My family, like many families, has traditions. Some I love, some I…well, don’t. However, my absolute favorite family tradition is a birthday tradition. On your birthday, you get to choose what you want to have for dinner and for dessert. I loved this tradition growing up because in a house full of girls, it was the one day where I got to make the decision and ALL had to agree to it. Because if you didn’t, you went hungry. My favorite dinner that my mom would make was homemade chicken pot pie with a homemade crust.
And for dessert, I ALWAYS asked for cheesecake. Unfortunately, my youngest sister’s birthday happens to be three days after mine, so we would rotate on who picked the dessert, as my mom didn’t want to make two back-to-back. I hated that growing up, but now as a parent, I get it.
The first time I made cheesecake was in college. I followed the recipe to a T and it took many hours to make. However, something went wrong because the water bath the cheesecake sat in leaked, (I even used aluminum foil to wrap it!) and my crust was all soggy with the biggest crack running across and deep down the center. It looked ugly and tasted bland and watery. It was 10 years before I made any type of cheesecake again.
This cheesecake, on the other hand, does not require a water bath. Yeah to not having a soggy crust! And it is moist, rich, and creamy. I sprinkled the top of the cheesecake with graham cracker crumbs, but you could add any type of fruit to the top if you like. Fresh or canned. Both would be delicious. Continue reading
The weather in the Pacific Northwest has been unusual, to say the least. Sunny and in the 70s and 80s off and on for the past two weeks–this is not April weather people! Where’s my rain? And my cloudy, 60 degree weather? I am feeling a bit gypped by Mother Nature. It’s like winter jumped right into summer. Okay, I am beginning to sound like a whiny toddler, and I already have one of those, so two isn’t needed.
My husband and children love lemon, and, well, since it’s summer here I thought I’d make a lemon dessert. What I love about this recipe is the raspberry jam sandwiched between the crust and the lemon cream cheese layer. It adds a nice contrast. These bars are rich, so a little goes a long way. Continue reading
I can’t believe it’s fall already! Last Monday, we were having 90-degree weather, and now, it’s in the 70s. I’m not complaining though; 70s-80s is my kind of weather. All of my summer decorations are now gone, the garden is winding down, and soups all of a sudden sound really delicious. Yeah, fall is definitely here.
Two of my favorite things about fall are now occurring: the changing of the colors and fog. The first makes sense, I know. The Northwest has some beautiful, vibrant reds and yellows when fall hits, and I love to watch it slowly descend from green to those vibrant hues. The second seems a bit odd, but I look forward to it every September—fog. There’s just something about it that I can’t describe, but with the crisp air in the morning, it just gets me going. (We also live up on a hill, so when I enter the valley, I get to see it creeping around the fields and houses. That could partly be why too.)
In honor of fall, I made some cream cheese dip. They go really well with apples, but you could pair it with any fruit, really. I also decided to give them to some of my neighbors, as a welcome-to-fall gift. If you’d like to make them as fun gifts and treats for someone too, you’ll need to following: wide-mouth, small mason jars, cute cupcake wrappers, and ribbon. Continue reading
My teaching partner went on maternity leave a month back, and I’ve been covering her classes for a bit. All that to say that I have been working full-time for three weeks now and am spent. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to balance work and home life, but I honestly thought it would have been easier than it’s been. The main thing that’s been working against me: spring. Every school teacher has a love/hate relationship with spring. The end of the school year is near, which is exciting, but it’s also really difficult to get students to focus and finish out the year on a positive note. It’s even harder working with students who can drive. (Remember those high school days?) However, my husband has been more than supportive, helping me with Matthew and cooking dinners on a number of occasions. It has made the transition from part-time to full-time a bit easier. (Not to say I don’t deal with the mommy guilt that goes along with leaving my baby for 8 hours a day, but that story is for a different day, and maybe a different blog.)
So, tonight I decided to make a simple dinner that I could whip up in 10 minutes and didn’t have to turn the oven on. I’m all for not heating the house when it’s warm outside. What I love about this recipe is that I can get all my favorite veggies in one sandwich, and with a little bit of cream cheese in the mix, feel a tad guilty for enjoying it as much as I do. You can make it vegetarian if you like; just omit the deli meat. Continue reading
My junior year in college, my roommate and I thought it’d be fun to have a tea party. We made cute little sandwiches, where we cut them in small triangle wedges and trimmed the crust, had different fruit bars, and of course, a variety of teas. Our friends came over and we ate, laughed, and played games. One friend brought over this delicious lemon dessert, and when the get-together was over, I asked her for the recipe. Many years later, I pulled out the recipe and tried to make it. At the time I got the recipe, I really wished I had asked her exactly how she made it, because the recipe said mix such-and-such together and bake, then add this on top, etc. It never said what pan to put it in, or what temperature to have the oven (although it did say how long to bake it), or even how exactly to mix something–which is very important to any baker. I had to improvise much, and unfortunately, the dessert flopped miserable. Fast forward eight years, and I found the recipe, tucked away amongst other long-forgotten ones. I thought I’d give it another chance. However, this time, I went the internet to see if I could find something similar, and piece together the two.
It’s a good thing I gave the recipe another chance. Talk about one of the best chilled desserts I have ever tasted! There are four distinct layers, and it might seem like a lot of work, but really, it takes about 15 minutes (minus the cooling of the crust) to make. And it is one of the lightest tasting desserts too, so you can have lots of it. (Which is really a good thing, I think.) Continue reading