Monthly Archives: January 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cheesecake.

Doesn’t that word just make you smile?

And chocolate chip cookie dough – who doesn’t love that!

Combine the two and you have an divinely delicious, delectable and delightful dessert! (Can we tell we’re studying alliteration!)

This recipe is my sister’s signature cheesecake. It originally came from a Taste of Home cookbook and has become a family favorite.

It’s a little more complicated to make – but we all know that cheesecake is worth it! 🙂  I’m just sorry you all don’t have a sister like mine who will make it for you. (And no – I’m not sharing her name or contact info!)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Crust:

1 – 3/4 cup crushed chocolate chip cookies or Oreo cookie crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine (melted)

Filling:

3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cookie Dough:

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
1 – 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips (divided)

In a small bowl combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of a greased 9 inch springform pan. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs and beat on low speed until just combined. Add sour cream and vanilla; beat until just blended.  Pour over crust  and set aside.

In another mixing bowl, cream butters and sugars on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add water and vanilla. Gradually add flour. Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips.  Drop this dough by teaspoonful over filling, gently pushing dough below surface. (The dough should be completely covered by filling.)

Place the pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until the center is almost set.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Cool for 1 hour hour longer.

Refrigerate overnight. Remove the sides of the pan and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips before serving.

Makes 12-14 servings.

Ahh…like I said “divinely delicious, delectable and delightful”!

Enjoy!

PS: I’ve linked this post up with my friend Lisa over at Stop and Smell the Chocolates for her Chocolate Friday Fun!

The Smoothie Follies

Smoothie FailIt all started back in October when I was grocery shopping. There – sitting in the produce aisle – was an entire banana box full of bananas for $8.00.

An entire banana box!

Yes, they were getting ripe fast – but still it was a great  deal!

I bought them and we ate them – quickly.

The last few we peeled and threw in the freezer.

A few weeks later I saw the same deal. Only this time the kids weren’t so thrilled with eating that many bananas. More went in the freezer.

Then my husband brought one home. Even more went in the freezer.

This went on well into November before we realized that none of us even wanted to look at a banana again!

Last week I cleaned out the freezer and realized that we had many, many bags of frozen bananas – and there were starting to impart a banana flavor in the homemade rolls and even the frozen french fries they shared the freezer space with.

Major banana fail.

It was time to use them up. The problem was, we are banana’d out. We’ve had banana bread, banana muffins, banana cake…you name it, we ate it, until we can’t stand to look at it again!

Then I thought of smoothies.

I taught the kids the basics, gave them a few ideas ideas – and set them loose. The only rules were they had to use a frozen banana AND they had to eat what they created.

Boy – were they creative!

Some were actually good.

Dagmar’s peanut butter, yogurt, banana and chocolate syrup was yummy. As was the blueberry, raspberry, banana and yogurt combination.

Pedro did not do as well.  His banana, chocolate syrup, raspberry syrup, and a carrot stick combo was not very tasty. It was edible, however. But in his zeal to out-do his siblings he added barbecue sauce.

Words can not describe.

He sat and tried to drink it for over an hour (remember rule #2!) until I showed him mercy and grace, allowing him to feed it to the chickens. Such relief on his face! (I did hear him tell his brother at lunch that he could still taste it several hours later!)

The kids continue to enjoy smoothies for breakfast and snack – but are more cautious about their choice of ingredients!

Little by little the massive banana pile in the freezer is slowly dwindling – one smoothie at a time.

And when I go grocery shopping – I walk right by those cheap bananas!

PS: I’ve linked this post up with my friend Myra over at My Blessed Life for her Friday Fails fun!

Sweet Surprise – Gentle Reminder

FlowerWhat a beautiful surprise!

I wish I could say that I planted this hyacinth bulb and planned for it to bloom in the middle of a cold and dreary January.

But the truth is – I was given the plant last spring and had every intention of planting it last fall. But things got kind of crazy and it didn’t happen.

It was placed on the catch-all shelf in the basement by the door and I forgot all about it.

Then, a few weeks ago, in a fit of organizing frenzy, I cleaned that shelf and uncovered the pot. As I was moving it, I discovered a little spot of green popping up out of the soil.

I brought it upstairs and watered it.

It grew.

Then the flower appeared. Small, and stunted, but still a spot of glorious color and fragrance in the midst of a long, cold, dreary winter.

It was a gentle reminder that spring is coming.

This cold and snowy weather will pass. It is just a season.

In time the snow will melt, the air will warm and the sun will shine.

My world will be green and fresh and vibrant with color again.

It just takes time…

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build…”‘ Ecclesiastes 3:1-3

Chocolate Marshmallow Pie

Chocolate Marshamllow Pie Okay, let me start by saying that this pie tastes way better than the picture indicates! 🙂 Trust me !

It’s been a while since I tested a chocolate pie recipe, and decided that my parents’ visit was the perfect excuse to make one.

I wanted something light, and when we found this yummy recipe with marshmallows -we knew we had to try it!

We had a few issues with the pie – beginning with the crust.  The recipe called for an Oreo cookie crust – but since we were out of Oreo’s,  I suggested a graham cracker crust. Then Dagmar wondered what would happen if we added cocoa powder to the graham crackers so it would still be chocolate.

That part worked – it actually tasted wonderful! But our mistake was baking it too long in the microwave.  That crust was hard as a rock.

This became rather embarrassing when we tried to serve it! I was hacking away it at the table and crust pieces were flying everywhere! Good thing it was just family – and they have a good sense of humor! Next time we’ll just pop it in the freezer.

We also didn’t give it enough time to freeze before we served it – which is why – in the picture- the top layer is kind of oozing over the middle layer.

But when I finally got the pie chiseled out of the pan and served – we loved the flavor! It was light and creamy.

We’ll definitely make this one again! Only we’ll follow the directions more carefully!

Chocolate Marshmallow Pie

Filling:

1 cup chocolate chips, divided (we used semi- sweet, but dark would be wonderful, too)
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup milk (divided)
1 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1-  8 ounce tub of Cool Whip (thawed, divided)

Crust:

Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust:

1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 18 crackers)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking cocoa
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine

or Oreo Crust

1- 1/2 cups finely crushed Oreo cookie crumbs (approximately 20 Oreos)
3 Tablespoons melted butter or margarine

For either of the crusts:

Combine all the ingredients and press into a 9 inch pie pan. Freeze for a few minutes to set.

For the filling:

Microwave 1/3 cup of chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of milk for 30 seconds at medium. Stir. Repeat at 15 second intervals, stirring at each one, until the chips are melted and smooth. Spread on the bottom of the crust and refrigerate.

Place marshmallows, remaining 2/3 cup of chocolate chips, and remaining 1/4 cup of milk into a saucepan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly , until marshmallows are melted and the mixture is well-blended.

Place into a large bowl and cool completely.

Stir 2 cups of whipped topping into the cooled chocolate marshmallow mixture. Spread 2 cups of this mixture into the crust.

Blend the remaining whipped topping into the remaining chocolate mixture. Spread this mixture over the surface of the pie.

Cover and freeze several hours or overnight.

Serve with extra whipped topping if you wish and garnish with chocolate swirls.

Enjoy!

Winter Jam 2010

Winter Jam 2010After last night, I think we could be nominated for parents of the year.

Last night my husband and I took all five kids, drove 2 hours, stood in the cold for 45 minutes until the doors opened and we got herded  inside, then we fought the crowd of over 8,000 people to find seats  – all so our kids could enjoy Winter Jam 2010.

So what is Winter Jam?

It is – according to my kids – THE concert of the year. It’s a massive event with an impressive line-up of performers including Third Day, Newsboys, Tenth Avenue North, Fireflight, Newsong, Sidewalk Prophets, Robert Pierre and Revive.

The cost for this amazing evening was just $10 at the door. It was a great deal.

It is also really loud.

At the risk of sounding old – I would like to point out that when music I enjoy when played on the radio is played live at a concert – the lyrics are lost and all I can hear is the pounding of the bass that is so loud it rattles my teeth.

But the kids loved it – which was actually my favorite part – watching them respond and enjoy everything about the concert.

My other highlights?

Tenth Avenue North – they are a class act all the way – and I even understood what they were singing. 🙂

Newsboys – pure joy! It was just plain fun to watch Mike Tait and the rest of the crew perform.

Third Day – pure worship! Singing God of Wonders with 9000 other people was something I will never forget.

Robert Pierre’s commercial for his new CD – loved it! Seriously – we need to buy the CD just because the it was so funny!

So yes, this old lady rather enjoyed the concert – despite the crowds, cold temperatures, and the blizzard we drove home in.

Yes, even in spite of the pounding bass.

Next time I’ll bring ear plugs.