Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Happy Birthday, Jay!

It was Jay's birthday recently, and he would have been 48, old man.  I really enjoyed having a husband who was a few years older than me.  He would hit all the age milestones first, and I've have a while to get used to the idea of being that much older.  By the time I hit that particular birthday, the age was old hat.

We celebrated by making his favorite treat (except maybe homemade ice cream): easy no-bake cheesecake.  It whips up quickly and is ready before you know it.  Wait - I'll be real.  We did know it, and usually ate the soupy cake with spoons before it had time to set up because it looked so good.

Jay's Cheesecake

First, the crust.  Traditionally, we make a quicky crust out of crushed graham crackers, but I finally found a from-scratch recipe that I could simplify and I liked it so much I think I'll always be making our cheesecakes this way, because when we have graham crackers we eat them.  The crust is pretty thick, but I like it that way.

Then you make the filling out of cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk.  The only trick here is to beat it until there aren't any lumps left.  Next to waiting for it to chill, this is my hardest part.  I guess I just don't have much cooking patience.  Usually I just get to the good enough! part and we all like it anyway.  This recipe came from Jeanne, my first mother-in-law and it's a family favorite.  

2 sticks soft butter
1/2 cup sugar - could be half white and half brown sugar or whatever you have
1/4 cup honey
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon or several good shakes.

Mix all together until it is good and creamy.  Pat on the bottom and up the sides of a 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes.  Easy!

2 8 ounce packages cream cheese
2 15 ounce cans condensed milk
2/3 cup lemon juice (real juice is best but I never have it on hand)
2 teaspoons vanilla

Blend it all up together.  Pour into cooled crust and refrigerate until firm.  Decorate with fruit (we did blueberries and pineapple this time) or a can of fruit pie filling.  Raspberry pie filling is especially delicious.

It didn't last very long.  Good food evaporates around here and leaves only smiles on everybody's faces.  I'm happy when they are happy.

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