Sunday, July 20, 2014

Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Fresh Blueberry Sauce


The Mister and I were out shopping at the grocery store and he said he thought cheesecake might taste good.  "Well," I said, "we need to get some cream cheese for it."  To my surprise, next to the regular 8 ounce blocks of cream cheese we discovered new-to-us Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Product.  Since we both really enjoy Greek Yogurt, we thought this might make a very tasty Cheesecake.  We also found some fresh blueberries and right then I knew what this week's "What's Under the Cake Dome Sunday #53 would be: 
Blueberry Cheesecake made with Greek Yogurt!

I can say unequivocally that as I licked the batter bowl, this was definitely the best cheesecake batter I'd ever had.  So once it was in the oven I had to wait overnight for it to chill and find out how yummy the finished Cheesecake would be.  The Mister and I were not disappointed!


Cheesecake made with Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese topped with Warm Lemon Blueberries
 
Ingredients:

Crust:
  • 2 cups finely ground graham crackers (it will take about 30 - 35 graham cracker squares)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Filling:
  • 3 8 ounce packages Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese Product
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice
  • 4 eggs
Warm Lemon Blueberries:
  • 1 pint blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.  Line the bottom with Parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon and butter.  Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake in the centre of oven for 8 - 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C).
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until completely smooth.  In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and flour; gradually beat into the cream cheese until well combined.  Beat in the grated lemon rind and juice.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Pour mixture into the crust.
  4. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 - 50 minutes or until set around the edge but the centre still jiggles slightly.  Place on a cooling rack.  Burn a knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen from the parchment.  Cool to room temperature in the pan.  Cover and chill for 4 hours or overnight.
  5. Uncover.  Release the clip on the springform pan and remove the outer ring of the pan.  Discard the parchment.  Transfer the cheesecake to a serving platter.
To make Warm Lemon Blueberries:
In a small saucepan place the blueberries, lemon zest and juice and the granulated sugar and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes or so until the fruit begins to break down slightly.  Leave to cool before spreading on the cheesecake.


We really, REALLY enjoyed this cheesecake.  If you'd like to try an alternative to regular cream cheese I would encourage you to substitute Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese product.

Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer



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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Peter Rabbit Thank You card

Did you know that I have a real thing for Beatrix Potter and her stories of Peter Rabbit and all of the woodland creatures?  Yes, I do!  I discovered quite by chance this stamp as well as one other recently on EBay.  As I've said many times, I do not need more stamps and have been quite happy rediscovering so many sets that I already have.  But I couldn't resist this little stamp.  It feeds my Beatrix Potter collection of goodies.  In fact, in the very near future I'll be telling you about more items in my Peter Rabbit collection. 

For this card I used this week's Mojo Monday # 354 Sketch as seen below:


Card Recipe

Stamps:  All Night Media Peter Rabbit eating Radishes,  Papertrey Ink sentiment
Ink:  Momento Tuxedo Black, Image colored with Copic Markers and Prismacolor pencils
Patterned Paper:  Stampin' Up!  (a really old papers that I had in my stash)
Tools & Embellishments:  Spellbinders Nestibilities circle dies (in round, scalloped and pointed round), Machine Stitching, Ribbon and gold colored half crystals.



Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer
 

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Compliments to the Chef: Part two

 
Another thank you card using the same stamp set as my last post: Compliments to the Chef from Stampin' Up!  In fact, most things about this card is the same with the exception of the designer paper (from Martha Stewart paper pad), I rounded the corners and added a different sentiment from Papertrey Ink.  The tag was punched with a very old Cuttlebug tag cutter.  All stamping was done in Versamark with Detail Silver Embossing Powder.  A little grosgrain ribbon and the card is complete. 



My photo didn't turn out very well (it's dark and raining here) but I'm enjoying trying some variations on the original card. 

More cards to come.


Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer
 

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Compliments to the Chef


The other day I saw a meme on facebook that read something to the effect of "I never can clean my craft room because I get distracted by all of the cool stuff I find that I have."  Does this happen to you?  It sure does to me.  I was supposed to be cleaning my craft room and I discovered the Stampin' Up! set that I purchased a while back and completely forgot that I had it. 

So much for cleaning.  I got my ink and papers and embellishments out and made this thank you card.

Stamps:  Stampin' Up! Compliments to the Chef
Ink: Versamark with Silver Detail Embossing Powder
Designer Paper:  Martha Stewart Playful Blue paper pad
Tools:  Cuttlebug and frame embossing folder for the placemat, Spellbinders Nestabilities circle cutting dies



Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer
 

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Raspberry Fudge Brownies


If it is Sunday, it must be time for What's under the Cake Dome Sunday? and today is #52 of the sweet treats since I bought my old Cake Dome at a second hand shop. 52 weeks of desserts! I feel like it is a bit of a milestone, somehow. I can certainly say with confidence that the Mister is enjoying the desserts.

Today I made brownies, but not plain brownies. Nope! These brownies are chocolate with chocolate chips and raspberry swirled throughout the batter. And if that isn't decadent enough, I decided to make chocolate ganache to drizzle over the top of the brownies.
 
I love making these for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost, they're very, very moist yummy and almost like fudge!  The second reason is that if you've recently made raspberry jam and seem to have an overabundance of homemade raspberry jam in  your pantry, this recipe is a great use of some of your jam.

 
Raspberry- Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Ganache Drizzle
 
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam or preserves - divided*
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease a 9 inch square baking pan or round pie pan (I used a pie pan so I could cut mine in wedges.)
  2. In a small, heavy saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and chocolate and heat, stirring often, just until melted.  Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla until blended. 
  4. Whisk in the slightly cooled chocolate mixture, 1/4 cup* raspberry jam with the egg/sugar mixture until completely blended.
  5. Add the flour and whisk just to incorporate.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula.  Spoon the remaining 1/4 cup of raspberry jam*  by dollops over the batter using a teaspoon, then run a knife through the batter a few times to achieve a marbled effect.
  7. Bake until a tester/toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs still clinging to it, about 40 - 50 minutes. Watch carefully to be sure they don't get too done.
  8. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the brownies cool completely in the pan.  Using a sharp knife, cut the brownies into wedges (if using a pie pan) or squares (if using a 9" square pan).
  9. Drizzle with chocolate ganache


Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer



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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hospitality Thank You Card


This is a little thank you card I made using the town house stamp from Papertrey Ink's set titled Boards and Beams.  This stamp set has a house, townhouse, stones walk, fences, trees, potted plants and a lot of sentiments too.  It is such a versatile set!


I fussy cut the potted plants in front of the white picket fence and popped them up on foam dimensional tape.  The windows have a touch of Glossy Accents clear dimensional glaze to give the a glass-like appearance.  The layout sketch is this week's Splitcoast Stampers layout challenge SC 496 shown below.

 
Card Recipe:
 
Stamps:  Papertrey Ink Boards and Beams
Ink:  Momento Tuxedo Black, Stampin' Up! Certainly Celery and Brocade Blue, Image colored with Copic Markers.
Designer Paper:   Making Memories English Garden
Embellishments:  Craft Essentials Brown Gingham Papercrafting Ribbon, Inkssentials Glossy Accents clear dimensional glaze, Stickles glitter glue, Foam dimensional mounting tape
  


Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer



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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pineapple and Lemon Morning Eye Opener

 
I'm working on cleaning up my act.  Yes I am!  This past week I've started my day with a Pineapple/Lemon morning eye opener smoothie.  Yippee Skippy! It's tart and zingy and delicious and it will get your eyes opened!   As well, it contains a good supply of Vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber. 
 
Simple ingredients, whipped together in your blender, will fortify you and get you out the door for your morning walk, workout, swim, run or whatever your day's activities bring your way.


 
Pineapple/Lemon Morning Eye Opener Smoothie
 
In a blender combine the following:
 
  • 2 slices of Pineapple (fresh is best if you have it but canned will work)
  • Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Honey
  • 2 or 3 ice cubes
Blend thoroughly in your blender or food processor and enjoy!



This Pineapple/Lemon Morning Eye Opener smoothie is delicious!  Truly!  And knowing all of the healthy advantages that Pineapple, Lemon, Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey have...well...YIPPEE SKIPPY!  This smoothie is a winner!

Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer



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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Vintage Sewing Machine card

 
It's been a while since I've stamped and made any cards.  I have no good reasons why I haven't.  I can say, however, that I've missed it.  I bought this stamp set a year or two ago.  It is from The Craft's Meow and I just love the set which includes a variety of vintage sewing accessories and themes.  Today I FINALLY got it out and inked it up!
 
I had a lot of fun attempting to detail the image with thread and machine stitching and also accenting what would have been a gold colored trim/detail on these old black sewing machines.  One thing I do find funny about the set is that the sewing machine is backward.  I certainly have never seen a machine that sews facing this way.  But, the stamp set is fun and I went ahead and played with it.
 
 
For inspiration for card layout I stopped by Mojo Monday blog for the MOJO Monday #353 layout.  This sketch was just the ticket I needed to get my creative juices flowing.  The sketch layout is below:
 
Card Recipe:
 
Stamps:  The Craft's Meow  "Sew Happy"
Ink:  Versafine Onyx Black and Tea Dye Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Accessories:  Spellbinders scalloped square Nestibilities cutting die,  foam dimension mounting tape
Embellishments:  Machine stitching, thread, distressed seam binding, crocheted lace edging, button charm, Crystal Stickles glitter (on the sewing machine needle), clear embossing powder and gold gel pen.


 
I'm looking forward to doing a lot more card making on a much more regular basis (I hope!).  Sewing still occupies most of my free time and I do have a lot of projects started.  But I really don't want to let my card making go by the wayside.
 
Hope you're enjoying a lovely summer day!
 
Until next time,
Cheers!
 
Jennifer



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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Lemon, Almond and Poppy Seed Pound Cake


Today is the mister and my 12th wedding anniversary!   I knew I had to make him something special for today's "What's under the cake dome Sunday # 51" to celebrate "our day".  Strawberries are abundant right now and the mister loves my Strawberry Shortcake on Sweet Biscuits, which I made for him a few days ago.  But this time I wanted to make a special celebratory cake.  Then I remembered this recipe for 7-Up pound cake that my mother used to make.  I've tweeked the pound cake recipe slightly and I think it makes a perfectly wonderful "shortcake" as well as just to eat plain.

 
Our 12th Anniversary
Lemon, Almond, Poppy Seed Pound Cake
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups of flour, sifted TWICE (don't ask, just do it) 
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Poppy Seeds
  • 7 ounces of any lemon-lime carbonated beverage (7-Up, Sprite are good choices)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • finely chopped almonds to dust the Bundt pan before baking (optional)
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and shortening until light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually add the sugar while beating.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
  4. Add alternately the twice sifted flour, poppy seeds, 7-Up (carbonated beverage) and the lemon and almond extracts and lemon juice.  Mix well.
  5. Grease and flour a 9 or 10" tube pan or a Bundt pan and then dust the greased/floured pan with the finely crushed almonds. 
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. 
  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees and continue baking the cake for 25 - 35 minutes longer.  Use a cake tester or toothpick and insert in center of cake.  When it comes out clean (no batter sticking to the tester) then the cake is done.
  8. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before turning out onto serving plate.
 



 I served our Lemon, Almond and Poppy Seed Anniversary Pound Cake with sliced strawberries that had macerated in a tablespoon of sugar and then topped with a dollop of whipped cream. 



Until next time,
Cheers!

Jennifer 


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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fresh Strawberry Pie


Happy Father's Day!!!

Today's "What's under the cake dome Sunday #50" is fresh Strawberry Pie.  If my Dad were alive I'd take him this pie, along with a big hug and kiss. 
What I really like about this Simple Fresh Strawberry Pie recipe is that the glaze is made from crushed strawberries, a little sugar (not too much!), cornstarch to thicken, a hint of almond extract and vanilla, and a wee bit of lemon juice.  The glaze is full of all natural strawberry.  I used to use the Strawberry Jello glaze filling recipes for Strawberry Pie, and while I like it, THIS FRESH STRAWBERRY PIE recipe is just too good to go back to the old variety. 



Fresh Strawberry Pie

Ingredients:
  • Single pie shell, baked  (** notes at the end of the recipe for single baked pie shell tips and tricks**)
  • 5 cups of fresh strawberries, quartered and hulled
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup of sugar (adjust the amount according to the sweetness of the strawberries)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon cream
  • Whipped cream for topping (optional, but oh so yummy!)
Directions:

Preparing your Pie Crust:
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 C).  Place a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven.
  2. Prepare your pie crust using either a homemade or store bought.  Roll out the pie crust to fit your pie dish.  Gently press the dough down into the pie dish so that it lines the bottom and sides of the dish.   Crimp the edges.
  3. Pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork to prevent air pockets and bubbles from forming while baking.
  4. Line the bottom of the crust with a sheet of aluminium foil.  Then, fill the foil with pie weights or you may use dry rice or beans to use as weights.  Place the pie crust in the freezer for about 10 minutes (or in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes) to chill until firm.
  5. Place the pie crust onto the preheated baking sheet in the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F (200 C).  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden and remove the crust from the oven.
  6. Using the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of cream listed in the ingredients list, make and egg wash by whisking the egg yolk and cream in a small bowl or cup.  Brush the bottom and the sides of the crust with the egg wash and place back into the oven and bake until the egg wash is dry and shiny (about 3 to 5 minutes).  Cool the rust completely before filling.
Preparing the strawberries and filling:
  1. Place 2 cups of the strawberries in a small saucepan.  Mash the strawberries until chunky
  2. Add the sugar, corn starch, vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon juice and salt.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the glaze has thickened (this takes approximately 3 - 5 minutes).  COOL THE FILLING COMPLETELY before proceeding.
  3. Combine the remaining 3 cups of strawberries with the cooled strawberry glaze.  Gently fold the strawberries with a rubber spatula into the cooled glaze until the berries are well coated.
  4. Spoon the strawberry filling into the cooled pie crust.
  5. Refrigerate the pie at least 2 hours before cutting to allow the filling to set up.
  6. Prior to serving, top with whipped cream and garnish with a couple fresh mint leaves and halved strawberries. (optional...it just looks pretty).
**NOTES ABOUT THE PIE CRUST**
  1. I never accept the idea that making a good pie crust is easy.  Like anything else, it takes practice.  Only after you have experimented a few times can say it is easy for you because you've already experienced the goofs, oopsies and missteps in making a homemade crust.  There is no shame in using a store bought crust.  But it is also very satisfying to learn to make a good pie crust and have the pie dough ready in the freezer for the moment you have the urge for pie. 
  2. In this particular pie and also with cream pies, I've found the step using the egg wash is a wonderful technique to keep the bottom of the crust from getting soggy.  If by chance your pie lasts a day or two, pie crusts tend to get a bit soggy.  But, using the egg wash and a quick baking prior to filling your pie will create a lovely barrier and help keep the crust from soaking up the juices and preserving the lovely flavor.
  3. One of these days I will buy proper pie weights, but in the meantime and in an effort to being frugal and using what is on hand in my pantry, I use either dried peas or dried beans or dry rice to weight the crust to prevent it from bubbling up and ruining a nice pie shell.  After rolling out the crust and fitting the crust into the pie plate and crimping and piercing, simply line the pie shell with a piece of aluminium foil or parchment paper and pour whatever you choose to weigh the foil/paper down.  I used rice this time.  Usually I use dry beans or peas.  One day I'll actually have baker's pie weights. 


Fresh strawberries are abundant right now so we'll be eating a lot of fresh strawberry pie, strawberry shortcake, strawberry/spinach salad...strawberry this and strawberry that.  +smiles+

Until next time,
Cheers!


Jennifer 


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Some of my favorite Blog Parties I enjoy attending:
 
 Worthwhile Wednesdays, Wake Up Wednesdays, Clever Chicks Blog Hop, FoodySchmoody Tuesday Tastings,  Delish Dessert Link Party, Share your stuff Tuesdays, Anyonita Nibbles Tasty Tuesday'sShare it One More Time, Much Ado About MondayFeathered Nest Fridays, DIY Vintage Chic FridayThe Style Sisters Centerpiece Wednesday, Sew-Off Saturday Sew Can She , Brag about it Tuesday BeBetsy , Shabby Art Boutique Shabbilicious Friday , Give Me The Goods Monday , Homestead Barn Hop , Whimsy Wednesday , Knick Of Time ,  From the Farm Blog Hop , A Peek Into My Paradise , A Delightsome Life , Share your Cup Thursday Have a Daily Cup, Homework , Green Willow Pond , A Stroll Thru Life , Work It Wednesday , Savvy Southern Style , I Should Be Mopping the Floors , Common Ground Be Inspired , Simple and Sweet Fridays Sweet and Savory Sunday This Gal Cooks Marvelous Mondays , This Silly Girl's Life, Living Better Together TGIF Linkparty , DIY Sunday Showcase , Dear Creatives Inspiration, Super Saturday Link Party