Adventures in Cooking, Part 1

I am, by no means, a professional chef.  I don’t think I’ve got what it takes to be able to work in a professional kitchen, no matter what I may have dreamed once upon a time.  I wouldn’t even make it into the first round on Masterchef.  However, I do enjoy cooking and baking and I come from a long line (on both sides) of fantastic home cooks.

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Yarn and rosettes and ribbon, oh my!

To anyone that knows me, it’s clear that I have a crafting addiction.  I can’t get enough of it and I really do enjoy a variety of projects.  I crochet.  I’m learning to knit (or trying to at least). I sew, mostly home items like pillow covers and curtains.  I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty when it comes to a project and, in all honesty, I always just feel better when I’ve got something physical to show for my work.  There was a point in time a few years ago when I was simply too busy, too tired and too broke to do much crafting at all; my extremely limited down time consisted of falling asleep in front of the television.  That was, quite possibly, the most miserable time of my adult years and the moment I was able to get to a Michael’s and find some lovely wool-blend yarn and a crochet hook, I felt much, much better.  I was still stressed out, but the simple act of just starting a project was enough to improve my mood.   It’s a stress-relieving tactic I use still.

But you’re not here to be regaled with a lengthy diatribe about how I find personal satisfaction in the act of creation, are you?

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Fall Wreaths all around!

I freely admit to being inspired by Pinterest to break further out of my crafting shell.  There are just so many incredible projects that people are working on!  I can’t help but look at my feed and be inspired.  With the summer winding down, and a new house to decorate, I thought it was time to jump on the yarn wreath bandwagon and create a new, fall-themed wreath for our front door.

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Grandma Mary’s Cheese Pie

Before she passed, I managed to wheedle a few recipes out of my grandmother.  She was a baker by profession and was constantly cooking.   For as long as I can remember, though, this recipe of hers has been hotly contested.  She didn’t normally give it out, mostly because one of my uncles had asked for it some years back and entered it into a contest.  No one was surprised when it was awarded First Place, but he never attributed the recipe to her and that never set right with her.

I wouldn’t normally give this out, but she’s been gone several years now and, at some point in their lives, everyone should have a piece of this pie.

Pie Ingredients:

1 pre-made graham cracker crust (You can also make your own.  They aren’t difficult.)
12 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice

Topping Ingredients

1 c. sour cream
3 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 350°. Combine and beat the pie ingredients together until light and fluffy.  Pour the filling into the graham graham cracker crust and bake for 20-25 minutes.  The middle of the pie should look firm and the top should be very lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and let cool for five minutes.  While the pie is cooling, combine the topping ingredients and spread evenly on top.  Return the pie to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes.