Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Brownie Shortbread Cookie Crust for Cheesecakes

Posted by Lori:

Each year for Thanksgiving on my husband's side of the family, I make a cheesecake.  While I've hardly met a cheesecake I didn't like, there are definitely some that are much better than others.  This year's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake is definitely a keeper.  I'll share it with you in four different recipes - four different days. 

Today, for the first day, I'll share the crust.  You could use any crust, but I prefer non-graham-cracker-type crusts.  This one was perfect in taste and texture.  It would be good with a lot of cheesecake fillings.  It's from a Junior's Cheesecakes cookbook.

Brownie Shortbread Cookie Crust for Cheesecakes
Makes one 9-inch crust

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 extra large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.  Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way p the sides.  Mix the flour and salt together.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on high until creamy.  Blend in the egg yolk and vanilla, then the melted chocolate.  Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour just until it disappears and a dough forms. 

Push the dough over the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula.  Flour your hands, then smooth out the dough evenly to the edge of the pan with your fingertips, working in a circular motion.  Don't press up the sides.

Bake the crust just until it's set and forms a light brown crust on top (don't overbake), about 15 minutes.  Leave the crust in the pan and transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.

I'll post the filling in a few days.
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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hot Chocolate

Posted by Donna:

Our grandchildren from Lubbock were here last week for Thanksgiving. Usually when they're visiting at Thanksgiving or Christmas, we have hot chocolate and watch a movie. Last night was the night we had our hot chocolate. I've always just used the Nestle's instant mix; but, I decided to do it the old fashioned way. I don't think I've done it this way since my girls were little. It may not be as quick, but it is so good. Usually, when I do the instant hot chocolate, the girls never drink all of theirs, but last night there wasn't a drop left in their mugs. That pretty well told me they liked their hot chocolate!!!!!

Hot Chocolate

1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup hot water
4 cups milk
3/4 tsp. vanilla

Mix cocoa, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Stir constantly until mixture boils.(Use medium heat.) After the mixture comes to a boil, continue to stir and boil for about a minute. Add the milk and vanilla. Heat, but do not boil. Pour into mugs and add marshmallows, if desired. Yum--What a treat on a cold night!!!!

The good thing about this is that it can be prepared and stored in the refrigerator.

Blake, our grandson, said he was going to start doing his hot chocolate this way because it was so good, but also because he said it would save money not buying the instant mixes. Whether it saves money or not, it's pretty hard to beat anything homemade. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Your Special Bank Account

Posted by Donna:

An elderly lady friend gave this to me a couple of years ago. She keeps this in her Bible to always remind her of the happiness and blessings in her life. I decided to keep the article in my Bible as well. I read it quite often just to remind me of the importance of keeping a positive attitude. I thought this would be a fitting time to share with you.

Your Special Bank Account

"A 92 year old, petite, well-poised and proud man, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o'clock, with his hair fashionably coiffed and shaved perfectly, even though he is legally blind, moved to a nursing home today. His wife of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, he smiled sweetly when told his room was ready.

As he maneuvered his walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of his tiny room including the eyelet sheets that had been hung on his window. "I love it," he stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old having just been presented with a new puppy.

"Mr. Jones, you haven't seen the room; just wait."
"That doesn't have anything to do with it," he replied. "Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like my room or not doesn't depend on how the furniture is arranged...it's how I arrange my mind. I already decided to love it. It's a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I have a choice; I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have with the parts of my body that no longer work or get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do. Each day is a gift, and as long as my eyes open, I'll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I've stored away just for this time in my life. Old age is like a bank account. You withdraw from what you've put in. So, my advice to you would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank account of memories!"

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. What a lesson for us each and every day.

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving! Pin It Now!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Craisin-White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted by Lori:
This is actually Kimberly's recipe, but I'm posting it since it's one of my favorite cookies.  It's a great cookie any time, but seems like it's a Christmasy cookie, with the dried cranberries.

Craisin-White Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter-flavored Crisco
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 cups quick oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounce bag of Craisins (dried cranberries)
1 package white chocolate chips (I only use 1 cup of these.  I don't care for too many of them.)
1 cup pecans

In large mixing bowl, cream brown sugar and Crisco.  Add eggs and vanilla. Add flour, soda and salt, mixing well.  Stir in chips and pecans.  Drop by spoonful or cookie scoop onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes.  Makes 2 - 3 dozen.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Funfetti Birthday Cake Dip

Posted by Lori:

I've been seeing this recipe a lot on the web and can't wait to try it!  It's such a cute recipe, too!  I've seen it served with animal crackers and vanilla wafers.  Sounds yummy!

Funfetti Birthday Cake Dip
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup Pillsbury Funfetti Cake Mix
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sprinkles

Melt butter in microwave and set aside to cool.  Beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and cake mix together for  two minutes with an electric mixer. Add the vanilla and slowly beat in the cooled butter and beat for another two minutes. Stir in the sprinkles. Pour into a serving bowl and refrigerate.  Garnish with additional sprinkles, if desired. Serve with animal crackers or vanilla wafers or your choice of dippers!

After being refrigerated it gets hard, so let it soften about 15 minutes before serving.
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Pumpkin

We have lots and lots of pumpkin recipes on our blog.  If you're looking for pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pancakes with caramel sauce, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin desserts, or any other pumpkin recipe (except for a traditional pumpkin pie!), just type in "pumpkin" at the search box at the right on the blog home page.  Many pages of pumpkin desserts and treats will pop up.

Happy Thursday and happy baking!
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Refrigerator Magnets

Posted by Donna:

We had a "Grandparents Shower" for a couple of our members at church Sunday. They're anxiously awaiting the birth of their first grandchild, which happens to be a girl and is due December 23rd. That's quite a Christmas gift!!! As a hostess gift, the soon-to-be-grandmother made each of us a set of six magnets.

I was anxious to share this idea. I have a "thing" for cute magnets; so, these found an instant place on my refrigerator.


Clear stones---found at Hobby Lobby
Scrapbooking paper
Large magnet

Lori, (soon-to-be-grandmother) chose several different fonts and ran the words off on different designs of scrapbook paper.She then glued the cut-out paper to the bottom of the clear rocks and added the magnet. How simple is that!!!! (The words are a little hard to see in the picture. The words she used were: peace, faith, joy, love, patience, and kindness.)

Lori put each set in an organza bag; then made a tag to attach to it--the tag was also out of scrapbook paper. Not only did she have each hostess a set of magnets, she also made individual ones for each guest to have. She had these on a really cute free standing magnetic board. Only Lori would think of this!!!! She's one of those people who has talent and wonderful ideas oozing out of her!!!!

I hope this gives you an idea for your gift idea file. Pin It Now!

Sour Cream-Butter Muffins

Posted by Lori:

A few weeks ago I made this little muffins when ham and roasted potatoes were on the menu.  My family really liked the muffins, but I'll warn you - they are very rich tasting!  We cut some in half and placed a slice of ham in the middle, making a little sandwich.  I think that they would be great for brunches and showers.

I don't use fresh herbs much and didn't have dried chives.  I used dried parsley and it worked just fine.  I used 1 tablespoon of the dried herb, instead of 2 tablespoons of the fresh variety. You might prefer more.

Sour Cream-Butter Muffins

2 1/2 cups Bisquick mix (I used the same amount of this homemade baking mix recipe)
3/4  cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 container (8oz.) sour cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray 36 mini muffin cups with cooking spray.  In large bowl, mix all ingredients just until moistened.  Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling almost to top.  Bake 25 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool 2 minutes; remove muffins from pans.  Serve warm.
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Monday, November 14, 2011

Chocolate Butterflies

For our annual PTO Fall Festival, one of the moms brought these adorable cupcakes!  Of course they were a big hit in our concession stand.

I found this website that tells how to make the chocolate butterflies, in case any of you are interested: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Chocolate-Butterflies/
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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Orange Creamsicle Drink

Posted by Lori:

A few weeks ago I made this beverage for my daughter's junior class.  It isn't the kind of thing that everyone is going to like.  In fact, I think in their class of about 20, only half of them liked it.  It was the same ratio in my family.  I liked it, so I'm posting it for you!

For a special presentation of the drink, I bought inexpensive 8 ounce water bottles and used the water from them to make the drink.  After that I refilled the empty bottles with the drink and made decorative labels for them.  A cute and inexpensive presentation idea!

Orange Creamsicle Drink

In a clean jar with a matching lid, mix one part Tang, one part powdered milk, and two parts instant vanilla pudding. Stir thoroughly and then put two heaping tablespoons of the mix into an 8 ounces of water.
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sandwich Wrap

Posted by Donna:

If you're trying to cut back on calories or eat healthier, this is a great sandwich to include on your menu. It's so simple, but one of my favorites. I think I could eat it once a day and not get tired of it.

Sandwich Wrap

4 hard boiled eggs
4 tsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Whole-wheat wrap bread
Bell pepper, cut into strips
Red onion

Combine the eggs, mayo, mustard, salt and pepper. Spread the egg mixture in the middle of the wrap. Top with the vegetables. Fold into a sandwich wrap.

Very good!!!!

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Fun at Canton Trade Days

Posted by Lori:

The ladies on my husband's side of the family took a weekend road trip to Canton, TX.  For more about our trip, you can read my post on my devotional blog HERE.  On this post, I thought I would show you some of my purchases....just in case you're thinking about heading to Canton Trade Days!
I was so excited to get these two bottles of Mexican Vanilla!  I had just run out of vanilla and these two bottles will last me quite a while.  $10.00 each - not too bad!
Yummy Garlic Salsa...  I bought this variety because the garlic taste was just great.  Too bad I'm the only one in my family that really likes garlic (ha ha!)
I'm excited to hang this sign up in my home.  Not sure where it's going yet, but I'm looking forward to it being there.  I love the message.
Black and gold deco mesh.....This is for our high school graduation decor.  I'm always looking for new things to use for the decorations and this new width will be perfect!
A rickety, old ladder....  Not sure yet what I'll do with it.  Maybe put it in my new laundry room when our remodel is done?  Maybe put it in my Serendipity booth inside of an antique mall?  Not sure, but I liked it!
Our youngest's teacher moved from 1st grade to 3rd grade this year.  I remember her having a 1st grade rocks shirt.  Now she'll have the 3rd grade shirt!  He was going to give it to her this morning as an early birthday present.
My "big" purchase it this old Sears bicycle.  It's going in the yard for decoration, though the man said with new tires it would be perfectly ride-able.  The baskets in the back will be perfect for flowers, don't you think?
I will post more pictures from Canton later this week.  Lots and lots of STUFF there!  Anything from old to new, from junky to exquisite.  Amazing place! Fun memories of family togetherness!
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More Desserts at Walt Disney World

After going to Disney World in early September, I thought I had done one post about all of the wonderful desserts we had, but apparently I divided them up into several.  To make it easier on those who come to "Life's a Bowl of Cherries" specifically searching for Disney World desserts, I'm putting all of the special desserts/treats we had on one page, except for the Kona Kone. It it HERE.

For more about 50's Prime Time Diner, via Napoli, and Kona Kafe, click HERE.  It's my previous posts about each of these restaurants.  You can also use our SEARCH feature.  Just type in Disney.

Milkshake at 50's Prime Time Diner - Hollywood Studios.  Old-time goodness!
Boston Cream Parfait at 50's Prime Time Diner in Disney's Hollywood Studios.  YUM!
Display of desserts at Kona Kafe - Polynesian Resort
Ice Cream Sundae
Chocolate Fondue with cookies and fruit.
Banana - Chocolate Creme Brulee
No Sugar Added - Apple/Caramel Stack
Raspberry Lemonade....Sooooo good!
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
 Kilauea Torte
 White Chocolate Cheesecake -  Wish I had another one! :)
Dessert Menu from Epcot's World Showcase
Italy's table service restaurant - via Napoli
Pistachio Lemon Gelato with an almond brittle cookie.  My daughter really liked this!
Italian Cream Soda with vanilla gelato - OH SOOOOOO GOOD!!  Would take another one of these, too!
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Corn on the Cob the Easy Way

This video is amazing!  It's from YouTube and shows how to shuck corn, removing all of the silk - by using the microwave!!  Thank you to this man for taking the time to show this neat trick and for whoever it was that talked him into it and videoed it! :)
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