Monthly Archives: November 2011

MexiCrescent Casserole

I first came across this recipe on the fab blog, Kristi’s Recipe Box, where it is called Taco Squares.  I like that Kristi’s recipes are really simple and you’re very likely to have everything you need for them in your fridge already.  While I wanted to make this recipe, I also decided to step it up a little.  Here’s my take.

The ingredient lineup.

You’ll need a pound of ground beef, a packet of taco seasoning, a cup of shredded cheese, a can of Ro-tel, a tube of crescent rolls, and garlic.

Start by browning your meat.  When it’s done, drain the grease and put the meat back into the skillet.  Add half the pack of taco seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic,  and 1/3 cup water.  Simmer until thickened, then add half the can of Ro-tel, drained.

Spray a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.  Open the tube of crescent rolls and unroll them gently, taking care to avoid breaking them into triangles.  Place half of the crescent rolls in the bottom of the dish.

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheese.

Spread the ground beef mixture evenly over cheese.

Top meat with the other 1/2 cup shredded cheese, then place the other half of the crescent rolls on top of the dish.

Bake at 375 until the top is golden brown and puffy, about 12 minutes in my oven!

I call this a casserole rather than squares because we just cut ourselves big slabs of it.  LOL.  My husband ate his plain but I put a dollop or sour cream on top of mine, and it was delicious!!  Good thing there are only 2 adults in the house though, because this didn’t last long.  If you have a bigger family, I would recommend doubling the entire recipe and baking it in a 9 x 13 pan.

Look at all that melty cheese...

MexiCrescent Casserole

(Adapted from Kristi’s Recipe Box)

1 pound ground beef

1 tube crescent rolls

1 can Ro-tel

1 cup shredded cheese

1 pack taco seasoning

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Brown ground beef then drain fat.  Add meat back to skillet, then add 1/2 pack of the taco seasoning, minced garlic, and water.  Simmer until thickened, then add half the can of Ro-tel, drained.  Mix well.  Spray a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.  Unroll crescent rolls carefully, and place half in the bottom of the casserole dish.  Top with 1/2 cup shredded cheese.  Add ground beef mixture on top of cheese, then add other 1/2 cup of cheese on top of meat.  Top dish with the other 4 crescent rolls.  Bake until golden brown and puffy on top, approximately 12-15 minutes.  Enjoy as is or with a dollop of taco sauce or sour cream.


At Home with Haley’s Recipes I Can’t Wait to Try
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Hugs & Cookies XOXO’s Wonka Wednesday
Someday Crafts’ Whatever Goes Wednesday
Sew Much Ado’s We Did It Wednesday
Passionately Artistic
Sugar & Dots What I Whipped Up Wednesday
This Chick Cooks
My Girlish Whims’ Your Whims Wednesday
Polka Dots on Parade’s Wow Me Wednesday


Torani Syrups Make Your Morning Sweeter!

I am so totally the opposite of a morning person.  When I MUST wake up early, I usually need caffeine to make the transition easier, and me less cranky.  I like coffee, but only in cold coffee drinks–lattes, frappes, etc.  And I don’t like my coffee to taste like coffee!  I know, I’m weird and picky.

I usually remedy this by picking up a caramel iced coffee, but who wants to do that all the time, at $3 a pop?  So when I heard I would have the chance to make my own flavored coffee drinks at home, I was intrigued to say the least.

Torani makes over 120 flavors of syrup that can be used in many different ways–coffee drinks, desserts, cocktails and more.  You have probably seen these bottles on the shelves behind your favorite coffee bars!

I got the opportunity to try out some Torani syrups of my own, thanks to the SheSpeaks program!

The flavors I received to try were Pumpkin Pie and Sugar Free Vanilla.  I also got a little recipe book showing examples of other creations Torani syrups could be used in, and coupons for more free Torani!

I first tried the Pumpkin Pie syrup in an iced coffee–I mixed coffee, milk, and just a shot of the Torani with ice.  First, let me say, WOW, this is a strong pumpkin flavor!  This syrup would be really great for someone who loves pumpkin flavors.  Unfortunately, I am not one of those people, so this syrup was not for me.  If you love pumpkin pie though, you should definitely try this one!  It smells and tastes just like the real thing.

Since the next day was a cold one, I decided to break from my norm and drink hot, fresh coffee.  Of course I diluted it with a generous portion of milk, and a shot of the Sugar Free Vanilla syrup.  I liked this one a lot better.  It doesn’t have that strange aftertaste that sugar free products can sometimes have.  The vanilla smelled quite real, and I liked that it was just enough to give an extra “oomph” to my coffee without being too overpowering.  This syrup is made with Splenda.

I’m so glad that I got the chance to try these syrups through SheSpeaks!  I will definitely be using my coupons to try out other flavors –Torani Peppermint and Salted Caramel are calling my name!

For a limited time, you can get 10% off your purchase of Torani syrups.  Check it out!


I’m also having a giveaway on my Facebook page where you can win a coupon for a FREE bottle of Torani of your very own. 🙂

Moneypenny’s Soysations Review

Moneypenny’s Soysations is a tart and candle shop based out of Illinois…but of course you can buy their products online too!  It is run by one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever talked to, Angie.

I had tried some of Moneypenny’s tarts several months ago, and while the fragrances were OK, the wax was really soft and crumbly.  I recently found out that Angie had started using an entirely new blend of wax and had a new and improved line of tarts!  I couldn’t wait to try them again, and in really cute shapes too!

My awesome goodies!

I got a wide variety of scents to try!  Angie puts a sticker on the package of each and every tart, so you know when it has reached its’ full curing time.  I really appreciate this, because sometimes with soy and soy blend tarts, you are never really sure when to use them…you want them to give off the best throw they can, but you don’t want to let them sit for too long!

Moneypenny’s main line of tarts is their soy wax cube melts, but they now offer melts in a few other shapes too.

Jack o lantern, ghost, and pumpkin tarts

The jack o lantern and pumpkin tarts are the perfect shape for a melter bowl!  The ghost is quite large and should probably be broken up or cut before you use it…unless you have a really large bowl!

Since there were SO many tarts for me to review, I’m not gonna list each and every one.  I am gonna give you the details on my favorite scents from this package!

Apple Mango Tango–This is one of my top scents from any vendor, so I really liked this one.  It was quite strong without being overwhelming, as some clean scents can be.  This Apple Mango Tango seemed a bit different than others I had tried before, but in a good way.  The apple seemed to really stand out to me in this blend.

Frosted Lime Cupcake–I really, really, really love lime bakery scents, and this one did not disappoint.  You can definitely smell the zesty lime, on a vanilla cake background.  No trace of “floor cleaner” notes that some limes and lemons can have.

Blueberry Muffin–Wow, this is a STRONG fragrance.  A very classic blueberry muffin scent-sweet blueberries with a bakery background.  Pretty much anything blueberry is alright with me, and this was great.

Caramelized Pear–I believe this is one of Moneypenny’s top sellers, and I can see why.  It’s a very cozy scent for fall.  I liked that the caramel and pear notes were equal in this scent–sometimes when you have any caramelized scent, the caramel notes are very hard to detect.  This is somewhat like a caramel apple scent, but a bit more earthy.

Basil Sage Mint–This scent reminded me of a man’s cologne or body wash.  The top note I get is the sage, the mint is very slightly there in the background.  I think this would be great in a body product…for my husband!  Actually, I’d like that very much 😉

Pumpkin Pie Spice–I liked this scent not because it was knockout strong, but because it was so different than what I was expecting it to be.  Usually when you melt a pumpkin pie fragrance, you expect it to be overwhelmingly cinnamon-y.  In this blend I detected clove as the top note, and I really love that about it.  It’s still a great fall fragrance, and it’s not in your face with the cinnamon.

Toasted Marshmallow–Well, one ounce of this tart was not just a room filler, it was a whole HOUSE filler.  I honestly put this in the melter in my bedroom at one end of the house, and before long I could smell it from 3 rooms away.  Very powerful and delicious.  This is a very sweet, mouthwatering fragrance.  It will make you want to bake something or eat something sweet!

Lemonberry Crumble–This is a sweet, not tart, bakery lemon with a background of berries…not sure what berry, it may be strawberry or raspberry or something in between.  But this is one of my favorite scents from Moneypenny’s, and it’s definitely very original.

Pink Sugar–Yall all know how I like pink sugar, but I so rarely ever melt it just plain!  I’m not sure why, but I know now I want to more often.  This PS was true to the real thing, and my husband claimed it almost knocked him out when he walked in the door while I was melting it!

Citrus Sunburst–I’m not usually into orange type scents too much, but this one was different.  My husband is in love with this scent.  I think it’s because of the tangerine and kumquat notes in it…his grandmother had a kumquat tree in her yard and he ate and picked many.  This lasted all day for me!

I am so glad that Moneypenny’s Soysations has been changed for the better.  Some vendors are so offended when they hear bad things about their products, but others take it upon themselves to make their products better.  Angie has done this beautifully.  The wax in the clamshells is much harder now, and not at all crumbly!  It pops right out.  If you haven’t tried Moneypenny’s yet, or if it’s been a while since you have, I highly recommend giving them another go!  Angie ALWAYS offers free shipping on orders of $25 or more!

Moneypenny’s Soysations Website
Moneypenny’s Soysations Facebook Page

What I’m Reading Right Now

For my whole life, I have always been a big, big fan of reading.  My mom says I started when I was 3!  In high school, I was the girl who checked Shakespeare anthologies out from the library and read them…for FUN.

This love has only been made deeper since I got my Nook.  I love being able to take it anywhere instead of a thick book.  And, I love being able to read whatever I want, instantly.  The only problem (if you would call it that), is that with my Nook I tend to be in the middle of several books at once.  It takes me longer to finish them this way, but I like the variety.  Maybe I am weird. 🙂

So, this is what I am reading this week.


Bossypants, by Tina Fey— I love Tina in everything I have ever seen her in, especially 30 Rock.  In this book she tells anecdotal stories from her life, skipping around from childhood, to marriage, to her parents.  She writes with a dry humor and a somewhat short, choppy style, and I like it.  I can imagine her doing all of the things I am reading, which makes it funnier.


Crossed, by Ally Condie–Dystopian fiction is now a huge genre, and will probably only get bigger with the release of The Hunger Games movie next year (which was a GREAT series, by the way).  “Crossed” is the second book in the “Matched” series and was just released last week.  The story takes place in a not so distant future, where a person’s whole life is controlled by the powers that be, even down to their death.  When a girl turns 17, she is matched with a boy from her community, and they are to be lifelong partners.  Cassia is happy to discover that she has been matched with her best friend, Xander.  But she soon finds out that this may not have been entirely correct.  Did the government actually make a mistake, or are they just playing mind games with Cassia?  The first book was very fast moving and clever, and I cannot wait to finish this one–even though it probably means another long wait for the next book.


Darke, by Angie Sage–This is the sixth book in the “Septimus Heap” series.  In case you haven’t noticed yet, I do like to read books in series!  It allows an author to give a deeper study into a character, which I think is difficult to accomplish in just one book.  I guess some would compare this series to Harry Potter, and yes the two do have some things in common…wizards, spells, adventures without parents, etc.  But I think this is a much darker series than Harry Potter.  At the ends of the books, not everything is always wrapped up in a happy ending.  I’m not sure if this is the last book in the series, but I do know I have enjoyed it so far and I don’t know why it isn’t more popular.

Do you love reading?  What are you into right now?  I know some might give me flak for reading “Young Adult” series, but honestly I love them and they are definitely page turners.  I know there are many adults out there who feel the same!

Shayz Scentz Giveaway Winner!

Thanks for all of the entries, guys! has chosen Lori Sartain!  Congratulations Lori, and to everyone else, please keep reading my blog for more giveaways coming up soon 🙂