gwendolyn faith is not a crayon.

Hello, I’m Gwen.

I work in advertising. I play in the kitchen.

I’m part tweenager. (Look at my iTunes playlist.)

I’m part Grandma. (Look at my oversize cardi collection.)

I’m part Romy or Michelle. (Look at the height of my hair.)

As a Christian, I'm learning how to glorify God in the everyday. To live into the status quo, like Jesus' own Manchurian candidate, and seep grace through its cracks.

I wish my life were a musical, but other than that, I’m pretty content.

(No surprise I also like to Yelp.)

The Casual Vacancy
The Explicit Gospel
Gone Girl
The Chaperone
Cutting for Stone

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Posts tagged "cheesecake"

Since I’ll be home for almost two weeks around Christmas, I celebrated Thanksgiving in Chicago with a couple friends. Denise, a friend from high school who’s since moved to the city, came over in the morning to watch the parade on television before she went to her aunt’s house; afterward I headed to Sara Jane’s for Thanksgiving dinner.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sara Jane and I did a bulk of the cooking for our meal. And although I can make a mean salad, Sara Jane knocked the holiday out of the park with a picture-perfect roast chicken and a tablescape that belongs on the pages of a magazine. Thanks again for hosting, Sara Jane!

I made a couple sides to complement Sara Jane’s roast chicken, Brussels sprouts, and Mushroom and Gruyère Bread Pudding.

Kale and Apple Salad with Pancetta and Candied Walnuts: I’ve become the girl who cried favorite kale salad, but come on! In addition to the apples, pancetta and walnuts, the salad includes Pecorino cheese, tarragon and chives, all tossed with a vinaigrette made from white wine vinegar, caper brine, maple syrup and pancetta drippings. And the candied walnuts are caramelized with powdered sugar, sea salt and cayenne, practically a taste sensation! {I used an extra bunch of kale instead of radicchio.}

Twice-Baked Potato Casserole: Loaded with cheddar cheese, sour cream and crisp bacon, the Twice-Baked Potato Casserole was certainly the least gourmet dish on the menu, but I’d never turn down cheddar cheese, sour cream and crisp bacon. And best of all, the casserole can be made in advance!

Pecan Pie Cheesecake: I made Pecan Pie Cheesecake at least ten years ago for Mother’s Day and haven’t shaken the idea since. A sweet {store-bought} pecan pie’s literally baked into a simple cheesecake. Serve with black coffee to cut the richness!

  • Since Pan-Asian flavors basically send my heart a-flutter, I ate Thai Beef with Chiles and Basil over Coconut Rice at least once a day for a week straight. (I added extra veggies to pack a little more nutritional punch.)
  • I brought ridiculous Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl Brownies to a friend’s Memorial Day potluck. In addition to the peanut butter cheesecake swirl, which would’ve made me swoon all on its own, the brownies include cream cheese baked in. Fudgiest brownies evah!
  • When I hosted small group a few weeks ago, I baked Caramel Toffee Cheesecake Bars, caramel-kissed cheesecake squares with a toffee-studded crust. Five of us almost finished the entire pan!
  • I made Chocolate-Chip Cookie Icebox Cake, a sky-high stack of cookies layered with mascarpone whipped cream, for an office party celebrating my boss’ upcoming wedding. Afraid the cake would fall apart on my morning commute, I froze it for 36 hours beforehand; I think I was a little overzealous, though, because the cookies and cream didn’t get as soft as I would’ve liked before the party.
  • Finally, I threw together Summer Vegetable Tortellini Salad with Browned Butter, replete with fresh corn, grape tomatoes, green peas and chives, for a church picnic in Oz Park. Perfect for an al fresco potluck!

I baked a Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie for my family’s Christmas celebration. A graham cracker crust, then a layer of homemade caramel and pecans, then a layer of caramelized cinnamon apples, then a layer of tangy cheesecake, then a layer of fresh whipped cream swirled with more caramel and pecans.

Despite the number of layers, the pie came together easily. Well, until I dropped the unbaked pie on the floor and had to start over. But when I close my eyes, I don’t think of the mess splattered across the kitchen cabinets and cold tile. I think of the graham cracker crust, homemade caramel, pecans, caramelized cinnamon apples, tangy cheesecake andfresh whipped cream.

You’d better believe it’s worth the effort.

Photo via Brown Eyed Baker, who originally posted the recipe