31 October 2005

return of the native

comment spam? we don't need no stinkin' comment spam, so i enabled those doohickeys to keep the spambots outta the house. sorry for any inconvenience, o-patient-readers-of-an-infrequently-updated-blog.

some crafty Halloween costumes seen this year: pregnant nun, convict Martha Stewart (actually, it was a crossdressing-convict Martha Stewart, complete with goatee--he had very cleverly handcuffed himself to a spice rack, as well), a walking iPod commercial, and, my favorite, a guy in a cardboard box covered in fancy paper, with a gift tag on it that said "To: Women -- From: God." heh.

i've been supremely busy with work-drama, car-drama, travel-drama, and other assorted drama, so i haven't touched the needles in a while. about the only crafty thing i've even done is turn a kids' thriftstore sweater into laptop pajamas, which i can't even post a picture of because i lost the USB cable for my camera. i also signed up, once again, for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which starts, oh, TOMORROW.

*panics*

i suppose novel-writing counts as crafty, so i'll ramble on about it more. although i won NaNo last year, clocking in at 50,004 words, i was writing characters i've been writing for a long time, so i didn't do a lot of preparation. this year i'm going with an idea that i've been pondering for a while, but i haven't been able to do a lot of world-building or character-building, so i'll basically be flying by the seat of my pants. the NaNo boards are abuzz this year with the Snowflake Method, which i tried out and liked. i got surprising results out of it, or at least out of the first three steps, which is as far as i got. apparently my story now has ghosts and demons in it. who knew?

*panics more*

anyway, since i have a crapload of recipes i never ever have time to make, i thought i'd share them with everybody, because maybe ya'll have time to make them. we should have a blog-based-cookie-recipe-exchange or something. here is a recipe that accomplishes several things that holiday-time-of-year recipes should accomplish: a) it looks good, so it looks like you spent hours over a hot oven, when really it's so simple you can drink a glass of wine while cooking; b) the ingredients are fairly cheap, so you can stock up and make it again and again; and c) it freaking tastes good!

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake (Serves 12)
2 cups finely crushed gingersnaps
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
6 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted

3 8oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
dashed ground cloves

-Mix gingersnaps, pecans and butter; press onto bottom and sides of pie pan or springform pan.
-Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each, just until blended. (Batter will be liquidy). Reserve half the plain batter in a separate bowl and set aside.
-Stir remaining 1/4 cup sugar (or add more to taste), pumpkin, and spices (adjusting to taste) into the remaining batter.
-Spoon half of the pumpkin batter over the crust. Top with spoonfuls of half of the reserved plain batter. Repeat layers. Cut through the batters with the edge of a butterknife to create a marbled effect.
-If using a silver springform pan, bake at 325 F for 55 minutes or until center is almost set. If using a dark nonstick springform pan, bake at 300 F for 55 minutes or until center is almost set. If using a pie pan, bake at 325 F for 55 minutes or until almost set. Loosen cake from sides of pan; cool before removing sides (springform pan).
-Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Store leftovers in fridge, although there won't be any.

i believe this recipe originally came from Philly cream cheese, although knowing me i probably made it with Wegmans brand everything. if you like it, or the recipe idea in general, let me know!