Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pecan Praline Crusted Cheesecake

Have you ever had your butt whooped by (3) 60 inch televisions?  Well I have my people!! Let me tell you how that went down, because it was a full body work-out by the time I got a new TV in my house.

Picture this – It’s a gorgeous Saturday in sunny Southern California.  You and your hubby have decided that it’s time to upgrade the old boob tube.  No more burning images into the TV when you pause it, upgrade city in the house sha-fizzle whizzle.

We arrive at Best Buy with our two kids, who will not behave by the way.  Did I care that they were running wild???? Heck no, I was blinded by all the beautiful televisions!  I kept my eyes on the kids while the old ball and chain was put in charge of the TV selection.  

So he selects the television and it just so happens to be the floor model, not only is it huge, but it’s highly discounted.  We high five ourselves for being thrifty and then pack that bitch up in the car.  We’re so high on technology we even splurge on some burgers and fries before coming home.

So now we’re at home, we’re full, happy, and ready to mount the beautiful beast.  So after 2 hours of removing the old TV and refitting the new TV to be wall mounted, we hang it up, we hang it up and admire the deep gauge running across its screen.  This is when I almost cried.  I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people where pretty much nothing goes right the first time!

So now we have to re-pack the beast and load it back into the car, to take it back to Best Buy.  Thankfully they take it right back, believe me I was super stressing.  Hubby brings back a new TV, which takes another 2 hours to mount since every freaking TV requires different sized screws to be wall mounted.  

That night we plan on breaking it in with Breaking Bad and that’s when we realize that the picture quality is that of something made 50 years ago.  I suffered in silence through the first episode of Breaking Bad and then I blurted out “I hate this TV, please take it back!!!”  Husband looked at me in agreement, the sad teary eyes of agreement.  Round three was coming.  The people at Best Buy would probably be suspicious at this point!

So, the next day my angel of a husband takes this one back, after the 1 hour re-packing of it – try getting a 60 inch TV back into the box you ripped apart.  He gets it back to Best Buy and thank the lord they took this one back too.  

The husband then picked out our 3rd, yes 3rd TV in 2 days.  He brings it home, we both sacrifice a few animals over the box for good measure and ............SUCCESS!

Yes I do realize this is one of those first world kind of problems.

By the way this cheesecake will make your butt grow 60 inches, this is NO LIE - but dang is it pretty.

  • 2 cups crushed shortbread cookies
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup chopped Pecan Pralines (Trader Joe's)
  • 5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 (8-ounce) containers sour cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Pecan Pralines for Garnish
  • *You can also make your own Pralines*

Combine cookie crumbs and butter. Press into bottom and up sides of a greased 10-inch spring form pan.Bake at 350° for 8 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle coarsely crumbled Pralines over crust.
Beat cream cheese at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add 1 3/4 cups sugar, flour, and vanilla, beating until smooth. Add eggs and egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears. Stir in whipping cream and lemon rind. Pour in crust. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Bake at 350° on lower oven rack 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325,° and bake 1 hour and 20 minutes or until almost set. Cool on wire rack 1 hour.
Stir together sour cream and 1/3 cup sugar; spread over cheesecake.
Bake at 325° for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill 8 hours. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with extra Pecan Pralines

Monday, March 3, 2014

Stenciling our Office

See that??  I did that, I am so COOOOOOL!

I fell prey to a few home decorating blogs and got a wild hair, I decided to stencil our office.  I love the overall look and couldn't be any happier!  So I'll give you the skinny on what I learned, since this is my first time stenciling.

Where did I get my Stencil?  What's Included? Price?
I purchased my Stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils.  I was super happy with the service.  I had my Stencil within 5 days.  The stencil arrives packaged nicely so that there's no chance of damage.  In each package you get colored instructions and a smaller stencil to help you fill in edges.  The price of the stencil was a little shocking to me, I did look around the net for quite some time and $35-55 dollars seems to be the going rate for this type of stencil.

What tools do I need?  What worked best for you?
Patience, stencil, latex/acrylic paints, paint tray, paper towels, wet wipes, stencil brush.

On the cutting edge website it mentioned using a high density foam roller over a brush, I have to tell you I couldn't get the stencil filled in properly using the roller.  I had my husband go back to Home Depot for the stencil brush and let me tell you the quality greatly improved with the stencil.  It took more time to do each dot by hand, but the crisp clean lines from this method were worth it.

When I was using the foam roller I just couldn't get a nice coat, perhaps it's because the dots are decently small - Perhaps with a larger stencil a roller would work.  Or it might just be me.

This is one pass with the stencil, so you can see the Size

How did you pick your colors?
I got 4 samples of different grays from Home Depot.  I painted a large square with each on my wall.  I then lived with the grays for a couple of days.  It's important to see them all at once and in different light.  I was super surprised at just how different each gray was.

Once I picked the gray I then taped up white paint samples against the grey, white is what I chose for the beads.  I must have looked at 20 whites before I chose the right white for me.  I'm super professional yo!

How long did this take?
You know what, this took a little longer then I thought it would.  After I painted my accent wall gray, the white stencil took me about 5 hours. You have to keep things lined up and have to clean the stencil every so often - so that takes time.  I did find that once I quit using the roller and went with the brush I didn't have to clean the stencil so often since paint wasn't weighing it down.

The Stenciling dries super quick!  

Take down all your blinds and curtains, make sure the surface is flat.

As you're stenciling make sure to press down on the stencil, you don't want drips or the stencil brush going under the stencil.  Tap the stencil with the brush or make little circles, I found both ways produced the same results as far as coverage.  Pressing the stencil down prevents the bristles from slipping under the exposed pattern.

Once I got to corners I held the stencil with my own hands and had my husband hand me the loaded stencil brush, I just could not get the stencil to tape up properly on some corners and this worked for us.

Would I do this again?
Oh Heck yeah!  I just LOVE LOVE the way it turned out.  I think the stencil was of great quality, and found lots of info on the Cutting Edge site to make the project as easy as it could be for a first timer.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Crumble Top Banana Muffins and my Crazy List.

Things that make me want to scream, in no particular order.

1.       Sippy cups being dropped onto the hardwood floor.  Nails on a chalkboard I tell you!

2.       Picture this.  I’m at the grocery store and there are 4 lines opened.  I pick one and realize that all the others seem to be moving but not mine.  I contemplate switching lines for about 1 minute, then move on over.  The new line that I’m in now stops moving and the original line soon surpasses me.  I choose to remain in the slow line no matter what because the second that I move lines again the evil slow line vortex that hovers around me will follow – this has been tested.

3.       Using the community ice trays at work and not refilling them.  I actually left a very sarcastic note on the fridge that mentioned that the ice fairies don’t work here and someone wrote on my nice little note “Pettiness is a sign of a bankrupt intellect”.  I should seriously kick this person ass.

4.       Sand.  Everyday my kids come home with 17 pounds of sand in each shoe.

5.       Target makes me want to scream, because they take all my money.  Let’s not even talk about those magical 1 dollar bins at the entrance…those things are like nectar and I’m the humming bird.

6.       Wet Wipes.  Wet wipes often get on my nerves.  Sometimes wet wipes get stuck in the package, like one isn’t out for me to grab.  I have to dig my fingers in there, and I can’t get just one out I have to pull 25 wet wipes out of the hole at once and it makes me angry to use 25 wet wipes on a basically clean ass – but if I don’t use a wet wipe someone might discover this and make fun of me for being a disgusting person who doesn't properly clean their babies butt – people there could be security camera’s in my house that I’m unaware of here!

7.       Saying shitty things out loud that your kid hears and repeats back to you days later.  You know they hear everything, and I’m afraid mine might be damaged.

8.       Dog crap in my yard.  I do not own a dog, I have an inside cat.

9.       Mouse bones in the litter box, see #8….I own one inside cat, inside, inside…mouse bones in the litter box……ughhhhhhhhh

10.   The vegetables I want to roast smell terrible whilst being roasted.

11.   Needing to go to the bathroom but not being able to get there, I have a window people!!!

12.   Needing to go to the bathroom and getting there and then not being able to go – this is bullshit.

13.   Taking off a sweaty sports bra, contortionist I am not!

14.   People who are still paying for their groceries with a check, and still waiting until the cashiers finished to even attempt to fill it out.

15.   People who have to get just one more car length ahead, you know who you are.  I laugh at you once I catch up again changing nothing about my driving habit!

16.   Herbal pills that always seem to hang out in your throat so you can taste their wonderfulness all day long.

17.   Your mom

18.   LOL

Ingredients (muffins/12)
From AllRecipes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Ingredients (crumble top)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 TBS all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped candied pecans (got mine from Trader Joe's)
1 TBS butter

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg, vanilla, and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, pecans, and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

I declare that these are the best Banana Muffins I've ever had, so much flavor and only a few tweaks from the original recipe - Enjoy!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Spinach Salad with Candied Bacon and Rosemary Chicken Lasagna

Why do kids act up when you have guest over?  I think it must have something to do with needing every bit of attention floating around and the room. Perhaps needing to show off any skill and or trick they’ve acquired over their very short life span?  I should have hired a sitter for my own damn dinner party.  Live and learn baby, live and learn.

Speaking of learning, if you’re going to candy bacon for a salad – do not just candy 5 slices.  That would be dumb.  What this leads to is telling your husband and child that they can’t try any, but then you will be sneaking it when nobody’s looking and that leads to all sorts of guilt…ok, not really. 

What you need to do is order a whole pound of bacon and candy the whole flipping package.  This stuff is one of the most addicting things ever and it’s only two ingredients.  Did I mention the vessel for the candied bacon is a spinach salad with fresh blackberry vinaigrette?

Ladies and gents, this makes the bacon null and void!  The calories practically don’t count - actually calories don’t even have thumbs so there’s no way they can perform complicated mathematical body fat equations that end up on your hips and ass.

You’re welcome.

Speaking of Lasagna (I was talking to the voices in my head), I made a pretty damn good one for my dinner party.  Let me preface this Lasagna with saying it’s got a weeeeeee bit of prep involved.  If you have children you need to tell your significant other or quite possibly a super cool neighbor that they’ll need to keep your kids in check.  You could also lock them in a basement - but I live in California and we don’t have those here.

I hear this Lasagna was the most pinned recipe of 2013, it’s pretty gorgeous – and it does taste nice.  I think I would leave the mushrooms out next time though.  I would have preferred some chopped broccoli and more spinach - DO NOT SKIP the Lemon Zest, wow did that ever come through.  It was awesome.

Basically what I’m trying to say here is candied bacon is good, lasagna too, and kids should be kept in the basement.

Wait, that’s wrong, how cruel of me.  What I was trying to say is, candied bacon is AWESOME, lasagna is too, and kids should be kept in the basement...during dinner parties.

Here's what we served in case you'd like to copycat!

Marinated Olives (from a jar!!!) 
Triple Chocolate Brownies with Vanilla Ice Cream (store bought)
Pebble Bay Sauvignon Blanc (Available at Fresh and Easy stores)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Peanut Noodles and Beef Lettuce Wraps

I was going to post the 15 new recipes that I've made over the last few months but then I realized you guys probably already know how to turn on the oven and place frozen food inside.  I was getting so good at this cooking thing and then I just fell off the wagon.  Let me tell you, I've lost my mojo.

I'm not really too sad about this, I mean life gets in the way sometimes.  I never told myself I wouldn't be the mom who fills her kids with PB&J and Macaroni and Cheese.  Being super healthy and homemade in the food department was never a huge goal of mine.  My biggest goal quite honestly is to make it through day with some sort of semi smile on my face.

Let's face it some days are rough.  I'm mother to a 5 and almost 2 year old, and I'm sort of obsessive about a clean house.  This is not a good combination as some of you might know.  I was doing good for awhile there but now all I'm finding is popcorn kernels and Strawberry Jam smashed into my pretty rugs.

Let me also mention that on Christmas Eve my almost 2 year old hit an entire glass of red wine out of my husbands hands, it landed on the carpet...I almost cried...except I had already had some wine so that helped curb my "Husband how could you not have held onto the big red glass of red wine" reaction.  Now every time I walk downstairs the only thing I see is the red wine stain that's oddly the shape of Florida, like a huge huge huge version of Florida.  I don't particularly enjoy the state anymore!

So the food in the pictures, well it's one of the one things I made fresh over the last week or so.  My husband almost shat a brick coming home to a full on meal.  Yes I said "shat a brick", Despite the lack of real cooking going on in my house I do manage to keep very ladylike behavior.

You can find the delicious Simple Asian Soy Peanut Noodles Here (I used Udon Noodles).
You can find the Scrumpdiddlyuptious Asian Beef Lettuce wraps here.

The noodles hold up for days!  Thanks Georgia from The Comfort of Cooking, the recipes were so tasty and super simple.  Shoot - I used Chili Sauce from a packet from Panda Express so I didn't have to go buy any, cause that how I ROLL.