Thursday, August 26, 2010

Class starts at 8:00

Wednesday morning came really early. We needed to leave the house by 6:45...we actually didn't need to but that was Bradley's plan. We left about 7:00 and we were still 10 minutes early. Oh how I love my senior citizen husband. The drive seems long, mainly because I'm locked out of my stereo system in my car...no ipod, cd, or radio. It went into anti-theft mode...don't even ask...mainly because I don't know the answer. Bradley said it was okay because he would sing....some may think that's sweet...except he sings the weird parts of songs, the baselines or the harmonies. I'll say, "what are you doing?" or "what is that?" or "Really Bradley? Really?" And he'll respond, "It sounds better in my head because I can hear all the parts." Crazy much? Or if I'm singing he'll "fill in" the baseline or harmony, and then I'll stop singing. And he'll say, "Why did you stop?" Because this isn't a musical! All I have to say is, it's too early for all that noise.

No matter how early you have to get up, knowing a Sea Salt Brownie is packed in your lunch is sure to make you smile! Sea Salt? You ask. Trust me, I say. The salty and sweet combination won't let you down.

*Highlight of the day is at the end of the post...a little trick to get you to the end. Just keep on scrolling.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Amalgamate cookie dough and cake

Yesterday was my last day of summer. Today was my first day of class. I'm sure you are DYING to hear about my first day of class...all the sweet (as in totally awesome) people I've met and profound knowledge I've gained...but before we can get to the excitement of the first day of class we have to go through the last day of summer in all its glory.

I woke up Tuesday morning and the first words out of my mouth were, "We need to start couch to 5k." Bradley's first words were, "Did you have a dream about it or something?"

I do have a logical train of thought for this one. You see school is starting (or at this point has started) and I've heard that exercise gives you more energy. The couch does not give you more energy. Reading the dictionary does not give you more energy (huh? you say. What type of a nerd are you? The answer, a big one. But we'll get to that). But, running and being active does give you more energy...or so the rumor has it...It better not be a lie!

So we planned to run in the evening. You see, I couldn't during the day because we had last minute errands to run, and I had to make a big batch of end of the summer/meet my neighbor cupcakes. Hey, I didn't say just because I may be getting off the couch doesn't mean I'd stop making cupcakes.

These cupcakes are crazy. As in crazy crazy. Crazy like that person you see talking to himself and he's not on a blue tooth (one reason I won't wear a blue tooth, I don't want people to accidentally think I'm crazy). Crazy like the process of making cotton candy. Crazy like the ginormous Dictionary of Later New Testament that I need a dictionary to read. Amalgamate. Raise your hand if you know that word. Anyone? Anyone? One person. Good for you. Combine. That's what it means. Combine. Are you kidding me?! You could have just said that, but you said "amalgamate." Show off.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes
from Baking Junkie

Cupcakes:

1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix

Follow the directions on the box. That should go without saying.

Filling:
4 Tbsp salted butter, at room
6 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup + 2 Tbsp flour
7 oz (1/2 can) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Amalgamate butter and sugar, cream for approximately 2 minutes. Add vanilla, flour and sweetened condensed milk. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for about an hour to let the filling firm.

Frosting:
3 sticks salted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp milk
2 1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream together butter and brown sugar. Add powdered sugar a little at a time until smooth. Add flour and salt. Then add the remaining liquid ingredients.

Once your cupcakes are cooled cut a cone shape hole in the top of the cupcake and place a cookie dough ball in the center. Pipe your frosting over top.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips to decorate.

We took these cupcakes to meet our new neighbor. Who wouldn't want to be our friend when we come bearing cookie dough cupcakes? Maybe if I dropped the word "amalgamate" they wouldn't.


And the first day of running went well. I bought a sport watch for $7 that made me feel hard core. A runner with a watch means business. Get out of my way. I'll run you down. Unless my 60 seconds is up and its time to walk again.

Goodbye summer. Hello school year.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The guy from Kate and Leopold

Hugh Jackman was at orientation today! You know, the guy from Kate and Leopold! Okay, maybe it wasn't him, but it looked like him!

So I said, "excuse me, has anyone ever told you that you look like a movie star." I had forgotten Hugh Jackman's name so I wanted to know if he got this a lot.

"Yes they have." Hugh answered.

"Well, you look JUST like this actor, but I just can't remember his name...Hugh, or Hugo or something like that, do you know what I'm talking about?" I pressed on.

"No...I usually get Billy Bob Thorton." (poor guy)

"No, not him...It will come to me, I'll think about it." I said, completely distracted trying to think of all the movies that this guy was in. We were taking a tour of the campus, and right after we got a tour of the President's office (yeah, it's a big deal) it came to me!

"Victor Hugo! That's who you look like! From Kate and Leopold and Prestige!"Luckily this guy had an iPhone and corrected me. I think even he could tell he didn't look like Victor Hugo.

"Hugh Jackman!" I tried again.

He isn't taking my word for it and goes back to looking it up on his iPhone.

"Much better than Billy Bob." He says.

"I'm sorry, What's your name again? I keep wanting to call you Hugh."

I make friends quickly. It's a gift.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Is this for real?

You're not going to believe this! Wait for it...wait for it...I made pretzels! And if I can make pretzels that means you can too!! I looove soft pretzels. I have been wanting to try to make them for a while, and one afternoon I was sitting in my home and I realized that my kitchen was just way too clean...the perfect time to make pretzels! When I told Bradley I was making pretzels he said, "you mean the ones that they sell at fairs?" No, I mean big fancy gourmet pretzels that are perfect for an afternoon snack with a diet coke. *Sigh* somethings in life are just too good to communicate over a blog, a diet coke moment is one of them.

Continuing on...

When I think of pretzels I don't think of the fair, I think of Auntie Anne's. There was one located at the mall in Knoxville, after a hard day of shopping there is nothing better than a giant cinnamon sugar pretzel with a diet coke (again with the diet coke... once a friend told me that diet coke was addictive because it had cocaine it, thus the name "coke" evidently the evil ploy by Coca Cola to hook consumers).

Are you ready for this? If you can make a pretzel there is nothing stopping you from bagels, and bagels you can eat every day. Blueberry bagels, sesame bagels, chocolate chip bagels, one for every mood, delicious bagels covered in all kinds of cream cheese, the chance to be creative with bagels makes me giddy! I L-O-V-E bagels! I heart them too. No, I don't love everything even though it may seem that way. I actually HATE some things. One thing in particular.

BACON.

That is all I can say. I hate it. I cannot talk about it. If I talk about bacon in the same post as pretzels it could quite possibly ruin the pretzels.

So, back to pretzels. I'll save my love of bagels and my hate of bacon for another day.

Soft Pretzels
From Joy the Baker

1 tablespoon sugar
1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten

First combine sugar, yeast and 1.5 cups of warm water. Let this stand for about 5-10 minutes until foamy (if it doesn't foam do it again with another packet of yeast).

Then mix together 3.5 cups flour and 1 tablespoon of salt. Add yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until it becomes dough. Dust work surface with flour and knead the dough for 8 minutes. Keep adding flour as the dough is very sticky and you want the dough to be smooth. In the end you still want it sticky, but you want to be able to work with it too. Place dough back in the bowl and cover tightly with saran wrap to let it rise for 45 minutes. Should double in size.

Divide your dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll dough into a long 24 inch rope.
Twist dough into pretzel shape. If dough is sticking to your hands dust with flour. Dough will retract slightly when you pull it.
Place pretzels on an oiled baking sheet about an 1.5 inches apart. Set aside uncovered for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425. Make sure the oven rack is in the upper third of the oven. Start boiling a pot of water. Add heaping tablespoon of baking soda to the boiling water.
Carefully add 2-3 pretzels to the boiling water. Turn over once with tongs. Keep in the water about 3 minutes or until puffy and the shape is set. Transfer pretzels to a rack to cool.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper and oil paper. Like up your pretzels and brush with egg. Sprinkle your desired toppings. I sprinkled 4 with sea salt and 4 with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Bake until golden brown and lightly crusty. About 25 minutes.
Let cool for about 15 and serve warm. Oh my goodness. I ate 2 pretzels within 10 minutes.
I realized I had to get rid of them because I would eat all 8. I immediately took them out of the house and gave them away to fun friends.

I can't wait to make them again. They were delicious. I just need people to give them too...

Friday, August 20, 2010

You make my life so much easier...

Oh crockpot! How I love thee! You make my life so much easier. Your effervescence fills my bright sunny home. You work hard all day long so I don't have too. You always leave me smiling as I set you on low and leave you to simmer. How thankful I am for recipes to fill you with. You never complain about the amount of ingredients or the work that's involved. And when dinner time comes, I take all the credit.

Santa Fe Shredded Chicken
From Skinny Taste
  • 24 oz (1 1/2) lbs chicken breast
  • 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste
Simply throw chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in the crock pot. Season chicken breast with salt and lay on top. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred with a fork. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Adjust salt and seasoning.

Serve over rice with some cheese and sour cream. I really like it served over brown rice but I personally like brown rice more than white rice. If you want to kick your rice up a notch try cilantro-lime rice!
Cilantro-Lime Rice
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
Cook the rice in the water according to package instructions. Once cooked add onions cilantro and lime juice. Toss with a fork and serve.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Books, books and more books

Class is starting in less than a week! I am giddy with excitement! Just about every day I ask Bradley if he's excited, he informs me that he is already taking a class, and I ask again if he is excited about starting the real semester, and he says yes, yes he is. I then want to know how we should act, you know being married and at the same school. Should we play it cool? Look like good professional married people? Serious studious married people? People who are married but enjoy doing their own thing? Married people who sit on opposite sides of the classroom? Married people who share a pen and drink from the same water bottle? Is swapping notes allowed? Can I refer to him as "baby" in class? Is he going to make we wear a backpack just because it's better for your back when I've had my heart set on my red leather messenger bag? Will he smile when I make him take a picture on the first day in front of the Seminary? In front of the classroom door? With the teacher? Hmmm...these are questions I've been asking Bradley and he has yet to give me an answer for any of them. I mean, they're important! Don't you think? No wonder I'm so excited and nervous!

Now, for those of you who after reading this are actually nervous for me (but especially for Bradley), don't worry! We only have one class together this semester. :)
Hey look! Those are all my books that came in today! It pretty much was like Christmas! And then I became slightly overwhelmed, then excited again, and then a little nauseous. I can do this! Right??
I am really excited about starting these books! I just finished Kristin Lavransdatter, and I highly recommend it. It has captivating depiction of 14th century Norway with character development that will be sure to suck you in. The themes of sin, guilt and forgiveness make it an amazing work. A little warning, it is over 1,000 pages. But it's a trilogy all in one, so it's not that bad. You won't be able to put it down. That's the truth.

I'm looking forward to starting these three books. I want to get them read before school gets in full swing. I'm excited about The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao that sounds like it has a really unique and engaging plot line. I'm also looking forward to the Gilead, which I read took Marilynne Robinson 20 years to write. I'm fascinated to read the novel she spent so much time on and won her the Pulitzer. Fatelessness... I am a little nervous about reading. It's about a young fourteen year old who was in Auschwitz...should be gripping. I'm looking forward to these books. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Looks like my next few months are going to be filled with a lot of reading. What have you been reading?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lettuce Wraps

P.F. Changs really holds a special place in my heart. Ever since the move to Daytona Beach that special place as been empty...empty I tell you! (yeah, no P.F. Changs, they don't know what they are missing).This emptiness needs to be filled...it must be filled. So to fill the void I made my own chicken lettuce wraps, similar to the Asian lettuce wraps I've made before, but just way better. If you are skeptical about lettuce wraps that's because you have never had them before, and let me tell you, you need to try it! You may wonder the same thing Bradley did, "who ever thought of lettuce wraps?" And the answer, my dear blog reader, must be P.F. Changs. I believe they have thought of everything delicious and good.

Yes, I'm obsessed. You know that, you have read (possibly read, maybe just skimmed) multiple blog posts on my love for their chocolate cake...dun dun dun (dramatic sound affect)..The GREAT Wall of Chocolate! But since I've already blogged about it I'll spare you and continue on with my Minced Chicken Lettuce Wraps.
Moral of the story is, lettuce wraps are delicious. P.F. Changs is delicious. My lettuce wraps, although not P.F. Changs Lettuce wraps, are still delicious. Therefore, go and try them.

Minced Chicken Lettuce Wraps

1 T vegetable oil
3 T shopped red onion
1/2 T minced garlic
2 T grated ginger root
1 lb of minced chicken
4 T soy sauce
2 T of Chili Garlic Sauce, or a little less if you don't like spicy
1 cup fresh chopped cilantro
-4 green onions
1 head of iceberg lettuce

Directions
Saute onion in oil for about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and saute for about a minute. Add meat, soy sauce and chili garlic sauce. While the meat browns chop cilantro and green onions and wash lettuce. Once your meat is cooked add your cilantro and green onions and cook 1-2 minutes more. Serve meat with the lettuce as a wrap.

Note: You can mince your chicken but using your food processor. You want it really fine.


享受

That's Chinese for enjoy! At least I think it's enjoy. Yes, I googled it. Google is amazing! Almost as amazing as P.F. Changs...ok, I'll stop now...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dance Party!



Don't you love this song? And the music video? I should have lived in the 70s, big hair and disco, count me in! We've been wearing this song out at our home. Bradley likes it because of the chord progression in the verses (whatever that means) and I like it because it makes me wanna dance like a crazy person. It makes cooking dinner way more fun!

So what have I been cooking when I'm rocking out to Josh Turner? I've been pounding some chicken with a mallet and the results are amazing! Chicken stuffed with swiss cheese and broccoli is now the preferred version of chicken in my home.


This picture is horrible, please excuse it. I had already started scarfing down my dinner before I realized I needed a picture, and then it was too dark and I was too hungry to care that much what it looked like. Now, unfortunately this picture may be what prevents you from trying this chicken and I must beg you to reconsider! Make this for dinner tonight. Thank you.

Swiss-Broccoli Stuffed Chicken

-
Chicken breast
-Broccoli, cooked
-Swiss cheese
-1 egg
-Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
-Olive oil cooking spray
-Toothpicks

  • Cut your chicken breast either in thirds or halves and flatten with a mallet (this is the fun part).
  • Take each flattened chicken breast half and place swiss cheese (1/2 or more depending on the amount of cheese you want) and a few broccoli pieces in the middle of the chicken slice.
  • Then take the ends of the chicken and wrap or fold together using the toothpicks to keep it in place.
  • Dip in egg and roll in breadcrumbs and then place on a baking sheet greased with olive oil cooking spray. .
  • Spray tops of chicken with olive oil cooking spray
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes
  • Remove toothpicks before serving.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nutella and Europe

Nutella...Oh the memories Nutella brings. Mainly, backpacking across Europe with my best friend a trip that resulted in much stupidity and robbery (3 times...that is, us being robbed, not us robbing). My friend and I, along with our overloaded backpacks filled with an unnecessary amount of clothes, hair products, and nonessentials, carried around a giant tub of nutella and a bag of shortbread cookies (one of the reasons I gained weight instead of losing weight on my 6 week trek across Europe). I remember our Australian hostel friends being shocked to see us dip cookies in nutella. I'm not quite sure why they had never tried it before...Look how happy I am to be in Amsterdam...I'm actually on my way to get robbed. I actually categorize my time in Europe as before or after 1st, 2nd or 3rd robbing. The 3rd was the humdinger when the scoundrels took all our remaining money and our passports. We were forced to flee to the U.S. Embassy in Paris (which resembles a DMV-- disappointing and infuriating) and beg for money in order to get new passports. Sad, but true. Let's remember happier times...I'm in Salzburg, Austria, eating a giant pretzel (obviously). This picture is right before I burst into song, "The hills are alive with the sound of music!" And yes, yes they are. Even more so after eating a jelly filled chocolate covered pretzel. Genius!

I think the main reason our trip had so many....ahem...adventures...was due largely to the lack of a plan. We traveled Europe not knowing half the time where we were going or where we were staying that night. We got kicked of a train once. That was awkward. We also booked what we thought was a 7 hour ferry ride, but was actually 30 hours. Yeah, that was great because we slept on the deck. This is an example of not having a plan...This is a camper that we stayed at for 2 nights. We decided to hop off the train and stay at Innsbruck, Austria spur of the moment, which resulted in this lovely housing arrangement.

But, no matter what went wrong, it was still a blast

Yes, yes, I know, I'm such a tourist. I stood out like a sore thumb. And yes, it did take a while to get this picture right...I mean, it had to look like I was holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa... So embarrassing...

Now that I am living safely in the United States of America, (safer than 2 girls traveling across Europe sleeping in hostels, campers, trains or ferries) I think fondly of my European adventures, and have a strong desire for a shortbread cookie covered in chocolate-y hazelnut goodness (nutella) every now and then. So to quench that desire...I made Nutella Cupcakes!
For the actual cupcake I (sorta) used this.

Nutella Frosting

-3/4 cup butter
-1/2 cup nutella
-1 tsp vanilla
-2 cups powder sugar
-1 tbs milk (or to get desired consistency)

God Bless America!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Just because it's pretty

I've been wanting to make meringues for a while now, just because they are pretty. I've never had meringue, so I've never had a strong desire to eat meringue. But meringue puffs? Now that's just cute. It's probably rarely necessary that you make meringue, just like it's rarely necessary to buy the bright yellow pair of shoes when your walk in closet is already overflowing with shoes or that ginormous cocktail ring that is larger than 3 of your fingers, but you do, just because it's pretty.


Have you ever tried a meringue puff? They are quite interesting to eat...you may have had meringue before and really liked it. But, when I eat meringue I feel like I am in a space ship floating around the moon. Odd? Perhaps, but eating meringue is like wearing your 4 inch stillettos, you don't love wearing such high uncomfortable shoes, but you do, just because it's pretty.

Please note the following, gorgeous, but painful examples.


Fuschia Peep-Toe Pumps: I don't think my bridesmaids will ever forgive me for making them walk down the grassy aisle in these babies.


Pointy toe: Gotta have a pair that's covered in sequins. Now, these are only appropriate for a New Years' Eve Party. Pointy toe, can you say painful?


Champagne Peep Toe Pumps: Now these lil' darlings were suppose to be my wedding shoes...but, alas, they were too high for my wedding dress. But that turned into a blessing, because these heels are the most uncomfortable pair of heels I own!


Black death: I'm just scared of these monsters.


Silver Peep Toe Pumps: Now, these chics are my favorite! I thought I had them mastered, I thought they were my friends, but that goes to show you, you can never trust a heel.

So, back to the meringue, we've got vanilla, chocolate and peppermint. You can make them almond or raspberry or whatever fits your style!


Meringue Puffs
Adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Get your pastry bags ready with desired tips.

To make meringues: Put egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water, and stir gently until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes.


Transfer bowl to an electric mixer. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. It takes a very long time!


Divide egg whites between three clean bowls. In one bowl mix in vanilla extract. In second bowl mix in cocoa powder. In third bowl mix in peppermint extract. Stir all until well combined.

Fill each bag with separate meringue flavors. Pipe small star shapes or round shapes onto prepared baking sheets.


Bake meringue puffs until crisp but not brown, about 1 hour 40 minutes. Turn the oven off and let the meringues cool in the oven. Transfer from pans to an airtight container for storage.



Monday, August 2, 2010

First Day of School

I have an amazing husband. When I got home from the vaca/wedding planning trip on Saturday, Bradley had the entire condo cleaned, all the laundry and dishes were clean and put away, my car was waxed and I had a vase full of flowers. I pretty much fell in love with him all over again! :) So waking up to pack Bradley's lunch on his first day of school (single tear) was the least I could do. I went to bed Sunday night thinking about what a wonderful wife I was, waking up early, packing a delicious and healthy lunch for my seminary-bound husband. Unfortunately, 7 a.m. found groggy, half asleep Francesca and not the perfect little housewife I was planning on being. Sigh...nevertheless, I pulled myself out of bed and made two peanut butter and honey sandwiches, packed a ziplock bag full of salt and vinegar chips, and threw a packet of cheese crackers into a plastic walmart bag. I made sure Bradley ate a hearty breakfast of golden grahams before I waved him out the door and seriously contemplated getting back in bed. There. I did my wifely duty. I felt quite proud of myself. I'm sure that I can turn this into a habit...

I forgot to take a "first day of school" pic, I'll get that tomorrow...second day of school pic is just as good! This is the "first day of studying after a year off" pic.

In order to fuel Bradley's little brain (I don't mean little as in small or dumb, but little as in cute, it's meant to be endearing) I decided to make something with spinach. Actually, that's not true. I decided to make minestrone soup, then found out it called for spinach, and congratulated myself on picking a supercharged brain food for dinner.

The best thing about this? You can bust out your crock pot! How I love any meal that calls for a crock pot.

Minestrone Soup

  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can white beans, drained, rinsed (cannellini or navy)
  • 3 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped fresh or frozen (defrosted) spinach
  • 2 cups cooked small pasta like ditalini
  • extra Parmesan cheese to top
In a crock pot, combine broth, tomatoes, beans, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, herbs, and salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours

Forty minutes before the soup is done cooking, add zucchini and spinach. Cover and cook 30 more minutes. Add cooked pasta, cook 10 minutes more. Remove bay leaves, rosemary sprig, and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and top with extra parmesan cheese.

Buon Appetito!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Livin' the Life

I just got back from spending a week at Carillon Beach Resort with my family. We were looking at places for Gina's wedding in the spring. The great thing about planning a destination wedding is the vacation that goes a long with it. We spent a week, laying by the pool, going out to eat, watching movies, and doing a little wedding planning in between. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Now, I'm back to reality. My sunburn is peeling so I'll take that as a sign to get off the beach. It's time for me to start cooking again. *sigh* But, since I've been on vacation, and I don't start work until tomorrow morning, I thought I'd bring a fun easy dessert to this blog. We'll start the boring stuff next week.

Mini Cheesecakes!
Mini Cheesecake
-2 (8 ounce) packages of Cream Cheese, room temperature
-3/4 cup sugar
-3 Eggs
-1 Tablespoon lemon juice
-1 Tablespoon Vanilla

Mix all ingredients together. Line a baking sheet with cupcake liners and place a vanilla wafer or a half of an oreo cookie at the bottom of each liner. If you want the vanilla wafer to fit perfectly find 2" cupcake liners. If you are not attempting to achieve perfectection you can use a standard cupcake liner. *the oreo fits almost perfectly in the standard cupcake liner.

Plain Cheesecake: pour batter over vanilla wafer and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Let cool and Refrigerate. Slice a strawberry on top before serving or cherry pie filling.

Turtle cheesecake: Place oreo at the bottom of the liner. Melt caramel and drizzle over top of oreo. Sprinkle a few crushed pecans. Pour batter over top bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Let cool and refrigerate. Before serving drizzle milk chocolate and caramel over top with a few crushed pecans.


Optional Crusts and Toppings
-strawberries
-chocolate
-Caramel
-pecans
-Cherry pie filling
-Vanilla wafers
-oreo cookie half
-graham cracker crust

Delicious! You can almost imagine you're still on vacation. Yum!