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!