Books: Kiddo is back in school and that means more reading books around his level. We have been reading “Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin” by Liesl Shurtliff. The kids are just loving it because the main character’s name refers to a “butt”, so anything butt/fart related is of course instantly amusing to kids. So far they enjoy it and the action moves fast enough to keep them entertained.
We had started reading “The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death and a Boy Named Eel” by Deborah Hopkins. What is with this trend of lengthy titles with colons??? Well, anyway, I really really liked this book although it might be best for over age 10. There is a lot going on in the book including fiction AND non-fiction. The non-fiction portion discusses Dr. John Snow, a real doctor in 1854 who attended Queen Victoria himself and discovered the cause of the cholera outbreak. A lot of great information both historically and biologically. It also makes you appreciate clean water and our current system of water and sewers. **Spoiler** Over 600 people died simply because a mother cleaned out her baby’s diapers into the cesspool and the cesspool water seeped into the Broad Street Water Pump well.
Recipe: Firstly, I have updated the Sloppy Joe mix and recipe since last posted. On my sixth run through of the recipe, the family decided that the extra tomato paste made the dish super duper awesome instead of super awesome. So, the printable recipe has been updated and the spice mix remains the same for Christmas or party gifts or your pantry!
Now to the cream cheese dip that the kids are giving the thumbs up for:
The kids have been eating this up all year for snack time or dessert! Always a thumbs up in this house. This recipe base is perfect for making double, triple or quadruple servings. Orange, lime, lemon or grapefruit zest could all substitute for the lemon powder. Vanilla beans or espresso powder could be added as well in lieu of the fruity flavors.
You can put this in little ramekins or disposable plastic cups with graham crackers, oreos or vanilla wafers for a crust. Top with cherry or blueberry pie filling. Or use as a dip as we did here with strawberries, kiwi and graham crackers.
Use a chocolate cracker crust and orange zest for Fall.
Use plain graham crackers and lime with toasted coconut topping.
Use full fat cream or neufchetal cheese.
Use Vanilla Wafers for the bottom and bananas on top.
Use Oreo cookies for the crust and more chocolate on top.
Use raspberries on top of lemon zest cheesecake.
Use caramel in the cheesecake and cooked apples on top.
Use almond extract with cherry or blackberry topping
The combinations are endless!
Here is a photo of the lemon juice powder. It is so handy for adding lemon flavor without wondering if we have lemons in the house. This way I can always make a smoothie or dessert with lemon flavor with what is in my pantry. King Arthur Flour usually has sales around the holidays to stock up the pantry at a discounted price or free shipping.
- 4 ounces softened cream cheese or neufchatel cheese
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) plain Greek yogurt (or vanilla)
- 1 Tb. lemon juice powder or 1/2 tsp. lemon zest (or favorite flavor) or 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (or other)
- 2 Tb. sugar or powdered sugar
- For more of a cheesecake and less of a dip:
- 16 oz. softened cream cheese or neufchatel cheese
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 cup Greek yogurt – plain or vanilla
- To make it fast: mix everything together with a fork. This will be faster, but you may also have lumps from the cream cheese.
- To make it pretty: make sure the cream cheese is softened and beat on low to medium speed with beaters for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Add the sugar or powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until mixed well.
- Dip can be eaten immediately.
- Cheesecake needs mixed and put into the fridge until firm and ready to serve – about 2 plus hours.