Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cheesecake Saturday-Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Happy Saturday!

I am up late and I will pay for it in the morning but the cheesecake needed to be made.

Again I changed it.  I know you are shocked.  I always follow the recipe, keep traditions, and never break the rules.

That was a nice break but back to reality……

I didn’t like the chocolate fudge mirror in the original Junior’s Triple Chocolate Cheesecake.  It was too acidic for me, too sugary.  So I tried a chocolate glaze from another recipe and it was more like someone put a candy bar on top.  Good but it doesn’t go on creamy perfect chocolate cheesecake.

So in the interest of keeping the title I wanted 3 different types of chocolate.

Again with the brownie crust, it is easy and I like it.  I use a box version usually whatever is on sale.  I do have limits and prefer Ghirardelli (summer in CA and one cute boy got me hooked) but Betty Crocker will do too.  I just pour a small layer in the pan and bake for 25 minutes.

So the same basic cheesecake recipe used with the original New York (I memorized it therefore I will use it forever) split in half in two different bowls.  Then I added melted (in the microwave) Ghirardelli milk chocolate (5 oz) in one bowl and Ghirardelli semisweet DSC01143chocolate (5 oz) in the other after they had cooled a bit.  Stirred gently until incorporated thoroughly.  Next I poured the semisweet batter into the springform pan leaving about a cup in the bowl.  Then I gently in small dollops placed the milk chocolate batter on top of the semisweet layer (leaving 1 cup in the bowl), careful not to mix the layers.

I was also trying out new 4 inch springform pans so I took the remaining one cup of each batter and did the same with them as with the 9 inch.  As I discovered last week, the DSC01146smaller cheesecakes will cook the same amount of time as the larger so I put them in the same pan to cook.

Aren’t they cute all wrapped up ready for their warm bath?

They are baking now while I type.  After a rest and some cooling off time they will be dressed up for presentation tomorrow.  The little ones will go to work with my husband and the larger one will go next door for a big Sunday dinner.DSC01140

I promise to take pictures before they leave.  Aaahhhhh, they grow up so fast don’t they?

Now for cleanup….

DSC01129On a brighter note, I just came into a lot of Pampered Chef products.  It was an exchange of sorts so it is guilt free Pampered Chef.  The best kind.  I will definitely be telling you about all of it because I love love love kitchen tools that work and make life easier.  That is definitely these!

UPDATED: Pic of finished cheesecake. L.O.V.E. It was so so good.

Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thankful Thursdays–Aprons

Donna Reed and June Cleaver had it right.  The women of that decade were wise in the use of aprons.  Did you see the dresses they were cooking in?


                                                  Image source

I know we have better washing machines and more durable fabrics but saving money and clothes is always important.  I am on a tight tight tight budget.  I don’t have time or funds to replace clothing.  This is not to say I am a pig.  But I also cook, clean, raise boys, have 5 dogs (we were down to 3, long story), one guinea pig, and actually leave the house.  Stuff happens.

“But Sgt Z don’t you know all the handy dandy tricks for getting stains out of fabric?”

MShomekeeeping.handbookYes, I do.  I have the Martha Stewart “I have a bazillion hours in one day” Homekeeping Handbook with the very clever chart. (Okay I actually love the book but who are we kidding? It is very informative and useful but requires you have time to actually do the home keeping.)

So in light of my predicament and my unwillingness to part with certain clothing I am embracing the apron.  Join me, won’t you?

BlackstripedapronI have 3 of these aprons now.  I just ordered them off Amazon and they look like they can take a beating.  They are by Chef Works. I originally ordered one but quickly realized they get dirty hence their usefulness.  So when one is dirty and you only have one then you have no aprons. (Did you like that story problem? Can you tell I work with a 2nd grader on math everyday?)

Seriously, this seems small in the light of important wonderful miracles of life we contend with daily.  But sometimes you are just thankful you don’t have to change clothes again or can walk out of the house and not be embarrassed you never noticed the stream of soda/ketchup/spit up/chocolate/milk/cheese down your shirt because you haven’t looked in a mirror since your kids got you up at 5am.

The Apron and Book pics were from

Linked up today over at The Nut House.

Also linked to Thankful Thursday with

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

WFMW–A kick in the pants

When I feel overwhelmed and whiny,

When my complaints out number my praises,

When I cannot face my daily chores and pout,

When my sinful flesh takes the lead, and my self-control takes a nap

He always sends me a story, a reminder, a kick in the pants

Something to make me feel small, petty, ungrateful

Something to make me feel loved, blessed, joyful

That I am His child, saved by Grace, through no work of my own

What Works For Me this week is this video.  Its timing was providential, as usual.

This was grace - short film from Andrew Laparra on Vimeo.

Linked up to Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are That Family

works for me wednesday at we are that family
Also, linked up at Women Living Well

Tackle It Tuesday/WFMW - Make Your Own Dry Eraser

Well, today I was a little grumbly and not in the mood to do anything.  But something ran across my mind despite my efforts to make the world stop spinning.

I have 3 monkeys boys who tear through this world with enthusiasm and little thought of what the end result might be.  I say that because we go thru lots of toys, clothes, and equipment because of this reckless playful carefree curiosity.  Often it is only the threat of punishment that keeps our home standing.

A problem created by these boys arose today during school time.  I know it doesn’t seem like a big one but after continuous replacements, backups, or hiding something to protect it you grow weary of buying more.  We were on our last dry eraser. My oldest uses them for math.  He stands up because he is a boy and works out his math on a dry erase board next to his desk.  We also have a large 8ft x 4ft dry erase board in our school room.  The last eraser was being held together by duct tape.  I haven’t seen the others in months.

So I hopped on Amazon to buy another one.  Not pleased with the prices I saw (see extreme couponing to get an idea of my cheap side) I wondered what you used to make those expensive little fabricy styrofoam thingies. The answer was felt.  Ok, so just felt? Was it magical or could it be any fluffy fabric?  Hhhhhmmm……..I have some scraps of flannel.

Well, turns out it can be ANY fluffy fuzzy fabric.  So if you are still reading, here is what I did in 20 minutes (minus the time I waited for my camera to charge, answer school questions, discipline the other two for fighting, and make lunch) and thanks for staying with me.DSC01100

First, I used 4 in x 42 in strips of fabric (or width of the bolt of fabric).  I used these because they were in my scrap basket from some baby quilts I did in December.  I sewed right sides together the length of the fabric.



I then cut the strip into 6 in blocks, which gave me 6 – 3in x 6in blocks.  Next I sewed one side on each block and flipped it right side out.


DSC01113Then I grabbed some batting from my scrap box of batting.  I folded it over in several layers about 1 1/2in x 4in and wiggled it inside the block.  You can use any batting or filling.  I simply wanted them to have thickness to make gripping them easier.


DSC01115Then I folded the open side in and sewed it up.  Viola!

I think it works better than that darn eraser I bought for $6.  And the bonus, they are totally washable.  I can throw them in with the rags and towels.  LOVE IT!DSC01116

UPDATE:After using these little guys for a week I discovered they are the perfect size for a quick dusting. They did an amazing job on some neglected window blinds and can also be used as a quick pin cushion. My absolute awesome favorite part? I can throw them in the laundry with my dirty rags and they will only get fluffier. Score!!!! I am making more because it seems like I could use them more often and in more places and they didn't cost me anything. Wootwoot!!!

Linked up today over at Sew Darn Crafty, 5 Minutes For Mom, and Works for Me Wednesday!

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

works for me wednesday at we are that family

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Cheesecake Saturday–Caramel Pecan Cheesecake Updated

Well, this seems to be a favorite with almost everyone who tries it.  This updated version was even better but I still have one idea left.  I was also trying out the Pampered Chef springform pan for the first time, a 9 inch.

DSC01084But here is where I started, the crust.  I was not completely pleased with it last time.  I thought it needed more pecan flavor.  This time I used Pecan Sandies with a lighter shortbread flavor and added 6 tablespoons of butter to get the texture just right.

Next I used chopped pecans and pressed them into the bottom of the uncooked crust and baked for 10 minutes at 350.  I had a little left over and wanted to try this 5 inch cheesecake pan I bought a few weeks ago.  I did the exact same bake time with this pan.

DSC01090After whipping up the batter, same recipe as last time, I melted about 25 caramels in a glass mixing bowl for approximately 2 minutes (1 minute then stir, then 30 seconds after that until just right).  I will say that I was actually counting caramels when my son interrupted with a question about his math lesson I completely lost count.  After it cooled I added 3/4 cups of batter to the mixing bowl and stirred until combined.  Then I took 1/4 cup of that caramel mix and added back into the batter.  I wanted a light caramel flavor throughout without stirring in actual caramel.

Then I poured the rest of the caramel mix into the bottom of the crust.  On top of that I slowly poured the cheesecake batter, careful not to mix them.  Then bake at 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  The 5 inch required the same amount of bake time.

So being a new blogger I forgot to take a picture of the large cheesecake before it wasDSC01098 eaten.  But here is the 5 inch.  Isn’t it cute?  It is sitting on a Corelle dessert plate to give you an idea of it’s size.

It turned out fantastically.  It is also the perfect size for a nice dessert for a family of 4 or 5. 

Also the Pampered Chef springform pan was perfect.  It has handles for easy removal from the water bath.  The glass tempered bottom worked very well.  It has no ridge which makes removal of the cheesecake to a serving dish very simple.  After using the small plastic tool that comes with it to loosen it from the bottom it slid right off.  I usually put parchment paper in the bottom to make this easier but I wanted to really test the pan.  So I only put butter on the bottom to see what it would do.  It was amazing.

My next alteration, more caramel.  I wanted each bite to have a nice caramel layer oozing just ever so slightly from the bottom.  However, I was very pleased with the pecan flavor that infused throughout with just the simple addition of pecans at the bottom.  It is almost exactly what I want.

I also made the triple chocolate fudge this week but again forgot to take pictures.  My husband’s solution?  Make another one.  He is so helpful.

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