Saturday, April 2, 2011


When I posted THIS POST, asking for help, and then sent an email to my bloggy friends, I never expected so many people to respond.I am blessed with wonderful friends, and I had a ton of ladies, who were more than willing to keep you all entertained while I get better, or get some sleep, or paint my garage, whatever, he he. The point is, I am SUPER LUCKY, super THANKFUL, and SUPER excited to introduce you all to Randi from 
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Randi is incredibly beautiful, I must say, not just on the outside, but on the inside too. Reading her posts, you start to get a sense of her, and her love for life, her love for people, and especially her little man, which is the topic of choice, on many of her posts. She also has incredible photography skills, that you will surely notice by looking around at her blog. I actually found her, by following after seeing some of her beautiful photographs. She is just a sweetheart, and I can't believe she graciously offered to help me out with my blog. 

Now check out this INCREDIBLY YUMMY recipe. 
Take it away girl, make us drool!!!

Hello friends of Bella! My name is Randi. I am visiting from EYE SEE where I blog about my life as a new mother as well as art, music, and food. I am ever so excited to participate in my first ever guest post here at Bella Before and After! Isn't Bella the sweetest thing!?
Anyway, I wanted to share something decadent - something I have never done before. I decided on:
{Vanilla Bean Cheesecake bars}

For the crust I decided to use one of my very favorite cookies! Lorna Doones. ...MMMMM... I always gobble these up after giving blood at the Red Cross donation center. I may even be guilty of giving blood just for these sweet little things!

Okay, have you ever worked with vanilla beans? Oh my! They are beautiful1 I wish the photos did them justice! I felt as if I had found hidden treasure when I split one of these babies open. Honestly! 

 And did you know you can store the remains in your sugar? Yes people, vanilla sugar! (Maybe I'm really behind in learning about this brilliant idea)

 Okay, Okay, enough of the chit-chat. Here's the recipe:

1 1/2 cups crushed Lorna Doone Cookies (approx. one box)
3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
6 Tablespoons melted butter

Mix cookies and sugar together.
Add butter and stir until combined.
Press mixture into a greased 13 X 9 pan.

3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
3 eggs
8 oz. sour cream
1 Tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 Tablespoon vanilla
2 Vanilla beans (I only used one bean and realized it needed one more - you'll notice the lack of speckles in mine... oops)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream the sugar, cream cheese, and flour with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy.
On medium low, add eggs one at a time, mixing well with each addition.
Add sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla and mix until just combined.
Last, split open vanilla beans and scoop put seeds and insides into batter.

Pour on prepared crust and bake for about 45 minutes.
Remove and cool.
Prepare ganache.

{Chocolate Ganache}
4 oz. heavy whipping cream (1/2 cup)
2 Tablespoons butter
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Heat cream and butter on stove until just before boiling.
Remove from stove and pour over chocolate. Stir until completely combined.
Add confectioners’ sugar and beat with a wire whisk until combined and smooth.
Pour over cooled cheesecake.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Cut into bars, serve, and ENJOY!
(May add Strawberries or any fruit of choice)

Makes about 30 bars.
Thank you to Bella for letting me fill in for her! Lets all send some happy thoughts her way. Get feeling better Bella and have fun with your family! Don't hesitate to stop by EYE SEE and say hello!

Love always,

Oh my, that was just awesome. Recently I have really gotten into cheesecakes, and this just looks too good. 

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In my spare time I enjoy cooking, and baking. In fact my mother and I have been making cakes for over 30 years. I also love gardening, traveling, and all things crafty. I struggle daily to keep my like organized, along with my never ending battle to keep the house clean. I adore my three kids MOST of the time, and can usually be found doing the mom thing from morning till night. I try to catch a few mommy moments, but those are hard to find in this wonderful life of mine. I am blessed and happy, and am thrilled you stopped by today :)