Lemon Cheesecake Dessert

Lemon Cheesecake Dessert
Lemon Cheesecake Dessert

I’ve prepared this dessert for picnics and office affairs and have received rave reviews each time.  It is so light and refreshing and just perfect for the dog days of summer.   Although, I plan to eat it all year long!

The recipe is so versatile.  Please feel free substitute with your favorite puddings or berries.  The next time I prepare this I’m planning on using instant banana pudding instead of lemon pudding.  I may or may not choose to use sliced bananas (I hate them when they turn brown) but I will definitely omit the lemon juice/zest and use vanilla wafers instead of graham crackers.

All Rightie…Here we go:  (Complete Recipe at End)

First put cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract into a large bowl

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Mix all three…

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In another bowl pour in 1 cup of heavy whipping cream

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Mix until stiff peaks form

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Pour into bowl with cream cheese mixture

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Prepare instant lemon pudding

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Add to cream cheese mixture

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Don’t forget to add the juice and zest of two lemons

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Gently beat cream cheese mixture, whipped cream, pudding and lemon juice/zest until smooth and creamy

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Begin building layers of graham crackers and cheesecake mix.  Start with graham crackers first

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Then  1/2 cheesecake mixture

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Add another layer of crackers, mixture and ending with graham crackers

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Don’t forget the Cool Whip

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Spread evenly with spoon and put in refrigerator

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Now for the topping!  Put berries, sugar, water and lemon juice into saucepan

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Cook until thick and bubbly.  Let berry topping cool and then pour over cheesecake dessert.

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Chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours but better overnight.  Serve and Enjoy!

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Lemon Cheese Cake Dessert

Ingredients  

Two 8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese (room temperature)

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (3.4 oz.) instant lemon pudding

2 cups milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Juice and zest of 2 lemons

Graham crackers

1 container Cool Whip

Directions

  • In a large bowl mix with blender cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract…set aside
  • In a medium bowl prepare lemon instant pudding…set aside
  • In a medium bowl whip heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form
  • Beat pudding mixture and whip cream mixture in the bowl with cream cheese mixture until smooth and creamy
  • Add the juice and zest of two lemons and mix well
  • Put a layer of graham crackers in the bottom of a 9×13 dish
  • Pour half of cream cheese mixture over graham crackers and smooth with spoon to cover graham crackers
  • Add another layer of graham crackers
  • Pour the other half of cream cheese mixture over layer of graham crackers and smooth with spoon to cover graham crackers
  • Add a final layer of graham crackers and then top with cool whip
  • Cover and put in refrigerator

Topping

12 oz. raspberries or blueberries

2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons water

½ lemon, juiced

  • In medium saucepan combine berries, sugar, water, and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until berries have broken down and mixture has become syrupy.  If sauce is not thick enough mix a little corn starch with cold water and then pour into berry mixture.  Continually stir until mixture reaches desired thickness.  Let mixture cool completely (I put mine in the freezer to cool faster) and then spoon over dessert.

Let dessert set for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

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The Passing

The following is my submission to Literary Lion.

5171605261_8fbbd343d1_bMaggie arose to begin her night’s work.  It had become routine and so she proceeded with little thought.

Looking at her surroundings, Maggie noticed the moss ridden tombstones, and grass, that had been trampled by deer, who frequented the garden, seeking solitude from redneck hunters and their barking dogs.  She looked at the flower that had died in its vase years ago.  Maggie sighed.  No one came around anymore, not even the grounds keeper.

This state of affair saddened Maggie, but what could she do?  No one heard her anymore because there was no one to listen.  She knew it was her fault, but she had grown tired of the kids and their silly candles.  It had been entertaining, for a while, but with the passage of time, their frightened eyes and shrill screams bored her. And so she kept her silence and turned a deaf ear to their begging.  After a while the kids stopped coming.  So now it was only her, and Maggie was lonely.

Each evening, upon the sun’s decent, Maggie walked among the headstones and whispered the names chiseled in gray.  This was the only thing that gave her a sense of peace.  She reasoned, within herself, it was her way of honoring the dead.

Night after night she made her rounds.  She no longer needed to look at the names.  She knew them all and so she drifted from one to next until each name, had been spoken in the dark.  When her mission was accomplished she went back to her place to take her rest.

Her place was just as ram-shackled as others, but on this particular night, Maggie studied her abode.  Once again her eyes fell to the dead flower within its vase.  It had been there for as long as she could remember.  The flower was wrapped within a cloak death, that was dry and crumbling.  She studied the brown decay and realized, for the first time, there was none other like it, within the garden.  Someone, God knows when, had left it there and had left it for her.  Slowly Maggie drifted to the flower and reached to touch it with her wispy hand.

The moment her essence touched the decay, the flower dropped its cloak of death and DoubleKnockOutRosebloomed into a beautiful rose.  Maggie felt herself bathed within a golden light.  She looked to its source and saw a man she knew to be her husband; and in that moment she remembered her earthly life. Her love stood with his hand outstretched and she heard his baritone voice say, “My darling…what took you so long…”

Maggie, filled with joy, flew into his arms and passed to the other side.

The Balloon Man

wpid-photo-20150816175959521It was the minion…always the minion, and there was only one.  One special little boy or girl would be the recipient of the lone minion balloon.

He pushed the cart of balloons and watched them all with a curious eye.  Children everywhere…the carnival proved to be a smorgasbord for his choosing.

“Eeny meeny miny mo…Mary, Susie or Jimmy Joe…  ”  He secretly snickered at the rhyme but was careful not to let his excitement show.  

He scanned his prey  searching for his Mary, Susie or Jimmy Joe.  Finally his eyes landed upon the redhead who had strayed from his mom, and he knew that this would be the one.

He reached for the minion, that was puffed with air, and handed the balloon to the lost little boy.  The boy saw the minion and reached in the air…

Then with  a flash of blue, the boy is whisked away and the balloon man is taken to the ground.

The officer called headquarters…”We Got him…balloon man will kidnap and hurt no more”!

Life Is Likened Unto A Flower

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The following is my submission to Literary Lion

Life is likened unto a flower 

It comes forth from the ground…just like a man.

It grows…just like a child.

Its petals hold tightly within the bud…just like the teen.

Slowly the petals begin to unfold…just like the graduate.

The flower blooms in all her glory…just like the adult.

The flower begins to bow her head…just like mid-life.

The petals thereof begin to loosen… just like the aging.

The flower withers and begins her fading…just like the old.

The flower lays herself down…just like the dying.

The flower is taken by the ground…just like the dead.

Her spirit lives on…just like the soul.

Patiently she awaits her  re-birth…just like souls in Heaven.

And then on “that day” she comes forth from the ground…just like the resurrected.

In a perfect tomorrow she lives forever…just like the one whose heart is God’s.

Selah

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.  The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away, but the word of the Lord endureth forever.  And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

(I Peter 1:24-25)

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever.  (Isaiah 40:8)

Amy’s Freedom Part 3

(The following is my latest submission to Dark Side Thursday.  It’s the continuing story of a woman within the clutches of a serial killer.  Parts 1 & 2 can be found under the category:  Amy’s Freedom.)

Amy’s Freedom (Part 3)

The Root Cellar
The Root Cellar

He pictured Amy, hanging in the root cellar.  He knew of her excruciating pain.  He had once endured the same from the hands of his father.

He would never ask Amy to endure anything that he himself had not experienced first.  No, he loved her way too much for that.

The aroma in the tiny kitchen tantalized all of his senses.  Yes, of course he could smell the perfectly charred flesh, anyone could do that, but he actually saw, tasted, heard and touched the aroma as he stood with his eyes closed.  All of his senses were heightened to the point of combustion.

He had always been that way, even as a child.  At first the strong sensations frightened him but as time passed he realized he was special and was indeed unlike any other.  He kept this secret and told no one, not his weak pathetic mother and certainly not his self-righteous father.  This  revelation of himself created an euphoria that often erupted from his mouth in mad laughter.  He tried to contain it as much as possible because he knew others would think him “crazy”.

Being different made him lonely.  He craved someone as extraordinary as himself and so he began “the search”.  There had been so many “disappointments” through the years but he was confident that Amy would be different.  He smiled.   He knew “the search” was finally over.

He lifted the fillets from the grill and carefully plated them upon delicate bone china.  He then poured the Quinta Do Crasto, Vintage Port, 1997 into crystal goblets.  This particular wine, crafted from Portugal’s indigenous grapes, was thick and juicy and pared well fillet mignon.  The steaks were resting and the wine poured; the only thing missing was Amy.

He opened the cabin door to an autumn forest.  The aged root cellar was visible from the porch.  He stood for a moment, surveying the crumbling stone and then took a step into the fading sunlight.

******  

Amy hung limp from a splintered plank that ran the length of the underground hole.  The cellar was old.  It had been built by Scotch-Irish immigrants during the early 1800’s.  The hole was barely six feet high, so Amy’s hair fell into blood, tears and a dank soil that reeked of mold and decaying vegetables.

Amy shivered.  She closed her eyes to the dark and began to picture the two loves of her life, Rudy and Sky.  Her heart ached as she pictured Sky’s smile and Rudy’s wagging tail.  She determined, there in the darkness, she would live to see them again.  Her focus upon them would be her survival.

The screeching sound of rusting hinges caused her to open her eyes once again to the blackness around her.  She held her breath and listened intently.  There was a brief silence and then a faint creaking of wooden stairs.

Amy realized she was no longer alone.  She heard footsteps, slow and methodical…

One…two…three, and then a pause…

four…five…six …another pause…

seven…eight…nine…and then breathing…slow rhythmic breaths…in and out…

Amy’s heart seized with fear and she wanted to scream, but then, with the strike of a match, her face was bathed with golden light.  She squinted from its shock and tried to focus. The flickering light threatened to die, but a dank breeze quickened the flame, and she found herself staring into the bluest of eyes, inches from her face.

He smiled when he saw her eyes widen with recognition.  Slowly he pulled the tape from her mouth, freeing her question of…

“Why…”?

Simply Fried Corn

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Growing up in the country I ate my fair share of “fresh from the garden” vegetables.

My Mom, a single parent, worked hard to put food on the table.  During the summer months,  after a full night’s work in a cotton mill, she came home every morning to work and care for a large vegetable garden.

I remember those early mornings, as clear as if it were yesterday.  The fresh tilled soil was soft and warm to my bare feet.  I followed my mom from one row to the next as she tended seedlings, barely peeping above their sodded blanket.

This would replay day after day throughout the hot summer until our garden yielded the harvest that would feed us through the winter.

Life was not easy for my Mom.  She had to work hard for everything life gave her.  She tackled it all with determination and a strong faith in God.  I can remember her tears during the hardest of times but I never saw my mother give up.

I loved seeing my mom happy and she always seemed the happiest when she was cooking in her kitchen or working in her garden.  We lived a simple life and ate simple foods.  One of my favorites dishes, she prepared was fresh corn cut off the cob and fried in a pan.  Sometimes, when we had it, she would fry bacon first and use its drippings to season the corn. Other times when bacon was scarce (which was often) she used fresh butter to season the pot.

Today, in my own kitchen, I continue to cook my mom’s dishes.   During those times I feel ever so close to her.  I sense her presence, her smile and the unconditional love she always gave freely.

This past Sunday I prepared her dish of simply fried corn.  Hope you enjoy this simple but delicious recipe.

Simply Fried Corn

Okay, first things first!   Shuck and remove silk.

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Cut corn off the cob and be sure to scrape cob with your knife in order to get all of that sweet milk.  Now’s the perfect time to pick through the kernels and remove any stray “silks”.  Put corn into frying pan.

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Add sugar and butter.

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Add water, salt and pepper.

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Bring corn to a slow boil, cover and turn heat to low.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until most of the water has cooked out.

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The finished product creamy, sweet and savory all in the same dish.

This dish is delicious served with fresh sliced tomatoes and homemade buttermilk biscuits.

Simply Fried Corn

Ingredients:

  • 4 Ears of Corn
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • ½ Stick of Butter
  • ¼ Cup Water
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
  • Salt

Directions: 

  • Shuck and clean ears of corn.
  • Cut corn off the cob with a sharp knife.
  • Be sure to scrape cob in order to get all of the corn’s “sweet-milk”.
  • Pour corn into a small frying pan; add sugar, butter, water, salt and pepper.
  • Bring corn to a slow boil over medium heat. Be sure to stir to keep from sticking.
  • Cover and simmer on low for 15 minutes.
Bessie Hardy 5/30/23---4/4/2013
Bessie Hardy
5/30/23—4/4/2013

Easier To Navigate!

Categorizing-Social-Media-Conversations

Redhead Reflections is now easier to navigate!

It has taken a while, but I have categorized all articles!  The listing can be found at the top right hand corner, adjacent to the title line of each page.  Simply click the arrow beside the words “select category” and a drop down menu will appear.

Below is a listing of the categories and a brief description of what you can expect to find in each:

Amy’s Freedom:  The continuing saga of Amy and a crazed serial killer.  (Not for the  faint of heart)

Dark Side Thursday:  Dark stories for the writing group, “Dark Side Thursday”(For now it is a collection of “Amy’s Freedom,” however once this story is complete there will be other dark adventures) (Not for the faint of heart)

Faith:  My faith is very important to me and so here you will find a collection of articles revealing my spiritual insight.

Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers:  These articles are my submissions to the writing group “Flash Fiction For Aspiring Writers”. Each week members are given a photo in which they are to weave a story around within 175 words or less.  (Not a lot of words to write a complete story so this is quite challenging) (Not genre specific)

Horror and Suspense:  Definitely one of my favorite genres.  Most stories within this category are not for the faint of heart.

Literary Lion:   A collection of my submissions to the writing group “Literary         Lion”.  Each week members are given one word and are expected to weave a tale around the word in 400 words or less.  (Not genre specific.)

Half Marathon
Half Marathon

Personal Stories:  A collection of articles about myself and my life.

Photo:  A collection of photos I have taken.

Recipes:  A collection of recipes.

(Future Category:  Flavor Of The Month)

Jessica’s Dream

stock-video-15669603-vase-of-red-roses-falling-and-breaking

Below is my submission to Literary Lion’s weekly challenge.  Hope you enjoy!

The dream had been hers since a little girl.  She had always believed it would come true, but as Jessica surveyed the new model she was overcome with doubt.

Would it work?   The last four had been failures, and she worried this one would prove  the same.   Balling her hands into tight fists, Jessica bitterly whispered, “What choice do I have…”

Just for a moment, Jessica, let her mind wander backward to the first day she had awakened to the truth.  She allowed herself to relive, once again, all of the shock, anger and depression.

She did this without guilt.  After all, she had made a pact with herself, during those first days, to permit herself  a good fifteen minutes of feeling the emotions full force.  The deal had been to embrace all of its ugliness.  She allowed herself to scream, curse, hit and throw anything within reach, during that allotted time.  After the rage  she would, number one:  Accept the truth that had become her life; and number two:  Get her ass up and do something about it.

Keeping this oath is how Jessica had coped for the last six months.

At first it had been hard to let go of the rage in only fifteen minutes.  In the early days, every vase of flowers, within reach, was thrown against the wall.  Her language had been quite colorful.  Jessica smiled as she remembered how creative she had been with the string of profanities.  She totally lived up to the stereotype. The woman could cuss!

Slowly, as time progressed, the allotted fifteen dwindled.  Today, it had only been five minutes of rage with no flower causalities and few curse words.

Jessica felt a surge confidence, and said in a firm, even tone,  “I can do this”.

Without another thought, Jessica reached for the new model and fitted it to what remained of her left leg.  The fit was snug and minus the pain of the previous models; however, the true test was yet to come.

Jessica used her crutches to help her stand.  Once up and steady, she let the crutches fall to the floor.  Jessica grimaced, and carefully leaned her weight to the right.  Slowly the left leg extended with its new prosthesis.  Once again she shifted her weight but this time to lean on the prosthesis.  Jessica extended her right leg and successfully completed the first step, free of pain.

Jessica smiled.  She knew nothing, absolutely nothing would keep her from her dream.

Chief Petty Officer, Jessica Ann, decorated war hero would, indeed, dance at her wedding.

The Meeting

Photo Courtesy of The Storyteller's Abode
Photo Courtesy of The Storyteller’s Abode

Katie took another drag of her cigarette, and then thumped the remainder into the air like a paper football.  She stepped away from the rock she had leaned against for  hours, and wiped at the tears that drained down her dusty face.

The sun was low on the horizon.   It was time to go.

Had she really thought he would come?

She had never been one to believe that psychic mumbo-jumbo shit, but the woman…the woman caressing the glass ball… she had been so convincing.  She had even known “their place”.  No one knew of their place…no one.

Katie, disappointed in herself for believing, whispered, “He’s dead…you dumb bitch…dead…”

Turning her back to the twin stones, Katie began her descent back down the mountain. She had only taken a couple of steps when something  fluttered by her ear and fell to the ground.  Katie looked down.  There by her boots lay the cigarette she had tossed away.

Katie smiled…she knew he had come.

(Word Count 174)

Amy’s Freedom (Part 2)

Below you will find my submission to the DARK SIDE THURSDAY event.  The idea is to write something dark and scary using 500 words or less.  This is part 2 of Amy’s story.  I hope you will check back next week for it’s continuation.  Enjoy part 2 of Amy’s Freedom.  (Part 1 can be found in July Archives…7/24 to be exact)

Part 2

2 Rusty ShackleAmy floated in and out of consciousness as she hung in an old root cellar. Exhaustion and pain, from gravity, and her own, body weight, made even shallow breathing near to impossible. The vessels in her brain bulged heavy with blood, so no matter how hard she willed herself to stay awake, she eventually could do nothing but surrender to the pain.

In those short waking moments, she tried to remember what had happened to bring her to this place of hell. Memory came and went in flashes, and the very moment she thought she understood, darkness clouded her mind and once again she fell into unconsciousness.  At first this was frustrating, but then, in a sick sort of way, it became a game of cat and mouse.  Amy conditioned herself to capture, hold, and tuck away every memory from each awakening moment.

Conscious once again, Amy began to sort the snippets of memory she had collected…a cabin…a phone call…Rudy… barking and growling…utter fear and confusion…  Slowly, ever so slowly, the pieces fell into place and Amy was able to remember the sequence of events that had led her here…

******

She and Rudy had finally arrived.  The thunder-boomer had made the crooked roads difficult to maneuver, so the two hour trip had turned into three.   Rudy, eager to escape the confines of the truck, scratched at the closed window.  Poor baby, he had been cooped up for hours, so it was no surprise to Amy, when he jumped out and rolled vigorously in the fresh rained upon grass.

 Smiling, happy to see him so excited, she chuckled and began to gather her suitcase, satchel and easel.  Carrying all three, Amy opened the front door of the log cabin, she and Sky had built together.  

The musty air, that had been trapped all winter, assaulted her nose causing her to pause for a moment, but Rudy nonchalantly padded past her and went inside.  He busied himself sniffing here and there as Amy opened windows.  A cool mountain breeze rushed in and Amy breathed it deep into her lungs.  Looking at the rustic walls, Amy felt a peace that she hadn’t known for months.  She now, secretly, thanked Sky for insisting that she take this week to rest and relax.

The cabin, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, sat in the middle of a “dead-zone” with no signal reception, therefore, a land-line phone had been a necessity.   The old black rotary, hanging on the wall, began to ring. Simultaneously, Rudy, who had sniffed or heard something of interest outside, began to bark. 

Amy picked up the phone with the intent to say, hello, but was interrupted by the voice on the other end,

“Amy…Oh my God I’m so glad you answered…lock…”    

Sky’s voice could not be heard over Rudy’s barking and vigorous scratching at the screen door, so Amy couldn’t hear to remainder of the sentence,

“…lock the door…he’s there…Oh my God, Amy he’s there…”  

Oblivious to Sky’s warning, Amy laid the phone down and went to let out the frantic dog.   Rudy rushed outside.  Amy turned to pick up the phone but stopped when she heard a deep and low guttural growl.

 Rudy, a happy-go-lucky Golden Retriever, rarely growled, so a wave of fear urged Amy to go inside; but love for her dog wooed her to make sure he was okay.  Love winning, she turned to go outside.  Stepping out the door, Amy became face to face with Rudy, who crouched low and snarled at her with bared teeth.     Amy, shocked and confused to see her loving Golden transformed into something  so vicious, began to coax her dog,

  “Rudy…Rudy…what is it…”  

The word boy never left her lips because Rudy lunged forward and all she saw was golden hair and gnashing teeth.  After that came the darkness.

******

Amy cried alone in the darkness as she thought of Rudy.  Confused and cold she  hung naked from the rusty shackles around her ankles.  Awaiting her captor…