Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tree upgrade!

This year's tree!

Last year as we browsed the Christmas tree lots, we were shocked at how pricey Christmas trees are!  Last week I was at the grocery store and saw that they were selling trees outside, and I was shocked at how not pricey they were!  Our 7 foot tree that we bought from the grocery store was the same price at the 2.5 foot one we got last year from a tree lot.  That was fantastic!

We also got the chance to go to my work Christmas party, Sam's work Christmas party, eat gingerbread and hazelnut frozen yogurt (ohmybestflavoursever), sing with llamas (Ialmostcried), finish finals, and have our last days of work on BYU campus.  We get to have a bit of an early Christmas tomorrow with the White fam, and then we get to head up to visit the Brooks side in Canada!

Not going to lie, I always cry when I cross the Canadian border.  I'm really excited to see the rest of my family. Those little kidlettes who look SO grown up in the pictures I've seen.  It's hard to believe that my nephew is now baptized, my oldest niece is so grown up, and my youngest niece doesn't even seem like a baby anymore!  It's also going to be so nice to take part in those family traditions that I grew up with in the same setting they've always had.  Christmas eve fondue, Christmas day gathering at Grandma Frache's, Boxing Day gathering with the Brooks fam, and everything in between.  

I could go on and on about nostalgic things and everything I'm looking forward to, but now I'm just getting weepy, so I'll just end for now and instead give a report on the goings-on once they happen.  I'll see you soon, homeland!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Sam used to be in the BYU Men's Chorus, and as such he still gets event update.  He sent me the information on a charity Christmas show they were putting on, and I all but demanded that we go!

The singing was fantastic:

But the event was certainly made MUCH more merry by the fact that I was holding a llama!
That's pure joy right there.
Wondering if I could acquire additional llamas.

Sam even gave in and let me take a picture.
A very merry llama filled Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Oh my lanta, this cheesecake was fantastic.  Sam is pretty picky about his cheesecake qualities and doesn't even enjoy desserts a whole lot most of the time, but he loved this one.  And I did too!  It had a really nice texture and taste to it.  In my own words when tasting it, "it's decadent, but not so rich that I feel like I'm going to die after eating two bites!" (*cough*cheesecakefactory*cough*).  Plus, everyone will be super impressed if you brought this baby to a Christmas party.  It would look fantastic with a whipped cream garnish around the edge and some chocolate shavings!

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

  • 2 cups crushed oreos
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.
  2. In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds. (OPTIONAL: Use 1 jar of raspberry jam instead of doing this process!)
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.
  5. Wrap the pan in aluminum foil to make it water-tight.  Place in another pan (such as a jelly roll pan).  Fill the bottom pan with water, being careful to not go over the foil around the cheesecake.  Bake for about 55 minutes, or until done.  (You will know it is done when you tap the side of the pan with a metal spoon, and the whole cheesecake jiggles "as one".  Do not overbake!  If it looks done in the oven, it will be overdone when it cools!)  Turn off the oven and let sit for an hour.  Place in fridge and let cool for at least 4 hours-- preferably overnight.