Taco Joes – Recipe

These Joes are so awesome!!  A super yummy spin on the normal sloppy joe.  They are so easy and your whole family will love them.  My son asks for them every night for dinner when I make something he does not feel like eating.  He says, “I will just have Taco Joes.”  So yes we have made them at least once a week for the last few weeks and love them.


So the background on this recipe is too fun not share. I ran across this recipe and adapted it from the Mix and Match Mama’s blog.  Her name is Shay and she has a few blogs and they are all so fun to read.  They cover topics like food, fashion, travel and marriage.   One other important note, Shay is also the big sister to Sean Lowe, the Bachelor from Season 17 for anyone that did not get hooked like I did.  My SIL (who I won’t name but she is one of the ‘Girls’…Haha!!) got me into the Bachelorette when it was Emily Maynard’s season and we just loved Sean.  So needless to say, I now am watching my first ever season of Dancing with the Stars and Sean has made it now to week 8!  So tune in Monday night to watch and VOTE for Sean & Peta!!


Ok.  Let me get focused and back to the Taco Joes.  We love to eat ours with homemade guacamole since my son cannot have cheese and they are so good even without cheese.  A really quick and easy meal that the whole family will just love.  These will be perfect for dinner on those busy summer days!





Taco Joes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
Adapted from Mix and Match Mama
  • 1 lb. of organic grassfed beef
  • 1 can organic diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 can organic ranchero beans (aka chili beans)-drained
  • 1 can chopped green chiles
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • ¼+ cup of water (based on desired consistency)
  • Burger Buns
  • Shredded cheese or guacamole
  • Chopped green onions (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Brown ground beef
  3. Stir in diced tomatoes, bean, chiles and taco seasoning
  4. Add water
  5. Simmer on low for 10 minutes
  6. Take your buns, half them (3-4 total buns) and lay out on a baking sheet
  7. Spoon your Joe mixture on each half
  8. If topping with cheese, go ahead and top before you bake them
  9. If topping with guacamole, wait until they come out of the oven
  10. Remove & add any additional desired toppings, green onions/guacamole




Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil – Review

I’ve got to tell you, there are definitely a few perks to having a blog.  One of those is that occasionally, companies will send you their awesome products to review.  Tropical Traditions is a company that I regularly order from personally, and every time I’m on their site, I see information on their ‘Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.’  We use coconut oil at home regularly, so I was really excited when I found out Tropical Traditions was going to send me a jar of their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil to try!



I have tried lots of different coconut oils over the past couple of years, and they have all been very similar.  I was really anxious to see whether this coconut oil was going to be any different.  It is ‘Gold Label’ after all.  ;)


I think the first thing I used it for was to saute something for dinner.  My first thought was, “Wow, this is really creamy!”  Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so depending on the weather/time of year, I’m familiar with its hard-but-not-crumbly texture.  But this Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil immediately looked and felt differently from the first scoop out of the jar.  It is still solid obviously, but the texture is a lot creamier than the coconut oils I am used to.  It is very silky and velvety!


But the biggest difference to me is the flavor.  We all know how good coconut is said to be for us, so I like to incorporate it into our meals and snacks when I can.  But sometimes the overt flavor of coconut starts to be a turn off!  Everything starts tasting the same… baked goods, sauteed veggies, stove-top popcorn, smoothies… sometimes you just don’t want everything to taste like coconut!


And for this reason, I love the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.  It definitely still has the flavor and aroma of coconut, but to me anyways, it is so much more subtle.  It blends so much better with savory dishes than the coconut oil I’m used to.  Usually when I use coconut oil in cooking (veggies, say), my husband is like, “Did you use coconut oil on these?”  Like he wishes I hadn’t.  :)  But not with the Gold Label.  I found myself using it in so many more things because it didn’t make every. single. thing taste like coconut.  I realized between my jar of Gold Label and the other jar of coconut oil I had on hand, I was using the Gold Label about 90% of the time.  The only time I was using my other jar was when I was making something sweet (I think we made dark chocolate covered frozen bananas) and I didn’t want to waste my Gold Label Coconut Oil!!


I am so thankful I had the chance to try out this awesome coconut oil!  Tropical Traditions runs sales on this oil, so I will definitely be on the lookout when I need more.


You can watch this video to see more about Tropical Traditions’ Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!


*Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Nature’s Path Qi’a Superfood Cereal – Review

Nature’s Path is one of my most favorite brands.  I fell in love with their granola awhile ago and have recently been introduced to their new Qi’a Superfood Cereal, (pronounced Kee-ah).  I was doing my grocery shopping and had on my list a few of their products, when I ran into a rep for Nature’s Path checking on their display at Whole Foods.  She was the sweetest lady.  She saw me putting my Nature’s Path items in my cart and gave me a bag of the Cranberry Vanilla Qi’a to try, along with a handful of Buy One Get One free coupons.  Score, right?!!


I love their products because they have very few simple, nutritious ingredients in addition to being certified gluten free, vegan, no added sugar or salt, high in protein (6 grams per serving), heart healthy, certified organic and non GMO project verified. This cereal consists of chia seeds, buckwheat groats, and hemp seeds.  These are all high in plant-based protein, Omega-3’s and soluable fiber.  The cereal is sweetened only by the cranberries.   You can enjoy Qi’a in 3 different varieties…cranberry vanilla and almonds, cinnamon raisins and green apples and then the original blend with zero added sugar.



Nature's Path Qi'a Superfood Cereal


I have had the cranberry vanilla and cinnamon apple and they are both great.  I have added a few tablespoons to our morning smoothies, sprinkled over my yogurt and have even tried it in a bowl of milk/almond milk.  I know it would be so good added into a baked good, like a muffin, too.  When I had it by itself in milk, I let is sit for a little bit and the chia seeds will start to expand and thicken up the cereal.


I am so glad to have run into the Nature’s Path rep that day (for the coupons alone) and been introduced to this cereal.  I love that you can sneak it into things too for the added health benefits for children.  I don’t think my 4 year old would be too big on the consistency of the cereal alone in milk, but I really liked it and he never said a word about it when I added it to his smoothie.


Give this bag of energy boosting ancient grains a try…you will love it!

Simple (and alternative) Treatment for a Common Childhood Skin Condition – Personal Story

I want to share a quick story about how I healed my kids’ molluscum contagiosum with tea tree oil and was (thankfully!) able to avoid painful procedures that could have left permanent scars. 


When my daughter was about 2 1/2 years old, she started to develop little bumps on her legs.  They almost looked like pimples but they weren’t red – they were flesh-colored.  They didn’t seem to bother her at first but after a couple months, eczema began to appear around the area and she complained the bumps were itchy.  It didn’t take long for the scratching to ensue and then things got progressively worse.  We tried different creams on the area and tried covering the area but she still scratched.  One day it would look like it was improving and the next it looked like the number of bumps had multiplied.  We had her pediatrician look at the area a few different times.  The first two times she thought it was eczema/severe dry skin and suggested we keep treating it with creams (lotions and/or OTC steroid creams).  The third time she prescribed a cream and said – and I quote – “Don’t worry about the black box warning stating the medication may cause lymphoma.”  I’m sorry – what did you just say???  Obviously I did not fill that prescription.  After doing a little research, my husband and I were pretty convinced our daughter had molluscum contagiosum (MC), which is a relatively common viral skin infection that spreads when the bumps are scratched or injured.  So we made an appointment with a dermatologist.


Before we went to the dermatologist, we did a little more research to prepare us for what the doctor might say if in fact our daughter did have molluscum contagiosum.  Here are the treatment options:

1. Let it run its course.  (At this point, it had almost been a year and the prospect of clearing up on its own didn’t look promising.)


2. Use “beetle juice” which is a liquid derived from the blister beetle.  It is painted on to the affected areas.  The treated areas will blister over and then eventually the blisters fall off.   (um, OUCH!  And I don’t think my three year old would leave those blisters alone.  Not to mention one of the side effects is permanent scarring.)


3. Allow the doctor to use a laser to zap the areas.  The effects are similar to beetle juice – scab over, fall off, potential for permanent scarring….oh and I forgot to mention painful.



My husband and I decided we would not make any decisions the day of the appointment.  Our goal was to get a diagnosis and learn about the treatment options.  (Find out if our internet research was legit!)


Ironically (and THANKFULLY!), the day before the derm appointment, I attended a Melaluca party at my friend’s house.   While discussing the products, the Melaluca rep mentioned that she loved the Melaluca Oil because it cured her son’s molluscum contagiosum.  I couldn’t believe it!  I immediately blurted out, “I think my daughter has molluscum contagiosum!”  The woman started to share her story.  Her son had flesh-colored bumps that kept spreading.  The derm diagnosed them as MC.  And, just like my internet research suggested, the derm treated him first with a medicine referred to as beetle juice.  It didn’t work.  Then the doctor tried the laser (which she confirmed was very painful).  Still no luck.  And this poor little boy had the bumps on his face.  :(   Finally someone suggested she try melaluca oil (tea tree oil).  And it worked! It took a couple weeks, but after applying it once a day to the affected areas, the bumps dried up and disappeared.  No scars!  Of course I ordered it that day.


The next day we took our daughter to the dermatologist.  The derm confirmed the bumps were in fact MC and she also suggested the three treatments we had read about online.  We said we would think about the options and get back to her.  On our drive home I convinced my husband to let me try the tea tree oil first.  As soon as the Melaluca package arrived, I started applying it to my daughter’s bumps.  The areas looked worse before the bumps got better.  But sure enough, after a couple weeks of applying the oil every night before bed, she was bump free!  It was such a relief!  And no permanent scars.  I am so, so thankful that I randomly learned about this alternative treatment and was able to spare my daughter from going through the pain and scarring of conventional treatments.  Of course I wanted to call the dermatologist and share this great news!  There is a simple, pain-free, scar-free way of treating molluscum contagiosum but my husband just shook his head at me.  He was right.  She would have thought I was nuts. Well actually she probably would have just thought it was merely a coincidence that the infection cleared up at the same time I started using the tea tree oil.  BUT since my daughter ended up passing the infection onto my son (oh what fun!) I was able to witness two incidences of tea tree oil clearing up MC.  So I’m thinking coincidence…probably not so much.


So if your child is ever diagnosed with molluscum contagiosum, consider buying some tea tree oil.  It doesn’t have to be the Melaluca brand.  I bought Jason Tea Tree Oil from Target and it worked too.  Start by applying it once a day to the affected area.  Put a tiny bit on your finger and try to apply it directly on the bumps.  It can be very drying so start out with once a day and see how it goes.  It’s worth a try!  If it doesn’t work you always have the conventional options to fall back on.  If you have any questions, send a message or add a comment.  Good luck!!!


(BTW, my kids’ bumps did not look like anything you find on the internet when you search MC.  We diagnosed them based on the description and symptoms.)



Quinoa Pancakes – Recipe

When I first saw a recipe for quinoa pancakes, I thought it sounded awful.  I’m usually proven wrong, and this was no exception… these pancakes are one of my favorite breakfasts!


Quinoa Pancakes


If you’ve never used quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) before, it can function as a grain in recipes, but it is actually a seed.  Quinoa is high in protein.  You have to cook it to make it soft, and I actually soak my quinoa overnight or for an entire day.  I will make a big batch of quinoa (recipe coming soon) and use it throughout the week.


If you want to make these pancakes, it’s not required to soak the quinoa overnight, you can just cook it as you would something like oatmeal.  But soaking can increase digestibility and make your tummy happier.  :)  I do notice a difference when I don’t soak it, so I just plan ahead and make a big batch.  (Here is the recipe for soaking quinoa!)


Here is the recipe for the pancakes!

Quinoa Pancakes
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 egg
  • splash of vanilla
  • 2 tsp maple syrup, divided
  • ½ banana, sliced and divided
  • chopped walnuts or pecans
  1. Heat pan over medium (or just slightly warmer) heat.
  2. Combine quinoa, egg, 1 tsp syrup, and vanilla and stir.
  3. Add ¼ of a sliced banana and mash into the batter.
  4. Spray your preheated pan with nonstick spray (I like Spectrum Coconut Spray Oil).
  5. Pour out 3 pancakes. You may have to flatten them a bit with a fork because the mashed bananas can make them heap!
  6. Cook until they are set and can be flipped, a few minutes.
  7. Flip and cook the other side until done.
  8. Top with 1 tsp syrup, ¼ sliced banana, and chopped nuts.


Now I probably wouldn’t give these to your kids selling them as normal pancakes.  They have a different texture due to the quinoa, and they aren’t very sweet.  A certain husband I know won’t eat them regularly, either.  But I think they make a great breakfast!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...