Friday, August 17, 2012

Chocolate Stout Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust

The same night I made the halibut I also needed a dessert. Oddly I had all the ingredients to try a chocolate stout cheesecake recipe I had been holding onto for awhile. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this since the chocolate stout cupcakes I make are very stout-flavored, but it was delicious. Not too sweet thanks to the beer, but very chocolaty. It could probably be a little better if I had bothered to go out and buy a chocolate stout, but I had Guinness in the fridge so I just used that. Here she is:

Chocolate Stout Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust (recipe from The Beeroness)

4 graham crackers
1c pretzel rods (I used a hand full)
2T brown sugar
3T butter

8oz dark chocolate (I used one Ghirardelli semisweet bar and a bittersweet bar)
1c chocolate stout (I used Guinness)
3 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 1/4c sugar
3 eggs
2T flour
1/3c cocoa powder
1/2t salt
1T espresso powder (just discovered that mine has formed a rock in the container so I skipped it)

1c sour cream
1/4c powdered sugar
2T chocolate stout

In your oven, place one rack in the middle, with another rack immediately below. Preheat to 350F.

In a food processor (I used a blender), add the graham crackers, pretzel rods and brown sugar. Run until crumbs are all that remain. With the processor on, add butter and run until it is well mixed.

Coat the inside of a 9" spring form pan with butter (or Pam baking spray with flour). Pour the crust crumbs into the pan. Using the bottom of a flat, heavy glass, press the crumbs into a well packed crust. Bake for 10 minutes, allow to cool completely.

In a pot over medium heat, warm together beer and chocolate. Stir until melted, allow to cool.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in between additions. Pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the bowl. Beat until well combined. Sprinkle the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt over the bowl. Stir until just combined.

Pour the batter over the crust. Place on the middle rack in the oven. Place a baking pan filled with water on the rack directly below. This will keep your cheesecake from cracking. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the center no longer shakes when you wiggle it.

Meanwhile, add the topping ingredients to a bowl and whisk until well combined. After cheesecake is baked, pour topping over it and return to oven for 8 minutes.

Allow to cool for at least 3 hours. Overnight in the refrigerator is best.


Halibut Over Corn and Black Beans

Phew, it's been awhile since I've tried a new cooking recipe. Cooking isn't my fave (versus baking) mainly because once I make something I have to eat it for days (#singlepeopleproblems). This can be a good thing if I'm making my mom's mac n' cheese or my chipotle lime shrimp, but not so good if it turns out less than stellar. And, unlike baked goods, if there's too much for me to finish before it spoils, I can't pawn it off on my co-workers and friends haha.

So, needless to say, I select the recipes I try carefully and this one is along the same lines of some of my favorites so I deemed it worthy of my time. It's a foil packet recipe with halibut, corn, and black beans. This turned out to be quite tasty, but not quite as easy peasy as other foil packet meals I make. First, halibut is mad expensive here. I'm used to paying around $7/lb for fish and this was $22/lb. Whoa there! I can honestly say it's way tastier than my usual tilapia or catfish, but I dunno if it's 3x tastier. Second, the corn and beans by themselves was not as satisfying for me so I added some brown rice as well. I think that with the few tweaks I made to the original recipe, this should be a big winner in the future. Check it out:

Halibut over Corn and Black Beans (original recipe from Annie's Eats)

Corn and bean mix:
1 (15oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15oz) can corn, drained
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4c minced cilantro
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
2T orange juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2t salt
1/2t pepper

4 skinless white fish fillets (like halibut)
4T butter, softened
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1t orange zest
1 clove garlic, minced

Brown rice

In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the corn and black bean mixture. Divide between 4 pieces of foil.

Place a fillet on top of each pile of corn and beans. coat with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine the butter, chipotle, orange zest, and garlic. Spread the paste over the fillets evenly. Fold up the foil so that it forms an enclosed packet. Cook on the grill or in the oven (I use the broil setting) for 15-20 minutes or until the fish is cooked through (160F). Pour contents of the packet over brown rice (I use individual servings of Minute rice).


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Big Texas!

A few weeks ago I went out with some friends to the local country dance hall, Big Texas, for some birthday two-steppin. It was my friend, Randi's birthday and her activity of choice was boot scootin! We had a really fun (albeit sweaty) time twirling and line dancing the night away. Here are a few pics of the birthday girl:

Happy Birthday, Randi!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Baby A!

My best friend had a baby!!!! I'm sooo excited! My poor sewing machine and knitting needles are about to get a workout (for the next several years) now that I know she's a girl (they wanted it to be a surprise)! Welcome to the world baby A!
Here are some pics stolen from Christine (more to come when I visit them soooon!):
I like this one because she's wearing a hat I knit and kinda smiling:

I'm sure this onesie was for Jenn, Mary, or Emily's benefit but I'm lovin it too!

Can't wait to visit!!!

I'm on a boat!

Went out with my friends Brian and Krista the other weekend on their snazzy boat. It was quite hot (yay TX), but I managed to avoid a sunburn and had a great time skiing. I haven't water skied in a reeeeealy long time. we used to go out on a friend of my parents' boat when I was little and that's when I learned, but it's been awhile. Luckily I didn't totally eat it or anything, but since we had played soccer in the heat that morning I did tire and cramp pretty easily. At least I got up on the skis! Here are some pics from the outing:

Thanks for the invite, Lusbys!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


So, I never really write about my work. It's an if I told you I'd have to kill you situation, obviously. But, I was sad to get the news that my boss was leaving to head back to Japan. Here are some pics of my co-workers in case you've ever wondered what my work life looked like:
Tim, Watanabe-san, Me on the day of the going away party:

Happy Hour on last Friday at Cullen's:

In Texas we celebrate with tequila:

We miss you, Watanabe-san!

Puffy Quilt for Grayson

My friend, Juliet, had her baby back in April and because I'm a terrible procrastinator I only recently was able to give Grayson the puffy quilt I made for him. Ummm happy 3 month birthday :) His baby room theme was rumored to be airplanes when I started this quilt, but I didn't see the color scheme so it's a little off from their red, white and blue haha. Check it out:

I also failed at getting a picture with the handsome boy, but that just means we have to hang out again!

Monday, August 13, 2012

July 2012: Birchbox, My Glam Bag, BarkBox, Foodzie Box, Must Have Bag, Julep Box Reviews

Eeks! I haven't written in awhile! To make up for my absence I'm going to fill you in on all the subscription boxes I received in July of 2012. It was a lot. Probably not going to make a repeat in August, but I'll let you know what I thought of all my goodies! Ok to start, I'll show you my regulars that I will definitely be keeping up with:

Birchbox $10/month
(I have a year subscription at this point)
July was a Glamour curated box based on the 5 senses. I received goodies that I could see, taste, hear, smell, and touch. My favorite item: Boscia BB cream because I've been dying to try out the BB cream craze! It's a little more makeup coverage than I'm used to, but maybe perfect for a wedding! Least favorite: Minteas because they taste like the worst breath mint you've ever tasted. I would never want my breath to smell like how they taste and I can't even get through one mint they taste so awful.

My Glam Bag $10/month
This month's bag was a huge win for me. I loved 3 items and liked the remaining 2 items. Favorite has to be: Hydro Punch hair conditioner, seriously my hair was like silk! Least favorite: the white nail polish only because I already have white nail polish.

Foodzie Box $29.99/month (this has been discontinued as of July)
I had planned on quitting this subscription after June, but then I found out that the Foodzie company had been bought by Joyus and that they were discontinuing their service after July, so I had to get the last one! And it turned out to be a pretty good one too. I bought 2 of the items from this box. favorite item: Chukar Cherry Medley- they're like candy but simply dried cherries. I can actually taste the difference between the three cherry varieties and they complement each other well! Least favorite: the Halfpops popcorn- it's literally popcorn that is only half popped, who even wants that?

Barkbox $19/month with the 3-month subscription and discount code (you get $5 off if you click the link)
This is for your pup! I decided to spoil Baloo (more) since I hadn't really done much for his birthday this year. I also got one for his Noodle brother! You can designate if you have a big or small dog, but that's about all the personalization this one has. Baloo loved all of the edible things, of course, but the giant steak toy scares him because the squeaker is so loud haha! favorite item: Yumzies treats because there is no gluten filler and they're lasting a long time. Least favorite item: flavored bubbles, so weird.

Julep Box $.01 seriously use MAVENINTRO or PENNY ($20 after first month)
I got this box for obvious reasons, but I will not be continuing it since I don't think it will be living up to the value I like to see from my boxes. I got 2 small nail polishes, a toe separator, and a foot cream. I never use the foot cream and I already had similar colors of nail polish in my collection.

Must Have Bag from Pop Sugar $35/ month (ouch)
This bag was described as being filled with the editors (from Pop Sugar) favorites. I was intrigued to find out favorite what exactly. Turns out a variety of things: food, beauty products, bags. I think I'll buy the 3 month subscription ($95) to get the price down a tiny bit and see how it goes. Favorite item: RGB nail polishes, lovely colors for year round! Least favorite item: lip stick, I don't really wear it. I have to note that the Kind bars were really good as well!

Anywho that was my month of subscription boxes! For those of you keeping track at home, I plan on continuing with Birchbox, My Glam Bag, Barkbox, and Must Have Bag. I'll keep you updated on those goodies in case you're interested in trying them!