Did Someone Say Cheesecake?

I am convinced that if you do not like cheesecake you are either an alien or something is seriuously wrong with your taste buds. While I happen to love crust, my husband is not a crust kind of guy but he does love cheesecake. So I was on a hunt for a simple crustless cheesecake recipe online and made a few tweeks to make it perfect.

Here is what you will need:
4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups sour cream, room temperature
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Here is how to do it!

* Coat the inside of a 10 inch springform pan with butter. Be generous with the butter 😉
* Use aluminum foil to wrap around the outside of the pan covering bottom and sides.
* Preheat oven to 300º.
* Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
* Add eggs one at a time until blended.
* Add sour cream and mix until smooth.
* Add sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and lemon juice, beat for about 2 minutes or until smooth
* Pour the batter into the springform pan
* Place the pan in a roasting pan large enough so that none of the sides touch the pan. (This is why tight aluminum foil is so important. No water can seep into the pan)
* Place the pan into oven
* With the rack of the over pulled out, carefully pour boiling water into roasting pan so that it reaches halfway up sides of springform pan. (be careful not to splash any water onto cake)
*Bake for 2 hours, or until cake is lightly browned on top.
*Remove the pan from water, remove foil and cool completely at room temperature before unlatching and removing rim.
*Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. It is best to chill it overnight. The longer in the fridge the better set the cheesecake will be. Eat plan or with fresh fruit and whip cream on top like I did below! So delish!

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Let me know how it comes out!

Until Next Time!

Eva

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Country Road Dreams

09_CountryLife-Peoms (Photo taken from http://www.patricianeelydorsey.com/country9.htm)

I find myself daydreaming about having a small farm on a piece of land out in the country more often then I like to admit. I found this poem written by Patricia Neely-Dorsey. The words “uncomplicated, unhurried, unrushed” are words I dream of. Living on a small farm, homesteading or any lifestyle that includes living off of the land is not an easy road to take. You still have to wake up “before the chickens” to feed animals, do farm chores, garden chores in addition to all of the normal house hold duties that we have to take care of on a daily basis. It is not a glamorous lifestyle but yet, my heart longs for it.

When the heart desires something we tend to start praying for that specific desire. We open our bibles to Psalms 37:4 “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart”. Then we wait and wonder why God isn’t giving us what we want. What proceeds is weeks, months and even years of waiting. This is when we become impatient. Waiting, wondering why, crying when no one is looking and eventually, even though you may not admit it, we become angry at God.

I would be lying if I said I have not been there. People will tell you all of the time to “let go and let God”. I think we hear that saying so often that we forget how very powerful it is. You see Proverbs 19:21 tells us “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”.

You can take comfort in knowing that while you may choose the path to get there, God purpose for your life will prevail. He knows us better than we know ourselves and I can rest easy knowing that the wait is a perfect time to be closer to Him and delight in Him. Only then will you have peace during the wait. Because at the end of the day, no matter our circumstance, our heart is all he desires.

Much Love!

Eva

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How to Hand-Pollinate Eggplants

Sometime when you live in the suburbs it can be hard to keep pollinators in your garden. I personally buy as many bee and butterfly loving flowers as I can in order to keep them coming! But sometimes, you need to take matters into your own hands. I find this especially true with eggplants. Every year my eggplants blossom the most beautiful lavender flowers. There are so many flowers I can barely count them all. While I can appreciate a beautiful flower, it is eggplants that I want!
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If you are seeing a lot of pretty flowers but no eggplants the problem is most likely due to lack of pollination. There are not enough bees, humming birds or butterfly’s that frequent your property enough for pollination. For eggplants, even wind can move pollen to the receiving pistols which causes pollination. If this lack of polination is happening to you there is another way to get your eggplants to start producing yummy eggplants for your family! Self or hand pollination is a tool that a lot of home gardeners use when they run into this issue.

Most plants produce both male and female flowers. In this case the pollen producing male flowers need to somehow get their pollen to the pollen receptors on the female flower. Eggplant flowers are considered to be “perfect”, meaning each flower is both male and female. This makes hand pollinating them so easy!
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You can use a q-tip, small paint brush or even your finger to move the pollen around in each flower. Some home gardeners simplify it even further and just give each flower a soft flick and let the wind do the work.
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Literally within days I started seeing tons of baby eggplants coming in! All of the elements were there, they just needed a little extra push! Now we are harvesting a few eggplants every few days and I could not be more thankful!
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Happy Gardening!

Much Love!

Eva

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Tomatoes: The difference Between Determinate and Indeterminate

Tomatoes. The holy grail of gardening. When most people make the decision to start their home garden tomatoes are always at the top of the list of vegetables they they want to plant. (yes I know they are technically a fruit 😛 )

When I first started out I was overwhelmed by the amount of options when it comes to tomatoes. Look through any seeds catalog or online seed company and there will be pages and pages of different types of tomatoes seeds to choose from. I had no idea there were so many different types of tomatoes!
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What most people do not know is that there is a way to narrow down your for the search the perfect tomato to plant. Tomatoes are divided into two categories: Determinate and Indeterminate. Both types of tomatoes will give you beautiful delicious fruit and there is not much difference in how you would care for them. The difference between determinate and indeterminate comes in how they grow and how they produce fruit.

Simply put a determinate tomato plant bares all of their fruit at one time and an indeterminate bares fruits over the course of the entire season. In order for you to decide which type of tomato plant is best for you, we will need to dig into their differences a bit further.
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In the case of determinate tomatoes you will have a shorter, bush-like tomato plant that does does not require much pruning. Determinate tomato plants normally do not grow more than 3-4 ft tall. Because of this, they will not require much staking either. Since you will get most of your fruit at the same time, determinate tomatoes are best for people who are hoping for large crop harvests at a certain time of the season. Most large scale tomato farms use determinate plants in order to schedule crop harvest in the small 2-3 week window when all of the fruit on the plants are ripe. Once most of the fruit on each plant is ripe, new flowers will very seldom produce fruit.

Indeterminate on the other hand are very different. These types of tomato plants produce fruit throughout the season. This means that rather than getting all of your tomatoes in a 2-3 week period, each tomato works individually to ripen on its own. Some indeterminate tomato plants can grow more than 8 ft tall! Since this type of tomato plant grows tall vines rather than short bushes like determinate; strong steaks, tall tomato cages and / or a trellis for the vines to climb will be essential. Indeterminate tomato plants will also require a bit more pruning than the determinate variety. It will be important to prune off dead or diseased leaves and suckers that way the plant can focus on producing more fruit rather than foliage. This type of tomato plant is ideal for home gardeners who want to enjoy tomatoes all season long because you could be harvesting several tomatoes each week rather than having the whole mother-load all at once.

Tomatoes are the go-to plant to grow for most home gardeners. I do not think I have ever met anyone who doesn’t like them, even if it is just to make pasta sauce! Understanding the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomato plants is the first step in choosing the perfect variety for your home garden!

Until next time, good luck in the garden this season!

Much Love,

Eva

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Tomato Update

A few weeks ago I wrote about how I ripen tomatoes indoors once the forecast calls for the first frost. It is a highly technical process (sarcasm) so if you missed it you can find that blog entry here -> http://greenthumbjourney.com/?p=309.

I wanted to give y’all an update so you can see how my tomatoes are coming along! Screenshot_2016-02-23-09-49-47-1
We have already used several of them but the ones that remain are looking good! As you can see, the not-so-highly technical process I used to ripen the tomatoes indoors is working just fine. I have not had to buy tomatoes for a while and my heart will slowly break when I do. For now I will be enjoying the last of my tomatoes from last season that grew beautifully all because I decided to plant a seed. It truly is one of the best feelings in the world. :)
Like most home gardeners say this time of year….I can’t wait until spring!

Until next time!

Eva

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