Christmas

The days surrounding Christmas had ups and downs this year, but one thing that NEVER changes is that Christ came down all those years ago to be born here on earth, leaving His perfect Kingdom, so that He could save our lives.  That is THE meaning of Christmas.  That is the unchanging good news.  That is why despite sadness we have joy!

Joshua’s birthday celebration:

Christmas Brunch, before eating commenced:

Some yummy recipes this year included banana cream cheese stuffed baked french toast, blueberry white chocolate coffeecake, scones, quiche and about a million other things.  😉

Here are a couple desserts after they were dug into…red velvet cheesecake and butterfinger bars:

The butterfinger bars were very good…a little difficult to cut and the recipe is surely for a small pan (I used a 9×13 and had to double and it was still a stretch!)

The red velvet cheesecake I couldn’t try, because of the red dye, so I am not sure how it turned out, but it looked good!  😉

BUTTERFINGER COOKIE DOUGH CHEESECAKE BARS

YIELD: Makes one 8×8 pan

Ingredients:

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE LAYER

  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup flour plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips + 1/2 cup for top
  • 5 Butterfinger bars, king size

CHEESECAKE LAYER

  • 8oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

PREPARATION:

Create a sling by lining the pan with foil so that there is a one inch overhang on each side. Cover foil with bake spray. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE LAYER

Melt butter and let cool to warm. Add in brown sugar and mix to combine. Add in egg and vanilla extract and mix to combine.  Add in flour and fold to combine. Add in 1 cup of mini chocolate chips and fold to combine. Pour mixture into pan; set aside.

TO MAKE CHEESECAKE

Add all ingredients in a bowl and beat until blended. Set aside.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Press 3/4 of cookie mixture into pan. Place Butterfinger bars side-by-side on top of cookie dough. Pour cheesecake mixture on top. Crumble remaining cookie dough sprinkle on top of cheesecake layer along with remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips all over top.
  2. Transfer pan to oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes at 375 degrees F. Remove from oven set on wire rack to cool.

 

RED VELVET CHEESECAKE

Yield: 12 to 14 servings

Prep Time: 1 hr + cooling and chill times

Cook Time: 1 hr, 15 min

CHEESECAKE:
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

RED VELVET CAKE:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup (two 1-ounce bottles) red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons white vinegar

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted lightly to remove any lumps
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Prepare the cheesecake layer: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.  In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix the cream cheese- blend until it is nice and smooth and creamy. Mix in sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. Remove the cheesecake  and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely. This can be done in several hours- or overnight.

2. Prepare the cake layers: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round metal baking pans (or spray with nonstick baking spray with flour). In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla and vinegar to the flour mixture. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat for 1 minute, until blended. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pans, then invert cakes onto a rack to cool completely.

3. Prepare the frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat powdered sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla until it is smooth and creamy (do not overbeat).

4. Assemble the cake: Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the parchment to remove the cheesecake from the pan. Peel off the parchment. Measure your cheesecake layer against the cake layers. If the cheesecake layer turns out to be a slightly larger round than your cake, move it to a cutting board and gently shave off some of the exterior of the cheesecake to get it to the same size as your cake layers. Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Place the 2nd cake layer on top of the cheesecake.

5. Frost and decorate the cake

Lemon Bars

This recipe is easy and delicious.  A great treat 🙂

LEMON BARS

Crust: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting , pinch of salt , 2 sticks butter or margarine, at room temperature, plus more for greasing

Filling : 4 eggs, 2 cups granulated sugar, 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 9x13x2-inch pan.

Make the crust by combining flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Cut in the butter to make a crumbly mixture.  Press the mixture into the prepared pan.  You may need to dip your fingers into a little flour or confectioners’ sugar to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, mix the eggs, granulated sugar, flour, and lemon juice.  Pour this over the baked crust and bake for 25 minutes longer.  Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, when the bars are done.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

DELICIOUS!

Pumpkin bundt cake

For more spice than pumpkin use about 1/8th of a cup less pumpkin and do 5 dashes of all the starred spices except cinnamon…use 1.5-2 tsp of that.  1 cup margarine or butter tastes better than oil.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon*
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice*
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger*
  • —-
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup butter, melted and cooled or 1 cup vegetable oil
  • One 15-ounce can solid packed pumpkin or fresh puree
  • —-
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted

 

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour bundt cake pan. In a large bowl with a wire whisk, combine first set of ingredients. In a small bowl, combine last set of ingredients. Hand whip until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Pour into prepared bundt cake pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove  from pan and finish cooling on rack.

I used this frosting:

CINNAMON FROSTING

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon milk

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix ingredients to make the glaze while cake is baking. Let cool completely. Drizzle with glaze.  Use enough milk to get to consistency of drizzle

weekly update

The human body amazes me.  So much progress made last week (likely all water weight) and seemingly all because I had no allergic reactions.  I had reactions more days than not this week and almost all of the weight is back on.  People can say what they want about water weight, but when it doesn’t belong there, you want it gone.  It is real weight, it does effect the tightness of clothes and make a stomach unrecognizable.

The dr. is pretty sure that it is yellow dye and carmel coloring and I am pretty sure I agree.  The only unexplained phenomenon right now is apples.  Because I did not test positive to them with the scratch test.  However, so many storebought items that make me sick contain yellow dye.  I have to be better about reading labels.  I did not even expect it to be in italian dressing or vanilla frosting.  Just another reason to make my own food at home.  😉

So I am discouraged again this week after such a success last week.  I still have 10-14 pounds to go to reach my goal.  My workouts are great…have a few intense ones that I love… and if I tape my foot most of the day I can do a lot with it.  There are swelling days and normal days, but in general all is well.  I guess I can say the same about food at this point.  Swelling days and non-swelling days.

I think after the extreme weight losses and gains and swellings my body has been through I can rationalize the point I am at now.  But, no more excuses.  I have a game plan that is healthy, slow and steady, and yellow dye free.  I am hoping the results come now and stay.

Be back next week!