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Wednesday, December 25, 2013


A clear, cold sunrise greeted me this Christmas morning - the first in memory. It's so easy to get lost in the stress of the season, but the outdoors, the horses' breath misting like dragon smoke, everything crystal with frost, lends a certain mystic quality to the holiday.

It's been a small, quiet Christmas around here this year, but not without its spoils.


This luscious, beautiful, scrumptious cheesecake my mom made for last night, with homemade chocolate curls. Isn't it pretty? And the recipe's a cinch (see bottom of post).

The chocolate curls, though? Not so much. We melted semi-sweet chocolate chips, spread them in a thin layer on the back of a cookie sheet, popped it in the fridge for about ten minutes. And then, theoretically, we could peel strips up with a spatula and they would curl all on their own. It was much messier than that, but they were still tasty, and worth the effort.

I asked for only two things this year: new muck boots, and a new pair of tall "dress" boots. In my world, there are "muck" boots for working in the barn. And "dress" boots for wearing around town. Not to be confused with dressage show boots, also called dress boots. Not that you wanted to know that.

And behold: new muck boots. These are winterized Roper brand waterproof muck boots and they are the absolute best things ever. Better than chocolate (well, almost). My toes are forever cold in the wintertime. With these, my feet stay dry and toasty; the soles aren't heavy, so they're light to walk in, comfortable, durable, and I think they're kinda cute in a big-ol-boot sort of way. I got a pair for Christmas last year and they are, sadly, well-loved and well-mudded and full of holes.

Also behold: Ariat Hacienda boots in black.

Me gusta mucho. I admit that I picked these out myself, so there wasn't much of a surprise, but they were one of those rare have-to-have items. Ariat makes the softest, comfiest boots. Nice thick rubber soles. And the smell of the insides? Absolute heaven. And a good pair of boots will last you a lifetime. I have a couple pairs of cowboy boots that I've had since I was thirteen (show's you how much I've grown, huh?) and they're gonna last forever.

Look at the detail on the tops.

The stitching.

The fancy molding on the soles.

I found these for a steal online and love them. I'm frugal to the extreme lately, so I feel sort of guilty for having asked for any gifts at all. I'll get over it, I think. ;)

I hope everyone had a fantastic day. I have some fun, exciting, New Year's stuff coming up, announcements to make, new things to explore. So look for new posts in the next week. I'm looking forward to 2014.

Marble Cheesecake

- 1 cup cookie crumbs (Oreos or gluten-free chocolate sandwich cookies)
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3 8oz. packages cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted

In food processor, combine cookies, butter, 3 tablespoons sugar; spoon crumb mixture into bottom of 9inch springform pan; bake at 350 for ten minutes.

For cake, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in mixer, mixing on med speed until well-blended. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Set aside one cup of batter, and blend chocolate into it. Spoon plain and chocolate batter into crust; cut through batter with knife to create marble effect. Bake at 450 for ten minutes; reduce heat and continue baking at 250 for 30 minutes. Cool before removing rim of pan. Chill.

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