Monday, June 13, 2011

Spelling Errors and Editing

WHY can't I figure out how to edit the posts i've already made? I am without a doubt the worst person with computers! I asked B (from How to Eat a Cupcake) how to do it and she said there would be a little pencil at the bottom of each post where I could click on it and edit a little spelling or grammar error. I have been SEARCHING for the pencil and cannot find it, I even figured out how to make the pencil show in the settings but whether i select show or don't show, it doesn't show. All that to say, there are like 6 spelling and/or grammar errors in my Cheesecake post and I am very irritated by it! so, know that I know, and know that I tried to fix it but I can't. any help would be MOST appreciated! thank you computer people :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mini Lemon cheesecakes!

My beautiful and most wonderful sweet friend Trina is due any day now with a precious little Lillian Rose! Last week her and her husband Jesse were coming over for dinner. I had the day off so i obviously had to make something that was fun, had multiple steps and then of course, tasted good. I always love working on my cheesecake skills (I LOVE CHEESECAKE) and so i opted for little mini cheesecakes! Fun and cute! I know that my Trina likes lemon (and so do me and Caleb) so I wanted to go with lemon flavored cheesecake. I had some trouble finding a recipe that looked good (if it looks ugly in the picture then i don't try it usually) so I adapted one from an old issue of Martha Stewarts Magazine called Everyday Food. The April 2009 issue. I included some pictures of the steps below and i can explain it too! to fill 4 little mini pie plates i only made a half recipe (there was a little left over) If you want to make this for a regular cheesecake (8-9inch springform pan) then double it.


First thing's first, you gotta make the crust, I like to go with the classic graham cracker crust but i never buy the name brand graham crackers - too expensive! pulse about 2 or 3 tablespoons melted butter with a little bit of sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Now, about how much - that is kind of up to you because sometimes i like ALOT of crust, and sometimes i make one without crust for my husband who shouldn't have gluten... so maybe the crumbs from about 8 graham crackers... (its ok if you don't have a food processor, i didn't have one until dad and karen got me one when i graduated from college, just mix it up in a bowl.)
Then, take the crumbs and press them into the bottom of the dishes and bake the crusts for about 10 mins ish until the crusts are browned. over at 375. Once you take out the crusts - turn the oven down to 325.
Now, make the filling! yum! I use 2 bars of cream cheese. I use whatever cream cheese is on sale because if you don't seriously the cheesecake will cost like 30 dollars and that is a little over the top for me - i DO have a budget. (although at times it may not seem like that....) beat the ROOM temp (or as close as you can get it) on medium or so until fluffy. The room temp thing is important because if you use cold ingredients the cream cake will crack, not that it will taste bad or anything but i have a personal mission everytime i make a cheesecake to make it without cracks, once you achieve it it's hard to go back... anyway, once its fuffy add white sugar a bit at a time, about 3/4 of a cup. Then, beat in the zest from one lemon (a regular size one, not a mini one or one from trader joes, im talking about a legit bright yellow lemon) and roughly 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. obviously fresh lemon juice is wonderful and since your zesting a lemon you should have some, but if you have a cut on your hand and sqeezing the lemon is painful no one will notice if you use lemon juice from the little plastic lemon. Now, beat in 2 eggs (room temp again). If you forget to put the eggs out early i like to put them in a bowl of warm water to get them up to room temp - i DID NOT come up with that all on my own, I read it in a magazine. once the eggs are blended then beat in a little salt and then 1/2 cup of sour cream. Don't use nonfat sour cream - you are already making cheesecake so just commit to it and know that its a treat. don't try to make it healthy, it will just be a gross and expensive and you'll have wished you made it different. i really like sour cream (sad to say) so sometimes I add a little more... but not too much. DON'T beat the batter too much. Another cause of cracks is OVER-beating the batter. so just beat it enough to get it all mixed up and smooth, but don't leave the kitchen aid on a sweep the floor or check your email - im all about multitasking but NOT when a cracked cheesecake is at stake!
Now, fill up your dishes with the batter. i put my little dishes on a jully roll pan (9x13 would work too) and then fill the bottom with boiling water. as the cheesecakes bake, the water will get hot and create steam in the over which will also help prevent cracking! (I didn't think of that either, i read it on an article called "cheesecake tips" on Allrecipes.com.
Bake the cheesecakes for about 40-50 mins, until the centers are set. This can be tricky to know when they are done, but go with your gut. or call me. i can run over and give 'em a look. turn off the oven and open the door a little bit and leave the cakes in there for about 30 mins or so. but letting them gradually cool down, you guessed it... Helps prevent cracking! Then, take them out and put them on the counter and let 'em cool. once they are pretty cool cover with saran wrap and put them in the fridge.
This is the finished product! I forgot to take a picture and I got so excited and took a bite! whoops... but you get the idea. I topped each one with a candied lemon which looked cute but they were gross... I don't think I made them right...(probably because I was trying to multitask) Try to make these - they are SO good! i didn't eat all of mine so I had the rest the next morning for breakfast with my coffee. I gave one ot Jesse for breakfast too. Trina is no fun when it comes ot having dessert for breakfast so we didn't give her one. (Love you T) if you are going to make these - enjoy! PS - cheesecake is NOT as hard as it may seem and the creamy goodness is WORTH it!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Suncadia!

Suncadia, for those of you who have not been, is the most wonderful place in all the northwest. It is an almost magical type place that is a mere 90 minutes away from Seattle but feels much further. I very much like the fact that our room is normally always bigger then our apartment and that my phone usually has no service meaning that no one from work or home can contact me and everyone is using the "house phone" in the room, which is a totally 90's style cordless phone which kind of reminds me of Clarissa from Clarissa Explains it All. (remember that show on Nickolodeon???) Anyways, this year Caleb and I extended our annual Mars Hill Downtown Campus retreat by 4 days making for a 6 night total vacation - a record for us! It was the most delightful trip that I had been looking forward to and below are some highlights!


This is us in front of a totally creepy, abandoned house in the town of Liberty which I'm pretty sure was population 10 - maybe 12.

This is the creepy house I'm talking about, but I couldn't get the order of the pictures switched... you know I'm not that good with computers. Pretty cool and creepy lookin' huh?!
Do I even have to tell you guys how cool I am?! Do you think this is a beer? You do, right? It's actually hard cider, I don't like beer but sometimes I wish I did because I feel like it's cool to like beer and drink it when you are having a burger or something like that. Anyway, Caleb and I went to a totally sweet bar in Roslyn called The Brick which is the oldest continuously operating saloon in the state of Washington. We sat up at the bar and had "beers" and onion rings. We chatted it up with the bartender and some locals on a Tuesday afternoon around 3pm. It was fun and I felt pretty down-home.

Our first day at Suncadia was SUPER warm (so as most of you know, I was in a state of pure bliss based solely on the weather) and so Caleb had the idea to walk down to the river that we could see from our room. i thought it was a nice idea too. Well, the walk turned into more of a hike and I was wearing jeans and a sweater halter top and leather flip flops... not really a good outfit for the hike and i slipped multiple times. This is a picture of the wild flower that Caleb picked for my hair.
Putting my feet in the water after we finally got down there. it was FREEZING!
This is us (obviously) sitting on a log down at the river. isn't it cool how the sun is shining in the picture!? I don't know how Caleb made it do that but he did.
Below is a video Caleb made on our way back up from the river. He was really into making videos while we were there so we have a small collection of videos from this trip. but he was very proud and pleased with this one so i decided to show off his skills. I can't remember if he taped it upside down on purpose to be artsy or if i just actually loaded it wrong... if i loaded it wrong i have no idea how i would change it...
After this post everyone should be googling Suncadia and booking a trip.
video