Recipe: Bite-Size Cheesecakes

Bowl_of_red_CherriesThis recipe comes from my sister Juanita.  I made it for my Christmas party, and it was pretty popular.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of the little cheesecakes, but they were festive, and very tasty!  Just a little something easy to brighten up these damp, cold, dismal days.  We’re coming up on February, so you could use cherry filling in honor of George Washington 🙂

Bite-Size Cheesecakes

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla flavoring

1 can fruit pie filling (cherry, blueberry or apple)

12 vanilla wafers

Take a 12-muffin tin.  Put a muffin paper in each one, and put a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each one.  With a mixer, beat all the ingredients except the pie filling until smooth.  Divide the mixture evenly between all 12.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

After they cool, put 2 tablespoons of fruit pie filling on top of each.

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More Sayings From My Mother

fronie-bowers-jones1[1]The other day I realized I had violated my in-home safety policy. I never even thought about such things until my friend Renny ran downstairs in her sock feet, slipped on the carpeted stairs, and shattered her ankle so badly that it subsequently took pins and plates to put it back together. Then there was the incident when my poor brother fell off the bed while changing a lightbulb in a ceiling fixture, hung his foot in the box spring, and was stranded for two days with a broken leg before he could get help.

Now that I’ve thoroughly frightened everyone, I should explain that the in-home safety policy applies only to people who live alone or perhaps spend all day or all night alone at home. Number one rule: Don’t run around in socks. Either go barefoot or wear shoes that fit. Rule number two: Always have your cellphone in your pocket. Make sure it’s charged. Rule number three: Teach your cat to dial 911 (joke.)

Anyway, my violation did not result in an injury, but I realized I’d done it while staring at a sink full of dirty dishes. Immediately one of Mother’s immortal sayings popped into my head: “If I get sick in the night, don’t call the ambulance until you clean up this kitchen.”

Another favorite behavior was how she hoarded her nice nightgowns and robes in case she had to go to the hospital. I guess she was concerned about looking well-dressed in her hospital bed.

Then I smelled my garbage, realizing it needed to be carried out, and thought, “There’s something kyarny in there.” That was a favorite word of Mother’s. I just found it online in the Urban Dictionary. I knew it meant “smells like something dead.” According to that website, kyarn is a Southern derivative of the word “carrion,” meaning dead or decaying flesh.

Another of Mother’s expressions was often aimed at me: “Get off your high horse.” That meant, “Stop being so arrogant and superior,” or as phrases.org.uk says, “A request to stop behaving in a haughty and self-righteous manner.”

Well, I have to get off my high horse and go get my cellphone. That way if I should get drunk as Cootie’s goose (i.e., dizzy) I can always call for help!

10 Years of Supper Club

ImageIn January ten years ago, my friend M. went off to a writer’s retreat near Chicago to work on her poetry for a month, leaving behind her husband, B.  B. is a human resources consultant and trainer and is often on the road, but things were slow that winter, and he was very bored.  He likes to do long-distance bike rides and has done several “centuries” in his spare time.  But that winter was a harsh one with lots of snow, so he was cooped up inside a lot.

I didn’t realize how bad it was until he called me and said, “Do you want to go to the mall?”  A sure sign of desperation, with most men.  I invited him to dinner instead with my friend Diane.  I had met Diane a few years earlier in a fiction writing class.  She has great tolerance for my limited cooking skills, and at that time was an assistant district attorney, with a lively perspective on local happenings. 

So I cooked dinner for the three of us.  I don’t remember what it was, but I’m sure it was simple.  It turned out that we all enjoyed murder mysteries, had similar political views, and were interested in the arts.  B. declared that we should do this on a regular basis.  “Let’s have a supper club, and take turns cooking,” he said.  Diane and I agreed this was a great idea.  Our first official action was to vote M. in as a member.

We’ve been meeting for the last ten years.  Sometimes it’s as often as weekly, or every two weeks.  It tends to be less often in the summer, when folks vacation.  They all have more vacation time than I do, since they don’t work 9 to 5 anymore.  But we’re still faithfully getting together.

We each have our favorite meals that the others cook, and ones that are our old standbys.  Occasionally the host will order out for pizza, because the main thing for our club is not the food–it’s the companionship.  That said, we have had some excellent meals, but this is not a gourmet supper club.  We’re as likely to have meatloaf or sausage and white beans as we are to have Julia Child’s beef stroganoff recipe.

This week we are celebrating 10 years, and M. is back at the same writers’ retreat.  I hope she turns out some wonderful poems.  And I hope we can keep cooking, laughing and talking for at least another 10 years.

1980 Flashback

Argo on IMDb

I just saw the movie “Argo” this afternoon, and it took me right back in time to 1980. It’s a great movie, no question, a tightly-plotted, suspenseful thriller with a lot of good lines and really funny characaters as well. It’s also a time machine!

I hadn’t realized how long ago that was. It seemed like the Iran hostage crisis would never end, much less end with them getting out safely. I didn’t recall about the six who were “rescued by the Canadians,” which is the subject of “Argo.”

What really took me back was the footage they used of actual TV news broadcasts–Uncle Walter! (That’s how I thought of Walter Cronkite.) And the clothes! Those awful huge glasses, especially the aviators! And the mustaches. The look was really end-of-the-seventies. So much denim!

It’s also painful to think that the Iranian people went straight from one kind of repression (the Shah) to another kind of repression (the Ayatollah.) And they are not free to this day, especially the women.

I did enjoy the movie a lot. But I did feel a little sad, too. Has it really been 30 years since I was getting out of Wharton, going to interviews with a bad perm (think When Harry Met Sally) and wearing a pair of those glasses?