Delicious, Tasty, and just Right: The Mini-Cheesecake

Jake from the Sunday Post asked us for delicious this week. I’ve been on a delicious binge most of my life, so ask me for a delicious post, and that is what you will get. I may not like to cook (or be good at it), but I wielded a baker’s mitt from an early age.

Baking, for me, is associated with many happy memories. Mostly, with my step-dad. It was something we enjoyed together. I would create fabulous desserts of the third-kind; brownies with fudge sauce, chocolate pudding pies, and lop-sided cakes. And he would be the first one to taste them. Brave, brave soul.

That is true fatherly love.

We shared many a good spoon together, and usually, a great relief that the kitchen didn’t burn down.

This past Christmas, I got to spend a lot of time with my mother-in-law helping her bake all her Christmas favorites. Truth is, I observed more than I actually baked, but I have baked this recipe myself. Most recently as a belated birthday surprise for my daughter’s boyfriend Brandon, who LOVES cheesecake (as do I Brandon…as do I).

The crust is Vanilla wafer cookies set in the bottom of the cupcake holder.

Then, you mix the sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, and eggs in a blender. For me, the hardest part is getting the SUPER HEAVY blender down from the upper cabinet. The easiest part is flicking a switch, and not using more elbow grease.

Next, you fill the cups with the delicious mixture (3/4th’s of the way).

Put them in the oven for a little warmth of the 350-degree variety.

After fifteen minutes, or so, they will come out looking like this. And really? THIS is just FINE for those that don’t like a fruit topping. Peel and enjoy, or add something else to the top. Let you imagination run wild.

Traditionally, we use cherry-filling.

I like the cherry. It gives the cheesecake a pop of color and a tasty punch of syrupy goodness.

And that is pretty much it.

Delicious!

My friends…I introduce you to……

THE BEST MINI-CHEESECAKE EVAH!

And no, this is not a secret family recipe, but if that makes it taste better (which would be hard to do), then maybe it could be (heh).

The recipe.

So, what do you think? Do you love cheesecake? Are you willing to try this recipe?

Writers Workshop: The Good Dad

1.) Father’s Day is coming! Share something you’ve learned from your husband about parenting. What makes him good at what he does?

What I can say about my husband’s parenting? It is ALWAYS done in kindness and fairness. He is not quick to anger. He does not yell out demands. He’d rather hug than hit. Give than take. And when the chips are down…..he will be there for you. He doesn’t waver in what he believes in. And he teaches our kids that respect and politeness are not just traits of a nice person, but a way to live.

My husband also taught me a lot about step-parenting. I get to SEE my childhood lived out through his relationship with my daughter. She was older when she met him (14), but it didn’t seem to make a difference in their relationship. She was very protective of him from the first time she met him (and still is). She didn’t want me to tease nice Jason, or be mean to nice Jason. We have a love meter (pre-marriage counseling days) on the fridge that she always checks to make sure it’s not on empty, and if so, WHAT am I doing to poor Jason??? Seriously, this is MY biological kid.

I was a little surprised by a teen’s bond to their stepfather, but as I watched over the four years, I can see how their relationships mirrors the one I had with my step dad (minus the good teen years).

I didn’t appreciate all the things my dad (step) did for me (until I was older). But SHE really gets it and appreciates it. Blows me away.

He took her practice driving – many times – while she was training for her license. He took her school clothes shopping, when I had to work and couldn’t take her. He helped her with MATH, no worse, pre-calc, algebra II, and other yuck stuff – too many times to keep track of.

He bought her a new bedroom set letting her pick it out, so when we moved in with him she had her “own” space. He, also, let her paint the walls in her own space a watermelon pink. He took her to get her license when the time came. He waited in line at the crazy DMV place, watched nervously as she parallel parked, and he celebrated with her when she earned her license and passed.

This year for her graduation and birthday, we used his frequent flyer miles for a trip to California. I used my hotel points for the hotel, and even though money has been non-existent, we squeezed out some spending money for food. That was a great gift for her…made possible by him.

When her car was totaled by a reckless driver earlier this year, she went without for three months. We are 10 miles from the school. I took her to school every day (on my way to work – no biggie). But he LEFT his busy important job (I’m being serious), as he is an IT manager at UTA, to get her from school and take her home – EVERY DAY (for three months). Then, he took her car shopping when she got the insurance money on her wrecked car. They ended up buying a brand new car that will last her through college and beyond. He financed the small amount insurance wouldn’t cover, so she could make the ridiculously low payments on what’s left (which will help her learn budgeting and responsibility). Trusting an eighteen year old – wow.

Through allllll that, do you know how much credit he gets for being her father and taking care of her? Keeping in mind he is just a STEP dad and not a real dad? Yeah. Not much.

Do you know how much he complains? Yeah. Never.

That is the job of a step-parent. You love. You provide. You give and give and give, whether you get it back, or not doesn’t matter. They are YOUR children too and you just love them with all your heart.

That is what he taught me about parenting. It is a self-less job. It a job you take on even if you don’t give birth to that child. It is one that brings great joy, despite any of the circumstances.

Sydney with her dad (left), me, and her step dad (right) at graduation

Sydney – just like me growing up – has a wonderful “real” dad too. Like me, she gets to experience the love and kindness of two wonderful fathers that care and love her with all their heart. I am so happy for her and how that turned out in her life.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Photos of the Week: Blast from the Christmas Past

Last year’s photo shoot – Christmas 2010.

The girls were 16, 6, and 4 years of age.

This is why all my descriptions say, three girls, and three dogs (the dogs are girls too).

Poor Jason.

My favorite part of these photos are the expressions on the dogs.

I can see the whites of a furry eyeball in every photo.

And I believe Anna (on the right) is literally being held by Sydney. She wasn’t too crazy about her jammies.

Salem has this same look when Bridget is pinning bows on her ears – like….mom…help…

Hope you liked a little taste of last year. We were a newly blended family. I don’t think you can tell much difference between us and a regular one.

Isn’t it fun to remember?

The Only Child Syndrome

Sydney came along when I was about 22 years old. She was planned and I was happy to see her little red face when she was born.

I really thought I would have more. I wanted more. But that just wasn’t God’s plan.

So instead of blessing Sydney with siblings, she became an only child.

And truly, it has been great. She became very independent and responsible at a young age.

I’ve told you before she doesn’t get into trouble. She was a little hyper for a few years of grade school. That was probably the hardest time I had with her. But she calmed down with ADHD medicine. Then, she grew out of that. Thank goodness!

Now, Sydney has two half-brothers, and two step-sisters.

According to Wikipedia. Because her half-siblings and step-siblings came along to late in her life (her fist half-brother was born when she was 12).

Technically, she is still an only child.

And that is fine with me, I know I gave her undivided attention, and care. Keeping up with one is pretty easy. I figured this out when my step-daughters came along.

Only children don’t have playmates, but I don’t think Sydney was lonely. She just hung out with all the adults. She seems very adjusted, not bratty, or bossy (as some stereotypes suggest of only children).

When she became a sister, I was VERY happy for her to finally have a brother. Then, the lucky devil got to take on two step-sisters. Everyone knows, a girl’s gotta have sisters. Then her second brother was born to her step-mom this summer.

Exciting stuff! From none to four.

She doesn’t see her brothers very often (they live in Mississippi), but her sisters certainly let her experience what it’s like not to be an only child.

She gets to argue, share the bathroom, mimic, sing, and play games with them. They may be far apart in age, but it’s not really much different from normal siblings.

Even down to the tattling……

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This makes me laugh, not just for the content (her icons are hilarious), but what it represents: the fact that Sydney really knows what it’s like to be a big sister.

It was pretty dark in the living room (I think). Maybe, she was just chewing her fingernail?

The important thing to remember is big sister is always watching.