Sunday, June 12, 2011

sleepless nights and a s'mores cheesecake

I have been so inconsistent with blogging lately, and to be honest, I just haven't felt like it.  I know we all go through that slump occasionally but I am there a lot these days.  Life is pretty great though--I'm on a slowed-down summer schedule now that the students are on summer break, so mostly I have been focusing on some at-home and personal projects to occupy my time.  I'm also leading a summer Bible study for students who are interested, and that has been a great way to meet some of the underclassmen and guys involved with CRU at WKU

I have also been cutting back on the baking and upping the exercise in an attempt to develop better habits and get back on track with the weight-loss goals.  Honestly, I'm pretty frustrated in this area b/c I am just not seeing anything happen.  I know I'm not making all-the-time great food choices, but I am eating much better than I was and exercising 3-5 days every week doing cardio and strength training, and after nearly a month I've only lost 1 pound.  But I do have calf muscles again, so I'm clinging desperately to the hope that it's just working slowly!  Drives me crazy though.

On to the title of this post though, I have been having some serious issues with sleep for honestly the better part of 2011.  I remember asking for prayer a lot about it from my co-workers throughout last semester, and the summer has not been better.  I have also been trying to sleep without any "help" (benadryl, sleeping pills, Tylenol pm, etc..) for a while and the results have not been good.  The past few weeks have actually been much worse despite increasing the healthy habits.  I've written about it several times before (just click on the "dreams" category if you want to read details) but I have very vivid dreams and since childhood have had numerous occasions in which I would wake up and feel like someone was standing beside my bed--sometimes seeing shadows, sometimes feeling things.  Since hubs and I moved into our house and especially since I got sick in 2007 those dreams/hallucinations have increased and regularly involve spiders--and he has started having them too, often it happens to us both in the same last week.

On either Monday or Tuesday night I bolted out of bed and into the middle of the floor because I "saw" thousands of spiders pouring down the walls behind the head of our bed and on my side of the room.  I heard myself yelling "we have to get out of this room!" before I realized that, once again, I was dreaming/hallucinating and started to calm myself back down and finally went back to sleep.  Then on Wednesday I was lying awake reading when all of the sudden hubs yelled "What the **** is that?!?!?" and sat up pointing into the corner.  I turned on the light, of course nothing there and he said he had seen a huge tarantula in the lampshade next to his side of the bed.  We actually became so bothered by the whole situation that we started looking up things online about hallucinating about spiders to try to figure out what in the world is wrong with our minds!  Apparently the phenomena is called a hypnopompic hallucination but knowing that doesn't make it stop!  Friday night was the worst.  First I lay awake for 2 hours unable to fall asleep, then I would wake up about once an hour hearing people in the room and feeling something poke me in the back though I was sleeping with my face towards hubs and back towards the side of the bed.  I kept waking up standing in the middle of the room or sitting straight up in bed dripping with sweat because I was so afraid!  At one point hubs saw me sitting up and grabbed my arm to try to calm me down and check on me and of course I screamed and freaked out and asked him if he was really touching me or if I was imagining it.  Needless to say, it's been rough!  I also very commonly seem to be half-asleep and am aware that I'm dreaming, but I'm dreaming very real situations (like hubs getting ready for work in the morning) but though my brain is conscious that I am asleep I cannot open my eyes or talk or move or make myself "wake up".  I think I'm going to have to talk to my doctor about this because it seems to be increasing.  The weirdest part is that it happens with hubs around the same times and often about spiders as well--he has never had sleep issues before.  But I got my sleeping pills refilled and took one and a benadryl last night and had the most wonderful deep sleep without getting up at all!  All that to say, please pray for my sleep if you think about it!  I really hate dealing with this and end up so exhausted and sometimes literally sick afterwards. that you think that I"m crazy and as a thank you for bearing with me, here is a wonderful recipe that is perfect for comforting you after a sleepless night of spider hallucinations!  You could probably cut this down by a third.  When I made it (which was a while ago as you can see by the Christmas tree in the background...) I got a very full 9 or 10-in springform pan plus a full 6-in springform out of this recipe.

S'mores Cheesecake
By Marcy Goldman
1 1/3 graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup ground milk chocolate
¼ cup sugar

Cheesecake Filling:
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 pounds cream cheese (4 8oz boxes), softened
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 large eggs at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup whipping cream
1 cup coarsely chopped milk chocolate bar
2 cups miniature marshmallows
2 cups coarsely chopped graham crackers
¾ cup coarsely chopped milk chocolate, melted & cooled

Milk Chocolate Ganache topping:
1/3 cup whipping cream
¾ cup chopoped milk chocolate

Finishing Touches:
Ground graham cracker crumbs, for sides of cake
½ cup, approximately, marshmallow crème, warmed

Preheat oven to 325°F  Ling a baking sheet w/parchment paper.
For S’mores Crust: toss, graham cracker crumbs, butter, milk chocolate, and suagr together in bottom of 10 inch springform pan, and press to fit pan bottom.  Place pan on prepared baking sheet.

For Cheesecake Filling: in a mixer bowl, blend sugar, cream cheese, and flour, beating until smooth.  Add eggs, 1 at a time.  Then add vanilla, condensed milk, and cream  and blend well.  By hand, fold in coarsely chopped milk chocolate., marshmallows, and coarsely chopped graham crackers.  Pour into pan and swirl in melted milk chocolate.  If you have less than ½ inch from top of pan to filling, your pan is too full.  Remove excess batter and bake separately in a smaller pan. 

Bake 50-55 minutes or until center is set.  Cool well.  Chill at least 8 hours.

Meanwhile, make Milk Chocolate Ganache Topping.  Heat cream in a small saucepan until just simmering.  Whisk in chopped milk chocolate, turn off heat, and whisk to blend.  Cool completely.  Cover until ready to use. 

To finish cheesecake, use some Milk Chocolate Ganache Topping to coat sides of cheesecake. Gently pat on graham cracker crumbs.  Warm marshmallow cram & drizzle puddles of marshmallow & remaining ganache over top of cheesecake.  Chill cheesecake slightly and serve.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, random question. How many electrical things do you have in your bedroom? Like ceiling fan, humidifier, regular fan, etc.? One of my friends was talking about how after she moved she started having terrible nightmares on a regular basis and couldn't figure out why. They eventually connected it to her ceiling fan releasing a lot of extra energy while it was running (it had been poorly wired or something similar). Her family helped her replace it and the frequent nightmares stopped (or at least went back to the 'normal amount'). Just a rather simple fix that might be worth checking into... I'm trying to find more specific information now on how to get it checked, I will let you know what I find!