Smoktoberfest and Star Wars

We've had a busy week, good week, just busy. Our jobs have been busy, Joshua's client is in the country from Turkey running a bunch of tests on his machine and I've been added to new projects. But we also got to celebrate a friend getting a job and last weekend one of Joshua's work friends had a smoktoberfest with at least 4 shoulders of smoked meat and tons TONS of homebrewed beer. I made a pumpkin cheesecake with gingercookie crust and homeade caramle. It was great we met new people and became better friends with others. It was a fun late night with lots of food and laughing and teasing. I love hanging out in groups because so often here it ends up being us with another couple so it was really fun to mesh with a big group of people. Plus I just love seeing my husband interact with other people and just seeing his personality.
We also needed a lot of us time away from all the busy. It was starting to get to us. So we played cards, Settlers of Catan and watched Star Wars to refresh. Of course our neighbor came down to give us chocolate peppermint cake (YUM) in the middle of us playing nerdy card games all over our floor and watching Star Wars, she laughed. He aslo made me run at 6:30am yuck, but it was nice to spend the time together.

But now this weekend we get to spend some time with a family friend since pretty much birth. Can't wait to take him hiking!

Happy Friday!

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Homeade Caramel and Gingergookie Crust:

1 1/4 cups ginger cookies; crushed
1/4 cup sugar
4 tbs butter; melted
4 packages (8 oz x 4)  cream cheese, room temperature!
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tbs flour
1 cup pumpkin
2 tbs pumpkin pie spice
1 tbs vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs; room temp

caramel recipe:

1     preheat oven 350 degrees F, for crust mix the crushed cookies, sugar, and butter in a small bowl
2     smash them evenly into a crust on the bottom of a springform pan
3     bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown
4     in another bowl beat/mix the cream cheese and sugar until creamy, don't over mix
5     add in pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and salt until smooth
6     mix in the eggs 1 at a time, don't overmix or it could crack while cooking
7     place the springform pan in a rimmed baking sheet and pour in the cheesecake mixture, smooth out
8     put in the oven and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F, bake for 45-55 minutes
9     DON'T open the oven door, but turn the oven off and let it stay in there for 2 hours
10   then remove and cover top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours
11   then unmold the springform and Viola!

salted caramel frosting:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream
generous pinch of sea salt

1     in a saucepan add 1/2 cup + 2 tbs sugar and the water, heat over medium heat until it
       boils, stir occassionally
2     then with a pastry brush, or paper towel, wet down the sides of the saucepan so that
       sugar doesn't crystalize on it
3     Stop stirring and let it sit until it turns dark amber, you can gently swirl it a few times
4     then remove from heat and stir in the cream, it will bubble
5     then stir in the sea salt and vanilla, let cool
6     drizzle or pour the caramel over the chilled cheesecake
you can top it with this caramel and some extra crumbled ginger cookies

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