Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Recipe of the week: Red Velvet Cheesecake brownies

I haven't been blogging much or posting recipes lately, for that I has gotten in the way.  Jade sent me a recipe a few months ago that was similar to this, but as always I had to modify it.  True red-velvet cake has either vinegar or buttermilk in it.  I also don't believe in artificial coloring so I used beet juice instead of red food coloring.  If you want to know the history of red velvet cake you can read this.  I made this a couple of weeks ago and we rated it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.  I over swirled mine, but even with that the flavor would be the same.  I think I would add a little more chocolate next time.  Let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!


1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp beet juice
1 Tbsp white vinegar
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature (I used light)
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
cocoa powder for dusting


Preheat oven to 350F. Spray or butter the bottom and sides of a glass 8 inch baking dish.

In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. I used the mircowave for this, starting with 30 seconds then adding 10 seconds at a time until it was melted.  (Mine only took 50 seconds total).  Stir until combined and very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, beet juice and vinegar. Add chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Add flour and salt and stir until just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.  Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.

To prepare cheesecake mixture, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until smooth. Distribute the cheesecake mixture in 8 dollops over batter in the pan. Swirl in with a knife or spatula.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.  Dust with cocoa powder.  Let cool completely in pan before cutting.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Randy Woodland June 11, 1943-May 3, 2012

The last few weeks have been difficult and I haven't had much time to blog.  Most of you know by now that my step-dad passed away May 3, 2012.   My daughter Jade said this on her facebook:  "I don't pity the dead that no longer live in suffering, I pity the living that have to learn to live without their loved ones.  RIP Thomas Randolph Woodland."

I think this quote by John Gillespie Magee, Jr  sums it up best for me.  "Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth . . . Put out my hand, and touched the face of God".

I would ask you to pray for my family and especially my mom as she learns to live with out him.  As we prepare for his funeral on the 11th I was asked to share some of my fond memories of him....

My first memory of Randy was back when he worked in John Hughes' office as a clerk.  I was there with my Raggedy Ann doll and she had seen better days.  Randy got out a needle and thread and sewed her leg back on.

The Christmas my mom and Randy got engaged, he bought me a pink typewriter....he loved buying things that were unusual or unexpected, like the golf clubs he bought me another Christmas.

When I was a teenager, the bulk of my summers were spent at his office, answering the phone, doing filing, and typing.  Once I could drive he would send me on errands to the post office, the courthouse, or my favorite, to get lunch.  He definitely knew all the best take out places in the OC.

I'll never forget the look on his face the first time he held Jade, he was truly delighted, and she immediately had him wrapped around her tiny finger.

The last couple of years he would call me (almost always last minute) to go do some shopping for my mom, for Valentine's day, Christmas or their anniversary.  Sometimes he would tell me exactly what to get, others he'd say you pick.  He was always so generous to her and others.  

Last summer, when he was feeling better,  I spent most Friday evenings having dinner with my mom and Randy out on their back patio.  We talked about the books we'd both read or what the kids were up to and even occasionally theology and politics.

Most recently, after 9 weeks of saying no, my mom could not have one of our puppies, Randy changed his mind and we took her to live at their house.  He named her "Missy" and I watched how very quickly she wrapped her paw around his heart.  We would often find her sleeping right by his head.

Amy chose for the words; generosity, humor and kindness to be on his headstone.  I can't think of anything more appropriate.  Hopefully he inspired us all to live that way.

(This was taken October 2011)