(*picture note-At the top is my daddy teaching my son to shoot a basketball, the middle picture is my husband with our son on the front porch of our new home, and the third picture is him with my brother at a Davidson basketball game.)
I cut my own hair. I’ve had my nails done twice and both times were gifts. I love makeup and heels but I could outrun your older brother if he said I couldn’t. I know when to smile, wink, flirt and sit up straight and when to chug a beer with my bare-feet on the furniture. Baseball movies make me cry but so does Steel Magnolias. I taught myself how to play the guitar by watching my mama and I took piano for 5 years but never learned how to read sheet music. You never know what you’re gonna get with me and I guess you could say that I dance to my own tune. I’m stubborn to the core but I”ll give you everything I’ve got if I love you.
I say all of this because I am a product of the men in my life. They have helped make me the woman I am today. So on this day before Fathers Day, I am honoring those men, fathers and non-fathers alike.
There are four men in my life that have made my world a more exciting and interesting place – My Father, my Brother, my Husband, and my Son.
I learned how to be stubborn to the core from my Daddy. I also learned how to shoot a basketball, drive a fishing boat in the Atlantic Ocean and throw a mean right hook, (the latter almost got me kicked out of soccer camp…my daddy was so proud that day). He also taught me that I can, and should be, my own boss and the proper way to drink bourbon was to touch it to your lips and sip slowly. He is the most patient man and a wise old owl. There are so many people I know who have him at the top of their advice list because he exudes quiet confidence and yet has the heart and laugh of a child, (prat-falls and crotch-kicks still make him laugh like Muttley, the cartoon dog). He raised my brother and me as equals. I was never told I couldn’t do anything because I was a girl and always felt invincible in his presence.
Until a couple of years ago I thought I was the one teaching my baby Brother things. I was the boss and he was my little, scrawny side-kick. We grew up 2 years apart and partners in crime. I said jump, he said how high. I said paint the swing-set blue, he said OK. I pushed him down, he got right back up again with a smile. He is a part of my heart, I love him dearly and now I get to watch him grow into an incredibly smart, extremely talented and handsome man who is so wonderful with my son. It’s amazing to me that he could marry and have his own children one day. He has taught me to calm down, not to sweat the small stuff and that music can still be music even if you can’t understand the lyrics. Sometimes I still look at him and see skinny legs, blond curls and a pot belly. But now he’s a man, and that wife of his, whoever she may be, better watch out.
Until I met my husband I thought my daddy and baby brother were the only men capable of handling me and my messes but I have married a Saint – A kind, loving, sweet, tender and strong man. He takes care of me and lets me take care of him. I learn something from my Husband every day, he fascinates me like no other and makes me feel as safe as a child. He is an incredible husband, provider, friend and father and I wouldn’t be the same woman, daughter, sister or mother were it not for him. He gave me the most precious gift I have ever been given- a beautiful, smart and healthy Son who will soon grow up to be a stubborn, kind, loving and strong father.
I love the men in my life more than these words can express. A father is a beautiful thing to a daughter and if you’re lucky like I am, you have one who taught you it’s OK to be a stubborn, kind, loving and strong woman with a mean, right hook in her back pocket.
(There’s one thing all the men in my life can agree on-Dessert. Each of their opinions may differ in what they consider the best dessert but they all love it so much I can barely keep up. So I’ve developed a recipe with all of their taste buds in mind. The Key-Lime part is for my Father and Husband, the Chocolate part is for my brother and the Cheesecake part is for everybody, me included. By publish time they’ve probably all had it so I can only hope they enjoyed it…)
*White Chocolate-‘Key’ Lime Cheesecake For My Boys
-1 cup graham cracker crumbs
-1 cup salted pretzel crumbs (I just pulsed both in my food processor)
-1 stick of butter, melted
-1/4 cup sugar
-several good pinches of salt
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and press into the bottom and sides of a greased spring-form pan. Bake at 350* for 8 minutes and cool while you make the filling…
–1 cup white chocolate chips (melt 3/4 cup of the chips in a microwave for 30secs, stir and again for another 30sec. Then add the other 1/4 cup of chips. This saves you from having to use a double boiler, and the chocolate remains shiny.)
-Place the melted chocolate in the bowl of a standing mixer with 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 TB of flour. Beat until smooth.
-Add 3 bricks of softened cream cheese and continue to beat until creamy. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the mixer so everything gets incorporated. Do this often.
-Add 3/4 cup of sugar gradually while you mix.
-Add 6 egg yolks one at a time (reserve the whites for later…)
–Add 1 8oz container of sour cream and the zest of 2 standard limes plus the juice of 3 standard limes. Continue to beat this until all is incorporated.
-In a separate large bowl, beat the 6 egg whites until stiff peaks are formed.
-Fold the whites into the cheese mixture slowly and pour into the cooled crust.
-Bake at 350* for 1 – 1 1/2 hours depending on your oven. (You just want the center to be set and the top to be a light, golden brown.)
-Turn your oven off and allow the cake to sit with the oven door cracked for another 20-30 minutes until it’s cooled enough to remove and place on a rack. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to release it from the sides of the pan.
-Allow to cool completely before placing in the fridge and chill for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
(notes-This, like all cheesecakes, can be frozen if you wrap the cooled cake (with the metal pan bottom attached) in several layers of plastic wrap, then again in aluminum foil. Stays good frozen for up to 1 month. You can garnish this with candied lime slices, whipped cream, lime curd, or white chocolate shavings..or a combination of all of the above. But don’t garnish until ready to serve. And you can certainly use a water bath to bake your cheesecake in, but I’ve never minded the cracks in mine…)