No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake – and an Anniversary!

Fun fact: exactly one year ago today, April 10, the posse and I packed up our bags (and Daisy), said goodbye to our friends in Vegas, loaded up Dad’s plane, and made our move to Austin.

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And quite frankly, my mother hasn’t forgiven me (or J) since…

However, to say we love it here would be a grave understatement. We really love it.  How can you not love a city that bills itself as the Music Capital of the World? And has food trucks on every corner? Suburbia when you want, and quiet country life as well?

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 Sunset in our slice of country life …

Although traffic here is epic (comparable, in my world, to SoCal traffic), it’s a small price to pay for what we consider home. And even though we’re still in the rental, and a bit cramped from what we’re used to, nothing can dampen our spirits.

I take that back….there is one thing. The only downside to the euphoria of this scenario is that I miss my family. We are that odd breed that truly enjoys each others’ company, and if you see us in public, we’re the ones that are laughing the loudest, having conversations that border Mensa-level, and living life to the fullest. I’ve come to realize I need to up the ante to persuade Mom and Dad to move here. I mean, really, everyone has a price….. I just need to find theirs.

Mom? That’s easy – find her the best high-rise condo, in a location not too far from the city, and not too far from the ranch (or the swamp, as she lovingly refers to it…) and she’s good to go.

Dad? Well….. he’s going to take a bit of work to leave Vegas. Note I said “a bit of work, not a piece of work..” His requirements are a tad more complex. After all, this is the man that was worried his daughter was going to become a hill-billy. Like that could ever happen – our neighbors at the ranch can hear my car approaching from a mile away. I’m that girl walking the property with the builder in my platform pumps, without worrying about the dirt and dust… And although I receive a fair amount of good natured teasing for my sometimes over-dressed attire, I know that you can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl.

Not that I have any intention of changing. And I’ll find his price….somehow...

Happy one year anniversary to us! Yay!
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I downsized the recipe (since it was just for the three of us) and skipped the crust completely. Although I did top Alexander’s glass with an Oreo…..

No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake – adapted from serious eats

  • 10 ounces chocolate cookie wafers (such as Nabisco Famous wafers)
  • 2 tbs. granulated sugar
  • 8 tbs (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) plus 2 tbs. confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (I used greek yogurt)
  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • Cocoa powder for dusting

    Pulse cookie crumbs and granulated sugar in food processor until fine. Place in a large bowl and toss with melted butter until moistened. Firmly press into the bottom and 1 1/2-inches up sides of an 8-inch springform pan.

Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and creamy, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Reduce speed to low and mix in vanilla, sour cream, and melted chocolate until smooth and homogenous.

Spoon mixture into crust and smooth top. Chill until set, about 4 hours. Dust with cocoa powder and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Thoughts and Randomness

Today was certainly one of the more unusual days I’ve had as of late… 

With J out of town, I found myself wide awake today at 4:50 a.m. By 5:00 , I realized I wasn’t going to go back to sleep, and made my way downstairs to take care of the pups. After getting them through their morning routine, and a quick morning coffee (for me, not them), I headed out the door for a 4.5 mile walk. I need/want/am determined to get back into my exercise routine, it really helps clear my head and I am able to get super organized for the day. Of course, at 6:00 in the morning, it’s still pitch black outside. I’m not deterred, however, as the temperature was about 60 degrees. Perfect early morning walking weather.

So there I was, 2 miles into my walk, thinking and plotting and planning…when all of a sudden, I heard a man shout, “Don’t move!”

What would you think? 

Probably the same thing I did, which is that someone was being held up in the parking lot about 10 feet in front of me. I paused for a moment, trying to determine if I should run in the other direction and call for help? Or take a few more steps to see what was happening? In the split second that I was thinking, I heard the same man’s voice saying, “Don’t move, I’m calling for help right now..” At that moment, I turned the corner and saw a woman laying underneath a car, and a young man kneeling down over her, holding her hand and repeatedly telling her not to move. I ran up and asked if they needed help, and at that exact moment, another man pulled up (he was at the adjacent gas station and saw the commotion) and asked if he could help. The man standing over the woman said he was calling 911, but I told the man in the car that the fire station was literally one driveway away and he could drive there faster than I could run.

So while he drove off to get help, this poor woman was still trapped underneath her car, scared half to death and clearly in shock. I bent down, gently took ahold of her arm, and tried to reassure her that she was going to be ok, help was on the way. Seconds later, thanks to the man that went next door to the fire station, several firemen, a trio of EMS and the local Sheriff all showed up. They secured the woman onto a board, pulled her out from under the car, and from what I could understand (the noise from the trucks was deafening), she suffered a broken leg. Which, considering her minivan had just rolled over her, was miraculous.

But …. how did she get there?

According to the man that saw the accident, the woman had dropped her cigarette out of her window, and stopped her car to pick it up. She thought she had the car in “park”, but actually had put it in “neutral”.  When she opened the door to retrieve her cigarette, the car started to roll backwards, knocked her down, and rolled over her legs, thereby trapping her.

Scary.

I finally left when the Sheriff told me that I wasn’t needed, since I didn’t actually witness the accident. I headed straight home, a bit unsettled of course, but thankful that the woman was going to be ok.

Sabrina was at the kitchen counter when I walked into the house, took one look at my face and said, “Are you ok?”

I said, “Let me tell you about my walk…….”

Thoughts and Randomness (and a house update!)

Big news on the housing front! J and I met with the builders for our home yesterday morning, and gave them our updated ideas for the floor plan. We had a multitude of changes to make, mostly reconfiguring the cabinet/storage space (and shop space!)…. because, well, we NEED and WANT it.

I say “need and want”, because as Dad so succinctly puts it, “It’s YOUR home, YOU are paying for it, and it should to be the way YOU need it and want it  – if they can’t accommodate you, find someone that will”.

He’s right, of course (but don’t tell him that….  )

Fortunately, the builder can and will make the changes we requested, and thanks to Pinterest, I had lots of pictures to show them of features that we want to add, especially to the kitchen.  We both agreed that it was a smart move on our part to wait as long as we did in terms of finalizing the plans, as we discovered during our week long vacation together during Thanksgiving break that we definitely require a whole lotta counter and storage space for all of our gadgets and appliances.

So now, we sit back and wait patiently for the next set of plans to arrive. It’s hard to believe that before this year is over, we will be living in our new home on the ranch.

Or, as Mom puts it, “Living out in the swamp…”

She will change her tune when she sees her suite …..

Thoughts and Randomness

Like almost everyone else on the planet, I made a list on January 2…. a short list of goals I aspire to reach in 2015. Strangely enough, all of them are food related.

Go figure.

Anyhoo, aside from figuring out how to keep my dogs from fighting (what’s up with them, seriously?), the first item on my list was sourdough bread. Now, you may remember that I have successfully started my starter (which sounds redundant, if you ask me), and thus made my first attempt at homemade sourdough bread last week.

Ummmm….. it didn’t turn out so well……. like not-edible-didn’t-turn-out-so-well. It wasn’t the taste, it was the texture. I am not deterred, though, and will make a second attempt this week. Wish me luck.

The next item on my list was Overnight Oats in a Jar, which I am ecstatic to report was a huge success! I will be posting it within the next few days and even though I’m the only one that will eat it, I will definitely be making it again.

Another project I’m working on is deciding the best format my recipe collection. I’m torn between continuing my blog versus utilizing and completely switching over to the Paprika app. J and I have been using it quite a bit lately and I’m flummoxed as to which is the better option. My blog was originally set up as a site for all of our favorite recipes, so the posse (and myself) would have easy access to them. However, as technology continues to advance, and I continue to never make the same recipe twice, I’m just not sure which format is best for my raison d’etre.

This indecisiveness is normal for me on any given day, but that’s another story…. check back tomorrow and I’m sure I will have changed my mind once again.

Or not…

 

 

Happy New Year 2015!

Today marks the beginning of a brand new year – full of potential, possibilities, dreams, hopes, and absolutely no limits.

And for us, no hangover.

Our NYE was a low key affair, complete with this recipe for fried fish, and this recipe for beignets. We all just hung out, chatted, listened to music and the fireworks going off outside, and polished firearms.

Say what?!!! Well, at least one family member did – who shall remain nameless.

Never a dull moment around here….

Later on, J will make his Maw Maw’s traditional pork roast with sauerkraut, and we will work on the floorplan for the house, making sure that we have enough cabinet space to store all of our gizmos and gadgets. Which roughly translates to, we have figured out that we need a LOT more room.

As Dad so aptly put it, “It’s your house, make it your way”.

Very sage advice indeed.

Happy New Year!

My Top 12 of 2014

Well friends…… we are rapidly approaching the finish line for 2014.

It doesn’t seem possible that we have been in Texas for over 8 months now, it feels like we have been here forever. What’s really fascinating to me though, is that I vaguely remember living in Las Vegas, yet we (the posse and I) lived there for almost 12 years. However, I’m hard pressed to recall and/or remember much of what happened during that time.

Honestly, it’s probably better that way.

2014 was most definitely a year to remember, starting with J and I embarking on our two day road trip to Austin on January 2, and culminating on December 25 with the biggest news of the year:

I’m engaged!!

J presented me with the most beautiful ring on Christmas morning, and now 5 days later, I still can’t believe it. Mom and Dad were quite thrilled with the news, as were the posse. Hard to fathom that not only will 2015 see our home built, but that a wedding will take place as well.

It will be quite a year indeed. 

So as we bid adieu to 2014, here is my Top 12 list of recipes that I will absolutely, positively make again and again. The photos may not be stellar, but one can only hope that my photography improves in 2015.

AugustOreo Cream Cake
DecemberLeek and Greens Pie

 

Thoughts and Randomness

So here we are, Turkey Day is less than twelve hours away and I haven’t a clue what we are doing for dinner. Let me clarify – I have no idea what we are doing for dinner tonight, much less any idea what we are doing for Thanksgiving dinner.

And I love it.

With the posse away and Mom/Dad vetoing the idea of a Texas-style Thanksgiving, it’s going to be just J and I. It’s kind of funny when you have every possible option open for dinner, you find yourself… stuck and unable to make a decision.

Do you take the traditional route and have turkey, stuffing, gravy? Or, throw caution to the wind and have a smoked barbecue brisket?

It could happen, you know. 

In the interim, our house looks like a war zone. J and I have several fun projects in the works which I hopefully will be able to document for future reference.

Stay tuned……