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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Special Encouragement Card and Sweet Saturday

Happy Saturday, my beautiful friends! Is your weekend off to a festive start? :o) Thank you all for such gorgeous comments on the card I posted yesterday... I felt the love and it means so much to me! :o)

Today is extra special because I get to share a card that serves an especially lovely purpose. The challenge this week at Whimsical Wednesday is basically to be a blessing to a sweet boy fighting health issues. Angelo is only fifteen months old, underwent brain surgery last week, and is now (or soon) beginning chemotherapy. He is the grandson of fellow crafter Margie at Bella Bug Creations. Stephanie of WW and the design team made lovely cards to ship to this angelic child and we all have the opportunity to join them. I encourage everyone to skip on over to Whimsical Wednesday to participate in this challenge. And of course to keep this little guy and his loved ones in your thoughts and prayers. :o)

For much of yesterday, I couldn't stop thinking about this card. I originally was going to make it later in the weekend to step aside from crafting for a day... my patriotic card wiped me out Thursday. But I just could not let it go. We know what that means, right crafters? Set aside whatever the scheduled plan is and do what's on your heart instead. I wanted to create a card that was playful and happy, with a few different elements for his gorgeous eyes to wander over. I didn't plan on it being such a limited color scheme.. it just happened that way. I hope he loves it and pray it's a blessing to his family.

"Shipping you lots of love...

"... to lift you up." I couldn't resist decorating the inside so he could see it a little if it's standing up near him... guess I'll be writing on the left side instead! ;)

I added bubbles to the water with Glossy Accents for some fun texture. A drop was added to the seal's paw because he just couldn't resist dipping it in. Just like our precious Angelo will be doing as he grows stronger every day... soon he'll be getting into all sorts of fun mischief. :o) I used twine for the balloon strings and on the sailboat because I'm crazy about twine and love finding ways to incorporate it. I don't have a cartridge that has a sailboat, so I looked up one online and drew it. I think this is the one from Life's a Beach. I embossed and Stickled the clouds for some extra sparkly fun, and ran the interior heart balloons through the Cuttlebug as well. Elegant Edges provided me the perfect base, as it always reminds me of bubbles. :o) Let's keep this beautiful family in our hearts!

Challenges entered:
Whimsical Wednesday (Special Get Well Wishes)

Now it's time to share my absolute favorite dessert of all time... and it's not even chocolate. Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie. Yes, you read that correctly. 

It's both apple pie and cheesecake, wrapped up into one glorious dessert. This is devoured in lightning speed every single time I make it. Only once was I ever able to snap a couple pictures on time. My boyfriend's coworkers eternally love me for it. His brother ate three pieces on Christmas. My family didn't realize I made it myself the first time... my dad thought it was from some fancy bakery. This is now a staple for every holiday feast, and any regular day in between that needs something incredible. :o) 

I urge you not to let the length deter you. It goes quicker than you might think. For convenience sake, I almost always make everything except the freshly-whipped topping the night before serving. Either way, just make it. ;)

Thank you for visiting me today! You all make my heart sparklier than a Christmas tree. :o)

Note: I am sharing the original recipe, which includes a layer of caramel on top of the crust. I personally no longer make it this way because I've had issues with the caramel severely hardening the crust. Others have had the same issue, whether using homemade caramel or store bought. (I used homemade.) I'm writing it this way so you have the option. I just add more caramel on top to make up for it. ;)

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie

For the crust:
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
5⅓ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ - ¾ cup caramel
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

For the apple filling:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
5-6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

For the cheesecake:
8 ounces cream cheese
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the topping:
¾ cup heavy cream
3-4 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
¼ - ½ cup caramel
Chopped pecans (optional)

To make the crust, preheat the oven to 375º F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter. Toss with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened and the ingredients are evenly mixed. Transfer the mixture to the prepared springform pan and press the crumbs in an even layer over the bottom and about half to two-thirds of the way up the sides. (I recommend doing the sides first.) Bake for 6-8 minutes, until golden in color. Let cool for about 10 minutes. If using, pour a layer of caramel into the bottom of the crust and sprinkle evenly with the chopped pecans. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the filling.

To make the apple filling, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix in the brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute, until bubbling. Mix in the apple slices and toss well to coat. Cook over medium to medium-high heat until tender and most of the liquid has been reduced, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and pour into the prepared pie shell. Set aside.

Reduce the heat of the oven to 350º F. To make the cheesecake layer, combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Mix in the vanilla, egg, and lemon juice until fully incorporated and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Spread the cheesecake filling into an even layer over the top of the cooked apples in the crust. Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

To serve, carefully remove the sides of the springform pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream and confectioners' sugar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form (being careful not to overbeat). Spread gently over the top of the chilled cheesecake layer. Top with dollops of caramel sauce and swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect. Sprinkle with a handful of chopped pecans, if desired. Slice with a long, thin knife to serve.

Source: Annie's Eats

Key Recipe Components (for card):
 * Cricut cartridges: Create a Critter and Elegant Edges
 * Cuttlebug embossing folders: D'vine Swirl and Polka Dots
 * Paper: Core'dinations, DCWV, Papertrey Ink, miscellaneous
 * Button: My Mind's Eye Tres Jolie
 * Twine: Sew Easy in Limeade and Blue Lagoon
 * Brads: Prima
 * Miscellaneous: Glossy Accents



  1. This is a really sweet card. I'm sure it will brighten Angelo and his family's day. I love all the balloons and the embossing and stickles on the clouds. The inside of the card looks as cute as the outside! p.s. The caramel apple cheesecake pie looks incredible!!! :)


  2. Oh my goodness, this card is just so wonderful. Those critters are uplifting & fun. The dimension of the embossing makes it so textural too. Angelo is going to enjoy this a lot! It instantly brings a big smile to your face.
    Great job.
    Thanks for joining Whimsical Wednesday.
    Crafty best wishes,

  3. This card is so absolutely precious, Karen!! I LOVE it and I know it will make Angelo and his family smile! You did such a great job, as always! And oh my gosh, I can't wait to try this delicious-looking cheesecake! Wow, it looks decadent!! YUMMY!! Thanks for the recipe! I hope you have a safe, happy 4th filled with good food, good friends and lots of sparkly fireworks :)


  4. Beautiful card. Angelo will love it inside and out! Your receipe looks delicious!! Thanks for playing along with us at Whimsical Wednesdays! Hugs, Cathryn :)

  5. All I can say is wow! Wow your card is so adorable (you gave just as much attention to the inside as the outside)! And, wow your recipe looks amazingly delicious (I'm going to have to try this for sure)! Have a great holiday weekend.... :)

  6. Love the card, Sweets! And I know Angelo and his family will love it too. It touches my heart that he'll have all these wonderful sentiments at his fingertips. Your recipe scares me a bit in it's complexity, but it sounds divine, so I'll just have to be brave so I may enjoy it's deliciousness! :)

  7. This is such a cute card! I love the seal in the boat and the inside monkey! Great job and thanks for playing at WHimsical Wednesdays!

  8. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm!!! Is that caramel appleness I see?!?!?! *faints and devours my screen* TEE HEE HEE! *sneaks a taste of the whipped topping because it is far too irresistible not too* When are we making this one together sis? I MUST know how to make it!!!

    AHHHHHHHHHHH!!! I LOVEEEEEEEE THIS CARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *super huggles the baby seal and monkey cause they are the most precious ever!!!*

    Every time I look at this card sis, I see more and more amazingness in every single centimeter. Like the gorgeous twine details on the balloons and the matching bubbles in the water and edging and balloons!!! And the colours you chose for this one sis is just ideal! Little Angelo is going to gain so much strength through all the love being sent his way. Your card is going to bring endless smiles to his face, Sunshine. Through the support of gorgeous hearts like yourself, he will heal so quickly. And with God’s love shining down on him, he will be sparkling more brightly than ever.

    God bless you Sunshine…always know just how much happiness to bring to others through your incredible gift…

    *squishers you monsterously* I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!

  9. Your card is just sooo FANTASTIC!Super job with this challenge,I LOVE all the cute little critters!Thank so much for joining us at Whimsical Wednesday!!!:)

  10. Karen my sweet friend, first, your card is wonderful. He will love the images you chose to use. But more than that I know you prayed for him and that will be an even bigger and long lasting blessing for him. The pie looks so good too! I will make it soon, no that's not true my hubby will make it soon! Now, please receive my thanks and gratitude for your prayers and the encouraging and loving words you left me on my blog while I was out with my back. I am up today for a spell so I wanted to say thank you so much!! You will never know just how much your words meant to me. This blog world is quickly becoming my friends. For the most part I am housebound so all of you are my picture window to the world. I so appreciate you Karen, you have such an adorable spirit. Thank you again, Hugs, Pam at

  11. OMG! That is the cutest card EVER! Love the colors and all the fun critters and all of the great cuts and pieces that you used. Angelo's favorite toy is his stuffed monkey, so your card is going to hit a home run! So sweet of you to take some time to make this for Angelo. We are so grateful to all of my bloggy friends who are pitching in to send Angelo a card. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! Angelo seems to be doing quite well...I've got an update on my blog if you care to take a peek.
    Hugs, Margie

  12. Oh how cute Karen! The seal is adorable! I love all the special touches you put into the card. The embossing and the bubble mat border is perfect! The inside is gorgeous too. His family will love it! The color scheme really works and I like how you chose blue for the water theme. Love the sentiment too! Excellent craftiness my friend! Hugs! Sabrina :-)

  13. Karen go to this blog and sign up to receive blog candy. I needed to ask a friend and I thought of you. The blog is
    Hugs, Pam at

  14. Thank you so much, everyone! You make me smile more than you know! :o)

  15. That cake looks delicious. Thank you so much for joining in on the special challenge for Angelo. I know he is going to love this card and it is going to make his family so happy. I love the colors you chose, and all of those cuts are so fun and adorable. Perfect for a little boy!

  16. This cake looks so yummy and delicious and cards are so beautiful and lovely. Thanks for sharing this recipe because i love cakes.

  17. Hi Karen!! I love love love your card for Angelo! It is so super sweet with all those cute animals! Fabulous job! Thanks for sharing and playing along with us over at Whimsical Wednesdays :)
    On a different note...that cheesecake looks amazing! Thanks for sharing the recipe and now I am going to have to try it!!!

  18. Super cute card!! Angelo is going to love this! Great job on the challenge and thanks for playing with us at Whimsical Wednesday. :)

  19. Karen, I know exactly what you mean! I'm so glad you picked this back up and went with it because it is so adorable! I love all the fun critters and I'm sure Angelo will too! And I must say that Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie sounds too good to be true :D Thank you for sharing this delish dish! I'm so happy to be working with you!

  20. Thank you so much for directing me to the recipe section on your did I miss this before?? Honest to goodness, I am drooling right now reading this recipe. Oh My Goodness! I am pinning this so I have it on hand for the holidays :)


Thank you for leaving some love! Have a beautifully blessed day. :o)

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