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October 16, 2012


The holidays are upon us, and I Love It! Halloween is always a super fun holiday, and the Fall colors bring me so much cheer and calmness. I seem to get a little craftier during this time of year.

I saw these Halloween treats which were just too adorable. Rat Eyeballs, spider legs, and ghost pool. I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I cannot. I just replicated something similar in my Creative Memories digital software.

I decided to use these for Boo'ing some friends. Note: I also created the "We've been BOO'ed" sign using the CM software.  To download a .pdf of the Treat Toppers, click here!  To get a .pdf of the "We've Been BOO'ed," click here!  (Note, there are two different designs. Download, and print the one you want to use.  Hope you get creative and start a BOO in your neighborhood!

October 14, 2012


Over the summer, I visited a diner in Saratoga/San Jose area called Holden's Country Inn. On the breakfast menu was Chilequiles. They were a bit different, but so incredibly yummy! What I liked was they used tortilla chips and piled on the goodies. The night before we had Tacos for dinner, and I had some taco meat leftover, so that, and my visit to the diner over the summer, were my inspiration.  Please note, I didn't really measure anything. I just threw is all in the pan, and prayed I got something that worked. Note, this is a LARGE single serving since I was testing it out on myself!

  • 1 cup Taco meat (I used leftover ground beef from the night before)
  • 1 cup Refried beans
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  • Tortilla chips (restaurant-style works, although I used Mission tortilla chips)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup red onion (chopped)
  • Fresh cilatro (rough chop)
  • lime or lemon (I used a lemon because that's all I had on hand)
  • Tapatio hot sauce (how can you possible go wrong with this stuff?)
  • In a small bowl, add cilatro, most of the red onion (reserve some to the pan), and the juice from one lime. Let that mellow together while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  • In a large heated skillet, warm leftover taco meat. I added a few chopped red onions to add some flavor. Add enchilada sauce to the meat and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Push to the side of the pan.
  • Add refried beans to the pan (next to the meat) and warm through. Push over to one side.
  • In a small bowl, add the eggs and beat. 
  • Add to the pan, and start to scramble. As they start to firm up, I mix the eggs with the meat with enchilada sauce. (the beans can stay separate).
  • While that is finishing up, take a handful of tortilla chips on spread out on a plate or wide bowl.
  • Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top of chips. 
  • Optional: I threw the chips and cheese in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to slightly melt the cheese (this will also help crisp up the chips).
  • Add the eggs and meat mixture on top of the chips, then the beans.
  • Add the cilantro/onion/lime mixture, and top with Tapatio (as spicy as you want it).
  • Enjoy.

Rotelli with sweet italian sausage, sundried tomatoes, and creamed spinach

Searching for a dinner option that the whole family will like is always a challenge. I was really going out on a limb with this one, but I was floored when my son (who is hands-down the pickiest eater I know) went back for seconds! I found the original recipe on Carrie's Experimental Kitchen blog, but being the *winger* that I am, I had to make a few adjustments. So, here goes...

  • 1 lb. rotelli pasta (cooked per the packages directions).
  • 1 bag frozen chopped spinach
  • 3 TB flour
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 TB olive oil + 1 additional olive oil for later
  • 1/4 yellow onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • Salt (for creamed spinach)
  • 6 links sweet italian sausage (casings removed)
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used a Chardonnay which enhanced the sweetness of the sausage)
  1. Boil noodles per package directions. Strain when done. While boiling...
  2. To make the creamed spinach, start with your flour roux. 
  3. In a saucepan, put 2 TB olive and 1/2 stick butter until butter melts. Add flour to make a paste.
  4. Add chopped yellow onion and saute with the roux until soft.
  5. Add milk or cream.
  6. Throw in about 3/4 of the bag of frozen chopped spinach and stir until heated. Add salt to taste. Set aside. (NOTE:  You can use frozen creamed spinach, but I like making mine.
  7. In a large pot, heat 1TB olive oil
  8. Break apart the sausage into small pieces, add, and cook all the way through until there is no pink, and the outside is starting to caramelize.
  9. Add garlic, sundried tomatoes, and red onion and cook until onion starts to soften.
  10. Add about a cup of the creamed spinach to the mixture.
  11. Add chicken broth and white wine and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  12. Throw in cooked, drained pasta, toss, and enjoy.
I found that I ended up adding a little more chicken broth, and I served the extra creamed spinach on the side.