20 April 2016

Family Updates

DM had a birthday last Sunday.

LG was in her school production.

My brother is now a grandfather. Natalie Ann, born late Saturday, 4/16 to my sweet niece JM and her husband MW.

We celebrated my mother-in-law's 88th birthday (4/28) a bit early. CA, GP, and LFW at Metamora Fields.

Our Fun Kids got together in Fort Collins for Easter.

I celebrated RvH's birthday with her by going along for her cataract surgery!

Since both RvH's (4/1) and CA's (4/2) birthdays were just after Easter, I baked them each a coconut-lemon cake.

Our Cincinnati Fun Kids are now our Omaha Fun Kids. Out-and-about exploring their new territories.


I told CA that this will be us in a few years!

Donna Hay's Red Velvet Cheesecake

Since I took liberties with Donna Hay's recipe, I want to capture those changes here.

My version.

Red Velvet Cheesecake
Line your springform pan with a parchment circle. I sprayed the springform bottom with Pam to help the parchment adhere.

I took a shortcut with the crust and bought an Oreo crust from the baking aisle, but poured the crumbs into an 8" springform pan and pressed it into the bottom and sides.

1-1/2 8 oz. pkgs. Cream cheese
1-1/4 Cups Ricotta cheese
3/4 Cup Sugar
3 Eggs
1-1/2 tsp Vanilla
150g Good quality dark chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
Red food coloring paste (You decide how red you want it.)
Dutch-process Cocoa for dusting (Trader Joe's)

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
2. In large mixing bowl or food processor, beat together cream cheese, ricotta, and sugar for 2-3 minutes until smooth--often scraping sides of bowl.
3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat a further minute.
4. Add cooled, melted chocolate and food coloring until well-combined.
5. Pour over Oreo cookie crust.
6. Place a shallow pan of water on lower oven shelf (keeps cheesecake from cracking).
7. Bake in center of oven for about 1 hour, keeping watch. You want the cheesecake to look solid, with about a half-dollar center spot still appearing wet.
8. Cool completely, then refrigerate 4 hours or overnight until well-chilled.
9. Dust with Dutch-process Cocoa before serving.

Years ago, I first visited Santa Fe with my sister JA. Luckily we did two brilliant things--we took a walking tour of the historic area and we took a class at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. Then, I visited with my friend LL and took a Southwest breakfast class which included a recipe for fresh fruit with a Tequila syrup--a simple syrup with Tequila added. I've now simplified that and cut a few calories by using 3 parts Agave syrup to 1 part Tequila. Just a splash really perks up and glazes the fresh fruit.

18 April 2016

Lately: After the Beach

Sunset on Dufield Pond. Our first night home after the beach.

We came home from Virginia Beach knowing CA had a Heart Catherization test on Friday, leading up to Mitral Valve repair: open-heart surgery on St. Patrick's Day. Thankfully, tests gave an all-clear on any additional heart issues. And, he was a star heart-surgery patient. We continue to be impressed with the physicians and staff, the care and competence we've experienced at Advocate Lutheran General in Park Ridge. 4 weeks post-surgery and he's regaining his stamina and healing beautifully.
I'd rescheduled my mammogram during all this and I finally had my annual screening on Friday, 4/8. Got my first-ever call-back! Scary until I did the research and found how low the percentages are that a call-back means real issues. We prayed a lot, but I was determined to not let the week-long wait be obsessive. And, I decided to not set off an alarm. I just didn't talk about the call-back.

Today, I'm blessed with an all-clear! The good news is that they've taken a closer-than-normal look at my breasts and there's nothing suspicious lurking undetected. I know how blessed I am, as I had breakfast yesterday with a friend who very recently got different news. She's Stage 2, has had a sizable lumpectomy and is waiting to hear if she will require chemo in addition to 8-weeks of radiation.
CA has decided that we are making reservations at a nice restaurant to celebrate all our recent blessings.

01 April 2016

Cakes of Instagram

Instagram: fieldandflorist

My Coconut-Lemon Cake(s) (2) for CA's (4/2)and for RvH's (4/1) birthdays.

Instagram: thejudylab

Instagram: demetria.provatas

My version of Donna Hay's Red Velvet Cheesecake.

Instagram: martha_weddings

My MIL's birthday cake 2015. From Fresh Market.

(I'll find the source.)

Instagram: sensastyle

Instagram: hinalys

(I'll find the source.)


*This is my inspiration cake. (I'll find the source.) My version below.

Instagram: chicagofoodgirl (Sweet Mady B's)

Instagram: countrylivingmagazine

My version of Bon Appétit's Pear Cake.

Bon Appétit's Pear Cake.

(I'll find the source.)

Instagram: hinalys

My version. Jonah's birthday cake 2015.