Wednesday, April 25, 2007

. . . and GARDENS AND BAKES, too

Now that spring is finally here and I can enjoy some of my outdoor flowers. I thought this the most appropriate to show you today since the Iris is, after all, the Tennessee state flower. Anyone else in the Midwest (I grew up in Indiana) call them "flags"? When I asked my mom years ago why she they were called flags, she said it was because they bloomed on Memorial Day. Makes sense, but this far south they bloom much earlier.

I have had some wonderful garden substitutes during the winter, though--both given to me by dear friends. The Christmas cactus gets confused and blooms in October AND about March, and just lately decided to give me one last bloom before resting up for next fall. The smaller plants and the tiny ones next to it are its some of its "babies".

And I have been quite pleased to be able to keep this African violet alive for over a year!

The pillow you saw in the background of the cactus photo was, in fact, my first try a few months back of quilt piecing that was not just squares. This next photo shows it in one of my favorite spots in the house. It is my grandmother's channel back chair facing the window so I can see the sunrise over the river in the morning. This is where I most often spend my early morning time during my daily devotional reading.

OK, about the baking: I promised to share my recipe for the Thin Mint cheese cake.

Girl Scout Thin Mint cheesecake
1 cup thin mint cookie crumbs (crumb in food processor)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 T butter, softened
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, sugar and butter. Blend well with fingers. Press onto the bottom of a well-butter 10” spring-form pan. Chill in the freezer or refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
2 lbs cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
5 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chopped thin mint cookies
1/2 cup chopped Andes candies
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth and whipped. Add sugar. Mix. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add cream, blend until smooth and creamy. Stir in candies and cookies. Pour mixture into the chilled pan. Place the pan inside a larger pan containing one inch of water and bake in a preheated 325 oven for 1 to 1-12 hours. Turn oven off, open door, leave cheesecake in oven 1/2 hour. Remove and cool completely (refrigerate overnight)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
In a small saucepan place whipping cream and chocolate. Heat over medium heat until chips are melted. Stir frequently. Remove from heat after it just comes to a boil. let cool 1/2 hour. our over cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate.
It seems like a lot of trouble, but it really isn't hard and is worth the trouble for a special occasion. I had never put a spring form pan in a "water bath" before and was a little concerned (I was afraid water would leak in through the crack) but it worked like a charm.

But since this is about quilting AND knitting, I'd better add a little knitting project, too:

One of the ladies on my knitting message board works at Virginia Tech. Last week she mentioned wanting to make the praying hands cloths for families of the the victims. Several of the other knitters (including myself) offered to join in. As you can see, my cloth is on the blocking pad right now. The maroon thread that you see in the upper corner will be used to embroider VT. Such an insignificant offering, but hopefully, it will let someone know that there are many who care and are praying for them.


Cheryl Prater said...

ML: As insignificant as you think this gesture is, it's much more than most people would do. Our memories are short.

LKnits said...

MaryLynn - I love your blog! I can only hope that my VT cloth turns out as nice as yours! And I'm going to try your yummy recipe!


Anna Maria said...

I think the cloth looks great, and I know you have a prayer per stitch going with it!

Anonymous said...

MaryLynn- You plants and flowers look beautiful. I wish I could keep mine that healthy.

The recipe sounds very good. I'll have to try that out on our next gathering.

Your praying hands cloth looks great! I'm praying mine turns out. I'm worried about it right now.