Saturday, December 6, 2014


I had a pretty productive today today…of course, not like “cleaning the house” or “mowing the yard” productive.  Instead, I made two new ornaments for our fabulous new Christmas tree.  Yup—I finally got to upgrade from our little scraggy 5-foot tree, to a beautiful, full, PRE-LIT-WITH-1000+-LIGHTS tree that I got at a thrift store for $100.  SO happy.


Well, when you add 2.5 feet to your tree…you need more ornaments, amirite?  Not that I don’t already add to my ornament collection annually.  Or have a bunch of Eeyore and Marvin the Martian ornaments that I don’t even put up anymore since I switched tree themes.  But..I mean… come on… PINTEREST.

So I started the morning with a cup of coffee, and the fixings for a button ornament:

- styrofoam ornament (48c at WalMart)

- pearl-ended straight pins ($1.97 at WalMart)

- and LOTs of buttons (free, from my mom’s button collection)


Instructions not really necessary on this one—you start with one button, add another… stagger colors & sizes and layer when appropriate to fill in the white spaces.



And then, I wanted to do my own take on the “book pages” ornaments.  I didn’t have any old sheet music, but I do have this random old Catholic Missal from 1966. I’m not 100% sure where it came from—either I picked it up at a thrift store or it came from a box of books at my Nana’s house…either way, it’s been sitting on a shelf in my house, unused, for several years.  So I fugured I might as well put it to good use.


Here’s hoping you can’t go to hell for cutting up a 50 year old liturgy.


I pulled a few pages from the Advent, Christmas Vigil & Midnight Mass liturgies, and cut out poignant bits that referenced Christmas.


Then I took a blank paper ornament (60c at Hobby Lobby) & used Modge Podge to adhere the paper to the ornament, turning the pieces at different angles and trying to get good coverage (while making sure lines that I really liked didn’t get too covered up).


When it was fully covered, I did one final thin layer of Modge Podge, and sprinkled it with glitter.  Let that dry, and then I took it outside & sprayed it with a clear coat (to help the glitter not fall off).



I’ve got a few other blank paper ornaments, so I might make a few more of these. I love the way it turned out!

And then, to wrap it up, I re-vamped this wreath.  Last year, I hung it on our front door, and the neighborhood birds thought the beautiful berries were real—so they pecked it to death.  I’m hoping no birds were harmed permanently.  So this year, I snipped off the sprigs with damaged berries, and then added all the pine cones & some extra greenery & cinnamon sticks. (Oh, and hung it indoors this year, so no birds would be at risk.)


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Oreo Cheesecake

Last Christmas, I got a springform pan…so I figured I should finally use it!  We’ve got a ton of toppings leftover from The Scoop; so when we were asked to bring a dessert for our Thanksgiving, we thought this would be a great way to use up some of it!!!




  • 1 1/2 cups Oreo cookie bits (about 23 Oreo cookies finely chopped, if you don’t have a bag of pre-chopped crumbles like us)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter


  • Three 8 ounce packages of light cream cheese, room temp
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temp
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 - 8 ounces nonfat Greek yogurt (or light sour cream, or a combination of both if your refrigerator requires it); room temp
  • 3/4 cup Oreo cookie crumbs
  • For the top: More Oreo cookie crumbs (or about 10 coarsely chopped Oreos)


Preheat the oven to 325F.

Crust: Mix the Oreo crumbs with the melted butter and press into the bottom of a 10-inch springform cheesecake pan.  Stick this in the fridge to chill while you prep everything else.

Put the cream cheese in a large bowl and beat on low speed with your mixer until it's light and fluffy (super easy if you have a stand mixer). Slowly add the sugar until well incorporated, scraping the bowl periodically.  Now add the salt, vanilla, flour and Greek yogurt/sour cream and beat some more until everything is mixed in and smooth.

With your mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time, beating each egg fully into the batter and scraping down the sides of the bowl again before adding the next egg. You don’t want to over-beat the mixture after the eggs have been added in.

Gently fold the 3/4 cup of Oreo crumbles into the mixture. Then pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Sprinkle the top with more Oreo cookie crumbs.


Set the top and bottom racks of the oven far enough apart so that you can set a pan of water on the lower rack and the cheesecake on the top rack. Set a roasting pan filled 2/3 of the way with water on the lower rack. (This acts as the "water bath" without having to go to all the trouble of actually putting the cheesecake in the water. Way easier—I’ve had other cheesecakes get a soggy crust because of water infiltrating the pan with a regular water bath.)


Place the cheesecake on the top rack of the oven and bake for about an hour. When it’s ready, it should jiggle slightly in the middle. When you reach this point, turn the oven off, prop the door of the oven open, and let it sit for an hour. Then remove, cover, and stick it in the fridge for 8 hours (or overnight).

Run a knife around the edge of the pan before you pop off the springform.  Then serve at will!  It’s pretty rich, even with the lower-fat ingredients in there, so serve small slices.


NUTRIFACTS: (16 slices)

  Calories 347.0

  Total Fat 18.2 g

  Saturated Fat 8.4 g

  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g

  Monounsaturated Fat 0.9 g

  Cholesterol 116.4 mg

  Sodium 394.5 mg

  Potassium 114.0 mg

  Total Carbohydrate 36.6 g

  Dietary Fiber 1.2 g

  Sugars 26.7 g

  Protein 8.3 g