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Recipe: Taco Meat

Taco Tuesday has become one of our favorite traditions at our house!  I love it because I don’t have to decide what to cook on Tuesdays, and the kids look forward to it because they love tacos and they are able to customize it to their own tastes.  Finally, something the whole family enjoys!

When I took the October Unprocessed challenge this year, I discovered a taco seasoning recipe that my whole family loves.  I love it because it costs less than buying the seasoning packets, it is very quick and easy to make, and I know the exact ingredients that are going into it.  If you’re trying to avoid bread, this is just as delicious served on top of rice.

taco-meat-with-jasmine-rice-logo-top Continue reading

Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

roasted pumpkin seeds ingredients

October in New England means running through corn mazes, picking apples, gathering up fallen leaves & jumping in them, and of course, carving pumpkins.  Pumpkin carving is one of our favorite autumn traditions.  One of the things my daughters love most about carving pumpkins is roasting the seeds afterwards for a tasty autumn treat!

Pumpkin seeds are not only delicious, they are packed with nutrients and provide many health benefits as well:

  • They are a good source of essential minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
  • They are also a great source of Fiber, Protein, and Vitamin E.
  • They help to reduce levels of LDL Cholesterol
  • They help to reduce inflammation
  • and many more…

Here is the recipe we use in our family for roasted pumpkin seeds.  You may experiment with different spices and season to your liking.

Ingredients

  • Seeds from one or more pumpkins
  • Olive oil
  • Salt or other seasonings (to taste)

Directions

  1. Remove the seeds from the pumpkin.
  2. Rinse seeds and separate from flesh.  Lay seeds in a single layer on a paper towel and pat dry.
  3. Spread seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil over seeds
  5. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt evenly over seeds
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Season as desired.
  8. Enjoy!

February Acts of Kindness Month: Ways to Stay Motivated and Keep the Kindness Going

If you are joining me in participating in the February Acts of Kindness Challenge but have run out of ideas, I have some easy tips to help keep you motivated and some easy ways to keep the kindness going.

  1. Get the whole family involved.  In my opinion, the best part of doing this challenge is doing it with my entire family.  We enjoy sharing our acts of kindness with each other, and we help to keep each other accountable.
  2. Put the February Acts of Kindness Log somewhere so it is very visible. We put ours on the refrigerator.  Every time we go to the refrigerator, it is a reminder to do our act of kindness or to write down what we did.  All 5 of our logs are up there together, so it is fun to read what everyone does each day.  My daughters are also great at reminding each other if someone misses a day.  They don’t want to miss out on that reward in the end! 🙂
  3. Set a reward for yourself.  For every challenge you set for yourself, you should build in a reward at the end.  This is a crucial step in helping you to stay motivated.  Honestly, the reward is what is keeping my kids interested in participating in this challenge.
  4. Remember, no act of kindness is too small.  Sometimes we feel like our acts are insignificant, but each action you take (and each word you speak) has the potential to make or break someone’s day.  Keep that in mind and choose kindness always! 🙂

aesop kindnessIf you’re stuck for ideas, a simple way to make someone’s day is to download a Care Card from You Matter. I wrote one out for each member of my family last night, and it felt great!   #YouMatter is a grassroots movement that aims to promote positive mental health through acts of caring. Telling someone they matter can have a greater impact than we may know! 

There are four easy steps to participate in #YouMatter:

1) Download a Care Card from the MSW@USC blog.

2) Write a message of caring, friendship or appreciation.

3) Snap a picture of your card and share on social media using the hashtag #youmatter and tag us @youmatterbc to inspire others.

4) Give the Care Card to someone and make that person’s day!

There’s never a better time than now to show others that that they matter in this world, so let’s keep promoting acts of kindness together!

If you have not been taking the February Acts of Kindness Challenge, it is not too late to begin!  Simply print out the February Acts of Kindness Log, hang it somewhere visible, set a reward for yourself, and begin performing at least one act of kindness each day.  Then enjoy the wonderful feelings that come with helping others and knowing you are helping to brighten up your community and the world. 🙂

The Season of Gratitude: Our Favorite Thanksgiving Tradition…

I love Thanksgiving and all that it represents.  It is a day filled with love, family, food, and GRATITUDE.  It is a time to give thanks for all the blessings in our lives.  I strive to live every day of my life in a state of thanksgiving because I truly believe that the attitude of gratitude always brings happiness.  Turning my focus to the blessings in my life is something I strive for each day, and I try to remind my family to do the same.

This beloved turkey has become a favorite Thanksgiving tradition in our house.  He returns each year around this time to remind us of how blessed we truly are.  This weekend my kids asked if we could take it out, and they were all really excited to help put it up.

November 9, 2013 025 crop

Each year we ask our Thanksgiving guests to fill out a feather and write what they are thankful for.  When we take it out each November, it fills our hearts with love and wonderful memories of past Thanksgivings and reminds us of how blessed our lives have been and all we have to be thankful for today.  Occasionally we are reminded of people or things that are no longer in our lives, but that just reminds us that nothing really belongs to us and we need to take nothing for granted.  Everything in our lives right now is a gift and blessing from God.  We need to focus on the present and try to recognize and appreciate all the gifts in our lives today.

May you recognize and appreciate the gift of every person, every thing, and every experience you encounter today!  Peace and blessings! 🙂

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances;” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

(For complete directions on how to make our “Count Your Blessings Turkey Decoration,” check out the full post on my blog Stacy Loves… here.)