Friday, March 20, 2020

Working from Home and Lemon Cheesecake with Strawberry Jam Swirl

We have been encouraged to work from home, if possible.  Well, I have been encouraged and Dave's office closed and they were told to work from home.  So, Dave and I are both working from home.  This is totally new to us and a challenge.  I have never had a job that you can do from home, until now, and with all my spring travel cancelled, all my work can be done from my laptop.  Because I have a couple of conditions that put me in a higher risk group for complications from COVID-19, I am trying to be careful and Dave is really trying to be careful with me, and really wanting to limit my trips outside the house.

A colleague sent me a list of things to think about when you have to work from home that was very helpful:

Make work time work time; Work and home are not places but states of mind. Set a schedule for work and for when work is done. Maybe make a habit of shutting down the computer when you’re done with work to help make the separation actionable.

Routines: People respond to routines and routines help build structure. You can build the rules and structure to fit your life. For example, choose a starting time and be working at the same time every day. It helps give you a sense of control. Equally important is to set an end time and ‘clock out’, do something to signify the end of work. Shut down the computer, close a door, etc.

Rules, If you live with other people it's important to establish communication rules between you and the other folks in your home. Interruptions will break your focus, but if everyone understands the rules for working at home it will have everyone on the same page of when are and are not available. For example if the door is shut others know to text or email before entering. Obviously it’s important to explain these rules to others in your house. Communication about rules doesn't really work with little kids but it would be wonderful if it did. 

Ergonomics: Take the time to prepare a comfortable work environment. Proper ergonomics are important, and you’ll get uncomfortable quickly if your desk is at a bad height/angle.

Sound: I usually use headphones and listen to music without words to help focus on work. Movie soundtracks or the genre lo-fi hip-hop are especially helpful.

Workspace: If you can, have a workspace that is different than your usual living space, even if it’s a folding table set to a side of a room or moving your chair in a unique position, it helps to differentiate workspace from home space.

Virtual social interaction; use Samepage as watercooler to jump into and out of a quick conversation. Set up Zoom chats with your colleagues, etc 

Breaks: Take the occasional break, just as in the office it’s helpful to take a walk outside, and move around during the day. If you usually  walk around campus during lunch, keep that routine. Take a lunch break away from your desk.

But, Dave and I made it about 35 minutes yesterday before we had to sit down and have a work meeting to set up some ground rules.  I sure hope we make it through this work from home thing without any casualties!  All kidding aside, we are used to being apart for most of the spring, not working from the same room all day, every day so we are working on this. 

I made this cheesecake to use some of my strawberry jam.  It is a lemony, sweet and creamy treat.  If you don't like lemon as much as I do you can omit it and use vanilla extract instead of the lemon extract.  I'm really going to need lots of treats to get through this. 

So friends, stay safe, wash your hands and be flexible! 

Lemon Cheesecake with Strawberry Swirl

For Crust:
1 1/2 cups almond flour
4 Tbsp. butter, melter
2 Tbsp. granulated Swerve, or sweetener of choice

For Filling:
16 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated Swerve, or sweetener of choice
2 eggs,
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. lemon zest, optional
1/4-1/2 cup strawberry jam, I used my homemade jam

Spray a 7" springform pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. 

In a medium bowl, mix almond flour, butter and Swerve, mixture should resemble damp sand.  Press on bottom and 1/2 way up sides of prepared pan.  Set in freezer while you make the filling.

In a large bowl or stand mixer combine cream cheese and sweetener on medium speed until cream cheese is light and fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla, lemon extract and lemon zest (if using).  Mix well. 

Remove crust from freezer and pour in the filling.  Drop spoons-full of jam over the top and swirl with the blade of a butter knife or off-set spatula.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place it on the trivet.  Pour 1 1/2 cups of water into the instant pot and carefully place trivet and cheesecake into pot.  Close the top and seal the vent.  Cook on HIGH pressure for 45 minutes.  Let steam vent naturally for 5 minutes then quick release.

Remove trivet and cheesecake from pot, remove foil carefully and let cool on counter for about 30 minutes.  Center may be a little jiggly but will firm up as it cools.  Carefully run a sharp knife around edge to release from the pan, place in refrigerator for 6-8 hours.  To remove sides, run a sharp knife around edge again and remove ring.  Slice and serve with more jam for topping.
Makes 12 servings

1 year ago:     Keto Bacon Jam
7 years ago:    Parmesan Tilapia and Hippos

March 20, 2020  Sunrise 7:48 am  Sunset 8:09 pm  Temp. H 35/ L 23˚F

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