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Meet Sarah Smiley

October 30, 2008

* To avoid more political drivel and skip to a creamy cheesecake, scroll down until you find the spooky cheesecake picture.

Sarah Smiley may just be the most controversial military wife of our times.  She’s outspoken about life as a Navy wife, writing a couple books and weekly column about her experiences in our little world.  She’s been embraced and alienated at the same time because of her recollection of time spent away from her Navy Pilot husband. 

I have read most of Sarah Smiley’s articles and her first book throughout my life as a milwife.  I obsessed over her words during my first deployment, finding myself in some of the pages and wondering how the hell she got herself in some of the situations she found herself in other pages.

Needless to say, as we are all different and deal with deployment and stressful situations in our own way, Sarah Smiley does not speak for all of us.  In many respects, I do consider her an expert of sorts.  In others, I think she’s a little more than off base.  Today, I think she hit the nail on the head with her article

Furthermore, my parents and grandmama were over for dinner last night and of course, the conversation turned to Election 2008; in particular John McCain.  Since this is my place to express myself and I don’t write for an audience (although I truly, truly appreciate your kind words everyday), I like to write in the same way I would speak if you and I were sitting down to a cup of coffee.  So here goes a recap of our conversation last night:

I still support John McCain.  I still believe he is the best choice for our country’s safety, economy and health care.  I have several issues that shake me to the core. 

First, if I could, I would fire John McCain’s campaign manager and take over the job myself.  Looking back at “The Old John McCain” and seeing who he is today makes my heart sick.  If he’d come out for Election 2008 with his own attitude, his own agenda and his own words, we’d be seeing a much different race right now. 

Secondly, I don’t know why the McCain campaign hid Sarah Palin so much.  She’s a bright, intelligent woman who truly is a remarkable “maverick.”  She fights, she wins.  Plain and simple.  Stop hiding her like a china doll.  Let her loose!  Put her out there so the media doesn’t have a chance to bully her and make false statements about her.

Third, seriously…  STOP with the name calling, the pointing fingers, and the nasty campaign.  Remember that a huge part of your voter base are conservative people with conservative views.  I’m sick of the petty arguments, sick of the conspiracy theories.  Come back down to earth.  Non military familes are not going to remember who the hell Bill Ayers is when this is all said and done.  Yes, I think there is a strong argument that you are who you keep company with… but we’ve had enough.  If the American people haven’t made up their mind yet, they aren’t going to vote for McCain/Palin based on conspiracy theories being thrown around. 

Finally, Senator McCain.  I respect your intellect.  I do.  Really…. but you have to bring it down to earth. 

Example: I spent the first four years of my marriage thinking that A-10s had major problems with their fuel systems because all The Husband talked about was something on the “fuel lodge.”  Finally, gaining enough courage to ask The Husband (after 4 years of marriage) I asked why the Air Force didn’t just update the fuel system… then light dawned.  He wasn’t endlessly talking about the “fuel lodge” but actually talking about the fuselage (for those of you out there like me… that’s the body of the airplane… the frame if you will.)

So, I will end my rant with saying, please… Senator McCain.  Please bring it down more.  You’re a highly intelligent person.  You regularly speak on a level that far exceeds the rest of America on these issues because your understanding of these issues is so complex.  I’ve researched what you are proposing, it makes sense… but you aren’t making it make sense.  We’re simple people, we want simple policies that we can understand. 

For everyone that thinks I spontaneously stopped cooking, I haven’t.  I actually cook dinner every day but haven’t had a whole lot of exciting things to write home about if you know what I mean.  The Husband and I have been digging in to comfort foods done Cat style.  I did, however want to make The Husband smile the other day so I made a Pumpkin Cheesecake.  Nothing makes the man smile like cheesecake.  Married to such a man, I make a lot of cheesecakes… and I changed it up a bit, and I should have known better in other respects.


Pumpkin Cheesecake
Paula Deen

1 3/4 c graham cracker crumbs (I used gingersnaps)
3 T light brown sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1/2 c butter, melted
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (15 oz) can canned pumpkin puree
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk (I just used 4 eggs)
1/4 c sour cream
1 1/2 c sugar (I used 1 c)
1/2 t ground cinnamon (I used 1 t)
1/8 t ground nutmeg (I used 1/2 t)
1/8 t ground cloves (I used 1/4 t)
2 T flour
1 t vanilla
Chocolate Ganache (optional)
1/2 c bittersweet chocolate
2 T heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and cloves.  Add melted butter.  Press flat into a 9 inch springform pan.  Set aside.

Beat the cream cheese until smooth.  Add pumpkin puree, eggs, sour cream, sugar and spices.  Add flour and vanilla.  Beat together until well combined.

Pour into crust.  Spread out evenly and place in oven for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven.  Let stand 15 minutes, cover with plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours. 

I added a simple chocolate ganache after the cake had cooled.  Simply melt the chocolate pieces and heavy cream in a saucepan until smooth.

**Notes: I always, always, always double the crust on cheesecakes.  I’ve never been successful with using a single recipe for crusts.  Second, I always play around with the spices in a flavored cheesecake.  Don’t be afraid to make it your own. 

Also, I always bake my cheesecakes in a waterbath.  Do everything as written, except wrap the springform pan in foil, place in a large roasting pan and fill with boiling water just before baking.  This cooks the cheesecake evenly so you don’t end up with burnt crust and not so cooked center (which is exactly what happened to me!)

Mosey on over tomorrow to see how my first attempt at Caramel Corn goes… it’s time to fill trick or treat bags for the neighborhood kiddos!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 30, 2008 23:19

    Thanks so much for the shout out! I love that you have loved/hated me equally. When I was going through old columns for the newest book, I felt the same thing — “Why the hell did I write that?” and “Oh, looky here….boy, was I smart back then.”

    BUT, I am also glad to have stumbled on your blog because you have some great recipes on here! I was hungry when I started reading your post, and then I saw those pictures…..and, well, now I’m starving. Looks so yummy! I look forward to browsing more tomorrow.

    Sarah Smiley

  2. October 31, 2008 06:48

    I am a simple girl too. I simply want some cheesecake. Perhaps a cup of tea to go with it. Thank you. 🙂

  3. October 31, 2008 07:09

    Insightful post Cat….do you check voicemail 😀

    I love Sarah, will have to read her article when I get time…..

    Cheesecake look yummy, I love her Pumpkin Butter Gooey Cake (something like it) here is the link from Rachel Ray’s site. I have made the variation with peanut butter too, but the pumpkin is the family’s fav, and mine too, great this time of the year!!!!!

  4. October 31, 2008 09:11

    That cheesecake looks fantastic! It will definitely be an interesing day come Tuesday.

  5. November 4, 2008 09:31

    It’s always nice to hear your thoughts, Cat. That cheesecake looks wonderful and could go a long way in abating my nervousness as the results come in tonight!

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