Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Night

Wil and his friend Evan going out for the evening dressed as cowboys.
I don't think they look typical halloweenish at all.
I think they look quite nice!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Total Relaxation

See these cat paws? They're hanging off the edge of the sofa.
I think Ollie is totally relaxed, without a care in the world.
How nice!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I love pumpkin pie. I love cheesecake. I really love this pumpkin cheesecake. And with Halloween and Thanksgiving just around the corner the timing on this one is perfect! And guess what else. I just remembered that last year about this time I posted a recipe for Individual Pumpkin Cheesecakes.

Well, here is a recipe for a big cheesecake. I found the recipe on-line but failed to write the website down. The writer said it was from Bon Apetit, but when I looked on the Bon Apetit website I couldn't find it. That doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't from them but they may not have put it on line or something.

ANYWAY, on to the recipe!

The ingredients are: 1 1/2 C ground gingersnap cookies; 1 1/2 C toasted pecans (about 6 oz.); 1/4 C brown sugar; 1/4 C melted butter; 4 8 oz pkgs cream cheese at room temperature; 1 2/3 C sugar; 1 1/2 C canned pumpkin; 9 T whipping cream; 1 t ground cinnamon; 1 t ground allspice; 4 large eggs; 1 T caramel sauce; 1 C sour cream.
Preheat the oven to 350°.

FOR THE CRUST: It's not really hard to toast your nuts. (Insert funny joke here.) Simply put them in a pan over medium high heat and constantly stir til toasted to your liking. Or if you want to get fancy you can practice flipping the nuts in the pan.
After the nuts are toasted grind them along with the gingersnap cookies, brown sugar, and melted butter.
Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a springform pan. Remember the trick to help press the mix more solid and make a better corner? Use a flat bottomed glass or measuring cup. It really helps.
Now here's where the recipe (I think) is missing a step. It didn't say anything about cooking the crust. I've always baked my cheesecake crusts first so I cooked the crust for five minutes. In retrospect I think it probably could have gone another five minutes.

FOR THE FILLING: Beat the cream cheese and sugar until light. Transfer 3/4 C of the mix to a small bowl, cover with plastic and refrigerate until tomorrow.
To the rest of the cream cheese mixture add the pumpkin, 4 T cream, and spices. Mix. Add the eggs, one at a time, mix well.
Pour filling into the crust. Bake until cheesecake puffs, the top browns, and the center moves only slightly when the pan is shaken--about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Transfer to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen. Cool the cake completely, cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator over night.

The next day bring the remaining 3/4 C cream cheese mixture to room temperature. Add 5 T whipping cream and mix well. Press down on the cheesecake to even thickness. Pour over the cheesecake and spread evenly over the top.
Spoon caramel sauce in lines over the cheesecake. Swirl with knife tip into mixture. (I'm pretty sure I used more than 1 T of the caramel sauce.)

Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover tightly with plastic and refrigerate.

The directions advised to "spoon sour cream into pastry bag with star tip, decorate border and serve". I ended up not using the sour cream and I can't say I missed it at all.

I kind of messed up on the lines, but you get the idea. And anyway, it was delicious!
Pumpkin Cheesecake (Bon Apetit)

1 1/2 C ground gingersnap cookies
1 1/2 C toasted pecans (6 oz.)
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C melted butter
4 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
1 2/3 C sugar
1 1/2 C canned pumpkin
9 T whipping cream
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t ground allspice
4 large eggs
1 T caramel sauce
1 C sour cream

CRUST: Preheat oven to 350°. Grind cookies, pecans, brown sugar. Add melted butter, blend to combine. Press into bottom and sides of a 9" springform pan w/2 3/4" sides. Bake 5 minutes.

FILLING: Beat cream cheese and sugar until light. Transfer 3/4 C mix to small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Add pumpkin, 4 T whipping cream, cinnamon, allspice and mix well. Add eggs one at a time. Mix well.

Pour filling into crust, bake until cake puffs, top browns, and center moves only slightly when pan is shaken--about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Transfer to rack and cool 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen. Cool, cover tightly with plastic wrap, refrigerate over night.

The next day bring the remaining 3/4 C cream cheese mixture to room temperature. Add 5 T whipping cream and mix well. Press down on cheesecake to even thickness. Pour cream cheese/whipping cream mixture over cake and spread evenly. Spoon caramel sauce in lines over cheesecake. Swirl with knife tip into mixture.

Can be prepared one day ahead. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Release pan sides from cheesecake. Spoon sour cream into pastry bag with star tip, decorate border and serve.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Deviled Egg Eyeballs

This weekend I made an appetizer and a desert for this month's bunco. For the appetizers I made my deviled eggs and tried to make them look like eyeballs.
I sliced black olives and put them in the middle to represent the iris. I cut cilantro leaves down the center and carefully placed them on the top to represent the eyelashes. I always like to have a half regular/half hot mix of deviled eggs, so on half of the eggs I sprinkled chipotle chili powder. It kind of looks like bloodshot eyes.
This is about as Martha Stewart-ish that I get.

(Stay tuned for pumpkin cheesecake recipe!)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pruning A La Bovine

This weekend I took down the fence surrounding my fruit trees so I could mow that area. It'll probably be the last time we mow this year.

After I mowed the fruit tree area I cleaned up the back yard and mowed that area. Then I topped all the animal water tanks and eventually let the cows out. I got distracted along the way and ended up in the house.

About an hour later my husband asked if I had put the fence back up around the trees. No, I had forgotten! When I ran out to put the fence up I noted with some relief there was only one mishap with the trees.

Pruning a la bovine: not recommended!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Day On The Job

Wil took the camera to his work a few days ago and came back with a bunch of photos. These are just some.
This photo shows what his job is all about. If you look in the center of this picture you will see a black streak. Click on the photo and you will see that it is oil leaking from a pipeline.
One of the refineries.

This is an oilfield worker who always hoots and hollers and jumps around like a maniac whenever Wil and his pilot fly over.

And just to prove it here is the same guy in another location.

This is Randy, one of the pilots. Randy is our next door neighbors son and helped Wil get this job. Thanks, Randy for getting Wil his job and flying safely!

Monday, October 19, 2009

On Display

Here we go again. Clyde is so intrigued with one of the new displays in the entertainment center cabinet.
He sat there staring at it for the longest time. In fact, from the moment it jumped up there.
It was Ollie, the silly fluff ball cat.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cat & Dog

I can't figure out if Clyde thinks the cat is so fascinating or he wants to lay in the spot Ollie is in. Silly dog!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dark And Stormy

It's a dark and stormy day today, a nice change up from the usual. The only wierd thing is how warm it is. I hope we get some rain as is predicted. If I had a good book to read and it was colder this would be perfect to sit by a crackling fire with a mug of hot chocolate and my book.

I guess it's back to the laundry and filing for me today.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009


The avacadoes are ready for picking! Despite being crowded by an invasive Camphor tree our little avacado tree has produced three avacadoes this year.
Avacadoes are one of my favorite fruits.
My mouth is watering just thinking about a delicious bowl of fresh guacamole with some chips! Or how about a BLTA sandwich. Or halved avacadoes filled with butter sauteed onions and salad shrimp. Or even just plain slices of avacado?


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Inedible Salty Chicken

My sister made this chicken for me a few years ago. She recently borrowed it to show an art teacher and we also took some photos at the same time. I thought it would be a good excuse to show you all too.
Do you recognize the medium? (The hint is in the title of this post.)
It was carved out of a block of iodized salt (as in what you give to horses or cows). She borrowed my Dremel tool to do the carving. Of course it ended up ruining that particular tool because the salt corroded it, but I ended up getting the Roto Zip which I absolutely adore!
This is the only chicken I allow in my house.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Talented People

I have made a few hypertufa pots, and I give myself credit for getting my friends involved. Little did I know what I was starting!

My friend Vicki and her husband have been going hog wild with making the hypertufa pots. Once they got the basics down they started embellishing the pots with carved designs and most spectacularly adding shells to the outside.

Here are just a few examples. This is a two tiered pot that fits on the rail of the porch.

I love this little feature! It's a drainage hole that incorporates the shells in a unique way.

Some more rail pots.
A "regular" pot.
Two pots on either side of the front door. After this picture was taken the existing plants were replaced with matching golden cypress. (The other pot on the right was a purchased pot.)

I only hope that one of these days I'll be able to make something so beautiful too!