I am not kidding...maybe it happened while I was sleeping. I got a visit from the Tooth Fairy. My "Sweet Tooth" is missing in action, or rather, so diminished that it is conspicuous in its absence. I am not sure what happened because the theft was so stealthy.
I used to have a pretty big Sweet Tooth. Legendary in our family. Show me a good cookie or delicious ice cream and I am on it. As a matter of fact, I felt like I had a special internal radar and could ferret out sweets, even from across town. As a kid, I used to hide frozen, well, thawed Sara Lee Banana Cakes under my bed. As a cheerleader, I once bought 24 doughnuts, then ate them in an afternoon. When my son was in college in Boston, I planned my flights home by, "Honey, Scoops doesn't open 'til 11..." I am a five decade supporter of this magical place:
You get the picture.( And the "kulfi" flavor by the way, is out of this world!). I took sweets seriously. I mean, for heaven's sake, I have a whole cupcake tour of New York City!!
This sweet bent was particularly true when I ate a lot of animal protein, Adkins-like. I really, really craved sweets. Having to be very careful with my weight always, I would buy goodies and then hoard them, supposedly to ration and eat bite by bite. But you know the end of that story; I ate them 'til not a crumb or lick was left. I had a stash in the freezer, too. Yikes.
But, since moving my body into whole, plant-based foods, I have become much more balanced than I thought (ha!) and take sweets in tiny little bites to savor, not inhale. And, they taste really sweet. Weird...the change was so subtle. The other day, I ate a quarter of a favorite new frozen treat. A quarter. Goodness. And, it was just right. I had heard, along with the "your thighs will be thinner" rumor, that eating a plant-based diet cleanses your palate, things taste as they should and flavors pop. The fat from animal protein dulls sweetness, as well as other flavors, and so you eat more sweets to get your fix. Once the palate loses its coating of fat, the cravings for more and more sweetness diminish. I would have to say for me, yes, that is totally true. The thigh thing, no. Although I have lost a few pounds.
And so I am sharing today's recipe with a little bit of uncharacteristic ambivalence. A reader had asked about cheesecakes, another about spices and it is high peach season. This recipe sounds delicious and is from a company I wanted to talk about anyway, another mail order gem, Penzey's Spices. I got this recipe tucked in an order a couple of years ago. But honestly, I haven't made it yet and am thinking more about a big, juicy fresh peach than this dessert.
However, that is not to say, it probably is wonderful...cool, creamy and sweet. Penzey's is. And everything I have ordered from them is top-notch. Go check 'em out at http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/shophome.html and if you make this over the weekend, let me know how you like it! I just might not get to it.
Peach Cheesecake Squares **(This is Penzey's recipe. If you want my "OGT" or a vegan version, just email me.)
2 cups ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. Toss sliced peaches with cinnamon sugar, set aside. In a large bowl combine flour and powdered sugar. Cut in the butter until mix is crumbly and a little dry. Reserve 2 cups of this mixture for the topping. Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9-by-13-inch pan (glass is preferred). Bake the crust for 15 minutes.
While the crust is baking, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in the condensed milk until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well. Remove the crust from the oven (after 15 minutes) and carefully smooth the peaches over the crust. Drizzle with any juice in the bowl. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the peaches. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture over the cream cheese filling. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until bubbly and starting to brown on the top. Let cool. Makes 10 to 15 servings.
Note: For those of you who are concerned, YES, I am going to being sharing more "less toxic" personal products next Wednesday. I have already started the post...let me know what your interests are and how I can help.