Birthday Blessings

I celebrated a birthday yesterday. 🙂

(But I won’t tell you which one! My husband keeps track of that for me – it involves numbers and you know I don’t like numbers – especially when you have to borrow in subtraction!)

The numbers don’t matter anyway – you know the saying, “Count your life by smiles not tears, count your age by friends, not years.”

If that’s true – then after the last few daysI must be very old – and blessed!

The surprises started on Sunday when a sweet friend walked into church carrying a chocolate almond cheesecake for me!

chocolate almond cheesecake

Dorothy – the amazing cheesecake fairy – left me speechless. Trust me – that doesn’t happen very often! It tasted just as wonderful as it looks! (And yes – I shared!)

That just got the ball rolling!

The birthday fun started at breakfast with hot, fresh chocolate strawberry scones. <contented sigh>

And continued with the e-cards and Facebook messages that kept flowing in all day- so many of them chocolate-covered! Including the one from my friend Cinnamon who informed me that all chocolate eaten on my birthday has NO calories.  Now that’s a true friend!

All though there were a few I questioned – like the one from my niece Mel who said,” Happy birthday Auntie M!!! Hope you have an exciting…wait, when you are – however old you are now – I suppose you prefer relaxing…second try! I hope you have relaxing, fun and chocolate filled birthday.”

So you think I’m old – huh, Mel?

Good thing she doesn’t know that I spent part of my birthday afternoon sitting on the couch reading.

Yes. Reading.

In the middle of the afternoon.

On a Tuesday.

It was wonderful!

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Dagmar was preparing a scrumptious Mexican feast for my party – including chimichangas with enough heat to burn out my sinus’s and enough fat to close up every artery. Fabulous!

And of course, Mommy’s traditional Chocolate Cheesecake Pie for dessert.

Mom's Birthday

(By the way – for those of you still trying to figure out my age – the candles are not a clue! The girls used up the only pink candles we had left because they knew it was my favorite color!)

After the birthday pie there were presents – all of which were surprises!

And you want to know the best gift of all? I went an entire day without doing any dishes at all! 🙂

My sister Becky wrote in her card to me, “Hope your love tank gets filled to overflowing!”

Oh – it did!

Pressed down, shaken together, and running over!

I feel so blessed.

Chocolate Cheesecake Dessert

Chocolate Cheesecake Dessert You know who your friends are when they bring you chocolate.

You know who your really good friends are when they bring you chocolate cheesecake!

I have a friend who did just that. 🙂

Back in December – during the craziest busy week in my month – she brought me this luscious chocolate cheesecake dessert.

She didn’t even make me share.

I asked for the recipe – but with the snowstorms and busyness of life – I am just now getting the recipe up for you all to enjoy as well.

This would be a perfect treat to share with your special Valentine’s!

This comes from a well-used church cookbook. Which are , by the way, one of my favorite kinds of cookbooks because they are written by women in the trenches (like me) who serve real food to real hungry families.

Chocolate Cheesecake Dessert

1 package chocolate cake mix
4 eggs
1 tablespoon oil
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounces Cool Whip

Set aside 1 cup of dry cake mix.

In a large bowl combine the remaining cake mix, 1 egg, and oil. The mixture will be crumbly. Press into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl blend the cream cheese and sugar. Add 3 eggs and reserved cake mix. Beat 1 minute at medium speed. At low speed add milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Pour over crust.

Bake at 300 degrees for 55-60 minutes.

Cool. Spread with Cool Whip and refrigerate.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Cheesecake

Chocolate Caramel Peanut Cheesecake My wonderful children – knowing my love for chocolate – made me a very special dessert for Mother’s Day – chocolate cheesecake with caramel and peanut topping.

This was their first attempt at cheesecake and although it wasn’t as pretty as the picture in the cookbook, but it sure did taste good!

Chocolate Cheesecake with Caramel Peanut Topping

Ingredients:

Crust:

1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup cocoa powder

Topping:

1 pkg. (14 0z.) caramels
1 can (5 oz.) evaporated milk
1 cup peanuts, chopped

Filling:

16 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup dark chocolate, melted

Directions:

Combine graham cracker crumbs, cocoa powder and melted butter. Press crumb mixture evenly on bottom and 1-inch up sides of a 9-inch spring form pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. Cool.

Combine caramels and milk in heavy saucepan (or in microwave safe bowl and melt in the microwave). Cook over low heat until melted, stirring often. Mix in chopped peanuts. Set aside.

Beat cream cheese at high speed with electric mixer until light and fluffy, Gradually add sugar, mixing well.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla and melted chocolate, beat until blended. Pour over graham cracker crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and pour caramel and peanut mixture on top. Run knife around edge of pan to release sides.

Let cool to room temperature. Cover and chill 8 hours.

What a blessed momma I am!