Toasted Coconut & Lime Cheesecake.

Crust:

1 1/2 cups graham crumbs

1/3 cup medium desiccated unsweetened coconut

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

3 pkgs (750g) cream cheese, room temp.

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 tbsp fresh lime zest

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

4 eggs, room temp.

1/2 sour cream, room temp.

toasted coconut for garnish.

1. Lightly grease a 9 inch springform pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper; set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a shallow pan of water on bottom rack.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine graham crumbs, coconut, sugar and cinnamon; add melted butter and mix until evenly moistened. Press mixture firmy into the bottom of prepared pan; set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until very smooth. Add sugar, vanilla, lime zest and juice and beat well for 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time; mix well and add sour cream.

4. Pour filling over base and bake until just set, approximately 50 minutes. Let cool in over with heat off and door ajar. Carefully cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm. To serve, release cake from spingform pan, slide off parchment paper and onto serving platter. Garnish with toasted coconut and lime.

 

cedit: compliments.ca

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Life’s A Beach

Life lately has been a sand-covered, sun-drenched, water-logged, tan-lined haze of happiness and fulfillment. I feel gratefully consumed by the beach, and all its family bonding, child-tiring abilities. From building castles with its sand to being lulled to sleep at night by its waves, we get to enjoy this beautiful, comforting creature at an almost constant. I’m completely indebted to whatever universal force was behind our move to this wonderful place.

Conner just finished up a week at Sailing Camp. My tanned, tired sailor came home with his White Sail 1 certificate, and a big, beautiful smile on his face. I am one proud Mama!

My adorably handsome husband turned 26 this week. The kids and I bought him a new, wonderfully spacious tent, and I cooked him a dinner (with cake, of course) that rocked socks. I am so lucky to have him in my life. I hope he spends his days knowing he is completely, madly, tirelessly loved.

Cade has been half buried in sand for the last month. He stops occasionally to eat, and sleep, but is quite happy (as we all are) to be up to his ears in that glorious terrain.

“At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun.” -Unknown

 

Winter’s Over.

It’s summer. It’s muggy and it’s raining. The windows are open and warm, muggy, rainy, summer breezes are filling every corner of the house. I spend nine months of winter waiting for this moment; the kid’s in their beds, the rain on the roof, the breeze through the window…the nothing, and everything all at the same time. It would mean almost nothing if there wasnt the wait, the anticipation for this one moment. It’s the only good that comes with our harsh Canadian winters – how much they make you appreciate the brief summer months. In one of my previous posts, I wrote about how this winter especially *sucked*, for many reasons. Without indulging, I will say that my belief in the goodness of people was severely put to the test. Even those you believe should be closest to you, can surprise the hell out of you sometimes. People, I’ve decided, are a lot like the seasons. A shitstorm of cold, bitter harshness from some can really make you appreciate the warmth and kindness from others. I have some really good people in my life, and I thank them for being my summer after a long, bitter winter. I’m over the cold. I think it’s time for me to just sit and enjoy the warm, summer breeze for a while.

The Calm

In my last post I talked about my worry of doing an injustice to my children for raising them in such small quarters. (I know, it sounds ridiculous even as I type it.) Even though I am a “practicing agnostic”, I believe the Universe has strange ways of bringing us back to the basics, making us view things in their simplest form; reaffirming where we stand and reminding us of the things in life that bring us pure, unpurchased, wholehearted happiness. Which brings us to last nights camping adventure.

It was a last-minute decision to head to one of our lovely provincial parks. We got there late, ate a quick dinner, set up camp, appeased the kids with a quick fire and s’mores, and packed it in early as we planned on spending the next day at a Birding Festival the park had set up. In bed by 10pm, and knocked out cold by the fresh air and complete silence shortly after. Then, the storm started.

I love a good rainstorm. I even talk about my love for rainstorms in my “about me”. It started out beautifully, raindrops falling around us, lulling us in and out of sleep. Then the thunder started, and the lightening, and then the wind. I counted between flashes and thunder, until there wasnt time left to count. At times it sounded like a train was coming through the woods. We got prepared to dart for our truck when a lull came in the storm, and hoped it would come quickly. It was at that time, when I was huddled with the kids, and staring at my husband, that I was reminded of the source of my happiness. It was all in that tent. At that moment, I didn’t care if my house was tiny. I didn’t care if we could afford to go on vacation this year. I didn’t question whether my son’s room was too small. I have said it before, that “home” isn’t the house you live in, it is where you’re all together. I’m thankful to Mother Nature for reminding me where my home is, and I’ll never question it again.

After the storm passed, we haphazardly packed up our gear and headed out, only to find the single road out of the area was blocked by a downed tree. One of ten downed trees we counted in the park. We didn’t realize the extent of the storm until we had left the park. Thousands without power. A tornado touched down not 10 minutes away from us.

Needless to say, there’s a heightened appreciation for Mother Nature in our household. I’d like to argue that today, at least for this little family, the calm came *after* the storm.

I’m Back.

After a 10 month hiatus, I’m back to the blog. After starting a new job, I lacked both the time to post, and well, anything to post about. I am now home again, and concentrating on our little life, and all things I enjoy.

Winter was especially hard this year. It was long, period. Our house got cut down to 500 square feet (give or take), as it wasn’t realistic or feasible to heat the three season sunroom that has alternated between being our master bedroom and the boy’s toyroom. We’re armed and ready to winterize it this summer, so we can enjoy the space year round. We will have to be prepared come this winter. I can’t survive sitting here staring at each other for 9 months..ever again. There has to be something to do in the winter, no? I also had some trying personal experiences over the winter that were just that, trying. So that, coupled with staring at a blanket of white, desolate, cold, unforgiving snow and blah for months on end made it a particularly depressing time. ‘Nuff said.

With spring, our house is back up to a sprawling 791 square feet. Conner needed, and pleaded, for his own room and we have managed to rearrange the house so we all, incredibly, have our own space in this tiny house. Right now it’s working fabulously. This house was meant to be temporary. We bought it with plans to fix it up quickly and either rent it out, or sell for profit. Then we all fell in love with it. I suppose we will milk living here for as long as we can. The realist in me knows its going to get pretty tight in here with two growing boys. I have been following  www.tinyhouseblog.com , and with that has come an endless amount of ideas to utilize what we have here and has changed our views on “needs” opposed to “wants”. Reading stories of people happily raising kids in tiny spaces has assured me I’m not doing an injustice to my own. I know that square footage has nothing to do with a child’s happiness, and it bothers me that I am even concerned of such. I’m chalking it up to typical parental worry.

I stopped eating meat this winter. I can’t give one real reason why. The idea of eating meat has always been really gross to me, and any meat that I was eating was definitely not healthy for me anyway. I would gladly eat anything topped with bacon…and I could probably eat my weight in “street meat”, but I would usually pass on any respectably cooked meat and opt for sides, almost all the time. Derek and I really got into learning where our food was coming from over the winter and although most of the meat I was buying for us came from locally sourced suppliers, some of the videos we watched did nothing for my already nill appetite for it. I am still providing for three healthy meat eaters, which is fine with me. Derek is adamant that meat should be from happy, healthy, local animals and I have no problem serving up anything that came from a farmer whose name I know.

The kid’s are growing up, damnit. Conner now whispers about girls to his friends when he thinks I’m not listening and Cade now walks. I repeat, his feet have touched the ground and he is WALKING. I’m not sure how my back managed three years of carrying that child around, but it did. Why, you ask, was he in my arms so long? I don’t know. Did I baby him? Maybe. Was he spoiled? Perhaps. I suppose carrying him around was just the habit that never died after 16 months of colic and breastfeeding every two hours around the clock. It’s now a phase that’s ended, and we survived.

Here’s a pic of the revamped gardens and our adorable little house that was never supposed to be loved like it is….

House Update!

Here’s some before and after pics of the new house…and a dirty face, just ’cause.

After 40 hours of painting, then trucking our stuff from old house to new, and organizing, with some minor renovations…oh, and all in three days, we’re finally, completely….. 1/4 of the way done..:S

It is entirely way too nice outside to be doing any further indoor reno’s, so, with winter will come the sledgehammer. Aside from the above mentioned, in the 27 days we have lived here, we have completely transformed the gardens. The beds are weeded (considering we have little lawn, that was a HUGE job), and our 20′ by 40′ vegetable garden is currently tarped out and will be ’tilled come fall.

We converted our back sunroom into our master bedroom, so we can literally fall asleep under the stars while listening to the sound of Lake Huron crashing against the shore….bliss….and this is where I throw in that I’m ridiculously fortunate and thankful to have the life I have with the people I share it with.

Butternut Squash and Roasted Red Pepper Soup

It feels like fall today. Regardless of the time of year, if it feels like fall, I eat like it’s fall. So here’s my favorite fall soups. Very similar, but not exact. Hope you enjoy!

2 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded and halfed lengthwise

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (easier if cooked a bit first)

1 large onion finely chopped

14.5 oz vegetable stock

2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1 teaspoon curry powder (to taste)

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven broiler

2. Line a small roasting pan or baking sheet with foil. Place pepper halves cut side down on foil and put on rack closest to the broiler.

3. Broil until skins are completely black, about 8 min.

4. Remove from oven, wrap peppers in foil and let stand 10 min.

5. Remove foil and peel off blackened skins. Cut into 1/2 inch strips and set aside.

6. Combine squash, apples, onion and broth in a large 4qt saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.

7. Partially cover saucepan, reduce heat to medium/low and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 min.

8. Add the pepper slices and seasonings and cook for an additional 5 min.

9. Transfer soup to blender or food processor and procces until smooth.

10. Serve with fresh crusty bread.

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