White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

white chocolate raspberry cheesecake

 

You know those people who are always running a good hour late, and time just seems to slip away from them?   And when you make plans with them, you know to tell them to be there a good half hour to an hour before you actually need them there?   Well, that’s a large portion of my family.   They run on Czlapinski time.  It’s different from the time system followed by the rest of the universe, and it’s OK because we love them and we’re used to it.   We all have our flaws, and to love someone is to accept them in their entirety – flaws and all.   And while I typically do not run on Czlapinski time,  my blog totally does.  I don’t post about things until sometimes a good month or so after they’ve happened.  I must apologize, because once again, my blog is running on Czlapinski time… I’m posting a recipe that I made for Easter which, according to my calendar, was a good 3 weeks ago.  Where did the time go?  Since i’m fairly certain my reader base consists mainly of my family, I think they’ll forgive me.

Like most holidays spent with my family, there was a ton of food, and the dessert table was absolutely out of control.  My contribution to the table this year was this White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, pictured above.  It might not have been the prettiest cheesecake I’ve ever made, but it was pretty tasty – light, not too sweet, and the raspberries add a lovely tartness.

 

Ingredients
Crust:
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter,  melted
Filling:
  • 8 ounces fine-quality white chocolate
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 whole large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries
Crust:
Grind almonds and crumbs in a food processor and add melted butter, blending until combined. Press over bottom and up the sides of a 10 inch springform pan.
Filling:
Preheat oven to 350 F
Melt white chocolate in a  metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth, then remove from heat and set aside.
Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy, then beat in the sugar. Add whole eggs and then the 2 yolks, 1 at a time at low speed, scraping down the bowl after each addition.
Beat in flour and vanilla until combined, then slowly mix in the melted chocolate until filling is well combined.
Lay berries in 1 layer over crust and pour  the filling into the crust. Bake in middle of oven 45-55 minutes – until filling is set, but center is still wobbly when pan is shaken.
Run a thin knife around edge of cake to loosen, then cool completely in pan on a rack.
Serve room temperature or chilled.

 

I don’t know why I can’t get any work done around here

Kevin and I recently started the long overdue project of refurnishing and general tidying up of our home office.   We both spend a ton of time in here (i’m in my office right now) since he’s a student and I work from home more often than not, and it’s really kind of ridiculous that it was in such a costant state of disarry, home to just about everything that we didn’t know what else to do with.  I think we all have those spaces in our homes, but if you’re lucky, it’s not a room that you spend such a vast portion of your life in!

It’s still a work in progress, but it’s a heck of a lot better than it once was.  It’s nice to have a more comfortable space to work in,  but I don’t think anyone’s happier with the recent changes than the cats.  Nemo especially has always been lap cat and I’ve often reffered to him as my home co-worker.  Part of the project included buying new desks that now allow both he and Spaz more room to roll around and park themselves in front of my monitor to better help me in all my daily tasks.

Really, I don’t know why I don’t get more work done around here – especially with all this help I’ve been getting lately!

 

Nemo

 

Captain Nemo

 

Spaz

 

A Very Tidy Cat

 

Helpful Cat

Oven Fried Pickles

 

It’s that time of year again.  No, not Valentine’s Day, though I suppose it’s that too.  It’s February – the month-long Festival of Kate.  Today, in The World According To Kate, we do not just celebrate Valentine’s Day, we celebrate Katesmas Eve- the 30th edition!  Yes, tomorrow is my 30th birthday, and I actually could not be more thrilled!  If my twenties were great, my thirties are going to AWESOME!
The Katesmas celebration has been going great so far.  As usual, I’ve taken an entire week off work to celebrate, in which I buy myself a few gifts, spend lots of time with friends and family, drink far too much, eat ridiculous amounts of chocolate and fried food, and even do a few productive things – like catching up on some reading and going to appointments that I had long been putting off.
My birthday celebration got off to an excellent start this year, when the New York Giants won the Super Bowl for the 2nd time in just 4 years!   This was pretty much the best gift ever – especially since I went into this season with pretty low expectations, thinking they most likely wouldn’t even make the playoffs,  but they went in and just did what they do best.  They never cease to amaze me.
Super Bowl XLVI - Super IndyPhoto By AngieSix

And boy, was that game intense!  My dad’s a Patriots fan and we were talking smack texting on and off throughout the game, and I told him that if I just made it though without experiencing some sort of heart failure, I would call it a victory.  Luckily we all made it out OK, but I think Tom may have experience a few injuries when Kevin tried to tackle him to the ground after the win.  Not sure what this was… perhpaps the consummation of their epic bromance?

Bromance

As always, I made far too much food, but then it was a pretty grand occasion and thus, needed to be celebrated with a grand feast.  The best thing on the menu was, without a doubt, these Oven Fried Pickles from Weekly Bite.  LOVED LOVED LOVED these!  They reminded me a lot of the Pickles and Peppers Appetizer that we always get from Eli Cannon’s, but not nearly as greasy, and probably much better for you.  Next time, I may even try throwing a few jalapenos into the mix.

Oven Fried Pickles

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 jar sliced dill pickels
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1.5 cups panko bread crumbs

 

Turn on oven broiler

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs and flour together.  Then mix in  worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, garlic powder, cajun seasoning, and pepper.

Put panko into a dish.  Dip pickels first into the egg mixture and then dredge in panko.

Place the pickles on a baking sheet that’s been thoroughly coated with cooking spray.

Place pan in middle rack of oven and broil 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

I served mine with a  Peppercorn Ranch Dresssing.  Enjoy!

January Motivation / Do Life!

So, now that January’s about over, I thought I’d check in and see how everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions are holding up.  Still hanging in there?  If you answered no, you’re in good company.   Data shows that only 64% of resolutions made will make it through the first month, and after six months, fewer than half the people who made New Year’s resolutions will have stuck with them.  These statistics actually sound a bit generous to me.  I personally don’t normally make serious resolutions for the new year, but when I have, they haven’t made it more than a couple of weeks.  So if you’re still sticking with your plan, I am impressed! 

If you’re not doing so well, or perhaps you’re just having a hard time staying motivated this winter, here’s a little inspiration for you.  In January 2009, Ben Davis realized he really wasn’t happy with life and needed to make some changes.  He took up running, started making healthier choices, lost 120lbs and gained happiness, choosing to Do Life!   This is his 120lb journey.

 

 

If Ben’s story didn’t inspire you, you may actually want to check to make sure you still have a pulse… 

Ben blogs at Ben Does Life.  Follow him in his ongoing journey!

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

This post could just as easily be entitled Welcome to My Cookie Nightmare or perhaps The Great Cookie Tray of Doom, but I decided to just keep it light and simple.  It’s Christmas Eve, after all, and I don’t want to sound like a total Scrooge!  It’s just that after spending the last two weekends baking and eating cookies, I feel like I might actually vomit if I have to look at another one.  That being said, this is a food centered blog, and I’ve taken like 8,000 pictures of cookies and other peoples’ Christmas decorations, and I would be remiss if I didn’t do some sort of holiday baking post.   Also, I promised my friend Andrea that her Cookie Swap from a couple of weekends ago would make my blog.  Oh, the things I’ll do for my friends…   So here’s a quick photo dump of my last two weekends since I don’t really have the time to post a recipe at the moment, because, get this, I have more baking to do today!  Happy Holidays, Folks!

 

A few photos from the Cookie Swap:

Andrea’s tree… with Christmas gifts already wrapped on December 10th.  Are you kidding me?  I hadn’t even started my shopping yet at that point!

Awesome tower of cookies that Andrea and her mom made – including homemade marshmallows!

The hostess with mostest.  This is possibly the happiest I’ve ever seen Andrea – I think she was several drinks in at this point, so that makes sense 🙂

 

 

Photos from last weekend – the Annual Baking Extravaganza with Mom:

 

I made Oatmeal Cranberry White Chip Cookies  on my own before heading over to my parents’ house (yes, just about every cookie I make has oatmeal in it).  They had already made four different kinds over there without me.

They were also looking pretty festive over there – pretty impressive since they just moved into the new house a few weeks ago!

The beginnings of Pecan Tassies…  these cookies are the worst to make, but they’re so good to eat!  I guess it’s worth it.

Here’s a picture of Dad supervising…  I have a picture of mom, hard at work, too, but it’s not the most flattering photo, so I won’t post it.  She actually looks kind of pissed – certainly not as happy as Andrea looks in the photo above.  Clearly we hadn’t had enough to drink yet.

Actually, after all that work, I think we’ve all earned my normal Christmas Eve tradition of celebrating with a few Gin and Tonics!

Merry X-Mas from The World According to Kate!

Vegan Sweet Potato Muffins

As I’m sure you’ve heard, tomorrow’s Thanksgiving and, if you’re like most of us, you will be engaging in a gluttonous turkey fest, which will then be followed by seventeen pieces of pie, maybe some football and a long nap.  It will be super healthy.

While you’ll no doubt consume a sufficient number of calories to last you through the holiday season, you should probably have a little breakfast in the morning.  It is the most important meal of the day, after all.  I would suggest you keep it light, but that’s just me. 

Recently, I made these Vegan Whole Grain Sweet Potato Muffins, and I think they would make the perfect Thanksgiving breakfast item.  They were adapted from Mark Bittman’s Sweet Potato Muffin Recipe that was featured in the November issue of Runner’s World.  I decided to make them vegan, because I’m just crazy like that and enjoy the challenge.  If I were to make them again, I might substitute some of the whole wheat flour for some white flour.  I also made them a little lower fat by using apple sauce in place of the oil.

Bittman also suggests trying banana nut or pumpkin coconut variations if you’re not into sweet potatoes.  I think the pumpkin coconut option sounds just divine, and would be great if you feel that the seventeen pieces of pumpkin pie you’ll be eating later just aren’t going to fulfill your pumpkin needs!

Sweet Potato Muffins

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

3/4 cup sugar

2 tsps. baking powder

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread

1/4 cup apple sauce

1 cup mashed sweet potato

3 tbsps. water mixed with 2 1/2 tbsps. flax

1/2 cup almond milk

 

Heat oven to 375° F. Grease 12 muffin cups or add paper liners.

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, and salt.

In a  separate bowl, mix earth balance, apple sauce, sweet potato, flax/water mixture, and almond milk.

Fold wet mixture into the dry; and stir until just combined. Batter should be pretty thick.

Fill muffin cups three-quarters full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Enjoy!

Photos From My Balcony After The October Snow Storm

Granted, the flowers normally would have been taken down over a month ago, but they were looking so great, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  It’s funny, throughout the Summer, all of the plants on my deck were looking pretty horrible.  Then, Hurricane Irene ripped through a couple of months ago, and suddenly they all came back to life and were better than ever.  I even had peppers and tomatoes!  I hardly had any all Summer yet I picked a couple of great ones Saturday morning just before the storm hit us.   I have a feeling they’re not coming back from this though…

 

 

 

 

Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Happy Labor Day, everyone!  So the Summer’s over, kids are going back to school, and most of us have used up the majority of our vacation time at work.  Bummer…   Time to try to cram an entire Summer’s worth of fun into a weekend.  This is it, guys!  Hopefully, you’ve had a busy weekend full of socializing and eating and drinking at various picnics and the whatnot.  I know I have!

For those of you who haven’t figured out what you’re bringing to your Labor Day picnic yet, here’s a little recipe for you.  And yes, you need to bring something!  You can’t just show up empty handed, because your mother raised you better than that.  Don’t disappoint her.

I made these Coconut Oatmeal Cookies for a recent picnic and they were a huge hit – all you could ever want from a cookie. Coconut, oatmeal, white chocolate chips and LOTS of butter.  Normally, I like to think that if a cookie has oatmeal in it, that makes them healthy – like part of a balanced breakfast.  However, I think the more than two sticks of butter that these cookies have in them completely negates that, but who cares, it’s Labor Day!   We’re officially heading into sweater weather and big eating season – these are just a great way to kick it off!

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An Afternoon in Old Lyme

Recently, I took a much needed week off from work, and was looking for some fun little day trips that I could do.  My mom took a day off to spend with me and suggested the we check out the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme and maybe do a little lunch in the area.  Before going to the museum, I really didn’t know much about it – which made it all the more intriguing – and of course, I never turn down lunch, so this sounded like a wonderful idea!

Florence Griswold ran a boarding house in Old Lyme in the early 1900’s.  Many Impressionist artists of the time were drawn to the beauty of Old Lyme and chose to stay exclusively in her home, which eventually became a sort of bohemian artists colony.

 

 

The grounds of the museum are really quite beautiful – with several gardens and views of the Lieutenant River.  I spent quite a bit of time taking pictures of the house and the gardens before actually entering the museum.  I apologize for the quality of the photos – I didn’t take the good camera to begin with and then later realized my white balance was set weird.  D’oh!

 

Once inside, we watched a couple of informative videos about Florence and the house and one of one of the exhibits, and then we spent some time looking at all the art.  We then went on a tour of the house, which has been completely restored to circa 1910, when so many of the artists stayed there.  It was particularly fascinating to see all the painted panels in the home.  The dining room and many other rooms in the house have paintings on the panels of the walls that were done by some of the artists staying there.  One would actually have to be invited to paint a panel and it was considered quite the honor to get that invitation.

The exhibit that I probably enjoyed the most, though, was The Rambles  – a huge outdoor sculpture of woven sticks and branches overlooking the The Lieutenant River.  It was pretty incredible – you could even walk through it!

 

After more wandering around the grounds and a quick stop at the gift shop, we decided it was about time to find some lunch.  After reading a few reviews on Yelp, we decided on the The Morning Glory Cafe, which was just a couple minutes (if that) down the road from the museum.   This ended up being the perfect choice for our afternoon out.  It had outdoor seating, with views of the river, and a simple menu consisting mostly of sandwiches and salads – which is just what we were looking for.

I chose the Veggie Glory Wrap, which had onions, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and spinach and provolone cheese, served along side a nice crispy order of their Sweet Potato Fries.

 

Mom had the MGC Panini, which looked amazing – Prosciutto with roasted red peppers, basil and Feta, served with fries.

After lunch, we ran a couple of errands and finished our day with a stop at the Old Lyme Ice Cream Shoppe, where I had the best thing ever!  No really, the best thing ever.  I had Sam Adams Double Chocolate Bock ice cream.  I have been saying for the longest time now that someone needs to combine two of my favorite things – ice cream and beer – and they did it!  And it was amazing…  It was like a really good chocolate ice cream with just a little kick at the end.  Perfect.

Here’s mom enjoying her cone outside the shop.  I thought the shop was absolutely adorable.  I honestly think I would make a trip down to Old Lyme just for the ice cream!

 

It really was a perfect afternoon – took a beautiful drive, saw some great art, ate an excellent lunch, and finished it all with ice cream (which, of course, is the ideal way to end all things)!

Black Bean Quinoa Burgers

So how was everyone’s long 4th of July weekend?  Mine was pretty great…    Lots of grilling, hanging out with friends, baseball and drinking lots of beer!

 

 

 

 

 

Now, how was everyone’s Tuesday, July 5th?  ::Groans::  That’s what I thought… it’s going to be a long 4 day week!

 

To celebrate this weekend, I made my famous black bean quinoa burgers. Kevin and I pretty much live on these during the Summer.  You can get 6 to 8 good size burgers out of the recipe and they make a great quick meal during the week – especially weeks like this one, where you know you’re not going to feel like cooking after you get home from work!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Quinoa, cooked per instructions

1 can Black Beans

1 cup Bread Crumbs

1/4 cup Tahini

1 Large Carrot, grated

1 chopped Jalapeno

1/2 cup chopped Red Onion

1 Tsp Adobo Seasoning

1. Cook quinoa per instructions on box and set aside.

2.  Mash black beans with a fork – or, if you have a food processor, a couple pulses in the food processor will make this a really quick process.  Mix in quinoa, bread crumbs, tahini, carrot, jalapenos, red onion and Adobo.  I usually do the veggies through the food processor too!  Form the mixture into patties.  I normally get between 6 and 8.

3. Grill those bad boys!

 

Here’s mine, served with my Southwest Quinoa Salad, Vegetarian Ranch Beans with faux meat crumbles and pickle!

 

 

Have a great week, everyone!  The weekend’s just a few more days away!