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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: 2010-06-27

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cheesecake Cupcakes

For my first food-related post since my hiatus, I would like to share with you a recipe previously posted over at Our Krazy Kitchen (PS if you've never visited, you should.  Just make sure you're not hungry before you do or else you may wake up from a food coma in front of the monitor, magically surrounded by empty food containers and crumpled-up wrappers.  Or maybe that's just me?).

Since the 4th is coming up, and for so many people this means hosting a barbecue or bringing food to someone else's party, it seemed like a good idea to share this with you today.  These little gems are super easy to make and very portable - plus they just get better with time, so you can make them in advance and store them in the fridge until it's time to go!

Without further ado, I bring you...cheesecake cupcakes.

The very mention of the name sends shivers down my spine.

Here's what you'll need:

Muffin tins
Liners for tins
1 pkg of break-and-bake cookie dough (24 cookies)*
2 8 oz pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Topping for cheesecake (cherries, strawberries, whatever you like)

*it occurs to me that I've used chocolate chip because that's what the friend who gave me this recipe uses, but I'm betting that sugar cookie dough would totally rock!

Okay.  Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Line your muffin tins with the pretty liners you bought just for the occasion.  Mine were pastel colored.

Drop one square of cookie dough into each liner and bake for 8-10 minutes.  The cookie will spread out and cover the bottom of the liner as it bakes.

As your dough is baking, mix up your softened cream cheese until it is smooth.  Then add the condensed milk, eggs and vanilla and mix it well to smooth out any lumps.  If you've ever made cheesecake you know that this takes...a while.  But it's worth it!

Fill each liner around 3/4 of the way and bake for an additional 18-20 minutes.  Let them cool, then refrigerate them for at least 1 hour.  They will set up beautifully.

Once chilled, or whenever you're ready to serve, top with whatever it is you like on your cheesecake (or leave 'em plain!).  I happen to enjoy cherries...

Yes.  I enjoy cherries quite a lot.

Tell me these aren't the cutest little things you've ever seen.  Tell me and I will call you a liar, without even knowing how many cute things you've seen in your life or their degree of cuteness.  That's how sure I am.

As I said earlier, they keep really, really well when covered in the fridge and in fact taste better the longer they're in there.  After two days I would literally jump through a ring of fire for one of these.  Luckily I don't have a ring of fire at home.  Whew.

Take them to a party and watch them disappear.  You'll be a superstar! Or, keep them for yourself.  Either way.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

I'm sharing this recipe with my friend Lish and her pals over at...

...come pay a visit! I'm already drooling over some of these entries!


The Happiness Project


It's something I've been thinking about a lot lately.

I haven't been happy, you see.  Sure, there are moments of happiness, but moments are short-lived, aren't they? I have a tendency to forget those moments in the harsh light of everyday life.

And it's not as if I can pinpoint any specifically unhappy time of my life.  As I told my husband the other night after much pondering, I don't consider myself to be a terribly happy person in general.  I tend to bend slightly in the direction of depression.  It's just always been easier for me to look at the negative than to look at the positive.  I'm an Eeyore, in other words.  And of course, as is true of so many people, once a certain positive achievement has been reached, a new negative rears its ugly head.  In other words, it's always something.

I admire and envy people who lead happy and fulfilled lives.  Lives full  I've just never been one of those people.  I talk myself out of it.  I am my own worst enemy when it comes to admitting that my dreams are worthwhile and that it would be worthwhile to strive for their realization.  And I know it's up to me to be fulfilled - sadly, no one can do it for me.  Darn it.  And even if they can do something for me, it's up to me to let them know that they can. 

As a result of these and other such related ponderings, I've been reading a book called The Happiness Project.  I was first turned on to this book when I read an article by the book's author in a magazine some time ago.  So when I crossed paths with the title of the book on Amazon last week I decided to download it to my iPhone, and I've been reading it whenever I get a chance.  It's a lot of information to download (in my brain, not my phone) all at once, and a lot of stuff to mull over, so I've been taking my time with it and letting it sink in and trying to find ways to apply the concepts in my own life.

I've been thinking about starting my own Happiness Project.  I think it will be fun to identify that which brings me closer to happiness and to actively seek out ways to be happier.  So I'm currently working on resolutions and commandments over at The Happiness Project Toolbox and am gaining inspiration from others there.  It's interesting to see what happiness means to others, and the small steps they're taking to get there.

I'll tell you right off the bat - just thinking good thoughts and smiling for no reason boosts the mood.  It's kinda uncanny.  You smile and it makes you feel happier.  I practiced this on the train today and even though I immediately wanted to murder the woman who slid into my seat when I got up to let someone else off the train (seriously, how rude can you be???), I smiled (albeit very retrospect, it may have been a scary looking smile) and let it go.  Then I started thinking about my friend's bachelorette party this coming weekend and how happy I'd be to see her for the first time in years...and the anger dissolved.

So, in light of that experience, I think there's something to be said for a happiness project because, let's face it, I can use all the help I can get.

What do you think? Do you believe you could benefit from such a project? In what area of your life would you like to improve your happiness level?

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Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm Back!

Hey, everyone!

Sorry for the extended absence.  This absence was filled with sickness, soul searching and general "what is the purpose of my blog and, while we're at it, my life?" questioning.  While all of this was going on, not only did I pretty much stop cooking (especially when I wasn't, ya know, eating anything outside of rice and white bread) but I only did what I haaaaad to do, like laundry and bathing.  You know.  The essentials.

Anyway, I'm back now.  Back with a lot of new ideas.

See, here's the thing.  While I was thinking and questioning and bathing, I came to a startling conclusion.  Blogging just wasn't fun.  And see, the whole reason I started blogging in the first place was because it was supposed to be fun! At first it was.  I was making new friends, and learning new things not only from my fellow bloggers but also from tinkering around with my blog.  I cannot tell you how excited I was when I first figured out how to manipulate the code for my template.  It was empowering.

But then something shifted.  I got caught up in a bunch of blogging baggage.  How to increase my page hits.  How to attract new readers.  Did I gain any new followers? What was my niche and was I working it to the best of my ability? As a result, I was spending all of my free time (and, let's be honest here, a decent amount of my WORK time) visiting blogs, commenting, visiting Blog Frog, checking stats, participating in many many memes (thus even more visiting and commenting).  In short, I was on a treadmill and treadmills don't actually get you anywhere.

I stopped reading anything other than blogs, which if you know me you know is a big deal because books are a huge part of my life and I derive great pleasure from them.  I stopped writing anything other than blog entries and emails relating to blogging.  I had no desire to get anything done around the house.  I didn't even want to water my flowers.  Because I was busy blogging and I could never quite catch up.

And let's also address the fact that I painted myself into a corner when I decided to focus solely on food.  Don't get me wrong, clearly I love food and cooking it and eating it and sharing it with others.  But it just wasn't FUN anymore.  And I have so much more to offer than just food.  At least, I happen to think so.  I want to focus on my health (especially in light of the issues I've been having) and the changes I'm trying to make in my life, along with my kitchen experiments.  I want to set goals and reach them, and I want this blog to be a place to share my journey as opposed to a weight around my neck which makes life that much more complicated.

For the record, building a highly successful, profitable blog is a tremendous effort and I applaud anyone who's trying to do so.  Maybe one day things will be different and I'll give it another go.  But now is just not that time for me.

So, no more.  I am blogging for me again.  And I'm blogging without obligation.  This is going back to being a hobby instead of a 2nd full-time job.  I already have enough work to do in my life.  I want to go back to playing in my free time.

Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? ;-)