Relaxing

There are many ways to relax your mind, body, and soul.  One of the more inexpensive ways is to create a place in your home that you can go to and enjoy.  This week I did just that.  With my husband being away, I needed something to occupy my time.  I choice not to go to summer school this time and allow myself a chance to enjoy my summer with papers, studying, or any exams.

My back yard was empty (except for the grass, bugs, trees and a few other things, like spiders)  I needed to create a space that was pleasing to me.  So here is what I did….

 

976122_457396801018023_1339946117_o

 

 

What are some ways you find to relax yourself?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the Newport Collection.  It did not cost a lot but it seems to hold up nice.  The grill is Kings Ford.  I like the old fashion way with charcoal.

 

The one thing I can’t share with you all is the wonderful sounds that nature is giving me today.  We are blessed to have red and blue Robbins here.

 

Advertisements

Chocolate Caramel Cheese Cake

I recently visited http://call-me-cupcake.blogspot.com/2012/02/chocolate-caramel-cheesecake.html and saw the post for this cake.  I had to make it.  After all, it looked so good.  I made this cake for the FRG cake auction and it sold for $65.00.  I was very excited and happy that we had such a success with the auction.

Here is how you make this cake.

1 pack of ores cookies place in a blender with 1 1/2 sticks of butter

DSC00058DSC00059

You then place this in a spring pan pressing it up the sides and wrap the pan in foil and put it in the refrigerator for about an hour.

This will allow the ores to adhere to the pan.

DSC00057DSC00063

In a small bowl place one package of Tool House Nestle Dark Chocolate over hot water, do not boil, until melted.

You then place 3 packages of cream cheese and a can of condense sweet milk in the mixer and mix until nice and smooth.  (be sure the cream cheese is soft)

Then add the follow ingredients in the order listed:

1/2 cup sugar

5 tbsp lemon juice

3 large eggs (crack the eggs in a small bowl one at a time to add to mixture)

2 tsp vanilla extract

Once all this is joined well remove 1/3 of mixture to another bowl.  Take the melted chocolate and add to this mixture.

DSC00061

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove your cake pan from the refrigerator and pure the chocolate mixture in the pan,

DSC00064

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

now add the rest of the mixture to the pan.

DSC00065

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You want to bake this in a water bath, it will help keep the cake from drying out.  Place the cake pan in a baking pan and fill it half way with hot water.

DSC00067

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bake at 320 for 50 min.  Be sure not to over cook the cake.

DSC00066

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At this point you need to make your caramel.  To do this you need 2 1/2 cups heavy cream, 2 cups of sugar and 1 sick of butter.  Put the sugar in a med. sauce pan with the heat on med/high.  Do not stir the sugar let it cook and melt you will see an amber color appear.  Once you see it stir the sugar a little and let it continue to cook once it is melted, remove from heat add the 1/2 stick butter.  It will start to curdle but keep stirring it will become uniformed.  One it is at the right texture place the pot back on the heat and add the cream.  (careful it will spatter and could burn you).  Put the Caramel in a jar in the refrigerator to cool.

It will seem like it needs more time but this is not the case.  Allow the cake to completely cool and then place it in the refrigerator over night or for 4 hours.

DSC00068

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove it from the pan the next day.

0521131546

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add you homemade caramel and chocolate.

Mango Salsa!

0512131421aWhen the weather is nice I really don’t like cooking over the hot stove.  I try making things that are light and refreshing.  I often find myself making salads.  After a week or so you start to feel like something missing…..

I was thinking what more could I do to my light and refreshing meals.  One thing came to mind, Mango salsa and chips.  I love making this and it is simply to make.  Here’s all you need to make this wonderful salsa for you next relaxing day in the yard.

  • 1 very ripe mango ( I like it when it is soft to the touch) diced
  • 1/2 finely chopped red onion
  • 1 Jalapeno chile (wash, seeded, and minced)
  • A handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Juice from one lime
  • salt and pepper to your taste

Thanks it.

 

Mix all this in a bowl and serve..  0512131348

I also found that adding some avocado is also good.  Enjoy!

 

 

Smokers…….

I enjoy having my windows open this time of year to allow the spring air to flow there my home.  After all, we’ve been closed up all winter and the house needs airing.  The past few days I’ve notice my home has this awful smell of cigarettes   I know that neither myself nor my husband smokes so why am I smelling this?  Well, as I was to soon find out, there are those whose homes are close to mine that do smoke and when they smoke that smell is mingled into the wonderful air and that air is carried into my home.  😦

How sad I am to know that I can’t open my windows any more.  If I do, I have to suffer that smell that I really can’t stand.  So for now, all I can do is look at the beauty that HaShem has given me.

 

Berry Banana Twist

Today I was feeling really happy to wake up to sunshine.  We’ve been having rain or cloudy skies for the last few days.  It was so nice to see the sun out and enjoy the sounds of birds in my yard.  I wanted to make something to spoke to how I was feeling.  This Berry Banana Twist just seemed perfect.  Here is all you need.  1 cup fresh/frozen strawberries and blackberries, 1 banana peeled, 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt, 1 cup orange juice or 1 large orange, and some ice.  Put all this in your 72 oz ninja bowl and mix on 3.  Put in a glass that makes you feel nice and enjoy.

Berry Banana Twist

 

Pineapple Banana Swirl

Good morning sunshine!  0507130837

I wanted to start the day with something sweet but not over the top.  Light but with a great flavor.  I discovered this gem.

2 bananas peeled

2 cups fresh pineapples ( I froze mine)

2 cups pineapples juice (I make my own)

Some ice cubes

Put all this in the blender until smooth.  It makes about 6 cups.  The flavor is very smooth and light and will really give you a wonderful start to any day.

 

Asparagus….worth taking a second look

The African-American life is filled with traditions that helped shape my love for food.  Our culture is one that should be celebrated more often.  I’ve always found inspiration in the many wonderful meals around the table.  Much of what we’ve learned to eat over the years has caused many health issues.  I was thinking about ways to make that food we love so much, healthier.

In my family there was one vegetable that almost never made it to the table, Asparagus.  I’m sure some of you have experienced this in your home.  Well, I think asparagus has gotten a bad rap.  I recently enjoyed some at a friend’s home and was amazed how wonderful they tastes, when cooked right.  *clears throat*

My friend put them on the grill and added some olive oil and kosher salt, she then wrapped them in veggie bacon, which to me just added to the wonderful flavor.  It occurred to me that the bitter taste I often have when I eat asparagus, was gone.  I had to ask her what she did.  She shared with me some of her sure-fire ways to enjoy them.

I will be cooking some this week and sharing with you what I discover.  One tip she gave me is when buying them make sure they are fresh.  How? I asked.

1. Always look for the dark green almost purple tips

2. While the diameter of the stalks doesn’t matter when it comes to taste, you want to choose asparagus that is all the same size so that they all have the same cooking time. If not, some will come out overcooked with others will be under-cooked.

3. While asparagus is regular green asparagus that has been deprived of sunlight. This gives white asparagus a more mild flavor and makes it slightly more tender, but it also costs more.

4. It’s best to eat asparagus within 2 to 3 days of purchase.

5. To keep asparagus fresh, store it in the refrigerator with the tips wrapped in a moist paper towel.

6. Before cooking, bend the asparagus stalk in half. The stalk will naturally break — the bottom half you can throw away and the top half will be perfect for cooking