Thursday, May 5, 2016

Hazelnut Cheesecake Brownies and Random Arizona Fun!

Well, you guessed it!


You Are Smart!!!!!

So I went to Arizona.... And do not ask if I had time to visit any of my Arizona friends, because they were all strangely B-U-S-Y when the Ruthinator was in town...

Now I'm a little slow on the uptake, but even I got the message that I'm good in small doses... or from a distance! And my kids got a good laugh at my expense, so I made them pay for extra dinners, because we have a family joke that started with my older son and how he ended up with 5 different roommates his freshman year at U-Penn in Philly... And we understood that it wasn't the roommates that made life difficult, it was my kid!

Like mother, like son... Which is why I do well to stay tucked into my writer's cave, but every now and again I have to go see something, and last week it was beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona... We saw some of Phoenix, and we went to Goldfield, a ghost town, I climbed a mountain (not all the way, so maybe about a quarter mountain, although I was tempted to buy a shirt saying "I climbed Camelback Mountain" but it would be a bold-faced lie....

And they didn't have a shirt saying "I climbed some of Camelback!!!!" :)

And we went up the mountain in Southern Mountain Park in Phoenix, and that was fascinating! We could see for sixty miles, one person said.... I'm not sure if they were right, but it was awesome to see, to look out, over that gorgeous valley.

And Eddie James Ministries stopped up on the mountain while we were there, and I got to hear Eddie preach a sermon to his group of young adults... and they all appeared to listen.


Now the good thing about kids is they feel obliged to spend time with you because you like gave birth to them, and you ran them around and worked for them and taught them all the good stuff you know, and taught them to watch out for the BAD STUFF.... so when you come visit, they feel compelled.

It was so much fun! I rode a camel... While in Phoenix, I visited one of the coolest zoos I've ever seen. I love going to the zoo!!! .

And Luke rode a camel....

And here is a Macaw exactly like the one I have in "Home on the Range" releasing next October!!!

And speaking of "Home on the Range"....  I am absolutely in love with this cover.... Oh, be still my cowboy-loving heart!!!!


I have decided that visiting such a grand wonder should be compulsory.... Oh my stars, I truly understood my insignificance when I saw the glory and wonder of Mother Nature and God at work on their own... I am but the littlest part of the tiniest cog!!!! But I'm so glad to be part of anything!

And those pics are on my phone and have to be sent to the computer, but my phone is dying a slow and quite painful death, so we'll see them later... I bet you're holding your collective breath and wondering GET TO THE BROWNIES, WOMAN!!!!

And I cannot blame you for that, because these were amazing.

And easy. I love easy, so here we go, my friends!

Hazelnut Cheesecake Brownies

1 Brownie mix, mix as directed.
Grease bottom only of 7" x 11" pan, spread prepared brownie mix into pan. Top with Cream Cheese Hazelnut filling.

Cream Cheese Hazelnut Filling:

1 8 oz package cream cheese
2/3 cup Nutella
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons flour

Soften cream cheese gently in microwave. Add rest of ingredients. Mix by hand until mixture is well-combined. Spread on top of brownie mix to about 1/2" from edge.

Bake at 350° for about 30-35 minutes, until cheesecake filling seems set....


Top with Hershey's Perfect Chocolate Icing.


Hershey's Perfect Chocolate Icing:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
3 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (my addition from the old Hershey's recipe back in the day)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk

Stir cocoa into melted butter, whisk until smooth. (About ten seconds, really, truly!) Add sugar, salt vanilla and milk, whisk until smooth. Frosting thickens as it cools. If you mistakenly add 2/3 cup milk, then add more cocoa and sugar.

I'm not sure how I KNOW THIS. :)

Spread on top, chill, cut into bars.

These are worthy bars.

These are company-friendly bars!!!

And we had 5 baby kittens born the day we got home....

And this is Dianna, snuggling Jasper, the kitten that was sick 8 months ago... now a big, thriving lap cat!

So that's how our week has gone, and now I'm knee-deep in revisions for next winter's beautiful Love Inspired book... and I'm loving it!

I'm not mentioning the Yankee's seemingly unstoppable losing streak, I'm being a fan, whatever the outcome!





Ruth Logan Herne is living her dream, writing sweet books filled with unforgettable characters, stories that make you smile and sigh... You can find her here every Thursday.... She stops by Seekerville daily and usually to make fun of her friends (which explains a lot, doesn't it???), or visit her on facebook where she never stops talking, or her website:


  1. South Mountain Park, honey. Well, I had a proposal that you to write. And you recently gave me a lecture on my writing focus and confidence. So it was nose to the grindstone baby.

    The brownies look delish!!

    1. The brownies are delish! And yes, South Mountain Park, which is nothing like any park up here.... but honestly, it didn't have to be because the view from up top... and meeting all the people up there, chatting with them, praying with Eddie James.... was so cool!

      And of course you were all busy, darling! :) Sandra actually went to the OTHER SIDE OF THE STATE....

      Glynna was hard at work when we drove through Flagstaff....

      And you were hard at work on the proposal. Oh... I get it, Tina!!!

      But we're all still laughing because my boys know me, and they're pretty sure I'm the causative action in this interesting reaction. And I'm not silly enough to think they're wrong in their assertions!

      These are busy times.

      (Still laughing, and have a deeper understanding of the world around me!)

    2. Laughing is a very good thing. Keep laughing.

  2. oops that should read "a proposal that I told you I had to write"

  3. And the cowboy looks delish too!

  4. Replies
    1. Missy, isn't it dream-worthy?????? #love


  5. Oh, and the brownies look amazing too! :)

    What a fun trip. I'm so glad I finally got to see the camel photo!!

    1. It was. We walked and walked through Scottsdale and up hills and down dales and all that kind of stuff, so it was wonderful. And I found an Aussie bake shop "Australian Bakery" which I never got back to, and the pastries looked AMAZING!!!!!

      And a Farmer's Market chock full of produce and healthy things on Saturday morning.... we just had a ball, Missy, but the Grand Canyon was prayer-worthy.

      Simply awe-inspiring.

  6. Oh -- Aussie bakeshop -- lamingtons!!!!! I have to find a recipe for those. Sorry, got sidetracked by that last comment.

    Love your book cover. Really awesome and totally different from what's out there. Guaranteed to draw a book browser.

    Glad you had fun and sunshine for a week...and are camels as smelly as they say they are?

    Love the hazelnut addiction to brownies. Yum. I need to bring a dessert to a church thing in a couple of weeks. It might just have to be this.

    1. Kav, the church will love you more than they do, if such a thing could be remotely possible!!!!

      And no, the camels didn't smell at all. There were three neutered males, and there was no odor. And they were friendly giants!!!

  7. Ruthinator. I can't tell you how heartsick I was to miss you on this monumental visit. We were not only in the other side of the state but stuck there for four extra days because our fuel pump went out and they had to order the part and sent the wrong part ya da ya da.

    I so would have LOVED seeing your face when you saw the Grand Canyon. It is AWESOME.

    Love your bookcover. Yes, be still my heart for sure.

    So glad you made it home safe and sound. LOVE YOU. Not hiding. I promise.

    1. Awww........ You would have loved my face for certain, Sandra, because I'm sure it was video worthy. I have never seen such a work of nature in that kind of magnitude that simply yawned itself open on the face of the earth... it reminded me of "Land Before Time" the original, and all the "EARTHSHAKES!!!!" (that's what the baby dinosaurs called them....

      And this huge cavern opened up, and spread out before the dinos, with some trapped on one side, some on the other.

      And I expect whoever planned that scene had seen and loved the Grand Canyon... Sandra, it was amazing!!!

      And it's okay that you CROSSED THE STATE to avoid me, honey.

      Zach and Luke will never, ever, ever let me live this one down.


      I still love each and every one of youse!!!

  8. Ruthy the wanderer. Looks like you had a great trip. Camel riding, the Grand Canyon... Sounds like you might have ticked a few things off of your bucket list.

    Now about that recipe. Brownies, Nutella and cream cheese. Be still my heart. I have a couple of boys who'd like this. Shoot, I bet all my kids would like this. Looks like mama needs to get baking. Thanks for the recipe, Ruthy.

    1. Mindy, it was awesome! And the boys are so much fun to hang out with, they talk with me about all the weirdnesses of life, Wall Street, big money, big government, politics, etc... and we share thoughts and opinions and they're just delightful... and it's funny how I had felt a "call to action" not long ago, and one of the first things Zach asked me about was this issue... and I told him I was getting involved, which didn't surprise him... but it's funny how we think of things at the same time quite often.

      And this recipe... I just bought two big jars of Nutella at Sam's Club so I can make these again.

      SO GOOD, TEX!!!!

    2. THE COVER! I forgot to mention the cover. Cute kid, cute cowboy... Swoon.

  9. That cover. I'm afraid when I get the book, I won't even want to open it because I'll be looking at that cover all day!!!

    That cover is!

    And if you had been in MY neck of the woods, I would have sketched out an hour to spend with you.

    *wait a minute. I've never spent time with Ruthy in person. Could she be the kind of woman people want to avoid? I mean, look at Tina. And Sandra even went and broke her fuel pump so she wouldn't risk being in the same town with her. Hmm...I may need to rethink this.*

    Ahem. If you were in MY neck of the woods, I would have...met a public place...we have a Starbucks. :)

    Goin' for the brownies. They look delish!

    1. And it's 17 hours from my house to the Grand Canyon. That's a road trip I need to make!

    2. Dying laughing!!! I know, these guys went to EXTREMES to avoid the face-to-face, Jan, you have to be so careful these days it seems!!!! And if I come out to Yellowstone in a year or two, I have to swing by SD so we can have coffee... If you don't go into hiding, too!

      And if you do, oh sweet merciful heavens, then I know I'm clearly BAD NEWS.

      sigh..... :)

      I promise you I will hear about this at Cousinpalooza this summer, when the boys mention how their buddies fly cross country to meet them.... and how they're all in each other's weddings.... and how they go to Penn Relays in April when they can... Oh, yes, I'll hear it...

      And I'll be tough, Jan! :)

      I can't wait to meet you, too, and then you can decide for yourself... Is she worth the risk? And the time!

    3. JAN DREXLER, do not encourage her. She's not even Italian, yet she plays the martyr card perfectly.

    4. Oh, so looking forward to Nashville in August!

    5. By the way, if you get married again, I'll volunteer to be in your wedding. Just don't tell your husband.

  10. Ruthy - how do you expect anyone to read the insides of that book when we could stare at that gorgeous cover? Nevertheless, I absolutely HAVE to read Home on the Range ASAP. When is it releasing? Next time you got to Arizona, stop off in Kansas and this friend will welcome you. Of course, we don't have a Grand Canyon here. Hmmm... maybe could take you to visit a wheat field?

    1. Hey, girlfriend, I've driven through Kansas with Mary Connealy before, and I didn't know you were there! Next time we'll post the road trip and we can all meet someplace. I've seen wheat fields, got nothing but love for them, but I think a coffee shop with something sweet and deliciously fattening would be more fun while we TALK!!!! :)

      And the cover ROCKS. :)

  11. Brownies? There was a recipe for brownies and icing? In the same post with that terrific book cover? Gee, I need to go back and look for a recipe.

    Agreed that visiting a wonder like the Canyon should be compulsory. It ain't called Grand fer nuthin' ;-)

    Glad you enjoyed the trip, Ruthy!

    Nancy C

    1. Nancy, I loved it so much! Arizona has a rugged beauty that's so different from anything I've ever experienced, and it was a delight to visit. I felt truly blessed to roam the streets, hike the hills, meet folks, travel up mountains, and whose idea was it to put a HUGE plateau 6000 feet up???? And then to have it "yawn" open.... Oh, the majesty! #happyruthy

  12. Not that I'm fixated on the book cover or anything ... but is that Nick? Which of the girls is that with him? Cheyenne? She looks a little old for Dakota but kids grow quickly. Not that I think those characters are real people or anything ...

    Now I'll go look for that brownie and icing recipe again.

    Nancy C

    1. Nancy, that's Nick, yes! And that's Dakota, she's almost seven in the book... she and Cheyenne both have summer birthdays and this story is set spring/early summer... so she's almost 7 and Cheyenne is almost 9... And interesting fact, that's the cowboy's actual daughter in the picture. We talked ahead of time, and I loved her for Dakota, so they did a shoot with her dad and her... and I think it's perfect. SIGH.... SWOON...... :)

  13. Coming in late after the Science Fair. I think I'll just veg out here a while and gaze on the loveliness of that cover.

    1. Father and daughter.... A Western tale for sure! Don't you just love it????

  14. Awesome!! My mother has a house in Scottsdale (or just outside) and loves being a "snowbird" when the weather on the Oregon coast gets too nasty.

    And I can't believe that anybody requires small doses of Ruthy. Nope. I think they were truly busy (with a kidney transplant, perhaps?)

    Beautiful cover!!!