Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Copycat White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake Recipe


Cheesecake Factory's WCRT Cheesecake

YUM!

When I worked at the Olive Garden in college, they had the very best White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake I have EVER tasted. It was pure heaven. Since I got a 40% discount, hubby and I had the occasional slice with our discounted meal. Until one day, as I was getting a slice out of the box to serve to a table, I looked at the nutritional facts....

56 grams of fat. In one slice. The one scrumptious, heavenly slice of raspberry cheesecake goodness I loved to linger over had an entire day's worth of fat content. So good... and so very bad.

Despite it's one flaw, I still love that cheesecake, and will take a slice whenever I can get my hands on one.

Just please don't tell my hips.



I found this sinful copycat recipe here. Check out that website for more copycat recipes from your favorite restaurant. It's a little busy with all the ads, but it seems to have some good recipes!


Crust

1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs or 20 crumbled Oreo cookies (filling removed)

1/3 cup margarine, melted


Filling

1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/4 cup water
4 8-ounce pkgs. cream cheese
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 eggs
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped into chunks

Optional Garnish

2 ounces shaved white chocolate
whipped cream



1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place a large pan or oven-safe skillet filled with about 1/2-inch of water into the oven while it preheats. This will be your water bath.

2. Combine the raspberry preserves with 1/4 cup water in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 1 1/2 minutes on high in your microwave. Stir until smooth. Strain to remove the raspberry seeds (toss 'em out), then let the strained preserves sit to cool, then put the bowl in the refrigerator until later.

3. Measure 1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (or crush 20 Oreo cookie wafers -- with the filling scraped out -- in a resealable plastic bag) into a medium bowl. Mix in 1/3 cup melted margarine. Press the crumb into a 9-inch spring form pan that has been lined on the bottom and side with parchment paper. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to press the crumb mixture flat into the bottom of the pan and about 2/3 the way up the side. Wrap a large piece of foil around the bottom of the pan to keep the cheesecake in the water bath. Put the crust in your freezer until the filling is done.

4. Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese with the sugar, sour cream, and vanilla. Mix for a couple minutes or until the ingredients are smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl and then add them to the cream cheese mixture. Blend the mixture just enough to integrate the eggs.

5. Remove the crust from the freezer and sprinkle 4 ounces of white chocolate chunks onto the bottom of the crust. Pour half of the cream cheese filling into the crust. Drizzle the raspberry preserves over the entire surface of the filling. Use a butter knife to swirl the raspberry into the cream cheese. Just a couple passes is fine, you don't want to blend the raspberry and cream cheese together too much. Pour the other half of the filling into the crust.

6. Carefully place the cheesecake into the water bath in the oven. Bake for 12 minutes at 475 degrees, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top of the cheesecake turns a light brown or tan color. Remove the cheesecake from the oven to cool. When the cheesecake is cool, use the foil from the bottom to cover the cheesecake and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

7. Before serving, sprinkle the entire top surface of cheesecake with 2 ounces of shaved white chocolate. To serve, slice the cheesecake into 12 equal portions. Apply a pile of canned whipped cream to the top of each slice and serve.

Makes 12 servings.

My Meal Planning Helper


When I fall into a cooking rut, (far more often than I'd like!), it's usually because I haven't been planning my meals.

I use calendars and planners to map out each days meal, but when I'm busy or tired I just don't do it. That's when I turn to my handy master meal list I keep in my planner.

I wrote out every meal I could remember making so when I can't think of anything, I don't have to! I just look down the list for something I can make with what I have on hand.

On my meal list, I've also started writing out the ingredients so I can plan a meal when I am out. If I am in the car waiting or have a quiet moment (Ha!) I can make a quick menu list and grocery list to go with it. No thinking required. And that's music to the ears of this mommy of three little ones.

For more kitchen tips, check out Tammy's Recipes!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Zoo Trip

We visited the zoo last Thursday and had lots of fun! It was Isabella's first trip I do believe. She really enjoyed it- she likes riding around outside.
The boys are definitely getting older- they loved to see the animals and asked me lots of questions about them. We have a membership there- if only gas prices weren't so high, we'd go a lot more often!














Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Free Oil Pastels from Pentel

Here's the link at MoneySavingMom!

My Favorite Kitchen Tool. Ever.

I am quickly becoming the queen of kitchen appliances. I really love anything that helps me cook more quickly or efficiently.

I think I might have one of everything now! I love my kitchen aids. And I really, really love my Kitchen Aid mixer. I told my husband when we first married that I never wanted an appliance for any gift. I thought that receiving appliances would mean the romance had died. :)

It only took 5 1/2 years of marriage for me to ask for an appliance as a gift. For Valentine's Day, instead of jewelry or perfume, I got a stand mixer. I LOVE it. It's a huge help- I make bread, omelets, cakes, cookies, and even mashed potatoes in it. I use it almost every time I cook now.

I always had the cheapest hand mixer you could get, and every time you needed to add an ingredient you had to stop and put it down, add the ingredient and pick it up and turn it on again. (It took me about 30 minutes to make a pound cake! ;). Now I just pour everything in the mixer and turn it on and off as I need to. It's wonderful. I tell my husband like every other day that I love my mixer, thank you so much. :)

If you are looking to find a mixer, sometimes you can find used ones on Craigslist or eBay for a good price. We got a great deal on mine by buying it brand new on eBay. I've also heard of some people getting theirs at Goodwill or estate sales. You should definitely be able to get a much better deal than at Walmart or retail. Even Amazon has much better prices than a brick and mortar store. A good deal on a 4.5 quart like mine is $120-$140 (retail is $200), and for the 5 qt. a good deal is about $175-$200 (retail is $299). If you found one for less than that, you should be able to resell it on eBay for profit! Stand mixers are very popular items there.

Check out more kitchen tips at Tammy's Recipes.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Get from $25 to $500 for free!!!

So very exciting! I've jumped on the bandwagon, so to speak, and joined RevolutionMoneyExchange! It's competition for Paypal, and it's breaking into the scene quickly by giving away $25 to every new account holder! And you can get up to $500 by referring your friends! The money appears in your account instantly after they sign up.

I signed up only yesterday and I already have $60 in my account! I was hesitant at first to give out my Social (in)Security Number, but after researching it, I found that they are backed by some huge names in finance, along with a real FDIC bank in South Dakota. And the page is secure too, which is also reassuring.

If you want to get a free $25, please use my link or button in the sidebar and I'll get $10 as well! It's only until May 15th, so get your free money while you can. :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Are All Daughters this Fun?

Having a little girl is such a new experience for me. Even at the age of seven months she acts differently than my boys did. My boys were itching to get down at this age and didn't really care much about being held. Isabella- she's a different story- she loves to be held, to be close to me. And right now she is going through a very mommy's girl stage.

Don't tell, but secretly, I don't mind too much. :)

There's something special about that mother-daughter bond. And I'll take all the precious moments I can get with my sweet baby girl.





Thursday, April 10, 2008

Busy, Busy

We have been so busy lately. I am not sure why though! ;) Since daylight savings we've been staying busy constantly! We have been doing lots of spring cleaning and organizing, and we are selling lots of stuff, and doing some side work in the meantime. Add in cooking, exercising, potty training (we've just finished- hooray!), changing diapers and preventing and breaking up little ones arguing, and you've got a very, very full day.

I hope to get back to a regular posting schedule soon. I even have posts lined out in my planner! :)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Hard-Anodized Cookware

We have a glass-top stove. It's nice to have the extra workspace, but finding pots that didn't scorch the food was quite a challenge. We had a set of stainless steel pots that were oh so pretty but every time I cooked something it stuck to the bottom of them.

Last year I was given a set of hard-anodized aluminum pans from Linen's and Things for Mother's Day, and I love them! We got them on sale, and with a rebate the set cost only $30! They work great on my electric stove- they heat evenly and food usually doesn't stick to them (if it does it's user error! :). They unfortunately do have a non-stick coating but in over a year it hasn't started flaking, where my T-Fal non-stick pot flaked within six months.

If you are in the market for a new set of pots and pans, you might want to give these a try. Target also has Calphalon hard-anodized pans in a cheaper version I like. Linens 'n Things, where I got mine, puts their Cooks brand on sale frequently. Here's the link to my set of pans.

For more kitchen tips, check out Tammy's Recipes.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Quote for the Day and Giving Birth

Leo over at Zen Habits just ran his second marathon last weekend and posted this quote:

“You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can’t know what’s coming.” - Frank Shorter

While I've never done a marathon, this quote really caught my attention- it reminds me of childbirth. I've given birth three times now, each birth slightly different- induced with an epidural, induced with a dose of Stadol, and natural onset with no pain meds. With each birth I think I remember the pain more and more.

Each were progressively easier, but for several months I couldn't forget the memory of the pain. I am finally forgetting my last birth a little, but at random moments, I remember the pain very well, and it scares me. I am hoping I can completely forget before I do it again. Like a marathon, it requires mental training, but I think there is a much greater reward at the end of giving birth.

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