Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mexican Desserts

We are a family of Mexican food lovers! The first thing we had to find when we moved was "our" Mexican restaurant. We have found a fantastic place with a fabulous salsa bar...mmm. We ate there last night. And I could eat there again today. And tomorrow.

I love cooking Mexican food too...but I never know what to serve for dessert...and if I'm making dinner for company, it only makes sense to make dessert too, you know?

In the last few months I've stumbled across three great (and different) dessert ideas. The first is from a friend who made it for an event I went to last week; the second I think I came across in Southern Living, and the third is one my sister Katy shared with me from a college friend of hers. Hope you enjoy these!

Strawberry Margarita Squares (a Pampered Chef recipe)


2 cups (66) fat-free mini-twist pretzels (1 cup crushed)

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/4 cup sugar


2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup thawed, frozen margarita mix concentrate (non-alcoholic)

16 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 3 ounce package strawberry gelatin

1/2 cup boiling water

1 package (10 ounces) frozen sliced strawberries in syrup

whipped cream, fresh strawberry slices, and lime slices to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350. For crust, finely crush pretzels. Melt butter for 30 seconds or until melted. Add crushed pretzels and sugar and mix well. Press into bottom of 9x13 rectangular baking dish. Bake 10 minutes and cool completely.

2. Beat cream cheese and margarita mix until well blended. Fold in 2 cups of the whipped topping. Spread evenly over crust. Refrigerate while preparing strawberry layer.

3. Place gelatin in bowl. Stir in boiling water, stir until completely dissolved. Add frozen strawberries and stir until strawberries separate and gelatin is thickened (a spoon drawn through mixture will leave an impression). Whisk in 3 cups of of the whipped topping and pour over cream cheese. Refrigerate 3 hours to set.

4. Cut dessert into 15 squares. Garnish each serving with whipped topping. Top with fresh strawberry and lime slices.

Notes: Make the dessert the day you plan to use it. The crust gets soggy if left in the fridge overnight.

Chocolate Chimichangas with Raspberry Sauce

6 (1.55 oz) milk chocolate candy bars

6 (10 inch) burrita size flour tortillas

vegetable oil

Raspberry Sauce (recipe follows)

vanilla ice cream

chocolate shavings and mint sprigs, to garnish

1. Place one candy bar in the center of each tortilla. Fold bottom of tortilla up and over candy bar just until partially covered. Fold left and right sides of tortilla over; roll up and place, seam side down, on a baking sheet. Freeze for 20 minutes.

2. Pour oil to a depth of one inch into a large skillet; heat to 375 degrees. Place 2 tortillas seam side down in hot oil, gently pressing with tongs for a few seconds to seal. Fry 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove and place on a paper towel to drain. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

3. Serve with raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream. Garnish with shaved chocolate and mint sprigs. (You could also use a caramel sauce instead of the raspberry sauce.)

Raspberry Sauce

1 (10 oz) package frozen raspberries, thawed

1/2 cup sugar

3 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. orange liqueur (optional)

1 tsp. cornstarch

1. Combine the first three ingredients (and liqueur if desired) in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat and cool completely.

2. Press raspberry mixture through strainer into a saucepan, using back of spoon to queeze out the juice. Discard pulp and seeds. Whisk in cornstarch. Bring to a boil and cook 1-2 minutes until thickened. Store in refrigerator up to three days.

Sopapilla Cheesecake

2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese

1 package refrigerated Pillsbury croissant rolls

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup butter, melted

cinnamon sugar, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unroll croissant rolls. Place half of rolls (two rectangles) in the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch square baking pan. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.

2.Mix sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla in medium bowl. Spread over croissant rolls. Place remaining croissant rolls over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar. Pour butter over croissant layer.

3. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool. Serve at room temperature or chilled if desired.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Keeping busy...

Everyone keeps asking me how the kiddos have handled our move...I have to say, probably much better than me! :) We've done fun, creative stuff while cooped up these pipe cleaner and bead bugs Hadleigh made (gotta love the Klutz kits!) We've colored and stickered many, many pictures. Gone through sticker and coloring books like water. Made tunnels and bridges for Nathanael's cars and trains to travel on. We brought lots of books with us...and amazingly, the kiddos are still not tired of the originals! I, on the other hand, have added a few titles to our children's library for the sake of my reading sanity! Plus, I just really love books! It brings me such joy to see that both Hadleigh and Nathanael have a love for reading and books!
And Hadleigh and Nathanael are really starting to enjoy Madeleine more and more. They love to bring her toys...try explaining to your two year old (who thinks carrying five things around the house in his tiny chubby little boy hands constantly is normal) that Madeleine really can't play with more than one or two toys at a time. I'll have to take a picture of her "throne of toys" one day soon. But we love watching Madeleine roll over and sit up by herself and interact more and more with her toys! Just today, she made the "maa" sound...perfect, since she mastered the "daa" sound weeks and weeks ago!

What else? We go to the park a lot and to a children's museum here in town that is FABULOUS; we go on lots of drives, we get way too much ice cream. (Hadleigh has a new saying: "I need something to cool off my tummy." Hmmm.)
We take day trips to OKC...we went to this wilderness animal park (very non-zooish) where we saw tons of animals...even got to pet the cutest baby kangaroo. (But that will be it's own post soon.)
That's what we've been doing so far in 2008. Next week...we will begin keeping busy again. Unpacking. Organizing. Nesting. Making our new house into our home. Can't wait.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


One of the things I have really missed (while we've been "moving" for five months) is creating. I have really missed scrapbooking and cutting paper and looking through pictures of our family for the perfect picture to go with the story I want to tell.

I have months and months of Studio Calico kits that have arrived and been laid aside until I have at last unpacked my scrappy stuff. These two arrived this week (the first picture is a project kit for making a bound book...I'm planning on it being a journal for recording the little stories and anecdotes my children say! It's the perfect size to have on-the-go! The second picture is this month's kit, called "Newsstand"! Pictures are from the website.) and I am so excited to create with them!

Yesterday was a thundery stormy perfectly wonderful rainy day. And I wanted so badly to be's my favorite rainy day activity now that sleeping in is not really an option. (Why do children rise with the sun??? I know, I know, I really need to become a morning person, but that's another post for another time!)
11 days until move-in day! You can bet that after the kitchen is unpacked and the beds are made, I will be getting my scrap space all set up! I'm really really looking forward to it!

Monday, May 05, 2008

I thought of my answer.

A couple months ago, my best friends (Courtney, Shannon, Shawna, and Stephanie) and I were together for a girls weekend (when's the next one by the way?) Courtney had some fun questions that we talked about one night and one of the questions was:

If you could take any type of class to learn something better, what would it be? I had a hard time coming up with an answer and the girls suggested a cooking class (which would be great, by the way) to learn about different flavors and techniques.

I think I mentioned that having some direction in interior design would be great...but I really never answered the question completely.

But I stumbled upon this blog the other day and I realized my answer to the question:

I really wish I could learn to sew well and that it would come easily. I can sew straight lines and stuff (I made our children's crib bedding with a bit of help from a friend) but looking at a pattern just confuses me, and I don't want to just tackle a project for fear of wasting beautiful fabric.

This is the fabric that inspired me, a fabric line created by Sandi Henderson (her blog is called cute is that?!?):

Aren't these dresses just adorable? I'd love to be able to make such cute clothes for my girls!

My Marmie (my dad's mother) is the most amazing seamstress. She made so many beautiful clothes for me when I was little, made my aunt's gorgeous wedding dress, countless curtains for my Mom, as well as some fun toys and bears for me to play with when I was little. She just made a blanket for Madeleine...

I sat next to her so many times at her sewing machine...I just wish I had paid closer attention...wish I had known then that sewing was a skill I would have loved to have learned from her.

How about you? If you could take any type of class to improve on or learn a new skill or hobby, what would you choose?

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