EmJoyable Joins Facebook!

Today is a really exciting day for me! I’ve been working on my Facebook page for a while now and thinking about working on my Facebook page for even longer! I didn’t want to rush into it, because I wanted to be sure that I could use Facebook to supplement my blog, not just duplicate it. I wanted to use Facebook to share fresh thoughts, pictures and information. Today, I’m really excited to debut EmJoyable’s presence on the Book! I’d really love it if you’d all stop by EmJoyable on Facebook and share the love! I’d love to use it as a forum to discuss recipes, crafts, photos and all the things that EmJoyable is about! So check it out, Like it, tell your friends and drop me a line! I’d love to hear from everyone!

Cheers!

Emily Joy

Easter Eggs Pt. 1: Preparing the Canvas

Remember a long time ago when I said that I knew nothing about fashion in my tights post? Well, I know even less about art. I know nothing about the artistic process, color combinations or anything like that. I would venture to guess, though, that no matter your medium, you first have to obtain and in some way prepare some form of surface. Which is about as far as I needed to get for this week’s lesson.

While I know that Easter eggs are not quite oil paintings, I still think it’s important to start with the basics. With Easter coming in a few weeks, I wanted to share a few tips for perfect Easter eggs. I made some hardboiled eggs last night and got to test out a lot of these tips.

I want to preface by saying that these tips and suggestions are not my own. (I have linked to all original sources via hyperlink.) I simply knocked out the Google search on your behalf and have aggregated the best advice I could find. This post is about preparing the perfect hardboiled egg. Next week we’ll talk about decorating it.

The Basics —
Abridged version inspired by Simply Recipes

1. Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan. Cover with at least an inch or two of cold water.
2. Bring water to a boil.
3. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 minute.
4. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 12 minutes.
5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs into a bowl of ice water.
6. Once eggs have cooled, let dry on a towel. Refrigerate.

The Secrets —

For easy peeling …

  • Buy eggs 5 days in advance of boiling. (Simply Recipes)
  • Add 1 teaspoon of salt to water. (Good Life Eats)
  • Try Organic, brown-shelled eggs. (Good Life Eats)
  • When you place the eggs in the ice water, only leave them there for 2 minutes while bringing the pot of water back to a boil. Place the eggs back in the boiling water (6 at a time) for 10 seconds, then back to the ice bath. (Julie Child)

Other tips … 

  • Don’t use an aluminum pan; this can cause the yolks to turn green. (Easter Stuff)
  • You can prick a tiny hole in each egg with a pin to help prevent cracking.  (Easter Stuff)
  • You can also add 1 tablespoon vinegar to prevent the egg whites from getting out in case they do crack. (Simply Recipes)
  • Pricking the egg with a pin also prevents the egg from forming a flat spot on the wide end of the egg while cooking. (Recipe Tips)

Happy egg cooking! Do you have any other special tips for the perfect hardboiled egg?

Mini Cinnamon Chip Cheesecakes

Fridays are always the same: work, P.J. Clarke’s, movie. Every Friday. Even at P.J. Clarke’s, very little changes on a weekly basis. I get a Blue Moon, Kenny gets a Guinness and we’ll occasionally tag in a Hoegaarden. We change up the appetizer, but we always oder the cinnamon cookie sundae. It’s a warm, cinnamon chip Carol’s cookie topped with ice cream and caramel. It’s amazing. In January, I shared a recipe I tried for cinnamon cookies inspired by this very dessert. While those little guys were good in their own way, they were not quite Carol’s. The main reason why was that they lacked cinnamon chips, which I simply could not find anywhere!

Well, good news: I found them!

Well, my mom found them to be completely honest. I’ll definitely be making cinnamon chip cookies to share with you guys next week.

This weekend, though, I am making something different. I was at home in Rochester, IL for one of my best friend’s baby shower and to spend time with my family. It was an absolute blast! My friend is an absolutely beautiful soon-to-be mommy who is due in a month and looks like she just has a soccer ball up her shirt. It was great seeing her! I came home and spent the evening on the back porch. My cousins from Colorado were in town too so we got to cook out and play board games with the family. I had so much fun!

My plan for the weekend was to make mini key lime cheesecakes in my new mini springform pans. When Mom reminded me that she had found the cinnamon chips, I was torn. I was already set on cheesecake, but I was so excited to use the new chips. I glanced at the back of the bag of chips and knew it was meant to be when I saw the recipe for Creamy Cinnamon Chip Cheesecake. So, I fused my cheesecake craving with my excitement for the chips and my new mini pans, and here’s what I came up with!

Mini Cinnamon Chip Cheesecakes

Note: I halved the orginal recipe and changed baking times and temps to make three 4-inch cheesecakes. Follow the directions on the package for a normal cheesecake.

Crust:
3/4 cup cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter

Cheesecake:
1 package cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 (8 ounces each) packages sour cream
2 eggs
1 cup cinnamon chips plus 1/4 cup more for topping

Mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter.

Press into the bottom and sides of each springform pan. Bake at 300 for 7 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until blended.

Add sour cream and beat until smooth.

Add the eggs and beat until blended.

Fill each pan half full with batter. Top with cinnamon chips.

Top with another inch of batter.

Bake at 300 for about 1 hour.

Pop off the sides of the pans. Melt remaining 1/4 cup of cinnamon chips in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Let cool just slightly and then place in a Ziploc bag. Snip the corner of the bag and pipe the melted cinnamon on the cheesecakes. Chill at least 4 hours before serving.

Enjoy!

Good Tip, Bad Tip

Today, we’re going to play a fun little game called Good Tip or Bad Tip. Why? Because I had a really busy week and feel like I learned a lot of things! I thought this would be a fun way to pass it along!

On Crafting

Crocheting a baby blanket will take about 11 hours. (Source: About.com)
— Bad Tip. That made me think that since I started it on Sunday, I could finish it by the following Saturday. I was not even close.

A good size for a crocheted baby blanket is about 100 chains. (Source: Steph from Pumpkin Loves)
Good Tip. If I actually finished the banket, it would have been perfect dimensions!

On Showers …

Buying a present on the gift registry shouldn’t take much time at all. (Source: me)
— Bad Tip. Printing out the registry is easy once you start searching the baby registry instead of the bridal registry, but finding anything on it in the other world that is the baby section is a whole different story.

When buying a present for a shower, always buy off the registry. (Source: my recently married friend, Bri)
— Good Tip. I don’t know this first hand because I’ve never been on the receiving end of any sort of shower, but it seems to be a recurring sentiment. Apparently when people  give you a list of exactly what they want, they would like to receive those things over whatever you randomly pick out. If they wanted those random things, it would have been on the registry. (Or so I hear).

On ordering drinks …

Get the Golden Goose Noble Pils! (Source: Goose Island bartender)
— Bad Tip. It was hardly better than a Bud Light.

Ordering a PBR at iO sounds like a good idea. (Source: me)
— Bad Tip. Turns out it comes in a Mason jar. I am no where near hip enough to be drinking PBR out of a Mason jar.

On life …

YOLO: You Only Live Once! (Source: my friend Chrissy)
— Good Tip. Her wise words were the reason behind my Shamrock Shake today, my pen wrist tattoo and at least five other things on a daily basis.

When at work, always try to be a filler not a spiller of your TRY Courage bucket, your TRUST Courage bucket and your TELL Courage bucket. (Source: Courage Goes to Work)
— Good Tip. I’m only 48% through the book, but I think I’m to believe that with full buckets, I can run the world.

On buying Courage Goes to Work

Buy the Kindle version! (Source: me)
— Bad Tip. The Kindle version is written entirely in italics!

On families …

Go home and your dad will grill you dinner and your mom will make you the best breakfast on the planet. (Source: me)
— Good Tip. I don’t care if my mom is only bribing me to come home so I can clean out my own room, it’s totally worth it.

On Movies … 

Go see 21 Jump Street! (Source: me)
— Good Tip. This movie is absolutely hilarious!

Buy tickets to The Hunger Games twice in a 3-day period. (Source: me)
— Good Tip. I haven’t even seen it yet, but I just know it’s going to be the best movie ever! So much so that I have already piad to see the movie twice. It’s gonna be great! Read the book first, though!!

*   *   *

Do you have any good tips or bad tips?!

Shortbread Cookies

There are few things worse than picking out the most delicious looking shortbread recipe and then remembering that you broke your mixer last week. I know because this happened.

Last week, I was making a batch of lemon cookies for my boyfriend who would eat nothing but lemon cookies if given the chance. When I added that last bit of flour, I realized that my mixer was not only smoking, but glowing a strange shade of green. It didn’t take Derek Shepherd to tell me that there was a fire burning inside my sad $6 mixer.

I forgot about this little incident until I started measuring ingredients for my shortbreads and had nothing to mix them with. So I headed to Target to buy a replacement. As much as I wanted to by the KitchenAid stand mixer that I’ve dreamed of owning since I first watched Gale Gand’s Sweet Dreams in 7th grade, my entry-level pay check wasn’t enough to cover that $300 price tag (that one will have to go on my wedding registry). So I settled for this $40 version:

To back track a little bit, there is a reason why I picked shortbread cookies this week. When I was a kid, I would spend my summers watching Food Network. I would make just about anything I could find that could be made with only ingredients I could find in my house (I couldn’t drive and the grocery store was a good 30-minute bike ride away). The point here being that I didn’t discriminate based on taste, just ingredient availability. I was never big on Shortbreads, but I saw them made on TV and we had butter, sugar, flour and vanilla so I gave it a whirl. I thought they were okay, but when my mom got home and tried them, she absolutely loved them. Which was probably a good thing because I most likely didn’t do the dishes so this eased the punishment a bit.

I am going home next weekend for one of my good friend’s baby showers, and will be seeing my mother, so I thought I’d be nice to bring some treats! So I thought, why not shortbreads? I’m a little nervous because this isn’t the recipe I made back in the day, but I’m willing to bet that she will love these too. I found this recipe at Lick the Bowl Good, and I thought it was absolutely amazing! Check it out!

Shortbread Cookies
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (They didn’t have coconut at Target, so I went with Almond, which I thought was just great!)
sprinkles, coarse sugar, or chopped nuts (optional)

Beat the butter, sugar and extracts until the mixture is light and fluffy (2-3 minutes on high).

 

Add the flour, half a cup at a time, beating well between each addition.

 

Roll the dough into a log and wrap tightly in wax paper. Chill until very firm or up to three days.

 

After “logs” are very firm, roll them in sprinkles or nuts.

Slice into ¼ inch slices.

Bake on ungreased baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on baking rack.

Enjoy!!