Pecan-Crusted Citrus Cheesecake bars

It’s harvest time. And the crew is hungry. With six big eaters, and six grocery buyers, we’re always picking up things here or there, and never knowing exactly what we have. can be aggravating. yet, can be awesome.

We can love chocolate, but our life needs to crave change. Disruptions.

Organization – not my forte. Improvising. bring it.

Am I speaking to you, free spirit?

Giving the rest of you a headache? Stick with me.

When the panic when the school concert is hours away, and two kleenix turn a size 9 shoe into the desired size 7. I. love. that. Using mo-joe. The juicy juice. And the story box just grows.

So, yesterday, I found a great recipe. But didn’t have the ingredients. I was too far in, before I realized it! game. one.

And… can I tell you? Everyone who tasted this recipe went crazy for it. “Best bars ever.”

“These are incredible.”

“What’s the recipe?”

The secret recipe… was using what we have. Making do.
Like last year’s winter coat. Big brother’s hand-me-downs. Making vacation your style.

It’s forgetting what you don’t have. Embracing what is. And… walaaaaa. You have pizaaz. A new creation. Your creation.

This recipe was so far from the original… I’m claiming it. So you can love on it.


So…. before you even begin. Turn on the tunes, and enjoy the beauty of an indoor kitchen. Because, we came into this world with nothing. And here we are. Most of us are have a well-stocked kitchen. Enjoy it. Ignore the filthy windows, or the spilled OJ in the fridge. Just. Be. Creative.

This is a three-layer bar.
Cookie topping.

The recipe I found called for 40 Nilla Wafers. Well, we have snackers. And the box was half empty. So, I reached for three opened bags of pecans. It equalled about a cup. or so.

For the crust:
20 Nilla wafers
1 Cup of pecans

Blend that goodness together. The fine crumbs will look so beautiful. Add a bit of butter… and a bit of sugar. And… that, my friends is the crust!

How easy is that? And… delish! The nutty flavor and the sweetness of Nilla wafers make a delicate crust! And you know what I love? No need to pre-bake it! Just keep grooving!

The recipe called for two blocks of cream cheese. Of course. I had one. But, there’s something super awesome in the back of my fridge. hiding from the snackers. the left over fruit pizza filling. delish.

I mixed one block of cream cheese with the leftover fruit pizza dip. Perfection.

The dip already had sugar – but, it makes the medicine go down. So, I added a little spoonful.

Now, for zest.
The burst of flavor.
Sunny lemon.
Yet, my bottle only has a drop. or two.

So… I dig.

And in the back of the pantry was orange flavoring.
Summer. Citrus. Refreshing. Sold.

Bold. flavor.
Likely added two teaspoons, maybe three. Deliciousness.
Creamy filling.
Delicate Crust.

To finish it all… was a crunchy cookie layer!

Your regular flour, baking powder, with the most-amazing kicker… Ghiradelli White chocolate wafers – chopped on my favorite cutting board.

And… I know the harvest crew will be hungry tonight.
They’re always hungry, and the first-day jitters burn extra energy.
But… this heavenly recipe was ready for them.
Through my dirty kitchen window, the bar caught a few rays… a glowing creation.
Now… the hard part.
Thirty minutes of baking.
And the biggest question…
Will it be a total flop?
what are the odds?

Will I ever be a food blooger?
I’ll be a farmer.
To fill your pantry.

The best first-day-of-harvest creation.

Pecan-Crusted Citrus Cheesecake Bars

For the crust:
1 C. Vanilla Wafers… about 30 wafers
1 C. chopped pecans
1/2 C. melted butter

For the Cheesecake filling
1 pkg. (8 oz.) of cream cheese
1 C. of leftover fruit pizza topping. ( 8 cream cheese, 3 tbls butter, 1 tsp. almond flavoring)
1/4 C. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2-3 tsp. orange zest

For the cookie layer:
3/4 C. unsalted butter
3/4 C. granulated sugar
1 large egg
3/4 tsp. Almond Extract (my bottle only had 2 drops!)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 C. all-purpose flour (Dakota Maid flour comes from our wheat fields)
1 tsp. orange zest
11 oz. white chocolate Ghirardelli Chocolate Morsels (chopped)

Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper – or use non-stick Pampered Chef pan. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, pulse Nilla Wafer cookies and pecans with sugar until fine crumbs. Add in melted butter and pulse until combined.

Press crumbs into the bottom of prepared baking dish. Press crumbs firmly into the bottom of the dish using the palm of your hand, or your fingers.

For the filling, beat cream cheese, and the fruit pizza dip, with sugar, eggs, orange zest using the whisk attachment of your electric mixer.

Beat until fluffy and smooth. Pour over cookie crust.

For the cookie dough, beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes. Add egg, almond extract and lemon zest and beat until combined. Add in baking powder, salt and flour, beating until fully blended. Fold in white chocolate chunks.

Scoop cookie dough by large spoonfuls onto the top of the cheesecake layer. Use a spatula to spread gently until covered.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned. The center will still jiggle, and that’s groovy. Allow to cool completely. Refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight).

Slice and serve COLD.

It’s so delicious.

From my farm to yours…

Make the best of your day. With what you have. Wherever you are.

A running streak saving his life

Inspiration for all of us…

A 74-year-old North Dakota runner devoted 40 years to build streaks. Not snapstreaks. But a dare to start a running streak. Teens: listen up. Streaks can empower you, build your confidence, and change your life – if you choose the right ones.

Dennis’ longest streak was running 5333 consecutive days. Then, he completed a 3308-day streak. Nearly 24.5 years of running. Every. Day. Essentially, he trained 40 years to prepare for the day doctors stopped his heart – his running-streak broken.  

In 1977, this high school coach went to a conference. A speaker ended with, “I dare you to run a mile a day for a year.”

“I could do that!” Dennis was confident. He hated his 230-pound frame, and the dare was a jolt to change.
He quickly learned he was in bad shape – only able to run ¼ mile. So with ¼ mile intervals of running and walking – he finally completed his one mile run.
About a week later, he could run one mile without stopping.
The running fever had bit. In his lifetime, he went on to run six, ten, and sometimes 20 miles a day.

“My goal was always to run tomorrow,” Dennis said. “And run the next day. That’s always my goal.”

With each mile…
Weight dropped.
Running 556 days in a row, he melted fat to a healthy 180-pound weight.
His first streak. Discipline. Self-motivation.
As family and career drive our days – Dennis continued running. And he’d take breaks. But, suddenly something triggered and Dennis became very serious about pounding the pavement.  

His longest streak…

was 5333 days – nearly fifteen years. Rain, sleet, high winds, snowdrifts – it didn’t matter. He ran in extreme conditions. Freezing his eyelids at -95 wind chill to overheating in 101 degrees F.

“Nothing is going to stop me from running,” Dennis said. “I had to run everyday just like I had to breathe everyday.”

Dennis’ determined willpower and desire were not enough to keep his longest streak going. Medically, he was derailed. The streak – broke. Dennis’ routine was taken by storm with the findings of a bladder tumor needing surgical removal. He ran the morning of his major surgery. “I knew that my string of days was over,” Dennis said. It was there, surgeons discovered prostate cancer.

He left the hospital weak. Robbed of his streak.
Yet, determination was stronger than defeat. He kept moving.
Dennis walked daily – starting with a very challenging 100 yards. With persistence, he completed a four-miles walk.

After six weeks of slow walking, “I just knew I had to go out and run.”
He hit the pavement, surprising himself with a six-mile run.
“Not as fast. But I could run it,” Dennis smiled.

He began to rebuild his speed and stamina.
Regain strength.
Not for medals or ribbons – simply for himself.
And starting another series of uninterrupted running days.

Another streak…

… 3308 days.
Just short of nine years.
In this stretch, leukemia tried to destruct his body by sky-rocketing his white blood cells count to 200,000. Chemotherapy complicated with nausea.
Four battles with pneunomia.
Dennis. Never. Quit.
“I don’t know how I did that,” the agony flashing through Dennis’ memory. “There was no excuses. Never. No way I’d get out of this. Get up. And run,” Dennis said.

He’d clock his miles in the wee hours, before his day as a secondary principal, athletic director and coach. Dennis became a running icon in his tiny community of 400 in Scranton, ND, and his network of coaching leaders.

“Somewhere along the line, something triggered. And it was just something I had to do,” Dennis said about his running.

The frigid North Dakota winters bite. Dennis layered up to 27 different pieces of clothing to combat the freeze. He’d meet the winds head on, and running with the wind home. Essentially, Dennis sustained 23 ½ years of daily running. A routine. A drill. His oxygen.

But, everything changed.

It came to a screeching halt.
Dennis was facing the fight of his life as doctors stared into his open heart cavity.

It was a routine Sunday. May 7, 2017, Dennis’ early-morning run was difficult. Although he’s no stranger to the whipping North Dakota winds, Dennis struggled. He had to walk about one-quarter mile. He credited the high winds, and went about his day.

Looking back, it was a sign. Something is drastically wrong.

A couple hours later, Dennis was coordinating his duties as a transit-driver, when he walked to the van, grabbing his heart. Somehow, he pressed redial on his flip phone. And help was on the way.

Coincidentally, Dennis was in a neighboring town with a hospital, with a doctor present. An air ambulance near. All contributing factors for dynamic developments in desperate times.

The difference:
between life and death.

“I don’t remember anything, except that I was in big trouble,” as its all a blur for a few days, Dennis said.

This collegiate athlete and daily exerciser had an aortic dissection.
A poor prognosis, but his surgeon attacked the odds.

A heart stopped.

Stopping Dennis’ heart for three hours, putting his body on ice for six. Replacing four inches of his ascending aorta – the main artery of the body which supplies oxygenated blood to the circulatory system had been forced apart.

The surgery team’s determination matched Dennis’ tenacity.

Dennis’ running program likely saved his life.
“I was the only person he (the surgeon) knew that had been preparing for this for forty years,” Dennis said.

As a high school biology teacher, Dennis has influenced some students to study medicine. During this fragile situation, several of his students guided his care. As nurses, as assistant surgeons, as medical leaders. They helped save Dennis’ life.

Nine days later, Dennis walked out of the hospital.
A second chance. Dennis began to walk.
One block at a time.
Two months of extensive and intense rehab.
Now, six months later, Dennis walks. Exercises. And smiles with gratitude.
Doctors say it will be a full year if he were to ever get back to where he was.
Dennis expects a full recovery.

Looking back at life – at his last streak – Dennis’ running goal was 5334 days.
He didn’t reach it.
Naturally, it bothers Dennis.

Is there another streak in his future?
“I’m realistic. I don’t think I’m going to start running again. My knees feel better walking,” Dennis shared.

So, he spends 90 minutes everyday exercising. Sit-ups. Pushups. Stretching. Walking.

“I’m bound and determined not to just sit. And float away,” Dennis said. “That’s just me.”

How many miles? He’s not positive.
But, calculating stretches of his life where he’d run up to 100 miles a week then backing off to only 45-50, Dennis estimates, “I’m probably on my third time around the world.”

A growing streak.
A winning streak!

Nails and screws bonding father and son

It was one of those…

 an internet picture you hope your son never sees.

… If he’s a Star Wars fan.

It was a near life-size cockpit of the great Millennimum Falcon made into a bed frame. An intense project in every way… detailed. But oh so cool.

It was a son’s request most dad’s would shake off.

But not this one.


An eager father of four sons kept hearing a little boys dream. “Dad, can we build this together?” They built a little boy’s dream, but so much more.

Fastened with nails and screws – Bonded Father and Son.

For some 20 nights, Dad and his boy would calculate. Figure. Cut. Trim. and Recut. A process of learning through trial and error. Give and Take. Never quitting.

A painstakingly slow process. With a vision clearing with each board they secured. The theme song replaying in their heads with each detail they added.

Father taught son how to handle frustrating warped boards. Bent screws. And moments hammers hit thumbs. Because, that’s construction. That’s life.

From time to time, Dad would pull out the small notepad with the sketch of the bed frame. No blueprints, at all. Just a dream. To create the ultimate Millennimum Falcon cockpit.

They carefully cut odd-angled boards. Using math formulas and quadratic equations. Or something pretty dreamy like that.
The angles were nice, but they weren’t perfect. But, they just smiled and laughed, deciding they can live with a few gaps. They were having fun. And it was all coming together.

In their minds, they envisioned a galaxy far, far away.

And that theme song rolled into their minds.

They learned they can do just about anything together.
They can sand the rough edges away.
Can seal cracks to fix the breaks.
And repaint when its chipped.

Of course, Dad made sure the construction process was not only to build this dream fort… It was about building a strong family foundation.
Of dreamers. And doers.

To follow the universal laws of life… of kindness. Humility. To persevere.

The foundation of this great ship?

Wow. This bed is very sturdy. It is hard-core tough. For out of this world trilogies, the guys say.

A base to withstand rough, rowdy, and unforgettable times.
To handle the force of friends. A sturdy base to boost the flying power of friends and family.

And strong enough to carry the weight of one family.

In one place.

On a mission.

And for this family, the Millennium Falcon will play an important role in taking time to play together.

For the family who plays together… stays together.

And away from the Dark Side…

Into the Light Side.

Farming truths…

When you fill your tank with gas, you expect to cover miles. It’s a given.
When you work, you expect to get paid… it’s usually contracted. But, production agriculture is not simple. There’s no guarantees you’ll work and get paid. Just guarantee you will work.

We stay up at night pondering the forecast, penciling our fate. Yet, at the end of 365 days our wrinkled, callused hands don’t grasp a pay check. In these tough years, we pay to work. And the gray hair comes free. And we still wait for rain.

We, the drought-affected farmers and ranchers of a very large area, are in a disaster. Our livelihoods devastated. For some, we’ve been hit a few years in a row. It takes its toll and it’s hard to get ahead.

Imagine watching a project you’ve spent a lifetime perfecting, only to watch it deteriorate with the thermometer climbing and forecasts without hope. The baking of the land.

I pluck another head of wheat. The color is wrong, its shape out of whack. The plant has not produced a single seed. An empty head of wheat. Just because we combine, doesn’t mean we get yields.

Glancing at the brown pastures, the cattle are hungry. The hay crop is slim. Yet, the mess needs to be cleaned up. So the tractors still run. Another expense.

Can you imagine showing up to work everyday, and not getting paid? Imagine the desire it takes to just get out of bed every day? Let alone engage your mind? Working to find the best problem-solving skills to make the most economical and environmental decisions? The basic tasks become quite difficult.

Families are burdened. Everyone is cutting back. The entire region, our state, is dramatically affected.

Yet, everyone is looking ahead. Because there’s always next year.

Maybe rain will come?
Maybe prices will climb?
But we know, expenses will not drop.

But, we get up, face the day, and find the beauty.

The pride in grilling a homegrown burger. Boiling a huge pot of noodles from our durum. Watching our kids care for their animals, and learn to weld. Appreciating wide open spaces and room to roam. Spaces to think. Chores to teach responsibility and tiny pleasures.

And dang… tractors are sexy. The new beard is pretty saucy too. And it all works out. For falling in love with farming and ranching, is falling in love with nature. With simplicity. With brilliant, unselfish souls. We appreciate the miracles in the muscling of our animals, and the delicate texture of our fields.

For we love farming. We love ranching. Sure, not everyday do we love our job, but we’re looking behind with we see a whole lot. Sometimes it’s just a fog. But ahead, we look with hope. And we will bond together. Through the tough years, and clinging tighter for a good year.

Mom’s top 4 secrets for survival!

Raising respectful kids begins at home with the safe boundaries we create and reinforce as their parents. Daily, we teach our kids to respect others and understand consequences by our very own example. (don’t worry – you’re doing great!!!)

You’re allowing space for growth, confidence, and independence in our children. And we both know, creating and reinforcing boundaries is giving our kids a place to make mistakes. No one has perfect kids! Or perfect parents! Just give warmth of our reassurance and love to help hold our kids up so they can mature into young men and women who benefit society.

Parents: This takes a lot of WORK!
But, you are equipped to do it!

I’m a mom who learns from wrecks and big time mistakes. You too? Well – let’s simplify the system. The feel of the family. To navigate the push and pull of society, with the tugs of your heart – and ultimately make life easier.


So… these are boundaries you set for yourself!

Tips to make your parent life easier:

1. Kitchen closed. After supper dishes are washed and the counters cleaned, the kitchen is closed. The lights are off. Cabinets are shut. The pantry is off limits. And stomachs will survive. Sometimes our dietary needs prohibit this rule from happening, but that is the exception. Establishing respect in our very own kitchen, teaches our children to appreciate the exception. Because, of course, there are random nights for malts or hot fudge sundaes.

2. Don’t rescue the forgotten backpack. Your kids forget their backpack? Their basketball shoes? A sheet of homework? Try saying: Oh boy. What a bummer. Is this your “semester rescue call?” Establish a rescue plan for the things your kids leave behind. Our kids know Mom will rescue them once a semester. Create a “rescue” boundary that works for you. You can chase after your kids with the sweatshirt they left on the floor of their room once a semester – or you can constantly chase after your kids. Letting them feel the natural consequences of their decision sticks. Forgotten sweatshirt? They won’t freeze. A homework paper left behind? They’ll never forget that failing grade. It doesn’t mean they’ve failed – it only means they’ve learned from their mistakes! And, tomorrow they will choose preparation and organization. It’s such an important skill to learn as a child!

3. Surviving my child’s birthday! For some reason, celebrating the birth of our child can be overshadowed by stress, logistic nightmares, and a party etiquette fiasco! Here’s what we do to survive: One big party. Yes, one party can include their entire class – their big circle of friends – or their entire neighborhood. Do it once. And keep it short. Let them eat their birthday cake without forks! But, keep them well fed throughout the party. And ask a friend to help contain the kiddosyou’ll thank yourself later. Make it memorable for everyone! Set boundaries: personal devices stay home – its one less thing to find at the end of the party, too!

4. Sleepover survival: If the kids don’t sleep, mom can’t sleep – and MOMs need sleep! I know you agree. So, here are the secrets of the best, most amazing, unforgettable, sleepover our kids ever had! Before the party started, I covered our clocks. When the kids arrived, they tossed their electronics in a basket. We gave each kid two packs of football cards. And for almost an hour, they were entertained trading cards! They weren’t all huge NFL fans, but they were bonded anyhow. We had men snacks and pizza. For many of the kids, it was their first sleepover – so whenever they became weepy or scared, I stuffed Kleenix in their pockets, and hugged and squeezed, and they found bravery in themselves. When the kids asked what time it was, I often distracted them from an hour – and refocused them into the fun they had! It was dark – and they didn’t know much better – so I steered them into thinking it was later than they thought. They played air guitars, ice bucket drums, and tooted horns. The later they get – the more wild, right! So… I always helped them believe it was much later than it really was! They packed the night with buddy memories with lip sync and actions – Youtube videos, and trading cards. And… everyone jelled. And ultimately, mom survived the sleepover! Mom WON! Because they thought it was 2:00 A.M., and everyone was tucked in by 10:30 P.M.! Victorious. For everyone.

So… give them a try! Or skew them to work for you! I only want to create a spark in your heart – and inspire you with the confidence you need to do this parenting job the very, very best you can do! You have what it takes! Trust your heart! Follow your intuition! And share your secrets of survival!

Good nutrition is an momentous part of leading a wholesome lifestyle. How can medications help us? What can customers get without prescription? There are many medicaments for every diseases. At present hundreds articles were published about price of cialis. What may patients discuss with a physician before capture Viagra? How you can get correct data about “”? The very significant question you must look for is “cialis tadalafil“. Undoubtedly, sexual diseases can soothe chronic hurt and, even more importantly, reaffirm the joys of living. You should not take any drug if you are allergic to it’s ingredients. If you have a feeling that someone might have taken an overdose of this medicament, go to the accident department of your local hospital as soon as possible.

Hurricanes of our lives…

In the dead of winter with cheeks frozen and numb fingers, I muttered to myself: I’d rather live through a hurricane.

How naive and dumb of me.

Yet, how natural.
Because, no one wants to suffer.

Hurricanes, floods, droughts – STORMS teach us the most about ourselves. They impact our reasoning. Question our character. Uproot our logic, yet ground our lives.

The storms of life teach us top 5 things:


1. Some of us will be inconvenienced, and we will pout. Our big plans are altered a bit. While some lives are devastated. Forever.

2. Interstate lanes will be reversed to ease the evacuating process. Get out, and get out fast. Meanwhile, heros take the back roads – driving into the force of nature to serve. Facing the eye of the storm.

3. Gas stations with long lines and empty shelves will irritate some, will others go knocking on doors of elderly and forgotten, leading them to a place of safety, comfort, and warmth.

4. Vacationers will pack their bags early with adventures untaken. But, upon their return home, family and friends will run to greet them. Their prayers: answered.

5. Busy lives will press forward, giving only a moment’s thought to the lives affected. While others will see the opportunity to change within. To recognize others. They will be compelled to pray. They will establish a community of support.

We must be conscience of our choices, and be aware of our brothers and sisters in the world.

Choose to ignore – and not disrupt the current of your life.
Or choose to be involved.

Be brave.
Bend, but don’t break.
And embrace the blessings in the storm.


Good supply is an momentous part of leading a wholesome lifestyle. How can medications help us? What can customers get without prescription? There are many medicaments for each diseases. At present hundreds articles were published about price of cialis. What may patients discuss with a doctor before taking Viagra? How you can get correct data about “”? The very significant matter you must look for is “cialis tadalafil“. Undoubtedly, sexual diseases can soothe chronic hurt and, even more importantly, reaffirm the joys of living. You should not take any drug if you are allergic to it’s ingredients. If you have a feeling that someone might have taken an overdose of this cure, go to the accident department of your local hospital as soon as possible.