miniature pumpkin cheesecakes with cinnamon crust…

via williams sonoma

These fanciful little desserts are perfect for entertaining and are ideal for an autumn buffet. The graham cracker crust is seasoned with a touch of cinnamon, echoing the warm spices in the pumpkin filling.

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1⁄2 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbs. sugar

For the filling:

  • 1 cup pecan pumpkin butter
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1⁄2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 14 oz. cream cheese
  • 1⁄3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Preheat an oven to 325°F. Lightly butter the wells of a miniature pumpkin cheesecake pan.

To make the crusts, in a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, butter and sugar and stir until blended. Divide the mixture among the prepared wells. Using a shot glass or other small glass, press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the wells.

Bake until the crusts are set, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.

To make the filling, in a small bowl, stir together the pumpkin butter, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the vanilla. Add the pumpkin mixture and beat until completely blended, about 1 minute. Pour the batter into the crusts, dividing it evenly among the wells.

Bake until the filling is set and puffed but not cracked, 23 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before unmolding.

To unmold, press an index finger through the hole in the base of each well and push up to remove the cheesecake and the metal disk. Carefully slide a small spatula underneath the cheesecake to remove it from the disk, then transfer to a platter. Makes 12 miniature cheesecakes.


…my pirate name

My pirate name is:
Mad Bess Kidd

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. Even though you’re not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.


50 Rules for Dads of Daughters…

…from dates to diapers

1. Love her mom. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is. I’d prefer good.

2. Always be there. Quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. Hang out together for no other reason than just to be in each other’s presence. Be genuinely interested in the things that interest her. She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage. Don’t just sit idly by while she add years to her… add life to her years.

3. Save the day. She’ll grow up looking for a hero. It might as well be you. She’ll need you to come through for her over and over again throughout her life. Rise to the occasion. Red cape and blue tights optional.

4. Savor every moment you have together. Today she’s crawling around the house in diapers, tomorrow you’re handing her the keys to the car, and before you know it, you’re walking her down the aisle. Some day soon, hanging out with her old man won’t be the bees knees anymore. Life happens pretty fast. You better cherish it while you can.

5. Pray for her. Regularly. Passionately. Continually.

6. Buy her a glove and teach her to throw a baseball. Make her proud to throw like a girl… a girl with a wicked slider.

7. She will fight with her mother. Choose sides wisely.

8. Go ahead. Buy her those pearls.

9. Of course you look silly playing peek-a-boo. You should play anyway.

10. Enjoy the wonder of bath time.

11. There will come a day when she asks for a puppy. Don’t over think it. At least one time in her life, just say, “Yes.”

12. It’s never too early to start teaching her about money. She will still probably suck you dry as a teenager… and on her wedding day.

13. Make pancakes in the shape of her age for breakfast on her birthday. In a pinch, donuts with pink sprinkles and a candle will suffice.

14. Buy her a pair of Chucks as soon as she starts walking. She won’t always want to wear matching shoes with her old man.

15. Dance with her. Start when she’s a little girl or even when she’s a baby. Don’t wait ‘til her wedding day.

16. Take her fishing. She will probably squirm more than the worm on your hook. That’s OK.

17. Learn to say no. She may pitch a fit today, but someday you’ll both be glad you stuck to your guns.

18. Tell her she’s beautiful. Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or “beauty” magazine will try to convince her otherwise.

19. Teach her to change a flat. A tire without air need not be a major panic inducing event in her life. She’ll still call you crying the first time it happens.

20. Take her camping. Immerse her in the great outdoors. Watch her eyes fill with wonder the first time she sees the beauty of wide open spaces. Leave the iPod at home.

21. Let her hold the wheel. She will always remember when daddy let her drive.

22. She’s as smart as any boy. Make sure she knows that.

23. When she learns to give kisses, she will want to plant them all over your face. Encourage this practice.

24. Knowing how to eat sunflower seeds correctly will not help her get into a good college. Teach her anyway.

25. Letting her ride on your shoulders is pure magic. Do it now while you have a strong back and she’s still tiny.

26. It is in her nature to make music. It’s up to you to introduce her to the joy of socks on a wooden floor.

27. If there’s a splash park near your home, take her there often. She will be drawn to the water like a duck to a puddle.

28. She will eagerly await your return home from work in the evenings. Don’t be late.

29. If her mom enrolls her in swim lessons, make sure you get in the pool too. Don’t be intimidated if there are no other dads there. It’s their loss.

30. Never miss her birthday. In ten years she won’t remember the present you gave her. She will remember if you weren’t there.

31. Teach her to roller skate. Watch her confidence soar.

32. Let her roll around in the grass. It’s good for her soul. It’s not bad for yours either.

33. Take her swimsuit shopping. Don’t be afraid to veto some of her choices, but resist the urge to buy her full-body beach pajamas.

34. Somewhere between the time she turns three and her sixth birthday, the odds are good that she will ask you to marry her. Let her down gently.

35. She’ll probably want to crawl in bed with you after a nightmare. This is a good thing.

36. Few things in life are more comforting to a crying little girl than her father’s hand. Never forget this.

37. Introduce her to the swings at your local park. She’ll squeal for you to push her higher and faster. Her definition of “higher and faster” is probably not the same as yours. Keep that in mind.

38. When she’s a bit older, your definition of higher and faster will be a lot closer to hers. When that day comes, go ahead… give it all you’ve got.

39. Holding her upside down by the legs while she giggles and screams uncontrollably is great for your biceps. WARNING: She has no concept of muscle fatigue.

40. She might ask you to buy her a pony on her birthday. Unless you live on a farm, do not buy her a pony on her birthday. It’s OK to rent one though.

41. Take it easy on the presents for her birthday and Christmas. Instead, give her the gift of experiences you can share together.

42. Let her know she can always come home. No matter what.

43. Remember, just like a butterfly, she too will spread her wings and fly some day. Enjoy her caterpillar years.

44. Write her a handwritten letter every year on her birthday. Give them to her when she goes off to college, becomes a mother herself, or when you think she needs them most.

45. Learn to trust her. Gradually give her more freedom as she gets older. She will rise to the expectations you set for her.

46. When in doubt, trust your heart. She already does.

47. When your teenage daughter is upset, learning when to engage and when to back off will add years to YOUR life. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

48. Ice cream covers over a multitude of sins. Know her favorite flavor.

49. This day is coming soon. There’s nothing you can do to be ready for it. The sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be.

50. Today she’s walking down the driveway to get on the school bus. Tomorrow she’s going off to college. Don’t blink.


…chai smores. omg.

…via design*sponge

Chai Tea S’Mores
Makes 8–10 crackers, depending on desired size, and 4–5 s’mores

Chai Tea Graham Crackers

  • 1/4 cup & two teaspoons loose-leaf masala chai tea (black tea blended with ginger, clove, cardamom, cinnamon)
  • 2.5 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into small squares and frozen)
  • 1/3 cup honey (wildflower adds a rich flavor)
  • 5 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

(Adapted from Nancy Silverton’s Pastries via 101cookbooks.com)

Preparation

1. Add 5 tablespoons of whole milk to a small saucepan. Heat on medium-high until steaming. Remove from heat. Add two teaspoons of loose-leaf masala chai tea to the infuser and steep in milk for 6 minutes. Remove infuser. Let cool to room temperature.

2. Whisk chai tea-infused milk, pure vanilla extract and honey in a small bowl. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup of the dry loose-leaf masala chai tea leaves, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

3. Mix with a handheld mixer or food processor. Add in pieces of chilled butter and stir/pulse to incorporate.

4. Pour in wet ingredients and mix until dough starts to come together. The dark brown dough should be soft and speckled with bits of black tea leaves and masala chai spices.

5. Sprinkle counter with flour and work the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Cover in plastic and chill in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 2 hours.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dust the counter and rolling pin with flour, and roll out the dough into a large rectangle about 1/8 of an inch thick (keep in mind that the dough will rise and you want to be able to bite through the s’more).

7. Cut out 8 to 10 4-inch by 4-inch squares of dough (wrap and chill scraps for a second small batch of tiny crackers for tea). Using a spatula, gently remove each dough square from the counter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pop the sheet into freezer for 10 minutes to quickly chill until firm.

8. Remove crackers from freezer and, using a toothpick, draw a line down the center of each cracker and prick a few dotted rows to create an authentic graham cracker appearance. (Note: Don’t break through the dough.) 

Bake for 20 minutes until firm and slightly brown (rotate sheet at 10 minutes for even baking). Let cool before assembling s’mores.

Oven-Roasted Chai Tea S’mores

Assemble the S’mores:

  • Chai Tea Graham Crackers (see above)
  • Whimsy & Spice homemade cardamom marshmallows
  • 2 large chocolate bars broken into 2-inch pieces (I recommend milk chocolate for a creamy finish, but dark works well, too)
  • powdered sugar (for topping)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place half of the graham crackers on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (these will be the bottom half of your s’mores). Top each with 1 to 2 Cardamom Marshmallows (remember that they will expand when baked in the oven).

2. Place the sheet in the oven and bake for 4 minutes until the edges of the marshmallows have browned.

3. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. 

Immediately top the hot marshmallows with pieces of chocolate. The heat of the marshmallows will perfectly melt the chocolate pieces. Top with remaining graham crackers. Sprinkle each s’more with powdered sugar. I recommend eating at least one right away. But if you’re taking them along to share with friends, tie them up with string to keep the sweet sandwiches intact.


cheesecake stuffed strawberries….wow

…via the sweets life

omg, i may add chocolate to this! A-mazing!

Ingredients:
-1 lb large strawberries
-8 oz. cream cheese, softened (can use 1/3 less fat)
-3-4 tbsp powdered sugar (4 tsp for a sweeter filling)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-graham cracker crumbs

Directions:
1. Rinse strawberries and cut around the top of the strawberry. Remove the top and clean out with a paring knife, if necessary (some may already be hollow inside). Prep all strawberries and set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add cream cheese mix to a piping bag or ziploc with the corner snipped off. Fill strawberries with cheesecake mixture. Once strawberries are filled, dip the top in graham cracker crumbs. If not serving immediately, refrigerate until serving.


…new life, old vases

…via catersource

Have you ever walked through your warehouse and wondered where all those assorted glass vases crammed on your shelves came from? You bought them for events, thinking guests would take the centerpieces home with them, but dozens were left on the tables. Too nice to throw away, you thought, “Maybe I can use them later” and hauled them back to the warehouse, where they seemed to multiply somehow.

Here’s a fun and very easy way to give those discarded glass vases new life. Typically, frosting glass is done by sandblasting or acid etching, however, there are products that achieve the same effect with very little effort and expense.

You will need:
• Glass vases (you can use vases that are scratched).
• Painters tape.
• Decals (optional).
• Frosting spray paint (purchased at hardware or craft stores).
• Glass cleaner.

How to frost the vases:

• Clean and dry the vases you’re going to use.
• Use painter’s tape or decals to make a design on each vase. Remember, the glass will be clear where tape is placed. Make sure the edge of tape is secure to glass to prevent paint seepage.
• Shake the spray paint vigorously.
• Hold the paint can 6 inches from a vase and spray evenly in a horizontal motion. I used just one coat for the vases shown in the photos. For a more opaque look, spray on a second coat.
• Let the paint dry for 15 minutes.
• Slowly peel off the tape or decal from each vase.
• Smudges and marks can be removed with a clean cloth and glass cleaner.

There are many ways to use these rejuvenated vases—especially for the holiday season, when “frost” is so appropriate. You can use them with florals, as buffet centerpieces, to hold food, to serve as risers or more.

A great upsell is to suggest to clients that they personalize their event with
a monogram or corporate logo on frosted vases.

Use this easy and inexpensive effect at your next event!


lemon raspberry breakfast…

…via Joy the Baker via Food and Wine

For the Dough:

1 cup milk (I used 2 percent)

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted buttered, softened to room temperature

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup for kneading, plus more for sprinkling the counter

For the Filling:

1 heaping cup fresh raspberries (if using frozen, do not thaw)

1/3 cup sugar plus 1/2 cup sugar for dusting

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, browned and slightly cooled

For the Glaze:

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

To make the dough:

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the milk to about 95 degrees.  Pour the warm milk into the bow of an electric stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment.  Stir the sugar and yeast into the warm milk and let sit for 5 to 7 minutes.  The yeast will foam and bubble.  That’s how you know it’s alive.  After frothy, add the butter, eggs, lemon zest, and sea salt to the yeast mixture.  Add 4 1/4 cups flour.  Beat on low speed with the paddle attachment for 2 minutes.  Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and replace the paddle with a dough hook.  Beat dough with the dough hook on medium speed for about 10 minutes.

Dust a clean counter with flour.  Scrape the dough out onto the work surface.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of flour and knead for about 2 minutes.  Dough will be soft and slightly sticky.  That’s right!

Place dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl.  Sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and place in a slightly warm place to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

While dough rises, grease a 9×13-inch pan with butter.  Set aside.

To make the filling:

In a medium bowl toss together raspberries, sugar, lemon zest, and cornstarch.  Crush the raspberries just slightly as  you stir.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter until it is browned and fragrant.  Set aside to cool slightly.

To assemble the rolls:

When the dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a floured work surface and gently knead for 1 minute.  Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a roughly 10×20-inch rectangle.

Spread the butter over the dough.  Spread the filling over the dough.  Raspberries will be here and there across the dough.  Sprinkle the dough and fruit with 1/2 cup granulated sugar.

Working quickly, tightly roll up the dough into a 20-inch long log.  Cut the log into quarters, then cut each quarter into 3 pieces.  Carefully and quickly lift the rolls into the prepared pan.  The rolls will release juice into the bottom if the pan.  That’s fine!  Cover pan with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place for 1 hour, until puffed.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Bake rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and bubbling.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

To make the glaze:

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, lemon juice, and water.  Drizzle glaze over cooled rolls and serve.  Rolls are best served the day they are made but will last up to 3 days well wrapped at room temperature.


…skate glasses!

Shwood makes these awesome opposum things i must have!

…thanks Honestly WTF


neat: DIY song lyric wallart…

…from a beautiful mess

http://abeautifulmess.typepad.com/my_weblog/2011/08/song-lyric-wall-art-diy-project.html

 


easy little bread…

Easy Little Bread Recipe

1 1/4 cups / 300 ml warm water (105-115F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
1 tablespoon runny honey
1 cup / 4.5 oz / 125 g unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup / 5 oz / 140 g whole wheat flour
1 cup / 3.5 oz / 100 g rolled oats (not instant oats)
1 1/2 teaspoons fine grain sea salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted, for brushing

In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water and stir until the yeast dissolves. Stir in the honey and set aside for a few minutes, until the yeast blooms and swells a bit – 5 – 10 minutes.

In the meantime, mix the flours, oats, and salt in a large bowl. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir very well.

Brush a 8-cup loaf pan generously with some of the melted butter. Turn the dough into the tin, cover with a clean, slightly damp cloth, and set in a warm place for 30 minutes, to rise.

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C, with a rack in the middle. When ready, bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, until golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan. I finish things up by leaving the bread under the broiler for just a heartbeat – to give the top a bit deeper color. Remove from oven, and turn the bread out of the pan quickly. Let it cool on a rack so it doesn’t steam in the pan. Serve warm, slathered with butter.

Makes 1 loaf.

Adapted from Gran’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Notebooks of Dulcie May Booker.

Prep time: 10 min – Cook time: 35 min
…via 101 cookbooks