Friday, March 25, 2011

There's an Airplane in My Bathroom

Yes. I said there is an airplane in my bathroom! I also found a shark in my laundry basket and three little men in my bath tub. It's all true and I love Spring Break!

My darling step-son was here last week and I haven't had the heart to kick all the fun stuff outa the bathroom. I'll admit, some of it surprised me. Like the shark.

Oh yeah, I have a cup filled with dinosaurs too.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


There once were two sisters who were pretty as could be. Their Momma and Daddy said they were expecting number three! I figured there would be another sweet little sister who would be a perfect little playmate. Then they told us this one would be different. This was someone who would wear blue, and green. He would play BALL and climb trees! A boy! I just could not imagine what this boy would look like, or act like, or do! Finally, there came the day to meet him. He was so precious and sweet, breathtaking right from the start. As he got a little bigger he seemed to be a snuggle-er, then he learned to smile and the sky burst forth with sunshine. He was so charming! He charmed the world and the world charmed him. He never stops smiling and loving his life, every time he smiles you can see it in his eyes. He's a sweet little brother and he love love loves his mother! He's a perfect little boy who looks just like his father!

Happy 1st Birthday Marshall! I love you to the moon!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Emilie Marie

Happy Birthday to the most beautiful Emilie in the world. You are precious and sweet and everyday I love you more. You were born early in the morning, early enough that I drove to the hospital as the sun rose. It was the most beautiful sunrise I'll ever remember watching. There was so much pink in the sky that I knew it was for you. I heard a song on the radio during that drive. It talked about this baby that was born and changed the world. I knew that was for you too. It's called All Because Two People Fell in Love, by Brad Paisley. My favorite part is this: Baby there ain't nothing not affected When two hearts get connected All that is, will be, or ever was. I'm glad your dad could not resist Your mother's charms, and you exist; All because two people fell in love. So of course your sappy aunt bawled all the way to the hospital, just like I am right now. I love you pretty girl, Happy 10th Birthday!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cheesecake Heaven!

That's where I live!

I been making lots of cheesecake! It started last year when my father-in-law turned 50! I made my first cheesecake and I was not impressed. Really, I wasn't. It wasn't a total flop but it seemed too wet, soggy, and kind of eggy. It just wasn't smooth. Then my mom turned 50 and wanted cheesecake for her birthday party, so I tried again. This time I made a few changes. For one thing I didn't use even a speck of flour. I also made sure that my ingredients were room temp and I made sure there was a big pan of hot water below the cheesecake while it baked. I don't know which made the difference, maybe it was all three, but I've had great luck on the most recent 3 or 4 I've made! Except this one (pictured below), it looks great but the center was rather undercooked, Whoops! Some of us ate it anyway. Since then they have all been perfectly textured all throughout.

To make this cheesecake (or cheesecake bites) you need:

4 - 8oz packages of cream cheese
4 - Eggs
1 cup (or 3/4 cup Agave Nectar)
1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp crushed graham crackers
Pre-heat your oven to 325*, on the lower rack place a large but shallow pan of hot water. You'll leave the water in the over the entire time your cheesecake is baking. This is supposed to help prevent "The Crack" from happening. Lightly butter around the sides and the bottom of your pan, I use a spring form for a cheesecake but a rectangular cake pan when I make the bites. Once you've buttered, then sprinkle your very fine cumbs around the bottom of the pan and shake it around to even it out. I crush my crackers in the food processor, they become a very nice powder.

Set the cream cheese and eggs out on the counter long enough to reach room temp. I do mine for the morning and make the cheesecake after lunch, I try to give it about 3 or 4 hours. This is a very important step. Don't skip it. I'm not a pre-planner but I have found out that this is key.

Blend sweetener (sugar or agave) into cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and lemon and mix. Add each egg one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each egg. Pour batter around the bottom of the pan and pop it in the oven. I bake mine for about 50 minutes until the cheesecake is almost done, a little wiggle is okay, not a lot. You might have to go with 30 mins for the 9x13 cake pan size, it's much more thin.
This part is important, take the cheesecake out of the oven and run a sharp knife around the edge then put it back in the oven for about another hour at least, longer might even be better. You might have to force yourself to leave it! Just do it! :) If you're making cheesecake bites, at the same time that you run your knife around the edge of the pan, cut your little squares out, cheesecake is super easy to cut while its warm. Resist the urge to have a piece at this point though. Not that great.
Once you decide to take it from the oven you'll need to put it directly into the fridge, uncovered, for a very long time. Overnight is great, a day is better, TWO days is SUPER FANTASTIC. I am telling you. I have a problem with not covering mine. If it feels bad to you too, to keep it uncovered, lay a piece of wax or parchment paper over the pan, don't let it touch your masterpiece.

Agave users: If you're worried about the agave making the batter too thin, you can use less agave and add a tiny tiny bit of stevia. I use the powdered stevia from the NOW brand, and I think I just did one or two little scoops, you can taste it as you mix it in just to be sure. I am a reformed stevia hater and I found out that if I just use a teensy weensy bit, it's pretty good.

Low(er) Carb Alert! If you make a 12 slice cheesecake and you use sugar then your sugar per serving amount is about 4 tsp so when you think about it, that's pretty low for a dessert. If you make cheesecake bites, I think you get nearly 100 pieces (?) so that's a little less than half a tsp in each bite. If you use agave nectar, then it's extra low carb. Agave is a great sweetener for diabetics too!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Coconut Oil

I know I've mentioned the benefits of coconut oil but I'd like to say a little more. Before I tell you much about it let me defer to a couple of websites. They are so full of great information and are much more thorough than I could achieve.

The 1st website I have read is here. It lists the major benefits of eating or using coconut oil.

Another site that I feel has a lot of the same information, as well as some new, is here. You'll need to scroll past the advertisements to get to the good stuff.

Something else that has to do with coconut oil is called "Oil Pulling" or "OP". Here's a link to a site that describes that very well. Read the Introduction, the Instructions, and the Notes, then scroll to about 1/3 of the way down the page to Sandy's Oil Pulling Compilation for a list of oils and their benefits (as associated with oil pulling).

To summarize the information that's listed on the benefits sites I'll tell you this: coconut oil is comprised of Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA) as opposed to the Long Chain Fatty Acids (LCFA) found in almost every other fat or oil, so our bodies process coconut oil in a way that is much different from almost every other fat or oil. This has many benefits for weight and cholesterol management because our bodies process it as energy rather than fat to be stored.

Coconut oil is also known to be anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, it works as an anti-inflammatory, and is also high in anti-oxidants. This is not to be taken as a cure for anything, but can help your body prevent much sickness and disease.

You can use this oil on your hair, on your skin, and I even use it on my face. You can use it on an owie too, I got on a blister on the back of my heel while mowing the lawn, I put a little chuck on there, covered it with a bandaid and went to bed. The next morning it had healed right up. Never had to feel it again. The spot was still there, but it was pain free! There is no limit to what you can do with this wonder food.

Coconut oil can be used for cooking, obviously. I use only coconut oil (or real butter) when cooking because it has a high heat tolerance and when heated does not become a carcinogen. Other than real butter, all other fats/oils become toxic when heated. When you smoke a cigarette, you are inhaling carcinogens, these are cancerous, and any oil other than coconut oil or real butter has these same properties. I encourage you to use every other kind of healthful oil you can find, and to put it on your food, but do not heat it.

Coconut oil can be eaten in place of butter, with a little added salt (I like Himalayan) it will taste no different. I love butter and have not missed it a bit. I would miss coconut oil everyday if I didn't have it. Just last week two little gals were quite impressed with how delicious an egg becomes when fried up in a little coconut oil and topped with a dash of pink salt!