Tuesday, September 27, 2011

33 Weeks

I’ve come to the conclusion that people who fly must decide that airport bathrooms are entirely inferior to those on the plane, because nary three minutes into our flight (three!) a stream of pea-sized bladder passengers were making their way to the lavatory in the back of the Airbus-whatever-whatever.  I surely thought the flight attendants would say, “Get back in your seat and use Depends next time!” but no.  We had JUST TAKEN OFF and were rapidly ascending. 

I am a fearful flyer, particularly during take-off.  Once we reach cruising altitude color comes back in my face, I unclench my palms from the arm rests, and I get with the program.  I know it was early in the flight because immediately during and after take-off I put my fingers to my ears so I can only hear the low rumble of the engines (I don’t need to hear the wings moving, the landing gear retracting or any of that nonsense).  My fingers were still at my ears when these people started the trek to the restroom, totally oblivious Philadelphia was still below us.  I say this irked because I sit in the aisle seat, and their rumps are constantly butting into my face.  I also say this as a 33-week pregnant woman: if I can hold it, so can you.

So here I am, jetting from Philadelphia to Charlotte to Tallahassee for work.  The leg from Charlotte to Tallahassee is on a tiny plane, and by tiny, I mean medium-sized.  I mean, the thing’s no Cessna or anything, but ten rows doesn’t quite work for me.  My fear of flying has gradually increased with each passing year.  As a kid you’re too dumb to know any better, and as an adult I’m too dumb to understand the physics of how a plane can stay airborne.  Doesn’t it need to flap its wings or something?

Nearing the end of my pregnancy, I perhaps have a deeper sense of what can be lost in a tragedy.  As in, when did we start discussing how much life insurance we’ll need?  When did we hit the cusp of thirty years old?  And how the heck are the two of us dunces going to care for a newborn in less than two months?!

Everything is coming to a happy head: I feel overwhelmed and positively giddy, and dare I say, ready.  Last night Matt felt the baby for the first time: hard, seemingly petulant thumps on my left side. 

It was magic.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

I love my husband dearly.  But not enough to spend forty bucks on an ice cream cake for his 29th birthday in late July.  $40 ice cream cake?!  That is some ardent, first-year-together love right there!  (Or something to save for the much lauded 30th!)  Since we're more of the "Is this a pimple or a tick on my scalp?" type of couple (I seriously ask this at least 2x a week), boy was getting something else.  So I made his other favorite dessert: a cheesecake.  Matt adores cheesecake.  That doesn't make him a sophisticate, because he equally adores pudding (even more so if they come in those little cups).  He is a complicated creature.

I never made a cheesecake because, although supremely simple, they intimidated me (I mean, they crack!).  Also because I know I cannot be trusted near a cheesecake.  After reading a quickie primer on cheesecake perfection (bake with a hot water bath to reduce cracking) I made this super simple white chocolate raspberry ditty that is highly rated on All Recipes.  Many readers suggested to just nuke the white chocolate chips instead of utilizing a double broiler (who DOES that anyway?) so I did.  They also said seedless raspberry jam or preserves are just as good as cooking down the whole fruit, so I did that too.  With those modifications this recipe is simple and fool-proof, and perfect piled high with summer fruit for a deceptively impressive meal closer.

***The recipe, in the original form, appears below.  Again, I used raspberry preserves, microwaved the 1/2 and 1/2 with the white chocolate chips, and did not add additional sugar to the crust (like Oreos don't have enough sugar?! Pah-lease.)


  • 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan.
  2. In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate.  Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.
  5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce.

This cheesecake should be called "Pseudo White Chocolate Cheesecake" because I ate half of these suckers before they got nuked.
Same thing with the Oreos.  You know a sleeve of those things was gone before baking began.  Duh.

For water bath (to prevent drying): Wrap spring form pan in foil and place in a jelly roll pan with about a 1/2" of hot water.  Bake.  Eat.

Tip: Arrange copious amounts of berries to hide any imperfections.

Poor Matt looks like he's enjoying his birthday treats alone.  I swear: there were folks on the other side of the table.  (Maybe.)

Happy Super Duper Belated Birthday, Matt!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Oh, Jersey...

This week was stressful and we had some time off to burn.  So to the shore we went!

We spent a quickie overnight in Cape May this week in an effort to burn some PTO days I thought I could add to my maternity leave (no just luck - fail!).  Anyway, I did win REPEATEDLY at skeeball  on the beach so at least I have that (and yes, we are 12 years old).  Notice my row of tickets on the bottom of the photo.  Yeah; that's right.

Poor Matt just doesn't get a break when it comes to my renegade camera tactics.  Although he's getting panic-stricken over the baby timeline, I'm sure he's giddy he won't be the subject of every single darn photo from now on.  We spent a good hour or so snoozing on the beach after a relaxing afternoon swim.

Matt said all we do is eat on vacation.  My response: "And the problem with that is what?..."
We had a fantastic, romantic (SO NEEDED!) dinner the night prior - one of those several course shindigs that lasts for hours.  A definite worthy splurge after a couple days of bickering and baby crunch time approaching.
Here we are the morning after carbing it up at breakfast.

I included this photo because of Matt's expression - doi.  He said I was poking his ear with my sunglasses; boy needs to get a grip!  Look, I love Matt, but that god awful beard and those sunglasses make him look like he should be on Sons of Anarchy or American Chopper or something.  He promised me he was going to trim it today (still waiting...).
Here we are walking on the beach after breakfast.

A bit better I suppose.  

So when we checked out of the hotel in Cape May we drove north to Margate (next to Atlantic City) where Lucy the Elephant was waiting.  Lucy was built was a tacky tourist attraction in the late 1800's.  Obviously, this was right up our alley.  You can climb up Lucy but that cost $7, so we weren't buying into that charade!  (Sorry Lucy.)

We spent a few hours in Atlantic City walking the boardwalk, dodging in and out of casinos, and spending some time on the beach.  I've never been but it was as I expected: kitschy and sort of sad (please put me out of my misery if you catch me in old age, wearing a kitty cat sweatshirt, smoking Virginia Slims and playing penny slots for hours on end).  I know, I know: I didn't get the whole effect (we were there in the day after all), but the whole operation just didn't sit right with me.  At least Vegas has enough splash to offset the sad!  I was pleased, however,  I made 80 cents on one of the slots.  That's going to the baby fund, obviously.

With hundreds of slots in each casino, Matt zeroed in on this one: Kitty Glitter.  It spoke to him.

It was getting late and I was getting ornery, so Matt bought me a bag of roasted and candied nuts to shut me up (works every time!).  Then we saw this huge Monopoly game board, so everything was right again.