Easiest Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Ever!

pumpkin-seeds

Seriously, this is the easiest, yummiest roasted pumpkin seeds you will ever make because let’s be real. Who has time for fancy flavored pumpkin seeds?!

Here’s the short version:

  1.  Pick pumpkin seeds from pumpkin guts

  2.  Dump seeds into colander and rinse the heck out of them.

  3.  Shake and shake the salt onto pumpkin seeds

  4.  Pour some (yes, exactly “some”) olive oil on pumpkin seeds and mix

  5.  Pour pumpkin seeds straight from colander to cookie sheet

  6.  Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes at 300 degrees

That’s it! They are easy and sooooo yummy! We pulled out seeds as we were carving pumpkins this weekend and roasted our first batch and they were SO GOOD we had to make more! We were seriously digging through the pumpkin guts for more seeds to roast!

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If you need more special instructions, see below:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Don’t bother dirtying up any more dishes than you have to. Use your hands and dig through those guts (If you can’t tell, I love the word GUTS!) and pick out all the seeds you want.

pumpkin seeds

Put them straight in the colander and put the colander in the sink. We have one of those awesome sprayer faucets and I just sprayed the heck out of the pumpkin seeds until they started to look white again and actually like pumpkin seeds. Shake the colander a little to get the extra water out. Don’t bother “patting dry” because as simple as that sounds….its not.

No need to measure the salt or olive oil. I just shook the salt until there was too much and then I salted them a little more. Then I just drizzled the olive oil on the top. I didn’t measure but it was probably no more than 2 tablespoons (for those of you who need measurements!).

It’s now time for messy hands 2.0. Get your hands in there and mix the seeds, oil and salt together.

Now just straight up pour the seed/salt/olive oil mixture onto a cookie sheet. You can cover the cookie sheet with foil if you want. Yeah, there will be a little juice or “slime” but it will all be gone after you cook the seeds. Spread the seeds out so they are just one layer deep.

seeds in oven

Bake in your oven for 30-35 minutes. It might be more depending on your oven and how roasted you like them. We found for our oven, 36 minutes was the sweet spot, but we like ours pretty brown and roasted.

Enjoy your roasted pumpkin seeds and the extra fiber that comes with it!

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30 Days Paleo

It’s final! My husband and I shook on it and therefore it is a binding contract. (That’s the way it works, right?) As a family we are going to go Paleo for the month of August. Ok, I lie. We will be going almost Paleo. We will still be eating dairy, lentils and potatoes, and probably sugar will slip in unintentionally because….basically because I’m not perfect and I know it will happen. But Katie, I thought you already were Paleo? Yeah, umm, no. My oldest is pretty much Paleo because of his grain allergies, but we basically let him eat anything he is able to eat (like dairy and lentils). The rest of us eat fairly clean, but do eat grains and the occasional junk food.

Why did you decide to go Paleo? There are several reasons we have decided to go Paleo for a month. My husband and daughter have a skin irritation that is constant and is oftentimes itchy. Skin irritations are very commonly a reflection of a gut issue caused by gluten or other foods. We have been just “dealing with it” but my husband is ready to see if he can get it cleared up for himself and Sissy. Another large factor is my trip to the ER last month (more on THAT later) While searching for what they suspected was a small kidney stone, they found that I had gallstones. Yay, gallstones, ugh! Since then, I have had minor gallbladder pain (especially after eating fatty foods). In an attempt to keep the pain at bay, and possibly help my gallstones to go away, the Paleo diet has been suggested.

Do we expect it to solve all of our health problems? No.

Do we expect it to help improve our health? Yes. I am a firm believer that your overall health depends on what types of things you put into your body. Just like your car needs the correct gas to run properly, your body needs the right balance of healthy foods to work and be healthy.

 

Is this a lifestyle we want to continue for here on out? Probably not, but a 30-day Paleo challenge for our family feels like a good fit. We are hoping this experience will help reset our bodies and help clean out our gut so we will be healthier and feel better, and hopefully be able to go back to eating a a well rounded (with grains) but healthy diet and still feel great! I’m not a bandwagon type of person, but there is too much research to ignore and I have watched my son benefit and thrive with extensive allergies. (and for him, I would do anything!)

I am not going to lie, I am a little nervous about this month. I’m nervous about what I’m going to eat. I’m nervous about just breaking down and eating…a piece of bread or something! I’m just nervous. Also, I’m a little nervous because I reminded the hubby of this and he was like, “Wait, what?! I thought we were just going gluten free, not Paleo!” Surprise….I guess! Despite being nervous, I know this will be a good, healthy reset for my family. It will help us focus on being healthier and consciously making healthier choices. Throughout the month of August I will be sharing personal experiences, favorite recipes and research about the Paleo diet and the health benefits.

We are officially starting 30 days Paleo…….NOW!

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6 Food Labels You Need to Know

6 food labels you need to know

We all try to make wise choices and buy healthy food for our family, but sometimes the amount of labels, symbols, and ingredients can be overwhelming. Is it REALLY organic or is it just saying that it is? These are real questions. So to help you pick out food that is truly good for you and your family, I have picked out 6 common food labels and explain what they mean.
**Click on the title of each label and it will take you to a picture of what that label looks like. I do not want to get in trouble with copyright laws!

USDA Organic
This is one of the most recognizable food labels. To have this particular logo on their food, farmers, ranchers and food processors must go through a process of becoming “certified organic” and must adhere to the standards put together by the United States Department of Agriculture. Some of these standards include preserving natural resources, only using approved materials, supporting animal health, providing outdoor range for animals, an annual inspection, and not using GMO’s. To find out more about what it takes to become “certified organic” check out these links.
Organic Agriculture
National Organic Program

Non GMO Project Verified
Food with the Non-GMO Project label has been “produced according to consensus-based best practices for GMO avoidance”. The people behind this label believe that consumers should be easily able to find food that is Non-GMO. As with the USDA Organic label, foods labeled Non-GMO Verified must go through a verification process and must be tested for genetically modified ingredients. They require ongoing testing for high risk ingredients (commercially grown products in GMO form) and a separate test for low-risk ingredients. The Non-GMO project has a threashold of 0.9% (European standard that anything containing more than 0.9% GMO must be labeled). If you want to read more about GMO’s or how foods get Non-GMO verified, check out the links below.
The Non-GMO Project Verified Seal
What is GMO?
Non-GMO Project Standard (37 page pdf)

Fair Trade Certified
Fair Trade Certified means that the products with this logo come from farmers (most often far from where they sell their products) who are justly compensated. The “middle man”, that often receives most of the profit, is non-existent and the farmers directly sell their products to the stores. This certification is also part of a program that helps teach farmers in developing countries how to sustain their business and help their community. The most common fair trade products are coffee, tea chocolate, sugar and herbs/spices.
What is Fair Trade?
Video: Every Purchase Matters

Certified Gluten-Free
Certified Gluten-Free is an independent food label from the Gluten Intolerance Group. To have this label food must go through an in-dept process and contain less than 10ppm (parts per million) of gluten. They also require ongoing testing on finished products, raw materials and equipment and at minimum, an annual inspection.
Standards of Gluten Free Certified

Certified Vegan
Food and products with the certified vegan label do not contain any animal products, by-products have not been tested on animals. This includes meat, fish, fowl, silks or insect dyes, eggs, milk, or honey. The users of this label must go through a verification process that proves none of these animal products or by-products were used in the making or in the final product.  Not all certified vegan products are organic and there are certified organic products that share machinery with non-vegan. These products must have a proper washing process that maintains the integrity of the vegan products. This logo is administered by the Vegan Awareness Foundation.
Vegan Certification

Kosher Certified
Although there is more than one kosher label, this label is the most common used for labeling kosher products. This label comes from the Orthodox Union. Kosher foods are foods that are acceptable (definition of kosher) as described in the Jewish law and Jewish traditions. In this law there is mention of foods that are unacceptable to eat, (certain fowl and fish, insects, or reptiles to name a few) Meats that are considered acceptable, or kosher, to eat must be slaughtered in a particular way. There is a certification process that must happen. Kosher foods that fit this criteria and are supervised to assure it stays kosher, are labeled with this kosher sign.
What is Kosher?

It is always good to be a smart shopper, to know what the labels mean, read the ingredients and know what exactly you are putting into your body and your family’s body. If a food says that it is organic or gluten free, but does not have a corresponding label, it is often self-proclaimed and is not being verified by an outside organization that they are truly organic or gluten free. I hope this short list has helped you make healthier and wiser food choices for your family!

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Homemade Non-Dairy Pancakes

 I realize that even though today is NOT Friday, I am considering this a Finger Lickin’ Friday post (to make up for the lack of recipe posts in a while!)


Why non-dairy pancakes?
We recently found out that our son has a dairy allergy…wonderful! He kept getting rashes on his bottom and started being very cranky after eating cheese or drinking milk or eating yogurt. So I took it completely out of his diet for a few weeks and then introduced it strongly one day to see his reaction. He had a HORRIBLE rash on his bottom (he has never really had diaper rash and I credit that to the cloth diapers) he was cranky (like his tummy hurt) and even had a few red spots around his mouth. I asked our chiropractor about it and she said that is exactly what you see with a milk allergy.


So we are making the transition out of dairy and finding wonderful alternatives that are actually healthier. This recipe is one that I made up. I did use my other homemade pancake recipe as a guide, but it was purely experimental and turned out WONDERFULLY! Even my “cows milk ONLY” husband loves these pancakes! Ok, so here is how I did it:

 Ingredients
1 1/2 Cups of flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 1/4 Cups of Almond Milk
1 Egg
3 tablespoons of applesauce

Mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar) in a medium mixing bowl. After mixing the dry ingredients together, it is a good time to start heating up your griddle or whatever you are using to cook the pancakes on (I usually set my griddle to 300 degrees or so).


Now it is time to add the rest of the ingredients (almond milk, eggs and applesauce) to the dry ingredients. It does not matter what order you add these. Mix it all together until smooth (I usually use a whisk). Sometimes the mixture is too thick or too thin. Add more flour or milk appropriately until you feel you have the right “pancake smoothness” (Don’t worry, pancake making is not at all an exact science) 


Pour the pancake mix onto the heated griddle (or whatever you are using) into “pancake sizes” portions. I have found that scooping it using a 1/4 measuring cup makes pretty reasonable sized pancakes. Flip pancakes when the bottom is golden brown. NOTE: These are pretty fluffy pancakes! So make sure that they are cooked all the way through!


It is always fun to add things to pancakes and since these are super fluffy, they make excellent pancakes for add-ins. Some of the things that are fun to add are: blueberries, banana chunks, chocolate chips (if dairy is ok), pumpkin puree, nuts, etc. Get creative in what you add and your kids will love the different types of pancakes (and will probably love helping you create new pancakes) Peanut butter, almond butter or Nutella are also great toppings for pancakes as well!


I would love to hear what your favorite pancake add-in or topping is!! So leave a comment below or send me an email of your favorite pancake concoction! Enjoy your fluffy, healthy, non-dairy pancakes and as always, God bless you and your family!


Until the Whole World Hears,
Katie
grace.faith.dirt@gmail.com
GRACE.FAITH.DIRT <– LIKE me on Facebook!

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Homemade Pancakes

Welcome back to “Finger Lickin’ Friday” where the weekend has finally arrived and the menu is just begging for a new item! This week’s recipe is one that my husband and I just mastered and refined this week; homemade pancakes!


We ran out of pancake mix a few weeks ago and I was like “surely homemade pancakes are cheaper that the mix…and I bet they taste tons better!” So I looked up a few recipes online and (honestly) decided to try the easiest one I could find. It was ok, kinda dry, but made the family happy. I was convinced I could do better though. It was again, on the menu for this week so I looked up a few new recipes, combined them together to what I thought would make a good pancake recipe and tried it. Lo and behold it turned out wonderfully! Here is my recipe to share with you all!


Ingredients


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (we use Clabber Girl)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted


Directions


In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar.) Then pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth. If it seems too thick to your liking add a little bit more milk or if it seems too thin add a bit of flour. (don’t worry! It won’t ruin the pancake!)
Heat griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.


My husband and I use the griddle we received as a wedding present to make the pancakes.  It is great because you can make up to six at a time! Sometimes we go traditional with butter and syrup, but it is also fun to add things in! Try adding blueberries or chocolate chips to your pancake mix OR add mashed strawberries to top your pancakes! Mmm! Enjoy your pancakes and as always God Bless you and your family!


Until the Whole World Hears,
Katie
grace.faith.dirt@gmail.com

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Famous Family Salsa



Welcome to Friday where the weekend official starts and you can actually get in a little family time! To celebrate Fridays and the wonderfulness of them I have dubbed them “Finger-Lickin’ Fridays” and I will share a fun, healthy, and most likely easy recipe for you and your family! Today’s recipe of choice is a homemade salsa. One day, I just turned to my husband and was like “I want to try and make a homemade salsa. I bet it’s way better than the store bought stuff!” So we researched recipes online, took a couple and combined them. We tried it several different ways and finally perfected our recipe. This is a traditional, southern style salsa and since it is made from fresh fruits and vegetables, it is really good for you! We chop the ingredients into medium size pieces and then put it into our Pro Chopper Plus and finely chop it in that. It is a WONDERFUL salsa maker!
Here is how to make it!

Almost all the ingredients in our Pro Chopper!

Ingredients
4-6 Medium size Tomatoes
2 Jalapenos
1 Green Chili Pepper
1/2 Red Oninion
1/2 Cup of Cilantro
2-3 Limes for juicing
Salt and Pepper to taste


Juice all the limes and throw away the rest of the limes. Gut the tomatoes, jalapenos, and chili pepper, taking out the inside skeleton and seeds and throwing them away. Finely chop the tomatoes, jalapenos, chili pepper, red onion and cilantro and mix with the lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you have a chopper/food processor, simply place the gutted tomatoes, jalapenos, chili peppers, the lime juice and the cilantro in the chopper and chop to desired consistency.

The salsa all chopped up!

Be careful chopping the jalapenos. I have to use gloves or get my husband to cut them. If I do not use gloves, my hands burn like crazy a few hours later. This recipe is pretty flexible if you want to change it up. If you want it to be more of a green salsa, add more jalapenos and green chili peppers and less tomatoes. If you like a very tomato based salsa (and not very hot) add more tomatoes and less jalapenos. My husband and I usually only put about 1/4 of an onion in because we are not big onion people. It does say red onion, but we have also used white onions and it is fine. Grab a bag of tortilla chips (hopefully whole grain or something healthy!) and enjoy our “Famous Family Salsa” As always, God bless you and your family!


Until the Whole World Hears,
Katie
grace.faith.dirt@gmail.com

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Brewer Pregnancy Diet

When I was pregnant with my son, we went through a Bradley Method birthing class that was 10 weeks long and met once a week. This was where I really got a lot of my information and resources from. One of the most important things in this class was the education on having a well balanced pregnancy diet. Being pregnant means you are not only eating to keep yourself healthy, but you are eating so that your baby can grow to be the healthiest it can be too! So, what should us pregnant ladies eat to get the best nutrition for ourselves and our babies?
 
Dr. Thomas Brewer is like the top most authority on nutrition during pregnancy. He has made a guided diet to help pregnant moms get exactly what they need for both mommy and baby to be healthy! This particular diet (minus my personal notes) came from my Bradley Method workbook. Dr. Brewer suggests that every day, you should have the following:
 

 1. Milk Products– 4 glasses of milk of any kind, including milk, buttermilk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream etc. Getting enough calcium has always been hard. Have whole grain cereal for breakfast and you will get part of your milk AND whole grains for the day!

 

2. Eggs– two eggs (hard boiled, in french toast, or added to other foods). Eggs are a great source of protein. It is always hard for me to get enough. Try egg on your salad, or making an omelet for dinner, or having a hard boiled egg for snack.  

 
3. Protein– This is so important! You need to be getting 80-100 GRAMS of protein a day! This is hard, but having enough protein can extensively reduce your risk of complications. It is a proven fact! Proteins provide amino acids which are the building blocks of the body. Two servings of fish, or seafood, liver, chicken, beef, lamb or pork, beans or cheese.
 

4. Greens– Two good servings of fresh green leafy vegetables: collard, turnip greens, spinach, lettuce or cabbage. I try and eat a side salad with my lunch almost every day. I get small containers and make enough for the whole week on Sunday. Then I just have to grab one out of the fridge and add dressing!

 

5. Whole Grains– Four or more slices of whole grain wheat bread, corn bread, cereal or tortillas. I am not a fan of wheat bread so I buy whole grain white. It is just as good for you. Make sure that it is truly “whole grain” by looking for the yellow whole grain LOGO on your food.

 

6. Vitamin C Foods– one or two pieces of citrus fruit or glasses of juice: lemon, lime, orange tomato or grapefruit. I buy real fruit Popsicles that are lime. Also, I love squeezing lemon juice onto unseasoned pasta (garden rotini) The best way is eating the fresh fruit. (or make sure to add tomatoes to your daily side salad)

 

7. Fats and Oils– Three servings of butter, flax seed oil, avocados, olive oil etc. Avocados are just all around excellent thing to eat. They are such an excellent source of the GOOD fats you and your baby need. My husband and I would cut an avocado down the middle (long ways) take out the middle, salt and pepper the inside and eat it just like that. (You really have to love avocados to do this) Or make some fresh guacamole. 

 

8. Fruits and Vegetables– One additional serving of fruits and vegetables. I love to eat strawberries and blueberries. Try freezing your blueberries, I think frozen blueberries are the best! (frozen grapes are great too!) Also, you can make a fresh fruit smoothie! Add a little protein powder (at the suggestion of my midwife) and it makes the smoothie even healthier!


Other food that Dr. Brewer suggests to include in your diet are:

  • A Yellow or orange-colored fruit or vegetable five times a week
  • Whole baked potato three times a week..
  • Plenty of fluids (water, juice, etc.) Getting enough fluids is SO important!!
  • Salt food to taste for a safe increase in blood volume.
 
I am totally not a nutritionist or a doctor so you should always talk to your doctor about starting a diet. Ask your doctor about Brewer Pregnancy Diet. It is hard to get all of all of these things every day. I just try to get as close as I can each day. This diet also helps me decide what I should have to eat (since I am so indecisive!) Here are some links that are very helpful:
 
 
These are much more detailed than my post and are very helpful in what to eat and how much! Check it out! There is some great stuff on there! Feel free to email me if you have any questions! Happy eating and as always God Bless you and your family!
 
Until the Whole World Hears,
Katie <><

grace.faith.dirt@gmail.com

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