Cheesecake Factory

I’m sure most of you have been to The Cheesecake Factory. If you haven’t ever been you are not human and you need to get off this planet. Actually you just have to go to there and eat their delicious food. I recommend the Spicy Cashew Chicken and the Buffalo Blasts. Especially the Buffalo Blasts. They are out of this world! Well I’m kind of getting off topic. I started this post to talk about the cheesecake from this delightful place. They have so many different kinds it’s a little bit ridiculous. Thirty-eight different kinds to be exact. Last night my family and I got some cheesecake as part of my birthday celebration. I was still a little full from the burger I ate earlier (the one from Zombie Burger) but I still had to get cheesecake. There isn’t a Cheesecake Factory where I’m from so this was my only chance to get it for awhile. I decided to get the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake. It’s a classic. You can’t go wrong with a nice Vanilla Bean. (although i don’t really think you can go wrong with any of those cheesecakes) Aside from the Vanilla Bean, I have had the Dutch Caramel Apple Streusel. That one is perfect for the apple pie lovers. I have also had the Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake and the Hersey’s Chocolate Bar Cheesecake. Those two bad boys are very chocolatey so if you haven’t had those be warned that you have to really like chocolate to eat them. I personally couldn’t finish them because they started to get very rich. But now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve finished a slice of their cheesecake by myself ever. And last but certainly not least, I have ordered the White Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Cheesecake. That one was pretty darn heavenly if you hadn’t already figured that out from the name.

Zombie Burger

So yesterday I traveled to Des Moines to go to Zombie Burger. You are probably wondering what that is. Well as the name implies, they serve hamburgers and it has a zombie theme. I first heard about Zombie Burger from a girl I go to tennis with. She said that she had gone there the day before and that it was soooo good. She told me that the burger she got had fried macaroni and cheese buns. Yeah, I know!! Fried macaroni and cheese buns!!! What does that even mean?!? I didn’t know, but I knew that I had to find out for myself just how good this place was. The second time a hear about Zombie Burger was from one of my class mates. He said that the burger he got had fried pickles on it. When I heard him raving about it I knew I was going there someday, some way. I told my mom about my hankering to go to Zombie Burger and of course she kind of ignored it like she usually does. I didn’t give up though. I made my wishes known several times. Finally, I came up with a plan. I decided I wanted to go there for my birthday dinner. I knew my parents would have to say okay now. It was for my birthday! They had to let me go. My plan worked and we set out on our short road trip to Zombie Burger.

When we finally got seated, I knew exactly what burger I wanted to get. It was the one with the mac and cheese buns. The description on the menu went like this.

The Walking Ched – breaded and deep-fried mac and cheese bun, bacon, Cheddar cheese, caramelized and raw onion, mac and cheese, mayo

Music to my ears!! So I ordered it and it was amazing. I died and went to heaven. It was so big and messy. I had to use a fork and knife and give the rest of it to my brother. I would definitely go back there again.

Neutrals

Neutrals. They have always been a part of fashion. Always. They are essential to everyone’s wardrobe. They are the basis of outfits. Often times they are the reason outfits look good. If you are wearing an outfit filled with color and no neutrals, there is a good chance that you will look ridiculous. Now don’t get me wrong, there are outfits out there that are made up of all colors and they look absolutely amazing. Well anyway, we are talking about neutrals right now.  It seems that last year and this year neutrals have become more important than they have been in the past. These days I have noticed that more and more people are wearing outfits made up of all neutrals. And let me tell ya. These outfits are in no way boring. I think I need to clear something up before I go any further. My definition of neutrals are the colors black, white, brown, tan, grey, and nude. Navy might even be a neutral, but I haven’t decided yet. This is probably not any different from most people’s definition of neutrals but I thought I should make mine clear.

Since neutrals have become more popular, at least in my eyes they have, they are being used in different ways. Before, neutrals were used to tone an outfit down or used to create a basis for other colors. Here’s an example.

Sally wants to wear a pink blouse and a purple cardigan. Then she has to figure out what type of pants to wear. She thinks to herself that the pants should be a neutral color to balance out the color on top. Plus, she wants her top to stand out and be noticed. She doesn’t want her pants to be distracting or take away the stoplight from her upper body. She can wear jeans or khakis. She could even wear black slacks. Either way, Sally fells she needs a neutral.

Now Sally is in no way wrong. It makes complete sense to think this way. Heck, I think that way and I’m sure lots of other people do too. Well if you really want to be considered a “fashionista” in today’s world then you have to be able to work with neutrals in a way that is “different from the norm.” You have to be able to wear multiple neutral colors in one outfit without looking like a school librarian and you have to use different textures to create interest.

Now that you know the important things to consider when making a neutral outfit, lets look at some examples.

(all photos were found on Pinterest, they are not me or anyone that I know)

Knit w/ dress

 

Now this outfit is adorable. And as you have probably noticed, it is made up of neutrals. Is this a boring outfit? No way! There are different colors: cream, beige, and black. There are different textures: knit sweater and pleated dress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This outfit is cute too and follows “the rules.” Different colors and different textures. There is one thing that really makes this outfit work for this girl and that is her skin tone. She is tan and the color of here shirt goes great with her skin tone. If I were to wear this outfit, it probably wouldn’t look as good because I have such pale skin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

so cute for fall

 

 

This outfit is very similar to the first example, I just wanted to show a head to toe look.

Oreo Balls

Oreo Balls are like the best thing on the planet. I mean they are like little bites of heaven. The soft and chocolatey center made out of the best cookie in the universe. (that may have been a slight exageration but you get the picture) The smooth chocolate coating on the outside. You literally can not go wrong! To express my love for Oreo Balls I made a little song to the tune of “O Christmas Tree” to help spread some holiday cheer and just because I felt like it. Here it is!

O Oreo Balls, O Oreo Balls

You little slice of heaven

O Oreo Balls, O Oreo Balls

You make me feel so happy

Chocolatey center so sweet

Smooth outer coating can’t be beat

O Oreo Balls, O Oreo Balls

You little slice of heaven

Haha. Hope you enjoyed it. LOL

And in case you are a freak of nature and have never had Oreo Balls, here is the recipe!!!

Ingrediants:

1   package of Oreo cookies

1   8 ounce package of cream cheese

1    24 ounce package of white chocolate bark

1   24 ounce package of chocolate bark

Directions:

1. mix Oreos and cream cheese together

2. roll in to balls about an inch thick

3. chill for an hour

4. melt 3/4 package of white chocolate bark

5. stick tooth pick into an Oreo ball and dip in white chocolate bark covering the whole surfice

6. place on wax paper to harden

7. repeat proceedure

8. use chocolate bark to drizzle in the top or use it to make chocolate covered Oreo balls

9. store in the refrigerator

The End of Men: And the Rise of Women

Warning!: I’m going to drift away from the topic of my blog for a few hundred words so beware.

I’m reading this book called The End of Men and the Rise of Women by Hanna Rosin. It’s a nonfiction book that I’m reading for one of my classes in school. I’m not a fan of nonfiction but this book is pretty interesting. Although, that does not mean that I feel like reading it. Reading this book means I have to write an essay. I’m not a fan of essays either. Well anyway, don’t let this stop you from reading this book. The End of Men is about how women are rising up. They are becoming more educated and entering the workforce at much higher rates than they used to. Rosin says women are even surpassing men. Since the beginning of time, men have been considered the “dominant being.” They have always been the ones who protect and the ones who bring home the dough to support the family. Women have been considered less than their man counterparts. They have stayed home to do the cooking and cleaning and done most of the raising of children while their husbands were off in the world making a living. In the past few decades these standards have changed. Women go to work more often than they stay home but they still hold most of the domestic responsibilities like cooking and taking care of the kids. This is a lifestyle that most of you are probably familiar with. This is known as the egalitarian lifestyle. I don’t know about you, but this is the life I picture for myself when I’m married. Maybe with more equal house duties. In today’s world, as Rosin writes, women are changing the way they think about relationships and their future. They want to get a good education and graduate college. They want to be able to support themselves and they have started to think that the idea of marriage and love can wait. Their career is the number one thing. Lots of women still want to get married and have children, they just want to do it at an older age. (around age 30) This change in mentality has effected the workforce. More and more women are going to college and getting degrees and then they are finding jobs. They aren’t just finding jobs considered to be in the women’s fields, such as nursing or teaching, but also going into the fields dominated by men, such as construction and positions of high power. As Rosin writes in her book, women have become more like plastic. They have been willing and able to change over time. Men on the other hand have been like cardboard. They haven’t changed much over time, such as taking the same types of jobs. Women have been spreading their horizons. They have started to enter male dominated fields while the men have not started to enter female dominated fields. This ability has allowed women to gain jobs that pay extremely well. Some women are so successful in their careers that their husbands are no longer the breadwinners. Some men don’t even have to work because their wives make so much money. This rise of women has essentially effected the men. Women have been changing a lot more quickly than men have. The percentage of women getting degrees and getting jobs has grown at much faster rates than men. Some say the women have already surpassed the men or that they will become the dominant gender in the future. Well, women may be rising and growing faster than men, but this does not mean that they are becoming the dominant gender. Men have been working and providing for  their families a lot longer than women have. They have been the dominant gender since basically the beginning of time. This means that they have less room to grow. Men started at the top. Women started much further down and have had a long way to climb throughout history. This difference in distance has made it easier for women to progress at faster rates than men. The men have already met what the women are achieving now. So to recap, women are definitely changing at a faster rate than men, but this does not mean they are becoming the dominant gender. Maybe someday in the future women will jump ahead, but I don’t think it has happened quite yet.

Overnight Ham and Swiss

These little sandwiches are perfect for parties and taste just as good when you eat them for lunch or dinner. I love these sandwiches. We make them every once in a while at my house. They are just so tasty. The ham is so nice and warm and the cheese is melted. (i’m a sucker for melted cheese) Eat them with some potato chips and you are set. Stomach = satisfied.

15 “silver dollar rolls”

1 lb. thin sliced ham

1 lb. thin sliced swiss

1 stick margarine

1  1/2 T. Worcestershire sauce

1  1/2 T. poppy seeds

1  1/2 T. mustard

Make up the sandwiches. Place sandwiches in a 13×9 dish. Melt butter. Mix together Worchestershire sauce, seeds, and mustard. Brush or dab the mixture on top of the sandwiches. Pour remainder of sauce over all the sandwiches. Cover with foil and refrigerate up to 24 hours. bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese melts. (you can make them ahead and refrigerate them overnight, hence the name Overnight Ham and Swiss)

Snickers Brownie Bites

Are you seeing these?!?!? Holy mother of everything that is good. These literally make me drool every time I look at them. Oh my goodness!! I just could not wait to make them. It turns out that when you make them, they don’t look like the ones in the picture. At least mine didn’t anyways. I guess this is to be expected, since nothing really ever looks like the picture. I mean, lots of times your own face doesn’t look the same in pictures as it does in the mirror. My brownies turned out a lot more messy looking and that can be attributed to the fact that the caramel layer was hard and sticky making it quite difficult to cut through. Even though the brownies didn’t look very pretty, they still tasted pretty good. The bottom layer is brownie which is good of course because it’s brownie. Who doesn’t love brownies? The next layer is nougat. This is my favorite layer. It’s made out of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff. Yum. Then there is a layer of caramel and peanuts and then it’s topped off with chocolate. The caramel layer is made out of melted caramel candies, so it was like having a caramel candy in the middle of the brownie bites. This layer is the only layer I would change. Because the caramel is like a caramel candy, it sticks in your teeth. I wouldn’t recommend this dessert to people with braces. I think for next time I will use caramel sauce that way the caramel won’t get stuck in your teeth and the pieces will be easier to cut. Just keep in mind that that is my opinion and the fact that I don’t care for caramel candies. Who knows? Maybe you will love the dessert just the way it is.

I got this recipe for the Snickers Brownie Bites from this website!

Tis the season to be ugly.

You may have seen the title of this post and found it interesting. That is usually how one decides to read something, from the title. Ugly is the word that probably caught your interest. I’m not talking about people here. I’m not that mean of a person. What I’m talking about here are ugly Christmas sweaters. We’ve all heard of them and may have owned one in the past. We’ve also heard of the classic stories of getting them as gifts. Well, maybe those stories are more from movies and such, but that is beside the point. The point is we’ve heard a story from somewhere, be it from our mothers or from watching A Christmas Story. If you haven’t heard anything, listen up. I will provide an example.

A child receives a gift from a family member. They are of course excited, because it’s a gift and everyone loves gifts. The kid opens the gift to find that inside is a Christmas sweater. The kid is ultimately disappointed because the gift is not what they had thought it could be: a toy car or yo-yo. The kid hates the sweater and does not want to wear it ever. Then there’s the parents who encourage the kid to wear it. “Aunt Helen knitted it herself and worked very hard on it. It would hurt her feelings if you never wore it,” the parents would say. So the kid is forced to wear the ugly sweater with worries that they will get beat up at school for wearing it.

Well, to the surprise of the kid in the story above, ugly Christmas sweaters are becoming popular. Now at Christmas time, people of all ages are wearing ugly Christmas sweaters on purpose. It’s fun and you’re always surprised at how ugly some sweaters really are. It’s kind of like a contest of who can have the ugliest sweater. At my school, we have ugly sweater day. As you can guess, everyone wears their ugly sweaters to school. You can have people wear them to Christmas parties or have a special day at work. I think I am going to ask my teacher if we can wear ugly sweaters to our orchestra concert. It would give a little more life to our concert if everyone was playing the holiday music wearing the sweaters. It would add more holiday spirit.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Shop!    For the next ugly Christmas sweater party   Lighted ugly christmas sweater. via Etsy.

Little Piece of Heaven

I was browsing through Pinterest like I always do and enjoying all the things I was finding like I always do. I was pinning clothes, animals, food, and of course, attractive males. As I was scrolling down the page, I happened across a picture of a dessert. It looked so heavenly that I decided I needed to repin it onto my board. When it was successfully pinned, I proceeded to click on the picture and prayed that I found the recipe. Guess what? I did! I was so excited. This meant that I could actually make them, eat them, and get fat on them!!

You might be wondering what that recipe was for. Well, it’s for these!

Pinned Image

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars.

Yup. You heard right. Cookie dough AND cheesecake in the same bar. They truly are little pieces of heaven.

Here’s the recipe. Now go melt from their deliciousness!

Recipe from http://www.brandysbaking.com

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8″ square baking pan with parchment paper or foil allowing a little overhang and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack. Leave your oven on while you prepare the dough.
3. While the crust is cooling, prepare the chocolate chip cookie dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth and thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Mix in the flour on low-speed, and mix until just incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips. Set aside.  (*Note:  This mixture is going to be dry…that’s okay.  It’s rather like a crumble topping.  You’re going to crumble it on top of the cheesecake layer.)
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla on low-speed just until incorporated. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust. Use your hands to form “clumps” of the cookie dough, smoosh it together and flatten it out.  Distribute the cookie dough onto the top of the cheesecake batter in teaspoon-sized clumps. Be sure to use all of the dough.
5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top feels dry and firm (the cookie dough) and the entire pan looks set if given a gentle shake. Move bars to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Chill in refrigerator overnight or for at least a couple of hours.
6. Lift the bars out by the overhang and cut into squares for serving.