Monday, November 28, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake Recipe

Ingredients:
1 (10oz) package frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
25 oreos, crushed
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups chopped white chocolate (the best quality you can find!)
1/2 cup half & half
3 (8oz each) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 regular sized Hershey bars, milk or dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate

Directions:
Make the raspberry sauce:  Stir together the raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and water in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and boil 5 minutes.  Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl and store in the fridge until you are ready to make the cheesecake.  (This step can be done a few days in advance!)

Make the crust:  Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Stir together the finely crushed oreos and melted butter in a medium bowl until well mixed.  Press into the bottom of a Springform pan and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the crust is set.  Remove from the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF and let the crust cool while you prepare the filling.

Make the filling:  In a medium saucepan, heat the half & half to almost simmering.  Remove from the heat and stir in the white chocolate until melted and smooth.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, making sure to blend completely after each one.  Beat in the vanilla, salt and the melted white chocolate mixture. 

Wrap the pan with the cooled crust in it tightly with foil.  Place the foil-wrapped pan in a roasting pan, and put a pot of water on the stove to boil (you will be making a water-bath for the cheesecake to bake in).

Pour half of the filling over the crust.  Sprinkle with the chopped Hershey's bars.  Drizzle 4-5 tablespoons of raspberry sauce over the filling and chocolate bits and swirl with the tip of a knife.  Pour the rest of the filling on top of that, drizzle with another 4-5 tablespoons of the raspberry sauce and swirl again with the knife. 

Place the roasting pan into the oven and pour water into the roasting pan to reach about halfway up the sides of the Springform pan.  Bake the cheesecake at 325ºF for 60-70 minutes, until the center is almost set (but still jiggles if you shake the pan).

Remove the roasting pan from the oven, let the cheesecake sit in the hot water for another 30 minutes or so, and then remove the Springform pan from the water onto a cooling rack to cool.  Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature and then place in the fridge to chill at least 3 hours.

Make the ganache:  In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream just to a boil.  Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until smooth.  Pour the ganache over the top of the cooled cheesecake, smoothing with a spoon and allowing some of the ganache to drip over the sides of the cheesecake.  Return to the fridge to chill an additional 3 hours or until the ganache is shiny and set. 

At this point you can wrap the cheesecake tightly in foil and freeze for several months, if desired!  Cheesecake is a great make-ahead dessert, as it only tastes better as it chills.  If frozen, remove from the freezer and thaw in the fridge for a few hours before serving!



NOTE:  This is from http://www.sweetannas.com/2010/08/white-chocolate-raspberry-truffle.html

I would make the following changes - it was divine, but a bit rich for my tastes - graham cracker crust and ganache as a side topping - a little goes a long way!  The cheesecake was perfect in every way!!!!!  Loved the texture and the flavor.

Snickers Fudge

For the first layer

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup peanut butter



To make the first layer

In a small saucepan over low heat, add milk chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and peanut butter. Stir often until completely melted and smooth. Pour mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13" baking pan lightly coated with nonstick spray. Using an off-set spatula, spread the mixture to an even layer and place in the refrigerator until set.

For the second layer

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped salted peanuts



To make the second layer

In a medium heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Mix in sugar and evaporated milk. Once it comes to a boil, let cook 5 minutes while stirring. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in marshmallow creme, peanut butter and vanilla. Stir in peanuts. Pour over the set chocolate layer and use an off-set spatula to gently spread mixture in an even layer. Place in the refrigerator until set.

For the third layer

14 ounce package caramel cubes
1/4 cup heavy cream



To make the third layer

Place the unwrapped caramel cubes and heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Place over low heat and stir until the mixture has completely melted and is smooth. Pour in the pan and quickly spread to an even layer with an off-set spatula. Place in the refrigerator until set.

For the fourth layer

1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup butterscotch chips
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

To make the fourth layer

In a small saucepan over low heat, add milk chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and peanut butter. Stir often until completely melted and smooth. Pour over the third layer and use an off-set spatula to spread to an even layer. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before cutting into squares.



http://desertculinary.blogspot.com/2005/05/snickers-fudge.html - I usually have suggestions of things I did differently, but I followed this exactly and was very happy with the results.  I did change up the way she shared the recipe, placing the instructions for each layer directly under the ingredients used.  I hated having to scroll down to see how to prepare each layer, but otherwise would NOT make any changes.  Enjoy - 'tis the season!



Cheesy Bacon Omlet

1/2 egg yolk
4 egg whites
1/3 cup cooked brown rice
1 slice turkey bacon
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 cup spinach
1/4 onion 
1/4 bell pepper
2 T salsa
2 T mozzarella cheese


Cook veggies, bacon, and rice in fry pan.  Blend eggs and add to cooked veggies.  Cook as desired adding cheese at the end to just melt.  Top with salsa.  


From http://www.kristiapproved.com/ Week One Phase 3 menu.

Update for Week 1 Phase Three

Challenging week with a family dinner on Wednesday night this week and then Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.  I was extremely careful on Wednesday's dinner, but less so on Thanksgiving.  I gained 5 pounds, but am only up a bit over 2 pounds as of this morning.  Disappointing, but expected.  I have such a lousy thyroid that I am not able to deviate at all!  My hubby cheated big time on those two days and is exactly the same.  Oh the injustice of it all!  :))  Such is life at our house!


New exercises this phase and I am liking the change.  I am able to work my upper body now (stitches came out of the elbow on Saturday), but still cannot side plank (my elbow cannot handle the pressure - it is still extremely sore and has some bruising).  My pulled muscle in my right calve is also improving.  I will try the elliptical tomorrow (last week I had to ride the stationary bike for cardio, as the elliptical pulled too much on the calve muscle).  In spite of my physical setbacks, I have been diligent in working out each day and feel I am making progress.  


The holiday season will prove to be somewhat challenging as I LOVE to bake and am already experimenting with new recipes (see new posts to follow this).  I am pretty determined not to get too side tracked though!  I felt absolutely miserable on Thanksgiving and will NOT do that again.  It is not worth the grief I go through physically (I was sick all night on Thursday) and I would rather eat my regular, healthy meals and just have a small cheat on the side.  It seems to work much better for me!


Hope you are all getting geared up for the Christmas season!   It is absolutely my favorite time of year!  I am pretty much all decked out (pics to follow) and excited for all the fun traditions that we enjoy.  Here's to staying the course!  :))

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Autumn Fruit Salad

2 medium Granny Smith apples, diced
1-11 oz can mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
1 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1-8 oz. vanilla low-fat yogurt
2 T chopped nuts
Zest of 1 lime


Combine all ingredients.  Makes about 12 servings.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Apple Cream of Rice

3 T cream of rice
1/4 diced apple
1/2 tsp sugar-free apple cider powder
about 1 cup water
Truvia


Combine all ingredients in a microwavable bowl (go large so it does not boil over).  I usually microwave about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so.  


For the challenge you also have a protein shake made with 1 1/2 scoops of protein.  http://www.kristiapproved.com/


Simple but really yummy!

Challenge Update - Week 12 Phase 2

Just completed our first six-months on the challenge.  My stats to date are:  Down 26.6 pounds, lost 5" from both my waist and hips.  Arms are down 2", thighs down 3.5", calves down 2", under bust down 4", and full bust down 3" (that's one area I could have done without any loss!  :)).  I would like to lose another 10-15 pounds over the next 6 months.  I have gone from a size 12-14 to a size 6-8.  I was able to wear a skirt on Sunday that I have owned for years and never been able to get into.  


I have been thinking a lot about the whole "losing weight and getting fit" thing.  Seems nearly everyone wants to make some progress in that arena.  Having had weight issues since I was 14 I have tried nearly every diet known to man!  All with some measure of success, but nothing that has allowed me to keep the weight off long term.  The thing I love about this challenge is that it is sustainable.  I can eat and exercise this way all the time.  We have even been able to keep ourselves (mostly on task) when we have been travelling or otherwise had an interruption to our regular schedule.  Having just sustained pretty nasty injuries to my right side from passing out last weekend due to dehydration from the flu, I have realized how much a way of life this has become for me.  In the past, under similar circumstances I would have used the stitches and severe bruising as an excuse to take some time off.  Instead, this time I switched up my routine and went from working upper body to an intensive ab workout.  I look at the scheduled workout for each day, do what I can and then switch over to my ab workout.  I am feeling very strong!  I have been pleased with the immense amount of stress we have been experiencing with our son and daughter-in-laws adoption (see Izze posts), how the exercise each morning has helped me to cope so much better.  I have discovered that I can cry and do cardio at the same time - talk about multi-tasking!  :))


I hope that my experience with this challenge will motivate you to do something active and positive with your own situation.  I am alarmed at the types of things women put their bodies through in an effort to be skinny.  So much better to eat healthy, exercise and allow your body to correct itself and find it's healthy weight.  I used to long to hear someone tell me I looked anorexic.  NOW, I just want to be healthy and have the energy to get through life happy and contented.  THIS challenge may not be right for your lifestyle, but find something that will suit you and get started!  You will never improve if you don't take the first step!  Having my husband join me has been incredibly satisfying and has helped me to stay the course.  Even when I still see myself overweight and out of shape, I can see how much he has progressed and it reminds me that I am just being overly critical of myself.  Here's to another 6-months of healthy eating and exercise!  Hope this Thanksgiving you will be grateful for your health and the body that serves you!  Pay it back by being good to it!  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chicken Mushroom Crepes

Crepe:
½ c cold milk
3 eggs
½ tsp salt
7/8 cup flour
2 T melted margarine
Combine in blender and refrigerate 1 hour before cooking crepes.

Filling:
¼ cup butter
½ cup fresh mushrooms (I do more)
¼ cup flour
1 ½ cup chicken broth
½ cup toasted almonds
1 ½ cup half and half
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ - 1 tsp tobasco sauce
2 cup cooked, diced chicken
parmesan cheese

Melt butter, add mushrooms, brown slightly.  Stir in flour.  Combine chicken broth and half and half.  Cream in with mushrooms and flour.  Add chicken.  Cook until thickened.  Stir in salt, pepper and tobasco.  Set aside half of mixture to pour over crepes.  Fill crepes with rest.  Combine 1 cup whipped cream and ¾ cup cream of chicken soup.  Arrange filled, rolled crepes in a pan; pour remainder of mushroom chicken mixture over crepes.  Then pour whipped cream and soup mixture over crepes.  Top with parmesan cheese and toasted sliced almonds.  Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown for about 20 minutes. 

Each recipe will do approximately 8 crepes. 

NOTE:  These are a bit more work than my other crepe recipes, but well worth the extra effort.  These are my husband's absolute favorites!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Decadent Fudge Sauce

1
can (12 oz) evaporated milk
1
bag (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
1/2
cup sugar
1
tablespoon butter or margarine
1
teaspoon vanilla
  1. In 2-quart saucepan, heat milk, chocolate chips and sugar to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly; remove from heat.
  2. Stir in butter and vanilla until sauce is smooth and creamy. Cool about 30 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Store covered in refrigerator up to 4 weeks.
  3. Makes About 3 cups sauce
NOTE:  ANY chocolate sauce is better - (thicker, glossy, silky smooth) if whirled in the blender for about 60-90 seconds.

Fabulous over crepes, ice cream, cheesecake.

Raspberry Supreme Crepes

18 orange honey dessert crepes (recipe below)
2-10 oz pkgs frozen raspberries, thawed
2 T sugar
2 T cornstarch
¼ cup cold water
Whipped cream

Mix raspberries with sugar in saucepan and heat to a boil, stirring constantly.  Mix cornstarch with cold water and add to raspberries.  Cook until thickened, stirring frequently.  Fold crepes into wedges and arrange on serving plates.  Spoon warm raspberry sauce over crepes.  Top with whipped cream.

Orange Honey Crepes
1 cup flour
1 cup sour cream
½ cup milk
½ cup orange juice
2 eggs
2 T honey
1 tsp salt
2 tsp grated orange peel

Whirl in blender for about 1 minute; scrape down sides and whirl another 15 seconds.  Refrigerate 1 hour or more.  

Red-Hot Apple Crepes

2 cups water
½ cup sugar
½ cup red hot cinnamon candies
4 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
6 oz cream cheese, softened
¼ cup milk
¼ cup chopped walnuts
12 crepes (see recipe for Dessert Crepes or Vanilla Dessert Crepes)
2 T cornstarch
2 T water

In saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil.  Pour in candies, stir until melted; add apples; cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until tender.  Let apples stand in sauce until deep pink, turning if necessary for uniform color.  Mix softened cream cheese, with milk and nuts.  Spread on crepes.  Drain apples, saving sauce.  Dissolve cornstarch in cold water; stir into apple syrup while heating for several minutes until thickened and translucent.  Place apple slices on top of cream cheese filling; fold crepes over.  Serve with sauce.
Yields:  12 crepes.

Strawberries and Cream Crepes

3 cups strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
½ cup powdered sugar
10-12 crepes

Slice strawberries; add sugar and set aside.  In blender, whip cottage cheese til smooth; stir in sour cream & powdered sugar.  Fill crepes 2/3rds full of creamy mixture and berries, fold over.  Top with remaining berries and cream.

Strawberry Chantilly Crepes

12 dessert crepes
3 cups hulled and halved strawberries
¼ cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
2 T Kirsch (I just use vanilla or omit altogether)
Whole strawberries

10 minutes before serving add sugar to prepared strawberries and mix well.  Whip cream and add Kirsch.  Gently fold strawberries into cream/Kirsch mixture.  Divide among crepes reserving 1 cup of filling for garnish.  Roll up into wedges (fold in half and then half again to form a triangle) and top with reserved filling and whole strawberries.

Chocolate Éclair Crepes

1-3.25 oz pkg vanilla pudding
1 ½ cups milk
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup heavy cream
10-12 crepes

Prepare pudding according to pkg directions – except use 1 ½ cups milk.  Bring to a boil; remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Cover surface with wax paper (to avoid a “skin”).  Refrigerate until cool.  Whip cream until stiff.  Fold into chilled pudding.  Fill crepes with pudding; fold over.

Glaze:
1 T butter
2 ½ T sugar
2 T water
½ tsp vanilla
1-1  oz square unsweetened chocolate

In small saucepan, combine butter, sugar, chocolate and water.  Stir over low heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.  Add vanilla.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Spoon over filled crepes.  Refrigerate until serving time.  

Strawberries Romanoff

2 cups sliced strawberries
¼ cup sugar
6-8 crepes
½ cup heavy cream
2 T orange juice
½ pint vanilla ice cream, softened

Sprinkle strawberries with sugar.  Fill cooked crepes with strawberries.  Whip cream until stiff; gradually beat in orange juice, then ice cream.  Spoon part of the topping over strawberries; fold crepes over.  Spoon remaining topping over crepes.

Broccoli and Cheese Crepes

16 entrée crepes (see previous post)

Filling:
2 pkgs frozen chopped broccoli
2 T butter
2 T chopped onion
1-6 oz can chopped mushrooms, drained (I always use fresh sliced and sauté a bit)
2 T flour
½ cup light cream
¼ cup chicken broth
2 T parmesan cheese
1-4 oz can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Cook broccoli according to pkg directions and drain well; set aside.  In large skillet melt butter and sauté onions and mushrooms until lightly browned.  Stir in flour.  Add cream and chicken broth.  Cook, stirring until thickened.  Add 2 T grated cheese, water chestnuts, salt, pepper and broccoli.  Set aside. 

Sauce:
½ cup butter
½ cup flour
1 ½ cups light cream
2 cups milk
1 ½ cups parmesan cheese
2 tsp mustard
1 tsp salt

Melt butter and stir in flour.  Add cream, milk and stir until well-blended.  Add parmesan cheese, mustard and salt and stir until thickened and cheese has melted.  Set aside. 
Divide filling among crepes and fold.  Place in a greased shallow baking dish.  Pour sauce over all.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minute

Manicotti with Spinach and Cheese

12 entrée crepes
2-10 oz pkgs frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp nutmeg
2 cups cottage cheese or ricotta
2 eggs
2 ½ cups grated Jack cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese

Put spinach in mixing bowl with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, nutmeg, ricotta cheese or cottage cheese, eggs, 1 ½ cups Jack cheese and parmesan cheese.  Stir to mix well.  Divide among crepes and roll up.  Place crepes in greased shallow pan; cover with tin foil and bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining jack cheese; bake an additional 5 minutes.

Turkey Crepes

12 entrée crepes
3 cups cubed, cooked turkey
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 ½ cups sour cream
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt

Combine the turkey, soup, ½ cup sour cream, paprika, and salt.  Stir to mix well.  Divide among crepes and roll up.  Place in greased shallow pan.  Spread remaining sour cream over crepes.  Heat crepes in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until hot and lightly browned.  Garnish with dill weed.  

Eggs Benedict Crepes

4 eggs (poached)
1 cup diced smoked ham
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
4 basic crepes

Hollandaise Sauce (recipe below):
3 egg yolks
4 T butter
6 peppercorns
3 T white-wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1 T chopped dill
Combine vinegar and peppercorns in small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and reduce to 1 T liquid.  Remove peppercorns.  Melt butter in microwave and set aside.  Place eggs in blender and mix on highest speed.  Through hole in lid, with blender still on high, slowly stream in reduced vinegar and butter to the eggs.  The mixture will be thick.  Season with salt and white pepper.  Serve immediately over crepes.  Top with dill. 
Layer eggs, ham, swiss cheese  in crepes – roll loosely.  Top with Hollandaise sauce.  Serve warm.

Crepe Filling Ideas

Below are a few ideas for things to put inside your crepe shells.  I always do my fillings from scratch, but most of these things can be purchased and thrown together for an elegant dessert.  

DESSERTS:
Strawberry Banana Delight:  strawberries, bananas, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce
Strawberry Delight:  strawberries, whipped cream and chocolate sauce
Strawberry Supreme:  strawberries, custard, whipped topping, and chocolate sauce
Banana Ultimate:  chocolate hazelnut spread, banana and toasted coconut
Banana Delight:  banana, whipped topping and chocolate sauce
Banana Supreme:  banana, custard, whipped topping, and chocolate sauce
Banana Almond Delight:  banana, toasted almonds, whipped topping and chocolate sauce
Blueberry Sensation:  triple berry jam, blueberries, and cream cheese
Blueberry Deluxe:  triple berry jam, blueberries, cream cheese and whipped topping
Orange Temptation:  mandarin oranges and custard
Orange Supreme:  mandarin oranges, custard, whipped topping, and chocolate sauce
Chocolate Temptation:  custard and chocolate sauce
Custard Delight:  custard, whipped topping, and chocolate sauce
Almond Delight:  toasted almonds, whipped topping, and chocolate sauce
Almond Supreme:  custard, toasted almonds, whipped topping, and chocolate sauce
Ultimate:  chocolate hazelnut spread and toasted coconut
Cinnamon Apple Dream:  glazed diced apples, cinnamon, and whipped topping

MAIN DISH IDEAS
California Chicken:  chicken breast strips, lettuce, guacamole, tomatoes, mild salsa, and Italian dressing
Thai Chicken:  chicken breast strips, coleslaw (no dressing), tomatoes, Italian dressing and spicy Thai sauce
Chicken Cesaer:  chicken breast strips, lettuce, creamy cesaer dressing, parmesan cheese, and bacon
Teriyaki Chicken:  chicken breast strips, lettuce, tomatoes, Italian dressing, and teriyaki sauce
Clubhouse:  chicken breast strips, sliced ham, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and Italian dressing
Garden Ham:  sliced ham, lettuce, tomatoes, and italian dressing
Garden Chicken:  chicken breast strips, lettuce, tomatoes, and Italian dressing
Vegetarian:  lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, mild salsa, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, and Italian dressing
Ham and Cheese:  2 slices cheddar cheese, sliced ham, and parmesan cheese

NOTE:  Try using honey mustard dressing or Ranch dressing for the Italian dressing for a change.  Any veggies could be used – sprouts, peppers, onions, olives, cucumbers, pickles, etc.  

French Cream Crepes with Raspberry Sauce

¾ cup sugar
½ cup flour
2 cups milk
4 eggs, beaten
2 T butter
1 tsp vanilla
11-12 crepes
In saucepan, combine sugar and flour; stir in milk.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thick.  Remove from heat.  Stir a small amount of hot mixture into beaten eggs, then return to the saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes.  Stir in butter and vanilla.  Cool; fill crepes; shape into a loose roll.  Serve with raspberry sauce.

Sauce:
1-10 oz pkg frozen raspberries
¼ cup sugar
2 T cornstarch
Thaw raspberries (I rarely remember to do this and it works just fine frozen).  In small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch.  Stir in raspberries with juice.  Cook over low heat until you reach desired thickness (it will thicken as it cools too).  Cool.  Spoon over filled crepes. 

NOTE:  I use this sauce in any recipe calling for raspberry jam – so much more flavorful!  Fabulous over cheesecake and ice cream.  

Sweet Chocolate Wedges

1-4 oz pkg sweet cooking chocolate
1 T water
2 egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
10 dessert crepes
Slivered almonds
Combine chocolate and water in saucepan over low heat; stir ‘til chocolate melts.  Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.   Remove from heat; cool.  Fold in whipped cream.  Spread chocolate mixture over each crepe and stack.  Chill several hours.  Cut into 6 wedges.  Sprinkle with slivered almonds.  Serves 6.

Great with vanilla crepe batter.

Chicken Divan Crepes

¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups chicken broth
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups cooked chicken
12 cooked crepes
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cups sour cream
2-10 oz pkgs broccoli or 1 ½ lbs fresh broccoli, cooked
Over medium high heat, melt butter in saucepan.  Stir in flour and cook until bubbly.  Add broth and Worcestershire sauce; cook stirring until thickened.  Add 2 cups cheese.  Empty sour cream into medium bowl; gradually add cheese sauce stirring constantly.  In 9X13” pan, place broccoli and cooked chicken on each crepe.  Fold crepes over.  Pour remaining sauce over all.  Sprinkle with remaining cup of cheese.  Cover and heat at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

 NOTE:  See crepe batter recipes (separate post) for the shells.

Quiche Lorraine Cups

12 crepes
4 slices bacon
1 cup grated swiss cheese
2 T flour
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
 Line greased muffin pans or custard cups with cooked crepes.  Cook bacon until crisp; drain and crumble.  Sprinkle in crepe shells.  Top with cheese.  Mix flour, salt and eggs with milk; pour over cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until firm.  Cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.  Serve hot. 

NOTE:  I think I would make the crepe shells a bit smaller than the normal size when making this again.   

Whole Bunch of Crepe Batter Recipes

All Purpose Crepe Batter I
4 eggs
¼ tsp salt
2 cups flour
2 ¼ cups milk
¼ cups melted butter
Combine ingredients in blender.  Blend for about 1 minute; scrape down sides and blend for about 15 seconds more or until smooth.  Refrigerate at least one hour.  Yield:  32-36 crepes.

Chocolate Dessert Crepe Batter
3 eggs
1 cup flour
2 T sugar
2 T cocoa
1 ¼ cup buttermilk (or 1 ¼ cup milk plus 1 T lemon juice)
2 T melted butter
Whirl in blender for about 1 minute.  Scrape down sides with a spatula and whirl for another 15 seconds.  Pour in bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour. Yields:  18-22 crepes.

Vanilla Dessert Crepes
3 eggs
1 ½ cup flour
½ tsp salt
2 cups milk
1 T sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 T butter
Whirl in blender for about 1 minute.  Scrape down sides with a spatula and whirl for another 15 seconds.  Pour in bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour. Yields:  32-35 crepes. NOTE:  The last two times I have made these I have had to add an additional 1/2 cup of flour to get the right consistency. 

Bran Crepe Batter
¾ cup flour
¼ tsp salt
1 T sugar
1/3 cup All-Bran cereal
2 eggs
1 ¼ cup milk
2 T melted butter
In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, sugar, cereal and eggs.  Gradually add milk, beating with mixer or whisk until smooth.  Add butter and beat until blended.  Refrigerate 1 hour.    Yields: 18-22 crepes.

Basic Entrée Crepe
1 cup flour
¾ cup milk
¾ cup water
2 T butter, melted and cooled
3 eggs
¼ tsp salt
Blend, mix, or whisk ingredients together.  For dessert crepes add 2 T sugar (nutmeg and vanilla, if desired).  Chill one hour before using.  Yields:  14-16 crepes.

Whole Wheat Crepes
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups milk
3 eggs
2 T butter, melted and cooled
¼ tsp salt

Whirl in blender for about 1 minute.  Scrape down sides with a spatula and whirl for another 15 seconds.  Pour in bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour. Yields:  14-16 crepes.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Izze-Our Miracle

Many of you have been following our rather emotional roller coaster ride as my youngest son and his wife have been trying to adopt baby Izze - I want to share our very own little miracle that happened yesterday....


In the middle of fighting to adopt baby Izze, Jonathon and Sarah have also been providing care on again/off again for Sarah's nephew (that is another story altogether, but needs to be at least mentioned here to understand how this all came about).  They have had physical custody of this little boy for over a week and he was needing medical attention - they did not have any legal authorization to make medical decisions for him however, and were unable to contact either parent to get it (long story).  On Tuesday night they contacted DCFS for help so that they could seek medical attention on his behalf.  To get that process going, Sarah was told to go to the court and file some paperwork that DCFS would require to get that moving.


A whole series of events on Wednesday morning prevented Sarah from getting down to the court until mid-afternoon (she had planned to go early in the morning).  While she is in the courthouse filling out the form, she hears the birth mother crying and yelling into her phone - wondering how it is possible that the birth mother is at the court AND knowing she has custody of Izze, she sticks her head around the corner to see if it really is the birth mother - IT IS!  With her heart racing, she grabs the first person that is headed down that hall and explains that she is the adoptive mother of baby Izze and that she has just seen the court remove her from the birth mom.  Sarah then states that she was there on another matter, and had no intention of showing up, nor did she know. She ask, if they would kindly take her to a back room out of sight of the birthmom.  They take her back to a room and within seconds the assistant attorney general, that had been in the courtroom on Monday when custody was awarded to the birth mom, is running down the hall in her heels and pencil skirt to talk to Sarah (this picture makes me smile so big).  A very few minutes later Sarah is holding Izze and is being told that temporary placement has been awarded to us!  


Coincidence that Sarah was in the courthouse at that very moment?!  I think NOT!  


One of the most touching, amazing things to me was Izze's reaction at coming home.  She came in and studied her surroundings for what seemed like a long time - looking carefully at our home - then suddenly began talking, laughing, smiling - it was as if she too, realized that she had truly come home and was shouting her relief and excitement to us all!  She has always been a happy baby, but the joy that bubbled from her for hours following her return was one of the most touching things I have ever witnessed.  I loved the way she was looking deep into our eyes and smiling with a light and brightness I had not seen before.  I am sure that she was not shown any love and not given much, if any, attention in the 48 hours she was gone from our home.  We prayed fervently for her safety the entire time she was gone.  Her safety was my gravest concern!


So how did this change of events come about?!  The birth mother and her attorney filed, less than 48 hours after being awarded custody - you know, so she could have the opportunity to be a mother - because she had such an amazing bond with Izze - to terminate her parental rights and adopt her to some "friends".  NOT Jonathon and Sarah - whom she contacted while still pregnant to adopt her baby, but these very close friends.  Really?!  Where were these "close friends" 6 months ago - or 5 months ago when baby Izze was born?!  I am POSITIVE that there is something "dirty" going on there - we may never really know the real story of what the heck that is all about.  In the meantime, there is a "shelter hearing" on November 30th - this will address whether or not the birth mother can change custody to the "good friends".  On December 5th we will go to court to see if we can terminate the birth mother's parental rights.  Seems like a no-brainer, but the system has failed us thus far in what seems to be a pretty clear cut case of right and wrong.  We are praying that God will  soften the hearts of the judge, the attorney general and those from DCFS that have influence in Izze's life.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Izze belongs in our home.  From her reaction to being reunited with us yesterday, I am sure that there is no doubt in her mind where she belongs and who loves her.  I am sure that God is watching over her and protecting her.  I think it is clear that the birth mother has only her own personal interests in mind, that she does not care one bit about Izze or what is in her best interest.  I am grateful that the birth mother's true colors have been displayed and that it did not take long for her character (or lack thereof) to manifest itself.  I pray that Izze will be able to be placed  permanently in our home SOON and that we can finally get off the roller coaster (they really never have been my favorite ride) that we have been on for the last 6 months.  


There are not words to express our gratitude to all of you for your prayers and the love and support that has been extended to our family during the tumultuous time.  So grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who loves his children and blesses them.  We know that He lives.  We love Izze with our hearts and souls and want more than anything to see her be an eternal part of our family.  May you too, know the power of prayer - may you see miracles in your own lives - and thanks so much for being part of our miracle.  We know it is through the collective power of so many prayers that the Lord has allowed us this miracle.  We pray it will not be short-lived.  We love Him and we love you!  


subzerofangire:

nonelikejesus:

love♥

I have always said that sometimes the Lord takes us all the way to the edge before he rescues us - this is the first time in my life I felt I had gone completely over the edge and was free falling - thank you God for letting us learn to fly!  Even if just for today - thank you for another 24 hours with our Izze.  My heart overflows with love and joy for her and for You!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bandaids

Writing feels therapeutic right now, so here are my thoughts today......


I keep thinking back to when my children were young and they got an "owie".  I could scoop them up on my lap, wash their cut, put on just the right sized bandaid, and hug their hurt away.  I would give anything to go back to that time when I was enough to set the wrongs right.  I am watching my son hurt in a deep, profound way and feel totally inadequate to heal the hurt.  My lap is not big enough, my hugs insufficient, and there is not a bandaid in the world big enough to take away the pain.  I am a "fixer" - a righter of wrongs - and I am NOT enough.  


I have always had a testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, but have always thought that the atonement was for our sins - that it would make up the difference when we are trying our best and still fall short.  NOW I am thinking there is much more to the atonement than that.  I think Jesus Christ makes up the difference when we are inadequate in any area of our lives.  When I cannot possibly love enough, when I cannot take the hurtful words back, when I fail to live up to my potential.  Christ IS enough and more!  We are counseled in the scriptures to "always have a prayer in our hearts" - I think I know what that means and how to do it now! I am on my belly - more humble than I have ever felt in my life - and I know I canNOT get up without Him.  I pray he will hold my son on His adequate lap, hold him in His large arms, and put on the bandaid that is sufficient to take away the sting.  That He will grant Jonathon and Sarah peace.  That doesn't mean everything is necessarily made right, but that we have the hope required and the desire to get up after all.  To carry on.  To look to God for solace.  My heart is broken too and I don't know how to succor my own boy.  There is still evidence of God's love for us everywhere.  Hugs, kind words, notes from our neighbors, bowls of hot soup, encouragement from strangers - may Jonathon be able to know to what source those blessings flow.....


I see God everywhere I look right now and feel so grateful.  I will NOT pretend that it does not takes major effort to get up each morning, to carry on each day.  I will NOT lie and say that it is easy or that I understand the "why" in all of this.  I do not.  BUT, I do trust He has not left us alone in our struggle to simply breathe.  I know He loves us.  I know He is mindful of how we feel, of how deep the hurt, how great the loss.  And I know that He alone has the power to make us feel whole again.  For those of you who have extended your hands and hearts to us, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  We need your strength while we are weak.  We will be doing a special fast for baby Izze's safety  and would be honored if any of you would like to join us this Sunday.  So thankful for a strong, loving extended family.  For the love of friends and neighbors.  For the unending prayers.  We.  Are. Grate. Ful.  


"God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, nor sun without rain.  But he did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way."  Thanks Jechelle for sharing that with me.  I love you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Baby Izze Update 5

I am not a writer and I don't know if it is possible to put down on paper my feelings, but I must try...


My heart has fractured into a million pieces.  Baby Izze was placed in the birth mother's custody today following a court hearing.  Last Thursday, that same judge ruled that to place the baby in the birth mother's home would put her in immediate danger.  I'm not sure how the judge did a complete 180 in 4 days, but here we are without her after 5 months of loving her....


Our system is as broken as our hearts are.  I don't understand how a mother's parental rights are not terminated with the long list of charges she has stacked against her.  I am fearful for Izze's life and there is nothing I can do about it.  I feel powerless...


I can't understand how anyone could use my kids as pawns to get their child past DCFS (they would have taken her since she had heroin in her system at the time of her birth) and out of the hospital and then say, "Just kidding - you can't really adopt her - I want her."  Who does that?  The degree of selfishness this demonstrates is of proportions my heart and head cannot comprehend.  Love is selflessness - something I do not believe the birth mother is capable of.  


I am surprisingly not angry - I am stunned and hurt, but feel sorry for the birth mom and her lifestyle.  I ache that she does not seem to know any better.  


There is a court date set for December 5th to address termination of parental rights, but I have lost faith in the legal system and do not hold much hope that justice will be done.  Parental rights seem to trump the very safety of the baby.  It is disheartening to me to see that.  It is 4 a.m. and I haven't slept since I went to bed at 11:30.....


I see Izze's beautiful face, hear her "talking" to me, feel her fingers ripping my mouth nearly off as she plays - I see her face as she was taken from my son and his wife - so serious, so confused by the emotions of those who love her.  It will haunt me forever....  I will miss her happy chatter every morning...


I know that Izze was placed in my children's lives during her first critical months as she detoxed from the drugs her mother inflicted upon her body while still in the womb.  It was amazing to watch the tenderness, patience and love that were so willingly given to her while her body went through withdrawals.  I believe in my heart that my daughter-in-law and son provided something she would otherwise not have been given.  I am grateful for the opportunity to watch them provide that kind of love to Izze.  None of us will never be the same.


I know that God is aware of my children, of baby Izze, and of our family.  I know time will heal all things.  I know He has a plan for all of us.  I know in time we will understand the "why".  I know that peace will come to us all.  I know in the end things will somehow be made right.  I pray in the meantime that our hearts will heal enough to carry on.  That the hole will close enough to allow us to love like that again.  I wonder if I will ever stop worrying about how she is doing....  


I feel so grateful for good friends and family who have loved Izze and us and whose prayers have sustained us.  We love you and have felt your strength.  Thank you.....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dark Chocolate Chip Comfort Cookies

IMG_6184

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 oz. dark chocolate chips
chopped pecans, optional
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa, soda and salt using a wire whisk and set aside.
  • In another bowl, cream butter, sugar and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until combined.
  • Stir in dark chocolate chips.
  • Roll cookie dough into 1-1/4 inch balls. (If desired, roll balls in chopped pecans.)
  • Place on parchment paper covered baking sheet.
  • Bake 10 minutes.
  • Place cookies on cookie rack to cool.
  • Makes about 30 2-inch cookies.




  NOTE:  I made these this weekend but changed the dark chips to white chocolate chips (I thought the dark would be overkill) and they got rave reviews from friends and family.  These came from my Pinterest Board and the link is http://www.bakerella.com/comfort-in-cookies/.  So easy and very tasty!