Thursday, February 24, 2011

Caramel Pecan Cheesecake


Since we have been sick I thought I would go back and post a recipe of an earlier post. Junior'scheesecakebook

This is one I “altered” to get this delectable Caramel Pecan Cheesecake.  It was amazing.

I love the Original New York Cheesecake from Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook (available on Amazon).  I used this as the starting point.  However, I do not like their sponge cake crust.  For this one I used pecan shortbread cookies.


  • 1 box Pecan Shortbread Cookies
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of Graham Cracker crumbs

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease sides and bottom of 9 in. springform pan with butter. Pulse cookies in the food processor until fine (they will be mushy). Next add graham cracker crumbs until you have a wet but loose consistency (i.e. one that will stick together when smooshed into the pan).  Press into bottom and up the sides of the 9 in. springform pan. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.  Leave oven on 350.Kraftcaramels.blogpost.2.2011

Caramel Filling:

  • 1/2 package (unwrapped) Kraft Caramels
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Place caramels in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute.  Stir and continue to microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted.  Stir in heavy cream until it is easy to stir. (I totally made this up as I went and didn’t want to add sweetness to the caramels)  Set aside to pour into batter next.  If it hardens too much by the end of making the batter stick in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm it up.


  • 4-8oz packages of cream cheese (use only full fat), at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (pictured is my favorite vanilla)
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy or whipping cream

1. Mix together one package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar, and cornstarch on low speed, until creamy.  Do this for 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down several times (yes 3 minutes is important).  Now blend in the remaining cream cheese, one block at a time, scraping down the bowl after each one.

2. Now increase your mixer speed to medium and beat in the rest of the sugar (1 1/3 cups), then the vanilla.  Next beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one.  Now slowly blend in the heavy cream.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERMIX.  I usually switch to a spatula at this point and stir it in until thoroughly mixed.

3. Put Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil (I use 3 sheets) around the springform pan so it comes up the sides but does not hang over where the filling will go.  Place the springform pan encased in foil into a large roasting pan.  Now pour your batter in carefully, leaving 1/4 of it in the bowl.  The foil only serves to keep water from leaking into the bottom of the springform pan, ruining the crust and cake.

4. Now carefully spoon your caramel filling in even glops around the batter.  Gently push them down (not too far or you will hit the crust) and swirl.  Over swirling will change the batter so you just want to swirl a little.  Now gently pour the remaining batter over the top.

5. The water bath: finally pour room temperature water into the roasting pan until at least half way up the sides of the pan.  Do not let any water get into the cheesecake.  This will cause cracking and ruin the top your cheesecake.  Place carefully in the oven.  Tip: If you have a pitcher of water it is easier to put the roasting pan on the oven rack and carefully pour water in the pan this way.  It is very heavy once the water is in there and difficult to lift without sloshing the water.

6. Close the oven and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.  Do not open the oven.  Those DSC00985slight changes in temperature will cause cracking.  Once done (will still look jiggly) pull it out carefully and remove from the water bath.  Place on countertop and don’t touch it until completely cool (at least 2 hours).  After cool, place in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 4-6 hours.  You can freeze this one up to one month if tightly wrapped in plastic wrap.

I promise to get better pictures of the process next time.  I am new to the blogging world and have not yet learned to photograph everything all the time.

Enjoying Feasting in Fellowship Fridays over at the Comfy Kitchen!

Super Bugs

We got sick.  It started 10 days ago with this one.


Then crept over to this one a few days later.


Next it latched onto me and the hubby.We have missed church 2 weeks in a row it moved so slow.  I am at 60% after 5 days, maybe.  The Netipot is my close BFF.

Yesterday it made its way to this one.


This is his “super sad sick face” he made for the camera.  I don’t think he understood what I wanted.

I guess it hasn’t finished because today they all took involuntary naps.  Their grumpiness got a group punishment of room time.  After 20 minutes of silence I got worried and found them passed out in bed.

Only a Super Bug can accomplish that.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Works For Me Wednesday-On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!


I love timers.  They have so many uses in the home.  I first started using a timer when I found FlyLady (she is very popular so you probably know).

When I was a new mom and things felt overwhelming and sleep deprivation threatened my grip on reality timers saved me.  I knew I could at the very least do anything for 15 minutes or less.  Often I only had 15 minutes to do everything. 

My grandmother was the first to introduce me to the world of timing yourself.  When I complained once about a chore taking forever she said she would time me to see how long it really took.  Of course it was not the hour it felt like, only 10 minutes.  I was truly shocked that chores took so little time.  What had I been whining about?DSC01052

Now when complaints and whines threaten my day I will use a timer.  When my kids do the same I challenge them to a race to see how fast they can finish using a timer.  The objective countdown to when my son’s violin practice is over works well too.  No more arguing about playing that piece one more time (well almost). 

After years of doing this I can now take a shower, get dressed, and ready to go faster than my husband.  Or like this week when illness has thrown me off track and I have no clean you know what to wear because I have been to dizzy and weak to do anything but feed and nurse us back to health, I know that I will get it done 15 minutes at a time eventually.

(Please note: Timers are not magical devices that make kids stop whining. They still complain but the timer helps focus and distract them and it doesn’t always work.)

The chores I complain about most and how long they take:

  • Dishes, countertops, prep for next day, clean coffee machines, and pack a lunch – 35 min 
  • Make Bed – 2 min
  • Load/unload washer & dryer, fold 1 load of clothes – 10 min
  • Straighten kid’s rooms (without their help) – 15 min
  • Tidy entire house for unexpected guests – 1 hour
  • Clean Bathroom – 15 minutes
  • Mop Kitchen Floor – 10 minutes

If the chore takes more than 15 minutes I break it up into 15 minute chunks so I don’t feel overwhelmed.If these times seem off to you then it may be because I have trimmed what I do down to the essentials.  I do my best (not perfect) to keep what I love and use it.  My time is precious and so is yours.  Cleaning and moving items that I don’t love or serve a purpose for our family steals my time and doesn’t belong in our house. 

DSC01024So, go pick the chore you like the least and set your timer.  You will be surprised how long it really takes.  Now give me 15 minutes and this pile of laundry.  Go!

P.S. A house cleaned imperfectly can still bless your family (thanks FlyLady).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tackle It Tuesday-All Tied Up


DSC01034If you are like me then you are surrounded by cords.  Everything plugs in, syncs, or charges these days.  We have a surplus of power cords, usb cords, audio/visual cables, cables for televisions and computers, adapters, data cords, etc.  It is a challenge to keep it organized.

DSC01033I regularly go through the piles to thin it out but inevitably it spreads across the house as devices die or move.  Another issue we face as military is moving which means we might need that cord at the next house.

Today I organized the piles.  First I found everything around the house and garage.  There were several locations that developed as I have tried to organize over the years.

Next my husband went thru the pile disposing items we no longer used.  Below is what was left after the decluttering.  2 large boxes to one small pile!

DSC01035Then he wound each cord, zip tied it, and sorted according to type.  He had to do this because I have no idea what each cord does or if it was important.  I placed each type in a plastic bag and labeled it.  We ended up with 6 different bags. I thought about just writing with a sharpie on the bag but it wouldn’t show up as well as the white label.

DSC01036Large easy to read labels will prevent digging through the box and putting new cords away easier in the future.  Items left out  were too large for a plastic bag or in their own bag and unique so easy to identify.

Finally, I put them sitting up with the labels showing in this Rubbermaid 10 gallon bin I bought at Lowe’s last year.  I put this bin on the storage shelf next to the door going into the house coming from the garage.  Then I labeled the bin and dated it.  The date was so I would know the last time I decluttered it and when it is time to do it again. 

DSC01040This is a busy door and it is easy to reach.  Because we look for cords once or twice a month it is best to keep it convenient.  Otherwise I am more likely to either forget where it is or put off a task because it is too hard to get the box down.  I feel much better now and I have some free space in the office.  I wonder what I can put there next week.

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Cancelled Due to Sickness


I don’t know how other bloggers handle these events as we are mainly SAHM with no assistants or maids or nannies.  But when I get sick the world around me comes to screeching halt.

Many times we are blessed with a helpful compassionate husband who steps in the best he can.  And we appreciate that run to the drugstore and his best efforts at getting the kids in bed.

However, there is nothing that can make the sickness go away.  It started last week and finally made its way to me.  We are guessing the flu but I am not going into the doctor’s office to find out.  We always catch something else and this was plenty.  We are mostly recovered, fevers gone and aching less.  The stuffy nose and sinus pressure are sticking around just for kicks.

But this means there was no Cheesecake Saturday as all our plans were cancelled.  I also did not get one organizing project done unless you count the laundry marathon going on today.


(These are all clean BTW, waiting to be folded)

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