Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake Gluten Free

This may be my only post this week, for our son is getting married on Saturday, October 1, and I really need to spend serious time cleaning the house for family who will be staying here. Oh, who am I kidding! It's been misty and raining all day and I feel totally unmotivated to do anything like cleaning. Right now I've got piles of books (and dog hair) just about everywhere, but there is hope for the books because at some point Kevin is going to build bookshelves. There's no hope for the dog hair issue, and I don't want to hear any of your non-dog-lover-peanut-gallery solutions to this problem! Trust me, I've heard it all before from You-Know-Who.

The other problem is that we need to get the huge Christmas cactus, Jade, and Yucca plants, which have been living outdoors during the summer, into the house for October - May. There are about 15 others that would like to live in the house with us too, but I've finally decided to limit it to a few herbs and my aloe and smaller Christmas cactus. I'd planned on trying to winter over the basil, but it's already looking uncooperative.

Some of you may recognize this cheesecake recipe. I posted it last fall, but today, when I was thinking about pumpkin, I remembered this delicious cheesecake. So, just in case you didn't get the recipe the first time around, here it is again. It's the perfect dessert for a cold fall evening. Hope you enjoy it. I know I did...way too much. ;-)

 Pumpkin Cheesecake, just out of the oven

Chilled and ready to serve
I made an Autumn Apple cheesecake also, but that's another story. Both cheesecakes are delicious!

Just a wee sliver for...a taste test?

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe:


1 pkg. Gluten-free ginger snaps, crushed. I used Mi-Del, which I find at WalMart. Makes about 1.5 cups of crumbs. After I'd munched a few of the ginger snaps out of the bag, I had about the right amount remaining. Works out so well!
3/4 c. ground hazelnuts
3 T. brown sugar
6 T. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees F. Grease (cooking spray) a 9-inch springform pan.

Toss gingersnaps, hazelnuts, brown sugar, and melted butter until mixed. Press this mixture onto the bottom and a little up the sides of the springform pan.

3   8-oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 c. canned solid pack pumpkin
1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 T. vanilla extract
3/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground allspice
4 eggs

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar until fluffy. Stir in pumpkin. Mix in the cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice, and vanilla. Beat eggs in, one at a time. Mix all until smooth.

Pour batter into prepared crust (above). I also set it on a cookie sheet because my springform pan was filled right to the top. I was supposed to bake it in the preheated oven for 90 minutes, but it took a good 120 minutes before it was done enough.

Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for an hour, then refrigerate several hours before serving. I made mine in the afternoon of one day and served it the evening of the next day, so it was well chilled.

Which reminds me: Once I was in a restaurant in Stillwater, MN and ordered cheesecake. The server actually warmed it in the microwave before serving it to me. What?? She was young and ignorant. What more can I say. (well, plenty, but I won't.)

This is a great recipe to serve to guests.
(if there's any left)

Cut into 16 slices.

Reading this post again makes me hungry!
See you all next week.

This post is linked to: Making the World Cuter Mondays and Something I Whipped Up Monday and  Motivate Me Monday and Making Monday Marvelous and Made from Scratch Tuesday and Delectable Tuesday and Anything Related Tuesday and Take a Look Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday  and Tasty Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday and  Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays  and Two Maids a Baking and  Wandering Wednesday and What's Cookin' Wednesday and We Did it Wednesday and Cast Party Wednesday and Thrilling Thursday and It's a Party at Creative Princess and Lisa's Gluten-Free Blog and Favorite Things Friday and I'm Lovin' it Friday and It's a Hodgepodge Friday  and Fat Camp Friday and Fun With Food Friday


Friday, September 23, 2011

Amish in Wisconsin

This is the Amish farm that should be on a calendar.

We have quite a few Amish farms in our own neighborhood in northwest Wisconsin, but the Amish population in the southern part of the state is much greater, especially in the Cashton/Westby area. The area is full of ridges and coulees, making it one of my favorite parts of the state. When we were there with our granddaughter a few weeks ago, I took some photos that I thought I'd share with you this morning. So, the following is just a little photo travelogue I hope you'll enjoy. A few of the photos are from our neighborhood; most are from the Westby area.

The hay loader

The hay stack 

Kids at recess
I know, I know, but I was a long way away and zoomed in.

The other Amish kids

I think there were three houses on this farm. Also, there was a woodworking shop where we bought the maple flooring to patch in our maple floors before the refinishing job.


The Amish 'community' phone booth


Wash Day


The vegetable stand - they use the honor system
Put your money in a coffee can and take the produce.

The Nursery - with an amazing number of perennials


The two-car garage

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Performance-Driven Life

Cheery Sunflowers nr. Westby, WI

Performance-based Christianity, a burden to all who practice it (and I did for years), is exposed by the light of Scripture as a useless fraud. The Bible tells us that all of our own feeble attempts at righteousness (or actually self-righteousness) are like 'filthy rags,' (as though we could prove to God that we're good and acceptable?) What a relief it is to be given that perfect righteousness of Christ, a righteousness that we could not possibly muster up, an 'alien righteousness' as Martin Luther put it.  No longer striving for approval or to attain merit, our only hope - our only merit -our only rest - is in Jesus Christ alone and what He did for us on the Cross.  Faith in Jesus alone is what gives us not only eternal life, but real Freedom, here and now.

'But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.' - Philippians 3:7-9

'There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.  For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,  in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.'  - Romans 8:1-5

'If God is for us, who can be against us???' (extra question marks are mine) :-)  Romans 8:31b

...and that truth gives followers of Christ an unsurpassed abiding inner joy, because it's not all about us after all...it's about Jesus.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Refinishing Hardwood Floors

The 'BEFORE' floor
Oh, and that's Bridger, after a brushing of just one side!

This is the only photo I could find of the schoolroom, carpeted. While family was here over my birthday, they wanted to help with a job. What a better job than pulling up that old carpet and cleaning the floors underneath! Simple project, huh!

 Except that both my husband and I had forgotten that there wasn't a beautiful floor under the carpet, there was linoleum that the former owners had put in over their maple floors. Oh yeah... that's why we carpeted it 20 years ago!

And here's the 'lovely' wood-grain linoleum which they had purchased and installed to cover their maple floors. Huh???  Strange but true.

And here's the icky floor after my husband had painstakingly scraped the linoleum backing off! By now the helpers had all gone home. :-(

 Moving all the furniture to one side

Moving the books to the livingroom
The other half is behind the camera.

 The amazing man who ended up doing this all by himself...
and never once complained.

The new maple flooring we purchased from the Amish man near Westby, because he made 8' lengths for us. (Have you tried to purchase 8' lengths of maple at a home-improvement store lately? It only comes in very short pieces.) We needed that additional flooring to patch in where the original walls had been.

 Everything's patched perfectly and ready to be sanded.

 This is the beautiful sanded floor, and that's after my husband had worked with three different sanders, two of which were not adequate. Patience is that man's middle name, possibly because he's a middle child. Oh wait! I'm a middle child too...

The AFTER photo

 ...the photo I took after the floors had been stained and the 5th coat of sealer had been carefully applied. He continued with 3 additional coats after that. So adding the schoolroom to the entry (which we've never yet used as an entry), he refinished a little more than 400 sq. feet!
I love it!

SO much work went into getting from the Before to the After.

Kevin's attitude? 'It's an only-once-in-20 years job.' 

Thank goodness.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hot and Spicy Tomato Soup Recipe

Hot and Spicy Tomato Soup Recipe 

I was trying to figure out a way to use up last year's quarts of canned tomatoes and carrots, so I used those in this recipe. However, fresh tomatoes and fresh carrots are listed in the recipe as an alternative.

6-8 fresh tomatoes or whatever equals a quart of tomatoes
4-6 carrots
3/4 c. celery
1 medium onion
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded
1/2 c. sweet red pepper (I love Carmens, of course), seeded
1 clove garlic
fresh basil  (How much of these herbs? Some. Amount varies according to your taste. Just start with more parsley, not as much basil and even less oregano)
fresh parsley
fresh oregano
2-3 t. sea salt (start with 1 and work up from there)
1/4 t. cayenne

Chop vegetables and herbs. Mix them all together in a large stockpot.
Use blender to puree this mixture, a couple cups at a time.
Return to stockpot. Bring just to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally, for a half hour or more, until all veggies are tender and flavors have had a chance to blend. Of course, the longer it simmers, the better (within reason, of course.)

This made about 2 quarts of soup, I think.

I love this stuff. It's got texture and heat and color!

As you can see, I added a generous sprinkle of sharp cheddar on top and a sprig of parsley.

Something else that would be good with this is pepper cheese. But if you're going to melt pepper cheese into it, you might want to use less cayenne.

I'm eating 6-minute boiled eggs these days. Boiling longer than that and the yolks are dry and horrid. Less than that and the yolks are disgusting!!!  (I don't know how the Brits can stand to dip 'toast soldiers' into runny egg yolks! Ewwww.) Any boiled egg tastes better when accompanied by a bowl of tomato soup, especially when you can feel the warmth of that jalapeno! (for hours after)

This post is linked to: Making the World Cuter Mondays and Something I Whipped Up Monday and  Motivate Me Monday and Making Monday Marvelous and Made from Scratch Tuesday and Delectable Tuesday and Anything Related Tuesday and Take a Look Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday  and Tasty Tuesday and  Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays  and Two Maids a Baking and  Wandering Wednesday and What's Cookin' Wednesday and We Did it Wednesday and Thrilling Thursday and Lisa's Gluten-Free Blog and Favorite Things Friday and I'm Lovin' it Friday and It's a Hodgepodge Friday  and Fat Camp Friday and Fun With Food Friday


Monday, September 19, 2011

Warning: Grandkids Story

The hot chocolate boy

A couple weeks ago, our granddaughter had promised her little brother that she would bring him hot chocolate from work. She works part-time at a coffee shop. When she got home, Soren ran up to her and asked excitedly, 'Anna, did you bring me my hot chocolate??'

Anna, her brain in panic mode, thought quickly and said,

'Well...actually, Soren, I brought you something EVEN BETTER. (Quick-thinking girl, huh!)


I brought you honey sticks!

What are honey sticks?

Come with me and you'll find out.

As Soren was walking down the steps to follow Anna, he looked back at his dad. 'Dad, it just keeps getting better and better!!'



Saturday, September 17, 2011

Last Night of the Proms

Exactly one week ago tonight, Royal Albert Hall was filled with concert-goers there to attend the Last Night of the Proms. Each year, beginning in mid-July and running through mid-September, is the concert series I'd love to attend. I'm happy that I can see so much of it on YouTube. After all, the BBC videos are not available in my area. What's with the BBC?? Don't they know that Wisconsinites are interested in the Proms also?

If you're having trouble waking up this morning, this will definitely help! Hope you enjoy the following as much as I did.



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