Saturday, June 27, 2015

No Bake Cherry Cheesecake and our recent wanderings

Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I have a delicious dessert my friend Mindy showed my girls (which means they ran off to the store to get ingredients and made it ASAP, love that). 
But first, a little peek at where we've been lately.
YES, back to the blueberry farm for more hard labor! Not only hard labor, but child labor. Poor wee things. But I told them that we were picking Rekas this time. Last time it was Dukes, which are large, mild and good for eating fresh. Rekas are good for COOKING. Pies, muffin, pancakes. They freeze well, too. 
The bushes were loaded. It was 104F that day. I was melting into a puddle. The kids were fine. Unfair.
 Getting lost in the patch is easy to do. Reka bushes are much higher than Duke.
 If we wanted to pick Dukes, we could have picked right near the parking area. I wanted Rekas, which meant a little hike. (The owner said to head toward that van, and the best bushes were after the second star to the right and straight on until morning... or something like that.)
This guy was worried about spiders but I told him all the spiders had gone on vacation to avoid the tourists. He didn't believe me.
 After we came home, a few of us took a little nap in the cool living room.
 Meanwhile an older sibling built a marble run.
 He left a sign so I would know not to clean it off. It wasn't finished, just a WIP.
 Random pictures of our clematis.
 We love this plant. We use a lot of water just keeping it happy. In the desert where not much grows naturally, we avoid prissy plants. But not this one. The water bill is worth it!
 After a little while, the napping people woke up and decided to torture... I mean PLAY WITH the cat.
We went to visit my friend Barbara, who lives over the fence from my dad. Literally... right over the fence. We hardly ever walk down the lane, turn the corner, and walk up the other lane. We just heave ourselves over the fence. Much faster.
She has the best swing! Everyone feels like a giant on it.
 Barbara has a family Bible from Germany. Isn't it amazing? She graciously took it down from the mantel (she doesn't read German, so she studies her own Bible) so we could look inside.
 Such beautiful illustrations!
 The side view. (I think Jan shared a family Bible of hers once. I can't remember if it was in English or not, but I remember it was very old!)
Down the road from her is this old school that was left empty for years, until a family bought it. I was so jealous! I always wanted to live in that old place. Funny thing, they homeschooled! A real home school. LOL
And now we're back to playing with the cat. He's such a big goof. Almost as big as my five year old and he KNOWS he's a handsome dude.
So, we're finally at the No Bake Cherry Cheesecake part of the post. And was this delicious! I'm not a fan of those layered desserts that sit in the fridge. They always taste a bit like onion or whatever was left open in there, or seem a bit soggy. But this one was a winner!

          One box Nilla Wafer Minis-or use regular sized Nilla Wafers
           8 ounces soft cream cheese
          ⅓ cup sugar
          8 ounce tub cool whip
         ½ cup cherry preserves (we used raspberry jam because we had it on hand)
         1 can cherry pie filling
      Line a loaf pan with Nilla Wafers across bottom and mix the cream cheese and sugar together. Beat in cool whip. Spread half of the mixture over the cookies and then spread the preserves or jam over the cream cheese mix. Add another layer of wafers and more cheesecake mix. Pour on the cherry pie filling and DO NOT EAT out of the can. Make sure someone is watching you. Put it in the fridge and padlock the door. Go to bed and try not to think about it sitting in there, all lonely and uneaten.

To be honest, we waited about four hours. Sorry, this place moves fast. Ain't nobody got time for an overnight dessert. (Ok, maybe when we make croissants but those HAVE to chill on a schedule.)
I hope you all enjoyed this little post and now I'm back to chasing little people... and writing. 

My latest book, Only Through Love is almost here! Just one more month! My last book, These Sheltering Walls, was based on the Louis Untermeyer poem A Prayer for This Home  (which I shared before but is linked in case you want to read it again and you know you do). This book is based on a Sara Teasdale poem called Child, Child. (Click the link. You know you want to read more poetry. You really do.) I thought it was a good choice because we first meet Charlie, the heroine, when she's just a teenager in The Pepper in the Gumbo

Ok, until next time my friends! (Oh, but since it will be 110+ here this weekend, you may not hear from me. I may be melted into a giant puddle.) 


  1. I love the inside peek! I don't even care about the recipe, the kids are way more cute!!!!!! Thank you for sharing them with us, and I love big, old houses.

    They're so full of old charm, dust, weirdness and cubbies!

    I cannot even imagine what you did to deserve 110 degrees. I'm enjoying my 55 right now and singing birds everywhere!!!

    1. You didn't mention that cute, Ruthy! Does that mean you don't like cats? He was in here twice! And the dog. :) I know you like dogs.
      And I know the family who live there. Their daughter babysat for us before she left for law school. But I have never been inside since they started renovations. I keep trying to screw up the courage to arrange to walk-through but it just feels rude. "Hello, may I come wander through your private home and gaze at your things?" But I really, really want to see the inside. Fully half of that enormous place was a gymnasium, which they kept just as it was for their five kids.
      My sister went to school there and it makes for some funny conversations. "I went to second grade in your bedroom."

    2. Oops, that's supposed to read, "You didn't mention the cat!" The force is strong with my phone's auto correct.

    3. Auto correct should be jailed for insubordination!

      I like cats! I love dogs!!! But I love kids even more, Virginia! They just make my day!

      And that would be awkward, wouldn't it? The former owner of this old farmhouse had kids that went to the pretty one-room schoolhouse down the road.

      And that's the same kind of thing, but you know what's just as cool? My friend restored an old country church... Oh mylanta, it's gorgeous. Gorgeous. Gorgeous.

      My monsters would ruin those pretty wood floors, but gosh, it's stunning.

    4. An old country church?? I just got chills. Talk about hallowed ground.

      And I can imagine the jokes. "Shhh, not in church!"

  2. I feel like I just lived through a whirlwind. LOL You're as hard to keep up with as Ruthy is! Loved visiting with you -- glad I could do it without that heat though. Please keep it over there.

    The cat!!!!! And the kids' expressions -- don't know which is funnier. And my goodness, what a huge kitty. He must be part mountain lion. And very longsuffering.

    The cherry cheesecake looks yummy. Surprised you managed to wait it out 4 hours. LOL

    Oh -- and the bible -- exquisite. What a lovely piece of heritage. Lucky friend. And the schoolhouse -- I sooooooo want to live in a converted schoolhouse. And how neat to have your own gymnasium!

    1. LOL. We got this kitty when he was just tiny, and my kids named him "Lady". Well, dude is NOT a Lady. LOL. The vet always thinks that's so funny when we take him in. We've tried to change his name, but he doesn't seem to mind, so big, buff manly cat is still "Lady".
      Funny things about that kitty, too. He's about five years old and still plays like a kitten. He'll jump out at you as you walk by and bat your ankles. Or he'll sit so quietly, then jump out and race around the living room like a mad man... then stop, shoot us a look of disdain, and stalk away with his nose in the air. So, yes, he and the kids are so alike. Big goofballs.
      P.S. Every time I see that picture where my six year old is pulling that face, I laugh. Goober.

  3. 108 here. you're hotter than us? Terrific desert. All you cooks need to stop by Seekerville. I gave you a shout out. Love your new cover Virginnie!

    1. Merci, Tina! And thanks for the shout out from my favorite writing site!!

    2. Thanks for the shoutout, Tina. 108??? That's insane.

      We were in the 60s today.

    3. It really is. It gets so hot that we get wildfires. You'd think you'd need lightning or something, but nope, just a spark. The fields are so dry we have about one a day that takes up several acres before they can get it under control. This one this afternoon was out by helix, Oregon... but came just the same time as a short-lived but very violent dust storm. BAD TIMING. It was a long time (and a lot of farm acres and bales of hay before they got it out).

  4. Goodness, what a treasure trove of photos. Loved all of them, esp the boys and the cat. I'm in agreement with Kav on that subject. LOL

    And I love that recipe. One of my favorites, mainly because it is easy and soooo delicious. surprised you didn't make with blueberries though. smile

    1. Sandra, that is BRILLIANT! Then it would look very Fourth of July!

  5. That recipe looks so easy and yummy!! I might not mess it up! LOL

    Love the photos! And I'm still so jealous of the blueberries. BUCKETS FULL! I love it. :)

    1. Isn't it amazing? And we were a little slower with the Rekas, but honestly, ten minutes driving, some hot weather, and maybe an hour of work for that? I'll take it! We were in Walmart yesterday and my daughter saw someone with a stack of tiny packages of blueberries (probably for a recipe) and my daughter whispered, "She must not know anybody with a fridge full of berries." We all swap fruit so often here. I just passed a few pounds over the fence to my neighbor, and she asked if we wanted any apricots. Her mother's tree is overloaded. YES. We love apricots! And they were perfectly ripe. Ahhhh, summer.

    2. Back yard passing is the best.

      Right now we're selling rhubarb, asparagus and eggs, but I'm keeping a couple of families in fresh eggs because I hold back the smaller ones... and that's a nice friendly thing, to share fresh eggs.

      And I always laugh at folks who won't use farm-fresh eggs because they're nervous....

      They don't want to see the real chickens that lay the eggs, LOL!

    3. Yep, that's me with the small packages of berries. I need to move near you!

    4. You know, if we weren't in the next town over, I would have done the friendly thing and offered her some. But there's a big difference between 3,000 people and 30,000. (For one, I probably would have known her anyway... and she probably would have already gotten some berries from her friends! LOL)

    5. Ruthy, I don't know what's up with our chickens. I think they don't like the heat. We've only had an egg or two a day for a month. We put a mister in the coop (a water sprayer, not a rooster!) so maybe they'll stop being mad at us and give us eggs again.
      P.S/. studies have shown there's a FAR smaller risk of salmonella with fresh, free range, non-antibiotic laced eggs. Odd, yes?

  6. I had no idea there were different kinds of blueberries like that. All I ever knew was the wild ones were tinier than the plump grocery store ones.

    1. I just found out when I was talking with a friend in Texas that there are regional varities! He grows about 12, but there are more that don't grow here. Some are really big and mild. Some are very small and strong/tart. Some freeze well. Some cook well. Some are great for eating out of hand.

  7. Sigh. More blueberries. I love blueberries! Must get some this week...

    And yes, different varieties for different parts of the country! Around here, we can grow the Northcountry variety - I plan to put in a few bushes as part of the landscaping (and for the delicious fruit!)

    And your friend Barbara's old Bible is in much better shape that the ones I have. I ended up with the one from my family AND the one from my husband's family, and both of them are in English. No translating needed. :)

    Love the cat. I hope you read Esther Averill's Cat Club books to your boys. Your cat looks like such an Edward! If you've never heard of them, look for them. They're available on Amazon.