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The Better Way to Get Dressed in a Pinch

September 27, 2012

Class has been in session for one month, and the days of me waking up an hour in advance to get ready are already long gone. It's because I'm far too lazy busy dedicating every extra minute to studying. But anyway, I have perfected my recipe for getting dressed in the morning; it takes less than 20 minutes and I still manage to look presentable to the public.
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On most days I select a pair of jeans, a button down, a cardigan, and a light vest or jacket. Keeping most things neutral and accessories simple also helps to speed up the process. My large Michael Kors bag serves as my backpack; my watch is necessary for calculating how much more of a boring class I have to suffer through; and the aviators hide lack of sleep/an unmade-up face. 
I would just like to say that I did own a pair of smoking slippers long before I saw them in the magazines. They are a classic comfort, but I hate looking like I'm following a trend. Therefore I hope the smoking slipper fad dies quickly.

Do you guys have tips for getting dressed in a pinch?


The Better Cheesecake Topped with Snickers

September 22, 2012

After much research I have learned the perfect cheesecake making techniques that will get you a silky, crack free dessert. 
Step 1: Line cover the bottom of your spring foam pan with foil
Step 2: Wrap foil around the whole pan to prevent water from seeping in (pictured above)
Step 3: Use ROOM TEMPERATURE ingredients (if it seems like I'm yelling here it's because I am)
Step 4: Make sure crust cools COMPLETELY before pouring filling
Step 5: Strain filling with a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps
Step 6: Cook in a water bath
Step 7: Do not cook completely; there should be some center jiggle
Step 8: Allow to cool in an open oven with heat turned off
Step 9: Refrigerate for at least 24 hours
Although I used this recipe from My Baking Addiction, cheesecake is and will forever remain the most versatile dessert. A little lemon in the filling and voila it's the perfect treat to be topped with berries. It's also a great way to use leftover cookies (in the crust) or your favorite chocolate andy bar (roughly chopped and sprinkled on top). YUM-O!

The Better Mini Sandwiches

September 17, 2012

I've said it before and I'll say it again with just as much conviction: everything tastes better in mini form. I've known this since I was in pre-schoo,l and my refined toddler pallet had a preference for petite finger food with no crust. Fast forward 15 years and still, not much has changed. I made two varieties the classic PB&J and a BLT. Both of which were taken to new levels of sophistication by their small size. 
To get the perfect sized bred rounds I used a mini cup, also seen in this post.
However, be warned that doing this does result in a lot of excess bread. I felt bad about tossing it so I saved it in a plastic bag and will be using it later for bread pudding. Resourceful? I think so.
A mandolin is key here for slicing the tomato. Usually I'm a fan of the big, thick slices on sandwiches and burgers, but those kinds of tomato slices have no place on a mini sandwich. Every thing here is about being cute and delicate.

The Better Watermelon Slushie

September 11, 2012

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{These photos were taken literally less than 1 minute apart; it's that good}

Juice of 1 lemon 
4 pounds of diced, seedless watermelon
1 cup of simple syrup
4 cups ice

1. Place watermelon in blender and liquify
2. Pour in simple syrup* and lemon juice
3. Either add ice to blender for a slushy consistency or pour mixture over ice cubes
*To make simple syrup place 4 cups of sugar and 1.5 cups of water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves.


The Better Carrot Cake

September 06, 2012

To be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of carrot cake. The idea of a vegetable getting anywhere near my dessert is rather off putting, and the thought makes me grimace. But since other people go wild for it, and that includes my father, I decided I'd make one using a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. For those of you that don't know I am a big Deb fan and would gladly marry her. Unfortunately my dowry is just not large enough to tempt her away from her family...but I digress. The point is that I trust her recipes.
{To keep the cake stand clean I like to put strips of parchment paper around the edges and pull them out when it's time for the cake to be served}
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 It turns out that Deb is so magical that even I, hater of carrot cake, went back for a second, third, fourth, and even fifth bite. I was defiantly behaving like one of those kids that likes the food you feed them until you tell them there's something healthy in it. Only I'm worse because no amount of carrots will counterbalance the sugar and butter, but that's not the point. For the quadruple layer cake I doubled this recipe and baked the cakes in two 9x2 cake pans. 

The Better Berry Lemonade

September 02, 2012

I am a firm believer that when life gives you lemons (or any fruit for that matter) you head to the kitchen make a lemon debutant cake, a lemon pound cake, lemon bars, and a batch of lemonade. Life has not handed me any lemons as of late, so I went to smart and final and bought two large bags. Usually while listening to my favorite podcast I will zest and juice the lemons then put everything in the freezer for future use.

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*½ cup berry puree
½ cup lemon juice
**½ cup simple syrup
4 cups sparkling water (still works too)

1. In a heat proof bowl mix simple syrup and berry puree
2. Microwave syrup-berry mixture on high for 4 minutes
3. Remove from microwave and whisk vigorously
4. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve
5. In a pitcher mix syrup-berry mixture, lemon juice, and water
6. Serve over ice

*To make berry puree blend your favorite berries (fresh or frozen) until smooth. If using frozen berries thaw and first before adding to blender.
** To make simple syrup place 4 cups of sugar and 1½ cups water in saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves