Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sopapilla Cheesecake

We had company over the weekend and decided to serve fajitas for dinner. To keep with a Mexican theme, I decided to make a sopapilla cheesecake for dessert. It's more of a cheesecake roll type dessert than actual cheesecake. While there are many recipes out there, I decided to go with one from the Pillsbury site. This would also make an excellent breakfast dish- I know I certainly enjoyed the leftovers with my coffee this morning! 


16 oz cream cheese
2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations refrigerated seamless dough sheet (*Note: I could not find these, so I used regular Pillsbury crescent rolls)
1 cup sugar, plus 1/2 cup
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted


1. Unroll one can of the crescent rolls into a 9 x 13 pan. 

2. Mix together the cream cheese, vanilla and 1 cup sugar and spread over the first layer of crescent rolls.

3. Unroll the second can of crescent rolls over the cream cheese mixture.

4. Mix the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

5. Pour the melted butter over the top layer of crescent rolls and sprinkle cinnamon/sugar mixture over the top.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Warning: You might have to pour dish soap on this after your first bite in order to stop yourself from eating the whole thing- it's that good!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Frame Wall

I've always wanted to do a frame wall, but never really thought I could pull it off. When I came across this one on Pinterest several months ago, it inspired me. For the past several months, I've been collecting pictures and what-nots to put on my wall. Finally, with the help of my husband, I have a frame wall in my house! I absolutely love it. I think it makes the whole room feel warm and inviting. Looking at it next to the inspiration photo, mine looks a little sparse, but I will keep adding to it.

My inspiration

My wall

I have to give a special thanks to my wonderful father-in-law who built this beautiful console table for me. I gave him a picture from a magazine and he replicated it. He's amazing! Next, one of my favorite touches on my wall is the watercolor on the lower left corner. It's the first house my husband and I lived in- a lilac cottage that will forever be imprinted in my heart. Mimi had it done for my birthday- so special! And finally, I loved what the sign said in the inspiration picture- "Our Life, Our Story." I couldn't find a sign anywhere that said that, so I bought an old piece of painted wood at the Roundtop/Warrenton Antique Fair and did it myself. My handwriting isn't the best, but it will work!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Snow Much Fun!

I saw this idea for puffy snowmen on Pinterest and knew I had to try it out with my 2nd grade class. It turned out to be "snow" much fun (sorry, but I just can't resist a good pun!) I will most definitely store this craft in my files and do it with Jack when he's a little older. It's a great craft to do with your kids on a rainy day or anytime really. It's a little messy, but trust me, you will have as much fun making this craft as your kids do!

What You'll Need:

Regular glue, foam (not gel) shaving cream (You could also add food coloring to make colored pictures. I think making a rainbow would be super cute.)


Mix equal parts glue and shaving cream. We used plastic forks to spread it, but you could use paint brushes, or even your fingers if you really wanted to get into it! The concoction dries puffy- it's too cool!

These are some my students made. 
We used ribbon, construction paper and google eyes for the accessories. 

I recommend reading Snowmen At Night by Caralyn Buehner to go along with this activity. It's one of my winter favorites. I had my second graders write a creative story about their snowmen coming to life. They turned out so cute!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gourmet Weeknight Dinner in a Snap!

These recipes are too good and too easy not to share! They're simple, quick and super tasty. Great for an easy weeknight dinner or would also be great to entertain. This first one comes from my favorite Food Network star, Ina Garten. 

Shrimp Scampi with Linguini 


Vegetable oil 
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • 3/4 pound linguine 
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, zest grated
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

  • Directions:
  • Drizzle some oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.

    Meanwhile, in another large, heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.
    When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.

    Pesto Cream Cheese Crescent Rolls
    A friend of mine made a pesto cream cheese crescent roll "pizza" as an appetizer last week for a meeting and I fell in love with it. Then I saw pesto crescent rolls on Pinterest cut like cinnamon rolls, so I married the two ideas and got a great little side for my shrimp scampi linguini. 


    1/2 cup pesto
    1/2 cup cream cheese
    1 can Pilsbury crescent rolls

    Roll out the can of crescent rolls

    Spread 1/2 cup softened cream cheese onto crescent rolls

    Spread 1/2 cup pesto onto cream cheese

    Roll into a log

    Cut into rounds and place into a baking dish as pictured above. Allow 8-10 minutes more than the maximum cooking time on the package of crescent rolls. Yum!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Perfect Roasted Veggies in 20 Minutes

I love the flavor of roasted veggies, but hate the time it takes to do it in the oven. My Mimi taught me a little secret to achieve the flavor and texture of roasting, but in half the time. Her secret weapon? The microwave. These veggies come out perfect every time and are a super low cal side dish, or depending on what veggies you use, can even be hearty enough to make a meal on their own.

Choose your favorite in-season veggies. Here I used butternut squash, turnips, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and carrots. To make a heartier mix, you could add in some sweet potatoes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop veggies into bite-sized portions. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over them (2-3 teaspoons), salt and pepper them, toss to coat and pop in the microwave for 15 minutes (in 5 minute increments.) Notice that I have a full baking dish, so mine took the full 15 mins, but if you are working with less, yours may take less time. When the veggies are tender (your fork should be able to pierce, but not go completely through), transfer your baking dish to the preheated oven. Cook at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Perfection every time!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year, Old Me

Happy New Year friends! Sorry I've been MIA since before Christmas, but I've been enjoying some much needed r & r with my little family. We had a super busy Christmas and then left to ring in the New Year down at the coast. We did a whole lot of nothin' while there and it was wonderful!

One evening while watching the sunset on the deck, I began pondering my "New Year's Resolutions." I quote that because, let's face it, we all realize the irony in that statement. A lot of people say they don't even bother to make them, but I usually do. I love a fresh start and most of the time I even have a sliver of hope that I'll stick to at least one. But this year, I started thinking backward instead of forward. Instead of thinking about what I could do to be a new and improved me, I started thinking back to times when I felt the best about me. Times in my life and things that I've done that made me feel good. I mean, I figure if I have done it before, I can do it again, right? Maybe it's just the same game, different name, but here are a few things on my list of things to get back to (in no particular order):

Reading: For as long as I can remember I have always been a bookworm. A good book becomes an obsession for me, an infatuation...I literally will think about it all day long until I can open it again and then I will think about the characters like they're friends of mine when it's done. But, when I got pregnant I only read pregnancy or baby related material for 9 months. Then when Jack was born, well, you know how that goes... picking up a book vs. sleeping? You know what won. Now that I'm getting to bed at a semi-decent hour again, I'm ready to have my reading time back. Plus, I got an iPad for Christmas and I'm itching to have my first e-read. Any suggestions?

Journaling: I have journal, upon journal, upon journal from high school and college, but for some reason after college I just put my pen down. I love to write, whether it's about my day or whatever, and I miss it. Curling up with my journal and pen and letting my thoughts escape my head was the cheapest form of therapy I've ever had!

Jogging: I'm notorious for being a bandwagon exerciser (and dieter), but at one time, a couple of years ago, I really got into jogging. (I'd like to say 'running' but really, I'm sure I never got faster than a jog). I really stuck with it for a few months and it became like a drug. If I missed a day, I missed that feeling, that rush. I loved challenging myself to see if I could make it one more lap. The best part of jogging for me is that it literally is the only time my head ever feels CLEAR. I crank my music so loud that I can't possibly hear myself think and I just run...

These are just a couple of things from my list. I won't bore you with them all, but hopefully this year I'll get back to some of these pastimes. I'm also shooting for my annual "eat healthier and lose weight" goal, so I'll be sharing my healthy recipes and treats with you along the way. I hope you all have started your new year feeling rested and renewed! Cheers to 2012!