Thursday, December 22, 2016

My First Gluten Free Cheesecake

Yesterday I decided to make my first gluten-free cheesecake with a cookie crust.

Actually, I can't remember if I ever made one before or not.  It happens when you reach ninety.

 Thankfully, Trader Joe's makes their chocolate cream cookies, (Joe Joe's) in a gluten free version, and although the recipe called for using the cream filling, I opted to carefully remove the cream from each cookie.  Fewer calories!  Who am I kidding?  Does anyone believe that dropping a few calories from the crust will change the overall calorie count of cheesecake?  Right!

Pushing the cookie-butter carefully into the oiled spring form pan was easy enough. (Note: to make crust add 3 Tbls. melted butter to 1 1/2 cups crumbled cookie crumbs.)

 On to the main body!  With four packages of softened cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar and armed with my hand held beater, I tackled the batter.  Now came the big decision.  Did I really want to add
1 1/2 cups of melted and cooled chocolate chips to the batter?  Here again was the decision to up the calorie count or not.

Time out now...needed a cup of tea and the calorie counter.

Time up.  The decision was made that it was absolutely not essential to the recipe, so it was omitted!  Back to the recipe.  A tablespoon of vanilla was added, followed by individually added. one at a time, four room temperature eggs.

Oh, yes, the oven temperature was already... set at 325 degrees and ready.

Now, the piez  de resistance--20 crumbled, creamless, gluten-free Joe Joe's were stirred into the batter.  The option was given to place some on top, but I decided inside was better.

The pan was retrieved from the refrigerator and loaded with the batter.  Into the oven in a pan filled with 1/3 inch of water for 50-60 minutes, or until the top looked dull.

Voila!

Oh, did you want a report on its taste, whether it fell, etc.?

Well, let me report that it did not fall and it looks fantastic.

Sorry, about the taste.  It has to stay in the refrigerator for 24 hours...and I made it for Xmas.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Lebkuchen Cookies

Here it is...just before Xmas.

     I should say that the house is carefully decorated and that the cook has made 10 different cookie recipes.  Well, that belongs to another time in my life.  However, yesterday I did decide to research Lebkuchen cookies, a German ginger treat that I had purchased at Trader Joe's.  Lo and behold, upon my last visit to the store, I discovered that the last box of my favorite cookie had been sold that morning. What to do?

Thank goodness for the computer, because I soon discovered a great recipe for them..but now I needed not only candied lemon BUT candied orange peel, as well. What would be the prospect of buying these items in Albuquerque just 7 days before Christmas?....as well as almond paste.  Out here in the hinterland such buying options are generally put to the test.  Well, fortune did look down on me, because after visiting several stores I was in the possession of candied lemon peel as well as almond paste.  I decided to use orange zest for the orange and fortunately I had purchased hazel nuts in the shell for Thanksgiving.  All was well.

The dough had to be refrigerated overnight.  Next morning the dough was quite runny, so I decided to press it into a pan and just lightly dusted the top with cocoa powder.

I will not keep you in suspense any longer.  They came out tasting almost the same as the store bought variety.!!!  Not only that, but I have a second recipe I would like to try out in the future...and now I have enough candied lemon peel to give it a go.




Sunday, October 30, 2016

On Turning Ninety

As I sit here this evening and look at my calendar, I can't help but wonder....how quickly the years have passed.  I do remember thinking about older people when I was young, but usually I did not give them a second thought.  They just seemed very, very old.  At that time I thought anyone over the age of eighteen was getting on.

Actually, my mind has been whirling with another problem, other than my age.  It seems that my eight year old Schnauzer, Elsa, may have Cushing's Desease.  This month I have had several indicative tests, with a few more to go.  I have researched many articles and was pleased to learn that in 2011 two doctors in our country had devised a way to operate on the pituitary gland, the main culprit in many of the diagnosis.  Time alone will tell whether this will be something that can be done in Elsa's case.  The good thing is that she has not exhibited any of the indicative signs as yet.

I have decided not to just sit in a chair and worry about what is to happen now that I have reached this age....so I decided to go to Guatemala for two weeks and review my Spanish at Tecum Unam Spanish School.  Elsa and I will stay with a family...just speak Spanish.  I hope Kathleen doesn't mind my emails in Spanish!!!

  Right now I am reading ghost stories from the southern part of our state in both English and Spanish.  I really am enjoying this book, because evidently there are a great many ghosts in that part of our country.  I had no idea that ghosts were so prevalent!!!  I am happy to report that none have appeared in my lifetime as of this reading.

 There are many interesting authors that are demanding attention right now...Thomas Merton is number one.  Usually I read his daily meditation from "Through the Year" just before bedtime.  I have many of his books and they are just waiting in the wings.  Hopefully when Elsa and I spend the month of January in Oceanside, I will be able to enjoy them.

Presently I am enjoying my pilate class, cooking an evening meal, painting in pastels or oil and taking a long walk in the park each day with Elsa.  I shall continue to do this until...whenever.



Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My arrival in Flagler, Colorado (August 1949)....population 800

1949    My goodness...that is 67 years ago.  Few people had telephones in their homes...in Flagler,  the phones were wind-up wall phones with about 8 other parties on the same line listening in on all conversations.  My teaching job was obtained by written communication (by mail) with a Western teaching agency.  There were no computers or TV's.  There were radios, however.

My arrival from the East was by train from Kingston, RI, via New York City to Chicago by New York Central.  Then, it was Chicago to Limon, Co., via the Rock Island Line, which was about 30 miles away.  Then by bus back to Flagler..drop-off at the cafe on 70.

Then one had to walk up the road past a tiny park and the huge grain silos before reaching Main St.  Actually, Main street was the only paved street in the tiny town!  I had to find the real estate office in order to meet with a school board member, who was to take me to a home, Mrs. Moore's, where I would board for the school year.  I believe I mentioned before that she was Robert Taylor's aunt.

Now back to my arrival or travel outfit.  I had worked the previous summer in New York City at a millinery shop so I was dressed in my best dress suit, which I had purchased in New York City to work at the millinery store..  In looking back at my arrival I break out in laughter at how I must have looked to the local town folks that morning!!

Please, close your eyes and imagine this. A black rayon suit with a slender straight skirt reaching about 4-6 inches above the ankles with a fitted, long sleeve jacket with peplum.   Crowning this outfit was my favorite hat..a black felt bonnet lined in black satin with a pink ostrich feather that curled under my chin.  Now this young lady, yours truly, was walking, as well as lugging, a huge suitcase...no wheels in those days...as well as a carry-on case, up the street.

Now, if you would, close your eyes again and try to picture this tiny Western, one paved street town.
It was in August and the temperature was quite warm that day.  Past the tiny park, past the huge grain silos, past a tiny two story hotel I went and then turned down Main Street.

Here on the left was the local male hangout, the pool hall,  with its usual members; the grocery store, the drug store, the bank, as  well as the small dry goods store, the newspaper office and finally the areal estate office where I would meet my school board member.  For the life of me, I can not recall his name at the moment.

Thankfully there were no cat calls or whistles.  People coming and going from the stores tactfully did not stare, but I am sure the telephone wires stated to hum once they got home.

Fashion magazines were certainly not part of the life in this Western wheat and cattle town.  I soon discovered that the male members of this society wore two types of clothes..wheat farmers preferred the bib overalls and the ranchers preferred tight jeans and cowboy boots. Most women were attired in cotton dresses, and often wore cotton bonnets with elongated sides to protect their faces from the brutal Western sun.

After being escorted to Mrs. Moore's home I changed into some comfortable clothes.  I knew that many interesting experiences lay ahead for me, and hopefully, I met the challenge.

East meets West!!