The weather is warming up and strawberries are ripening here in North Carolina. Its a treat since I recall having to wait until July to pick strawberries back when we lived in New Hampshire. I saw a recipe and decided to make it as sugar-free as possible.
Nancy's Strawberry Cheesecake
2 pints strawberries, hulled and divided
2/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Splenda
8 rectangles graham crackers, crushed
1/2 cup butter, melted
` 8 oz pack 1/3 Fat cream cheese
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 container sugar-free whipped topping
In blender or food processor, roughly cut then blend 1 pint of the strawberries. Add 2 Tablespoons Splenda and the vanilla. Place mixture in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring for about 5 minutes. Cool completely.
In a bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs and butter, pour into a 9" springform pan, pie pan, aor cake pan. Tamp down with the bottom of a small measuring cup, then place in freezer.
In a mixing bowl or food processor, blend the cream cheese until smooth. Add cooled strawberry mixture, 2/3 cup Splenda, and vanilla. Mix. Add cool-wip and blend.
Remove crust from freezer and pour in the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. at least 4 hours. When ready to serve. add halves of strawberries on top and enjoy!
The weather might be warming up, BUT... if you are in need of a book to read while snacking on your cheesecake, consider The Earl's Treasure. Here is a short sample.
A door slammed, and Adele grabbed the top of her dressing table to keep from tumbling from the cushioned stool. Her startled movement caused Violet to almost pull a handful of her hair from the roots. Closing her eyes, Adele choked back a whimper.
“Be still, my lady. ’Tis only the wind. I fear winter is making itself known.”
Adele shivered. Not from the gathering cold that swept over the English countryside and seeped through the manor’s cracked windows, but from the thought of venturing into the public’s eye tonight.
Light snow had started to fall that morning, darkening her mood and making her rethink her plans. Breathing slowly and pulling strength from deep inside, she concentrated on her young maid. Violet, her dark red hair tucked beneath a white mobcap, hummed a Scottish nursery tune.
The servant helped her dress for an invitation she should have ignored. How unfortunate that Violet ran the hairbrush through Adele’s long curls as if currying a horse. Since trying and failing to sell enough personal effects to pay wages, she had no cause to complain.
However, a question scratched at her mind. In lieu of wages, had Violet taken her silver mirror, the one her father had presented to her as a wedding gift? Would her servants resort to theft without asking for their wages first?
“There, my lady, yer hair shines like spun gold.”
Adele huffed in exasperation as the maid tugged and twirled and pinned her hair upon her head.
“Thank ye, Violet, though my hair is a tad too dark to call gold. Why can I not wear it in a bun at the nape of my neck as I normally do?”
“Nay, my lady! Yer a baroness! ’Tis fine for a simple life at home, here at Maxwell Hall, but not for a ball at the Duke of Bellmeer’s estate!”
“I suppose ye speak the truth, although I am concerned the dress will not do me justice.”
“Doono’ fret. Let me help ye into yer lovely gown.”
Adele had to agree the icy blue fabric’s beauty thrilled her. “’Tis not even mine.” She’d traded several jars of homemade blackberry jam with a neighbor for its use tonight. Violet clicked her tongue and helped Adele to her feet.
The fledgling maid slipped the borrowed gown over the long curls pinned atop Adele’s head. Adele fluffed the skirt and smoothed the shoulder-baring bodice, then stood as still as a Lochmaben Standing Stone.
From the corner of her eye, her image in the cracked looking-glass atop her dressing table was less than flattering. The gown itself was pretty, but two or three years out of fashion. She didn’t mind. The rounded bodice cradled her generous breasts, but felt too loose in other places.
A deep breath and a less than stellar smile would keep Violet from fussing over her any longer, but Adele’s senses reeled as the hour to depart drew near. Panic grew with every labored breath.
She had no reason to be afraid. Any excuse for leaving Maxwell Hall ought to be a cause for celebration, not something to fear. She had to go. She must thank Fanny Hartwell for inviting her to the ball. The dowager duchess had spent months trying to coax her to return to society and would welcome Adele’s presence, tonight.
“Although, staying home would be a lot less trouble.”
“Did ye say something, my lady?”
She seldom talked anymore. Over the last few years, she’d lived like a recluse and so unlike the lass of her youth. Fanny’s ball, at her grandson’s nearby great estate, might turn into an opportunity to end her loneliness. Meeting neighbors and nobles from London was a treat and she would mingle, dance, and enjoy the company of ladies and well-dressed men.
Keep safe and enjoy Spring!
Nancy Lee Badger