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Since I never seem to get around to sending out Christmas cards or letters, I decided to blog a bit to keep my fans updated. :-)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake

I tried a new cheesecake recipe over the weekend, and was very pleased with the results. Instead of fresh raspberries, I used a bag of frozen ones. I thawed them, drained them, then whirled them in my mini food processor before pushing them through a strainer to remove the seeds.

Because I wanted the raspberry puree to be in the cheesecake as well as on top, I poured in half of the cheesecake batter, added some puree and swirled it, added the rest of the batter and topped it with more puree and swirling (the pictures in the link demonstrate how to do this).

It looked beautiful and was delicious! Here's the link:

http://www.afarmgirlsdabbles.com/2011/07/15/raspberry-swirl-cheesecake/

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Greetings! The Utah Baroque Ensemble can be heard Tuesday evening on the Classical 89's radio waves when we join host Tim Slover for this week's Highway 89 program. To join in the fun, tune your radio or computer to Classical 89! Here are the details:

When:
Premier Broadcast: Tuesday April 3rd, 8PM MST
Rebroadcast on Saturday April 7th, 5PM MST

Where:
Locally on Classical 89 - 89.1 FM & 89.5 FM (southern Utah County) or  Classical89.org
Nationally on BYU Radio /Sirius XM 143 weeknights at 8pm MST

Music programming:
VICTORIA: Jesu, dulcis memoria
BACH: Selections from Cantata 4 Christ lag in Todesbanden
BAIRSTOW: I Sat Down Under His Shadow
DALEY: Angels Visit When We Sing
HATTON: O, Cruel Thorns
COURTNEY: Abba
STANFORD: Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem
BARTHOLOMEW: Little Lamb

Saturday, October 15, 2011

And yet more change...

It's been two weeks since the last big change, so it must be time for another, right? Last Monday I gave notice to my current employer and accepted a position with the Information and Communication Systems (ICS) department of the LDS Church. My last day at Novell will be Friday the 21st, and my first day at the new job will be the next Monday. It is hard to leave Novell because they have been so good to me, but it feels like this is the right thing to do. The timing is not ideal since I am still adjusting to my new role at home, but as I'm not drowning quite yet, I might as well be daring and move into deeper water and see whether I sink or swim!

Is change like bad luck -- does it happen in threes? If so, I'm afraid to ask or even wonder what the final installment will be.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's a girl! (Or, the winds of change be blowin'!)

Did that catch your attention? I've been wondering what to call this entry. It marks a change to my world -- my household just increased by one this week when a 14 year old niece moved in. She will be here at least through the end of the school year, and quite possibly longer. I haven't come up with a blog name for her yet, but will keep thinking on that. For those who know my family, this is my brother John's middle girl. I used to refer to her as my "mini-me", but I'm guessing she wouldn't like that to be her call sign here on my blog. :-)

Before she arrived, I emptied my former office and turned it back into a bedroom. Finally cleaning out the closet (it's been on my to-do list for YEARS) has led me to the conclusion that I have too much STUFF. I've already relocated some to the basement, sent some to DI (that's similar to Goodwill for those of you who are not locals), given some away, filled my big garbage can, and I'm nowhere near done with this sorting process. I tossed a bunch into my room (I now have to turn on the light before I dare walk from my bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night for fear of tripping on something), filled the guest room closet, and still have spillover in the kitchen, living room, and basement.

The amazing and wonderful parts of all of this? Neighbors and friends who just jumped in and helped. I am so grateful - I would never have been as ready as I was by moving day without them. A neighbor (and friend!) helped me pull off books and other treasures from 2 huge bookcases and stack them all in the living room. Then some men in my neighborhood came over to move the bookcases and a desk out to the living room. They also moved a dresser and an armoire. The next day, the neighbor who helped with the books returned and moved my CD collection from the niece's room to mine -- while I was at work! She came back again later that day and shampooed the carpet in the now empty room.

The next day I flew out to Kansas for a High School reunion and while I was gone, another friend moved all the books back to the bookcases because I simply ran out of time.

On Saturday when my SIL and niece arrived, two friends unloaded the van and one of them provided dinner on Saturday, the other on Sunday. In between, my neighbor (same one) invited them over for dessert Saturday night and her son came by to assemble the bed they had brought with them. All of this happened while I was still out of town. I am so very blessed to have fantastic friends who are always watching out for me and who extended their umbrella of watchfulness and care over my SIL and niece. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Stay tuned for the developing story! That's all I have time for now.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cream Cheese Brownies

Here's a recipe for awesome cream cheese brownies!

2/3 cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate
4 oz. Bittersweet or Semisweet Chocolate
8 oz. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, cut into quarters
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
3 Large Eggs

Filling
8 oz. Cream Cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Egg Yolk

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray an 8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line pan with 2 layers of foil, with some overhang to make it easier to remove the brownies from the pan. Spray sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl; set aside

Gently melt chocolate and butter together being careful to not scorch the chocolate. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla; cool slightly. Whisk in the eggs, 1 at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Continue whisking until the mixture is completely smooth. Add dry ingredients; whisk until just incorporated.

Filling: In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar, vanilla and egg yolk until evenly blended.

Assembly: Pour half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan. By spoonfuls, drop half of the cream cheese mixture over batter. Repeat, layering the remaining brownie batter and cream cheese filling. Use the blade of a table knife to gently swirl the brownie batter and cream cheese filling, creating a marbled effect.

Back until the edges of the brownies have puffed slightly, the center feels not quite firm when touched lightly, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center come out with several moist, fudgy crumbs adhering to it, 50-60 minutes.

Cool the brownies on a wire rack until they are down to room temperature. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours, before cutting. These are pretty tall, so you can get away with cutting them into fairly small pieces.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Comfort Zone

I like my comfort zone. It's comfortable. It's safe. It's secure. In my comfort zone, my typical Saturday starts off with a little down time -- reading a book or playing games on my ipod. Then I do some of the typical Saturday things -- laundry, errands, groceries. If I'm really inclined to be productive, I pay attention to the garden, mop the kitchen floor, and vacuum. As a reward for a job well done, I spend time with one or more friends -- share a meal, see a movie, or just chat.

Last weekend, this popped up in my google reader. Teachinfourth is a local blogger whom I started following a few months ago. At first, I didn't even realize he was local. I could tell he was in Utah, but it took me awhile to clue into the fact that he is practically next door. So...when the invite to attend "The Summer of George" arrived, I was intrigued.

Then started an internal debate -- am I cool enough? hip enough? to attend Festivus? Moreover, am I brave enough to attend a party where I will not know anyone beforehand?

On the other hand, how cool would it be to meet Teachinfourth? I've had such fun reading his blog this summer -- check out "Moments with Joey" on my sidebar if you'd like to sample his blog for yourself.

And then there's one of my mottoes -- A person can never have too many friends. Would this be a way to make some new ones?

In the end,curiosity won out and I sent my RSVP. And starting pondering what baked treat I should bring.

I didn't chicken out. I made cream cheese brownies and showed up at the appointed hour. And had fun. Teachinfourth was an excellent host, and the other guests were fun to meet and chat with. I especially enjoyed getting to know another blogger, Gerberta of Life As I Know It and her family. Her 7th grader and I had a lively chat as we discussed our favorite board games.

It was a good day to travel outside of the comfort zone!

Oh, and if anyone is interested in the recipe for the totally awesome cream cheese brownies, I will post it soon.