Friday, May 31, 2013

Memorial Day Cheesecake

1 pre-made graham cracker crust
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 14-ounce can (1 1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the filling: Using an electric mixer set at medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the condensed milk a little at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Separate the cheesecake mix into three equal parts. Use red and blue food coloring to color to your liking (could use different colors for a variety of different holidays or occasions). Pour the filling into the crust; smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

My Take
I know I haven't posted in a bajillion years, but I'm truly living up to my name as a terrible housewife because I've tried absolutely zero new recipes. But since I had to work this year on Memorial Day, I wanted to do something special for my co-workers and decided to do a spin off on the No-Bake Cheesecake recipe. Once again I altered the recipe and instead of using a full pie crust I bought individual pie crusts (found them at WalMart, Kroger didn't have them). And I still had enough left over for a full size cheesecake for me! The other thing I added was some cheery pie filling on the top of it. At first I didn't know if it would turn out the way I wanted it to, so when it did I was so excited. The goal was to layer red, white, and blue cheesecake so when you cut into it there'd be the three colors. I think the red layer needed a few more drops of red because it was more of a pink, but it was a HUGE hit with my co-workers so that's really all that mattered.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Voila! Vanilla Extract

So as promised here is the finished product! Complete with adorable label and raffia bow.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vanilla Extract

1.75L Vodka
25 Vanilla Beans
12 - 4oz bottles (Boston Round Bottles work best)

Cut the vanilla beans in half, then cut each half in half again the long way. I used scissors to do this part because it's way easier. Next put 8 pieces in each bottle (you'll have three pieces left over, just put them in whatever bottle you want), then fill the bottle with vodka. Put the lid on and allow to steep for one month. The vodka will turn from a clear to a dark amber color.

My Take
It's really an easy project, I was done with the entire process in about a half an hour. I'm making them to sell to raise money for Relay for Life, but these would make a great gift any time of the year, plus the longer they steep the better they are! I found the vanilla beans on eBay for WAY cheaper than what you can purchase them at any grocery store. And I got the Boston Round Bottles from U-Line, but they're also available on Amazon and other sites. I'll post an update with the finished product in a month.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day BBQ Sauce

2 cups ketchup
2 cups tomato sauce
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
4 teaspoons hickory flavored liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, mix together all the wet ingredients and then add the seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken as it simmers (and then as it cools). I try to plan ahead and simmer for at least an hour. Use the sauce to brush onto meats the last ten minutes ofgrilling or for any other recipe where barbecue sauce is used. Once cooled, the sauce can be frozen. Thaw in the refrigerator and use as needed. Yields approximately 7 cups.

My Take
This one was quite the challenge, I wanted to do something cool and homemade for my dad for Father's Day and found this recipe on Pinterest. I thought it would be easy enough...wrong. Well, for me it was hard, but for the normal person that knows how to cook it would probably be really easy. So lets go down the ingredients that I didn't include in this because I couldn't find them at the store or altered it (it really helps when you know what you're looking for):
  • hickory flavored liquid smoke (what is that?)
  • onion powder (I thought I had this already and didn't)
  • celery seed (I picked up celery flakes instead...oops)
  • cayenne pepper (I couldn't find that at all)
  • red wine vinegar (I read that wrong and just used red wine)
So that was just the first half of the adventure. I start to make it and I only have one pan and one skillet, so I thought my pan would be big enough. Of course not! So I ended up cooking this in the Crock Pot, which worked beautifully! I put it on high and stirred every 10 minutes for about an hour, the consistency was pretty thin so I figured it was okay. Then I put it in the large Mason jar and screwed the lid on. I still had quite a bit left over and was able to fill up two small salsa jars as well. Because of the heat, the jars sealed! I was probably more excited about this than I should have been, but it was cool regardless. I designed the label and bought the brush and voila! My dad had a super cool, homemade gift for Father's Day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pasta Salad

1 Box Rigatoni Noodles
2 Cucumbers
1 Bunch Green onions
1/2 Bottle Salad Supreme
Zesty Italian Dressing
2 Packages Pepperoni
1 Package Cherry Tomatoes
Salt & Pepper

Cook Rigatoni noodles as directed on the box. Cut up all the vegetables and mix in with cooked noodles. Season to taste.

My Take
I think this is the first recipe that I've actually followed to a "t" and done everything right! Go me! I absolutely love pasta salad, (I call it spaghetti salad, but I guess that's wrong, so I'll use the right name), so I could eat the entire bowl to myself! This recipe makes a TON of pasta salad. I was babysitting and we ate some, then the next day I had a friend over for dinner, I ate some for lunch the following day, and then I brought it to work and STILL had some left over. So if you're looking for a dish to pass for the summer, this is great! If not, just cut the recipe in half and it should be fine.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Natalie, Meet Meat

In the beginning I vowed that I was never going to cook meat because it grossed me out to touch it raw. This last week my body's been telling me that it is sick of all the processed fast-food that I've been feeding it and it really just needed a good home cooked meal. I broke down and bought some steak, mushrooms, and a variety of fruit. This is what I came up with (of course I had to call my dad and have him walk me through cooking a steak step-by-step). This dinner was amazing and I definitely needed it! I seasoned steak with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Lawry's; then I sauteed the mushrooms in butter with minced garlic; and cut up watermelon, strawberries, kiwis, and a banana to make a fruit salad. Everything came out perfect with no hiccups! And I loved it so much, I made the left overs for dinner the next day :)

The fruit salad made way more than I had anticipated (I only used 4 kiwis, one banana, a quart of strawberries, and a quarter watermelon), so I've been eating that for breakfast the last couple of days. It feels great to have some fresh fruit. 

p.s. Sorry for the crappy photos, I did these with Instagram :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Peanut Butter Kick

I have been on a peanut butter kick lately. I can not get enough of it!! So most mornings I toast a cinnamon raisin bagel, put a little butter on it, slice banana, then lots of peanut butter and make an amazing breakfast sandwich. There's just something about melty peanut butter that makes my little heart so happy. For snacks I've been doing Ants on a Log, minus the ants because I don't have any in the house. My other favorite thing is to do waffles with butter and peanut butter. I'm pretty sure that I could eat it all the time.