The Weekender: Another Jersey Journey, a Review, & a Teaser

On Friday, your good old Smart Cookie here packed her bags and trekked off to Jersey to visit her sister & eat some good food. And by “trekked” I mean I sat in hours of construction-related traffic that turned a would-be 4-hour drive into 6 hours. Regardless of that snafu, I love road trips. They provide opportunities to experience eats you can’t normally enjoy. I’m diving into all kinds of delicious endeavors, one of which includs a visit to my favorite chain restaurant last night: The Cheesecake Factory.

I’ve been obsessed with the place ever since I went there for the first time last year. Of course, I don’t have any CF’s remotely near me because I live in CNY, a place devoid of all things delicious (e.g. Olive Garden, Dairy Queen, Sonic, etc.). Therefore, I’m grateful for an opportunity to chow down at Cheesecake Factory this weekend. It’s a bit ironic that I love CF so much because, well, I hate cheesecake. Go ahead and gasp. It all boils down to my undiluted loathing of cream cheese. Go ahead and gasp again. I recognize how incredibly abnormal I am for hating cream cheese, but I just can’t stand the stuff. It doesn’t matter what it’s in; I can taste it, and I won’t eat it. Just let me be weird, okay?

As much as I’d love to share my CF experience in photos with you, that would be just about impossible because the place was lit like a prehistoric cave. I will however, divulge all my other Jersey eats in the coming week. Until then, you can enjoy the amazing recipes I dished out this past week. We had a good line-up here at Smart Cookie: 30 minute meals, cupcakes, healthy side dishes, and more. In case you missed a single savory bite…

Let’s review, shall we?

  1. Mexican Sweet Potato & Bean Skillet w/ White Cheddar Queso
    Tender beans & sweet potatoes in a zesty taco seasoning, served with crunchy Homemade Tortilla Chips & White Cheddar Queso.
  2. Chocolate Biscoff Pretzel Cups
    Like peanut butter cups, only better.
  3. Garlicky Roasted Zucchini, Broccoli, & Tomatoes w/ Ricotta
    A welcomed change from the typical frozen veggies with dinner.
  4. Cheddar Quinoa Veggie Burgers
    A delicious way to lose your veggie burger virginity.
  5. Dulce de Leche-Filled Cupcakes w/ your choice of Fudge Frosting or Dulce de Leche Buttercream
    Declared “the best cucpakes ever” by my boss.

If you’re apprehensive about making those filled cupcakes, let me share a little secret with you: it’s super easy. And if you don’t believe me, check it out in my quick how-to video below:

So what have you got to look forward to next week? For one, I’ll be dishing out all the delectable details on my trip to New Jersey. I’ve got a restaurant review, plus I’ll be taking you to a super cool candy shop & an old favorite ice cream stand.

Then of course we’ll have tons of delicious recipes, one of which will include a very interesting twist on mac & cheese.

Can you guess what the secret ingredient is?

I’m off to go continue my out-of-state gluttony. It doesn’t count if you’re on a “vacation,” right?

See you on Monday!

Posted in The Smart Cookie Cook and tagged , , , .

Colleen Bierstine


  1. I laughed about the Cheesecake Factory because I am the same way…I love the restaurant but hate cheesecake. Good thing they have that massive brownie sundae and chocolate cake.

  2. I’m sorry but…what? Huh? You don’t like cheesecake? I didn’t think that was humanly possible. Small woodland creatures like cheesecake, for heaven’s sake! Before I de-friend you, have you tried ricotta cheesecake since this seems to be a cream cheese problem (which is also abnormal…)? :)

Comments are closed.