest change the website saw this month is the introduction of a new layout, which everyone should now see with the publication of this report.

It may not be new for some of you. Why? Because I did a split test, of course!

Using a WordPress plugin called SES Theme Split Test, I have been able to feed our readers two different themes. SES Theme Split Test sends two different variables to Google Analytics and you are able to track the effect of the new layout on your visitor.

What was of interest to me was the effects on new visitors. I wanted to see which theme made them stick around (average time on site) and which theme made them want to visit more pages on the site (Bounce rate and pages / session).

Here are the results (smellmykitchenlinkcolor is the old theme with brownish colors and smellmykitchennewcolors is the green and purple one):

We can draw two interesting conclusions from those numbers:

  • New users visiting with the new theme stayed on the website for almost three hours longer in total.
  • New users visiting with the new theme visited almost 150 more pages than new users visiting with the old theme.

In my opinion the new theme is better for Smell My Kitchen in term of look and users retention.

If you liked this report shareand comment below.

Every suggestions to make these reports better or our website better will be taken into consideration.

Thanks for reading.

Lasagna Stuffed Peppers

 Did we tell you vegan recipes could become a trend for Smell My Kitchen? Well turns out we decide to create a category called “Vegan / Vegetarian / Gluten-Free” and these lasagna stuffed peppers fit the bill.

We decided to add vegetarian and gluten-free to the category because of this recipe, and because the cheese we used isn’t vegan. We don’t want to mislead anybody!

So Chantal saw a similar idea to this one on Facebook and she decided to create her own twist on it. She was tired of cooking with pasta and needed to do something different.

You know how kids are: we want pasta, more pasta, pasta again, a side of pasta with my pasta, etc.

This recipe is a slightly healthier way to eat your favorite pasta sauce without the pasta, and all of it stuffed into a vegetable.

The lasagna stuffed peppers were a hit. We really enjoyed it and our middle man loves peppers so it was a win win situation in every way.

For the meat lovers : add sausages, take them out of their wrapper, and cook them in your marinara sauce.  You can also replace your marinara sauce by a nice meat sauce or add some bacon with the Romano cheese.

You can create a lot of fun variations with this recipe.

Beer Can Chicken on the Grill

 Today’s recipe is something that looks a bit special: Beer can chicken on the grill. Like… literally sitting on the beer can.

I absolutely love making my chicken this way. It’s easy, moist and tastes amazing every time. The chicken is also very crispy.

Basically what you need to do at first is take a big gulp of a beer can (yay!), about half, and sit the chicken on it. It won’t look elegant, but the result is great.

I enjoy brushing on the BBQ sauce in the last 10 – 5 minutes of cooking- you can use the one from the sweet BBQ ribs or your favorite BBQ sauce –  I find this adds to the overall taste of the chicken and the kids enjoy it a lot better this way.

You know kids: the messier the better.

The key to the perfect BBQ chicken is your heat.  If you are using coals, put the coals all on one side so you have a cool spot underneath the beer can chicken. If you are using propane, lower your heat or put the beer can chicken as far as you can from the flame.

Slow and steady does it!

Beer can chicken can also be done in the oven in the same manner. Roast at 350 F for about 1 hour and 15 minutes to achieve the same as the BBQ.

It takes about 20-30 minutes per pound to cook – or until internal temperature has reached 175-180 F.

We served ours with a side of noodles but this chicken is amazing with some french fries, a salad, couscous or some rice.

Sucre à la crème, also known as fudge

Hello fellow smellers!

…that doesn’t sound good. Let’s try this again…

Hello fellow cookers! Yeah that’s better.

Get ready to satisfy your sweet tooth with some sucre à la crème!

I hope you had a good weekend! Ours was pretty busy, our son Nathaniel just turned 4 years old today, so we had his birthday party yesterday with his friends and family. In the afternoon he went to a place called “Fêtes en Boîtes“, which basically means “Birthday in a Box”.

They organize birthday parties and entertain your kids for a few hours in their store which means no cleaning for you! HOORAY!

Although we did receive the family at our place during the evening so it was still a mess after dinner. Nathaniel received SO MANY Spider-man toys it’s crazy. Fortunately, he loves him.

Well, back to our recipe for today.

Sucre à la crème, also known as fudge, is a traditional Quebec dessert known throughout the world and is fantastic! It’s the best dessert for sugar-lovers. This recipe is from Chantal’s grandmother – a special little secret recipe that she is sharing with us today, this dessert will literally melt in your mouth!

Please take note, it is of utmost importance to use a wooden spoon in the creation of this dessert. It is just not the same without it.

To your sweet tooth! Here comes the sucre à la crème:

Fresh Fruits Coconut Milk Smoothie

Summer and cold drinks go hand in hand together. This fresh fruits coconut milk smoothie is also capable of replacing your lunch when the weather is too hot.

Our first drink on Smell My Kitchen! After our first vegan recipe and our first blog  report, we can safely say that June is full of firsts!

I need to mention this. It’s not always easy to take good pictures even after a few tries: the vegan kabobs picture is an example of that. I was not satisfied at all with the picture but nothing was working.

Well for this fresh fruits coconut milk smoothie is was a bit different. I don’t have one picture that I consider good, nor two, nor three, but FOUR pictures that I like. Amazing. I wish it was always like that.

This is an easy and healthy way to refresh yourself during the warm summer months. If you are like us, meaning part of the few people left without air conditioner, you don’t feel like eating as much when it’s super hot outside.

It is also a bit hard to make the kids eat healthy or eat at all. Making a fresh fruits coconut milk smoothie is an easy way to make sure they eat well and balanced foods.

We try to keep fresh fruits and veggies out on the table all the time but sometimes it’s harder to plainly eat. Drinking on the other hand comes easily and this smoothie in a colourful glass works beautifully for this purpose.

You can replace any ingredients with your favorite fruit: raspberries, mangoes or fresh pineapples, blueberries and add 1/2 a banana to thicken it up. It is extremely versatile and the kids LOVE making them as well.

For adults, you can add a little white rum to your smoothie for that extra “punch”. Let’s call this our secret ingredient.

This said, we will now go enjoy a fresh smoothie on the patio with the kids. Have a great afternoon!

VEGAN BBQ TOFU KABOBS

Grilling season isn’t just about hamburgers , steaks and ribs. It’s also about another delight called shish kabobs. You know those rows of vegetables and meat and tofu on skewers? Take this vegan BBQ tofu kabobs recipe for example.

Yes, it is our first vegan recipe. Will it start a trend on Smell My Kitchen? Welllll it might. We really enjoyed our dinner when we did those tofu kabobs and the healthier we eat, the more vegan recipes we think about that we want to try.

The only thing that makes us reject some ideas is because kids. are. difficult. Surprisingly I think we’ve made enough tofu recipes in the past 5 months to lure them into eating it and, even better, liking it.

Our big guy, pictured over here, is the most difficult of our kids and as you can see he ate everything.

The middle man also loved it. When Chantal told him to eat one last piece of potato, he took a big piece of tofu and said “mom, I’m going to eat this instead ok?!  It’s so good!”. Well for someone who used to eat whole potatoes when he was a baby, he came a long way in his food adventure!

Since you will be doing those vegan BBQ tofu kabobs on the grill, it is easy to burn wooden skewers. A tip to help prevent your wooden skewers from burning is to let them soak in water for about 30 minutes before using them. They will accumulate enough humidity to keep them almost intact, or at least not catch on fire.

This recipe would also be amazing with a nice peanut sauce or a teriyaki sauce. Let the tofu marinate at least 1 hour in the sauce and use the rest of it on the kabobs as they finish cooking.

Here is a quick and easy teriyaki sauce:

2 tablespoons of flour

1 tablespoon of water

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup of soya sauce

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon of ginger

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

(put all ingredients in a shaker or mix with a mixer, then let simmer 5 minutes until sauce thickens)

And here’s the recipe for those perfect vegan BBQ tofu kabobs: