Archive | October 2012

Perfect Roasted Pumpkin Seeds


The best part about carving a pumpkin? Getting to roast the seeds! At least for me 🙂 I have memories of doing this with my mom and papaw as a kid, and this is how they did it. These have the perfect amount of saltines and crunchiness, and you can eat the whole thing… shell and all. Our family has literally been fighting over the bowl of these since we finished dinner lol. My daughter doesn’t even like the pumpkin seeds you can buy at the store so that says something! These are way better than the ones you can buy and are SO easy.

Perfect Roasted Pumpkin Seeds:

  • Pumpkin seeds, separated from pumpkin flesh and rinsed
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Cooking spray/oil
  1. Put your seeds into a bowl, sprinkle with a generous amount of salt. You don’t really have to measure but I would guess I use about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon per cup of seeds. I like to use sea salt but whatever kind you have will work great.
  2. Add just enough water to cover the seeds. Let soak 1-2 hours.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with foil, spray foil with cooking spray or rub with olive oil.
  4. Drain your seeds but do not rinse them, spread out evenly on prepared baking sheet.
  5. Sprinkle with a little extra salt. I used kosher salt for this step.
  6. Place into preheated oven, stir seeds around every 5 minutes for even browning. The seeds are done when they are golden brown. It took about 15 minutes for our oven but could vary, just keep an eye on them.
  7. Remove from oven and enjoy!

If you want you could add herbs/spices when you sprinkle the salt onto these, but they are so good this way we have never tried adding anything else. I hope you enjoy this simple but yummy recipe from our family!

❤ Ashley

 

 

 

P.S. I found this photo being passed around on Facebook, many great reasons to eat pumpkin seeds! It mentions that they are high in magnesium, most Americans are deficient in magnesium and it is needed for over 200 functions in the body.

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Soft Heath Bar Cookies


Today I fully intended on making chocolate chip cookies, but I ended up with these instead…. soft and yummy heath bar cookies. I wanted to try this recipe I found for The BEST-EVER Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. With a name like that they have to be good right?! Well I am always on a quest to make things healthier so I changed a few ingredients, and then I realized I was out of chocolate chips! My husband loves the heath bar candy so luckily I had some of that to use instead. I use crushed heath bar for a trifle that I make for the holidays, so I had some hiding in the cabinets shhhhh 🙂

I am sure these really would be awesome chocolate chip cookies, but you won’t be sorry if you try making them this way too. They were a huge hit, my husband and daughter both ate 7 cookies today! But before anyone starts making comments about letting my child eat that many cookies, she has a very healthy and balanced diet and we do not eat treats very often 🙂 She kept sneaking them when I wasn’t looking lol. My husband gave these a 9 on a scale of 1-10, yay!

So here you go, The Best-Ever Chewy Heath Bar Cookies  – Makes about 3 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened (I use salted but either would be fine)
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup Stevia In The Raw (or white sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp butter flavoring
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Heath Bars, crushed

1. Pre-heat over to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, mix in vanilla extract, butter flavor and egg.

3. Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.

4. Stir in crushed heath bar.

5. Drop dough onto prepared baking sheets, 1 tablespoon at a time.

6. Bake 8-10 minutes, until the edges are barely golden. Do not cook longer than 10 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, move to wire rack to cool completely.

8. Try not to burn yourself as you are shoveling them into your mouth!

 

Enjoy 🙂

❤ Ashley

Fall


I used to love fall, in fact it was my favorite season of the year when I lived in Virginia. All of the leaves turning, pumpkin spice coffee, sweaters, all of the comfort food and coziness that comes with it. The sky seemed to sparkle and the sunsets were gorgeous that time of year. Then something horrible happened…. One absolutely gorgeous fall day I got the worst call of my life. My sister Amanda was in the hospital, with fluid in her lungs and blood on her brain. She was 18 years old.

What happened with Amanda is a long story and something I am not prepared to go into at this moment, but she passed away. My beautiful, full of life, crazy (in a good way) sister that I grew up with was gone. (If you want to know what happened you can visit this site that I made for her right after she passed. Amanda’s memorial site. There is music so make sure your speakers aren’t too loud) Since then I have hated fall, the crisp air, the turning leaves…. they all reminded me of that horrible time in my life when I lost my sister. Last month was 7 years since that awful day and slowly I am learning to love fall again. I think I have appreciated it more this year than I have in a LONG time. I live in Massachusetts now so it is a little colder than I like, but I am appreciating other little things about this time of year.

I know this is not the normal post you would find on my blog, but I just wanted to share these pictures with all of you and a little of my story.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. ~ Albert Camus. 

We do still have some flowers that are hanging on, I am trying to enjoy them because soon everything will be brown.

I hope you are enjoying this fall! I also hope that if you are grieving right now that this will give you some hope. Of course you will always miss your loved one and will still have very bad days, but the bad days get farther apart and slowly you start appreciating life again.

❤ Ashley

EDIT: The link for her site will not work for some reason but if you would like to see it copy and paste this into your browser: nanderz.triopd.com (It took a few tries for me before it actually came up, it must be an issue with their site)

Homemade Soap Scum Remover (that really works!)


This is another wonderful, EASY homemade cleaner recipe that will save you money. You might even have the ingredients on hand already…. dawn and vinegar! I know this recipe is going around on Pinterest, that is how I found it, but I still feel the need to share and give you my two cents 🙂

My husband loves to use bar soap in the shower, which leaves me with a problem… soap scum! I have literally begged him to switch to something else and even took his favorite soap and made it into a body wash (hoping it would rinse easier) but I just couldn’t get him to part with his bar. Before I “woke up” to the dangers of many cleaners I tried just about everything they sell for soap scum and I still had to scrub like crazy. This was also a problem for me because sometimes my back acts up and that definitely doesn’t help.

So I decided to give this a try after seeing it spread on Pinterest like wildfire. My only regret is not trying it sooner! It works amazingly well, I have literally never had an easier time getting the tub clean. I sprayed it on the dry tub, let it sit for about an hour, wet down my scrub brush and started scrubbing. I figured I was going to have to scrub the entire tub pretty hard but I was surprised to see how easily it was coming clean. There were still a few spots that I had to use more elbow grease, like the area where the bar of soap actually sits for example… but still I was very impressed. The walls were sparkling when I was done rinsing…I almost did a happy dance 🙂

You can also use this for cleaning sinks and even your toilet… yes your toilet! You may want to test it in your toilet using only a small amount first but I have had no problems. At first I thought it might be TOO sudsy but it worked great. I bet this would be fantastic for cleaning outdoor toys and furniture although I have no tried it myself yet. I also plan on using it to clean my bird’s cage. For a little extra scrubbing action if you have a really heavy duty mess you could add some baking soda.

Just a little warning, as with any cleaning product you will want good ventilation… crack the window or turn on the vent fan. The smell is a little strong but at least it is not toxic!

You can find the recipe here: Tub and Shower Magic or continue reading below:

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces white vinegar
  • 12 ounces liquid blue Dawn detergent

Directions:

1. Heat vinegar in microwave until hot and pour into squirt bottle.

2. Add the Dawn soap. Put the lid on and gently shake to incorporate.

3. You now have a powerful cleaning product that will melt soap scum and tub and shower buildup, clean sinks, appliances and just about anything. Just spray it on, scrub, rinse and be amazed. For tough soap scum build-up, spray the mixture on and allow it to sit as long as overnight. Then, scrub and rinse.

I hope you love this stuff as much as I do!

❤ Ashley