Cheeseburger Casserole with Cracker Crust

Pretty much anything can be turned into a casserole (or soup) these days.  This was such a simple recipe I’m shocked at how quickly it went together and I’m equally floored at how tasty it was!

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You’ll need:

2 pounds ground beef

1 large onion,chopped

3 garlic cloves,minced

Your favorite burger seasoning

1 can cream of mushroom soup

salt and pepper to taste

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 sleeves of unsalted crackers, crushed

1 stick of butter

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In a large pot brown beef, drain fat, add onions and cook covered until onions are transparent. Add minced garlic and your favorite burger seasoning. I chose to go with a homemade Outback Steakhouse seasoning and a Grill Mates Steakhouse onion burger with garlic seasoning. If you are using a salt free seasoning, just add a pinch of salt if desired.

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I didn’t want to pulverize the crackers into a fine dust, instead I crushed up the crackers while in the sleeves and dumped them out into a medium size mixing bowl. Then I took my large rolling pin and used it like a mortar and pestle. It made the perfect size of crushed cracker crumbs.

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To the cracker crumbs add a stick of melted butter and stir with a spoon to coat. Pour half of the mixture into a 9×13 pan. Spread it out evenly.

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Carefully spread the meat mixture over the crack crust. It’s not so much “spreading” as it is just evenly pressing the mixture out. Once you have all the meat in the pan you can gently spread the top layer out at flat as possible, making sure the corners are filled and edges are pressed down.

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Into the remaining crushed crackers, add two cups of shredded cheese (any blend you prefer), and about 1/2 tsp of your favorite burger seasoning. I used a little of the Steakhouse onion burger with garlic. Just helped to punch up the flavor a tad since I used unsalted crackers. Give it a quick stir to combine, pour the mixture out on top the meat layer and spread it out evenly. Again making sure you get the corned filled and edges flattened out.

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Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. It isn’t going to be bubbly, but you will see a crispy browning to the edges. Pull it out and serve with your favorite french fries or onion rings, salad, and condiments. Now I didn’t add any bacon to this but feel free to add it to the topping before you bake, add some chopped jalapenos to the meat mix if you prefer a little heat to your burger casserole, and for an all out onion burger flavor add an envelope of lipton onion soup mix instead a burger seasoning. Play with the flavors and make it your own! Hope you all enjoy 🙂

Health Check Tuesday: Vitamin D3, Are You Getting Enough?

Afternoon everyone, trust you all are have a bright and cheery day so far.  I can’t believe how pretty it is outside, not that I can go out and enjoy it. But just looking out through the window it looks lovely out! Surely some of you have been able to get out and enjoy this fine sunny weather today 🙂

Since I can’t get out to soak up some natural Vitamin D from the sun, mosquitoes, I have to get my Vitamin D in pill form. I originally take D3 to help regulate my menstrual cycle (tmi sorry but it does work). With my PCOS I tend to not be regular and the D3 helps with that and it’s better for me than birth control pills which make me gain heinous amount of weight and make each monthly cycle last for up to two weeks, making me anemic. Not fun. But there’s so much more to Vitamin D3 than just regulating a woman’s monthly cycle and how can you be sure that you are deficient in it and what brand is better?

Well, I will not play doctor here and tell you what you should be doing. Instead I will just lay out my findings, urge you all to discuss things first with your doctor and be sure to follow his/her instructions to the letter. All I can do is encourage you all to do your own homework, read up on all the latest information available before doing anything. Now, with that said, here’s what I’ve discovered about Vitamin D3 🙂

I’m a huge follower of Dr. Mercola and get his articles by email all the time. He’s the one doctor I actually trust because he doesn’t make you feel like an idiot when you write to him with your questions. He’s all about natural remedies and taking care of yourself naturally. Doing that for myself has been a life saver. I’m not saying everyone has to do it but most certainly worth looking into if modern medicine has fallen short in helping your health issues. I may not be a svelte size 6, have an optimal metabolism, rock hard abs, and able to run a marathon, but I do feel so much better over all than I have in years!

Dr. Mercola stated in one of his articles that:

“There seems to be no end in sight when searching for the answer to that question. There’s constantly new research being published, demonstrating the health benefits of vitamin D and the health risks associated with vitamin D deficiency.

Perhaps the most telling piece of information is the fact that higher vitamin D levels significantly reduce mortality rates from ALL causes!

And it’s no wonder, really, when you consider what vitamin D really is, because it’s far more than “just a vitamin.” Rather it’s the only known substrate for a potent, pleiotropic (meaning it produces multiple effects), repair and maintenance seco-steroid hormone that serves multiple gene-regulatory functions in your body.

In fact, there’s compelling evidence that vitamin D is in fact KEY for proper gene expression.

How does it work?

Well, each cell in your body has its own ‘DNA library’ that contains information needed to deal with virtually every kind of stimulus it may encounter, and the master key to enter this library is activated vitamin D.

For example, memory ductile cells in a woman’s breast need vitamin D to access DNA that enables the response to estrogen.

So it stands to reason that without sufficient amounts of vitamin D, your cells cannot access their DNA libraries. As a result, their functions are impaired and all sorts of problems can ensue, depending on how well your cells are able to compensate for the lack of vitamin D.

This is why vitamin D functions in so many different tissues, and affects such a large number of different diseases and health conditions.

So far, scientists have found about 3,000 genes that are upregulated by vitamin D, which is remarkable when you consider the human body only has about 30,000 genes total.”

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. He went on to say, “Receptors that respond to the vitamin have been found in almost every type of human cell, from your brain to your bones, which explains why researchers keep finding health benefits from vitamin D in virtually every area they look, including:

  • Cancer
  • Hypertension
  • Heart Disease
  • Autism
  • Obesity
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Diabetes 1 and 2
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Cold and Flue
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Tuberculosis
  • High Blood Pressure
  • MRSA Infections
  • Dementia
  • Birth Defects
  • Reduced C-Section Risk
  • Infertility
  •  Melanoma (skin cancer)
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Osterporosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Schizophrenia

There’s research out there that proves that by increasing the levels of vitamin D3 could prevent diseases that claim nearly 1 million lives throughout the world each year!

Another amazing health fact about vitamin D3 is that it can detoxify the body. There are a number of health issues stemming from mercury poisoning. Vitamin D3 has been studied and found to significantly detoxify the body of mercury toxicity. It safely removes the mercury from the body by radically increasing the amount of intracellular glutathione(in other words it amps up the antioxidants in your body which will then help prevent any further damage to your cells).  Good stuff right there!

How can you get tested and treated for Vitamin D deficiency?

Dr. Mercola shares, “There are two vitamin D tests — 1,25 (OH) and 25 (OH)D. The correct test is 25 (OH)D, also called 25–hydroxyvitamin D. This is the better marker of overall D status, and is most strongly associated with overall health.  If you are at all concerned about being vitamin D deficient then please ask your doctor about the above test and further discuss your options.

Now there are plenty of brands out there to choose from, various forms to which you can take the vitamin D. I used to take it in gummy form but had to stop because it is coated in sugar which is not healthy when trying to live a more alkaline lifestyle. Back to pills I had to go. There are sprays, dots, liquids, soft gels, capsules, chewables and the list goes on. One must weigh the pros and cons of taking any form and decide for himself/herself which would be appropriate and easier to take.

Some popular brands, such as NOW Foods, Solaray, and Nature’s Life. I’ve taken NOW Foods and Nature’s Life and both are very good. It may not be the same for someone else so please take that into consideration. I would urge folks, who are interested, to read the reviews carefully before deciding on which brand to go with. Of course if you are terribly deficient in vitamin D3 your doctor may prescribe a vitamin D3 supplement of nothing higher than 10,000IU. Those are for severe cases only, this is why it’s important to be tests and to talk to you doctor about the proper dosage.

In the end, the best source of vitamin D is going outside for 15 minutes each day sans sunscreen and soak up some sunny goodness!

Hope you all have a blessed day!

 

Monday Night Dinner: Cabbage, Onions, Bacon, Turkey Sausage and Fauxtatoes

Tonight I made dinner within an hour and a half. Working like a mad woman to get everything done so Dad could come home to a hot meal before rushing off again with my oldest nephew to their Shelter in the Time of Storm class. It’s a really neat class where they are learning first aid, fire safety, and tonight learning how to do a splint with duct tape and cardboard. Since we live in an area that is a magnet for tornadoes and it’s nice to have some trained locals to help out and volunteer in the aftermath.

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Cabbage, Onions, Turkey Bacon, Turkey Sausage, and Fauxtatoes

1 medium head cabbage, chopped

4 tblsp butter

1 large onion, sliced

1 pound turkey bacon, chopped

1 pound smoked turkey sausage, sliced

1 pound frozen cauliflower

salt and pepper to taste

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In a large saute pan over medium high heat add butter and turkey bacon; cook to desired doneness. I didn’t crisp mine up on purpose, I wanted the family to be able to eat it without complaining that it was too overly done (lol).  At this point put your frozen cauliflower in a pan to steam for about 8 minutes.

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Add in the sliced onion and cover with a lid. Onions should be mostly transparent.

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Once the onions have cooked for about 4-5 minutes top with sliced smoked turkey sausage. Slap the lid back on for an additional 5 minutes on medium high heat.

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In a large dutch oven pot, cook chopped cabbage with a little butter, olive oil, or coconut oil. I left this out of the list of ingredients but wanted you to be able to choose what the use. Being sure to cut as much of the core out as possible. This will need to cook down as much as possible before serving, at least 10-15 minutes depending on how done you like it.

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Eventually I decided to add the hot sausage, bacon and onions on top of the cabbage, moved it to the bigger burner and cranked up the heat, taking care to not burn the cabbage. Leaving the lid on the pan helped to trap in the liquid and to speed up the cooking time.

At this point I added a little salt and pepper.

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Transfer cooked cauliflower to blender or food processor. Let it run for three minutes. Don’t add any liquids to this, season with a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder if you wish. Set aside.

Continue to cook the cabbage mixture until cabbage is done to your likeness.

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If it weren’t so steaming hot I would have dove right in! If you want this spicier you can add a few dashes of Tabasco sauce.  I have found recipes that call for caraway seeds but take care to not add too much.  A little of that goes a long way.

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There’s a perfect balance of salt and pepper, cabbage had just enough texture still that it wasn’t a lump of watery mess, and the turkey bacon/sausage was perfectly done. If you’re not a fan of fauxtatoes by themselves you can mix them with real potatoes to help disguise the flavor. 

Hope you all enjoy!

Saturday Plans

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Today there is much to do:

  • Wrap up frozen casseroles in the freezer
  • Clean around the house
  • Plan weekly menu
  • Attack the stove top grates (got my SOS pads and blue gloves ready)
  • Laundry
  • Lesson Planning for the coming week

Ever notice there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done? Well, I’m off, hope everyone has a blessed weekend!!

 

Book Nook Freebie: 31 Days To A Clean and Organized Home

So excited about today’s book nook freebie, I love reading books that give me a fresher view on how to improve the home. Hope you all head on over to down load it and share the link with others!!


You can either click the picture above or click “31 Days To a Clean and Organized Home” in order to download the book.

My favorite chapters so far are three, four, and five. Chapter four was bit of a tough love chapter because even I fail at keeping our home spotless and organize. It’s a great chapter and lays out why people fail. I think the thing for me is I get an idea of how I want it to be (aka perfect) and I fall terribly short of reaching that goal because let’s face it, I’m not perfect! So I need to work on stop setting these unreachable goals and stop telling myself there’s plenty of time to get around to cleaning.

Truth moment:

Because I’m blogging now, doing lots of research for my posts, advertising my site, and back into a new school year my plate feels doubly full and cleaning is the last thing I want to do. Honestly. If I could get away with not having to do it I would. So the clutter grows just a little bit more on the table tops, the laundry sits in the basket a few days longer before getting folded, and deep cleaning the stove top gets put off for another week. There’s really no excuse, no buts, just being lazy and not wanting to do yet one more thing.

Today’s Goal:

  • Clean off the table tops which includes dusting and wiping down the glass insert.
  • Fold basket of laundry.

What will you do today to clean or organize one thing in your home? It can be one area or one room (if you’re feeling motivated).

Have a blessed day 🙂

 

Throw Back Thursday: Macaroni and Spam Casserole

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Eggs, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam…

Hehe, love Monty Python especially that skit! Spam has been around for 76 years, it first came on the scene back in 1937. World War II is when it became most popular, and from what I gathered Spam was being shipped to our Allies even before America even entered the War. In Hawai’i, Spam is a staple, everything from Spam and eggs to pineapple upside down cake with Spam. The average Hawaiian will eat about 16 cans of Spam a year, to me that’s a lot…1 can is a lot! Mom even told me about a M.A.S.H Spam episode, which luckily I found on youtube. Hehe…

Spam has taken on some new flavors over the years from Hot and Spicy to Spam with Bacon. My family buys it in bulk from Sam’s Club and I just happen to be the only one in the family who doesn’t like it. Everyone else likes it cooked up in a pan of butter and served with either mustard or mayo. I’m changing things up, I’m willing to try most things once so I can say I’ve tried it. That is as long as it doesn’t have 6–8 legs, fangs, slithers, or has thick scales and has to bask in the sun on a daily basis. Though Spam has gotten the reputation of “mystery meat” it actually isn’t mystery meat at all. The ingredients list is as follows:

Ham, pork, sugar, salt, water, potato starch & sodium nitrate.

At least I can pronounce all those things and don’t have do a Bing search to figure out what something is. Does that make it healthy? Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that. The notoriously congealed liquid in the can puts a lot of people off. That liquid is actually from a cooling process that comes from cooling the meat. Makes sense, it is after all pork, and if prepared properly the meat will be tender and juicy. It’s no different than Vienna Sausages (which I actually do love) and if it truly grosses you out just rinse it with warm water before preparing.

This is why I’m willing to try this macaroni and spam casserole.

(Photo courtesy of Mommy Savers)

There are two recipes that I’m interested in combining, one from Cook’s.com and the other Mommy Savers. Should be interesting 🙂 Here’s the one from Cook’s.com that I’ve already printed:

16 oz package macaroni

2 cans cream of celery soup

1 green pepper, chopped

1 sliced onion

1 large can Spam, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 large can stewed tomatoes

Cook macaroni as directed. Add rest of ingredients, spread cheese on top, if desired. Cook in 350 degree oven until heated through. Substitute Spam for leftover ham, chicken, or other meat.

Sounds pretty good, I’m going to make this tonight and give a review on here later. So be sure to check back!

Have a blessed day!!

What I did to combine the two recipes:

1 can Spam, cut into 1–inch cubes

1 onion, chopped

1 stick butter

5 Tblsp flour

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 can diced tomatoes, drained

4 ounces velveeta, chopped

8 ounces shredded cheese

1 can cream of chicken and mushroom soup

1 can cream of mushroom soup

2 cups milk

1 pound macaroni, cooked and drained

4 ounces crushed potato chips

2 cups shredded cheese (optional for top)

Boil macaroni noodles in large dutch oven, stirring occasionally. In large sauce pan melt butter, add chopped onions and cover with a lid. Cook onions till transparent. Whisk in flour completely and add milk. Continue to whisk to break up the rue. Add in canned soups, velveeta, Spam, drained tomatoes and black pepper. Whisk and if it becomes too thick too fast add in more milk as needed. Once velveeta is mostly melted add shredded cheese and continue to whisk now in one direction until cheese is completely melted. Check noodled for doneness and turn off the heat under the cheese sauce. Drain noodles and add back into pot. Pour cheese sauce over noodles and stir. Ladle into two pans, top both is cheese. Set one aside to freeze, cover the other one with crushed potato chips. Bake at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes or until chips are golden brown and bubbly around the edges. Remove, set aside for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy with salad, dinner rolls, or garlic bread!

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REVIEW:

This dish was a high with the family! Because I combined two recipes, which by the way was a great idea, it made A LOT of food, enough for two casseroles. You can guess what I did 🙂

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One baked for dinner…

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One to freeze for next month! I didn’t have to bake this one though the cheese is melted, I was waiting for it to cool down before freezing and the cheese melted anyway. That’s ok 🙂

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Here’s my first bite *gulp* See the two bits of Spam?

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I’m going in…

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Yep, I tasted Spam…but I didn’t notice it so much when there was a piece of tomato with it.

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End result: Neh. I’m not a Spam person but it was ok. The other flavors were great!

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But I’m a good doobie, I ate it all and the rest of the family LOVED it! Mom, who grew up eating Spam, noted that the flavor wasn’t intense, the other flavors from the cheese, onion, and the potato chip topping seemed to mellow it out. She really liked it and wants me to make more tomorrow hehe.

I’ll give this dish two thumbs up because it was such a hit with the fam. Give it a try!

Bulk Cooking: Zucchini & Summer Squash Casserole

Hiddy-ho everyone! Today’s post is based on the sneak peek photo I shared on Monday evening. I had a massive zucchini “bat” and six summer squash just waiting to be used. After mulling over whether or not to just par boil and freeze them or to just go right ahead and turn them into something I decided to turn it all into my family’s favorite casserole. Many many thanks to Beth J. and Diane R. for sharing the zucchini and squash!

Zucchini Squash Casserole (Makes 3 casseroles)

9 cups cooked zucchini and squash

3 small-medium onions, chopped

12 ounces chopped mushrooms (either canned or fresh)

2 large jars of pimentos

3 eggs (1 per casserole)

3 sticks of butter melted (1 per casserole)

3 sleeves of unsalted crackers (1 per casserole)

3/4 tsp garlic powder (1/4 tsp per casserole)

3/4 tsp black pepper (1/4 tsp per casserole)

1 1/2 tsp salt (1/2 tsp per casserole)

(***Directions are under each set of pictures***)

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The “King Kong” zucchini was the biggest I had ever seen in my life!

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Chopping up this big mamma jamma was actually fun 🙂

I initially chopped the zucchini in half then split each half again lengthwise. Then with each half I cut down the middle and began chopping it into slices. I did the same with the yellow squash.

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After all that slicing my dutch oven pan was beautifully mounded over. Added just enough water in the pan to cover the bottom, slapped a lid on it and cooked it until the slices were tender enough to be mashed.

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In medium pan I add chopped onions, mushrooms and pimentos with juice. Drizzle about two tablespoons of olive oil, cover and cook over medium heat. Onions should be transparent and mushrooms fork tender.

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The picture looks “foggy” due to the steam. Using a fine mesh strainer and a sturdy fork begin to mash cooked zucchini and squash to release the excess water. I did this about 5 to 6 times until everything was mashed up. After each batch was mashed I would plop it out into a large glass bowl and at the end carefully poured off the excess liquid into the sink. After that point I took the cooked vegetables (onions, mushrooms, and pimentos) and added them to the mashed zucchini and squash.

Give a quick stir, there will be plenty of liquid in the bowl. That’s when I crushed up a few crackers to a fine powder and added them in. It helped to absorb the excess but still left it moist.

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Add three cups of the mixed vegetables to each pan. Whisk each egg with garlic powder, black pepper, and salt. Pour over veggies and stir in quickly. Spread out the mixture as evenly as possible.

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Melt 1 stick of butter and mix it with 1 sleeve of crushed crackers. Do this for each casserole. Spread it over the top evenly.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove let cool and cover with foil. Place in the freezer overnight. Next day wrap frozen casseroles in freezer paper and label with the name of the dish and date. There you have three casseroles (one per month) that go great with chicken, turkey, or pork.

You can use smaller casserole dishes if you want to make more than three or do not have as many mouths to feed. Just adjust the topping amount per casserole.

Reheating instructions:

Remove one casserole from the freezer and thaw completely. Top with 2 cups of shredded cheese (if desired) and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Health Check Tuesday: Postive Thinking

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“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.” ~Swedish Proverb~

I like the above quote, we should all strive to do each of the following in our daily lives. True it’s not easy to maintain such a positive outlook on life, let’s face it when you’re feeling down you’re just not going to always be perky, happy, and full of positive goodness.

YAY!!! I'm just so happy!!!

When my son was a toddler I used to play this game with him. Every day had a theme: Moody Monday, Terrific Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday, Thankful Thursday, Freaky Friday, Sassy Saturday and Super Sunday. It was a great way to teach him the different ways to look at each day. On Tuesdays I would ask him what we could do to make that day terrific. Sometimes it was something as simple as having a picnic outside with me and playing in the dirt. For a three year old that is pretty terrific! It was a fun way to keep positive as a single Mom and to enjoy life with my little one.

After looking around for some positive inspiration I kept finding various steps to positive thinking. Hopefully you’ll find a few to try out 🙂 Get ready…

  1. Identify negative thoughts–basically filtering out the thoughts where you keep beating yourself up over something that you can no longer change. In other words: stop beating the dead horse. Move on. It’s in the past.
  2. Start your day positively–even if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, you drop your cellphone in the toilet, your blow dryer stops working, your coffee maker dies, you cross a black cat and accidentally knock over some mirrors which then shatter into a million pieces, you get stuck in traffic on your way to work, your boss bumps the meeting up two days ahead of schedule, to which you are late for, and the presentation that would have been ready in a couple of days is still incomplete, you get the wrong order at lunch, the restroom stall you chose is out of tp and seat covers, someone took the last bit of office coffee and didn’t make another pot, you get home in time to watch your favorite show only to find out some police chase is hogging up every channel…it’s been a no good, very bad day…but on the flip side you were given another day to wake up to, you have air in your lungs, those mirrors you broke saved the store from putting up merchandise that wasn’t going to be popular anyway, the pot of coffee you made perked up someone else in the office, while someone else got to enjoy your lunch you were able to try something new for a change, and hey it’s always good to see the cops getting the bad guy in the end!
  3. Live a healthy lifestyle–Sure, easier said than done but it is possible to make one healthy choice each day. Even just one could set you on the path to making another one and another one. Instead of having a doughnut for a mid morning snack have an apple instead. Instead of that sixth cup of coffee drink 24 ounces of water, instead of letting your head droop at your desk at 2:30pm get up and move around to get your blood flowing. Skip to the bus stop instead of walking, put the cellphone/ipod/ipad/blackberry/android down and take a few moments to just appreciate your surroundings. Close your eyes and take several cleansing breaths while counting your blessings!
  4. Keep positive quotes/sayings nearby–posters, handwritten notes from positive people and remember that you are your own worst critic. Change what you think about yourself and you’ll be amazed at how different you’ll be 🙂
  5. Assess what could be different–not what would have been different but what can you change now that will have a lasting effect on the future? Dwelling on the past isn’t healthy or positive, but changing one unhealthy habit for a good habit can set in things in motion for a happier you!
  6. Seek humor–who doesn’t love to laugh? I’m easily entertained and even found humor in the darkest moments of my life. It might have been cynical humor but just the act of laughing helps to reduce the production of certain hormones associated with stress which disrupt the balance of the immune system. Without getting too technical or scientific: laughing is a mood lifter, whenever I’m feeling blue I go to youtube and look up videos of laughing babies, cute puppies, or watch an episode of America’s Funniest Videos.
  7. Do something you love–so long as it doesn’t involve injuring others. If you love being outside then take some time away from the hustle and bustle of life, go on a hike, a stroll, ride your bike. If you prefer the indoors (like me) curl up with a good book, paint, do some crafts, bake some cookies and share them with a neighbor, entertain some friends with an appetizer night.
  8. See a situation in a different way–this correlates back with number two…sure you’re bound to have a rotten day but it’s all in how you look at it. Turn that frown upside down and look for the silver lining in each day!
  9. Give up perfection–seriously no one is capable of being perfect. We can all put up a good front but eventually the truth comes out and that can be more damaging than admitting that you’re not a perfect person. Just accept that you’re as flawed as the rest of us. It’s ok 🙂 Life isn’t a competition to see who can out do the other, it’s about living, loving, and helping others. Flaws and all you are who you are, don’t be ashamed to accept it and let others see it. It isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of being real.
  10. Focus on what you have not what you don’t have–you know the saying “the grass is greener on the other side” and that’s true when you’re looking into your neighbors yard but if you were to live in that yard for even a day you might find out just how bad things actually are. It’s easy to cover up the problems with enough Miracle Grow but when you start looking at the roots you might find some ugly things about your neighbors that will change your mind about wishing you had their life. Be thankful for what you have, the family you were blessed with, the home you live in, the job you have, the less than stellar car that gets you from point A to point B, and while you have your debt be glad it isn’t more than what it is.
  11. Help others–it’s amazing how just doing something for someone else will make you feel happier. Especially when it’s done selflessly, without expecting anything back in return. Look into volunteering in your local area, make time for others and get to know the needs within your community.
  12. Share happiness with others–I know you, it’s not easy to be happy when you’re not feeling like it but you never know who may be having a worse day than you. Don’t wallow in your own grief, push aside your own problems and try to brighten someone elses day. I once worked with a lady who would once a week bring in some homebaked goodies for all her coworkers. It was a nice gesture, something that everyone looked forward to and enjoyed! Be that kind of person, do something that will bring a smile to someone elses face, if you’re getting a coke for yourself grab something for someone else and set it on their desk. Pick up an extra news paper if you know someone will appreciate reading it. This can also translate to younger adults who might not call home as often, trust me your parents will enjoy hearing from you and knowing you’re ok, it will definitely bring a smile to their face!
  13. Last, but not least, treat yourself–as a Mom I can’t stress this enough! It’s not selfish to indulge in some “me” time, or to splurge on some expensive chocolate (if you like), hitting up some local thrift shops for some new clothes, or going to your favorite craft store to peruse the aisles without little ones screaming from the cart and reminding you that they’re hungry for the fifteenth time. It’s just nice to be childless every now and then, to go somewhere without the little ones. It can help you to reconnect with your spouse and to feel human once again (especially if you feel like all you do is chauffeur kids around from one activity to another with Cheerios stuck in your hair).  Treat yourself when you’ve reached a new goal, whether it be getting a bill paid off, reaching your next weight loss goal, finishing a house project or when you’re feeling down and need a pick me up.

Hope you all have a blessed day!!

 

Bayou Brownies(crazy good)

In case anyone didn’t check out my facebook page, Night Owl Kitchen, I shared a recipe from Sharla Davidson called Bayou Brownies. Let me just say…Oh. My. Goodness! They are rich, yummy, and insanely easy to make! I can’t wait to make them again for the next ladies get together 🙂 I made two batches, one with a yellow cake mix and the other with a carrot cake mix. Both were a huge hit, the carrot cake came out tasting just like pumpkin pie. Don’t limit yourself to just one flavor, try anything you’d like! The yellow cake version reminded me of a denser ooey gooey butter cake and to my oldest nephew he said it reminded me of a rice krispy treat without the crunch. Everyone really needs to try these, you can’t mess it up, they’re ready in about 40-50 minutes (depending on your oven) and are even better with ice cream.

Bayou Brownies

Ingredients:
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 (18 1/4 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 (16 ounce) package powdered sugar

Instructions:

Combine pecans, butter, 1 egg and cake mix.

Stir until well blended.

Press into the bottom of a lightly greased 13X9 inch pan.

Set aside.

Combine remaining 2 eggs, cream cheese and powdered sugar in a large bowl.

Beat at medium speed until smooth.

Pour cream cheese mixture over cake mix layer.

Bake at 325 for 40 minutes or until cheese mixture is set.
Let cool completely in pan on wire rack.

They are best warm right out of the oven, nestled in a bowl of your favorite ice cream. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed!

Thank you Sharla Davidson for sharing this recipe on Facebook! Hope everyone enjoys 🙂