Homemade Pesto

If you’re anything like me, you love Pesto but have always been afraid to make it on your own.
I used store bought for years and finally caved and bought a basil plant a few weeks ago in an attempt to keep it growing and finally make Pesto from scratch.

It is incredibly easy and cheaper than store bought and you can even substitute the pine nuts for chopped walnuts since pine nuts aren’t very easy to find.



  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves (No stems)
  • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts or chopped walnuts
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper


Combine basil leaves, pine nuts or walnuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese in a food processor or food chopper.


Once everything is blended and combined, add salt & pepper to your liking.


Store in jars and seal tight and keep in the fridge if you are storing for later or use as sauce for pastas, flatbreads, pizza, or toss in pasta!

With love,

-R. Vargas

Surprise Carrot Cake

Typical carrot cake recipe but with a surprise center.


  • 1 8-ounce package PHILADELPHIA BRAND Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups of shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup of chopped nuts

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Combine cream cheese, sugar and egg, mixing until well blended. Set aside.
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Preheat the oven to 350°.

Combine dry ingredients.

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Add combined oil and eggs, mixing just until moistened.

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Fold in carrots and nuts.

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Reserve 2 cups of batter; pour remaining batter into greased and floured 9-inch bundt pan.

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Pour cream cheese mixture over batter; carefully spoon reserved batter over cream cheese mixture, spreading to cover.

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Bake at 350°, 55 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan.
Cool thoroughly.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
(12 servings)




-R. Vargas

Philidelphia Brand Cream Cheese Cookbook |