The Day After and a 2015 Preview

It's the day after Christmas, and we're starting to get back to normal here. We had a really nice evening with family. You may recall that we decided to do away with the gift exchange and spend that time planning a weekend get-together as a family for some future date. I'd been calling this an "experiment" since I had no confidence whatsoever that six people could agree on a place, let alone a date. My family amazes me, however. We had decided both in the span of about five minutes. Next!

Okay, then. Time for dessert. When I last wrote anything of substance (although arguably, nothing I write here is "of substance"), I was speaking of that certain special substance known as "Cranberry Cheesecake". I was saying that I was going to try to remember to take a picture of it once I cut into it, and remember I did.

It makes such a pretty and festive dessert for Christmas or Thanksgiving, although pumpkin pie is still my favorite for Thanksgiving. This recipe is from an ancient issue of Bon Appetit...sometime during the 14th Century, no doubt. I searched online so that I could link to the recipe for you, and I couldn't find it. Apparently it predates quill and ink days, let alone the internet. 

With that in mind, I'm giving you the recipe right here. Erik declared it the best cheesecake he'd ever eaten...which can't possibly be true because I've made it before, and he's eaten it before. So, I'm assuming he meant it was the best cheesecake he'd eaten since the last time he ate it. Anyway...the recipe which is not for the feint of heart. Here it is:

Cranberry Cheesecake

Cranberry Filling:
1 bag (12 oz.) fresh or frozen cranberries
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
Cheese Filling:
4 packages (8 oz.each) cream cheese, room temperature 
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
12 vanilla sandwich cookies (such as Golden Oreos or Vienna Fingers; 6 1/2 oz.), broken into pieces
5 tablespoons unsalted butter -- room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For cranberry filling: combine cranberries, sugar and fresh orange juice in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer until berries pop and mixture thickens, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, about 10 minutes. Cool cranberry filling completely.

For cheese filling: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Set cheese filling aside.

For crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position rack in center of oven. Blend cookies, butter and sugar in processor until crumbs stick together. Press crumbs on bottom and halfway up sides of a 9-inch diameter spring-form pan with 2-3/4-inch-high sides. Bake crust 10 minutes. Set aside. Maintain oven temperature.

Pour cheese filling over crust in pan. Spoon 1 cup cranberry filling over cheese filling. Reserve remaining cranberry filling for topping, for eating, or discard. Using small sharp knife, swirl to form marble pattern. Bake until center of cheesecake is set, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Transfer cheesecake to rack and maintain oven temperature.

Meanwhile prepare topping: Mix sour cream, sugar and vanilla in small bowl. Gently press down any raised edges of cheesecake. Spoon topping over cake. Bake 5 minutes more. Transfer cheesecake to rack to cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Release pan sides.  Transfer cheesecake to platter. Cut cheesecake into wedges and serve, passing additional cranberries separately, if desired.

Cheesecake can be prepared 2 days ahead.  Refrigerate.

NOTES : If crust sticks to your fingers while you are making it, lightly flour fingertips.

So beyond stuffing my face with cheesecake, I've been mending my relationship with the Quilting Snowladies after abandoning them in favor of another stitchery last week. This morning I gave them their faces, hair, noses, scarves, and hats. It was one of those times when I kept telling myself, "I'll just finish this part and then I'll quit." Only, I was lying. I just kept going, and going, and going, like the Energizer Bunny.

The piece is pretty close to being finished now. Just a couple of trees, the snow, and the flagpole are left to do.

We're heading off to Bend this weekend to visit some friends, and I was thinking I needed to get my next stitchery ready to go just in case I finish this one up while we're gone. I started getting the first block of Gingerbread Square ready to go...

but then I realized there was no way I could have it ready for stitching before we left. Once the piece is traced onto fabric, the next step is to do the shading with crayons. Then, I can start the stitching. I guess I can do the shading while we're gone, and so I'll go ahead and trace it out and pack along my crayons. When the shading is done, the color is heat set with an iron. I can drag along my travel iron too, although I'm fairly certain our hosts will have an iron. In any case, it's going to be a bit of a production getting this one to the stage where I can actually start the embroidery. It's a process new to me, and so I think it will be fun.

We had some excitement in the house this morning and, as you might guess, it involved you-know-who. 

After spending hours with a mouse cornered in the pantry, Smitty finally chased it into the living room. I grabbed the cat and threw him downstairs, shutting the door behind him. The mouse took off at the speed of light while Mike and I took turns trying to herd it out the door. After about three minutes of excitement, the mouse was safely liberated to the outdoors once again. We really should have our own reality show. 

As for Smitty, he is bereft. He is so totally disgusted with this family he finds himself living with. How are we going to survive if we can't hunt any better than that? Geez. He tries teaching us, and we refuse to learn.

Okay, so I spent some time yesterday writing up my to-do list for January, only it got so ridiculously long...partly because I was including projects that I probably won't start in January. So I thought better of it and decided to give you this little preview of the sew-alongs, quilting bees, swaps, and group projects I've signed up to participate in this coming year. I don't think I'll be bored.

First, Jenny of Elefantz is doing a free BOM next year, and I love her stuff. I decided to participate. Usually I use fabrics from my own stash for these, but her suggested fabric is so cute, that I decided to go with that. It's called Home Ec by Michael Miller. The UPS man just delivered it today.

I got mine from Fabric.com, and they give you free shipping if you spend a certain amount. I figure I'd rather spend that shipping money on fabric, and so I got a couple of yards of this plain Jane fabric as well. It'll make a good background fabric for my many embroidery projects. Yeah, it's not much to look at, but fabric should be more than just a pretty face.

Next, I'm participating again in the 2015 Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

That button signifies a special challenge that included a special hand-dyed fabric bundle from Vicki Welsh. I understand the fabric bundle is now sold out. No worries for me because I'd already selected my own project for the 2015 Challenge, this "Cats in the Attic" quilt designed by the late Pam Bono. I first saw the quilt made up on Piece N Quilt, a blog by Natalia Bonner. 

Natalia did the beautiful quilting for this quilt made by Karen, who blogs at KaHolly. There's a story behind Karen's quilt, and I've linked to it right there. When I saw this quilt, I fell in love with the design and knew right away that I wanted to make it for my Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilt in 2015. Pam Bono's website has been taken down since her death, but as luck would have it, I'd already printed off the pattern ages ago. I found it in my cat fabric bin. Yay! The original design has four different blocks, and I'm planning to make some of each for my quilt. 

Also next year, I'm participating in a couple of Bees. I'll be making blocks for the We Bee With It modern block bee.

Also, I'm participating in The Global Quilting Project 2015. This is a Facebook group, and I'm not sure yet what's going to happen next. We've been in the sign-up stage. So many have signed up from the USA and Canada that there is now a waiting list for those countries, but this truly is a global project with quilters participating from all over the world. If my count is correct, there are 34 countries signed up so far. It should be fun, and I love being a part of these large endeavors.

My friend Marei put me onto this next one, and I've decided to make a quilt for Another Little Quilt Swap 9. This one isn't due until April, but I'm going to at least select a project and possibly get started on it next month. This is a different take on swapping. If you're afraid of commitment, check out the rules. You might want to sign on for this one.

So that begins my preview of things to come in 2015. We're heading off to Bend tomorrow, and so I won't be blogging while I'm gone. I'll be back Monday afternoon, but probably won't resume blogging until Tuesday. In the meantime, I've got a "year in review" post ready for you while I'm gone. 

Also, don't forget that the NewFO linky party for December goes live on New Year's Eve, and this one includes a nice giveaway. You still have time to start something new and be eligible to link up and win.

I hope you'll join us because when this one is over, the NewFO Challenge will be gone for good.

9 comments from clever and witty friends:

beaquilter said...

where do you find the rainbow challenge?

WoolenSails said...

I love the mix of stitching the the colors, really looks beautiful. You reminded me another thing I miss eating, love cheesecake.


Junebug613 said...

Mmmmm Cheesecake!! Tell Smitty that there are plenty of well trained hunters in my house, including a goofy spotted dog! I love that cat quilt for your rainbow scrap challenge. I didn't know that Pam Bono had passed away. I used to get emails from the designs website. How sad. Looking forward to seeing all of your projects!

quiltzyx said...

The cheesecake looks & sounds lovely. Cookie crust - yum. Cranberry sauce topping/swirl - yum. Overall, just YUM!!
Poor Smitty. You & Mike just letting that mousie go after all of his hard work. I'm sure you're both properly ashamed of yourselves...ahem.
I've sent in my "letter of interest" to the Another Little Quilt Swap. We'll see!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I LOVE cheesecake - never had a cranberry one though. Oh kitties love to let the mousies loose - it's like watching their humans perform the 3 Stooges for them. Your have some interesting new projects for 2015.

treadlemusic said...

Yummy post!!!!! http://treadlemusic.wordpress.com/

Kate said...

I love the Home Ec fabric. The setting looks just like my Home Ec class,but most of the students wore jeans, not those lovely 50's styles. The cats will be a fun project for the scrap challenge. Enjoy your trip to Bend.

LynCC said...

Lol!! I can just just picture The Great Mouse Misadventure. :) along with Smitty's disgust. . .

Michele said...

It looks like you'll have plenty to keep you busy in the new year.