November 26, 2009


Take a moment.

Take a breath. Or two. Or three.

Close your eyes and let the words wash over you.

Josh Groban

Somedays we forget
To look around us
Somedays we can't see
The joy that surrounds us
So caught up inside ourselves
We take when we should give.

So for tonight we pray for
What we know can be.
And on this day we hope for
What we still can't see.
It's up to us to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There's so much to be thankful for.

Look beyond ourselves
There's so much sorrow
It's way too late to say
I'll cry tomorrow
Each of us must find our truth
It's so long overdue

So for tonight we pray for
What we know can be
And every day we hope for
What we still can't see
It's up to us to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There's so much to be thankful for.

Even with our differences
There is a place we're all connected
Each of us can find each other's light

So for tonight we pray for
What we know can be
And on this day we hope for
What we still can't see
It's up to us to be the change
And even though this world needs so much more

There's so much to be thankful for


p.s. If any of you know Josh Groban, please feel free to give him my contact information. ( :

November 25, 2009


Want to know one of my favorite fall snacks?

I thought everyone ate it in the fall. Then MG told me I was wrong. Because she'd never tried it. Or even thought of it.


First, you'll need to go to the discount carts at the grocery store where they have left-over Haloween candy and find some candy corn for $0.25 a bag. Yes twenty-five cents. No more.

Then, you can head over to the nuts and grab some peanuts. The salty ones. It is imperative you get the SALTED variety.

Finally, you pour the candy corn and the peanuts into a bowl and mix them together.

I recommend one candy corn to two peanuts. It's the perfect balance.

It's a salty-sweet thing.

November 24, 2009

In this moment

I kind of wish I were going home for Thanksgiving.

And by "kind of" I mean, "shoot-dang this blows that I'm out here."

MG just left to head up to Maryland to see her mom and family.

Megan left on Sunday for California for a ThankfulChristmas.

And I'm here. In Durham, all alone.

Except I'm not that sad. Just kind of alone.

You know?

I think I might go see friends in Greensboro for Thanksgiving. They're friends from my childhood, so it would be really great to see them and have that taste of home.

I'm also working, so it's not like I'm just sitting on my couch eating a box of stuffing watching Lifetime television. That was so 2008. This is 2009. If I end up alone, I'm going all out and renting movies from the RedBox.

And if I feel lonely I'll just remember this:

Yup. Exactly. Just a few short weeks until I'm with the family for a long visit.

And you know what I can't wait for (besides hugs from my mom and dad)?

Seeing the sunset. You don't get a lot of sunset when there are trees in the way.

November 21, 2009


Hank is mad.

He has good cause. He paces around the house and growls and hisses. He hides in Megan's room. He claims a spot right on my legs or as close to me as possible when I sit down.

Hank is mad because he has two new friends!
Sweet Tea

OK, so friends might be an overstatement. But they will be friends someday. They have no choice.

Sweet Tea and Molasses want to be his friend. They want to play and jump and cuddle and be curious with Hank.

Hank is denying them all friend requests.

Except he's not growling as much.

Or hissing unless he gets surprised.

So we'll give it a couple more weeks and see how they're doing.

I think it's the beginning of something beautiful.

Oh and in other news...
DSC_0034Be afraid.

November 19, 2009

Things My Dad Says

Do you know this twitter account?

My dad is not nearly as profane as this person's dad. Do you think those tweets are real? I have my doubts.

My dad:

He's extra classy. I believe they (my dad and brothers) called me when they went to buy these rain slickers so they could go fishing. I said, "please get anything except camo. Camo is tacky."

They bought camouflage. You see how much they care about what I have to say? Or perhaps it was just to spite me. When I see people in camo, I generally say intelligent things like, "I'm sorry, I'm hearing your voice, but I can't see you. Where are you again? Why can't I see you?"

I'm just an opinionated person.

Anyways, my dad called me recently to tell me happy birthday. And here's our conversation:

Dad: Hey, Aim it's about time you called me back! [Rarely "Amy" I usually am called "Aim" "Amers" or "Amy Liz" by my family.]
Amy: Hi, Dad! I tried to call you back earlier, but you didn't answer.
Dad: Oh, I don't know why that was.
Amy: [thinking] Perhaps because it's a Sunday and you forgot to turn your volume back up after church?
Amy: What's going on?
Dad: Nothing. How was your birthday?
Amy: It was good! We had friends over and we ate some food and played Catch Phrase.
Dad: You're 27 now.
Amy: Yes, yes I am.
Dad: Don't forget you promised me grandchildren by the time you're 30.

Don't forget your promised me grandchildren by the time you're thirty.

Yes, my father said this to me.

You see, I have always said that I'm going to have children. And I have a strong desire to have them when I'm young. Mostly because my parents had my brothers and me when they were in their mid-20s and I've really appreciated having close relationships with my parents and grandparents. I want my children to have the same thing. Not that I couldn't be a good mother if I were older, but grandparents can only get so old if you know what I mean.

However as a perpetually single woman, it looks like I will be having those children on my own. Anybody else have a father who would encourage this? I think my dad encourages it because: 1. He wants grandchildren to dote upon, 2. He knows I would move closer to my them if I had children (it takes a village, people, I have no disillusions about that.) and 3. He loves to hold a sleeping baby.

Quirky things about my father:
-He takes baths every day.
-He likes to sleep on the floor in a nest of pillows and blankets.
-He plays the electric guitar (and the acoustic one, but the electric is more fun since it has an amp).
-He plays badminton as frequently as possible.
-He plays intramural sports with college students.
-He thinks he's still 30 and is surprised when his body isn't holding up to the activities he's putting it through.
-He buys calves for $10-$70 and attempts to nurse them back to health. About 50% die.
-He loves cream cheese icing.
-He calls me a "pesky-tarian" every time I go home. I'm a pescatarian.
-After my brothers and I went to college he started to integrate profanity back into his vocabulary. My mom still acts like she gets annoyed at him when he curses.

I wouldn't want my children to miss out on this:

See? No child should miss out on his/her grandfather acting like a hobo.

Plumpkin Cheesecake

No, the "Plumpkin" is not a mistake. This is not health food. It will make you plump. I promise.

So, be sensible. Eat a small slice and invite friends over so you can hoist the unhealthy caloric intake upon them. That's what I do.

I'm a nice person.

When I got my subscription to Food Network Magazine, the first issue arrived in January 2009 containing a recipe for Knock-off Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake. Well, I had to try it, right? When you can make a whole cheesecake for the price of a slice at the Factory, it's worth it.
So I busted out my KitchenAid and got down to business.

I've made this Pumpkin Cheesecake four (five?) times now and it is deeee-licious. I don't know if it actually tastes like anything you'd get from the Cheesecake Factory since I've never had their pumpkin cheesecake, but it tastes darn good. Yes, yes it does.
I can never get the crust just right, the taste is fine, but it's just too moist. Maybe less butter next time?

(Is it OK that I pretend my grainy pictures have vintage charm? I'm shopping for a new camera...and trying to find the light/be the light/own the light.)

Four bars of cream cheese, two-and-a-half cups of sugar, six eggs, a can of pumpkin, assorted spices and an hour-and-forty-five minutes later-VOILA!
Pumpkin Cheesecake.

This recipe actually makes a bit much for my 9" springform pan, so it would probably be fine to proportionally take it down so that it only used three bars of cream cheese, but I'm lazy and I just put the spare batter in foil cupcake liners and pack them for lunch.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Preheat oven to 325.

For the crust:
*12 Tbsp butter, melted
*2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (wouldn't ginger snaps be delightful?)
*1/4 cup sugar
*pinch of salt
Combine and press into 10" springform pan. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool.

For the filling:
*2 lbs cream cheese (4-8oz bars)
*2 1/2 cups sugar
*1/4 cup sour cream
*1-15oz can pumpkin
*6 eggs, lightly beaten
*1 Tbsp vanilla extract
*2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
*1 tsp ground ginger
*1/4 tsp ground cloves
*pinch of salt
Mix cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light (I think it gets so pretty and shiny and ribbony.) Beat in the sour cream and then add the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla and spices. Pour into the cooled crust.

If you don't use a water bath for your cheesecake, you should. So stick your tea kettle on and heat up some water. I used to have a roasting pan, but I left it behind in the move--Mom you can use it!--so I found MG's large glass pan that my foil wrapped springform pan fit inside. Put the pan with the springform pan on the oven rack first and THEN add the hot water-just an inch or so. Close the oven, set your timer for an hour and forty-five minutes and walk away. I always check on it around the hour mark to make sure there's still some water left moisturizing my cheesecake. The steam is essential to an un-cracked top. At an hour and forty-five minutes I check my cheesecake for jiggle. It's usually too jiggly so it takes about two hours total.

It's really much better after a day or two. So make it up a couple of days in advance and let it sit in your refrigerator. I think it would be amazing served with a caramel sauce and some sweetened, cinnamon whipped cream, but that's just me. I usually don't serve it with anything and it gets eaten. Trust me, it gets eaten.


November 18, 2009


A list of things I have irrational, exuberant love for:
-Pumpkin baked goods. Not pumpkin pie; I don't even like pumpkin pie--it's the texture. However, pumpkin scones, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cheesecake (it's coming I promise), pumpkin cookies, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin butter....are all right up there.
-DOUGHNUTS. Yes, I love them. I believe I may have mentioned this before.
-My crazy cat, Hank.
-My roommate, Megan.
-My roommate, Mary Grace.
(Did you see how Hank came first on that list? Not because he ranks above them, just because this is a stream of consciousness.)
-Contemporary musical theatre.
-Glee. I try to never miss a Wednesday.
-Sitting in my bed with my "wifeys" watching Grey's and eating food.
-Using the word "wifey." That's funny.
-My mom.
-My dad.
-My brother, Dave Dogg.
-My brother, Matty J.
-My favorite sister-in-law, Abby.
-These mom shoes that I wear for work. Seriously. They are divine on my feet. DIVINE.
-Baking and talking about baking.
-Food Network Magazine.
-The Next Iron Chef. I am so sad that Seamus is no longer in the running. Dear Seamus, You're my favorite. xo, amy
-Finding special treasures that are made right here in North Carolina. This includes produce.
-Makin' crafty stuff. I'd tell you more, but then I'd have to kill you. These are Christmas presents we're talking about here!
-Blogging. Reading blogs.
-The Pioneer Woman. At what point is it less reading a person's blog and more like stalking? I may be at the edge of that line. Perhaps stalking is too strong of a word. What's it called when you basically want to be someone else? See? I'm irrational.
-Bargains. Last weekend it was 30% off of everything at Gap and Old Navy and yes, I took advantage. And I check the Gold Box on Amazon EVERY DAY. You just never know what's going to come up.
-Playing board games.
-Drinking coffee, and lattes, and hot chocolate, and hot cider.
-The movie Love, Actually.
-Oliver Lake.
-My 4 fantastic Grandparents.
-All of my aunts and uncles and cousins.
-CardioDance class where I am completely awkward and (as long as I don't look in the mirror) I'm awesome in my mind.

And that's all I can think of for now. Whew! I sure love a lot of stuff...and people.

I like to use the word "love" too. I think we can never have enough.

I love you. (It's not even Valentine's and yet, I have no problem saying that.)

The end.

I promise.

Until next time.

November 14, 2009

I just have to share this with you because it cracks me up.

Yes, my cat is a complete 100% attention WHORE.

You'll notice the screen has gone black because he's laying on the screen brightening/dimming button. I have no idea what that button is really called. (The F1/F2 buttons with a big sun and a little sun.)

No, really. I'm going to need you to stop trying to do things on this computer and pay attention to me.

November 12, 2009

Very Exciting

1. I got the Pioneer Woman's Cookbook for my birthday from my mom (and dad)! Totally stoked. If you don't know about PW you must live under a rock. She is my inspiration. And when she figures out that I exist she can let me meet cowboy Josh. Please?

I think I'll probably use it more if/when I begin eating meat again. However, tonight we made the Cheesy Grits and they are deeeeee-vine. Go to Amazon to get a copy, or add it to your wishlist for gift receiving purposes. I'm obsessed with the wishlist feature. Yes, there's a very expensive camera on my wishlist. Anyone want to buy it for me?

2. I'm making Pumpkin Cheesecake for MG and my birthday this weekend. I'll share the recipe with you soon. I just thought we needed a little break over here on the mostly nonsense side of things from sweet stuff. This pumpkin cheesecake will knock your socks off though. Seriously.

3. IT'S MY BIRTHDAY THIS WEEKEND! OK, so I don't really get very excited about birthdays. It's just not in my nature. Sorry. Also, I'm going to be 27. 27. I know it's not that old, but I'm so not where I imagined myself being at 27.

MG and I share a birthday, so it's OUR birthday this weekend!

Last year we went out for sushi, it was in our pre-friend phase since we were both new to NC. How much has happened in this past year? It's amazing...and a little strange...and overwhelming.

4. I've started making my Christmas gifts for family. I've promised myself that I'm making something homemade for each person in my immediate family. However, that means I have THREE men to do something for. What can I make them? Why do men make everything difficult? ( : Why do most knitted or crocheted objects end up looking feminine when I make them? Does it have something to do with flowers?

5. Only a few more weeks until I go home to KS for Christmas!

6. Does anyone have T-Mobile? I know this isn't "very exciting" but I'm hesitating with my Verizon decision. AT&T? Anyone?

OK, it's peace out time. I'm watching a movie, doing some laundry, baking the cheesecake and working on a hat.

November 11, 2009

Dear Duke Divinity School,

Please give me back my roommate.

She has too many papers to write, so I never see her face.

It makes me sad.

It makes her sad. You see, she's an extreme extrovert and she needs people to sustain her. Seriously.


p.s. Hank (the cat) misses her as well. He doesn't know what to do without his two mommies.

Faux Oreo

Who doesn't have a childhood memory involving Oreos?

I remember going over to my friend Gretchen's house in about 6th grade and eating Oreos. We each got four and the first thing she did was toss one right into each of our glasses of milk. "But won't it get soggy?" "Just wait, you'll see."

That soggy Oreo was possibly one of the best I've ever had.

Something about a soft Oreo is delightful.

I'm a twist and eat Oreo person myself. I twist, choose the side with the least amount of filling, dip it in milk, eat it. Then I eat the creme off the other side before dipping it in milk and eating it. It's a lot of work to eat an Oreo.

After moving into our new house we never hooked up our TV. We are without cable. Without basic channels. Only movies here at Casa de Megan, MG and Amy.

Therefore on Wednesday nights I bribe my friend Stuart with baked goods so I can watch Glee.

A girl must have her priorities.

Last night I debated and debated what to take. I've already done the blondie thing. (My blondies are delicious. I'll share that recipe with you sometime.) I've been on an Autumnal kick, but I'm making Pumpkin Cheesecake later this week. Chocolate? Fruity? Cookies? Cake? Cupcakes?

I couldn't decide.

So I started looking through my stack of Food Network Magazines. If you don't subscribe to Food Network Magazine, YOU ARE MISSING OUT. It is seriously one of the BEST cooking magazines in my opinion. You can get a subscription for $1 an issue right now too (I think it's a special this week). It'd make a great gift to give or receive.

As I was checking the indexes of each magazine I came across a recipe for "Oreo" Cookies. I could do that. I could make faux Oreos.

So I got to work...

You're supposed to take the dough and roll it out between parchment paper and then refrigerate the rolled out dough for an hour before cutting it with a circular cookie cutter. I'm a rule breaker. Plus rolling out cookie dough is messy. So I went the slice and bake route. My cookies may look a bit more rustic...but it's part of their charm.

If cookies can have charm.

What makes an Oreo an Oreo is the filling. Are you a regular or a double-stuff fan? Me, I roll the double-stuff route.

And since I'm all about doing my own thing, I also made some mint filling.


...and mint.

Seriously, these things are so good it's worth the energy and effort it takes to make them. Just make sure you have someone to share them with so you don't eat them all yourself!