Star Gazing on Cape Cod & Raspberry Cheesecake Bars

      I love the change of the seasons and being able to go out early in the evening and still be able to enjoy the daylight, it is such a bust of energy and enjoyment after a long winter of enduring the endless nights only broken up by that period or time we call work when we are stuck in our hole in the walls or cubicles starring at our computer monitors with not much else to look forward to but the end of the day and another blackened night. But now it is light when I shut down the computer and it is still light when I take the dog for his last outing in the evening. This reminds me of my summers here on the Cape when I was a kid. Here on the Cape get darker about an hour earlier then central Ohio so it was also confusing to me as a kid why it got so dark early. But I really didn't mind it because the skies were so clear here that I could see so many more stars here than at home. We lived in a suburban area, and there were just enough street lights and a couple shopping strips within a 1/2 mile of my home. On the occasional nights that we would go to someones house out in farmland, I never really had a great view of all the stars as you can see them here on the Cape. Then as I got older I moved from the suburbs down to the big city of Columbus and the light pollution just put a blanket over the whole deal. Coming to the Cape was a heavenly experience, being able to go out and gaze at all the stars and all the constellation that fill the skies above us, and with it getting darker a little earlier then in Ohio, as a kid I was allowed to go out and sit in the lawn chair and just look up at all the stars. Since we were here most Augusts there is a meteor shower that occurs ever year called Perseid Meteor Shower. Mom would come out with me and we would try to count the streaks across the sky. As I got older my wife and I would do the same thing after we got our daughter down for bed, and just have some Mom and Dad time alone. On other nights we would frequently see shooting or falling stars streaking across the skies and just enjoy the wonders of the heavens. You can check out the meteor schedule by googling Meteor Showers 2015 and it will give you the full line up, so no matter what month you are coming to the Cape you can be sure to catch them while you are here. Or for you year rounders mark on your calendars when they are happening so you can find a nice place along a dark stretch of beach to stretch out and watch them. And whenever you can be sure to take someone you love with you to share a special moment, and when you have to drag the kids along with you, but seriously unless you have really calm kids, leave it to you and your special someone. But don't wait for just a meteor shower to go out and enjoy the constellations, take a walk any night and take the time look up, and if you are astronomically illiterate like I am there is a nifty little apt for your phone called SkyView that is free that can help you find things in the sky that you only have heard of. It's as simple as point and look. So get out of your houses, get out of your cars, get out to the beaches and look to the skies and may you see things here on the Cape that you may have never seen before as you enjoy not only your days on the Cape but the night times and our skies as well. Happy gazing while you are here visiting and may you discover a whole new side of Cape Cod to enjoy.    
      As we start heading back into the warmer and touristy months, this is a good time to remind everyone of a wonderful place located in Orleans for those special treats and also for those unusual parties. That place would be the Local Scoop found at 34 Cranberry Highway (RT 6A), just past the Orleans Inn traffic light on the west side of the street. Although they are open year round which is a good news bad new thing, good for everyone to be able to partake anytime of the year, bad news for my wallet. You can also find them on the web atwww.thelocalscoopcapecod.com. They are a Create your own ice cream sundae masterpiece, then weigh and pay. Cold Options: Frozen Yogurt, Soft Serve, Ice Cream, Ice Cream Cakes & Cupcakes, Smoothies, Frappes. Hot Options: Dessert Crepes, Brownie Baked Alaska, Nutella Hot Chocolate, Melted Ice Cream Cocoa,
Affogato, French Pressed Coffee & Tea. And they have more toppings than you can count on your fingers and toes. They are open Sunday through Thursday 12 noon - 9pm and Friday/Saturday 12 noon - 10pm. So as you start to go around the Orleans rotary, just slip off the first right and down Rt 6A just past that first light, you won't regret you did it. 
      Also in that area is a new eatery called The Knack at 5 Cranberry Highway (RT 6A), Orleans, or can be found at www.theknackcapecod.come. Their hours will be 11am - 8pm. Their web sight nots the following: "local food = fresh food = most delicious food. From our burger meat to our seafood to our vegetable toppings, we partner with locals to bring you the freshest, tastiest food." This is a totally new place and once they are open I plan to give them a try, and once I do I will let you know. But always good to have another eating choice that is a local joint. 
      Well it's about that time to make the rounds on ye old Lighthouse, you know the drill by now, check the levels of the oil in her tanks, climb her spiral staircase to clean the lens and to trim the wick and to clean the glass the shelters the lantern room. Need to be sure nothing it making a home that should not be in the window openings and last of all from time to time test out the old fog horn be sure he is in good, loud working order. It is my hope that if you should ever need their services that they are in the finest order that any lighthouse could offer, but in reality we pray that you never need them for perilous times, and the the biggest need you fine them for is an occasional reassurance of hope and strength that or a marker to realign or recalibrate your bearings on your journeys. So until we meet again may you have a most wonderful time in all you do and in all the places you go, and may they bring you here some day to our spit of land we like to refer to our slice of earthy heaven called ole Cape Cod.   
      This week keeping in the them of our desserts is another Cheesecake recipe. This time it is however a bar type dessert and not the standard circle cake. I love raspberries, (except when it comes in juices and don't ask me why, I just don't care for it, rather have a bowl of fresh in front of me with cream and or whipped cream on top.) Anyway, I like this concept because you can take smaller pieces and take on the go, rather than be put in a side down and eat mode and this is especially nice for office functions, luncheons, or church pot lucks. It is also another great idea for the upcoming tailgating parties or anytime when you would rather mingle and meet while you eat and greet than fumbling, and mumbling with a fork and plat in your hand. So as I have said before, cheesecakes are not as hard as a lot of folks let on them to be, and homemake is pretty much better when home made than bought in box, from the box store. And not I would not like with a fox, or in a car covered in tar, ok, ok I'll leave the rest to Dr Seuss, but you get the point, make it at home and everyone will enjoy it better. Ok this recipe I have found more than one place, one to an individual, one to Taste of Home recipes (which gets from folks sending in recipes) and a third pointing in another direction. So with all those not sure who to give credit to, it just is not me, I am just sharing. also if you don't like this particular recipe search the web or Pinterest for a different version or try Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars, or other variations.  Now on with the show and my find: 
 
      This week's recipe: Raspberry Cheesecake Bars
 
  •       1      cup      all purpose flower
  •       1      cup      nuts
  •    1/3      cup      brown sugar (packed)
  •    1/4      tsp      ground cinnamon
  •    1/4      tsp      salt 
  •    1/3      cup      butter (cold)
  •       1      jar       raspberry jam (12 oz jar)
  •       2      pkgs    cream cheese (8 oz pkgs)
  •    3/4      cup      sugar
  •    1/2      tsp      grated lemon zest (peel)
  •    1/2      tsp      vanilla extract (real not imitation)
  •  
  •       Topping
  •     12      oz       sour cream
  •       3      Tbsl    sugar
  •       1      tsp      vanilla extract
 
      In a small bowl, combine flour, nuts, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Press into the bottom of a greased 13 x 9  baking dish. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Set aside 3 tablespoons jam; spread remaining jam over crust.
      In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in lemon peel and vanilla. Add eggs; mix on low speed just until combined. Spoon over jam; spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until filling is almost set.
      In another bowl, combine the sour cream, sugar and vanilla; spread over cheesecake. Warm remaining jam and swirl over top. Bake 5-7 minutes longer or just until set. 
      Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Cut into bars, depending how you cut, makes about 12.

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