Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gingerbread Cheesecake

Yum. I recently made the most amazing dessert. It was my first full cheesecake ever and it was delicious. Gingerbread cheesecake, my friends. Try it now. Here are some pictures to tempt you:

 Oh, did I mention the gingersnap crust?!:

Gingerbread Cheesecake (from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice)

2c finely ground ginger snap crumbs
4T butter, melted
1/4c sugar

4, 8oz pkgs cream cheese
1 1/2c sugar
1t vanilla
4 eggs, room temp
1/4c molasses
1/4t salt
1 1/2t ginger
1t cinnamon
1t freshly grated nutmeg
1/4t cloves
1/2t fresh lemon zest

Preheat to 350F. Wrap a 9" springform pan in 2 layers of aluminum foil. In a large bowl, combine gingersnap crumbs, butter, and sugar. Press crumbs firmly and evenly into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes and cool completely.

Reduce to 325F. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 3 min. Beat in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing in between additions. Beat in molasses, salt, spices, and lemon zest. Pour over cooled crust. Place cheesecake in a large, shallow roasting pan. Transfer to oven and add enough water to the roasting pan to come about halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until the cheesecake is set but still wobbly in the center. Cool for 30 minutes, then move pat to springform rack and cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, 8 hours or overnight.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Goodies for My Room

Awhile back I won a giveaway for a pillow cover from Urban Fringe Design. I was pretty excited because it meant one fewer pillow cover I had to make (I've currently made zero...), but I reallllllly like how this baby turned out! The orangey coral is the exact accent color I want for the room and the grey works perfectly with the grey wall. I think I'll be keeping it on the chair for now. We'll see how things look when (if) I get the bed pillow covers finished. Check it out:
Arrived in such pretty packaging:

 The cover comes flat (pillow not included):
 Here it is in full pillow form in its current resting place:
 Up close of the very professionally done felt flower:

Thanks so much for the wonderful pillow, Kallie!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Apple Cider Cookies Stuffed with Caramel

My coworkers were begging for a treat before Thanksgiving break so I decided to go with this festive recipe. The cookies taste like you are literally eating apple cider, then the caramel oozes out and you're in heaven! I will say that these are best straight from the oven or with a 10 sec shot from the microwave since the caramel tends to stiffen up after cooling. Check them out:

Apple Cider Cookies Stuffed with Caramel (from Gimme Some Oven)

3c flour
1t baking soda
1/2t baking powder
1t cinnamon
2 sticks butter, softened
1c sugar
1/2t salt
1 (7.4oz, 10pkgs) box Apple Cider Instant Drink Mix
2 eggs
1t vanilla
1 (14oz) bag Kraft caramels, unwrapped

Preheat to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and salt. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well. gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture. Mix until just combined.

Make about 2T balls of dough and press a caramel into each one. Smoosh the dough around the caramel so that it is no longer showing. Place on cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool on baking rack.

*I also think that the Kraft caramel bits would be good instead of a whole caramel. Just stir a bag of them in at the very end and scoop the dough directly onto the cookie sheet.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rosemary Lemon Chicken

Mmmmm a super easy beyond delicious recipe- that's what I have for you today! Nothing like meat and potatoes to warm you up for winter. I've made this recipe several times since I found it and not only is it amazing the day you make it, it continues to delight as leftovers (for days). It calls for chicken thighs, but you can try and be a little more healthy with breasts, but it won't be nearly as delicious. Check it out:

Rosemary Lemon Chicken (from Minimally Invasive)

1lb small potatoes, halved and microwaved to soften(I used a mixed reds bag)
Kosher salt
2 sprigs rosemary, plus 1 1/2 T leaves
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4t cayenne pepper
juice of 2 lemons (save the lemons)
2T extra virgin olive oil
4-6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
10oz mushrooms, halved (I used bella mushrooms)

Preheat oven to 450F.

Dice the rosemary leaves up so that their natural oils and scent are released. In a small bowl or cup, combine the rosemary leaves, garlic, 2t salt, and cayenne. Add the lemon juice and oil, stir to mix fully.

Put the chicken in a skillet and pour the rosemary mixture over the chicken, be sure to coat the chicken fully. Heat over medium-high heat until the skins brown. If you are using a cast-iron skillet, add the mushrooms, potatoes, lemon halves, and rosemary sprigs to the skillet and place in the oven. If you are not using a skillet that can go into the oven (like me), then you can transfer the chicken to a baking dish and add the remaining ingredients to the baking dish and place into the oven. Bake for 20-25 min or until chicken is cooked through.

I enjoyed this with some green beans as well as a salad (be sure to get your greens!)


Monday, December 5, 2011

Feast With The Beasts

My apologies, friends! I seem to have taken an entire month off form blogging. Time really does fly around the holidya season, I can't believe it's December! I have some extremely overdue posts for ya, starting with this one. Back in early November I received an exciting invite from my friend, Ali, to go to Feast with the Beasts at the Houston Zoo! It was doubly exciting because Ali sorta moved to Colorado last year and I don't get to see her that often. The premise of this event is to have lots of restaurants and vendors come and set up a booth inside the zoo. Each booth offers a taste of a signature dish from the vendor and you pretty much walk around and snack all night until you get full or the vendors run out of food. It acts as a fundraiser for the zoo and there is a concert at the end (B-52s this year). Seeing as how the Zoo is easily one of my favorite places to visit, and I love food and friends, this was a no-brainer from the get-go. Ali and I met up with a group of friends nad had an amazing time! I hope to go to this event in the future and you should too! Here are the few pics I took (it's hard to balance a camera, drink, and food):
Pan-seared tuna, one of my faves:
 There were designated feeding times throughout the zoo so that you could see the animals in action. This is a male jaguar eating a goat:
 Guarding his goat yumminess:
 Ali and I at the end of the night!

I hope to attend this event in the future and so should you at a zoo in your area!

Monday, October 31, 2011

For Your Creepy Crawly Enjoyment- Happy Halloween!

Saw this guy on my coworker's car:

Found this fella on my porch:

And this mama was in the change room at my work, I now check my shoes before sliding them on:

Happy Halloween!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

More pumpkin! So far, these may be my fave pumpkin creation this year. I first tried the recipe as-is on Annie's Eats but I just redid them on Monday and I think they've really hit their stride now! You must try these this season, they're not your average doodle!

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles (adapted from Annie's Eats)

3 3/4c flour
1 1/2t baking powder
1/2t salt
1/2t cinnamon
1/4t nutmeg
1t pumpkin pie spice
2 sticks butter, softened
1c sugar
1/2c dark brown sugar
3/4c pumpkin puree
1 egg
2t vanilla bean paste (or extract)

1/2c sugar
1t cinnamon
1/2t ginger
dash of allspice
1t pumpkin pie spice

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk and set aside. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in pumpkin puree. Beat in egg and vanilla bean paste until combined. Beat in dry ingredients on low until just combined.

Cover and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine sugar and spices in a wide, shallow bowl. Scoop Balls of dough, roll them in your hands until smooth, and then roll them in the coating. Place the balls evenly spaced on the baking sheet. Once the sheet is full, take a glass and wet the bottom. Dip the bottom in the coating and then smoosh the dough balls until ~1cm thick. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chipotle (flavored) Burritos

Since I eat lunch at home everyday I'm always looking for delicious meals that are easy to fix. Usually I have steamed veggies and an open-faced tuna sandwich. Sometimes I mix it up and have chicken salad/ grilled cheese/ open-faced tomato but I recently stumbled upon an idea that's so easy I'm embarrassed to have not done it myself. Burritos! They're easy to assemble in mass quantity and real easy to reheat. Since it's a lunch meal I only took one hurried picture while eating, but believe me they're worth a try!

Chipotle Burritos (adapted from A Bitchin' Kitchen):

2T oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2t chili powder
2 peppers from a can of chipotles in adobo
2T sauce from the can of chipotles in adobo
2t cumin
dash of cayenne pepper
2/3c water
1 lb chicken tenderloins
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 small onion, chopped
1/4c fresh pico de gayo
6 tortillas
4oz grated monterey jack cheese
baby spinach leaves
Greek yogurt, plain

I cooked the chicken separate from the beans and onion, but you can always cook the chicken all the way through and add the beans and onion after. I was worried about over cooking the chicken and split up the two. To do this you need to split the first 8 ingredients into two (i.e. 1T oil, 2 cloves garlic, etc) skillets. Mix the ingredients thoroughly and add the chicken to one pan and the beans and onion to the other. Cook the chicken until cooked through. Bring the beans to a simmer and then lower heat to med-low, cover, and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Divide the ingredients between the tortillas and wrap all but one in foil and store in your refrigerator until lunch! This was a really great way to mix up my usual lunch, I hope you give it a try. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Design*Sponge at Home giveaway from Drygoods Design

 I was soooooooo excited this month to find out I had won a giveaway from Drygoods Design Online for the Design*Sponge at Home Book by Grace Bonney. Mainly because it came with 2 yards of the fabric of my choice from one of my new favorite online fabric stores, Drygoods Design. I forget where I first heard of them, maybe True Up, but I was hooked at first sight of their grey and yellow collection of fabrics on their homepage! I chose to have some of the Zig Zag Ash and White fabric by Premier Prints so I can make Baloo a stylin dog bed. This is yet to happen due to the many other things in my sewing queue, but stay tuned. Anyway, I just wanted to give Keli from DGDO a big thank you because not only did I win the book and the fabric, but she even went to a book signing and got it signed by the author for me, can you say awesome?! I've ordered a bit of fabric from this store before that I'm stocking up for pillows in my bedroom and living room (they're also in the sewing queue) and I love them. Check it out and if you want to see more of the book I've listed some links to book reviews and previews.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Pumpkin Espresso Cupcakes

Once the pumpkin kick starts, there's no stoppin it! I'm in full-blown pumpkin mode and I'm pretty pumped about it. I made some really delicious cupcakes last night that were a really big hit at the office yesterday. If you like pumpkin spice lattes (who doesn't?!) then you will like these cupcakes. I changed up the topping from the orginal recipe and I think it was for the better!

Pumpkin Espresso Cupcakes (original from Annie's Eats)

1 1/3c flour
1 1/2T espresso powder
1t baking soda
1t baking powder
1/2t cinnamon
1/16t nutmeg
1/16t cloves
1/2t salt
1c pumpkin puree
1/2c sugar
1/2c dark brown sugar
1/2c oil
2 eggs

1 stick butter, softened
1t pumpkin pie spice
2T caramel
powdered sugar

Preheat to 350F. In a medium bowl, combine flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. In a large bowl, beat together pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, and oil. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the flour to the large bowl in 2 additions. Mix until just incorporated. Fill liners 2/3 full and bak ~14 minutes. Cool on rack completely.

Beat butter, spice, and caramel until smooth. Add powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. Frost cooled cupcakes.


October Boxes

I just got my October Foodzie Tasting Box and Birchbox in the mail, yay! I was very excited for all the pumpkin/Fall themed goodies in my Foodzie box. I've been munching on pumpkin seeds constantly!

The caramels are really delicious too. I'm thinking I'll try the fancy apple juice tonight and I'm on the lookout for a recipe for the maple syrup. The fruit leather was super tangy and I had to rotate bites of it with candy corn to balance out the taste. The energy bar was ok but too much going on for me I guess.

The Birchbox was another so-so one in my opinion.

There was one product that I had been wanting to try- the Laura Geller Spackle Tinted Under Makeup Primer in Bronze and the rest are just ok. I loved tow of the Befine products I've received so far-I even bought the full size version of them, but the lip balm isn't for me. I don't really like slimy lip gloss and that's what it is. Also in my box this month were The Laundress Delicate Wash, AHAVA Rich Cleansing Cream, and Orofluido Elixir. Let me know if you've tried any of these boxes or know of any different ones I can try!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Random Goings-Ons

Not a whole lot going on around here lately, but here are a few of the things I've been up to:

Kristine in town for work (first visit since she moved to DC)

Christi's going away party at Sam's Boat (she's leaving us for an extended stay in Denver):

Krista's baby shower! She's getting close to game time!

Hope you're having a spectacular start to Fall!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin and Brown Butter Blondies with White Chocolate Chips

 Christine asked me the other day if I had any new pumpkin recipes and I realized (gasp!) that I hadn't made any pumpkin goodies yet this year! That couldn't stand so when I came across this recipe for pumpkin and brown butter blondies with white chocolate chips I jumped on the chance to make them. Even if you simply want a freshly scented house, you have to make these. They smell crazy good while baking and taste the same. Although I must say I think all the flavors are better tasted when the blondies are completely cooled as opposed to hot from the oven.

Pumpkin and Brown Butter Blondies with White Chocolate Chips (by Raspberri Cupcakes)

1 stick butter
1/2c light brown sugar
1/3c sugar
1 egg
1t vanilla
1/2c pumpkin puree
1c flour
1t salt
3/4t cinnamon
1/8t allspice
1/8t ground nutmeg
1.5c white chocolate chips

Preheat to 350F. Cut butter into 1T cubes and place in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until the butter melts. Continue to heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the butter bubbles. continue stirring until the butter turns a light brown color and smells nutty. BE CAREFUL NOT TO BURN. You must watch the butter very carefully and stir constantly to avoid burning the butter as it goes from brown to black very quickly. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, whisk together sugars until smooth. Add browned butter and whisk until smooth. Whisk in egg, vanilla, and pumpkin puree. Add flour, salt, and spices. Stir until just mixed, do not over beat. Fold in white chocolate chips. Pour batter into a parchment paper-lined 8"x8" pan. Bake ~30 minutes or until set. Remove blondies from pan via the parchment paper and cool completely on rack.

Hope this get you in the Fall spirit! Enjoy!