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.