Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cheesecake Bites

My love for cheesecake began about 35 years ago. Greg and I met during the 'disaster' movie era (think Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake, Towering Inferno, Airport). Each Friday we would enjoy the current disaster, go out to dinner and finish the evening at my house chatting with my little brothers, parents and watching TV.
One night Greg produced a 'Reams' sack with a Jello Cheesecake mix. Simple; add butter to the package of cracker crumbs, press into a pie pan. Add milk to the dry 'cheesecake mix', beat for 2 minutes, pour the thick creamy liquid into the cracker crust and in 30 minutes you had 'cheesecake', or something close to it. It was a hit, we made cheesecake often during our dating days.
My taste for cheesecake is now a bit more refined, but hey, it had to start somewhere!
Amber surprised me on Mother's Day with this fun 'mini' cheesecake pan. This is the recipe on the back of the box and it is delish. The lemon flavor is tangy, the cheesecake is rich. It is a bite of wonderful. Thanks Amber and Tadd.

Cheesecake Bites
1 cup cookie or cracker crumbs
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons melted butter
Mix together and divide between 12 mini cheesecake cups, press evenly into the bottom of each cup. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes, cool.
16 ounces cream cheese
2 eggs
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup sugar
Pinch salt
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Zest from 1 lemon
Beat cream cheese for 2 minutes, add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add cream, lemon juice and zest, beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add sugar and salt, beat about 2 minutes. Pour batter into cups. Bake at 300 for about 20 minutes or until set. Cool at least 2 hours before unmolding. Serve with fresh berries.
Linked to: A Well Seasoned Life

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In Memory

Every Memorial Day for years we would load all six children in our rusty suburban and go 'grave hopping'. We would begin our trek in Mapleton and finish in Lehi, we would make five or six stops and visit the graves of loved ones.

We would talk of Grandma's Grandma, Grammy's father and Grandma Great. We tried to bring the memory of loved ones alive as we related stories. We walked thru cemeteries, admired beautiful flowers and wondered about lives since past.

This year as we decorated graves I decided I would jot down a memory of my father, maybe I'll even write a childhood memory of my own. Someday I will be 'some one's ancestor' and they just might wonder about me!! Take a moment today, share a memory with your children of a loved one past--better yet write it down!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

I love my morning glance at Google Reader, so many fun blogs--so many new recipes! I was assigned to bring 'hard rolls' to a lunch bunch. Now hard rolls are pretty boring but 'hot rolls' are another story. I came across a yummy looking recipe on My Kitchen Cafe. These delicious looking Buttermilk Cloverleaf Rolls were just what I was after. I pulled them out of the oven and served them piping hot, I took home an empty basket and called it a winner! This is a fun dough because it keeps in the refrigerator for about a week. Today I made cinnamon rolls with my 'refrigerator dough'. I used Pampered Chefs Sweet Cinnamon Sprinkle for the filling and topped them with my Mom's Caramel Icing. These were to die for!

Mom's Caramel Icing
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3Tablespoons milk
Bring to a boil and cook for a minute. Cool for 5 minutes and add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Quickly frost warm rolls. If frosting gets too thick add a little hot water. This frosting is delicious on Cinnamon Rolls, Pumpkin Cookies or muffins.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Greek Salad--update

We spent Mothers Day in Chicago with my sweet daughter Amber and her family. We haven't seen them for almost a year so baby Henry was walking, Harrison is madly riding a two-wheeler (no training wheels for this big boy) and Maya is getting ready for kindergarten! We had a wonderful visit full of walks, talks, stories, parks and of course food.

Amber is an amazing cook, it was like dining at a fine restaurant each meal. One evening Amber quickly made a delicious Greek Salad, it was so fresh tasting I had to recreate it for dinner tonight. Greek Salads are full of strong flavors, I like the Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and Feta cheese in small pieces. The Greek Dressing turned out to be a winner, so I wrote it down! My parsley plant is going crazy, I love to find recipes that use this tasty herb. This salad is delicious--it will be on the menu often this summer! Enjoy..
Greek Salad
Romaine lettuce, torn
English cucumber, sliced
Red pepper, sliced
Kalamata olives, sliced
Marinated Artichoke hearts, drained and diced
Grilled chicken breast
Feta cheese crumbles
Grape tomatoes
Toasted Pine nuts
Croutons, I bought a baguette intending to make croutons, but it was fresh and tasted delicious 'dipped' in the Greek dressing!

Greek Salad Dressing
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Juice from ½ lemon
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
½ teaspoon sugar
Pinch dried oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ cup olive oil
I made this salad again and tried a creamy dressing, toasted pine nuts and Rotisserie chicken chunks. Another hit! It was delish.
Creamy Greek Dressing
3/4 cup mayo
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon water
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Whisk together.

I came home to a big box on my doorstep--full of Fiesta ware! What a wonderful Mothers Day, my kids are the best! I am a lucky Mother.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Amazing Chocolate Toffee Sugar Cookies

I was checking my Google Reader recently and saw a cookie that demanded a second look. It was on one of my favorite Blogs, Our Best Bites. It was simple--a sugar cookie rolled thin, cooked 'well done', dipped in chocolate, sprinkled with Skor bits and drizzled with white chocolate. Put it all together and it was a bite of heaven!

I happened to share one with a old friend, she gave a bite to a friend who called me and wanted to know if I would make 125 for a party she was having! That is how good they are. Now, they are slightly labor intensive but so pretty and delicious. The sugar cookie recipe on Our Best Bites is excellent, I 'collect' sugar cookie recipes and this is one of the best. Use pure almond extract, real butter, the best chocolate available and you will have one great cookie!

Buttermilk Waffles and Coconut Syrup

Rainy Saturdays are great for brunch. I'm always on the lookout for new recipes for waffles, pancakes, french toast etc. I love breakfast food but not in the early morning! So I often cook breakfast for dinner; a few favorites include omelets, breakfast burritos, quiche and any kind of muffin or coffee cake.
I think after a little blog surfing I have found a few new favorites. The Buttermilk Waffles come from My Kitchen Cafe and the delicious Coconut Syrup comes from The Sisters Cafe. These are great blogs, check them out. In the meantime try these delicious favorites.

Classic Buttermilk Waffles
(From King Arthur Flour Baking Companion)
Beat together:
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Combine wet and dry ingredients just till smooth.

Coconut Buttermilk Syrup
3/4 cup buttermilk
7 Tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
Cook until sugar is dissolved and boil 1 minute, stir in:
1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Delicious on waffles, pancakes, french toast or just by the spoonful!!