Lemon Cheesecake

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.

spaghetti squash with garden's end sauce

sunday afternoon and what am i doing? well, i just made kale, apple, lemon juice! and now here i am, sitting on my bed listening to music and working on my blog. honestly, i couldn't think of a better way to spend the day! i even have so amazing things planned for after this post is finished...say hello to more writing! i probably should be heathy and go for a run, but i am not so certain that is going to happen. we can only hope. so earlier this week i teased you about playing around with active dry yeast. there is no active dry yeast in this post. so you're just going to have to wait a few more days to see what i was talking about!

here we are, entering my favorite time of the year, fall. i love just about everything about it. however, there is one downfall - no fresh vegetables, fruit or herbs from the garden. once the frost hits, it's donezo! this past week i wanted to find a way to use some of our tomatoes and basil from the garden. i really did not want a summery dish - i very easily could have made a caprese salad. been there done that, go away.

spaghetti squash with garden's end sauceinstead, i went out a bought a spaghetti squash and a few other ingredients and made this amazing pasta alternate! i'm not too sure why someone wouldn't want to eat pasta...whatever floats your boat. but none-the-less, i absolutely loved this meal. it's easy, quick and delicious!

i have a few more posts that i've been working on, so keep your eyes open for more posts coming later in the week!

until next time...happy eating!

spaghetti squash with garden's end sauce

ingredients: 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese 3 tablespoons sliced black olives 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil freshly ground salt and black pepper, to taste

instructions:

  1. preheat oven to 350° f. lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. place spaghetti squash with cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. remove squash from oven and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
  3. meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. cook and stir onion in oil until tender. add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. stir in tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are warmed through.
  4. use a fork to shred the squash and place in a medium bowl. toss with the vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. serve warm.