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‘Tis the season for freshly carved pumpkins and their yummy seeds. Roasting the normal way can get boring year after year so here is some ways to change it up.

 

Quick pumpkin seed roasting 101:
First up, obviously, you need some raw pumpkin seeds. You can fish these out from the jack-o-lantern you carved. The next step is cleaning the “goop” or “guts” (we always called it guts my house, anyone else?) from the actual seeds. Once you have the seeds mostly separated, fill up a big bowl of warm water and dunk in the seeds. Use your hand and swirl them around a bit to loosen any pumpkin “guts” remaining. Let the seeds rest for a few minutes (roughly five minutes). You’ll know it’s ready for the next step when the seeds all float, and the remaining pumpkin guts sink. Fish out the seeds using your a slotted spoon or your hands (no judgement here) and put them onto a dish towel and pat them dry. Preheat your oven to 300° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. You want to roast pumpkin seeds at a low temp to make sure they get nice and crunchy without burning. Per half cup of seeds, toss with about a teaspoon of olive oil, and then toss immediately afterward with the spice combo you’d like. Toss the baking sheet into the oven, and bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring two to three times during cooking. You’ll know the seeds are ready when they are beginning to brown. You don’t want them super dark, just a little golden (a few will get darker, that’s just how things work). If you taste them hot out of the oven, they may seem a little chewy still, but as they cool, they will crisp up nicely. Then once they are 100% cooled store them in an air tight jar.

 
Each of the following recipes are for a half cup of raw pumpkin seeds

 

Ranch flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dill
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Ranch is a hard flavor to replicate at home, so if you have a specific powdered ranch dressing packet or recipe that you like, you can also just toss the seeds with that after they have their olive oil bath.

 

Pizza flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

If you happen to have some tomato powder or tomato paste kicking around you can mix in a little of that as well.

 

Dill pickle flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon dill
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

 

Cinnamon Sugar flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Pinch of salt

 

Sweet & Spicy flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

 

Maple Roasted flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

 

Honey Sriracha flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1/4 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
A couple of drops of apple cider vinegar

 

Ginger Sesame Soy flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon sugar

 

Spicy BBQ flavored pumpkin seeds
What you will need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon agave
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

 

.:Side Notes:.
If you don’t like using olive oil you could also use coconut oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil basically whatever oil makes you happy. You can even drizzle melted butter as a replacement.

REMEMEBR TO STORE THESE IN AN AIR TIGHT CONTAINER ONCE THEY’RE 100% COOL

 

 

 

pumpkinseeds

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Leftover Turkey Soup

LeftoverTurkeySoup

What you will need:
1 leftover turkey carcass
3 cups shredded cooked turkey
1 onion, peeled and cubed
5 celery stocks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
12 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup broccoli, chopped
2 T apple cider vinegar
¼ to ½ t poultry seasoning (I use ClubHouse brand)
Salt and pepper to taste
Water to cover

Steps to yummy goodness:
1.  In a big pot, layer the turkey carcass, 2 carrots, 2 celery ribs, onion, garlic, and apple cider vinegar.  Cover with water and season with salt and pepper.

2. Cover and simmer for 6-8 hours, or overnight.
3. Strain the turkey carcass and vegetables out of the broth.
4. Either put the broth in a clean soup pot (large pot).
5. Add 2 of the carrots, 3 celery ribs, the sweet potato, mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, poultry seasoning, broccoli, and turkey

6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until everything is tender.

7. Serve up and enjoy.

 

.:Side Notes:.
This recipe can be done in a slow cooker, just layer the turkey carcass, 2 carrots, 2 celery ribs, onion, garlic, and apple cider vinegar.  Cover with water and season with salt and pepper. Cover and turn the slow cooker on high. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or overnight.Strain the turkey carcass and vegetables out of the broth. Either put the broth in a soup pot or back in the slow cooker. Add 2 of the carrots, 3 celery ribs, the sweet potato, mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, poultry seasoning, broccoli, and turkey. Cover and cook on high for about 4 hours.

You can easily skip the steps on how to make a homemade broth and use store bought broth.

It’s ok if you don’t have a turkey carcass, chicken carcass and meat (or even duck) make a great substitute

 

I came across this and figure it’d be a good reminder with the holiday season about to ramp up.

 

Originally written by Heather Boorman 
And can be found here:
5 Ways Friends Can Support Parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum

 

“I know many of us are probably glad to have another Halloween behind us and don’t really want to revisit the holiday for another 360 days (or in three days when our kids start planning what they’re going to be for next Halloween). Bear with me, though. This story does include Halloween, but it isn’t really about Halloween at all.

My husband Jon and I often work opposite schedules, and Halloween 2016 happened to fall on a night when I was parenting solo. I mentioned this to my friend, Rachel, who immediately invited me and my three kids over to eat dinner and trick-or-treat with them.

About halfway through dinner, I could tell my daughter KBear, who is on the autism spectrum, was getting overstimulated. About three blocks into trick-or-treating, she said her legs hurt. About three-and-a-half blocks into trick-or-treating, she said she wanted to go back. My 11-year-old and 4-year-old were nowhere near being done.

Before I even had a second to fret about what to do, my best friend came to the rescue! I’m pretty sure Rachel was wearing a cape and there was a superhero anthem playing in the background as she leapt in and calmly asked KBear, “Would you be OK going back with me? I think the baby’s had enough, too, and we can just go back and relax.” KBear slowly nodded her head and journeyed off with my friend. My shoulders dropped, my mind eased, and my boys and I carried on and stayed out as long as they wanted to.

I remember the first time KBear had a meltdown in front of Rachel. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen or how my friend would respond. I heard her son ask questions and express uncertainty about what was going on. And then I heard my friend calmly explain to her son, in a nonjudgmental and totally compassionate way, that KBear has some differing wiring that can make it difficult to control her body and emotions sometimes. I heard my friend help her son relate by bringing up examples of moments when he had felt out of sorts or overloaded. I heard my friend calmly ask what she could do, what would be helpful, and I saw her patiently sit with calmness, acceptance and love. She occasionally asked if there was anything she could do and then refocused attention off KBear’s meltdown by quietly entertaining the other kiddos. After the meltdown, my friend hugged me, told me I’m a good mom, and reinforced that she’s here for whatever I need.

I am tearing up now as I write about it. Why? Because I feel she was perfectly supportive. Because so many people respond differently. Family, friends and strangers oftentimes back away. Occasionally, they’ll stare or say rude comments. Sometimes they’ll give unsolicited advice. And I get it. Many people don’t know how to respond. Most often I don’t feel like I know how to respond, and I do this every day. How can I expect other people to understand and know what to do?

I didn’t realize just how much I was missing the type of support my friend provided until she gave it to me. I know my family and friends are there and would do anything to help, but I didn’t even know what would be helpful to ask for. They regularly ask what they can do, or tell me they don’t know what to do. And until Rachel intuitively showed me, I couldn’t put words to what I needed.

So I’ll use Rachel’s beautiful examples to highlight what I, and possibly other parents, would find helpful in the midst of a meltdown.

1. Respectfully taking initiative. One of the things I appreciate most is Rachel respects my role as the parent and follows my lead as I’m dealing with KBear, but she simultaneously steps in to simply do the other things that need attention. She entertains the other kids. She continues making the snack. She provides quiet space. In the midst of managing a meltdown, my mind is working fast to try to address safety and emotion regulation. I cannot always think beyond the immediate risk to provide direction for all the other stuff. It can be helpful when others just take the lead on those.

2. Occasionally asking if there’s something I need. She doesn’t ask too often, which I find helpful given my state of my mind, as described above, but every once in a while I’ll hear a simple, “Anything you need?” It reminds me my daughter and I are not in it alone. It gives me the opportunity to ask for something we’d need without having to take my full attention away from my daughter.

3. Validation. As parents of children on the autism spectrum, we sometimes live in high stress. We often need to simultaneously plan everything out and be prepared to have all our plans derailed as behaviors occur. To be seen, to be heard, to be validated, I’ve found, can be so incredibly healing.

4. Validation. No, this isn’t a typo. We need validation of the challenges, but we also need validation that we’re doing a good job. It can be so easy to doubt ourselves as parents. And something that worked yesterday may not work today. We can easily feel like we’re failing or completely screwing up. Hearing from my friend that I’m a good mom, hearing from my family that I am patient and compassionate with my daughter — these are things I cling to on the days when my thoughts tell me otherwise.

5. Eyes filled with compassion and acceptance. I feel this is by far the most helpful thing. I’ve found fear, uncertainty, worry and concern can all start to look like judgment, whether intended or not. Eyes that turn away because they don’t want to stare can feel like avoidance, judgment, or like we’re all alone, or that we’re too much for others. Looking the meltdown square in the face, seeing the people who are in pain underneath the behaviors, and showing compassion and straightforward acceptance helps set my mind at ease. It helps me be able to focus entirely on my daughter and my own reactions instead of getting distracted by potential judgment. It can create an environment of love, which girds me up to respond with love, which I think is far more effective in any meltdown situation.

And here’s the deal, it is necessary for us parents to have this. It is necessary for our own well-being to have at least one or two people who can provide these things. It is necessary to feel supported, understood, like part of a team. And sometimes, we can simply be blessed with people in our lives — like Rachel — who do these things naturally. More often, we may need to teach people what to do. Most often, loved ones want to help; they just don’t know how. And if you take the time to teach them, to assertively ask for your own needs to be met, you just might be able to enjoy trick-or-treating next year, too!”

From one parent to another…

If you hear about an autistic child wandering away from their parent, home or school on the news PLEASE DON’T CRITICIZE THEM!!!

My son is eight and this is a constant worry that I have from the moment he wakes up to the time when he closes his eyes and sleeps. It’s why when I came across a blog post about this topic I felt the importance to share it.

 

The original blog can be found here :
When a Parent Gets Criticized If Their Child With Autism Wanders Away

It’s written by

Every year I feel like I hear more stories of children with autism who have wandered away from their families. It’s often one of the scariest feelings in the world when that situation occurs. Instantly the trigger kicks in, and it becomes a time when families start alerting law agencies, neighborhood watches and their friends and family members to help in the search for their child.

The issue I constantly see is when a parent receives criticism for not doing a better job of protecting and watching their children. Often times, the interrogation begins and these parents are asked why they didn’t do this and why they didn’t do that, while others say they would never let their child get into that situation to begin with.

Whenever I hear someone make a comment like that, my bottom line is simple: Never criticize anyone until you know all the facts.

Being a parent to a child with autism can often be a 24/7 job. You support them and you become their champion for supports. Until you’ve walked in their shoes and understand that child as well as that parent does, you don’t do anything by criticizing them during a time like this. The important thing to do is find the child.

When children go missing, it becomes imperative to find them as soon as possible. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is the nation’s clearinghouse on issues related to missing and sexually exploited children, and they do their best to assist families and law enforcement agencies to help find missing children. New technologies are also being developed that focus on safety for families, from smart homes to wearable tracking devices, so you know where your child is at all times.

While I never went missing in my life, I was prone to bolting during my first few years of adolescence growing up on the spectrum. Each individual is different, but today this cause is near and dear to my heart. Every life is precious. And according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, 49 percent of “survey respondents reported their child with an ASD had attempted to elope at least once after age 4 years.” 

There is still so much more we can learn out there about how to protect our loved ones. When the time comes, though, please don’t criticize. Instead, help explore ways with them of getting things back on track.

Be safe and show love during both the good and bad times we all have. I pray for the safety for our families often and always.

If you are looking to learn more about this subject you can find free resources at The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s website here.

 

Even though Kerry’s blog was written about children on the autism spectrum (an the main reason I am sharing it since I’m a mom to a wonderfully amazing autistic little one) this mentality of quick to criticize needs to end when any child goes missing. The line  “When the time comes, though, please don’t criticize. Instead, help explore ways with them of getting things back on track.” needs to be remembered and I hope by sharing the original blog post it will help the message get back out there.

 

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-17 at 11.38.13 AM

What you will need:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1/4 stick
1/2  yellow onion
8 fresh sage leaves
2 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 medium Granny Smith apple
2 1/2 cups  vegetable or chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
4 pounds whole butternut squash (about 2 medium), halved lengthwise and seeds removed

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
3. Place the squash pieces cut-side up on the baking sheet.
4. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and brush all of it over the tops and insides of the squash halves.

5. Season generously with salt and pepper.
6. Roast until knife tender, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
7. Meanwhile, peel, core, and cut the apple into medium dice.
8. Cut the onion into medium dice. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan or  over medium heat.

9. Add the apple, onion, and sage, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 7 minutes).

10. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

11. When the squash is ready, set the baking sheet on a wire rack until the squash is cool enough to handle. Using a large spoon, scoop the flesh into the saucepan with the sautéed apples and onions; discard the skins.

12. Add the broth, water, and measured salt and pepper, stir to combine, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

13. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large pieces of squash, until the flavors meld (about 15 minutes).

14. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream.
15. Let everything cool just a bit

16. Using an immersion blender, purée the chilled soup in batches until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

 

.:Side Notes:.
You can easily garnish this with extra cream, roasted pumpkin seeds, crushed walnuts, extra crispy bacon bits, rosemary, honey…etc, feel free to top with any of them for whatever your craving that day.

If you don’t have an immersion blender feel free to use a normal blender. Just let the soup cool a little then purée the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap (the pour lid) from the blender lid and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam to escape and prevents the blender lid from popping off) then reheat in a pot.

This is a great make a head meal just cool the finished soup to room temperature, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or stick in the freezer up to 1 month.

 

Pumpkin Spice Granola

pumpkin-spice-granola

 

What you will need:
2/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup pumpkin puree, canned is my easy to go so don’t be afraid to use it too
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/2 cup whole brown flax seeds
1 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped


Steps to yummy goodness:
1.
Preheat oven to 300 F and line a 9 x 13 inch metal cake pan with parchment paper.

2. In a small saucepan, whisk together and bring to a slight boil the honey, coconut oil, and vanilla. Remove from heat.

3. Whisk in the pumpkin, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon.
4. In a large mixing bowl, stir the pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut, flax seeds, and chopped cranberries together.

5. Pour the liquid honey mixture over the dry ingredients and stir together.
6. Pour the mixture into the parchment paper-lined metal pan and press down until you have an even thickness.

7. Bake at 300 F for 25 minutes, stir the granola around half way though the baking process, you can leave it quite chunky or break it up depending on how you like it.

8. Remove from oven, let it cool completely on the counter, and then transfer to the refrigerator for one hour or overnight before breaking into small pieces and storing in air tight container (see some other ideas on what to use this granola for below).

 

.:Side Notes:.

I love using this granola as a cereal just use a fork or spoon to break up the granola mixture into small bite-sized pieces. Store in a refrigerated jar and enjoy over you choice of milk or milk substitute (almond, coconut, soy..etc).

This goes great over vanilla yogurt or Greek yogurt.

Feel free to mix up the berry choices dehydrated berries work amazing. You can also add chopped up nuts like almonds, walnuts…etc

If you want to turn this into pumpkin spice granola balls or bars on the go here is how
Dark Chocolate-Dipped Balls:
Grease your hands with coconut oil. Using the cooled and set granola, roll ~1 tablespoon of the mixture in your hands to form a ball. Dip the balls in 1/2 cup melted milk or dark chocolate chips. Place on parchment paper and then the refrigerator to firm and store

Bars:
After Step #8 just cut into the bar or square shape you like and store in the refrigerator.

 

 

Multipurpose BBQ Rub

Screen Shot 2017-09-04 at 10.18.04 AM

 

What you will need:
1/3 Cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons seasoned salt (my go to brand is Lawry’s)
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
2 Tablespoons onion powder
2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon cracked black pepper
2 Tablespoons cayenne pepper

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
2. Give it a good stir and keep in an air tight sealed glass jar.

To use: Use one to two tablespoons of dry rub for each pound of meat. Rub onto beef, poultry, lamb, pork or season vegetables and either cook immediately or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook.

.:Side Notes:.
This recipe yields approximately 1 cup of rub

Store any remaining rub in a sealed container in a cool, dry place. The flavor will fade over time, so it should be used within 3-4 months for best results

If you’re not a fan of spicy food feel free to leave out the cayenne pepper.

sour-cream-coffee-cake-muffins-with-glaze

 

What you will need:
For the muffins:
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Apple Sauce
2 Large Eggs
5.3 Ounces Plain Fat Free Greek Yogurt, 150g
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Coffee Extract
8 Tablespoons Coconut Flour
2 Teaspoons Instant Coffee
1/3 Cup Sweetener
3 Scoops Vanilla Protein Powder
3/4 Cup Rolled Oats
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk

For the crumble top:
1 tsp coconut palm sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp flour, all purpose
1/2 tsp butter

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Take out a food processor and combine all of your ingredients into it aside from your ground cinnamon (if you choose to not use a food processor just make sure you turn your Rolled Oats into flour before mixing everything together it can be done in a blender).

2. Process everything together.
3. Take out a muffin pan, coat it with some non-stick cooking spray, and then evenly distribute your mix into your pan.

4. Top each spot with some ground cinnamon and an equal amount of the crumb topping.

5. Bake on 350°F for 30 to 40 minutes

 

.:Side Notes:.
If you don’t like coconut milk feel free to use regular milk or other milk substitutes.

You can also top it with a simple icing sugar drizzle, like in the photo.

If you don’t want to use the crumb topping, you can top these with chocolate chips or crushed almonds or walnuts

 

Being a parent of a child with a disability there are many things I can relate to but also feel very alone with. It’s why when I saw this video in my social media feed from the fine people over at The Mighty I felt the need to share it. The video is short but filled with things that you may relate too, simple reminders you needed to read / see again and maybe even a few things that will be helpful as well.

The video is called:
Secrets of Being a Special Needs Parent

I hope it helps you feel a little less alone or perhaps spread some understanding if you happen to be reading this but aren’t a parent to a special needs child or even a parent at all.

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What you will need:
For the crust:
1 12 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
13 cup margarine, melt


For the filling:

1 cup whipped cream
1 (8 ounce) cream cheese, room temp
14 cup sugar
1 tablespoon gelatin
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup blueberry syrup, recipe for that is in the link below

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1.Combine crumbs and sugar, pour melted butter.
2. Press into pan spring form pan (this recipe is great for a 9inch pan) chill and cover while you prepare the filling.

3. Soak gelatin in milk for 5 minutes, and heat it up (or place it in microwave) to melt the gelatin.

 

4. Beat cream cheese, add sugar.
5. Gradually pour this while beating the cream cheese mixture.
6. Fold in whipped cream.
7. Spread the filling mixture on top of crust and let chill for 2-4 hours in the fridge.
8. Top with blueberry syrup before serving.


.:Side Note:.

Blueberry syrup recipe can be found here:
https://diaryofatattooedmom.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/homemade-blueberry-syrup/

Remember the syrup must be thick or else it’ll fall from the cake.

If you press the crust into cupcake liners and then fill with mixture you can easily use this recipe for personal sized cheesecakes which are great for lunches, parties..etc