August 30, 2011

Thirty by Thirty

OK, so I'm almost 30.

If being 442 days away is "almost." I can't decide how I feel about that. I don't really look thirty 95% of the time. This summer a woman asked me if I was going to college next year. Yup, she thought I was about 18.

I blame being plump, it makes your face look young. Truth.

Lots of people do goals and lists and to-dos before they turn a certain age. I'm jumping on that bandwagon. Do you want to see my list?
First, what's up with the colors? I made my list of things, edited it, and sorted it into categories. Each color is a different category. The green is a little difficult to read.

Second, I could have made everything a location I want to travel to. I can't afford to travel that much, so I restricted myself to our neighbors to the north and south. I've never been there.

Last, you can't judge me on any of these. I mean, you can, but I don't want to hear about it.

I'm planning on printing this out as an 8x8 print to frame and look at every day. EVERY DAY.

I'm amy, I'm gonna be 30 in a little over a year and I've got things to do.
Peace out.

August 26, 2011

Turtle Cheesecake

People, I have three words for you:
Yeah, it would be awesome on vanilla ice cream, but it's really quite spectacular on a turtle cheesecake. Cream cheese, it's amazeballs.

So, back in July it was my older brother's birthday. The day before his birthday it was my nephew's birth day. The baby overshadowed the 30-year-old. 
To make up for it I made this cheesecake. I show my love with baked goods. True that. [Insert thoughts on finding a man and why am I single here.]

Starting off with the crust. It's beautiful. It's delicious. It's buttery. It's crisp. It's where it's at. BAM!
Before you put your crust in your pan, don't forget to wrap it in foil. It's imperative for the water bath. Don't skip the water bath. You don't have to do a water bath for this first part though, just the foil wrap. 
Bake that baby.

While your crust cools, make the filling.
So good! 
This is where I change my mind, sure the swirls are pretty, but honestly when it bakes, the swirls aren't doing much for you. Just make two layers, a layer of the plain cheesecake [2/3 of the batter] and a layer of the chocolate [the remaining batter plus the melted chocolate chips].
Now it's time for your toppings. I had four toppings.
I know, who needs four toppings?!?!?? No one needs them, but oh geeze, they are good. 
The goods for salted caramel, melted chocolate, pecans and chocolate chips.
Take a slice of cheesecake, add your toppings and dig in. Or just stare in wonder at the beauty of it all.

Turtle Cheesecake
Preheat your oven to 325. Take your 9-inch springform pan and carefully wrap around the outside with foil. I use about 3 pieces to create a good seal around the bottom of the pan. We're going to use a water bath later and you don't want a soggy crust, believe me, I've experienced it before.

-2 cups crushed Oreo cookies
-1 cup Pecans, ground in a food processor
-1/2 cup Brown Sugar
-3/4 cup Butter, melted

Crush the cookies in a baggie and smash them to smithereens and place in a bowl. You could also use a food processor if you wanted. Grind your pecans in a food processor until they are fine, but stop before they begin to cream (we're not looking for pecan-butter here). Combine the cookie crumbs, pecans, brown sugar and butter and stir before pressing into your springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then let cool while you make the filling.

-3 packages (8 oz) Cream Cheese
-1 1/4 cup Sugar
-1/2 tsp Salt
-1 Tblsp Vanilla
-4 Eggs
-1 cup Sour Cream
-1 cup semi-sweet Chocolate Chips, melted

Beat the cream cheese in your mixer until smooth. Slowly add sugar, salt and vanilla then incorporate the eggs one at a time. Mix in the sour cream. Put 2/3 of the mix into the crust. With the remaining filling add the chocolate and mix to combine. I followed a recipe which recommended a swirl technique, but I'd just do layers next time I make this. So add the chocolate filling on top of the plain filling making a chocolate layer [so pretty!]. Place your foil surrounded springfoil pan in a roasting pan on the oven rack, add hot water until half-way up the sides of the pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours then crack the oven door and let the cheesecake sit for another hour in the oven. Cover and cool in your refrigerator overnight.

Salted Caramel Sauce
-1/2 cup Butter
-1 cup Brown Sugar
-1 1/2 tsp Salt (use less for a less salted caramel)
-1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
-1 Tblsp Vanilla

Combine the butter, brown sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently (once it's melted together then stir constantly) until the sugar has dissolved then remove from heat and add the heavy whipping cream and vanilla. Let cool.

-Salted Caramel Sauce
-Chocolate (melt 1/2 cup Chips with 2 Tblsp Butter)
-Chocolate Chips
-Pecan pieces

You could schmear the top of your cheesecake with all the toppings or you can add them to each slice as you get it out. I'm the latter, but the former would be nice also. (-:
This is decadent. This is divine. This is luxurious. This is something my mother refused to share at a family potluck, it's just that good.

Happy [belated] birthday, Dave Dogg!

August 23, 2011

Hi. I'm alive.

I met a man and we're getting maaaaarrried!!!


I'm not getting married.
I haven't met any men.
I just happen to be watching Father of the Bride.

I am signing a lease for an apartment on Thursday. That's like a 12-month marriage, right?

The good things: location, location, location. price, price, price. utilities are included [except electricity]. and the building's safe [you're welcome, mom and dad]. hardwood floors. windows. character.

The bad things: teeny, tiny, itsy-bitsy. tiny kitchen. tiny. small. dainty.

OK, here's the floorplan:
floor plan copy.jpg
Sorry for the crappy cell phone pictures. 
Living room
Living room
Bed nook
Bed nook
Micro-kitchen. Yeah, that has 20 inches [TWENTY INCHES] of counter space.

So, basically it's tiny. It's going to be all about storage. At least I think it's going to be all about storage. Here's my plan:
floor plan.jpg
I think I'm fairly close to scale, but I can't figure out how there can be that much space at the foot of the bed, so that's probably off. Also, by "Hank's room" I mean "the space where Hank's litterbox will be." I got him a fantastic new litterbox and I love it and I will tell you about it asap. 

Don't worry, you'll get the play by play on things coming together. I only have a deposit down so far. In the immortal words of Magalicious, "It's not a trailer."


August 11, 2011

10 things I'm sharing with you

1. I got a new-to-me car. YAY!!! I'm still thinking of a name, but she's lovely. [lovely=more reliable]

2. I'm getting a new windshield on my new-used car. It has a ding and a crack...neither of which are in vision disrupting places, but between summer heat and winter cold, I figure I should take care of it.

3. I'm searching for an apartment.

4. I'm searching for a job.

5. Both #3 and #4 take place in Fort Wayne, Indiana...anyone with a hook-up?

6. Yesterday my mom and I spent the day together. Lunch, thrifting/antiquing aaaand a movie. It was a good day. Who knew I loved old linens as much as I do?

7. Go see The Help. DO IT. Of course, you should also read the book. Both are fantastic in their own way.

8. I want freckles across my nose.

9. I'm eating a cinnamon roll and drinking coffee at The Well. I'm not sitting in my corner. I spent $3.52. Where does that happen? McPherson, Kansas.

10. Spending time with my nephew did not help my need/desire/aching in my loins to have a baby.
Dear Future Husband, 
Please show up soon. I don't think I can 
afford a baby on my own. Plus making 
one will be expensive so I need your 
free "stuff."
Love, amy

[Does that sound enticing for my future husband? No? Dang it.]


August 7, 2011

Super Soft Sugar Cookies

Some people prefer a store bought cookie. I am not one of them, but one of my best friends in high school was--she swore nothing could beat a Chips Ahoy! chocolate chip cookie and my brothers think Lofthouse makes a sugar cookie that's the bee's knees.
I beg to differ: homemade is best.
I don't want to use a box to make brownies, cake or cookies let alone purchase a ready-made product. Of course, there are times when the tube of cookie dough is too much temptation and I can't help it. In my mind (and yes, this is only in my mind because it is soo not the truth) when I know all the ingredients in my baked goods they are therefore healthier.
Yes, these are chock-full of butter, shortening, sour cream and heavy whipping cream. Healthy? I think not.
I love sprinkles. Sprinkles make me happy and so do songs with ukuleles.

Recipe adapted from Cami on Tasty Kitchen
-2 cups Sugar
-1 cup Butter
-1 cup Shortening
-2 Eggs
-1 cup Sour Cream
-1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream (milk is an option, but it's not as good)
-1 tsp Vanilla
-1 tsp Salt
-2 tsp Baking Soda
-1/2 cup Cornstarch (optional)
-5-6 cups Flour

Preheat your oven to 350. This makes 5-6 dozen cookies and halves easily [just remember to halve the frosting too]. (-:

Cream the sugar, butter and shortening then add the eggs, sour cream heavy whipping cream and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine the salt, baking soda, cornstarch and flour [cornstarch+flour=cake flour if you were wondering] mixing throughly. Add enough flour to the wet mixture until it is no longer sticky. I test for proper "non-stickiness" by taking the dough and forming a ball, you want it at the point where it just forms the ball and doesn't stick to your hands.

Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and slightly flatten with the bottom of a cup. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Be careful to not over-bake as these cookies will not brown much. Cool before frosting.

If you decide to be lazy-like some people I know-and drop your cookies onto the cookie sheets then they will look like this:
Also, they won't bake as evenly. They will, however, still taste good.

Recipe adapted from Top Secret Recipes
-1 cup Butter
-1/3 cup Shortening
-1 tsp Vanilla
-3-4 Tblsp Milk
-5 cups Powdered Sugar
-Food Coloring

Beat the butter, shortening, vanilla, milk [or heavy whipping cream if you're going all out], and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. I tend to get it mixed to the point where I think it looks pretty good and then mix it for 2-3 more minutes to really get some air into the frosting. It should be a nice bright white color that you can use in it's white form or add some food coloring if you'd like. Frost your cookies with an ample amount of icing and sprinkle away. This frosting will stay fairly soft so be careful in stacking your cookies.


August 5, 2011


Yup, it's true. I'm smitten. With my sweet little nephew who is all of 12 days old. Technically he's due in 4 days, at least that's what Abby's pregnancy email just said. "Your baby will be here in four days!" You may remember seeing The Nephew back when he was still in the womb.

Eleven days ago I was sitting at Starbucks [shocker!] when my phone rang. It was my brother. I answered and he asked if I was with my mom and dad.
"Um, no. I'm in Tennessee. Is this an exciting phone call?"
"Well, don't get too excited. But we are going to the hospital. 50-50 chance we'll get sent home. Don't get too excited."
Did you see how he said 'Don't get too excited' twice? I think he didn't want me to get too excited.
Then my mom called and said, "Do NOT buy a plane ticket. Do NOT buy a plane ticket."
So, I didn't purchase a plane ticket.
Then after about 5 more phone calls and several texts and spending time painting my nails it was 5:16am and I got the text that said, "...born today at 4:45 am."
A week later we got to meet. I love him and his little, wrinkly, old man forehead. His hands and feet are HUGE. OK, not huge, but they do seem abnormally large.
Also, he peed on my pillow when we took this picture.
I still love you when you're grody-Nephew.
auntie amy


August 3, 2011

Making Your Blog Pretty, linky-list

In Part 1 and Part 2, I feel that I sufficiently expressed my lack of knowledge on this subject.

If not, I don't know what I'm talking about, but I'm good at talking. 

Here are some blog-posts that I have found helpful:
Pretty cool, right?
  • If I want to learn new stuff, I don't hesitate to google or you tube it because I'm all about experiential learning and believe takes time, but learning is always fun! 

Do you have anything you've found helpful? Any advice you'd like to give me? Anything else we should figure out together? 

OK, peace out girl scouts. 
[Peace out boy scouts too.]
[Peace out non-scouts too.]