Pumpkin Cheesecake

Happy Thanksgiving!  Here is a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake that I made for the holiday.  I meant to take pictures of each step, but I was so excited about the recipe I kind of forgot about taking pictures until the end.

It split down the middle; don’t judge me. 🙂

Ingredients

Crust
1 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 24 squares)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

Filling
1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 tablespoons brandy, if desired
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
5 eggs

Directions
Heat oven to 325°F. Grease 9-inch springform pan with shortening. In small bowl, mix cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and the melted butter. Press crumb mixture in bottom of pan. Wrap foil around outside of pan to prevent drips. Bake crust 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate about 5 minutes or until completely cooled.

Meanwhile, in another small bowl, mix flour, pumpkin pie spice, brandy and pumpkin; set aside. In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in brown sugar and 2/3 cup granulated sugar until smooth. On low speed, beat in 1 egg at a time just until blended. Gradually beat in pumpkin mixture until smooth.

Pour filling over crust. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 25 minutes or until set but center of cheesecake still jiggles slightly when moved. Turn oven off; open oven door at least 4 inches. Let cheesecake remain in oven 30 minutes.

Run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Cool in pan on wire rack 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.

To serve, run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Carefully remove side of pan before cutting cheesecake. Store covered in refrigerator.

Recipe from Betty Crocker.

Enjoy!

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Thanksgiving Weather

Thanksgiving is tomorrow!  I can’t wait for all the food and relaxation.  The weather has been amazing here (above average temperatures and mostly sunny skies).  I had time to get out today and take some pictures.  Walking around snapping shots in sunny, warm weather is the best, isn’t it?

IMG_1480IMG_1491I’m going to post a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake in the next few days.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunrise

This morning my husband and I were both wide awake at 6:30am so we decided to go watch the sun rise.  We took the camera with us.  I didn’t take any pictures specifically of the sunrise because it was a cloudless sky which didn’t produce many colors.  But I did like the sun light filtering through the trees.

I hope you enjoyed your morning!

Creme de Menthe Chunk Cookies

Mint chocolate chip cookies – it doesn’t get much better than that.  My mouth started watering immediately after I saw this recipe on Teresa’s blog Can’t Stay out of the Kitchen.  I made them today and they are even better than they look!  My husband’s opinion: These cookies are nuts! (In a good way).

They’re really easy to make and I got around 4 dozen cookies out of the recipe.

If you’re interested in making these (which you should be!), head over to Teresa’s blog for the recipe and step-by-step instructions.

I’m going to have time this weekend to take some pictures (very exciting!), so check back in a day or two for an update.

Have a great weekend!

I’m Afraid of Photoshop – Part 2

I’m following up on one of my posts from last month.  For the record, I’m not actually afraid of Photoshop.  In fact, I adore it.  In my original post, I asked the question, “How much is too much in terms of editing a photo?”  There were some really great opinions that were shared. Some think any amount of editing is fine as long as the subject is still recognizable.  Others said some editing is okay, but there shouldn’t be so many changes that the photo loses its original feel.  Others think it depends on the picture.

To be honest, I still haven’t made up my mind on this.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture that I thought had been editing too much, so for now I’m taking the stance “edit til your heart’s content!”

I think sometimes editing a picture is necessary to add interest to it.  I’ve always heard that great pictures are the ones that tell a story, bring up a memory, or portray an emotion.  But what if your original picture doesn’t do this?  Should you scrap it or edit the crap out of it to make it usable?

Take this picture for example:

Is this picture interesting?  I don’t particularly think so.  Does it cause me to feel a certain emotion?  No.  Look what happens after I edit it:

I darkened the blacks and added a cooling photo filter.  I personally really like the picture now.  It reminds me of a book I once read and gives me a feeling of calm. When I look at this, I see myself walking through the woods in the early morning looking for something (a person? An object?).  The before picture didn’t do any of these things.  It’s just amazing what a little editing can do.

Here’s another example:

And the after:I think I enjoy editing a picture as much as I enjoy taking the picture.  It allows me to use even more of my creativity and I love that.

On a completely unrelated note, I recently found out my boss is sending me to Portland, Oregon in a few months for a conference!  I’ve never been to the west coast (with the exception of a 3 day visit to L.A. 6 years ago) so I’m really exciting to go.  I’m hoping I’ll have enough free time to take some pictures and share them here with you.