Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Recipe of the Week: Nestle's Turtle Cheesecake



Well, hello! Are you ready for a show-stopping, back-teeth-tingling, rich and decadent dessert? You are? Well, read on, my lovelies. I've made this recipe twice now and it has turned out perfectly both times. I think I tore it out of a magazine years ago. I first made it for my mom's 60th birthday celebration. I took it to an upscale Spanish restaurant where we were celebrating, and because our server was so great, I offered him a slice. He took some to the kitchen, came back out, and asked me where I got it. Said the staff in the back was devouring it and they all wanted to know where it came from. The second time I made this special dessert was for my dear friend, Louisa's, baby shower. She's been craving chocolate throughout her pregnancy, so this seemed just the thing. Oh and one more thing: If you haven't made a cheesecake before, you should totally try it. It's not near as hard as it looks, and yet it makes a lasting impression.

Nestle's Turtle Cheesecake

CRUST:
1 3/4 c. chocolate graham cracker crumbs (I bought whole crackers, put them in a Ziploc bag and crushed them with a rolling pin)
1/3 c. unsalted butter

FILLING:
3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
3 T. lime juice
1 T. vanilla
1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T. chocolate syrup
2 T. caramel syrup
1/2 c. coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 c. semi-sweet mini morsels

Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease 9-inch springform pan. For Crust: Combine cracker crumbs and butter in medium bowl. Press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of prepared pan.

For Filling: Beat cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar, eggs, lime juice and vanilla extract; beat until combined.

Microwave 1 1/2 cups morsels in microwave-safe bowl on high for 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at additional 20-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Stir 2 cups of cheesecake batter into melted morsels; mix well. Alternately spoon batters into crust, beginning and ending with yellow batter.

Bake for 70 to 75 minutes or until edge is set and center moves slightly. The cheesecake may be raised above the rim of the pan, but it should deflate a little as it cools. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; run knife around edge of cheesecake. Cool completely. Drizzle chocolate and caramel syrups over cheesecake. Sprinkle with nuts and mini morsels. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove side of pan.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Office Space of My Dreams

Hello there. I'm having a stutter-start kind of week. You know...my engine is going but every time I put my foot on the gas, it stalls out on me. Tell me I'm not the only one! I feel as though this life of ours that we are building from the ground up is a very tall mountain at times. Sometimes I'm confident--even cocky--about how well we're juggling it all, and other days (like today) I feel like the wheels could come off at any moment. I will say this, though: It feels like we're on the right road despite the terrifying curves and steep hills. And when I came home tonight from a much-anticipated first Daisy Scout meeting with our kindergartner to find my husband entering expenses into Quickbooks while helping our oldest study her geography...and while I read through the girls' school papers and started some cornbread to go with the chili that was in the crock pot...and while we gathered to eat and laugh...and while I folded laundry while my daughter read to me upstairs while my husband read to our youngest downstairs...it all felt even more right despite the crazy amounts of multi-tasking that's required to keep the wheels ON.

But I majorly digress. The point of this post is to lament the state of affairs of our home office spaces. See, we embarked on this journey a bit unprepared and now that we're in the middle of running two businesses, there's no time to organize and prettify our spaces for the work that needs to happen in them. Basically, work gets done in spite of our work spaces. That's why I was so excited about Urban Girl when I found it. This small-ish, woman-owned business is a one-stop shop for everything office, and carries cute, fun and stylish home office accessories that will make me want to spend time at my desk. What I love most about this site is you can shop by color. Orange and blue office stuff isn't that easy to find, but Urban Girl has a lot of it! Not to mention, this company is owned by a woman, so she's bound to understand my multi-tasking needs.

You may remember my post about turning a closet into an office. While this was a huge improvement over working at the dining room table--and by that I mean a real game-changer--it hasn't looked that good since its debut back in January. Honestly, there are some things that really weren't that functional. I needed a spot for more desk supplies, so I added an old toolbox as a desk caddy, and that's been nice. But the bulletin board always looks junky, and I need more magazine files as well as a standing file holder. Here are some of my fave products on Urban Girl that I'm drooling over:


Blue Note Pads / Orange Magazine Box / Blue Legal Pads / Expressions Magic Tape / Stadium File / Pencil Sharpener / Kate Spade Spiral Notebook / Wooden Wall File Pocket / Tea


As I said, I love that I could find so many products in blues and oranges. Several of those orange magazine file holders would be great for all of my back issues of HGTV and Better Homes & Gardens. That Magic Tape would be fun to dress up the plain wooden file holder, don't you think? I've always wanted a wall-mount pencil sharpener for the girls to use when they do their homework. And work is just so much nicer with a mug of tea or coffee, right? What are your favorite office things? What couldn't you live without?

You May Like:


Desk in a Closet


Toolbox Desk Caddy

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Painted Mirror and Guest Room Updates

Hi there! Soooo...I've got this idea in my head. I want our guest room-slash-office to look kinda like this, with maybe not quite so many youthful patterns.


via


Here's where I'm at with that.



Clearly, I've got a long way to go with achieving this effect, but I've made some progress, the most recent coming in the form of spray painting a mirror I've had forever. It was once silver, then sponge-painted pink back in the eighties, then gold, then silver again, then black and now...this blue, which is much more fun.



This is what the mirror looked like before, by the way...



Leaning on the wall in this snooze-fest-of-a-corner, it was not realizing its full potential. In writing an article on mirrors, I realized that it was only reflecting the ceiling, which wasn't doing the room any good. The fresh, modern color along with its new placement has really helped it make a statement. (By the way, this furniture piece in the boring corner is currently empty, but I hope to paint it, too, and press it into service as storage for my home office. One day soon...) Also, in light of my recent article over on About.com on how to outfit a comfy guest room, I tried to tidy up this nightstand and add some little pretties.



Next up, a new throw, some new curtains, and a wall treatment I hope will add some wow! Oh, and some office organization, too. Sigh. I sometimes wish I didn't require sleep.

You May Like:


Top 4 Reasons Designers Love Mirrors


Essentials for a Guest-Ready Bedroom


Navy and Orange Guest Room Color Swap
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