Alone in the house

I sent the dogs off to the groomer this morning, which meant I had several hours to myself all alone in my house. This is kind of a rare treat for me, as Schnauzers have to get their hair cut only every eight weeks.

Naturally, I spent the time productively doing what I do best: cleaning house like a demon. I save the heavy lifting for when the dogs are gone so the smells of cleaning products won’t bother them and to keep them from undoing any of my work (easily done by eight little paws running in and out on a rainy day like today). So I busted out the Pine-Sol, the bleach and the Spic-n-Span and thoroughly sanitized the kitchen and bathrooms, followed by a whole-house dusting and vacuuming. Good times. The place looks great, and it smells great, too!

To reward myself for a job well done and because the pumpkin pie I got for Thanksgiving was a sorry disappointment that demanded a home-made remedy, I baked up a batch of Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars.

Pumpkin Bar ingredients

Real ingredients make the best food!

I always make at least one modification to any recipe, and on this one I used 1/2 cup of brown sugar in the crust because 1/4 cup just didn’t seem like enough. It worked just fine. They came out very well, tasting just like pumpkin pie with a sweet, crunchy crust. This is an easy, quick recipe that tastes really good. Five stars. I will definitely make it again.

Pumpkin Bars

I’m not a food stylist, what can I say? These taste way better than they look, though, trust me.

Less successfully, I baked a package of Cinnabon Grands! for breakfast this morning.

Cinnabon Grands in a can

They came out looking nothing like the picture on the package–they were a fraction of the size of the ones at the mall, and consisted mostly of just plain dry bread. The icing that came with them had a pronounced artificial cream cheese flavor and did nothing to enhance the buns. Only the centers of each roll had any moisture or sweetness, so I ate a couple of the centers and threw the rest away because life’s too short. No stars. Will never eat these again.

I shall have to try making cinnamon rolls from scratch one of these days because I am a fool for real, fresh-baked pastries. I also learned from making the pumpkin bars that cream cheese frosting is just a block of softened cream cheese blended with half a cup of sugar. Couldn’t be easier. I so easily forget that convenience nearly always comes at the cost of flavor. Food that is worth eating doesn’t come out of a can or a box.

 

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