Life's Sweet Journey: November 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Honey Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

It's that time of year again! 
It's pumpkin seed season!! 

The time of year where I start hoarding pumpkins, asking friends if they will be using the ones they had sitting on their porch steps now that Fall is ending, and seeing if I can make them last into the new year. Last year I was still baking pumpkin seeds in January! This is not an exaggeration! I love me some pumpkin seeds, so I figured I would share my favorite recipe again, for anyone who loves them as much as I do!! 

Olive oil
Garlic Salt 

I am not a measurer of things, so if you need precise, then I'm really sorry. I kind of just throw in a little of this and a lot of that depending on my feelings in any particular moment. So here is a general overview of my step-by-step process... 

Step 1) Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. 
Step 2) Cut open pumpkin and scoop out seeds. Then place all the seeds in a bowl of semi-warm water. I let the seeds soak for a minute or two and swoosh them around the get the stringy pulp separated. The pulp should settle to the bottom and then I fish the clean seeds out and place them on a paper towel. I like my seeds to be cleaned (no thick pulp), but not too clean (still a little orange film), because I think it adds more of that pumpkin seed yumminess when finished.  
Step 3) Pat the seeds dry with a paper towel. I will usually do this twice, transferring the seeds from the first paper towel to a second in between patting (that way the seeds aren't sitting on a wet paper towel). The new paper towel will help to soak up some of the extra moisture, but I don't ever wait for the seeds to dry. Some people will tell you that's a thing (and that you must wait), but I am too impatient to have that be one of my things, so they are still moist when I stick them onto their baking sheet and this method hasn't failed me yet! I prep the baking sheet with aluminum foil and a sprinkle of olive oil (makes cleanup a cinch).
Step 4) Place the seeds in a plastic bag and pour in just a tad of olive oil, quiet a good squeeze of honey and about two shakes of garlic salt. I close the bag and get to shaking. I shake (and knead) until all the seeds are coated, check to make sure I feel they are evenly coated (if not, or I just feel in the mood for more, I will add a dash more salt and honey) and then spread them evenly onto a foil lined baking sheet. *Note: You could mix in a bowl, I just find the bag helps to spread the honey and salt evenly and makes cleanup a lot easier!
Step 5) After making sure they are evenly spread (not a lot of seeds overlapping) I will sprinkle more garlic salt on top so that the seeds have an even coating of salt. Then for good measure, I squeeze just a bit more honey to give it a good pop and then place the pan in the oven. 
Step 6) Bake for 12 minutes and then take the pan out and flip the seeds. Pop back in oven for another 12-15 minutes or until golden brown (or crisped to your preference). Babe prefers his seeds a little more crispy so sometimes I will leave them in a little longer for him. Just watch carefully, they can go from brown to burnt real quick! 
Step 7) Voila! Just let cool and enjoy!! 
How seeds look going in... 
How seeds look coming out! 
Pumpkin seeds are one of my favorite fall snacks! 
Happy munching!! 
How do you prepare yours? Any other sweet and salty recipes I should try?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

#TravelTuesday 10// 27 Great Travel Experiences aka My ABCs of Travel

Happy Tuesday fellow travel lovers!!
It's time for another #TravelTuesday linkup!! 
Can't wait to see where you have been adventuring lately!

This month I am taking a page from Sea Salt Secrets blog and taking an ABC's of traveling survey, because I thought it looked like so much fun! So here goes...
Age of first international trip: 23 for our honeymoon in Greece
Best foreign beer Beach you've visited and where: I'm much more a wine gal than a beer drinker, so beer to beach seemed like a good trade! My favorite beach so far has been this little hidden oasis we found in Grand Turk (off a trail behind the lighthouse), with a little natural swimming pool, where we had the whole place to ourselves for the entire afternoon. 
Cuisine (favorite): Costa Rican; I have gone on two different mission trips to Costa Rica and while working, the people in the community we are serving in cook lunch for us and then we all enjoy a meal together. Best. Food. Ever!!
Destination (favorite): Oh gosh, this one is hard! Each destination has it's own uniqueness that makes it a favorite for different reasons. Though not a specific destination, I think some of my all time favorite moments happen on quiet trips in our travel trailer, Flo, or while we are on a cruise. There is just something so calming about being unplugged from the rest of the world. I really loved Grand Turk and Aruba!
Experience that made you say wow: African safari in Kenya!
Favorite mode of transportation: Large scale; cruise ship! Small scale; the back of a scooter (driving freaks me out!)! Overall; driving in Flo, so that we are always carrying "home" with us! 
Greatest feeling while traveling: Just taking in all the beauty the world has to offer; the different scenery, diverse and unique cultures, etc. That feeling that you can make you seem so small in comparison and yet so full and connected as well!
Hottest place you've ever traveled: Am I allowed to say home?! Florida is hot, y'all!! Though actually out trip to Savannah was super hot and muggy, so that might beat it?!
Incredible service you've experienced: The people in both Costa Rica and Kenya were so hospitable. Their caring hearts and welcoming nature was far better, in my opinion, than any "first-class" service at any resort ever. They open their homes, hearts and community to make you feel like you are part of their family! 

Journey that took the longest: Kenya, for sure! But it would have been worth so much longer. Such a beautiful place, with beautiful people! Even though many were living in what were the poorest conditions I have ever experienced; people were smiling and inviting and just so loving!
Keepsake from your travels: We don't like spending much on souvenirs. Instead I like to find little treasures from each place we go; sea glass from Mykonos, shells from Grand Turk, neat stones I find while we are out hiking. I do like to get ornaments from different landmarks if I feel like they are affordable. Hanging them on the tree each Christmas brings back all the memories!
Least favorite destination: Honestly, probably New York City (or maybe Athens, Greece- minus the ruins). Too overwhelming for my senses! I am definitely more of a great outdoors kind of girl, but I love a good city with great restaurants and food close at hand (I mean I do call Orlando home... for now), but I think those cities were just a little much for me. Large crowds of people make me nervous and I start to feel claustrophobic and no matter where you were there just always seemed to be tons of people.
Moment when you fell in love with travel: Oh man, I don't know! I think it's just always been ingrained in my heart. But I think when we got our travel trailer was when my thirst to really "just go" fully kicked in.
Nicest hotel you've stayed at: Honestly, I prefer renting a house or little villa to a hotel. One of my favorite places we have ever stayed was this little cozy cabin in North Carolina. It had a little creek running through the backyard, a lovely fireplace and a tree swing. It could have had just the swing and I would have thought it was the best little place. Give me cozy cabin over fancy hotel any day! 
Obsession (what you take pictures of most while traveling): Honestly, the people I am with... I know there are so many great sights to capture, but I love experiencing it all with the people I call mine. I want to stop that memory, and the feeling that came with it- even if just for a moment- so that I can always look back on it and think, "yep, that was a happy moment and we were all together!"
Passport stamps (how many & where from): I can't seem to find my passport (eek!), so this will be updated when I get my life together and can put my finger on it again!! Soon (fingers crossed)!! 
Quirkiest attraction you've visited: I love a good road-side attraction! I really want to hit up Route 66 someday, but I think so far the quirkiest (and possibly sketchiest) thing would have to be when a friend and I stopped at this little road-side farm/commune when we saw a sign for "piglets for sale". That was one strange little place for sure! A big bus that had been painted all kinds of colors and turned into a type of bedroom (non-ACed and in Florida), huge pigs roaming around, chickens, watermelons for sale, and the list goes on. 
Really frightening (a place you have felt insecure/uneasy): Athens, Greece; there was some political unrest when we were there and a bomb went off not far from where were eating one night. The city itself wasn't super welcoming and I just felt uneasy. I could not have been happier to get on our cruise ship and tour the islands. 
Splurge (something you have no problem spending $$ on while traveling): FOOD!! And drink! Gimme all the yummies and please fill my cup!! 
Most Touristy thing you've done: Oh man, I am horrible! I have since tried to blend in better, but being from Orlando and an avid Disney lover I don't think there is a touristy thing I haven't done. I mean we got engaged at Disney. But, I think forcing Andrew to wear Mickey ears and matching t-shirts would probably take the cake. 
Most Unforgettable travel memory: I am horribly indecisive (as if you couldn't tell already) and these questions are killing me! Maybe our adventure in Aruba, with cave touring and cliff jumping or my entire Kenya trip or the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul... there are just too many things flashing across my brain. 
Best glass of Wine: I am a sweet wine girl and haven't stepped it up to the fancy stuff yet. One of my favorite wines is from this little vineyard in Georgia called the Watermelon Creek Vineyard. Their Lane's Bridge Red speaks my kind of language!

eXcellent view: Snow-capped mountain views give me all the feels!! And the Baths in Virgin Gorda were some of the most awesome views I have ever taken in. 
Years spent traveling: I've always been a traveler, even as a young kid my family made it a priority to see new places. Babe and I have been traveling fairly regularly for the last 5 years, with much more planned in the future.
Z is supposed to be Zealous sports fans, but given that I am not a watcher of the sports I am going with place you get the best ZZZZs: On a cruise ship, no doubt! The darkness of an interior cabin added to the gentle lull of the ship on the water and Andrew literally has to force me awake most mornings (around 10 on ship day; don't judge)! 

And that's a little peek into my travel history! If you've never done one of these it is really fun! If you decide to take it for yourself feel free to add it in below for this month's linkup (or share any travel related fun in your world lately)! 

Happy Travels! 
Where have you been exploring lately? 
Share your link below and let's travel together! 
~On the 2nd Tuesday of every month I will be sharing a new travel post and would love to see where you have been exploring! 
~Any linked posts will be pinned under Travel Tuesday on my Pinterest
~No real rules, as I am not a huge fan of those sorts of things! Just add any travel related link and I encourage you to peek around and see where everyone else has been. Leave a little love where you like! 
~Feel free to grab the image from the sidebar and add it to your post so others know where to link up. 
~I will also be sharing my favorite post from the month before. October's fave was from Global Girl Travels, because the Grand Canyon at Sunset? Yes, please!! 

Friday, November 4, 2016

November Currently!

Happy Friday Friends!!
Can you believe another new month is already upon us?! 
It blows my mind that we only have 2 more months left of 2016. 

What's up for November?! I am linking up with Anne for Currently's November edition!

This month I am... 
~Discovering~ A new found love for audiobooks!!  I always swore I was never a fan of audiobooks; I love the feel of a paper book in my hand, the smell of it's pages, the ability to turn down the corner of a page to remember a favorite quote later on. I didn't think an audiobook would keep my attention unless I was on a long car trip (as the driver). Maybe it's my old age, the busy schedule and the inability to find time to sit down with a book, but I am loving audiobooks recently!! Hoopla is an absolute dream! If you don't have Hoopla, it is a free app that allows you to check out multiple audiobooks, e-books and even music and movies. You do have to have a library card to use it, but it has some really great titles! I am currently binge listening to The Hunger Games series and falling just as much in love with it as I had the first few times I read it. I listen while I drive (I have a 30 minute drive to work), while I cook, clean, shower... it's amazing how quickly all that time can add up. I just started book two last night and am already over 2 hours in. 

~Wearing~ The serenity prayer shirt that I designed to help raise money for the recovery run that my dad is hosting. I will have it on all day tomorrow as we get together to cheer each other on at the MBS Recovery Run, as we run to raise awareness and funds to support those struggling with addiction and making the choice to live in recovery. 

~Celebrating~ A ton of birthday's this month; it's my best friends 30th and my bro-in-law turns 21, so we are taking him out for a night on the town! I see a lot of slow mornings in my future! This gal just can't hang like she use to! Then Babe and I are headed out to sea to kick-off my own 30th (eek!) birthday celebrations! 

~Starting~ To count down the days until our cruise!! Only 25 days left!! Can't wait to pack my bags, kiss the clock goodbye and unplug for a full week of sun and adventure!! 

~Googling~ Things to do on the cruise... our ship docks in Jamaica, Haiti and Cozumel! Any recommendations for things we must see?! We have been to Cozumel multiple times and will probably use that day to stay on the ship and have the boat to ourselves, but if you have any off-the-beaten path, hidden secrets send them this way!! The more adventurous the better! Also, if you have any Royal Caribbean insider tips, please share! We typically cruise Carnival, but have only done Royal Caribbean once and that was years ago. 

Hope you are gearing up for the holidays! 
Happy November!! 
What are you up to this month?! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Running for Addiction Recovery// MBS Recovery Run

If you have been following this blog for awhile, you may have read my thoughts during the years following my brothers death from a drug overdose {these can be read in the heading A Recovering Family}. For those of you that are new here it has definitely shifted to become much more about my current lifestyle and the travels Babe and I take in our travel trailer, Flo. However, my families history with drug addiction has shaped a lot of who I am today and recovery is something that I am still passionate about. Because of that I hope you will grant me a break from travel posting to share something that means a lot to me. 

Last year was the first ever MBS Recovery Run and it is now time for the second. Below is a post I wrote to share the race last year and I am going to share it again, because the video paints a clear picture of what the race is intended to be. My daddy is the sweet man at the end, the one holding a picture of my brother. Addiction is a beast, one that can tear and kill and destroy. That is why I am so proud of my dad, the men of MBS Surf Co. and the amazing team of people that put this video together for the Recovery Run. Take a look...

This year's race is to be held this Saturday, November 5th, at 8:30 am, in Baldwin Park. Last years event was so full of people out to support one another; some who knew John Wayne and our family personally and many who had simply heard of the race and came to run for a  that had touched their own life in someway. Just seeing the amount of people there to cheer for one another, and to run to show support for those living in recovery, was amazing. 

Photo Credit: MBS Recovery Run Facebook
Recovery is so important! It is a lifestyle that you have to choose every single day, but it is one that is so much more than worth it. It truly is a choice of life and death. I am looking forward to seeing the turnout for this years race and to seeing another year of people run for those saying "yes" to recovery! 

If you would like to donate, sponsor or live locally and would like to run you can sign up at the race website. You can also support the race by purchasing a Serenity Prayer shirt or mug. I made them to honor my brother's memory and to help raise money for the race. Proceeds from the sales through these links go directly to the race and to addiction recovery. 

For more of my thoughts about the race and the battle against addiction you can read this post written prior to last year's run.
And for those in the throes of addiction, helping a family member or friend on their recovery road, or making the choice each and every day to stay in recovery my prayers and thoughts are with you. Recovery isn't easy, but it's worth it. It is so worth it!