News!

Like I said before so much has happened in my life over the past few months! I graduated from the University of Florida (Go Gators!) in August. Walking across the stage at UF was so surreal! It had been a dream of mine for my entire life and I felt so accomplished to fulfill my dad’s legacy and make my family proud.

It's great to be a Florida Gator...Forever!

Once I graduated it was time to figure what to do with my life. I had spent the last few years up in Gainesville and while I LOVE it Gainesville is still a pretty small town and I was ready to experience living in an actual city. I have grown up and lived in the middle of nowhere my whole life so moving back home was out of the question. With my boyfriend, Jon’s acceptance into the University of Tampa’s business graduate program the deal was sealed and we were heading to Tampa!

View from our balcony

Tampa is a great city! There are a ton of opportunities to use my degree here. With a plethora of news stations, newspapers, and public relations firms the city is my oyster. Fortunately I have been given the chance to work in the field (literally) that excites me the most…Sports! I meet a wonderful mentor, Dave Reynolds. Dave is the Sports Director and Host of Our Team Sports. He and his team travel all around the state of Florida and do live broadcasts from the state’s top high school sports programs on foxsportsflorida.com. It is so much fun to travel with him and learn so much, not only about how to improve my reporting skills but also about the area!

When I am not working with Dave I am at my “third place,” Starbucks where I work as a shift supervisor. I love my job and I actually get to work with sports here too! Regulars like the Rays head coach Joe Maddon, Lightning hockey players, and local high school sports stars come in on a regular basis. I find I am constantly learning and view everyday as a new adventure.

Another fun adventure I have embarked on is my quest to finish my first half marathon in February. Back in August I signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon. When I read the details of this race I knew it was my dream race and a great one to run in as my first long distance race. It’s at Disney World, one of my favorite places and is centered around the Disney Princesses (some of my childhood heroes!). I am so excited! I have always loved running but never really had a goal. Now I have a training plan and something to look forward to!

See, I told you so much in my life has changed. Prior to graduation this blog was centered around coffee. In some aspects it will still be since I work in the industry, but now you will get a glimpse of my exciting work with Dave and hear about my training! Thanks for following! I love feedback so let me know what you guys think!

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The Blog is Back!

My Blog is back and better than ever! So many great things are happening in my life and I want you to be a part of it! I want to tell you all about it! But first…in case you missed it, I want to show you my last story I did for the University of Florida back in July right before I graduated! So here it is…tell me what you think!

Coffee+Cookies+Cheesecake=YUM

So, as we all know I love coffee and I love being a barista and making it almost everyday. But, I also love baking! When I have spare time I enjoy looking for new recipes on the internet to try and whip up in my apartments little kitchen. Today, while enjoying my day off before returning to the real world I started browsing through different recipe websites and came across the most enticing/epic cheesecake recipe…EVER!

It’s called Coffee Cookie Dough Fudge Cheesecake and is the combination of all my of my favorite indulgences. I mean I was sold at the coffee mention, but the cookie dough, fudge, and cheesecake make this recipe sound like a piece of heaven! You can bet after my vacation at the end of June I will be making this!

For those of you who want to try this amazing desert I have included the recipe too. =)
Cookie Dough Fudge Cheesecake

Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking, adapted from Annies’ Eats’ Cappucino Fudge Cheesecake with eggless cookie dough by Family Fun

Yields: one 9-inch cheesecake
Crust Ingredients:
32 chocolate sandwich cookies, finely processed into crumbs
5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Small pinch of salt

Ganache Ingredients:
1½ cups heavy cream
20 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I combined both)

Filling Ingredients:
3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons mild-flavored (light) molasses
3 large eggs

Topping Ingredients:
1½ cups sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cookie Dough Layer Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 to 6 tablespoons water (I used 4)

Directions:
To make the crust, butter a 9-inch springform pan. Combine the chocolate cookie crumbs, melted butter and salt in a small bowl. Toss with a fork to moisten all of the crumbs. Press into a thin layer covering the bottom and sides of the springform pan (at least 3 inches up the sides). I did this using a smooth glass to press crumbs into place.

Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Once the cream reaches a simmer, pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes. Whisk in small circles until a smooth ganache has formed. Pour 1.5-2 cups of the ganache over the bottom of the crust. Freeze until the ganache layer is firm, about 30 minutes. Reserve the remaining ganache; cover and let stand at room temperature for later decorating.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium-high speed until well blended. Beat in the flour. In a small bowl, combine the coffee granules, vanilla and molasses, stirring until the coffee dissolves. Add to the cream cheese mixture and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl between each addition.

Pour the filling over the cold ganache in the crust. Enclose the bottom of the springform pan in tightly wrapped foil and place it in a baking dish. Fill the baking dish with hot water about halfway up the cheesecake pan, careful not to let the moisture touch the cheesecake. Bake until the top is lightly browned, puffed and cracked at the edges, and the center moves only very slightly when the pan is lightly shaken, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool 15 minutes while preparing the topping (maintaining the oven temperature.)

To make the topping, whisk together the sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a small bowl. Pour the topping over the hot cheesecake, spreading to cover the filling completely. Bake until the topping is set, about 10-15 minutes. Return to the cooling rack and let cool at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator and let cool at least 3 hours, until completely chilled and set.

To make cookie dough layer, cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, salt, vanilla and chips. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, until you have reached a cookie dough consistency. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Spoon the cookie dough into the pan and flatten to an even layer. Freeze the cookie dough layer until ready to use (at least 30 minutes).

To finish, wrap a warm towel around the outside of the springform pan to help loosen the crust from the sides. Carefully remove the springform. Transfer the cake to a serving platter. Turn cookie dough out of cake pan and place layer on top of cheesecake, pressing it gently into place. Place the reserved ganache in a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip and use to garnish the top of the cake as desired. Chill until the ganache is completely firm, at least 6 hours.

Good or Bad?

While browsing Yahoo this morning I came across this article…Take a look!
7 Everyday Products That are Linked to Cancer

While coffee may pose some risks concerning your health I did some more research and found an article that gave me a little more hope concerning the risks and benefits of drinking a good cup of joe every morning!
Is Coffee Good or Bad?

So what does this mean to those of you, like me, who need at least one cup of coffee a day to function? My advice: Just like everything else in life, when drinking coffee moderation is key! =)

Guilty Pleasures…

I have quickly become addicted to an app on my computer…Stumble! Its a pretty cool program. You select categories that interest you and hit the Stumble! button…revealing a world of all the things that interest you on the internet. So how does this relate to coffee…

Well, I told stumble I had an interest in health and wellness and the application led me to all sorts of websites addressing this subject. My guilty pleasure quickly revealed a way to make many of my followers guilty pleasure less guilty! So take a look and enjoy! =)

Here's a Little Hint About What to Look For!


Ten Worst and Best Foods