Next week, Don and I will be heading to Israel for my mother-in-law’s ninth Yahrzeit, (commemoration of the anniversary of death) of my mother-in-law, Devorah bas Yitzchok Ahron a’H. I loved my mother-in-law dearly. While her physical presence is no longer in this world, her neshoma (soul) endures. And, the Yahrzeit is the time to reflect on the lessons that she has imparted and continues to impart to us, her children.
My mother-in-law was brutally honest. She was definitely not subtle. Not in any way.
She would tell me and everyone else exactly what she thought. And, exactly what she thought we should do. She would tell my children that we weren’t taking good enough care of my furniture. And, that my sister-in-law’s couches were holding up better than mine. She offered advice to me on how to raise my children. She couldn’t hold back when she thought someone was too fat or wearing clothing that was not flattering. And, she always brought me just the items from the dollar store that she thought that I needed in my life.
Mom was absolutely right about most everything. Her advice was truthful and blunt. I heard what she said and yet I often rejected her words as harsh and unfair. Because, in Mom’s lifetime, it was just too much information and it felt so negative.
Now that only her soul and her legacy remains, I interpret her words differently. I accept them more and push back less. Honestly, I just needed to learn to accept the criticism and own it.
Now that her physical presence is gone, I still hear her whispering in my ear. Most amazingly, her voice has merged with my own inner voice. And, it feels right and only positive now.
“It’s time to lose weight.” “Close the front door.” “Don’t let the grandchildren play with play dough on the floor.” “That outfit isn’t flattering.” These are Mom’s lessons with my own inner voice whispering them.
So, with Mom’s voice as the impetus, we decided to do something exciting, frightening and wonderful on our Yahrzeit visit to Israel this year. We decided to jump-start healthier eating habits on this trip with the hope that these habits will last. And, I feel that Mom has whispered this daunting plan into my ear. Because, she always wanted her family to be slimmer, more fit and healthier.
Don’s two brothers will be joining us on this trip. Don’s brother, Yisroel, has been on a modified Atkin’s diet successfully for two years. He volunteered to be the mentor and coach. I volunteered to be the cook and menu planner. Yisroel keeps reminding me that it will be hard work. And, I am up to the challenge, Mom!
Don’s brother, Mordechai, is on board with this new plan. For this trip, he will be traveling without the love of his life, Yael. But, he doesn’t want to give up another love of his life. Cheesecake.
Don told Mordechai that we will find a way for him to have his cheesecake and eat it, too. And, since I am in charge of the cooking and meal planning, I was determined to bake a cheesecake with nearly no carbs.
Therefore, I made a simple, crust-free cheesecake with Neufchâtel cream cheese and SPLENDA® . Although, I generally do not use diet sugars or diet products, I made an exception here due to the circumstances. I hope that you love the cheesecake, Mordechai.
Thanks Mom, for that new inner voice! May your dear neshoma be bound with the souls of the living.
2 pounds Neufchâtel or light cream cheese
3 large eggs
10 SPLENDA® packets (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
It is best to bring the ingredients to room temperature before baking to prevent cracking, although I have made this recipe effectively with ingredients right out of the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Prepare pie plate by generously spraying with cooking spray or lining with parchment paper .
In food processor fitted with an S-blade, beat cream cheese, eggs, SPLENDA® and vanilla in a food processor or with a mixer, just until smooth and creamy. You can also use a whisk to incorporate and beat all these ingredients. You will have to scrape sides of bowl to incorporate everything well until combined, smooth and creamy.
Pour mixture into pie plate.
Bake for 40 minutes. Turn oven off and leave in oven to another half-hour.
Remove from the oven and cool completely. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
If you would rather use less SPLENDA® , I would suggest just sprinkling a bit on top of the cheesecake when serving. A sprinkle of SPLENDA® or powdered sugar on top fools the palate and imparts sweetness to the whole serving.