Recipe Blogroll Review: Tiramisu Cheesecake Bars are Amazing and Help You Make Friends

Tuesday, January 26

Currently Listening to "Once Was Love," Ingrid Michaelson.

EVERYONE loved these cheesecake bars.

Seriously. EVERYONE.

But wait-- before I get into that-- a quick birthday shoutout.

 Happy Birthday to Tom!
Tom and My Mom
Tom and my Mom

My step-dad's birthday was this weekend. We're having family game night tonight to celebrate. :)


Ok, more about the cheesecake bars. You really need to make them!

It's such an impressive dessert to say. Just imagine:

Me: Anyone feel like dessert?
Friends: Sure, what do you have?
Me: Oh, [wave of hand], just some homemade Tiramisu Cheesecake Bars... you interested?
::cue the droooolllllling::

My boyfriend and I don't eat sweets much, but we were in love. My step-mom isn't a coffee person, but she enjoyed them. And, most importantly, my morning cup of coffee and these cheesecake bars snuggled together nicely... but even those two were no match for this dessert and a late-night glass of red wine... mmm...

they're definitely all gone. lol. only took a couple days.

anyway, on to the review!

Recipe Blogroll graphic

Tiramisu Cheesecake Bars:
Posted by My Tasty Treasures
My Tasty Treasures' Tiramisu Cheesecake Bars
(Pic by My Tasty Treasures)

Meal: (what did I serve this with?)
Best served with a glass of milk, a digestif, or a hot cup of coffee

Recipe Difficulty: (how hard was this to cook?)
2 / 5

Recipe Quality: (how well was the recipe written?)
5 / 5
*LOVE the pictures :)

Dish Deliciousness: (did it taste great?)
5 / 5

Number of cooking mistakes: (how many times did I mess up??)
2 mistakes total (one wasn't really mine!):

  1. I almost forgot the vanilla
  2. Matt put some in a tupperware that touched the top of the bars... no good. Immediately rips the topping off and they look kind of weird. They still taste good, though :)
Repeat Likelihood: (will I try to make it again?)
5 / 5

The Story:

I think that how you choose to make these depends on your schedule.  The cream cheese needs to be room temperature, and my Mom always told me that whenever baking, it's helpful to have most the items around the same temperature.  So I also left the egg on the counter so it would be room temperature as well.

Here's another tip from My Mom:

When whipping ingredients together for a fluffy effect, it helps to use a cold, metal mixing bowl.  Put your metal mixing bowl in the freezer for a little bit before mixing, and you'll be surprised by the difference it makes!
So here's what I did to fit this baking adventure into my schedule...

My method:
  • Bake the crust bottom at night; leave the rest of the ingredients out on the counter to reach room-temp and let the crust cool on the counter
  • In the morning, make the cream cheese filling and when finished, cool in the fridge
  • Come home for lunch and make the whipped topping!
  • YUM by dinnertime!!!
It worked out well and really ended up not taking much time at all.

And I can't stress this enough-- they were so good.



Everyone-- thank you.  Your sweet comments about my embarrassing, gross cooking mistake were really nice.

Healthy Delicious pointed out-- she uses organic chicken, and mine were probably huge in comparison.  I should have realized! But hey, another lesson in cooking :)

And the recipe was still good! I'll just do better next time.

I loved the idea that Stephanie and Jenn@SlimShoppin shared-- a meat timer. Definitely investing :) Thanks again, everyone!


Thanks to Krysten over at After I Do for passing on the fabulous GLOB Award!

GLOB, you say? Yup!

GLOB Award means Gorgeous Ladies of Blogging

I wanted to pass this one on to my blog friend Ace

I've followed Ace's blog since... probably since I started blogging... and I recently read a post of hers that I thought was so inspiring and exciting. It's all about her new outlook on working out and being healthy. Anyway, you can read it here.

and Ace, here's the GLOB award for you!

Thanks again, Krysten!


Also, thanks again for this blog award, Nikolett!

Wanted to pass that one on as well:

Krysten over at After I Do
Iva at Iva Messy
Stephanie at Les Jou Jou
Ali at The Way I See It

Happy Blog Awards, everyone!


Alright, back to homework. Matt, if you're reading this, I swear I read for class before I started this blog post :) (I'm always telling him I have such a busy day, and then he sees an update on my blog. lol)

Your missing-the-cheesecake-bars,
loving-our-sunny-weather, been-23-for-a-month!,
New Girl Blogger

Recipe Blogroll Review: Braised Chicken with Grapes; + yum wine, till morning...

Friday, January 22

Currently listening to "Pink Moon," Nick Drake

Yesterday seemed like the perfect day for some delicious cooking, for a couple reasons: 1 Matt had friends in town (and I wanted to impress them with my cookin skilllllz); 2. I actually remembered to take the chicken out of the freezer to thaw; 3. It's been a long week since I completed some intense internship applications, finished my first full week of school (my classes are done on Thursdays! woohoo!), and finished two conference proposals... 

So it was a good night to relax in the kitchen.

The recipe was good! It really was! Thank you, Healthy Delicious!

I'm just such a bad cook.

Ughhhhhh... just suffered a flashback of what happened last night.

Okay, I'll explain... but let's break this down first:

Recipe Blogroll graphic

Braised Chicken with Grapes:
Posted by Healthy Delicious
Healthy Delicious Chicken with Grapes
(Pic by Healthy Delicious)

Dinner: (what did I serve this with?)

Braised Chicken was served with risotto, green beans, and a loaf of french bread

Recipe Difficulty: (how hard was this to cook?)
2.5 / 5
*Most difficult part was finding arrowroot spice in my grocery store!

Recipe Quality: (how well was the recipe written?)
5 / 5

Dish Deliciousness: (did it taste great?)
4 / 5 

Number of cooking mistakes: (how many times did I mess up??) 
3 mistakes total:
  1. Cooking time of chicken quarters depends upon size
  2. Don't accidentally buy red grapes because you didn't read the recipe and then go back for green ones because you're not sure if it matters but forget to bring your wallet inside the store and have to hold everyone in the line up to go get it so you can pay for $1.37 of grapes...
  3. The microwave timer is there to be used so stop trying to remember then time, just to forget it later and wonder if things have been in for long enough

Repeat Likelihood (will I try to make it again?)
5 / 5


The Story:
Matt's work friend "Watkins" (his name is Matt too, but luckily he commonly goes by his last name Watkins as a nickname. Matt and I have such unoriginal names...) was over for a while, and Matt's fraternity brother from undergrad, Josh, was in town from Virginia.

I got home from class and immediately got started.  The cooking experience was enjoyable... everything was fairly easy, and the risotto was a good pairing since it's not particularly difficult to cook, and the smells from the kitchen were making the boys holler from the living room about how they couldn't wait to eat!

It took longer than I thought, but when I was done I was nervous.  I hadn't really thought about it... but the chicken quarters I bought were huge. I put them on a serving plate and was impressed with their size... they were definitely bigger than the ones in HD's picture. But hey, I figured, I'm feeding a bunch of guys so it should be fine... but I cut into the chicken to make sure it was done.

We all loaded our plates, the guys were talking about how great it smelled, and I'm wondering how I can sneak my camera and get a picture of my plate when....

...Watkins cuts into his chicken.

And it looks good. At first.

Until closer to the bone, his knife hits some kind of vein or something, and the chicken starts bleeding on his plate.

...really? yes.

It was disgusting.  Everyone else's was fine, but just in case I quickly swiped up everyone's chicken, tossed them back into the pan *luckily I hadn't cleaned it yet* with some chicken stock to cook longer.

I swear, they all looked done!! Does that just happen sometimes?? All his meet looked totally cooked I swear, but there was just this random vein I guess... ugh it was so gross.  I cut everyone's chicken a little in the pan before I served it again about 10 minutes later...


But you know... I'm lucky, because if it was going to happen to someone, I'm glad it happened with Watkins. He's a great guy, and a true southern gentleman.  He's from a smalllllllll town in NC, and was raised not to curse around women, to say "yes, Ma'am," the whole nine yards.  He's very polite and kind-- plus, he's a huge hunter.  So a little bit of blood didn't bother him at all, lol. He thought it was kind of funny.

I didn't, though. I was so excited about serving a good dinner! It all ended up tasting great-- I loved the sauce, just like HD said we would, and grapes really are a great pairing with chicken!

This was my first time cooking with chicken quarters, and I had no idea what I was looking for when I went to the store. Now I know not to get the huge ones...

I'm gonna try this one again, HD. 
And you guys-- I definitely recommend it :)

I'd like to try this recipe again with skinless chicken breasts, but then again I don't want to be scared off chicken quarters. I mean, the chicken was really good!

It was just... ughh. Embarrassing. Learning to be a good cook can be embarrassing....


The recipe calls for using a semi-sweet wine... HD used guwurztraminer, which I couldn't find in the store, but I found a great looking riesling.

I think it made a great sauce, and it was fun to drink during and after dinner...

...I just shouldn't have drank as much of it.  I was just sipping on it... but we stayed up late since Josh was here and I ended up sipping a lot I suppose...

woke up this morning with a HUGE headache. I forget that white wine gives a headache like no other... I'm used to drinking red wine, which I swear is nicer to you in the morning...

so anyway, I'm going to drink another cup of coffee... my cut off is usually no more than two mugs before lunch, but I'm making a hangover exception.


Comments on my last post:

Thanks for the blog award, Nikolett!

My first one of 2010!

I'll pass it on in my next post... thanks a lot for thinking of me, Nikolett! Go check her out over at Better Than Coffee.

Speaking of my next post-- that's where I will also talk about those Tiramisu Cheesecake bars that I found over at My Tasty Treasures blog... some of you were drooling over the pic, as did I.

Yes, they were amazing, and yes, you should make them!

But wait till I post, cause as a new baker I've got some great tips to help you not screw it up... lol

And Kim, no worries, if I make Steph Chows' granola I'll definitely send you some. Unless I eat it all first... then I'll make a second batch and send you that :)


Thanks for the great recipe, Healthy Delicious! 

Your still-kind-of-embarrassed,
apparently white-wine-slurping,
New Girl Blogger

Recipe Blogroll items for January 2010

Friday, January 15

Currently Listening to "The Call," Regina Spektor

Recipe Blogroll is BACK, baby!!


A little different this time. Instead of listing a million recipes I'd like to try like last time, I'm going to shoot for four to five a month.

{I'm a deadline person. I'll do better with a deadline.}

Then, during the month, I'll write a review of the yummy recipe, share any tips ::remember, I'm still VERY new to cooking haha::, and post a small award for the recipe writer because I appreciate cooking blogs SO much!!

If you have any recipe you'd like to suggest for my February Blogroll, please let me know in the comments or by e-mailing me at

**All pictures are from the recipe owner's Web site. Click on the Recipe name to read more about the recipe and to see more pictures!*

Recipe Blogroll Items for January 2010!

Recipe Blogroll graphic
  • Braised Chicken with Grapes: Posted by Healthy Delicious, this recipe uses grapes to help make some "fall-off-the-bone" chicken and, according to HD, some sauce that'll make you want to lick your plate. I'm in!

    Healthy Delicious Chicken with Grapes (Pic by Healthy Delicious)
  • Linguine with Zucchini and Chickpeas: Real Simple Magazine, August 2009; This recipe was definitely intended for summer haha... but I can't resist! All the soups and stews we've been having... I'd love to have a light evening dinner like this soon. And hey, we'll just pretend it's warm :)linguine(Pic from Real Simple)
  • Applesauce Granola: Posted by Steph Chows, it's a recipe I've been looking for! I love granola... but it's so expensive! I would love to make it at home AND I think it would make a cute gift to give for friends at Valentine's Day!
    Steph Chow's granola(Pic by StephChows)
  • Pot Sticker Pillows: Posted by Slim Shoppin, this recipe makes AMAZING looking pot stickers that are only 30 calories each!! Which... probably won't matter much when I eat about 100 of them, but still...
    Slim Shoppin Pot Stickers (Pic by Slim Shoppin)

Here's to a January filled with new recipes!! Thanks you guys!

So now all I've got to do is cook these 5 before the 31st, and I'll post a review for each.
I'll try to write down any helpful hints I come up with along the way... I've only been cooking for about a year now and I still feel very, very new at it :)
Want to try a Recipe Blogroll?
It's a great way to force yourself out of your cooking shell!

Feel free to use the button:
Recipe Blogroll graphic

**Quick thanks to Fidgeting Gidget for giving me my new knitting project a great name: marf.
The Marf = The manly knit, manly colored scarf intended for a male
who may be leery of effeminate scarves... 


Your excited-to-start-cooking,
New Girl Blogger

Your Man ___? Finding the Man Scarf. + First Week of Class!

Tuesday, January 12

Currently Listening to "California," Rogue Wave.

Your Man __?

Kym was cracking me up in the comments of my man scarf post, talking about how "Man ___" is always funny. And she's totally right! Man purse is funny no matter what "cool" bag the man is carrying. (Anyone else obsessed with The Hangover?? It's a satchel! Indiana Jones wears one...)

Another favorite of mine was always "man cave." It means a room in the house where men are allowed to do and decorate how they please. Think leather chairs and pool tables, I suppose?

I never understood these men who, in their own houses, had to fight for a basement or upstairs room or-- really?-- the garage, just so they could have their own space. I was always all, "why don't they just share and compromise??"


Now that I've lived with my boyfriend for a little over a year, I can honestly say that while I'm still happily in love with him and look forward to seeing him everyday...

His Scarface poster is the FIRST thing that would go in his man cave.

Haha I remember trying so hard to get him to get rid of that when we moved in together...

Then my step-dad saw it when he was helping us unpack and was all, "That's awesome!!"

So now it's in our office. Black matting, gold frame and all.

The things we do for love...

Anyway, speaking of lovely things, I think I've chosen a scarf for the "man scarf" project!

Finding the Man Scarf

Fidgeting Gidget shared the Basketweave Scarf pattern from Knitting Daily, which I looooove. I'm so making this for myself lol.

man scarf from knitting daily

Isn't it cute?? I'm going to go ahead and get this on the needles next because I think it's so cute. I'm afraid Matt won't like the sides... it could be seen as a little "ruffled." Guys are so hard! I can totally understand Steph Chows forgetting the scarf and crocheting her hubs an afghan!!

But like I said... I like the scarf. lol. So FG, I'll make that one for me. You can never have enough cute scarves, I think!

SO. For Mr. Matt, I felt better when Concord Carpenter promised that 1. Using one color is best (that's what I was thinking!) and 2. Wide is ok.

THEN Stephanie posts two scarves, one of which is the Extra Warm Men's Scarf by Cotton and Cloud.

Extra Warm Men's Scarf by Cotton and Cloud

Love it! Manly looking stitches (can stitches be manly? Guess so!), nice gray-black simple man color...

I've got my scarf :)

So now, on the needles:

  1. Extra Warm Men's Scarf by Cotton and Cloud. (Thanks for the suggestion, Stephanie!)
  2. The Hoodie Baby Blanket by Nikol Lohr

Thanks for your help, everyone!

First Week of Class

Now, this is my 2nd day of class during my first week of the semester...

It's my third semester and after this I'll only have two more to go... (May '11, baby!)

And after all that, this is my first online class!

I've got two traditional lecture courses (ENG 518 Publication Management, ENG 519 Online Information Design and Evaluation) but my one online class is EAC 581: Advanced Instructional Design in Training and Development.

It's funny... because it's Advanced Instructional Design, and I've never even taken an Instructional Design course... or a EAC course (EAC is Adult & Higher Education Dept.) at all, for that matter! AND it's my first online course.

...that's a lot of first.

Hopefully I'll survive.

I was a TOTAL DORK and when I signed on to the course, realized everyone was posting introductions in the "forum" so I went around and commented on EVERYONE'S introduction...

...well, there's only 15 people in the class, but anyway...

commented on EVERYONE'S introduction, only to realize afterward that the only other person to comment ON EVERYONE'S INTRODUCTION....

...was the professor.

At least I proved you can still be a dork, even in online classes...

Maybe everyone will just think I'm really nice! lol.

Next post: Cooking, Recipe Blogroll Update!

Your still-freezing-in-NC,
tired-of-cold-weather, making-a-big-stew-to-help,
New Girl Blogger

Knitting Group Wednesdays, A Manly Scarf?, and Wishlist Knitting Projects

Wednesday, January 6

Currently Listening to "Night Minds," Missy Higgins.

Yesterday was my sister Courtney's birthday.
Happy Birthday, Courtney!

Picture of Courtney
One of my favorite Courtney pictures...
hanging with goofy Abby last year

Knitting Group Wednesday
One of the reasons it was so easy for me to fall in love with knitting is the amazing knitting group I've been a part of since Summer 2008. The group varies in size, and while we have had a strange bird or two drift in and out of the group, the core five or six individuals that attend are amazing. Very diverse in ages, backgrounds, hometowns, knit skill level, and careers, the women (and one man!) who have kept the group alive make Wednesdays very easy for me to look forward to.

Plus, it doesn't hurt that the group meets at a fun wine/coffee bar in Downtown Raleigh, which (as of January 2nd!) is all now officially smoke-free!! Woo-hoo NC!!

I haven't been in a while, especially since I was tutoring till pretty late on Wednesday last semester, but I'm excited for a new start this year. Plus, I've got some new projects I'm thinking about and everyone in the group is SO helpful when you're struggling through a new project!!

Speaking of new projects...

Manly Scarf, anyone?

I would like to make a scarf for my boyfriend.

(Matt, if you're reading this, don't get excited. I haven't even started!)

Thing is, I've never knit a scarf for a guy. Come to think of it, I've never knit ANY guy things! So I was wondering...

Anyone have any ideas about or patterns for some simple man scarves?

I did see some man scarves I liked on Ravelry...

the Man's Lace Scarf by DoublePointed Designs
male scarf picture
Cool for the snowboarder on your list...

But I can just tell Matt wouldn't go for some of these. He's more of a traditional look. But it seems all the "man scarves" are just made really wide.

man scarf

Doesn't these seem a little wide?

man's scarf picture

And... except for this randomly freezing week and maybe one other week out of the year, we just don't need that kind of thing here in NC!

Matt has said before he would like a black scarf... but try as I have, I can't really think of a "manly" way to knit the thing. Wide seems silly, but too skinny and it'll look girly.

So... anyone? Ideas?

Other Projects:

Things I've found on Ravelry this week that I'd love to get started on...

1. The Lace Ribbon Scarf by Veronik Avery

2. The Hoodie Baby Blanket by Nikol Lohr

Hoodie Baby Blanket

3. The Grrlfriend Market Bag by Laura Spradlin

market bag

How cute are those?!!? Can't wait to get started :)

Good thing I've got a good group to knitters that will help me get started on these :) First I'll have to organize my yarn stash... everyone was too good to me this Christmas!!

Next post: My January to-do recipes-- courtesy of some of the best bloggers around!

Your excited-for-New-Year's-Re-Do-Date,
enjoying-Tom's-Mexican-Soup, still-haven't-taken-down-the-tree,
Grandma-made-me-too-many-cookies, glad-to-be-blogging-again,
New Girl Blogger

I'm Back!! 2010 New Year's Resolution + Finishing Life List Item #25

Friday, January 1

Currently Listening to "It Was A Very Good Year," Frank Sinatra.

Happy New Year!

Here's the Raleigh Acorn, our little NC tradition
on New Year's Eve-- drops JUST like the ball
in NYC. Well, maybe not as big of a crowd...

And, Happy New Blog!

I'm so sorry for my absence - been incognito since mid-October. The pressure of school and work kind of hit all at once... and something had to give.

BUT I'm back! And just as interested in learning new cooking/baking techniques, a few new knitting projects, and some general life lessons that come with the territory of a new 20-something's decade.

Of course, that brings the obvious question--

What is your 2010 New Year's Resolution????

I love resolutions. They may not always work out the way you think they will... but it's nice to start fresh sometimes. Well, unless you don't want to change anything...

Not everyone needs a resolution,
I suppose :)

I have a couple (as always), some of which Matt came up with and we're doing together, including:
  1. Have at least one TV-free night a week
  2. Send Birthday cards
  3. Keep up with my blog!
  4. Get in better shape
4 seems like a good number...

Anyway, this New Year's has also presented a chance for me to check something off my life list.

See, on Wednesday Dec. 30th I woke up with a really sore throat. It was manageable at first, but by the end of the night it was hurting!

Of course, by New Year's Eve, I was definitely Ms. I've-Got-A-Cold. Matt had to run out twice for soup and meds, and I spend the day in my PJs instead of the cute New Year's Eve dress I had bought with Leah. It wasn't so bad... big blankets, lots of movies, and some OJ. I also managed to stay up till Midnight for New Year's Eve!

Still, it wasn't the New Year's Eve I had been hoping for... we had plans to meet some friends downtown, and I had that new dress! So Matt's promised to take me out for New Year's re-do next weekend!! Which bring me to my life list item...

√# 25: Experience New Year's Eve twice in one year

I always thought I would cross that one off by celebrating New Year's really close to a time zone border, and then hopping over the border after midnight and celebrating it again! But now I think I'll check this one off with the New Year's re-do next Saturday :) I'll keep my eye on midnight and everything!!

Anyway, lots of other things to update from this past year... fun recipes, finished knitting projects, trips to Disney world, my new twin brother and sister...

But hey, I just got back. So how about we take it slow, and just end with another hearty--

Happy New Year!

Your still-a-little-stuffy,
just-turned-23, lovin-2010-already!,
New Girl Blogger