Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cheesecake Pie.

Last weekend I was in charge of bringing the birthday cake for a family birthday. When I asked the birthday boys what they'd like me to bring they said, "Something not as cakey." So I opted for cheesecake. The only problem with cheesecake is that you have to use a springform pan which can be a pain, and a lot of the time, no matter how hard I try and how many tricks I practice, my cheesecake cracks... which frustrates the heck out of this perfectionist. So I decided to make cheesecake in a pie pan... because for some reason that seemed to be the solution to all of my problems.

I found a recipe that super easy and super delicious. One of my friends said it was maybe the best cheesecake he had ever had (he may have been trying to butter me up a bit though...) So I have to share it with you! And guess what... it didn't crack! Hooray for that...

Hope you enjoy! (I took it from this recipe but simplified it even more... how about that!)

Cheesecake Pie

1 1/4 cups graham crackers crumbs
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (the recipe actually asked for lemon zest but I didn't have a lemon on hand so this worked just fine.)

In a bowl, melt butter in the microwave for about a minute then add the graham cracker crumbs. Firmly press onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie pan. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in vanilla and lemon juice (or zest) just until blended. Pour into prepared crust.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until center is set. Remove from the oven. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour then refrigerate overnight.

(I served this with a caramel sauce that people could drizzle on top but a lot of people were content with just plain old cheesecake.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

People pictures vs. Things Pictures

Two weekends ago I went with my mom and visited my cousins Dana and Marc and their son Cole in Sublette, a small town in southwest Kansas.

I'm ashamed to say that I didn't take very many pictures of people while I was there. I took a few of Cole because he's so dang cute it's hard to resist. But I didn't take as many of the people that I love and the fun things that we did as I should have. Not making excuses but sometimes I feel like I'm being a burden when I stop everyone in their tracks and say, "Wait, can I take a picture really quick?" But I don't know why I think that, because if anyone ever asks to take a picture of me I feel honored, so my guess is other people feel the same. I should work on taking more pictures of people...

I did happen to take some pictures of Sublette. I really like the town - it has a different feel than the city and I like that. So I took some pictures. No pictures of people. But, no worries, I have like twenty of a water tower - because water is what matters in life... (sense the sarcasm.) Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures I took in Sublette.

And note to self: take more pictures of people.

(There's the handsome fella...)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cutting vegetables.

We have a food day at work tomorrow. Normally I would use a food day to try out some new, over the top dessert recipe that I've been wanting to bake like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies or Salted Caramel Cheesecake or something else with a lot of adjectives/ingredients in the name.

This time... I signed up to bring vegetables and hummus.

Vegetables and hummus?! My life is changing and I don't really know how I feel about it. The truth is I miss baking. I miss eating cookie dough. I miss licking the excess frosting straight from the beater. I miss it all. Why am I not baking, you ask? It's because I have a hard time handling it. I've been trying to change the way I eat and I have a really hard time with self control when there is a Snickerdoodle Cupcake staring me in the face. And since I've been working out more, the time that I would normally spend in the kitchen has been re-prioritized to time running on the trail. I'm changing...

Confession: when I wasn't living a very lifestyle I hated hearing about other people's healthy lifestyles. So I'm not saying this to say, "Check me out - I'm healthy!" (Because I still have a looong way to go.) And I'm really sorry if you hate me right now. What I am saying is that I have lost the balance. I miss baking. I love baking. And I need to find some time (and some self control) to do it again.

So tonight, as I found myself staying up late peeling carrots and cutting bell peppers when I truly wanted to be staying up late creaming butter and piping frosting, I decided I need to start baking again. So that's what I intend to do!

That is all.

(Notice, my Kitchenaid living in the shadow of my vegetables...)

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Denver: Week 2

(Washington Park. Maybe one of my favorite pictures I've ever taken.)

I had even better intentions for week two in Denver. I was the only one going from KC so I thought, "No dinner plans, I'll have my evenings to myself... this'll be great." Welp, this girl got an impromptu dinner invite with the big wigs on Monday - so of course I'm not going to turn that down. Then, my beloved Royals played in the World Series on Tuesday and Wednesday night, so those evenings were shot. Then I left midday Thursday because I had already had Friday scheduled off... And there was my week.

I really wanted to go see the mountains a little closer but that just didn't happen. I had asked my brother Joel for suggestions of places to go and he suggested Washington Park. "It's halfway between Loose Park and Central Park." With a description like that, how can you go wrong? Joel knows what he's talking about when it comes to stuff like this... (And many other things.)

It. was. beautiful. I went on Tuesday and loved it so much that I went back on Wednesday. One of the prettier parks I've seen and I hit it at just the right time of day. All along I kept thinking about how thankful I am for parks. A park is something that really isn't necessary in the world. But people took time to create it to celebrate the outdoors, and activity, and beauty... And I just like that. 

Hooray for parks! Hooray, especially, for Washington Park. It made my second week in Denver.

(I love me some benches...) 

(Told you...) 

 (Not sure what lawn bowling is - but I think I want to be a part of it.)

(P.S. Turns out I'm only going to Denver these two weeks instead of four until the beginning of next year. But no worries, I'll try to find some time to blog and get back at it.)

Denver: Week 1

 (The view from the balcony of my room - those are mountains, though you can't really tell.)

Well, as always... I had great intentions of all of this downtime I'd have while in Denver. The first week I was there I went out to dinner with my co-workers that went with me every night so I didn't have any downtime at all. I did manage to take a few pictures though. Lame... I know, but that's all I could do.
(The DoubleTree - my home away from home.)

(Fancy work dinner... love having a nice meal on the company.)

(Another shot from the balcony - the skies were pretty amazing.)

(Even though it was a good week, I was so glad to be back in KC and took 
the long way home from the airport just so I could drive through downtown.)