Category Archives: Culinary Challenges

A place for the Culinary Challenges alone

Monday Blog – Lots of Pictures!

Hey you guys! It’s Monday! Sorry I didn’t get a blog up on Friday, there wasn’t much to report until Saturday (see picture below)

Much to my mother’s dismay I sort of dominated our living space for the vast majority of the weekend… Notice the baking supplies on the counter in the foreground and the sewing supplies on the table in the back.

Yep, I baked a white-chocolate raspberry cheesecake and sewed (with a tremendous amount of help from my mother) a skirt on Saturday. It was very crazy, but a lot of fun!

The cheesecake turned out really, really well (despite the fact that water leaked through the tinfoil and into the bottom of my spring-form pan during the baking process) and got some good reviews from the family, even though they could have been lying to make me feel better about my baking skills (which has happened before, I’ll have to tell you about the peanut-butter-butter-cream-brownie-sandwich fiasco sometime). I guess the only thing that matters is that I enjoyed it, right? And boy did I. ^.^

And I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but it turned out really pretty, regardless of my taste-bias.

In between checking the oven and melting chocolate and making raspberry reductions, I was pinning fabric and troubleshooting my maiden voyage with my sewing machine (gifted to me by the INCREDIBLE Ms. Paula).

Sewing machines are confusing. really confusing, just in case you weren’t informed. Once I got the hang of it I still didn’t really understand what it was doing, I just knew that it was working because it wasn’t falling apart. Mom was an angel during this project, she showed me how to take in the shirt before I made it into the skirt (because I accidentally got an XXL instead of an L…) and then guided the sewing machine while I held the tension on the elastic when working on the waistband.

I think it turned out pretty well for my first major sewing project, it’s not necessarily the most flattering skirt (for my figure) but it turned out looking nice.

It was way harder than I thought it would be though, elastic is not an easy task for one person, especially if you are sewing the elastic in. So don’t be mistaken if you want to give this a shot and think it’ll be easy, because it isn’t!

This Week:

Now here is where I usually tell you what my projects are for this week, but I don’t think that I’m going to be able to get any projects done this week other than packing and seeing shows (somehow I have accrued tickets to a ton of different local shows this past week, in conjunction to going to New York to see a couple of different Broadway shows this weekend… could it be a sign?).

This week I will be knitting a bunch in the airport and whilst flying across the country, and probably adding some buttons to a scarf of mine before I go, but other than that there won’t be anything major, so I think that instead I am going to do a post before I leave on friday that is more about me to give you an idea of who I am and why I’m writing this blog that you are reading (and so on and so forth, yaddah yaddah).

So check back sometime later this week and hopefully there’ll be a post up ^.^

Thanks for reading!



This Week’s Challenges

Alright, its monday, which means its time for a new batch of challenges, and I’m really excited. This week I’ll be breaking out the sewing machine for my first big sewing project, and baking a cheesecake (if I can get a spring-form…) for my father’s birthday.

Craft Challenge #3: Shirt Skirt

Cute, right? All I need to do is pick up some elastic and swing by the Goodwill and snag an oversized button-down shirt, which are both pretty darn cheap. I’m really excited to start on this! Now I just have to work on some cute top to go with it!

I’m going to be in New York in a few weeks on a school trip and this just screams high fashion to me, I can’t wait to be walking around in this and some cute heels in Times Square.

Culinary Challenge #2:

Now, I am very torn as to which sort of cheesecake I want to make (if the goodwill gods grant me a spring-form pan in the next two weeks…) so I will leave it up to you guys to help me decide!

And here are our current contenders:

On the left we have our White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, and on our right the strawberry graham cracker cheesecake.

Both look ridiculous, right? Please, please, please leave a comment and help me make a decision!

Well that is all that I have for you right now, I’ll post links to the recipes and the tutorials at the bottom of the post

Thanks for reading!



strawberry Cheesecake:
White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake:
Shirt Skirt:

End of the week update!

Wow, it’s been a busy week, between tweaking the cinnamon roll sugar cookie recipe, battling with embroidery thread for the pincushion, and well.. the rest of my life, my schedule has been jam-packed!

Sorry I didn’t update on friday like I would have liked to, I didn’t have enough time to breathe, let alone write a decent quality post. But I completed my challenges and that is what really matters!

The Pincushion:

This project was a lot simpler than I originally thought it would be, and it would have been even easier if I’d just spent the money and gotten some cotton stuffing to place inside my pincushion. See, I figured I’d go green and reuse some fabric I had lying around as stuffing. And of course I chose to use an old denim pant-leg from some jeans I’d butchered, which made pushing the needle through the pincushion 15 times a real joy. Thank the good lord for thimbles, thats all that I can say, because I would have been in a lot of trouble if I didn’t have one of those. The density of the denim made the wrapping portion really difficult, but despite the pain in the thumb it was to make, I’m really, really happy with my new pin cushion and suggest that you give this a shot, because it’s quick, easy, and freaking adorable! This little guy isn’t going back into the sewing box, he’s chilling on my computer desk (where I do most of my little projects anyways!)

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies:

mmmmm.... cookies...

After three batches of these puppies I think that I’ve finally figured out my favorite way to prepare them. I followed the recipe for the sugar cookie dough that Jenny from the Picky Palate suggested, but even though the recipe called for 6 cups of flour, I found that I couldn’t even begin to work with the dough because it was so sticky. So I had to chill the dough for a bit in the mixing bowl before trying to remove it. I then took the dough and separated it into two sections and put it in the freezer for 1-2 hours so it was nice and chilly. Now the recipe says to separate the dough into quite a few small sections and roll it out, giving you small, well-cooked cookies. I however like big doughy cookies, so I took half of the dough and rolled it into a really large oval. Once buttered/brown-sugared/cinnamoned, I rolled the dough into a really thick log and sliced the cookies very thinly before arranging them onto the trays to put into the oven.

Now, as I mentioned before, I like big, doughy cookies, so I have a tendency to modify temperatures/bake-times when baking. I kept the baking temperature, but instead of keeping the cookies in for 9 to 11 minutes, I baked them for 6 to 7 minutes and let them set on the trays for a good 20 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. They may be a little too soft right after they bake, but after a night in a ziplock baggie, they will have settled into the perfect consistency, as opposed to being warm and gooey when fresh and then hardening into hockey pucks overnight (which is definitely my experience with most recipes).

Take a look at my previous post for the links to the tutorials mentioned today.

Check back tomorrow to find the next batch of challenges!