No-bake pumpkin cheesecake in individual cups! They are great to please a crowd and you can prepare them beforehand to chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
When I sat down at the dining table surrounded by family and friends in my new apartment at Domain Northside in Austin, TX, we raised our glasses to toast the special moment. I couldn’t help thinking, what brought us all together?
My memory flashed back to four years ago when I landed in San Francisco, CA on April 15, 2013 with my fiancé Han (now my husband). One month later, we got married in the beautiful San Francisco City Hall.
Fresh off the boat from Shanghai, China as a newlywed, life was full of excitement at the time. Needless to say, I neglected to even think about what was ahead of me.
Soon after the civil ceremony, the reality kicked in. Han went to work during the day, and I was home by myself. Other than keeping the house spotless, there was really not much for me to do. However, staring at walls all day was not going to cut it for me. That’s when I realized it was going to be a heck of a challenge to start a new life from scratch in a foreign country without any international education, work experience, or a network.
While I was waiting for the immigration paperwork to come through so I could be allowed to work legally in the States, I desperately needed something to do. Han and I had a two-hour conversation one day over dinner, which was a three-dollar frozen pizza from Target. The result of that conversation was for me to take all the time I had in the world and start a food blog.
Without knowing half of the produce in Whole Foods Market, I started writing down the names of the ingredients that I had never before seen in my life, Googling them, searching for recipes to cook them, and trying to understand the flavors and what to pair with them. I also spent hours on the phone daily with my mom to learn her recipes and practice cooking in the kitchen over and over again. The first recipe I made for the blog, which I still remember distinctly to this day, was a stupidly simple spinach recipe, but it took me five pounds of spinach to get it right. That’s a lot of spinach.
The truth is that I dived deeply into cooking. Learning it and practicing every day made me forget about all my worries and anxiety regarding my future. It was like a life-saving block of wood appeared right before I drowned. I held on tight and never let go. Quickly, I didn’t feel useless anymore, I didn’t feel lonely anymore, and I didn’t feel that the Pacific Ocean was in the way between my mother and me anymore.
Fast forward to today, even though life had taken me from San Francisco, CA and Jacksonville, FL, and then to Austin, TX, I cook for a change. It’s a change that has presented so many opportunities that I never knew existed. Most importantly, it’s a change that will always bring family and friends together, no matter where I am.
Photo by Kaylin from Enticing Healthy Eating
So in this holiday season, I had the privilege to host a small friendsgiving party at my place. Most of the recipes I cooked for the gathering are already shared on this blog, such as Slow Cooker Beef Burgundy, Garlic Pull-Apart Bread, and Kale Salad with Oregano Lemon Vinaigrette. As for the dessert, I came up with these No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups that brought the entire meal to an ultimately satisfying conclusion.
I used Simply Organic cinnamon and pumpkin spice for the recipe. The individual cheesecake cups turned out amazing. The best part is that you don’t even have to turn on the oven. You can find the recipe below.
Before we wrap up, I wanted to share with you my biggest lesson from self-taught cooking in the past four years. Nothing is impossible, my friend. If I can learn to cook western food, you can learn anything that you put your mind to. Whether it’s learning a new language, learning to play an instrument, or learning to dance, as long as you put in the effort and are persistent, you can do anything.
If you agree with me, I encourage you to take a challenge where you share a photo of your cooking change on social media with a hashtag #CookforAChange. For each hashtag used, Simply Organic will donate one meal to the Ceres Community Project Healing Meals Program, and you get a chance to win two $1,300 gift sets – one for you to keep and one to give to someone who’s inspired a change in your life… Find all the giveaway details here.
Now, I would like to hear from you. How has cooking changed your life, in small and big ways? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your story.Print
No-Bake pumpkin cheesecake in individual cups! They are great to please a crowd and you can prepare them beforehand to chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or 9 whole crackers)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon Simply Organic Cinnamon
- A pinch of salt
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the pumpkin cheesecake cup filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/4 teaspoon Simply Organic Pumpkin Spice
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- If using whole graham crackers, place them in a Ziploc bag and roll with a rolling pin until the crackers turn into crumbs.
- In a large mixing bowl, add graham crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together. Mix well. Stir in melted butter until well combined.
- Line a 12-cup muffin tray with cupcake liners. Add ¼ cup of the crust mixture into each muffin cup. Use the back of a spoon to press the crust mixture tightly to the bottom of the muffin cups. Freeze for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the pumpkin cheesecake filling. In a clean, large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with an electronic hand mixer on medium speed for about 30 seconds until smooth and creamy. Beat in pumpkin and pumpkin spice on slow speed until well combined.
- Wash the mixer and dry completely. In a separate medium bowl, beat heavy whipping cream on high speed for about a minute or until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture with a spoon until just combined. (Do not beat.)
- Take the muffin tray out of the freezer. Spoon ¼ cup cheese mixture into each muffin cup on top of the crust. Use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface of each cheesecake cup. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until the filling is set.
- Before serving, garnish with more cinnamon. Enjoy!
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 278
- Sugar: 12.7g
- Sodium: 174.9mg
- Fat: 22.3g
- Saturated Fat: 12.7g
- Trans Fat: 0.3g
- Carbohydrates: 18.9g
- Fiber: 0.6g
- Protein: 2.6g
- Cholesterol: 68.6mg
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Simply Organic. StreetSmart Kitchen received free products as well as compensation in exchange for writing this post. However, all opinions are mine.