Since I am nursing our wee one I cannot seem to stop eating. I am famished ALL the time. So, I dug out this recipe for a kid’s snack mix that the chicks like…not a lot of added fat and good for a quickly appeasing a snack attack.

Chick’s Snack Mix
4 cups cereal (unsweetened like Cheerios, Kix, Chex, etc…

1 1/2 cups small pretzels (I break them up just a little to make them distribute more easily when I mix everything up)
!/2 cup chopped cashews, walnuts or pecans
2 TBSP butter
2 TBSP real maple syrup (not pancake syrup) or honey
1-1 1/4 cupsof dried fruit ( I use dried cranberries, raisins, dried pineapple or whatever dried fruit I have on hand)
Optional: 1/2 cup flaked coconut,

Melt butter and syrup together in microwave. Mix cereals and pretzels together in a large bowl. Add butter/syrup mixture and mix well. Spread onto a foil lined baking sheet (I spray ours with non-stick spray just to make sure the cereal doesn’t stick after baking). Bake in a 350′ oven for about 8-10 minutes. Keep your eye on the cereal as it can burn easily. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. After cereal has cooled, add in dried fruit & coconut, if using, and mix well. Alternattely, you can add the coconut to the cereal before baking so that it toasts in the oven…however, watch it carefully so that it doesn’t burn!! Keep in an air tight container. This only keeps for a day or two day in our house…the chicks tend to gobble it up very rapidly!!!

originally posted 3/10/06


Well, the cheesecake cracked (heavy sigh)…right down the middle…only this time the crack was a small one. I have no idea what to do to solve this problem. I guess I just have to resign myself to the fact that I am not a cheesecake baker. Actually, everything I have attempted to bake lately has flopped-in fact my Dear Knight feels that this pregnancy has taken away my baking MoJo! Not a good thing for a gal who loves baking for a family that loves to eat the fruits of her labor. Oh, well, maybe the Dear Knight and I will lose a few pounds now that there are fewer cookies, muffins, and cakes around.
But back to the cheesecakes….Deborah didn’t mind the crack…and apparently neither did her in-laws. Last I heard the whole cheescake was enthusiastically received (along with the chocolate whipped cream artfully arranged over the crack)…nary a crumb was to be found the next day! Whew! What music to my ears! And the first cheesecake…heartily received by The Boy…finger dents and all!!

originally  posted 11/29/05

Well, you see, I made a cheesecake this evening for the gal who does my hair…it’s the least I can do for a dear woman who listens to my tales of “raising a boy woes”–she’s raised three. And, it’s the very least I can do for the woman who keeps my hair blonde without making it look like someone is keping my hair blonde (and for the record…I am a natural blonde–very blonde, indeed, however with each child my hair has gotten at least a shade darker, albeit it has gotten ALOT curlier–so it’s a trade-off!). I made the Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake from my last post. I have made this same cheesecake recipe for at least 12 years and don’t ya know, it cracks everytime I make…arrgghh!! It’s enough to make a grown woman cry. Well, tonight the cheesecake came out of the oven perfectly formed…”Ah, hah! ” I thought to myself, “At last, I’ve done it!!”
Well, hold on there little britches…not 30 minutes later did I hear from LaLa, “Hey Mom, there’s a HUGE crack right down the middle of your cheesecake!” I hustled over to her as fast I could go (which by the way is not fast at all) and sure enough the Grand Canyon of Cracks was dissecting the very center of the cheesecake. “Oh, well”, I thought trying to put a good spin on this development, “I’ll just tell Deborah to put some whipped cream on top and no-one will be the wiser.” This is usually the fix-it for my cracked desserts. However I did not count on one small factor: Tink.

Apparently, the lure of the newly baked cake was just too overwhelming for her two-year old sensibilities…after all aren’t all cakes baked by Momma made especially for Tink? So, sometime between when the Grand Canyon crack appeared and the next time I looked at the object of my frustration (oh, about 30 minutes)…the cake seemed to have developed two indentations…finger sized indentations…2-year old Tink sized finger indentations! Can you blame her—I couldn’t–I’d been hankerin’ for a taste myself. But what is a poor Momma to do? I didn’t feel right giving the cake away knowing (or should I say not knowing) where Tink’s fingers had been.

So, I did the only thing I felt I could do–I baked another cheesecake to give to Deborah (actually it’s baking as I type). So, two cheesecakes in one night—but this time it was going to be different, It was not going to crack!! I Googled “Why do cheesecakes crack?” and I got this answer: “Cheesecakes crack when the proteins in the cake separate.” Great…I’ve got separating proteins…but, I kept reading, “cheesecakes that incorporate flour or corn starch tend not to crack”…the flour or corn starch gets between the proteins and holds them together. Wonderful…there is corn starch in the recipe…but my cheesecakes still crack. I kept reading some more… “cheesecakes also tend to crack if you beat the eggs too much”…Ah, hah!!! A light bulb moment…I’ve always beaten the eggs to within an inch of their little lives…perhaps this is the problem. I’ll have to let you know later as there is still at least 45 minutes until the cakle is out of the oven and cooled sufficiently to tell if I have solved my cheesecake dilemma.

So, stay tuned for the next episode of the “Cheesecake Diaries” to find out!!

originally posted 11/22/05

This recipe comes from “Victoria” magazine from a few years back…it is delish! I plan on making it for Thanksgiving this year…even if I am the only one eating it!!

Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/4 cups graham craker crumbs
2 TBSP. granulated sugar
4 TBSP. unsalted butter, melted
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate pieces
Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 cup mini semisweet chocolatepieces
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 (16-ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1/2 cup canned evaporated milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp, ground nutmeg

1. To make crust, butter a 10 inch springform pan. Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, 2 TBSP. granulated sugar and the butter. Press the mixture evenly on the bottom of the pan. Spinkle with 1 cup of chocolate pieces.

2. Preheat oven to 325′

3. To make the cheesecake, melt 1 cup chocolate pieces in a heavy, small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth.

4. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, 1 cup granulated sugar, and the brown sugar at medium speed until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin puree. Beat in the eggs and evap. milk until blended. Sift the cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat until just mixed.

5. Stir 1 cup of the pumpkin mixture into the melted chocolate. Mix until evenly blended.

6. Pour remaining pumpkin filling into the crust. Spoon the chocolate mixture on top of the filling in small mounds. Swirl the chocolate into the pumpkin with a knife. Place the springform pan on a baking sheet.

7. Bake for 60 minutes, or until the edge of the filling is set. The center will jiggle. Turn off the heat and let the cheesecake stand in the oven with the door closed for 30 minutes. Remove the cheesecake to a rack and cool to room temperature, about 3 hours.

8. Cover the cheesecake and refrigerate for several hours before serving.
This is just a yummy cheesecake…totally worth the time and effort.

originally posted  11/21/05


For the last few months I have tried each morning to make breakfast for the wee chicks. Typical fare includes homemade muffins or scones and (less frequently) baked oatmeal or Victorian Baked French Toast along with milk or juice. By far the all around favorites are the muffins; Very Berry Muffins with Surprise Muffins a close second. This morning is no different….Surprise Muffins fresh from the oven are being eaten even as I type this. Uh- oh…trouble in paradise…it seems Mother-hen chose the WRONG type of jam to fill the muffins with…apparently Big Sis is NOT too fond of raspberry preserves…who would have known…she eats it on scones! Well, the wee chicks are not the only hungry bellies I fill each day. It seems a neighborhood squirrel has discovered the bird feeder attached to our kitchen window and is intent on eating every last bit of seed we put out for our songbirds. This at first did not appear to be a problem. After all it allowed our budding naturalists to view a furry creature up close and very personal (yes, The Boy did discover it was a she-squirrel…loudly proclaiming, “it’s a girl–it has nothing in between!!”). However, after a few days of these pleasant little interludes with “Fifi” I started to get annoyed…she is eating our birdie friends out of house and home…bird seed ain’t cheap!! And she has moved from the feeder on the window to one hanging in our yard where she has gnawed right through the thing!!! Arrghh!! I do love feeding the birds and even the squirrels…but, I think it is time for “Fifi” to have her own breakfast nook…I’ll be hanging that squirrel feeder up very soon!

Very Berry Muffins:

2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp.salt

1 cup fresh or frozen berries (blueberries or raspberries work best)

2 eggs

1/2 cup melted butter (I substitute 1/4 cup applesauce for 1/4 cup of the butter)

1 cup milk

Cinnamon sugar for topping

Pre-heat oven to 4oo’ (200’C). Sift together dry ingredients. Add berries and mix until well-coated. In a small bowl, beat the eggs well and add the melted butter, applesauce (if using) and the milk. Quickly stir the liquid mixture into the dry mix. Stir just until blended. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until brown.

For Surprise Muffins: use same recipe but omit berries. Fill muffins tins 1/2 full, make a well in each cup and drop in blob of jam. Cover with remaing batter. Bake as above.
P.S. No sooner had I published this post than “Fifi” showed up for her breakfast! She must like the what’s on the menu!