Monday, December 21, 2009

New York Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

As the holidays approach many of us are searching for new recipes as well as presents. With all the parties that are thrown every year, we have a lot of baking to do and it can get pretty tiresome making the same treat 5 times in one week - at least that's how it is for me. I have to have variety when I bake - especially when I find myself in the kitchen so many times throughout the holidays.

Well, yesterday my husband and I attended our Sunday School party and every couple was supposed to bring something. So, naturally with the hustle and bustle of the holidays - I forgot. Until Saturday night. When I was out shopping. So, I picked up a magazine and found a recipe for strawberries stuffed with cheesecake AND dipped in chocolate! Could it get any better? I didn't think so, until I glanced at the recipe and saw how easy they were going to be to make. Of course, I enlisted the help of my husband...after all, he was going to be eating them too.

If you are looking for an easy and yummy treat to bring somewhere this holiday season then you simply HAVE to give these strawberries a try! The recipe is below.

15-30 Fresh Medium Strawberries, washed and dried
1 8-oz. pkg. of Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 c. Powdered Sugar
1 t. Vanilla Extract
1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 bar of milk chocolate, chopped (dark chocolate works too)

1. Cut off the stem of each strawberry. Use a knife to dip out the center of each strawberry - creating a small cavity.
2. In a bowl, use an electric mixer to mix cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract together. Mix until smooth - then place the mixture in a pastry bag - or, if you're like me, put it in a ziploc bag and cut off the tip of one of the corners to squeeze it out of. Then, take each strawberry and fill the center with cream cheese mixture. You will want to mound it on top a little bit to make it pretty. Then place on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.
3. Melt chocolate in a double boiler until it's smooth. Then dip the bottom of each strawberry in the chocolate. Return strawberry to wax paper and top with graham cracker crumbs.
4. Refrigerate strawberries to set chocolate. Serve.

These strawberries were amazing. The recipe says you should serve them within 6 hours of preparing them, but I made them the night before our Sunday School party and served them the next morning. It was probably at least 14 hours later and they were just fine. The key is to make sure the strawberries you use are fresh and don't have any soft spots. Enjoy!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Few Updates

Okay, so my promise to blog at least 2-3 times a week has recently fell by the wayside. I feel terrible about this, but I have had so much going on that I've barely had time to sleep - let alone blog. However, I am on a mission to get this blog back in the shape I had envisioned it to be in.

I have had some exciting new developments in my business lately. I finally got my freelance writing website up and going and landed my first client within a week of publishing it online. I am also staying busy by helping other freelance writers with their overflow. I have to say that I am still really enjoying this new venture of mine. My plans are to let it grow and by the time my son is in school, I will be able to start doing this more full-time instead of going back to a traditional job.

Also, big news for my family and I is that we are expecting to add a Bichon Frise puppy to our family in late July 2010. I know - that seems like a long time off, but after our experience with our first Bichon and his poor breeding, which led to health problems, we have decided to do it right this time and go through a reputable breeder. We finally found one who is planning a future breeding with a male from JR's bloodlines (the bichon that won Westiminster) and a female whose parents, both of them, come from Brazilian champion bloodlines. The best part is that the price for the puppies is actually lower then what we had budgeted for! So, we have reserved a puppy from this all we have to do is wait.

We are very excited to be adding another Bichon to our family. When we had Casper, although he had numerous health problems, we fell in love with this breed. The Bichon is such a happy breed who loves being around people. They are non-shedding and don't have the "dog smell" like most other breeds. My husband and I got very spoiled by having a house dog that didn't shed or have the dog smell - so now, it is a requirement for a house dog. They can be an expensive breed to maintain though as they require regular grooming and can have allergies. However, if you've ever owned a Bichon Frise, then you know it is all worth it!

Well, so there you have it. That's what has been going on around here lately. I am actually thinking about starting a couple of niche blogs - if I can ever find the time for that. :) The two niche blogs I would like to start are about cooking and the world of freelance writing. Of course, they will have to be updated regularly and assuming I will do that, what do you think?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wow - Time Has Flown!

In the week and a half since I last blogged, there has been quite a bit of excitement around here. The Monday before Thanksgiving my parents, son and I went on a road trip to visit my brother and his wife as they were expecting their first child. They induced, but the little guy wasn't ready to come yet. So, after a full day at the hospital and 1 night in a hotel we came back home to prepare for the Thanksgiving festivities.

Thanksgiving was wonderful. My husband was able to be home (he works in the oil field) on Thanksgiving day and not work, which made it even better. Of course, what would Thanksgiving be without doing a little Black Friday shopping? I was ready to go shopping with my mother at 3 am, but my son had other plans. The poor guy started running a 104 degree fever at 1:30 am. Luckily we got it down after tylenol and a lukewarm bath, but he didn't get back to sleep until 2:30 am. So, I called my mom and cancelled our 3 am shopping trip. However, we did go at 8 am and I was still able to find the bargains I was looking for. My husband will be so excited on Christmas morning when he sees his gift!

We were also able to take advantage of the beautiful Thanksgiving day weather and put up our Christmas lights and set up our tree. My house is officially ready for Christmas now. Last year we were smart and invested in a pre-lit tree (after the holidays of course - when they were on sale!)....I have to tell you that I'm already thinking it was the best purchase we've ever made! You talk about saving some serious time...a pre-lit tree is the way to go! After my son went to bed, my husband and I decorated the tree and were actually able to sit and enjoy it for the rest of the evening. Ever since the next morning, I have been chasing my 2 yr. old around with the ornaments. What would Christmas be without a little bit of chaos though?

Well, tonight my brother and his wife had their first baby - a healthy baby boy! So, I am now officially an Aunt. It amazes me how God's timing works everything out. It was hard when we lost my grandmother before Thanksgiving, but with the birth of this new baby our hearts are beginning to fill with happiness again. :) So, that is what has been going on around here the past 2 weeks. I hope your holidays are looking to be as promising as ours!