Month: September 2014

5 ingredient crustless cheesecake

It is no secret that I love to bake. I love cooking in general but baking is what I love to share most. Desserts are a great treat. I love them. As I’ve gotten older I have found that I don’t enjoy the sweetness of most commercially produced desserts. A lot of foods I used to enjoy now feel sickly sweet to my palate. This is one of the many reasons I love baking from scratch. The treats I make are always just sweet enough.

Last night, I was in the mood for some cheesecake and so I set out to make my own. This crustless cheesecake requires only five ingredients and the ones it omits results in less calories while still being delicious.

You will need:

16 oz cream cheese (this is a treat so use full fat!) at room temperature

3 eggs at room temperature

2/3 cup of sugar

one lemon

flavoring of your choice: 1/4 tsp vanilla extract or almond extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit

Mix the cream cheese, sugar, and eggs until smooth.

Zest your lemon and add as much zest as you would like. I zested about half my lemon and used that. I also squeezed out about half a teaspoon of lemon juice. Add the zest and juice to the mixture.

Add a quarter teaspoon of almond extract or vanilla extract.

Mix until combined.

Pour into 9 inch glass pie dish.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes. Edges should be golden brown. When you remove from the oven the cheesecake may be a little puffed up. It will deflate as it cools. Leave it to cool on a wire rack until it reaches room temperature then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

You can top with fresh berries, whipped cream or the traditional sour cream topping.  I went with a lemon slice 😀

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Water- not just a refreshing drink!

September 14, 2o14- Diego said his first word.

I am not going to count “mama” which he started saying at 8 months, or any of the other words he has tried to repeat after us. I am counting this particular word as his first word because it was the first time he has said any word, unprompted, and out of his own will. We had just come home from a quick trip to Ocala and had unloaded the car. We hadn’t yet unpacked or put anything away so a gallon of water was sitting on our entry table. As I chatted on the phone with my mom Diego walked up to the table, pointed at the water and said “agua” he then walked off like it was nothing. He had said it so clearly that you wouldn’t think it was his first time saying the word. I got goosebumps. It was an exciting thing to witness and even though I don’t have video of that moment I will never forget it.

I think there are things that are better in our memories. It was a moment I alone shared and one that I will treasure. Always.

Hearing say that first word is something I have been looking forward to since he was born. I can’t wait to have conversations with him, to be annoyed at all the questions he will ask. What an honor that will be. Even though he is most definitely a late talker I can tell that things are starting to happen. He is becoming more vocal and eager to try out saying things. Books have always been something he enjoys. I often find him sitting on his little chair engrossed in a book. He always holds them up the right way and flips the pages. He makes it look like he is actually reading. I love reading to him and now he is requesting it. Just the other day I read the same two books to him over an over again. He was happy to sit in my lap and listen. He even knows when to turn the page. It is a truly humbling experience to see a child learning. It is an active, dynamic process that happens so quickly it’s difficult to comprehend.

Even though Diego’s first word is something that is only exciting to me and those that love him I really wanted to share his progress in this front.

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Should you snoop on your husband?

Every week  I see these lists about what wives should be doing to keep their man interested in them, in their marriage. I also see the running joke that some women post with regards to keeping tabs on “their man”.  I can’t tell who is kidding and who is being dead serious but what I do know is that I find nothing funny about being in a relationship where any kind of snooping is the norm. My main reason for not snooping on my husband is simple: I don’t feel that it’s my responsibility to ensure his fidelity.  Being in a relationship is a choice and I trust that when we chose each other he was as serious about us as I am.

Of course if one suspects something is going on then by all means do whatever you have to do. Life is too short to be surprised with the clap, or herpes, or something much, much worse! When we talk about infidelity I often see people blaming the victim. She was a bitch, frigid, too fat, didn’t cook enough, didn’t dress the part etc. I am sure we’ve all heard something along these lines. Now, I am not saying that some people don’t sabotage their own marriages/relationships but the action of straying is one that I believe is done deliberately. Long term relationships with a person who is NOT your significant other take work. It takes work to sneak around, lie, cover your tracks etc. Basically, it’s a lot of effort to engage in something that is not worth the hurt it will cause.

I am not an expert on marriage, but I am an expert on MY marriage. I trust my husband. Some may find that naive. All men are trash after all. And yes, they certainly can be but snooping is a sign of mistrust and that is no way to live. My husband and I do not share Facebook accounts, the only passwords we share are ones to our online banking, and we don’t go through each others phones. Could we? Yes, we could. I don’t have my phone locked with a password, and my laptop is always signed into my email accounts and other social media. We trust that neither of us has anything to hide and that neither of us will snoop around.

My husband and I are two separate entities. We feel united as one but we still have our own space. I think that’s important, healthy and necessary. I should be able to vent to my friends about things, share stories and basically say whatever I want in private. Privacy is still essential within a marriage. Privacy is different from secrets. If you have you hide it you shouldn’t be doing it. That is my motto.

As for keeping him interested, well, firstly he needs to want to. I shouldn’t be having to convince him everyday that he picked the right peach. I am interested in him, in his day, in his thoughts and in his feelings and let him know as much. I try to be the best me I can be, but you guessed it, I am not perfect. I can have a quick temper and I can be callous. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns around here but what’s important is that we try. Everyday, we try.

Something that we’ve gotten into the habit of doing is sharing our favorite part of the day. I’ve also noticed that we thank each other for little things that seem inconsequential but aren’t. That feeling of gratitude is such a nice way to end the day. It doesn’t happen everyday mind you. I don’t want to give the wrong impression here. We do things that work but we also do things that don’t work. Most of the time we are happy and I think that’s what matters.

So, should you snoop on your husband? Unless he’s given you reason to my answer is no.

What about you, how do you feel about snooping?

Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes

The zucchinis in the fridge had to be eaten. In the interest of not wasting food I decided to look up recipes and was pleased to find this recipe on The Idea Room for Chocolate Zucchini Cake. I was immediately sold on it and decided I would try it out the next day. I ended up altering the recipe and making cupcakes instead of a cake but the results were nothing short of amazing. If you check out the original recipe you will notice that I substituted the lemon juice for white vinegar and I omitted the nuts and ground cloves. The reason is simple, I didn’t have these ingredients on hand! Lemon juice is acidic and is often added to milk in order to sour it and turn it into a buttermilk substitute. I am guessing you could substitute the milk and vinegar with buttermilk.

The only oil I had in the house was olive oil so I used that. I would probably use coconut oil the next time around but I can attest that the olive oil worked beautifully. The cupcakes were moist, rich and chocolatey. My husband had no idea they had zucchini in them. They are by far the most delicious chocolate cupcakes I have had in a long time.

If you would like to give them a try here is what you will need:

Ingredients

  • 1 and 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup oil (you can use any flavorless oil of your choice)
  • 2 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 4 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk with 1 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the full recipe visit The Idea Room!

These cupcakes do not need any frosting! If you want you could dust them with some powdered sugar but in my opinion they are perfect as is.

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Cookie Thursday (on a Monday!)

My husband loves oatmeal raisin cookies. In particular, he enjoys the Pillsbury ready to bake ones. I do not share his enthusiasm, partly because I am not fond of raisins and also because I have long suspected that these Pillsbury cookies are oatmeal cookies in name only. Seriously, there isn’t an oat in sight and the first ingredient listed is sugar. Our grocery store stopped carrying them so my husband will track them down at another store every once in a while. A couple of weeks ago he informed me that I could not make a cookie that rivaled the overly processed hunk of sugar he was happily munching on. Naturally, I was nothing short of insulted. I was also amused, because let’s face it there are few things I do well and baking happens to be one of them.

I accepted his challenge and declared that I would set up a blind taste test for him in the near future. I immediately got to work researching recipes and watching video demonstrations. I finally decided to try out this recipe from Beantown Baker. I tweaked it only slightly. The cookies were delicious. Even a raisin-hater like myself enjoyed these.

What about my husband? Well, he prefers the texture of the Pillsbury ones. I know, it’s a disgrace! Ha ha. He did tell me that my cookies were just as good flavor-wise. Meh, I don’t consider him a pillar of good cookie taste anyway.

If you would like to try out these cookies here is what you will need:

1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 oz, or 115 grams) softened butter
2/3 cup (125 grams) dark brown sugar
1 egg at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup (95 grams) flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (120 grams) rolled oats
3/4 cup (120 grams) raisins

I recommend weighing your ingredients. I find that this gives you accurate amounts. Visit Beantown Baker for the full recipe and directions!

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