Oh The Things I Do For You

I mean… seriously? Who else will, out of love for you, make the noble sacrifice of frequently working with butter, sugar, cream and all things decadent? Who else, out of love for you, would practice over and over again, making treats JUST so that I could blog about them here for your pleasure? Who else, out of that great enduring love for you, would torture herself eating creations filled with said butter, sugar and cream, JUST so that I could then describe to you what it tasted like? No one else! No one I say! Ok, maybe a few other bloggers but they too do it out of a great love for you! It has nothing, nothing I say, to do with the idea that we like shoving gooey, rich creamy treats in our gaping maws! Perish the thought! It’s that love thing… yeah, that’s it. The love thing.

You believe me, right? *bats eyes innocently* Continue reading

I Have No Brain Cells Left

This why you haven’t had a post in a handful of days (not counting the guest post as that was written quite a while ago). I’ve been cooking, I’ve been eating… just have been in one of those blogger moods of not knowing what to write. Yes, every once in a while, my extreme creativity and ginormousย  writing skills go on hiatus *cough cough… gets hip boots*.

I like to think that right about now, my writing “skills”, such as they are,ย  are lying on a beach on Tahiti with a Mai Tai and a trashy novel. I just hope they haven’t forgotten sunscreen cause I burn easily.

I have however been spending way more time than usual reading cooking blogs. It never fails to amaze me how many of them there are out there now. Some totally suck donkey toes, others are outstanding and make me feel like I need to give up blogging because in comparison to them, my blog sucks donkey toes. Continue reading

Sometimes You Just Have To Give In

Sopapilla Cheesecake

I have a thing about not trying anything that is trendy, too talked about or gets the rating of “to die for”. I’ve mentioned before as a matter of fact how much I loathe that phrase. No matter how much of a foodie I am, there are no foods I would die for. Nope, not even Twinkies, Cheetos, a medium rare ribeye or a tall glass of Coke. I also tend to have a snobby streak when it comes to trying some recipes. Yep; me, the woman who happily uses cake mixes and cream of crap soups. For some reason when I bake, I want to know that I baked it, not that I used fifty six convenience products. Well, other than that cake mix thing. Don’t stop now! Click here!

I Love Cheesecake And I’m Also lazy

Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

Which is why I don’t make cheesecake often. I love it but for some reason cheesecake is one of those things that seems far too time consuming to me. I THINK I’m going to make it… I have 972 recipes printed out for it as well as those in my vast cookbook collection… I WANT to make them because, well, I love cheesecake but there’s that lazy thing. I like things I can throw together and while I realize logically that other than the crust, you DO just throw cheesecake together, I have this weird “it’s too much trouble” mind block going. Continue reading

When Life Gives You Lemons…

…make cheesecake. Yep; cheesecake. I’m not a huge lemonade fan so I made cheesecake with my lemons. When I want lemonade I grab the container of country time and pour out some highly processed sugar and real lemon flavor.ย  What the heck IS that anyway? I mean, it’s either real lemon or it’s lemon flavor. How can you have real lemon flavor? Wouldn’t that make it real lemon? Or fake flavor? I’m so confused! Yet… I drink it. Go figure. Speaking of which, have any of you ever tried it hot? It’s quite yummy that way. I’m sure it would work fine with that *gasp* real lemonade stuff too. ๐Ÿ˜› As for me, I’ll save my “Whoa; have these gotten expensive or WHAT?!” lemons for cooking with and keep chugging the fake stuff… hot or cold. ๐Ÿ˜€

Moving on (I really can’t type that anymore without giggling), I love lemon, I love cheesecake, I love honey. I also love Bath and Body Works Lemon Vanilla Body Spray (which those meanie heads discontinued. I still haven’t forgiven them for that even if I DID buy enough to make a small country of people with bad B.O. smell yummy) and it was the inspiration for this recipe. When I wear it, I smell like a sexy lemon cupcake. But I didn’t want cupcakes. I have done the lemon cupcake thing in here recently. Not that that will stop me from making variations here in the future but still…

So I made cheesecake. But not just your typical lemon cheesecake. I love the combo of lemon and honey (I will also be doing a home made lemon honey marmalade soon) and decided to try it in cheesecake. But I also wanted to find a way to use up some blueberries that were shouting from the fridge that they were getting old and some apricots that were doing the same thing on the counter. So I made a blueberry/apricot compote to go with this as well as some candied lemon slices.ย  Can we say “Oh.My.God.?” *wait for all of you to say oh my God”. You done now? Ok. This cheesecake is fantastic. It’s bright and sunny and refreshing with a nice lemon tang and a subtle hit of honey flavor. The compote spooned over it just adds this final fruity pizzazz and the candied lemon slices are sweet and tart and chewy and I wanted to hug them. But they’re sticky so I didn’t. I have long hair; no lemon slices stuck in hair please. So try this; I am pretty sure you won’t be disappointed. Unless you don’t like lemon or honey in which case why the heck would you make it anyway? ๐Ÿ˜€

Decadent Lemon Honey Cheesecake

With A

Blueberry/Apricot Compote And

Candied Lemon Slices

  • Candied lemon Slices (optional)-
  • 2 large lemons, sliced about 1/4 inch thick (a mandolin set on thick slice works great)
  • 2 cups water plus more for initial cooking
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar plus more for coating slices
  • Cheesecake-
  • 2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 24 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • zest from 2 large lemons
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (if the 2 lemons don’t have that much, feel free to round it out with bottled)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Cheesecake Topping-
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Blueberry Apricot Compote-
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 6 apricots, quartered
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  1. For candied lemons-Add lemon slices to a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and let boil for about five minutes. Drain and rinse well. Do this procedure one more time. This helps leech out the bitterness of the peel.
  2. After the second time, put peels back in the pot with the 2 cups water and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Stir to combine. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until lemon slices are tender and translucent, about 90 minutes. Lay lemons slices in a single layer on a wire rack. Let them dry for 24 hours (this is why I say the lemon slices are optional. Up to you whether or not you want to commit to this amount of time for the full cheesecake idea). They will still be tacky. Drop them into a bowl or baggie) of sugar and toss to coat. Set aside.ย  Also, don’t throw out the syrup left in the pot from the lemons. Pour it into a bowl or a canning jar and put it into the fridge. Due to the naturally high amounts of pectin, after a couple of hours, it will set up into a yummy sort of a lemon jelly which is great on toast or mixed with other ingredients to make a glaze for roast or grilled chicken.
  3. For cheesecake-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 9 inch spring form pan with cooking spray. Wrap pan well in heavy duty foil.
  4. Mix together the cookie crumbs, melted butter, 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in large bowl or food processor. Press mixture on to bottom and 1 inch up sides of prepared pan. Cook at 350 for five minutes. take out and set aside. Lower oven heat to 325.
  5. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with flour until smooth. Don’t over beat. Over beating is one of the main reasons cheesecakes crack. It adds to much air to them.
  6. Add the eggs, honey, sugar,ย  extracts, lemon zest and juice. On low speed, beat until smooth and creamy. Gently fold in the sour cream. Bang the bowl (carefully lol) a few times on the counter to help release some of the air bubbles.
  7. Put pan in a large high sided baking pan. Pour cheesecake batter into pan. Put the pan into the oven and carefully pour two cups of water around the pan. Bake at 325 until center is just barely set but still has a touch of jiggle to it. It will finish setting as it cools. When done, set spring-form pan on a wire rack and leave for 30 minutes then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. at least four hours to cool.
  8. When it has cooled, carefully loosen and remove the side of the spring-form pan. Scrape off all the goop that stuck to the sides and eat it. ๐Ÿ˜€
  9. For compote- while cheesecake is cooking- in a medium sauce pot, combine all the compote ingredients. Stir well to coat apricots with lime juice to prevent discoloring (you can see in my photo that not all of mine got coated well. Learn from me grasshopper! )ย  Over low heat, cook, stirring constantly, just until sugar is dissolved. Spoon into a bowl; cover and refrigerate.
  10. Mix topping ingredients and spoon onto the top of the cheesecake. Smooth to make it look purty. ๐Ÿ˜›
  11. To serve- put slices of cheesecake onto serving dishes and spoon a little of the compote over or around it. Add a candied lemon slice to the top and eat. ๐Ÿ™‚

Strange Dreams

Just could NOT get a good photo today. It's so gloomy out it's like shooting in a cave. ๐Ÿ™

It’s funny how having kids makes you so aware of your own mortality. I think I’ve mentioned that I have six kids.ย  Yes, you read that right. Six. Five boys and one girl. Three are grown and married (in their twenties) and three (all boys) still live at home. They are Jordan, my sixteen year old, Zach, my 14 year old and Joshua my “omg what was I thinking having another child at my age” two year old. :-P. Josh is the one that makes me contemplate my own life more most of the time. His brothers have that effect some, especially Jordan, who I have mentioned before has a handful of major challenges he deals with wonderfully on a daily basis but not as much as my two year old terror. I find myself aware of every kink and every pain. There are times that every twinge becomes a harbinger of doom leaving me planning my estate and telling my husband what songs to play at my funeral (I never knew anyone could roll their eyes quite that much). It will of course be attended by 5000 grieving people. I’m not sure where they will come from since I’m rather shy in “real” life and am pretty sure I haven’t known 5000 people in all my 46 years. Maybe he can hire them? Or pull people off the street with the promise of cheap booze and free Doritos? I dunno. But that’s neither here nor there. They’ll be there. All 5000 of them… in our little house… probably with muddy feet, getting the carpet all dirty. Awww crap… I better plan for a carpet cleaner. Russ will never think of that.

Where was I? Doom… kids… mortality. Oh yeah; mortality. Seriously though,ย  you think differently when you have kids. Not saying it’s better or worse, just different. I wonder at times how old would my two year old would have to be to have concrete memories of me? Would he remember me reading him Dr. Seuss and being the “SNORT” in “Are You My Mother?” Would he smile when he smelled Lemon Vanilla cologne and not know it was because it reminded him of me? If I died today, would he remember our cuddle sessions in bed every morning after his daddy goes to work? Who would help Jordan and take care of him? Who would make sure Zach took out the garbage and stayed away from the computer when he was supposed to be doing chores? I also wonder what type of woman my husband would replace me with and if I can hunt her down now and let her know what a picky eater he is and how he has a tendency to…erhmmm… empty a room quickly at times. All I know is she’d better be 4’11” and weigh 300 pounds and not be able to cook. Just sayin’.

Introspection is annoying. It makes me write silly posts that have not a whit to do with cooking (though in defense the tag line of my blog DOES say “Cooking and life from a mom on the edge”. :-P.)ย  It comes into being from strange dreams where I wake up saying to myself “I’m going to die today”. Yeah, I know… freaky. Try being the one who woke up thinking it.

Ehhhhh, let’s eat.

TRIPLE STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE BARS

  • CRUST-
  1. 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • Filling-
  1. 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  2. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  3. 1 10 jar strawberry preserves
  4. 3 large eggs
  5. 1/4 cup flour
  6. 1 lbย  fresh strawberries, sliced
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 1/2 cup sour cream
  9. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Topping-
  1. Whipped cream or creme fraiche
  2. strawberry pie filling of strawberry dessert topping
  • Preheat oven to 350
  • line a 13×9 baking pan with foil. Grease with butter or spray with non stick cooking spray
  • In a large bowl, mix butter and powdered sugar for crust. Beat well. Add vanilla and eggs, again beating well. Slowly beat in the two cups flour, beating at medium speed until it is fully mixed and crumbly. Pat into the bottom of the foil lined pan.
  • Bake at 350 for ten minutes while you make the filling.
  • Beat cream cheese and sugar at high speed just until mixed. Beat in the strawberry preserves.ย  Add three eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract, sour cream, heavy cream and flour, beating just until mixed. Overbeating anything cheesecakey (yes, that too is now a word ๐Ÿ˜€ ) is one thing that makes the cracks in the top. Fold in the sliced strawberries.
  • Spread the filling mixture on top of the crust and put back in the oven. Bake at 350 for approximately 45 minutes or until it is just barely set in the middle. It can look somewhat shiny but shouldn’t be sloshy (don’t ya just love my directions? ๐Ÿ˜› ). The residual heat will finish baking it.
  • Let cool for an hour on the counter then cover and refrigerate overnight. Trust me… it will be easier to cut if you do. If you want to serve it room temp, cut and plate it when cold then just let it sit out to come to temp.
  • Top with whipped cream or creme fraiche and strawberry topping.