Quick Book Review: House Rules by Jodi Picoult (Recipe: Peach Cheesecake)

I am a fan of Jodi Picoult’s writing. This book was fantastic. It is about a young boy named Jacob with Asperger’s syndrome (which is on the autism scale) who is accused of murder. He has a brilliant mind but is socially disfunctional. He can’t look people in the eye, he takes everything you say literally, and he doesn’t do well with a change in his routine–as in he will have a panic attack if he is not the first one to shower in the morning or if his mother is 2 minutes late picking him up from school.

What Jacob loves more than anything else is forensic analysis. This gets him into trouble in the book and he is blamed for murder. And because of his Asperger’s, his behaviors are a sure sign of guilt to the police. The novel is definitely a page-turner and you are constantly wondering whether Jacob is actually guilty or not.

Read it!

I have not had time to go through many more pictures from SF, but here are a few. The conference I attended was at the Marriott Marquis which had an AMAZING view from The View Lounge on the top floor. After my presentation, I had drinks with my colleagues and A and I also got dessert there one night overlooking the city. It was gorgeous!

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I know I told you about the crookedest street and how SF is so hilly. Well, I totally did a hill workout one morning near Chinatown. (This picture isn’t from Chinatown, but it is a picture of a hill!) It was an awesome workout. Raleigh is hilly but not like SF!


Oh! And a follow-up to the Giants game! After one of the innings they did the Kiss Cam. They had an older couple kiss and then they put the camera on a younger couple. The girl looked completely embarrassed and made her boyfriend kiss her on the cheek. The next thing we knew, he was down on one knee and proposing to her on the Kiss Cam! That made her even more embarrassed!  She said yes and everyone cheered, and then she really did kiss him. It was super cute.

In other news, I got a flat tire this morning. Awesome. It was my own fault. There is a large metal sewer grate in front of my house.  I was parking on the street so that A could have the driveway when he got home from the gym. I wasn’t paying attention and sideswiped the metal grate which put a huge (non-repairable) hole in my tire. The good news is that most people don’t need AAA at 7am, so the guy was at my house within 15 minutes of my call. I told him that I hoped my spare tire was good–it has been underneath my car for 11 years. I have never had a flat before! I guess there is a first time for everything!

Oh! And another first today–my personal trainer told me I looked like hell this morning. His exact words were, “Good morning. You look like hell. Do you want today to be your rest day instead?” My response: “Good morning. I just ran 7 miles on the treadmill–I deserve to look like hell. Let’s get to it.”

1 year ago: 126 Hours with No Sweets (Recipe: Pistachio Crusted Asparagus)

2 years ago: Meet Me in St. Louis (Recipe: Rosemary Bread)

Quote of the Day:

“Running is about more than just putting one foot in front of the other; it is about our lifestyle and who we are.” -Joan Benoit Samuelson

So, on Saturday a group of us had a Game of Thrones marathon. We are way behind and wanted to finally get to Season 3. For this event we had a potluck. I brought dessert. Surprised? I think not. I decided to try a Peach Cheesecake. It was pretty good–a very light peach flavor that was not overwhelming. I thought the topping was the best part (A made that!!). Caramelized peaches…yummmmm…

Peach Cheesecake IMG_3272

Peach Cheesecake


For the crust:

  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

For the cheesecake filling:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

For the topping:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 firm peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced into 12 slices each
  • 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla


  • Heat the oven to 350F.
  • In a medium bowl combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Stir the mixture until all the crumbs are evenly coated in the butter.
  • Lightly spray a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan, pressing the crumbs up ½-inch up the side of the pan. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden brown. Cool to room temperature.
  • Leave the oven at 350 F. Add a shallow baking dish filled with 1-inch of boiling water to the bottom rack of the oven. Next, prepare the filling.
  • In a medium skillet over medium heat add the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Once the butter foams, and the sugar has melted, add the sliced peaches. Cook, stirring often, until the peaches have caramelized slightly and are very tender, about 10 minutes. Let the peaches cool for 10 minutes then transfer to a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute.
  • In the work bowl of a food processor add the peach puree and cream cheese. Process until the mixture is very smooth and no lumps remain, about 5 minutes.
  • Next, add the sugar and cornstarch and process for 30 seconds. With the food processor running add the eggs, one at a time, processing for 20 seconds after each egg is added.
  • Add the sour cream, heavy cream and vanilla to the cream cheese mixture and process for 10 seconds to combine. Carefully pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared crust, gently tapping the pan on the counter to release any large air bubbles.
  • Bake the cheesecake for 20 minutes at 350 F, then reduce the heat to 325 F and bake for an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until the center of the cheesecake is slightly jiggly, but the edges are firm. Turn off the oven, crack the oven door slightly and cool for 1 hour, then remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool to room temperature. Carefully remove the outer ring and wrap with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours. While the cheesecake chills prepare the peach topping.
  • In a medium skillet over medium heat add the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla bean paste. Once the butter foams, and the sugar has melted, add the sliced peaches. Cook, stirring often, until the peaches are just tender, about 5 minutes. Let the peaches cool completely then arrange on the top of the chilled cheesecake.

Adapted from Evil Shenanigans

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One Response to Quick Book Review: House Rules by Jodi Picoult (Recipe: Peach Cheesecake)

  1. Pingback: Strike 2 for Ken. (Recipe: Easy Summer Shrimp Boil) | Oven Lovin' Runnin'

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