Tequila Christmas Cookies

Today, I was reading the scleroderma forums and came across this simply spectacular recipe for Tequila Christmas Cookies. Although Tequila is the featured alcohol, your favorite alcohol may be substituted, as long as it’s at least 80 proof. I may try this with 151 rum. Enjoy!

Some of these tequilas would be ideal for your Christmas cookies!

Some of these tequilas would be ideal for your Christmas cookies!

Tequila Christmas Cookies:

1 cup of water

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup of sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 cup of brown sugar

1 tbsp. lemon juice

4 large eggs

1 cup nuts

2 cups of dried fruit

1 bottle tequila

Sample the tequila in a large glass to check quality.

Take a large bowl, and check the tequila again, to be sure it is of the highest quality. Pour one level cup and drink.

Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.

Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.

At this point, it’s best to make sure the tequila is still OK, so try another cup.

Turn off the mixerer thingy.

Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

Pick the frigging fruit and the damn cup off the floor.

Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the tequila to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Check the tequila.

Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

Add one table.

Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.

Greash the oven.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

Don’t forget to beat off the turner.

Put the bowl through the window, finish off the booze and make sure to put the dirty stove in the dishwasher.

CHERRY MISTMAS TO ALL!

 

Image source: tequila.net

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Geeky Kitchen Gadgets

We spent Labor Day weekend laboring in the kitchen. Trusty hubby finally had enough of the light-brown-striped wallpaper, and decided it was time to paint. I had chosen a nice sunny yellow, and told the family I was planning on doing cobalt blue accents. The kids then found a TARDIS cookie jar–cobalt blue, of course! This started a discussion on whether or not the kitchen should have a sci-fi theme, because, after all, we ARE a geeky family, and this could actually be a serious consideration.

The well-dressed sci-fi kitchen goddess begins here! (1)

While I did eventually decide that we’ll have a sort of French-country-kitchen theme with some cobalt blue fleur-de-lys stenciled onto the soffits, having a few sci-fi accessories are Good Things.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Star Wars cookie cutters. Williams-Sonoma has a variety of cookie cutters and pancake molds in the Star Wars theme, perfect for those of us who need something out of the ordinary for Christmas.

Darth Vader has never looked so yummy. (2)

They also offer spatulas that can be used to remove those cookies from the baking sheets.

Helmets come in handy for handling hot cookies. (3)

One of my son’s favorite gadgets, which he originally found at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum gift store, is the Enterprise Pizza Cutter. Since we make a universe of pizzas, this cutter could help us explore new worlds, and new toppings, and boldly go where no cheese has gone before.

The lasers could theoretically cut through even the thickest pizza. If not, a few photon torpedoes can do the trick. (4)

Just in case you need some drinks to go along with your pizza, Star Trek also offers you bottle opens that suit many needs, from Romulan Ale to prune juice.

Use the Bird of Prey to open your blood wine, while the bottle opener can help with that prune juice! (5)

Everyone agrees that the coolest geeky kitchen item is the Tardis cookie jar. This is chiefly because if it really is bigger on the inside, it will naturally hold more cookies. Plus, it would just look cool on the kitchen counter.

Will it be bigger on the inside? (6)

Share your favorite sci-fi kitchen gadgets and anything you’ve made with them! I’d love to see what other folks use! Feel free to follow me @JaeOnasi or on Facebook.

Image sources: (1) TheChive.com, (2), (3) http://www.williams-sonoma.com, (4), (5) startrek.com, (6) thinkgeek.com

Want to Be A More Effective Jedi Sage Healer?

Then check out my latest Consular Weekly article: “Theorycrafting for Seers“.  You’ll find some awesome tips and tricks on skill builds, gear, and stats based on the number-crunching done my theorycrafting gurus.

Force Armor–use it early and often to stop the need for healing in the first place!

Here’s an excerpt on stats:

Like all Consulars, Seers want to buff up Willpower as their primary stat, Endurance next, so make sure to equip only armor that buffs those two stats.. Go grab all the Willpower and Endurance datacrons. Adding the Strength ones will benefit your lightsaber damage a little bit, but since you hopefully won’t be using that much if you’re staying out of melee range.

For secondary stats, Power and Critical are important, as is Alacrity.  Power improves your overall healing, Critical improves your ability to get the chance at bonus healing (very important in boss fights!), and Alacrity speeds up our ability to cast skills.  There are diminishing returns to Critical and Alacrity, however, so once you have those built up Critical to about 350 to 400 points, anything after that helps very little. The minimum you need is about 326 to get you to the important 40% threshold–that way, when you have Force Potency active, you have 100% chance for a critical heal.  Since so many Seer items at level 50 boost Alacrity instead of Critical, you may hit the diminishing return point in Alacrity very quickly. Don’t be afraid to switch out enhancements to adjust your Power and Critical as needed. Surge is a distant fourth here–we won’t need surge to be above about 300, and anything above 350 is a waste of points since the diminishing returns kicks Surge in the teeth pretty hard. The theorycrafting gurus over at mmo-mechanics.com suggest that a Surge of 250-300 is more than enough.

Enjoy trying out new skill rotations and builds, and have fun healing!

 

Twitter is A Beautiful Thing

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

For quite some time, I’ve been a fan of Twitter. It’s a cool instant messenger, I get Star Wars/The Old Republic news in real time (especially if the TOR forums are down during maintenance), and I find out all sorts of cool things like chocolate recipes, Renaissance art discussions, and breaking news. Note that these are not in any particular order of importance, except for the chocolate part, which always comes first.

Twitter does have its warts–there are the annoying pornbots, and some people have a love affair with posting meaningless tripe, like “I put butter and brown sugar in my Malt-o-Meal” or “What shirt should I wear, fuschia or chartreuse?”  My thoughts on this are a. who the heck cares, and b. ‘Chicky, if you have to consult the Twitterverse for clothing color decisions, our country is in seriously bad shape, because your brain clearly missed that left turn at Albuquerque.’ 

Even better, though, is the fact that my deadbeat tenant’s daughter uses it ALL THE TIME. This means I get real-time updates on what her (allegedly) drug-dealing gangsta brother is up to and what they’re destroying on my property this hour.

Most of it is meaningless expletive-filled tripe. In between the mind-numbingly moronic tweets, there are interesting gems, like posts about going to the Philippines twice in the last year and getting ear gauges (but they can’t pay rent for May and June), her brother has ‘fight club’ in the back yard, the fact that she and her brother smoked weed all spring break (with a 2 year old brother in the house), her brother has drug dealing friends living at the house, and a post where the daughter noted “mom said ‘I smell pot’.”  No, REALLY??? I’m stunned. Truly stunned. I’m sure I’ll get over it in time, however. Give me about .000002 seconds.

My favorite was when she tweeted “my brother was snorting some white powder last night with his friends o.O.” Since I caught that one about nine hours after she’d posted it, I called the child protective services (to help the 2 year old) and the cops. I figured they’d love to share in the same good news I was experiencing. I also was hoping for a police report so that we could do a 5-day no-cure eviction–the kind that gives the tenant zero legal wiggle room.  Alas, no report, but within two hours of my call to a very nice detective, the cops were raiding my house, complete with drug-sniffing dogs. Not only did I get a call from a neighbor about this, the deadbeat tenant’s daughter tweeted ‘LOL police are here, my brother is so stupid.’ 

I’m not sure about you all, but if the police raided my house while I was in it and arrested my sibling, I’m fairly certain I would not be laughing.

Since I had the real-time feed from Twitter, I was able to call my dad and say “Hey, if you read in the papers tomorrow that there was a police raid at my old house? It’s not a misprint. My deadbeat tenant’s (allegedly) psycho druggy son is (allegedly) dealing drugs there with gangsters, and the cops went after them all. They apparently got at least one of them. I’m sure the police dogs sniffed so much drugs at that house, they got high. Bet Alix (note: not his actual name) would give you a good deal on pot right now, though.” It’s always nice to warn your aging parents about things like drug raids at your house to prevent heart attacks.

Tonight, she tweeted that she was going to have a big going-away party in August. I smiled to myself as I thought, “Not in MY house, you’re not, chicky.”

Two days left for them to pay in full for May and June, and then we can finally get moving on getting the (alleged) druggies out.

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MSNBC: Finding Even Better Ways to Lose Viewers with Chris Hayes!!

Give not one, but two golf-claps to MSNBC. They managed to do an outstanding job of calling attention to themselves by allowing yet another opinionated jackass of an anchor to speak on the air. The saying goes that there is ‘no such thing as bad press’.  Well, MSNBC might have proved that wrong this weekend.

Admittedly, I don’t watch MSNBC very often at all. They lean so far left that they’re about to tip over, fall on their heads, and hurt themselves.  Not even Fox News, which is the most right-leaning news station, is that bad. Usually I’ll watch CNN for center-left wing news, Fox for right-wing news, and between the two, I can get the actual picture, which tends to be far more moderate than either of them want to admit. Being moderate, after all, is about as exciting as watching me clean cat hair out of my keyboard.

This weekend, Chris Hayes, one of the MSNBC hosts, stepped in it. And by ‘stepped in it’, I mean ‘built up an entire barn full of manure in which to immerse himself fully, then walked in and took a swan dive into the giant steaming pile’. 

Here’s a transcript of what he said on Sunday, May 27th.

CHRIS HAYES: Thinking today and observing Memorial Day, that’ll be happening tomorrow.  Just talked with Lt. Col. Steve Burke [sic, actually Beck], who was a casualty officer with the Marines and had to tell people [inaudible].  Um, I, I, ah, back sorry, um, I think it’s interesting because I think it is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words “heroes.” Um, and, ah, ah, why do I feel so comfortable [sic] about the word “hero”?  I feel comfortable, ah, uncomfortable, about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.

 “Maybe” you’re wrong about that, Chris? Let’s get one thing straight. You ARE wrong. Those who signed up to serve our country, and even those who got drafted and served honorably, are all heroes to me, especially those who gave their lives for us.  They even gave you the opportunity to sit in that chair on that lovely set with your perfectly coiffed hair and manicured hands to announce to us that you feel calling these people heroes is ‘rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war’.  I think you forgot just who is responsible for securing your ‘freedom of speech’.

More importantly, how in the world do you even begin to justify this utterly ridiculous argument? Please explain to me how calling our war dead heroes is in any way related to any justification, ‘rhetorically proximate’ or otherwise, for war? My great uncle, who was killed in action in World War II, was hardly in a ‘rhetorically proximate’ position to justify our goal of stopping Hitler from taking over Europe. Dead people don’t get the opportunity to determine any justifications for war. Their families certainly don’t get the opportunity. The justification for war, at least in the US, is determined by Congress and the President, who order those soldiers and sailors into battle. Your argument is such a non sequitur, it’s stunning. Do you really think that people run around saying “Ooooh!  We call our fallen soldiers and sailors heroes, therefore we can now go to war!!!” If I said that to someone, they’d wonder if my head was rhetorically proximate to my anal sphincter.  The less polite ones would tell me I had my head up my arse.

Hayes issued a written apology later. He didn’t bother to say it publicly, however. For all we know, someone in the public relations department wrote it for him. 

To MSNBC: I’m never watching your network again, but not because Hayes expressed his opinion. I’m never watching your network again because you hired an idiot, put him on the air, and allowed him to talk to people like he knows things.

First, Hayes insulted veterans and war heroes on Memorial Day weekend. That’s just dumb with a capital ‘DUH’.  I’m sure the public relations people are having a collective heart attack right now over his tacky statements.  Does he have the right to say those things? Sure. Our heroes fought and died to give him that right. Did he exercise good judgment in saying those on a weekend where we remember our fallen heroes? Just in case you want an actual answer, here it is: NO.

Second, if he makes mindless and foolish statements, passing that off as ‘journalism’ in order to drive ratings, I’m not going to support that. Give me someone who can actually put together an insightful and well-constructed argument. Hayes clearly can’t, and I’m not going to waste my time listening to someone whose brain is rhetorically proximate to that of a dodo bird.

Helping Suicidal Gamers

For those of you who follow my articles on TORWars.com, you’ve probably seen this. However, after reading all the articles on a gamer this week who allegedly encouraged people attending an Eve Online fan convention to troll a suicidal player until he actually did kill himself, I knew I needed to write about it and share it as widely as I could. Here is a reprint of what I wrote on Thursday morning.

Today, I read an Escapist article that both terrified and horrified me. The article started with this statement: “CCP [the developer of Eve Online] is investigating an Eve Online FanFest panel for sharing a severely depressed player’s contact info, then encouraging others to harass him until he killed himself.”

It went on to describe how the presenter, who is part of the CSM council that officially represents player interests to CCP, allegedly showed copies of the suicidal player’s depressed comments from in game and gave out in-game contact information in the presentation. He then apparently suggested fellow gamers harass this player until he did go forward to commit suicide.

What did members of the audience do? They laughed. Not one person had the courage to stand up in that convention room and call out this presenter on his shocking, despicable comments.

 

The Hard Reality of Suicide

 According to the World Health Organization, approximately one million people take their own lives every year. Another 20 million attempt suicide and are thankfully not successful. It is more common in those with depression and those who have problems with alcohol. The chances are good that you actually have met someone who is or has been suicidal at some point in their lives.

If you are a guild officer or guild leader, you may very well have to deal with one of your guild mates confiding in you that they are thinking of taking their own lives. Do NOT take this lightly. You may be their lifeline. I have had a couple of online friends who became suicidal. It was an extraordinarily emotional and difficult experience for all of us, and I’m going to share one of my experiences with you. I hope it will help you if you ever encounter a similar situation.

Recognizing Suicidal Thinking

 The first step for you as a guild member is to recognize the signs of suicidal thinking. People who commit suicide don’t typically do so in a vacuum. Often they talk about death, a particularly painful event they’re experiencing, or have a tremendous feeling of hopelessness. Here is a helpful list of some signs.

Talking about suicide Any talk about suicide, dying, or self-harm, such as “I wish I hadn’t been born,” “If I see you again…,” and “I’d be better off dead.”
Seeking out lethal means Seeking access to guns, pills, knives, or other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
Preoccupation with death Unusual focus on death, dying, or violence. Writing poems or stories about death.
No hope for the future Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped (“There’s no way out”). Belief that things will never get better or change.
Self-loathing, self-hatred Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden (“Everyone would be better off without me”).
Getting affairs in order Making out a will. Giving away prized possessions. Making arrangements for family members.
Saying goodbye Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again.
Withdrawing from others Withdrawing from friends and family. Increasing social isolation. Desire to be left alone.
Self-destructive behavior Increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex. Taking unnecessary risks as if they have a “death wish.”
Sudden sense of calm A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the person has made a decision to commit suicide.

A Call for Help

A few years back, one of my online friends, who I’ll call ‘Mark’ to protect his privacy, broke up with his fiancee. He adored her, and the breakup crushed him. I saw the warning signs when Mark said things in our group chat like “I don’t think anyone would attend my funeral” and “I can’t live without her.” All of us in that group tried to be encouraging and offered what help we could.

Then, on Thanksgiving Day, he came online to our group chat and said one word. “Goodbye.”

My heart hit the pit of my stomach. I KNEW something was very, very wrong. The three of us who were online then tried to reach him in chat to see if he was OK. One person mentioned having Mark’s cell phone number. I asked him to send a text message. He was scared, and wasn’t sure what to do. Being scared, by the way, is entirely normal. He gave me Mark’s phone number.

I sent a text asking him if he was OK. I got a chilling reply. “The gun jammed, so I took all my pills.”

While gulping deep breaths to try to slow down my racing heart, I immediately dialed 911, and said “You’re going to think this is really strange, because I live about 800 miles away from my friend, but he just told me he’s trying to kill himself.” The dispatcher was extremely professional and took the information that I had–Mark’s cell phone number, the text message which I forwarded to them, and what had been going on the last couple of weeks with him.

In the meantime, I typed to my friends in chat what was happening, hands trembling. We scrambled to get all the information we could find to help the police locate him–his facebook profile, his IP and ISP information from our forum, every little tidbit we could think of. Mark’s life was literally in the hands of three online friends and the police department. I was 800 miles away, and I felt utterly powerless.

About half an hour later, a police sergeant called me to let me know they had found Mark’s house. The information we had given the police had helped them quickly narrow down his real name and address. Within minutes, they had sent several squad cars out. About 20 minutes after that, he called me again to let me know the paramedics had gotten to him in time, they were taking him to the hospital, and they thought he was going to be OK. I let our chat group know Mark was going to make it. Then, I sobbed on my husband’s shoulder in sheer relief.

Mark had to spend several days in the hospital and is now doing better. I emailed the police department commending them for finding my friend so quickly and working so professionally with me.  

What To Do If You Think Someone May Be Suicidal

If any of your guild members shows the signs of suicide, please don’t be passive about it. Talk to that person. Respect their feelings, but don’t ignore the signs. What they are feeling is very real to them, even if it does not always make sense to the rest of us. If you recognize some of the suicide signs listed above in either yourself or a friend, please know there is help for you. In the US, you can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website (click here).

In the United Kingdom, you can find help at Samaritans.org (click here). The hotline in the UK is 08457 90 90 90, and in the Republic of Ireland it is 1850 60 90 90. For those outside the US or UK, the Befrienders.org website (click here) has a list of suicide lifeline phone numbers for many countries.

 Sometimes, people will say things in the in-game general chat that may trigger your alarm bells to go off about that person having possible suicidal tendencies. Please bring that to BioWare’s attention immediately so that they can take steps to get that person help. To do that, click the big question mark at the top of your screen. A window will pop up. At the bottom right of that window is a button that says ‘create ticket’. Click that.

Another window will pop up. Select ‘general/other’ from the drop down list. In the description, put “Emergency: Possible suicide attempt”. Put the person’s in game name, the server, the time, and as much detail as you can about what was said. BioWare has account information, so they can get help to that person very quickly.

Don’t be afraid about ‘bothering’ BioWare with this. They are there to help. They would much rather have you contact them and determine nothing was wrong than have everyone ignore the signs and discover later that someone died as a result. You will never be ‘bothering’ anyone by reporting it. Don’t leave it to someone else, either. It’s better for BioWare to get multiple reports on this than none at all.

If you help someone who has made a suicide attempt, recognize that is an extremely stressful and difficult event for you, too. This is especially true if that person dies. Don’t be afraid to get help for yourself to be able to handle it effectively. Whatever you choose to do to help, do something. If it’s a false alarm, great! That person won’t die! You also gave that person information he or she might need in the future. If it really is a serious attempt, you may very well be the difference in that person living and dying.

Photo source: (1) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Done Geek Style

So, where the heck has Jae been?

I’ve been doing several things the last few months. First, I found a job. It pays quite a bit better than my old job (no surprise there), and so I only have to work one day a week. This is A Good Thing–I still get to spend most of my week being ‘Mom’ and taking care of a teen and an school-ager with ADHD and food allergies. Either of those alone is a challenge. Working full-time while doing both would be more ‘adventure’ than I need.

I also joined the local symphony choir. We’re doing Carmina Burana this spring, and the director is outstanding. It is a very challenging piece musically. Orff not only had a love affair with lots of dynamics, sixteenth notes, and bizarre chords, but he also adored changing languages from Semi-Classical Latin to Genitival Early New High German (with cases) and back again, sometimes even in the same song. I am convinced he was secretly a music sadist.

In order to convince my daughter to sit through an entire concert of classical music, I’m going to tell her how many cellos are playing (she loves cello), and possibly resort to abject bribery with chocolate. To convince my son, who now is growing some substantial fuzz on his upper lip, to attend, I’m going to secretly slip him a translation of “Si Puer Cum Puella.” Never let it be said that I won’t appeal to baser desires to encourage intellectual development in a teenager.

In addition, I became a staff writer for TORWars.com, writing about aspects of the game Star Wars: The Old Republic. I started writing the Jedi Consular Weekly. Apparently one of the editors got beamed some messages from a mother ship in a galaxy far, far away, because it’s the only explanation I can think of for them asking me to take on the Galactic Gallery weekly column, too. It’s a blast to write with this team, though I haven’t quite figured out how they put up with my insanity. It must be fellow Geek Points or something.

In the course of writing about TOR, not only do I play the game quite extensively, I also follow several gaming sites, blogs, and of course, Twitter. The other day I tweeted that I was making white chocolate raspberry cheesecake, because with wars, famine, and destruction, The World Must Know These Things. I am not immune to such geeky inanities. This, naturally, elicited some ‘OM NOM NOMs’ and “OMG you’re EVIL for posting that” followed by requests for the recipe.

This is where the ‘Geek Style’ comes in. I had found a recipe, from, you guessed it, a tweet about a blog post about making a clone of Eli’s White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake.  I don’t know how close it is,  because I always get their ‘So Chocolate, It’ll Cause a Coma and Quite Possibly an Overdose’ Cheesecake. I haven’t died yet, so it may need a little more chocolate in it. Not much, though.

My hubby gets horrendous migraines from any chocolate that looks like it might be remotely brown, so I had to replace the chocolate Oreos with golden Oreos. The crust was soggy in the center, so I’m going to bake it for about 10 or 15 minutes next time before adding the cheesecake batter.  Nonetheless, it was declared to be ‘extremely yummy’ by the family except for my son, who for some strange reason doesn’t like the raspberry part. He also doesn’t like most chocolate. I think he was switched at birth.

Here is my version.

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
Crumb crust
·       2 c. Oreo crumbs (About 2 rows. Save the rest for your dunking-and-eating pleasure. Process in a food processor with cookie and cream both)
·       1 T sugar
·       1/4 c. butter
Filling:
·       2-4 cups white chocolate chips (lower amount if you like it less sweet, higher amount if you want more chocolate flavor. I split the difference and used 3 cups)
·       1/2 cup half-and-half cream
·       3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
·       1/2 cup white sugar
·       3 eggs
·       1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Approximately 6 T seedless raspberry jam (don’t overdo or it’ll be too sweet)
Directions
  1.  Allow the cream cheese and eggs to come to room temperature while you work on the other stuff.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 1 tablespoon sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). 
  4. Bake the crust about 10 minutes (watch to make sure it doesn’t over-brown).
  5. In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth. I cheated and did this in the microwave, 30 seconds at a time to prevent scorching, and it worked fine.
  6. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust.
  7. Heat raspberry jam in microwave about 10-15 seconds to soften.
  8. Spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry jam over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry jam over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect. 
  9. Place the pan on a cookie sheet in case your springform pan likes to leak melted butter like mine does. 
  10. You can try the waterbath method for baking the cheesecake, but my springform pan likes to leak, so I just put a 9×13 pan filled with water in the oven on the shelf below the cheesecake.
  11. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set.  Turn oven off, leave oven door ajar, let cheesecake cool another hour. This supposedly prevents cracks. It did work, although I think cracks are a fine excuse for putting extra white chocolate or raspberries on top.
  12. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan.
  13. Garnish with white chocolate curls, whipped cream, and fresh raspberries for extra decadence.
  14. Tweet about your cheesecake success after eating too much of it.

Enjoy! 

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @JaeOnasi!

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Geeky Mom Gaming–The Old Republic Pecan Pie recipe

Pecan pie.
Image via Wikipedia

About 20 years back, Trusty Hubby asked for one thing for Christmas–a homemade pecan pie.  This was when I was working on my advanced degree, and we were poor and so couldn’t afford much in the way of gifts. In fact, I think we were still watching TV on our old portable black-and-white TV that Hubby’s mom had given him. Somewhere along the way, the plastic knob had broken off, and we had to use a pair of pliers to change the channel. Nothing was going to keep us from watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. We were determined.  By the way, Star Trek definitely looks better in color.

Anyway, I decided if that was what Hubby wanted for Christmas, I was going to make the best pecan pie I possibly could. Conveniently, the Columbus Dispatch had a pecan pie recipe in the food section that week. I also had the Joy of Cooking, which is quite possibly the best cookbook on the planet. If you do not have a copy, go get one and use it. Between the two, I put together a recipe that has become a family favorite. Is it low-calorie? Heck, no. Who makes low-calorie pecan pies? Sometimes you have to splurge. This pie does not have a regular pie crust. I decided to use a crumb crust instead, so it’s about as full of pecans as can be.  Hubby loved it, and I’ve made it every Christmas since then.

The other day, Trusty Hubby invited a co-worker over for dinner and asked if I’d make pecan pie again.  I agreed.  When I mentioned that I had to go make dinner, I was asked by the folks online what we were having. I replied, “Homemade turkey soup, fresh pan rolls, and pecan pie.” Then I was asked by someone if I would adopt him, and I think at some point there was a profession of True Love.  I also got a tell from Shayla, and we shared some cooking ideas. I told her I’d post a copy of the recipe.  Now, I love gaming in general, but MMO gaming is unique in the way it brings people from all over the world together. Who knew I’d be sharing a pecan pie recipe with an international community?  That’s world diplomacy at its best.

For those of you with dairy allergies or food restrictions, use a dairy-free margarine for the crust. You can also substitute butter-flavored vegetable shortening, or a mix of  vegetable shortening and coconut oil. For the pecan pie filling, you can use 1 tablespoon of your favorite vegetable or nut oil in place of the butter.

The Old Republic Pecan Pie Recipe

Crumb crust:
1 cup (4 ounces) finely ground pecans
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Pecan pie filling
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
1 cup (4 ounces) pecans, chopped
3/4 cup (3 ounces) pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust–in a large bowl, mix the ground pecans, the 2 cups flour, and 1/2 cup sugar. Cut in the 3/4 cup butter until coarse crumbs form, about the size of small peas. Press the mix with your fingers into the bottom and sides of a 10 inch pie plate or quiche dish.  Bake about 7 minutes. It will not brown–that is OK.

For the filling–combine the sugar and flour.  Add the beaten eggs, corn syrup, and butter, and mix well. Stir in the chopped pecans. Pour into the crust.  Arrange pecan halves on top in whatever decorative fashion you like. Cover the edges of the crust with tinfoil so that the crust doesn’t burn. Bake about 50-55 minutes or until set.

Remove from oven and let cool so that you don’t burn your mouth trying to eat it too soon!

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