Thursday, August 30, 2012

New York Cheesecake with Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce. . .

Hey everyone!

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods! Things have been busy here leading up to the fall. School starts next week, which means I'm super scared, or I mean, I'm helping my child gear up. See my oldest starts Kindergarten next week. He is so excited and looking forward to it. Me, I'm sitting at home baking to try to cope and eating all my baked But last night we were invited over to my friend Katrina's house for supper with the kiddos. {You should head over to Katrina's blog: Sota Is Sexy...she is absolutely hilarious and posts some pretty read-worthy posts...}

Anyways, I brought some Cheesecake over to her house and was trying to be all secretive about it just in case it didn't turn out...well, long story short, it did turn out. Incredibly well. Too well. In fact I ate more cheesecake at her house than I did actual food. So knowing me and the fact that if I brought this entire cheesecake home, I would eat it all. It actually reminded me of the episode of friends where they steal the cheesecake and then the one time they dropped it off the floor and continued to eat it...this was that good, in where I knew if I dropped it on the floor, I would still eat Anyways, so I left half of it with them, and this morning, I had a sliver, and by sliver, I mean chunk for breakfast! Oh the horror of my ways, now I've got to hit the gym big time, but the gym is closed, so may as well eat another slice of cheesecake! What's another slice right?!?!?! Ok, I'll be quiet now and just give you the recipe so you can test it out for yourself!!! Good luck...and when I say good luck, I mean, if you gain 20 extra pounds after eating the entire thing yourself, I had nothing to do with it! LOL...I didn't come up with the filling recipe on my own...found it in a magazine, so in truth, it really wouldn't be ALL my fault...hehehe

New York Cheescake:

8 oz. Cinnamon Graham Crackers, crushed
6 Tlb. Melted Butter
1 Tlb. Sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, lightly grease a 9" spring form pan, layer onto a baking sheet.
2.  Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until crumbly.
3. Dump crumbs into a prepared spring form pan and press on bottom and sides.
4. Bake for 10-13 minutes. Allow to cool 10 minutes then put in the fridge until ready to use.

5-8 oz. Packages of Cream Cheese @ Room Temp
Pinch of Salt
1-1/2 c. Sugar
1/3 c. Sour Cream
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 tsp. Vanilla
2 Egg Yolks & 6 eggs @ Room Temp {I used Extra Large Eggs, but I'm sure you could use large}

1. Turn heat up to 500 degrees after baking the crust.
2. Mix cream cheese in a stand mixer for 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add Salt & Sugar and mix for 1 minute.
3. Add sour cream and lemon juice and mix for 1 minute.
4. Add Vanilla and mix for 1 minute.
5. Add yolks and mix for 1 minute. Add remaining eggs 2 at a time and mix 1 minute after each addition, be sure to scrape sides after each addition as well.
6. Remove pan from fridge and pour in your batter. Don't be scared because the batter will literally go to the top of your pan. That's why you have the baking sheet under catch any overflow if that were to happen!
7. Bake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes, without opening the door, reduce oven to 200 degrees and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes - 1 hour 40 minutes depending on oven temp.
8. Don't panic because your cheesecake will be about 1/2 over the top of your pan...let cheesecake cool on counter for 3 hours. Then refrigerate for 3 more hours to get things set. Allow to rest at room temp for 30 minutes before serving.
9. You can use any topping that best suites you for this cheesecake...but for me, I love a fruity topping and I topped with a Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce which is included below...

Strawberry & Rhubarb Sauce
2 c. Fresh or Frozen Rhubarb
1/4 c. Water
1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Strawberry Rhubarb Jam
2 lbs. Strawberries, sliced
Juice of 1 Lemon

1. In a medium saucepan, heat Rhubarb, Water & Sugar over medium heat. After 10 minutes and the sauce is bubbly, start breaking down your rhubarb with a wooden spoon.
2. After everything is cooked down {about 20 minutes}...add the jam and let it cook until no longer foamy {about 3 minutes}...Remove from heat and cool 10 minutes.
3. Slice strawberries and add them to a bowl and mix with the lemon juice.
4. Add strawberry and lemon mix to rhubarb mix. Serve warm or cold...Would make a great ice cream topping as well!!!

Until Next time!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Freebie Time: Back to School Printables

Because I can and because I's a free printable for you to use as you see fit...HOWEVER, please no mass productions and sales, it is for you to enjoy on a personal level. To print it of if it doesn't come up when you click on it...just right click and open it in a new tab and print from there! If you use it and put the in your child's lunch box, please send a picture or link so I can see how you are using them! I always love to get inspired and find creative new ideas!


Until next time...


Monday, August 20, 2012

Mudman: It was Legen . . . wait for it . . . dary!

Hey everyone! Happy Monday!!!

Want to share with you all what I did this past weekend! For me it is huge and I just need a little brag time for a minute or 2!!!

This past spring I heard about this 5K run called "The Mudman" and immediately became interested. I know with my injuries that it would be super difficult and probably made me look insane to even try it. But, I'm not dead yet and put it on my bucket then 2 months after learning about this race, I decided to sign up and give it a try because I was getting more and more in shape. Fast forward a couple months to Saturday, August 18th and here is what you get:

This is me before the race...
We were in heat 4 and were having such a pump up session before we even began. My stomach was doing flips, my heart was skipping beats, and by the time we lined up in front of this HUGE hill at the start line, I was about ready to call it quits. The countdown begins and the race starts at 10:30, it felt about 2 hours later before we reached the top of the hill, my lungs are burning and I'm in desperate need of water. But the main thing was, we made it up the hill...the sad part was that I couldn't turn around and just had to keep moving my feet and that there wasn't any water anywhere...

My niece and I fly over all the obstacles, but sadly, I'm not a runner and stall out on the run parts. We reach the half way mark and finally get some water. 1 cup is all we were allowed after about 40 min. of run, mud and obstacles...Oh well, I picked up pace after we got the water, so that was good! I think my niece woulda finished 20 minutes ahead of her end time because she was constantly waiting for this old gal! {Her favorite quote during the race "ready to run yet" and my favorite response back was "nope"}.

When we get to the end of the race, there are these fire pits we have to jump over. I stalled. I honestly didn't know if I could do it or if I attempted it, if I would fall in them. So then I get passed and the gal jumps over with no problem and I think to myself...ok, I got this and jump the 3 fire pits to cross the finish line.

During the race we had these time tags strapped to our shoelaces so that when we finished the official times went into digital cyber space. When I turned around to see my time, the time read "1:49" and some odd seconds. I was sort of bummed because I had given myself an hour and a half to finish. But then after thinking about it, I reminded myself that at least I had finished...So then I found my niece and tried to find the rest of the group. They were no where to be found...after about 10 minutes, finally found them in the thick of 5000 other people! This is my sister Sara after she finished her race with a time of 42 minutes, such a rock star!!!
They hadn't seen the end of our race. I was bummed about that because I so need my husband at the end of that long grueling race...I needed my children. I tried to suck up the tears and get over my pity party of such a slow time and the fact that everyone had missed my ending because at the heart of it all, they were there for me, even with my injuries and the fact that I'm not a runner, I had just conquered "The Mudman" in 1:45...

Come to find out, the reason they weren't at the end line because we were ahead of schedule and they weren't expecting us to finish so soon because at the half way mark, we were at a slower pace. See, my niece and I had actually finished with a time of 1:18 minutes {she finished at 1:16} and the average finishing time was 1:02...I could NOT believe it...I was super pumped after hearing that! The time that I saw was actually a person from the 3rd heat with her finishing I had passed up a person who started 30 minutes before we did!!! Here was my face after finding out my actual finishing time in all my mudder glory...
Even after "cleaning up" I was still caked with mud. Even after coming home and showering I am still caked with mud! I read a comment on facebook on "Mudman Race" fanpage that reminded us to clean behind our ears. So I went and checked, and yup, I forgot to clean behind my ears! LOL...

During my race, there was tons of stuff for spectators and Lance tested out the Bungy Jumping thingamajigs...he so loved it! Him and my nephew are going to test out the Jr. Mudman next year for 6-12 year olds! {They have adults leading them, and it's only 1 mile, no fire pits, so it won't be as bad as what we had to do!!!}

Here's what I learned after all of this:

1. I'm stronger than I thought I was.
2. A disablity like mine would only be an excuse not to start because I am not yet dead and should still try to live the life I want to...
3. I have a wonderful family that will come out and support me even if they think I am crazy.
4. That I'm not the only crazy one in the family because next hubby is gonna try it out!!!
5. God willing, I will be healthy enough for Mudman 2013!!!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Grooms Cake: Drizzle Design

Hello everyone! Happy Monday!

So this past weekend I had a grooms dinner to create a cake for. The bride had a cake in mind and so I set to work creating the cake she wanted...Here is the finished product. I think it turned out beautiful, but I know there is a sandwich affect going on, but other than that, I think it turned out pretty good. I'll share the recipe for cake and frosting as well!!! Hope you enjoy!

White Cake
{Makes 10 cups of batter}

4.5 c. All Purpose Flour {6 c. cake flour}
4 Tlb. Corn Starch
2 Tlb. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
3 Sticks of Butter, Room Temp
3 c. Sugar
2 c. Whole Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Almond Extract
12 Egg Whites

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare pans {grease pans and line with parchment paper}
2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside.
3. Combine milk and extracts in a small bowl, set aside.
4. In a stand mixer with a large bowl and paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
5. Alternately add flour mixture and milk mixture to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
6. Beat egg whites in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold into cake batter.
7. Pour batter into pans and bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream
{Makes 6 cups}

1 c. Shortening
1 c. Butter at Room Temp
8 c. Powder Sugar
1 c. Cocoa Powder
1 c. Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
12 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, {melt in a double boiler until smooth and creamy, cool to room temp}
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
10-12 Tlb. Whole Milk

1. Cream shortening & butter until smooth.
2. Slowly add powder sugar in batches of 2 cups.
3. Add cocoa powders & melted chocolate.
4. Add Vanilla.
5. Add milk 1 Tlb. at a time until desired consistency is reached.

6. Frost away!!!

Until next time...


Friday, August 10, 2012

Easy Peasy Pizza Crust!!!

Hello everyone! Happy TGIF!!!

So I know I'm not the best at keeping up with my blogging, but sometimes, I forget that I was gonna post, next thing I know, weeks have gone by. Oh wells...

Anyways, just wanted to share a couple of ideas using a really easy pizza crust recipe that doesn't need any time to rest or rise. However, you can make a day in advance if you feel up to it cause it won't hurt anything! So I hope you find these tips/recipes useful and remember, if you test it out for yourself, please come back and let me know so I can try your stuff out!

Easy Peasy Pizza Crust
{It made 3 calzones & 1 large pizza}

1 package of Instant Dry Yeast
1 c. Warm Water
1/3 c. Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil
4 c. Flour
1 Tlb. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
1/2 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Salt

1. Combine Yeast & Water in a bowl, set aside.
2. In a stand mixer, combine remaining ingredients and using bread attachment, knead dough for 5 minutes. Add yeast/water & knead another 5 minutes or until it no longer sticks to the sides.
3. Use as you wish! For my pizza, I rolled it out onto the pan and baked for 5 minutes at 425, then I took it out and added my toppings before rebaking again...

I used the pizza crust recipe to roll out a 6" slab, add sauce & toppings to half the circle, fold over the half without the toppings and then pinch the sides over the top. Once everything is folded and secured, I slit the top of to allow air to get in and cook more evenly. You can add absolutely any topping/sauce combo you want. There is unlimited possibilities!!!

Margarita Pizza

Pizza Crust
Fresh Mozzarella
Tomato, sliced & halved
Fresh Basil
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

1. Roll out your crust, bake @ 425 for 5 minutes. Remove from oven.
2. Add olive Oil as your sauce & sprinkle with S&P.
3. Add fresh slices of Mozzarella, Tomatoes & Basil.
4. Bake @ 425 for 15 minutes.{I bake mine with the basil, but you can add this after the cooking time for a fresher flavor if that is more your style...}

Until next time...