Diva Tasting: No Bake Cheese Cake…

No Bake Cheese Cake 
Ingredients
Crust:
  • 1 1/2 Cups Finely Crushed Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
Filling:
  • 1 Cup Cream Cheese At Room Temperature
  • 1 Cup Ricotta Cheese At Room Temperature
  • 2 Teaspoons Grated Lemon Zest
  • 2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Tub Extra Creamy Frozen Whip Topping
  • 20 Large Fresh Strawberries, Hulled And Halved Lengthwise, Or As Needed
  • 24 Large Fresh Blueberries, Or As Needed
Directions
  1. Combine graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, cocoa powder, and melted butter in a bowl until mixture is thoroughly combined and crumbly.
  2. Transfer crust mixture to a 9×13-inch baking dish. Press crust into bottom of dish until smooth and even. Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.
  3. Mix cream cheese and mascarpone cheese in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract into mixture.
  4. Whisk 1/3 cup sugar into whipping cream in a separate metal or glass bowl until the cream is fluffy and forms soft peaks. Add whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and gently whisk until filling is soft, fluffy, and well combined.
  5. Spoon filling on top of the graham cracker crust, spreading and smoothing the top. Tap the pan gently on a work surface several times to settle the crust and filling. Cover pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 3 hours.
  6. Starting at the bottom long edge of the cake, arrange strawberry halves in a horizontal line with the pointed bottoms of the strawberry halves pointing to the right. Start a second stripe of strawberry halves at the top right of the cake, arranging strawberries with the bottoms pointing right in a line stretching about 2/3 of the length of the cake.
  7. Continue to make strawberry stripes, starting about 3/4 inch up from the bottom stripe and laying down 3 more stripes stretching the full length of the cake. Make 1 more line of strawberries beneath the short stripe to leave a square space for the blue field of stars.
  8. Lay a line of blueberries with the blossom ends pointing up in the upper left square space. Continue to lay down blueberries in lines, berries touching the previous line, until the square is filled with blueberries. Cut cake into squares to serve.
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Diva Musing: Being from The South…

Being from the South we ten to use sayings that the rest of the world must ponder.  I’m attempting to translate some of those “isms”.  Here are Something a Southern Mom Might Say…

Southern mamas don’t mess around when it comes to manners. From birth, our mothers have been telling us how to act with some of the most colorful phrases ever uttered.

Who has been told that we weren’t raised in a barn? Or not to look a gift horse in the mouth?

The answer is every single one of us. And not just by our own mothers. Mamas we’ve never met before have used these mom-isms on us. Because there ain’t no off-switch on being a mama.

When it comes to the South, manners are taught from birth.

That’s why there are so many Southern phrases about being polite and minding your manners, most of which we can still hear our mamas saying in that tone of all-knowing authority. After all, were you even raised in the South if your mama didn’t yell “were you raised in a barn?” at least once every weekend?

With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at some of the phrases Southern mamas live by when it comes to manners.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Meaning: Don’t assume something is going to happen before it does.

An empty wagon makes a lot of noise.

Meaning: people who don’t know what they’re talking abut tend to say the most.

Mind your P’sand Q’s

Meaning be on our best behavior

Buzzards and chickens come home to roost.

Meaning: What you do and say will catch up to you.

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Meaning: Don’t assume something’s going to happen before it does.

You’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Meaning: You get better results when you are polite.

Don’t get too big for your britches.

Meaning: Don’t be conceited.

Pretty is as pretty does.

Meaning: How you treat people is more important than how you look

Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Meaning: Don t’ question the value of a gift.

Hold your Horses.

Meaning: Be Patient.

Were you raised in a barn?

Meaning: Close the door behind you.

Don’t let our mouth overload your tail.

Meaning: Don’t say anything you can’t back up.

Be like the old lady who fell out of the wagon.

Meaning: Mind your own business.

Don’t sit there like a bump on a log

Meaning: Don just sit there not doing anything.

Diva Tasting: Spicy Polenta Casserole…

Spicy Polenta Casserole 

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound Bulk Mild Italian Sausage

  • 1/4 Cup White Cooking Wine

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Plus More For Greasing

  • 1/2 Cup Roasted Red Bell Pepper, Chopped

  • 1 Red Onion, Chopped

  • Kosher Salt And Ground Black Pepper To Taste

  • 1 (16 Ounce) Package Prepared Polenta, Sliced Into 1/4-Inch Rounds

  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley

  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

  • 1/4 Cup Water, Or As Needed

  • 8 Ounces Crumbled Feta Cheese

  • 1 Cup Pecorino Romano Shredded

Directions

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and break apart with a wooden spoon. Cook until sausage is browned thoroughly, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Pour in white wine and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Remove sausage mixture from the skillet, place in a bowl, and set aside.

  2. Add olive oil, peppers, and onion to the skillet. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and caramelized, about 10 minutes.

  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round pie dish with olive oil. Arrange polenta slices over the bottom, overlapping slightly.

  4. Stir tomato paste into pepper mixture in the skillet and cook briefly. Return sausage mixture to pan and stir well. Add water until mixture is saucy but not too thin; you may use less than 1/4 cup. Add feta, chopped parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer briefly until thickened. Remove from heat.

  5. Spoon sausage-pepper-feta mixture over polenta in the pie dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle Romano cheese on top.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes.

  7. Serve with Spinach salad, lemon vinaigrette, beverage.

Diva Rambling: Reclaiming Kindness…

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” Lao Tzu

The Queen has been pondering kindness more and more lately. I can vaguely remember my child self wanting to be kind to everyone and everything. I cried at observing what I considered unkindness to others or even nature. Somewhere along the way I began to set boundaries to protect that childlike kindness from hurt. I worked for fortune 500 companies for 42 years and that toughened her so much that everything began to become matter of fact and clinical to me.

Now I am reclaiming that still small child within to remind me to be kinder and gentler. I think sometimes most of us need that check in with our souls. We know when our vibration has sunk into a lower dimension and we know we need to do something about it. Knowing and doing are two different things.

That’s not to say the sassy mountain woman is totally in check…and she never will be! I wanted to pull out my glock and shoot the tires out of at least three of the idiots driving with a 2 mile an hour brain, at 10 mph with their car… and unable to decide if they should ever go at a 4 way stop. I know you know the feeling! No amount of screaming “Zen Queen, Zen! Helped in any way.

So I struggle as do some of you with the self that is a Warrior vs. The Zen Master. I’ve miles to go before I sleep. I hope you are not in the same boat. Love and Light, The Queen Cronista

Diva Tasting: Chocolate Ice Box Cake…

Chocolate Ice Box Cake

Ingredients

  • 8 (1 Ounce) Squares German Sweet Chocolate, Chopped

  • 3 Tablespoons Water

  • 2 Egg Yolks, Beaten

  • 2 Tablespoons Confectioners’ Sugar

  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

  • 2 Egg Whites

  • 1 (12 Ounce) Package Ladyfingers

Directions

  1. Line two 8 x 4 x 3 inch loaf pans with waxed paper.

  2. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form.

  3. Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Blend in water. Remove from heat, and add egg yolks; beat vigorously until smooth. Add sugar, and mix well. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.

  4. Separate ladyfingers. Line bottom of each pan with single ladyfingers. Cut remaining ladyfingers in half crosswise, and use to line the sides of the pans. Fill with chocolate mixture. Chill 12 to 24 hours. Unmold. Serve with additional whipped cream if desired.

Diva Rambling: Kindness…

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” Scott Adams

Once again we throw the stone into the middle of a pond and watch the ripples flow until they stop sometime in the near future.  If each person would do this all day long the ripples would become unceasing.  So it is with acts of kindness; The good energy of the act itself puts out a wonderful vibration into the world that ripples until it stops.  
If we each took a few moments a day to do random acts of kindness the ripples would be unceasing, the vibration would be on going and the world’s own vibration would show the joyful response. Do your part start now.  Love you, The Queen Cronista!!

Diva Tasting: Blueberry Trifle…

Blueberry Trifle 

Ingredients

  • 1 Store Bought Pound Cake

  • 1/4 Cup White Sugar

  • 2 Large Cans Of Blueberry Pie Filling

  • 2 (3.5 Ounce) Package Instant French Vanilla Pudding Mix

  • 3 Cups Half N’ Half

  • 2 Cartons Of Frozen Dessert Topping Thawed ( Prefer Extra Creamy)

  • 1/2 Cup Pecans Chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Combine pudding mix with half n’half and mix until smooth. Fold in 1 tub of the whipped topping with the pudding.

  2. Cut the cake into 1 inch cubes.

  3. Use half of the cake cubes to line the bottom of a large glass bowl or 9×13” pan.

  4. Layer 1 can of the blueberry filling.

  5. Layer the pudding/topping mix to cover berries

  6. Repeat the layers and top it with the last tub of topping.

  7. Garnish with fresh blueberries ,graham cracker crumbs and nuts if desired

VARIATIONS: You may substitute any of your favorite berry fillings instead of the blueberry.