Well, I cannot deny that I love food. I love to read about it, cook it, bake it, decorate it, photography it, eat it. I have to thank my family genes for blessing me with a fast metabolism otherwise I would most likely be severely overweight. But I think what I love most about food is that idea of community that comes along with it. Sure, there may be someone off eating a pint of ice cream alone over a recent breakup, but most times people sit together, enjoying the meal. pie crust

With each week that passes I am realizing that summer is actually coming to a close. It's not like we are still in July thinking, "wow, how is it already July?" It is August 21st. I am pretty sure that kids are already running off to their first day of school with new backpacks and tennis. August is always a busy month - family birthdays, trips to the lake house. Two weekends ago my parents had the family over for my mother's birthday and I decided to throw a few things together. Birthday cakes are fine and dandy, but cheesecake? Yea, I love cheesecake.

lemons

I just did a search through SMAK and realized that I have not once made a cheesecake! Looks like it is about time... Luckily they are really easy to make and definitely customizable. There is the basic crust recipe and you can tweak the filling recipe based on what flavor you want. The options are endless.

filling

Tips of the trade: Use a food processor to breakdown the graham crackers. I decided that I wanted to go old school and crumble them with a spoon in a bowl. Waste on time. It took me at least 15 minutes to get 2 cups of crushed graham crackers.

lemon cheesecake

The best part? Decorating. Pick some fresh mint from the garden, pick up some blueberries from the farmers market, and you've got yourself the perfect toppings. Fresh , delicious, and a perfect compliment to the delicious lemon cheesecake.

Do you have any favorite cheesecake recipes? Anything unexpected yet delicious? Let em know and you could see it on SMAK!

Lemon Cheesecake Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

Ingredients:

crust: 2 cups graham cracker crumbs 6 tablespoons butter, melted 1/4 cup sugar

filling: 4 packages (6-ounces each) cream cheese, softened 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract 5 eggs, lightly beaten

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In small bowl, combine cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Press onto bottom and 2 inches up sides of a greased 10-inch springform pan.
  3. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  4. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
  5. Beat in cream, lemon juice, flour, lemon peel, and extracts.
  6. Add eggs, beat on low-speed just until combined. Pour into crust. Return pan to baking sheet.
  7. Bake 55-65 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes.
  8. Carefully run a knife around the edge of pan to loosen. Cool 1 hour.
  9. Refrigerate overnight.
  10. Remove sides of pan, cut and serve.