Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring, we see you lurking...

Oh, yes we do.
It's getting warmer, then colder, then warmer again. I can see the battle raging between you and Old Man Winter, but I know you will prevail. How do I know, you ask? Little buds of hope sprinkled here and there! Come on spring, you can do it!!

First dogwoods of Spring, thanks to a little trip to Palestine.
Beautiful tulips and other flowers at the Dallas Arboretum!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Me Want Now

Got an email from How Does She? today with this little gem in it.

I want it.

I want it now.

I love me some cheesecake and this has my number all over it. Now, I just need to have an event with more than just me and Joe so I won't gorge myself on this beauty... try if you dare and let me know how it is!


Vanilla and Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

1 Graham Cracker Crumb Crust (see recipe below)

2 pounds cream cheese left 3 to 4 hours at room temperature (60 degrees to 70 degrees F, if measured with a food thermometer).

1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

4 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons whipping cream

3/4 cup Thick Chocolate Truffle Sauce (see recipe below), warmed just until smooth and pourable


1. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Wrap the outside of the springform pan with crust with a large piece of heavy aluminum foil and place it in a large baking pan with sides at least 2 inches high. (In a ketttle or in the microwave heat 2-3 cups of water to boiling.)

2. Put the cream cheese in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and mix until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Mix in the flour. Add the eggs, two at a time, mixing the batter smooth after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrap the sides of the bowl twice during this mixing. Mix in the vanilla and lemon juice. Mix in the whipping cream. Put 3/4 cup of the batter into a small bowl. Stir in the chocolate truffle sauce

3. Pour about half of the vanilla batter into the prepared springform pan. Reserve 1/4 cup of the chocolate batter and pour the remaining chocolate batter slowly over the vanilla batter. Pour the remaining vanilla batter on top.

4. Use a small spoon to drizzle the reserved chocolate batter over the top of the cheesecake, leaving a 1-inch plain edge. Use the spoon to gently swirl the chocolate batter in a marbelized pattern over the top of the cheesecake.

5. Put the cheesecake in the oven and pour hot water into the large baking pan to reach 1-inch up the sides of the springform pan. Bake about 1 hour, or until when you give the cheese cake a gentle shake, the top looks firm. (It usually takes about 75-80 minutes for mine to reach this point.)

6. Cool the cheesecake, covered loosly with paper towels, in the water bath, for 1 hour on a wire rack. Remove the cheesecake from the water bath. Remove the paper towels and cool 1 hour more. The cheesecake should feel cool to the touch. Cover with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator, at least 6 hours or overnight.

7. I topped this with more of the chocolate truffle sauce, whipping cream (be careful not to over mix and make butter), and sprinkled with raspberries. I also added a raspberry puree to the plate to help balance the richness of the cheesecake (see recipe below).

*cheesecake recipe has been modified from Elinor Klivans ‘Bake and Freeze Chocolate Desserts Recipe Book. {It’s amazing}

Cookie Crumb Crust

1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the baking dish. Sprinform pans should have sides at least 2 3/4 -inches high.

2. Put the cookie crumbs in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and stir the mixture intil the crumbs are evenly moistened with the butter. Transfer the crumbs to the baking dish. Using your fingers, press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and 1-inch up the sides. Check to see that with crust is not too thick where the sides and the edges of the pan meet. Bake the crust for 6 minutes.

3. Cool the crust thoroughly before filling. Crumb crusts can be baked a day ahead, covered and stored overnight at room temperature.

Chocolate Truffle Sauce

3/4 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into two pieces

12 ounces (2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Put the cream and butter in a medium sauce pan and heat over meduim-low heat until the cream is hot and the butter is melted. THe hot cream mixture will form tiny bubbles and measure about 175 degrees F. on a food thermometer. Do not let the mixture boil. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the chocolate and let it melt into the hot cream mixture. for about 30 seconds to soften. Add vanilla and whisk the sauce until it is smooth and all of the chocolate is melted.

Raspberry Puree

2 cups raspberries

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice


Place raspberries in a blender and blend slightly. Pour them into a strainer and mash through until you have only seeds left in the strainer. Add sugar and lemon juice. Stir until smooth.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

True Blue Happiness

Many of you may have read about the baby dresser drama, but in happier news...mama has a new blue dresser!

I have been thinking about getting a new dresser for a while. The one I had was a fab-o shabby chic dresser I inherited from my friend Brianna. I loved it, but it was a bit small and the drawers called for a small bout of tug-of-war every day.

So, around Christmas time, I spied this fun guy at Ikea.
I stuck it on my Amazon wish list, but didn't get it. Little did I know it was in the works for my birthday. Joe's family went to check it out and decided, though cute, it might not serve for the long haul. So they checked out a local unfinished furniture store, found one about the same and modified it to look like the Ikea one only better!

So, here's the finished guy chillin' in his new spot in our room.

And, don't worry, ye ol' shabby chic dresser has found a new home in our living room and it's PERFECT there too!

Monday, March 01, 2010

It's Good to be Home,

...but not just quite yet.

This weekend was a whirl. Joe had his first out of town business trip to OK to present a new repair to an airline with a few of his co-workers. He did a great job leading the meeting, and are now looking forward to ironing out the details in hopes of getting their business, along with a few other repairs they discovered they could do for the company while they were there. Way to go Joe and co. Now, let's talk about visiting Boeing in WA some time soon!

Joe came back early Friday morning, came home and we hopped in the car. Sadly, we didn't really hop out of said car until about 11 hours later. We made a 'quick' trip to Las Cruces, NM, to send our love to his Grandpa O'Brien who is not doing very well. As a dad of 8 and a grandpa of many, this is one well-loved man and we wanted to make sure we could tell him so.

We got to say howdy to several of his aunts and cousins as well. His Aunt Mary graciously let us stay at their new house nestled between pecan groves with a beautiful view of the Organ Mountains in the background. Their 3 puppies also kept us company for our short stay. Thank you Mary and Steve for your hospitality!

We left out of Las Cruces early Sunday and made the 11-hour trek back to the Big D yesterday. Ugh, can we just say that all three of us -- me, Joe and O'Baby -- are DONE with long car rides for a while.

It is good to be home, but after last night and this morning, I realized I'm not quite home just yet. There's something missing. The clicking of little nails on the floor. The slurping of water from the kitchen. The swish of a fluffy red and black tail. The kiss of my pupster. Yeppers, RykerDog is still at the vet's. I'll rescue him soon enough (after they bathe him!!), and then I'll be home.

It's amazing how a little furball can work his way into your heart where life isn't just the same when he's not there. Little dude, I love ya!