Friday, November 27, 2015

Turkey Enchilada Casserole

Thanksgiving leftovers can be a little daunting. There's generally a lot of food left and I get pretty sick of it really quick and it can be hard to come up with a fresh take on the same ingredients over and over. After a couple of days of eating the same old thing, I like to cook up something that feels a departure from the usual. One recipe that I make almost every year is this Turkey Enchilada Casserole that I found many years ago looking through an issue of Sunset while I was waiting in a doctor's office. The original recipe calls for ground turkey but around Thanksgiving, I just dice up leftover turkey and it works just as well as the ground version. This recipe is a loose outline for what I add in. Each time it's a little different, depending on what I have on hand. I love to heat this up for breakfast and top with a fried egg. You can also make two of these casseroles and put one in the freezer for an easy weeknight meal.

Turkey Enchilada Casserole
(adapted from Sunset Magazine)

1 1/2 pounds ground (or diced leftover) turkey (or chicken) breast
1/2 cup chopped onion (or leftover green onions)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salad oil
1 can (29 oz.) red or green enchilada sauce
1 can (8 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper
12 corn tortillas (6 in. wide)
2 cups shredded cheddar, jack, pepper jack or Mexican blended shredded cheese (8 oz.)
Leftover corn, diced olives, diced up spinach and even diced butternut squash can work really well


Chopped fresh cilantro
Sour Cream
Black olives
Diced Avocado
Tortilla chips

1. In a large skillet or dutch oven over high heat, stir turkey, onion, garlic, oregano, and cumin in oil until turkey is cooked (or warmed through if using leftovers) and no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in 1 cup enchilada sauce, black beans and any leftover vegetables that you want to add. Add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Meanwhile, cut tortillas in half. Arrange a fourth of the halves evenly over the bottom of a shallow 3-quart casserole, overlapping to fit. Sprinkle a fourth of the cheese evenly over the tortillas, then top with a third of the turkey and vegetable mixture and a fourth of the remaining enchilada sauce, spreading each level. Repeat to make two more layers of tortillas, cheese, turkey mixture, and sauce; top with another layer of tortillas and sauce, then cheese.
3. Bake in a 375° oven until cheese is melted and casserole is hot in the center, 18 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, avocado, sour cream, black olives.

Monday, November 23, 2015

We're Hiring!

I am over the moon EXCITED to announce that I'm hiring! In the New Year, Cara Crowley Interiors and Events will be rebranding as Cara Crowley Creative. This move is the accumulation of 20 years of hard work. I will still be designing interior spaces for residential clients and still be producing events that have a heartbeat for what matters most in life. The name change will encompass new professional opportunities and allow us to grow without limitations. Plus, I love alliterations ;)

The Cara Crowley Creative brand is friendly, community based, family-oriented and built upon warmth and grace for helping people design the lives that they dream about through clean, beautiful design, products and content. The position that is open is basically for my right hand person, my Mary Poppins, a Jill (or Jack) of all trades. CCC is a small, grassroots type of business where each person must wear many hats. I’ve done my best to outline the responsibilities that this position will eventually grow into. I am currently opening this position up to 4-8 hours per week but the exciting part of this position is that it has the opportunity to grow into a full time position, based upon stellar performance.
Applicants must be motivated self-starters, highly attentive to detail, be exceptional friendly, have excellent communication skills, comfortable with fast paced processes and deadlines. A warm, personal demeanor is essential. In short, I’m looking for someone who is happy; who loves and can execute clean, classic, personal design and most importantly, someone who will be a wonderful, authentic representation of the brand.
The person best fit for this position must possess these traits:
  • A motivated self starter
  • Has a positive attitude and works well collaboratively
  • Is professional, has a kind, friendly and positive demeanor, energetic, organized, detailed and solution oriented and personable
  • Is an early adopter of new technology
  • Has a willingness to learn and ask questions and research to resolve issues
  • Has a love for helping people, homes, families, community, good food and design
  • Loves the Sacramento region

  • Has experience with marketing/marketing strategy, content production, editorial calendar and production calendars 
  • Enjoys and is knowledgeable in the world and community of social media - Instagram, Twitter, YouTube specific
  • Has experience with working with media outlets and/or is willing to learn
  • Has experience pitching ideas and content to larger companies and media outlets such as blogs, magazines and television
  • Knowledge of basic camera and tech skills
  • Experienced with Adobe Illustrator and InDesign CS5

  • 4-8 hours a week, ideally one or two afternoons a week, in person 
  • Local position to the Sacramento, CA area. I am ideally looking for someone who is local and lives within 10-15 minutes of Midtown Sacramento. I would be open to this being a remote position IF it was the right person.
  • Must have consistent and reliable access to Internet, phone and email, with a quiet space available to return phone calls and/or FaceTime meetings

Job Description & Responsibilities:
  • Manage, track and grow campaigns, programs and relationships with local and national companies
  • Collaborate with clients and other businesses to create well-timed social campaigns to promote events, new products and new features
  • Create in-office imagery and help with product styling
  • Respond to customer service inquiries via social media and email with a positive and friendly voice
  • Outline and schedule editorial content for blog and social media posts
  • Track our social media analytics and use the data to guide new efforts

Job Requirements:
  • Must be able to lift at least 30 pounds
  • Have reliable and consistent transportation
  • Must be able to begin working the week of January 4, 2016. Although, if I found the right person and schedule permitted, I have work available starting December 18, 2015.
  • Must be able to commit to 2-3 interviews (including at least one in person interview)

  • Contracted Position, $10-15 per hour depending on experience
  • 4-8 hours per week, fluctuating at certain parts of the year

To Apply:

If this sounds like you and you'd like to apply for the position, please send an email to caracrowleycreative (at) gmail (dot) com with your application and a cover letter telling me why you're perfect for this role. Please include examples of your work or link to your portfolio. Include a link to your Instagram only if you use it to show your work. I currently do not use Facebook so please do not include Facebook links. Please be sure to let your personality and talent shine through! Applications will be accepted until December 11, 2015.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

It's starting to feel like fall here in Northern California. Let the baking and comfort food commence.

I recently saw these pumpkin muffins with dark chocolate chips on Everyday Reading and mentally filed it away until I needed a quick fall treat.

Fast forward to tonight when I realized I was supposed to bring something to a morning meeting tomorrow. I was tired and didn't want to spend a long time making something so I was in luck that these muffins take just a few minutes to mix together and by using an ice cream scoop to quickly divide the batter into muffin tins, I was done in about five minutes from start to finish.

I made a few changes and substitutions from the original recipe that Jannsen posted, the biggest swap that I did was to swap out the 1/2 cup of oil out or a 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce. The applesauce keeps the batter moist but drastically cuts the calorie count and ups the fiber in the recipe. See my tips below on how to use applesauce in place of oil in baking recipes. I love how these muffins came out and will be making them more often in the weeks to come. I'm already thinking that I can swap out the dark chocolate chips for raisins or dried cranberries the next time I make them.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
(adapted from Everyday Reading)

Makes 1 dozen muffins

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce*
1 3/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup dark chocolate chips, I used Nestle

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line your muffin tin with squares of parchment paper or parchment paper cupcake liners and set aside.

Whisk together the sugar, pumpkin, eggs, and applesauce until smooth. 

I used my Kitchenaid mixer but this batter is really easy to mix by hand if you don't have a mixer or don't want want to go through the trouble of getting your mixer out. 

Pour the flour, soda, baking powder, salt, and spices on top of the wet ingredients and then whisk until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips just until combined (don't overmix).
Divide between the muffin tins and bake, about 25 minutes, or until the tops are lightly-browned and spring back when you press them gently with your finger.

Let cool for a few minutes then remove from the muffin tins. Serve warm. 

*I used a ratio of 1:1 to substitute unsweetened applesauce for oil in most muffin, quick bread recipes like banana bread and cakes like spice, gingerbread or chocolate cakes to make recipes healthier.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Few Thanksgiving Shortcuts

Image via Pinterest
Thanksgiving is coming up fast and furious and everyone is buzzing around planning their meals and decor. Here are a few of my favorite things to help you streamline your day so you can spend more time with your family and less time in the kitchen or in the dining room getting ready.  Happy Thanksgiving!

For Decor ~ There are so many great free printables around the internet but my favorite are from Caravan Shoppe. They have festive invites and place cards that you can download and print off for FREE. It's a great way to add organization and a festive feel to your meal. I also love that they have coordinating thank you notes to send out after the holiday.

image via Caravan Shoppe
For Food ~ I always make ahead the cranberry sauce and gravy the day before. It's a huge time saver and I don't have to worry about making the gravy while everyone is waiting and the food is getting cold. I use the Barefoot Contessa's gravy and make a fresh cranberry sauce that couldn't be easier to make. If you can boil water, you can make cranberry sauce. Both will keep well if you make a day or two ahead of the big day.

Image via Pinterest
For Guests: I love using Chinese takeout containers from Smart and Final or Amazon to send your guests home with leftovers without having to part with your beloved tupperware or glass storage containers. If you want to add a little something extra special, you can print off these cute labels from Oh Happy Day, to label your leftovers for an extra special feel. Use full sheeted adhesive labels from your local office supply store to print off the free printable on. I also pick up craft colored or white handled bags, like these, from my local dollar store to use to pack up the takeout containers. It's nice to be able to hand your tired guests a bag that they can put in the fridge when they get home for the next day, or a midnight snack.

Image via Oh Happy Day
A few, fun extras ~ This mocktail looks delicious and would be a fun drink that you can serve your entire family to get your everyone in a festive mood. This page is full of fun and easy crafts you can set up for the little ones in your life to keep them entertained while the food is cooking and the adults are visiting. Most of the supplies for these crafts can be found at your local supermarket and/or dollar store.

Image via 
PS.  Between posts you can find me on Instagram (caracrowley) sharing highlights of daily life.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

And the winner is...

Thank you to all who voted on the last post.  It was fun to have the feedback, especially those who took the time to leave their own creative ideas on the direction I should go to create an accent wall in my home studio.  In the end, the treatment that received the most votes (by a landslide) was the stenciled circles.  I'm excited to go in this direction and take this idea and make it my own.  In the original tutorial, you are to glue painted doilies to the wall but I'm going to use a stencil to paint the circles on the wall so I can change it out when I'm ready to move on.

Image via Redbook

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Poll: Which Accent Wall Would You Choose? (Poll Now Closed)

The year is flying by and like usual, I can't believe it's the first part of November.  The holidays are on their way, rain is moving in, I'm planning lots of crock pot meals from this book and working on making the house as warm and cozy as I can.  I'm also finishing up current client projects and making room for professional growth in 2015.  One of the tasks I'm working on is painting an accent wall in my office.  My office has been every color you can imagine and I've rearranged the furniture placement as many times as I've painted.  Earlier this year, I painted the walls a nice, crisp white. I was ready for a little simplicity and an organized, bright feeling.  I really love the change but it's left the walls feeling a little plain.  In the coming year, I'm adding coaching to the list of services that I'll be providing (I can't wait to fill you in on more details soon) and will be using Skype to connect with clients that are out of the area and I want paint an accent wall on the wall behind me.  I want it to be something fun, colorful and inspiring.  I've collected a some ideas via Pinterest but I can't seem to narrow the choices down myself so I've decided to let you make the choice!

I'm leaving voting open until Saturday, November 15 at midnight and I'll let you know the results next week.  I'm excited to see what you choose!

Update: The poll is now closed.  Thank you for voting.  

Image via Pinterest
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Image via Pinterest
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Giving Your Basic Jeans an Update

Last week when the Boden catalog arrived, I pawed through it looking for a couple of options to update my fall wardrobe.  I saw these boyfriend jeans and marked the page to keep as a possibility to order.  When I went back through my dog eared pages the next day to narrow down the items that I was going to order, I realized that I had already purchased a pair of boyfriend jeans a few days before at the Nordstrom Rack for about half the price.  All of a sudden the pair that I had purchased, didn't look as appealing anymore.  What was wrong with me?  Why did I want these other jeans so badly? I tried to dissect my desire and then realized that I loved the small detail of the navy and cream twill ribbon that covered up the seam on the outside cuff.  That's it.  That's why I loved them.  Was it worth $78 to get that small detail when I had jeans that fit me perfectly for half that price? Nope, especially because I knew that I could DIY my way to the same look.

I stopped at a local hole-in-the-wall fabric and notions store that is near my house, for local Sacramento residents, I stopped at Hi-Fashion Fabrics on Franklin Boulevard.  Hi-Fashion is a gem of store and I always try to stop here before heading down to JoAnn's.  I took the Boden catalog in with me and showed the gals that were at the front counter and they directed me to a wall of ribbons sold by the yard and I quickly located a ribbon that was very similar to the photo.  The ribbon was $.99/yard and I purchased 4 yards which was way more that I needed for this project but I thought this ribbon would make great ribbon to wrap a present, tie napkins for a summer party, use as a headband or any other DIY project in my future.  For this project, I only needed 10" of ribbon and took the ribbon, jeans and picture with me to my local dry cleaner that also does small alterations and asked her to sew the ribbon to the first 5" of my cuff so that when I turned the cuff over twice the ribbon showed.

I could have sewn in the ribbon myself but I wanted the it to really be secure and hold up the daily abuse of being worn and laundered.  She charged me just a few dollars for the job and for me it was well worth the money to have the project done and ribbon securely attached.  If you are a better seamstress than I am, you can sew this yourself and then buy yourself a cup of coffee with the money you saved.

Materials Needed:

  • A pair of jean
  • 10" of ribbon 1" - 1 1/2" wide 
  • Matching thread