This is another article in the series,”Coffee with Friends,” in which I introduce you to some of my special friends and family. We always ask them to share a favorite recipe before they go, too.
Today, I am proud to present to you my dear friend of 23 years, Brenda O’Dell, from Bristol. I can honestly say that she is one of the most caring people that you will ever meet. She will share her recipe for Diabetic Pumpkin Cheesecake.
No accidental friendship
There are people who come in and out of your life, and you are somehow a better person for having known them. Then there are those people who come into your life and stay, and you could never even imagine them not being there. They just fit; they belong like family.
I met Brenda O”Dell in 1988 when our children were in kindergarten together. We were kindred spirits from the day that we arrived with another mom as the only ones dressed in costume for the children’s Halloween party. She was Raggedy Ann in a bright red yarn wig and the whole ensemble. I was a cowgirl, complete with a silly straw cowboy hat and holster. We were both just getting to know these other parents, and boy did we make an impression! This shared humiliation was the beginning of a wonderful friendship.
Where were you?
We had something else in common; our children were born at the same time on the same day! So, we often celebrated their birthdays together in some way. They were born at the same minute, which is really unusual. They are still friends to this day, and we have commiserated together over the years as it has been apparent they were definitely born under the same star.
Tested, Tried, and True
You’ve heard the term, “True Blue Friend.” Brenda O’Dell is one person that I can say that I know without a doubt what she is made of through and through. You know if you want to check the seams in a garment to see how well it is constructed, you have to turn it inside out. I have seen her turned inside out through her life’s experiences; she is strong, real, and true.
She has always been there for me (and many others!) when life dealt me a difficult hand. I will never forget seeing her arrive at the Intensive Care Unit when my mother appeared to be dying. That may not sound like much unless you know that she arrived with her too-young-for-cancer husband who had just been diagnosed three months before with a terminal brain tumor and was in the middle of radical cancer treatment. Also in tow, to show support, were her daughter, her husband, and her precious little baby boy. There are no words to explain what that meant to me.
Caring heart, caring hands
If you are familiar with brain cancer at all, you know that there are so many things I could say about what her life was like over the 1 1/2 years that she lovingly cared for her husband through this time. I was there from the moment that the doctor walked out of surgery and told her the life-shattering news — until the end. I watched her care for her husband with a determination and pure grit that I have never seen in anyone before.
I am so proud to call Brenda O’Dell my friend.
To the heart
People who know Brenda have all been the recipients of her caring and love over the years in man forms, especially in food. She is a talented cook, and she could easily have been a caterer with her culinary talent. Yet, her friends and family are the ones who receive the benefits.
Every Christmas without fail, Brenda has prepared goodies baskets for the older neighbors in the neighborhood. My late father (who was a diabetic, by the way) looked forward to Christmas when Brenda would come and bring him a smorgasbord of beautifully presented sweets. She worked for a week on these baskets, and the year her husband was so ill, she actually apologized that she had not gotten them done!
Sweet and not-so-sweet
Brenda has been my go-to-source for help since my diagnosis with diabetes. She has had it since 2001, and she has become so skillful in taking a regular favorite and making it a diabetic dish. Today, she shares with us her newest diabetic recipe creation, a big hit at her Thanksgiving Dinner: Diabetic Pumpkin Cheesecake.
- Cream Cheese: 3 blocks
- Canned Pumpkin: 15 ounces (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- Eggs: 5 at room temperature
- Splenda No-Calorie Sweetener granulated : 1 1/2 cups (This is packaged in a bag, but not the kind with a sugar blend.)
- Heavy Cream: 1/2 cup
- Cinnamon: 2 1/2 Teaspoons
- Allspice: 1/4 teaspoon
- Ginger: 3/4 teaspoon
- Cloves: 1/4 teaspoon
- Vanilla: 1 Tablespoon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Spray a 9” spring form pan with non-stick spray.
- Line the bottom with parchment, and spray again.
- Wrap the outside of the spring form pan with aluminum foil.
- Beat the cream cheese with mixer.
- Add spices and splenda. Beat some more.
- Add pumpkin and vanilla, and continue to beat.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating between each.
- Add cream and beat some more.
- Lower oven setting to 325 degrees.
- Place the spring form pan in a roasting pan of hot water, about half way up the side of the spring form pan.
- Bake for 60-90 minutes.
The carbohydrate content of this entire cheesecake is approximately 20 carbs or less. If you add a graham cracker crust, it will be more, of course. The cheesecake will feed 6-8 people.
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