Cheesecake Brownie Cupcakes

23 Dec

So, tomorrow is my office Christmas party. We see patients until 11:45, then as soon as the docs are done we all file out in the waiting room & eat, play games, & do our final Kris Kringle exchange. The docs buy the main dish (which this year is Zea’s grilled chicken & BBQ ribs.. YUM) & we pot luck the rest. I decided to bring brownies, but since I knew I was going to be baking them after work I didn’t really want to do them from scratch. So I decided on a box of Pillsbury Cheesecake Brownies. Two of my favorites mixed together, totally has to be awesome.

Then I got home tonight, & realized “OH NO!” because I had brownies still in my brownie pan. There’s no way I was shoving them down my throat all at once, & I didn’t feel like dirtying another plate anyway. My decision? Cheesecake Brownie Cupcakes, & I could just cut them in half to make more servings. I doubt most of the office would eat them anyway, we seem to have some very picky eaters & very few cheesecake lovers. Here was my process.

I started with all of the usual ingredients. I figured I would do a smidge of decorating with Pillsbury Easy Frost Frosting & some chocolate sprinkles.
CB Ingredients.

First step was to preheat my oven. The box says 350 degrees, but my oven is wacky & electric so I always do 25 degrees lower. I also had to use some baking spray on my cupcake pan. Since I was cutting in half, the brownie mix had to go directly into the individual cups with no liners.

Next step was to mix my brownie mix & cheesecake mix (for some reason I had a brain fart & only took a photo of the brownie mix – not that you’re missing much. haha.):
CB mix

Then I had to pour my brownie mix into the pan, & spoon cheesecake batter on top of the brownie mix:
CB mix in cupcake pan

The box then tells you to run a knife through to create swirls. I was unsure of how this would work, since I was doing individual brownies as opposed to a full pan. So, I started in the middle and moved my knife in a swirl pattern such as the following:
Swirly pattern

This was the outcome (you will notice I ran out of batter before I could fill the final cup):
CB swirl brownies

Pop them into the oven:
CB in oven

Cooking time was somewhere between 15-20 minutes, I’m not sure of the specifics. I just kind of checked them every now & then. After I took them out, I used a knife around the edges of the pan for easy removal & used the same knife to cut the brownies in half. I put them on my pretty glass platter, and use my Pillsbury Easy Frost Frosting & chocolate sprinkles to decorate some of them. Here’s my finished products:
Finished CB

I am having a really, really hard time not eating a whole brownie right now. I love brownies. I love cheesecake. They are my two major weaknesses. I could literally eat a whole pan or cake all by myself, in one sitting. Luckily, my husband helps with that little problem. My brownies up there are far from professional, but I bet they taste AWESOME.

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Celebrity Boyfriend – Allen Haff

22 Dec

Allen Haff

Name: Allen Haff
DOB: 10/15/1969
Age: 41
Short bio: Born & raised in Michigan. Owned his first antique company by the age of 24, after buying & selling his way through college. Volunteers for several animal support groups. Best known for television series “Clean House” & “Auction Hunters”.

My Unrealistic Christmas Wishlist.

20 Dec

JSYK, it’s highly unlikely that any of these things will be under my tree. Everyone is giving me money to spend on my trip to North Carolina to see my best friend, her husband, & their child.

Dream House
This is my dream house. It is two stories, four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, with a large backyard and lovely kitchen area. It is literally 5 seconds away from my parents & I could ideally raise our future family here. Oh, & I’m sure Jasper would appreciate the real back yard.

Mazda X9
Mazda X9. I have been in love with Mazda’s for the longest, especially their SUV’s. Simply put, my little 2004 Oldsmobile Alero is going to be a pain in my ass when it comes to babies & car seats.

Hot Pink iPod
An hot pink iPod. I couldn’t even tell you if I want mini, nano, whatever. As long as it is hot pink and holds music it would work for me.

Michael Kor's Faux Tortoise Watch
Michael Kor’s Faux Tortoise Watch. I have been lusting over this watch for a ridiculous two years & am no closer to having it in my grasp. DAMN.

Coach Kristin Pleated Satchel
It’s a purse & it’s by Coach.

Coach Kristin Checkbook Wallet
It’s by Coach, matches the purse I want by Coach, & can hold a checkbook. Important, because I am one of the very few people in their early 20-something’s that even use checks.

Coach Waverly Snow Queen Wristlet
For those occasional nights out with my friends where I really cannot be bothered with that beautiful masterpiece shown above.

Swarovski Blowing Kisses Figurine
Before I go any further with this wish list, let me make one thing clear. I am OBSESSED with Swarovski. I ooohhh & aaahh every single time I venture into my old workplace. I miss it so much, sometimes it hurts. I have a figurine they gave me when they hired me & I plan on collecting them eventually. I’ll be the old lady with fifty million knick knacks around every nook & cranny of her house. This one is, cutely, called “Blowing Kisses”.

Swarovski Helios Rosaline Moonlight Pendant
Did I mention that Swarovski also does jewelry?

Swarovski Silk Starfish Charm
Or that I have a charm bracelet by them that needs adding to?

Swarovski Moonlight Pierced Earrings
These are gorgeous. And would go PERFECTLY with my long growing hair.

Swarovski Mix Ring
I just like stackable rings. Yay Swarovski for making them!

Swarovski Leslie Set
I also like pink and hearts. I could easily wear this ALL THE TIME. I adore it.

And so, that concludes my unrealistic Christmas wishlist. I hope you enjoyed drooling over the pretties!

Just sayin’

19 Dec

The best Sunday breakfast EVER is buttered toast with strawberry jelly & cold stone hot cocoa in my snowman mug.

Strawberry Toast & CS Hot Cocoa

Fried Ravioli a la Stacey

18 Dec

So back when a group of us SG’s did the 1st Change Your Life Challenge, Stacey over at Every Little Thing posted her recipe for Toasted St Louis Raviolis.

I am ALWAYS looking for new recipes, because my husband is hard to please. He really doesn’t like to try new things & can be pretty picky. So, today, we ventured into the word of Ravioli. I tweeked the recipe, so that I could use thing we had in the kitchen already (if you look at Stacey’s recipe vs mine she uses different bread crumbs, & used garlic powder, whereas I used paprika).

The results? SO GOOD. Hubby said it was “pretty good”, which is saying a lot coming from him. If he doesn’t like something, he’ll take two bites & put it down. But he actually ate it ALL this time. SCORE! Below is my recipe, and I’ll include a link to the original recipe at Stacey’s blog at the very end of my post. (:

Fried Ravioli

Ingredients
1 package of 4 Cheese Ravioli
1 cup mixed shredded Italian cheese. I used Parm & Romano.
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 cups Progresso Italian-style Bread Crumbs
1 tbsp Paprika
Olive Oil, for frying
EVOO, for drizzling
1 Jar Classico Spicy Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce

Measurements are fluid, depending on the flavor you are going for & also for how many raviolis you’ll be making. Also, you can use any type of ravioli (such as meat filled, or spinach & cheese), cheese (think Asiago, Mozz, etc), bread crumbs, & seasoning. I just used what I already had on hand. Also, in the picture below you’ll see a cup with angel hair pasta noodles in it. This is because I wasn’t sure if JUST the ravioli would be ok with my husband, so I wanted it on hand just in case.

Ingredients

First step was to boil my raviolis. The packaging said to boil for 7-9 minutes, but I didn’t want them to be overcooked once fried so instead I boiled them for 4 minutes. While the raviolis were boiling, I did three things. 1. I set up my frying station by mixing my eggs & my milk in one bowl, & my shredded cheese, breadcrumbs, & paprika in another. 2. I fixed my salad we would be eating before the raviolis. 3. Preheated the olive oil so it would be ready for frying.

Boiling Raviolis

Frying Station

After the raviolis were done, I drained them & drizzled with EVOO to prevent sticking. (As suggested by Stacey). I then went to my frying station & dipped them in my milk/egg mixture & then coated them with the bread crumb mixture.

Coated raviolis

Now it was time to fry. So, into the olive oil the raviolis went. While they were taking their time cooking, I poured my tomato sauce into a small sauce pan to heat it. The only thing I wish I had was a deep fryer. It would have taken much less time to fry more at one time, as opposed to the 6-10 I was able to in our skillet.

Frying Raviolis

I let the raviolis cooks for two minutes on each side, or until golden brown on each side. Then I used a slotted spoon to scoop them out of the oil & into a bowl lined with paper towels (to soak up the extra oil).

Cooked Raviolis

By this time, my sauce was heated so it was time to eat! Unfortunately, it was at that exact moment that I got a random craving for Coca-Cola (which I rarely get, I try to stay away from soft drinks). Good thing we live 2.5 seconds away from a gas station. We left the sauce on simmer, and put the raviolis in the microwave while we ran down there to pick up my Coke. When we got back, the raviolis had cooled just enough to eat & the sauce temp was perfect! This trip took a grand total of 5-7 minutes, just for reference. Below is the finished product + my salad, which was comprised of romaine lettuce, cucumbers, & bacon bits. In my bowl I added shredded carrots, shredded Romano cheese, & spicy Ranch dressing. Hubs had his with Italian dressing.

Finished Raviolis with Sauce!

Salad

The whole process time took about 30-45 minutes, mostly because I could only fry a small amount of ravioli at a time. I assume it would have taken roughly 20 minutes if I had the deep fryer instead.

Also, I have a solution to Stacey’s “getting your hands dirty”. If you look at my photos, my frying station with the bread crumbs was in a tupperware bowl. If you put your bread crumb mixture in a tupperware bowl with a top, you could use a slotted spoon to move raviolis from the milk/egg mixture to the bread crumbs, put the lid on, & shake. Use another slotted spoon to move from bread crumb mixture to your frying oil. (:

Here is the link to Stacey’s original recipe. Enjoy!

Kidd Kraddick – The Tears Never Fail

18 Dec

Every year the Kidd Kraddick in the morning show does a bit called “Breaking & Entering”. Multiple families are nominated by someone they know. These families are struggling, & are usually the givers in these situations.

This years it was the Richard’s family. They were nominated by a friend, Carmen, to be chosen for Breaking & Entering. Here is Carmen’s letter to Kidd Kraddick about them:

Dear Kidd-

I’ve been friends with the family I’m writing you about for 5 years. It’s a wonderful family of 6 who has had a rough year. The mom is battling breast cancer and is in her third treatment. The oldest son was hit by a truck last year and now suffers behavioral and other issues as a result. Their middle son is autistic.

This family is always doing things for other people. They opened their home to a family of 5 after the parents got laid off from their jobs. They footed all the bills to help this family while they were down on their luck. They are very humble people who never ask for anything, but they are always first to volunteer their time, limited resources, or lend an ear to anyone who needs it. In fact at this time last year, they adopted a family who needed some extra help to make their holiday more special. Now my friends could use some extra help to give their family an amazing Christmas that will never be forgotten.

With medical bills for the special needs of two kids, plus recurring bills for cancer treatments and everything else that has happened this year, this family has fallen behind on everything. They are such an amazing family and try to live by God’s word in everything they do. The mom is super supportive of her kids and their activities in spite of what she is going through. Three of her kids are involved in a not for profit cheer and dance organization, and mom is there for every performance or competition, regardless of how she feels.

I’ve talked to them about Christmas this year and the mother told me that she would be making the majority of the kids Christmas gifts this year. I would love it if you guys could help make this the extra special Christmas that this family deserves. They are always putting others first, so I want them to know what it feels like to have a worry free Christmas that they will never forget.

I bawled the WHOLE way to work. It never fails, I cry EVERY year. Click here to see them in action!

The other families who have been nominated are posted here, so that hopefully someone else will adopt them & help them out. I have decided that next year I will look for a family in the GNO & adopt them as opposed to giving gifts to the millions of family members I have. These families are so much more in need than my family is, & I think it would be so fulfilling to help even ONE of them out. It makes me so grateful to know that I have a family who supports me, & that I am so blessed to not be in this type of situation. I don’t think I could hold it together like some of these people do. They are truly amazing.

BRRRRR It’s Cold in Here!

16 Dec

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about my trip to North Carolina lately. I’m SUPER excited, but I’m pretty worried it’s going to be freezing. For this reason, I have taken to browsing through multiple pages of multiple websites for peacoats. I think I have found the perfect one. I happened to find it on Overstock. Best part? It is only $47.99! YES. Every other peacoat I have found that is similar is $125+. If you’re curious:

London Fog Peacoat c/o Overstock

You can find it here.

The only thing I hate about buying clothing online is that my size seems to vary. I’m likely to have L measure me at work so I can figure out which size I need. Since it’s women’s sizing I’m thinking medium, but I’m not positive.

Any other suggestions for peacoats are welcome. I prefer red, and long. (: