November is Not Only for Turkey
We took off October 31st for Arkansas and hubby’s family reunion and spent that Saturday with his awesome brothers and sisters and enjoyed some great food.
Leaving Arkansas that afternoon, we headed to Tennessee to see my oldest daughter. We drove most of the way, stopped for the night, then drove to her house Sunday morning. After a wonderful meal at her favorite Mexican restaurant, we went to Lowe’s for plants to put in the pots on her front porch. I wasn’t satisfied with just the pots, so we started adding things. A small bale of hay with a yard ornament stuck in the middle and a larger bale with two pumpkins on top. After that I was satisfied. It really looked great.
We left Monday morning for Williamstown, Kentucky and The Ark Encounter. Our first dilemma was finding an RV park. There were only two within 20 miles. The second place we went had a spot, and we settled in for the night. Next morning, we headed for the Ark.
It is huge. The inside is laid out with walls of clay pots that might have held food, cages of animals that weren’t real but looked like they could eat you alive, and life-sized wax statues of Noah and his family. It was four stories high, but the top story isn’t finished. It took all day to go through the Ark.
We left Kentucky and headed to Washington, DC. We had a reservation at a KOA just outside the capital. Of course, it was higher than all the other KOA’s we stayed at, but they can get it because it’s close to DC. First thing next morning, we checked on the shuttle they advertise in the book. They stop running on Labor Day, so, we find out how to get to DC without taking our vehicle. We decide to ride the subway. That is, after we have someone else key in our pass card. They must be loaded every time you ride the Metro. And of course, we have no clue how to maneuver through their payment system. For three days, we had to find someone who could load our cards. Then on our last day, we were 50 cents short and couldn’t get off the Metro until we loaded the money.
Washington, DC was fascinating. The first day, we walked over four miles, saw one museum, found ONE place to eat, bought souvenirs, and found our way back to our RV. I was very proud of us. The next day, we paid for a tour and it was well worth it. That’s the best way to see DC. We were going to stay one more day and paid another day, but I checked the weather and it was 100% chance of rain all day. So, we decided to come home.
I didn’t get my lobster, but I did get Alaskan King Crab, and another time I got a crab cake that was huge. While on our tour bus, we stopped for lunch and I got a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. It was awesome.
The trip was great, and I want to go back. I asked Nicky if he wanted to go to DC. He said, “Yes, right after I go back to Disney.”
Speaking of food, this month is a Ree Drummond recipe. I haven’t tried it yet, but I have all the products and may cook it for Thanksgiving. This is a sheet pan, blackberry cheesecake and it looks so good.
Blackberry Cheesecake Squares
Prep: 4 Hours
Cook: 2 Hours
10 ounces, weight (2 Sleeves) Graham Crackers
1/2 cup Pecans Or Walnuts
1/2 cup Butter, Melted
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3 packages (8 Ounces Each) Cream Cheese, Softened
1-1/2 cup Sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
4 whole Eggs
1/2 cup Sour Cream
4 cups Blackberries
1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Water
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
4 Tablespoons Water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a 9 x 13-inch pan (or another ovenproof pan) of hot water into the bottom rack.
For the crust, line a separate 9 x 13-inch baking pan with foil. Spray with cooking spray. Add the graham crackers and pecans to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse them until they're fine crumbs. Drizzle in melted butter, pulsing until it's all incorporated. Pulse in the vanilla. Pour the crumbs into the prepared pan and press the crumbs firmly into an even layer. Set aside.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add sour cream and beat until incorporated.
Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the surface. Bake for 45 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the door closed for an additional 10 minutes. Finally, open the door halfway and leave it in the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the cheesecake and let it cool completely.
For the topping, add blackberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water to a saucepan. Bring it to a boil and cook until the juices thicken slightly, about 4-5 minutes. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 4 tablespoons water to make a slurry, then add it to the berries. Let it boil for another 1 to 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to cool.
Pour the blackberries over the cheesecake and place the pan into the fridge to chill and set for at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the pan by lifting the edges of the foil. Peel back the foil and use a long serrated knife to cut cheesecake into squares.