TACO BELL: MEXICAN PIZZA RECIPE

I’m really excited to have the chance to share this recipe with you guys. The Mexican pizza from Taco Bell is one of my favorite menu items that they have. I might have to give this recipe a spin here very soon!!! Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

8 ounces of ground beef                                        1/4 cup of chopped tomato

3 tablespoons of taco seasoning                           2/3 of a cup of enchilada sauce

Vegetable oil, for frying                                        1/4 cup of chopped green onions

Eight 6-inch tortillas                                            1/4 cup of sliced black olives

1 cup of refried beans

2/3 of a cup of enchilada sauce

1 cup of shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese blend

 

 

Cooking Instructions:

1. Using your hands, mix together the beef, taco seasoning, and water.

 2. Brown the beef mixture in a skillet over medium-high heat for 5 to 6 minutes, using a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the meat as it cooks; set aside.

 3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

4. Preheat 1 inch of oil to 375 degrees. Fry the tortilla for 30 to 45 seconds per side, until golden brown. When frying each tortilla, be sure to pop any bubbles that form so that the tortilla lies flat in the oil. Drain the tortillas on brown paper bag or paper towels.

 5. Assemble each pizza by first spreading ¼ cut of refried beans on a tortilla, then spread with ¼ to 1/3 cup of the meat. Top with a second tortilla. Spread that tortilla with 2 tablespoons of the enchilada sauce. Top with one tablespoon of the tomato and ¼ cup of the cheese, then 1 tablespoon each of the green onion and olives.

 6. Bake the pizzas in the oven until the cheese has melted. Serve and enjoy.

 

 Serves 4

 

 

 

 

96 Days Later 

It’s been a little over three months since mom passed away. It was only today, that I was able to start a ‘project’ that I’ve been meaning to start since her passing, on October 17th. While I was in the process of putting this project together, I came to an important realization amongst my tears. 

I’m not done grieving over my mom, and to be honest, I’m not sure when or if, I ever will be. But the simple fact is, I couldn’t bring myself to start this project until today. I couldn’t bring myself to read even just one of the cards that she wrote in and gave to me for a holiday or special occasion, it was just too painful. But today, today, ended up being an important day for me in terms of realizing where I stand with my grief. 

Today, I finally pushed myself to read at least one of the cards that she gave to me. I would be lying if I told you that I managed to get through it unscathed. The truth of the matter is, I bawled like a baby. On one hand, it honestly felt like my heart was breaking all over again. But on the other hand, I concluded the reading of that card with many mixed feelings. The most prominent of those feelings being a weird sense of peace and comfort. It might sound kind of crazy but, when I started reading that card to myself, I quickly realized that I was reading it in her voice. Other than listening to old voice messages that she left me, it has been at least 96 days since hearing her voice. Not only that, but it has been at least 96 days since the last time I got the privilege of hearing my mom tell me something that I really needed to hear (even though technically I read it instead).  I want to share with you what my mom wrote in that card that ended up being a blessing to read today:

(11-5-2009): 

Catie, in my dreams I see you and I feel you, that is how I know that our spirits will go on among each other, near and far, wherever you are, I will be everywhere with you. Time, people, and circumstances may seem to separate us, but my undying love and my unconditional love I have for you always will remain inside of me along with every breath I take. Only God knows all about our very own hearts & souls & what we really think and feel. 

I love you. I crave to see you and to touch your beautiful face. You are my sweet child!

Even if you may never come back to me, just like the “Prodical Son” in God’s word, the day I see you coming up the road, I will embrace you with open arms, a gentle kiss, and with tears of love and joy flowing down the cheeks of my old face 

I love you Catie June!! 

Love, 

Mommy

God Bless You!!

Silent Pain 

How can you live with yourself,
Knowing what innocence you stole.
An already broken child,
Who was barely 12 years old.
She tried so hard to reach out,
But her cries fell on deaf ears.
To this day those scars stay close,
She is never far from tears.
Struggling in silent pain,
She prays to fall asleep tonight.
As dawn approaches closer,
She finds peace in the sunrise. 

79 Days Later 

Today as of January 4, 2016, makes 79 days since you passed away Mom. To put that in perspective some more some might look at this the following way: (1) 6,825,600 seconds (2) 113,760 minutes, (3) 1,896 hours,  (4) 79 days, (5) 11.2857143 weeks, and (6) approximately 2.63333333 months.

I can’t say for sure if those numbers are 100% accurate, but it seems that they are a pretty good estimate just off hand.

Everything feels like it has continued to fall apart since you had to leave us. I will try not to get into too much detail, but all 3 of us kids have taken this so hard! Corrie is going through multiple things that I won’t go into detail about, Brian has went through his share of personal demons but he seems to be doing better since he moved in with grandma, and I have been going through expected ups and downs (plus some) to say the very least.

Nothing about this “grieving process” has been anything close to being something that one would consider to be “easy.” At this point, I think it’s safe to say that over the last month or so, I have cried a little less and things have appeared to look “up” for me more so than before. That doesn’t necessarily factor in the nights, or any other time of the day that I know I have spent, thinking about you, missing you, and crying over your absence.

My hope is that with 2016, that we can all find some sort of comfort or peace over your passing. Unfortunately, I have deep feeling in my gut that more pain, heartbreak, and hardships of some sort is in store for us in 2016 as well. Mom, I have done my best to stay strong for everyone in this family! Even when it’s felt like nothing short of impossible to do.

If you are really in heaven like a lot of people have tried to reassure me with, please don’t hesitate to watch over us as our guardian angel. Keep us safe throughout our travels (as you would say when you used to pray for us) and always keep close to us in spirit so that we keep all your words of wisdom and encouragement even closer to us.

I love you mommy! There hasn’t been a day that has gone by so far that I haven’t thought about you. I miss you!!!

26 Days Later

26 days ago, on October 17, my mom passed away. Since that day, I’ve been nothing but a constant emotional roller coaster. I’ve gone through this seemingly, never-ending cycle, of being “alright” one minute, but then the next minute, I’m completely falling apart again. Up until today, my mother’s passing still didn’t feel completely real to me. Don’t get me wrong, I knew she was never coming back. I just think there was a part of me holding out on the hope that none of this was real. That it was all just a long, terrible, nightmare I would eventually wake up from.

Today ended up being the day that I stumbled upon the realization that my mom was gone. She was never coming back. The incident that led to this was probably as mundane as it gets. Now that I am thinking about it, I can’t believe that this didn’t happen sooner than it did.

The previous day, my sister and a friend of ours, decided that we were going to go out of town in the morning to do a little bit of early christmas shopping. One thing led to another, and I found myself sitting in my friends driveway. I was just sitting there, waiting for her to get back home from dropping off the kids to school. At the time I didn’t know she was going to be as late as she ended up being, but anyways, I ended up picking up my cell phone to pass the time. After unlocking my phone screen, a warning popped up on my phone prompting me to delete some old voicemail messages because my memory was 90% full. So I went to where my voicemails were, and started listening to old voicemails.

Without even thinking, I went to the oldest message I had on my phone, but I apparently ignored the fact that it was a voicemail from my moms cell phone she had. Suddenly, I found myself practically engulfed in the sound of hearing my moms raspy voice singing “happy birthday” to me seemingly out of nowhere. I looked down at my phone and saw that this particular voicemail was left by my mom at 6:42 AM, on May 19,2015, making it the morning of my 23rd birthday.

The message was only 48 seconds long, but at that moment, it felt like the message lasted an eternity. When I say it felt like it lasted an eternity, I want you to understand that I mean that in the best way possible. It had been 26 days, possibly even more, since the last time I had gotten to hear the sound of my moms voice. At the time, this unexpected surprise was pretty much completely pleasant. That is until that 48 seconds was over.

After singing happy birthday to me on that voicemail, this is how she finished up the rest of her message to me that morning: “Happy Birthday babydoll, 22 years ago…23 years ago, I gave birth to my beautiful baby Catie June. You’ve been such a blessing honey and I love you. Now today you be careful in your comings and goings, Give me a call. I love you. Bye Bye.”

After taking time to recover from the feelings I had after listening to that message, I continued on a mission to listen to every voicemail I had on my phone. My hope was to see if I could find any other voicemail messages from her that I had forgot about. I did come across several other voicemail messages that were shorter than that first message, but nonetheless, I still enjoyed listening to them.

Here’s another one, that was recorded on May 31, 2015 at 4:34PM: “Hey Catie, how’s Corrie? Text me and call me. I need to talk to her. Her message thing isn’t set up. I need to talk to her. Bye.”

Anyways, sitting there and listening to those messages, made it painfully clear that the last 26 days hasn’t just been one big nightmare. This really happened. I am only 23 years old, my mom would have turned 52 in just over two weeks, but instead, we had to “celebrate” her birthday without her physically here. Instead, we had to hug the urn that held her ashes, instead of being able to give mom an actual hug or a kiss. No more buying her birthday or christmas present. Instead, you get to stumble across things you would have bought for her, for instance, today I saw plenty of coloring books she would’ve loved to have.

I miss my mommy! I would do anything to be given the chance to tell her that I love her one more time. I would do anything to be given the chance to hug her one last time and to hear her tell me that she loves me. Some might think that I am really lucky to have these recordings to be able to cherish for the rest of my life. I just want those people to know that I more or less wish I didn’t have the recordings. It just makes me miss her even more than before. Not to mention it kind of makes everything even more final. I’m glad I have access to them for the purpose of not wanting to ever forget what an “I love you” from her sounds like. But on the other hand, I’m burdened with the realization that this is one of the very few things I have left to remember my mom by. I’m burdened with knowing that it’s too late to return any of those phone calls, especially if I know that I didn’t try calling her back.

26 days later, I am still heartbroken and sad. I am also a bit remorseful about missing certain chances to spend time with her that I can’t get back. 26 days later, and I realize that even though the heartbreak has been unbearable at times, I still have managed to make it 26 more days. I made the decision to keep fighter, 26 days later, and still counting.

10 Quotes: Kurt Cobain

Date of Birth: February 20, 1967

Date of Death: April 05, 1994

  1. “Drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with your self-esteem.”

2. “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”

3. “If you die you’re completely happy and your soul somewhere lives on. I’m not afraid of dying. Total peace after death,          becoming someone else is the best hope I’ve got.”

4. “I’d rather be hated for who I am, than love for who I am not.”

5. “Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.”

6. “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.”

7. “We have no right to express an opinion until we know all of the answers.”

8. “If you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask someone else first.”

9. “I’m so happy, because today, I found my friends – they’re in my head.

10. “The worst crime is faking it.”

10 Quotes: Stephen King

  1. “…Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”
  2. “The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them. They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish your feelings – words shrink things that seem timeless when they are in your head to no more than living size when they are brought out.”
  3. “We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.”
  4. “Time take it all whether you want it to or not, time takes it all. Time bares it away, and in the end there is only darkness. Sometimes we find others in that darkness, and sometimes we lose them there again.”
  5. “Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”
  6. “It’s better to be good than evil, but one achieves goodness at a terrific cost.”
  7. “All you need to do is hold on tight…and believe.”
  8. “You needn’t die happy when your day comes, but you must die satisfied, for you have lived your life from beginning to end.”
  9. “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
  10. “God is cruel. Sometimes he makes you live.”

Two Quotes To Reflect On

“Every day begins with an act of courage and hope: getting out of bed.”  -Mason Cooley                                             On a personal level, this quote hits home for me. For starters, I have suffered from depression for the most part of the last 10 years or so of my life. Most days seem to be a struggle for me. This often includes the act of having to peel myself out of bed almost every morning, regardless of how badly I want to just lay there for an indefinite amount of time. There are many people who have never experienced what this is like. Those are the same people who would be the first to try to discredit this quote in one way or another. I am here to tell you that it does take an immense amount of courage and hope, every single day, to get out of bed. You want to know why? Because, this world is so unpredictable on a day to day basis. When you wake up in the morning, you have no way of knowing if something good or bad will happen to you that day. There is no way to guarantee that you will make it to see tomorrow, or that your loved ones will. There is no way to predict that today will be the day you win big on a $1 scratch off ticket.

“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”  -Victor Kiam                                                                        I am really surprised at how true this quote is. I can’t tell you how many times I have “fallen on my face.” I can’t even begin to predict how many more times I may “fall on my face” again in the future. Regardless, in one way or another, we will still be “moving forward” each and every time we do so. The reason I can say this so confidently is because, every time that I have done this, I have learned a lesson or two from whatever situation caused my downfall at the time. It may not have realized the lesson immediately, but eventually I did. Sometimes it may take falling on your face, time after time. But eventually, most of us learn something from our (occasional) repetitive, mistakes. When we are able to take a lesson away from those mistake, we are indeed, moving forward!

PLEASE READ!!! SEPTEMBER 10TH IS WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY

According to the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention: “41,149 Americans took their lives in 2013, the most recent year for which full data are available. Suicide accounted for 12.6 deaths for every 100,000 people nationwide, making it the country’s 10th leading causes of death, suicide continues to claim more lives each year. An estimated 1 million suicide attempts occur each year, many requiring medical attention.”

As most of you may know, September is National Suicide Prevention Month. According to the World Heath Organization (WHO), nearly 3,000 people on average commit suicide daily. Among veterans, suicide rates are at an all time high. Additionally, for every person who commits suicide, 20 or more others attempt to end their lives. To some of you, this information may come as somewhat of shock.

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. The overall goal aims to: raise awareness that suicide is preventable, improve education about suicide, spread information about suicide awareness, and decrease the stigma regarding suicide. So I hope that you are able to take time to today to educate yourself about all the aspects of suicide, even if you feel you have a pretty good understand of the issue. Here are some good websites to check out if you are really interested in reading about suicide and/or information related to:

Your other option(s) would be to go to google and do a simple search on suicide prevention or suicide awareness. I would also like to mention that if you are having a personal crisis regardless of what problems you are dealing with, there are phone numbers you can call. The goals of these phone numbers isn’t something you should be afraid of, they simply just want t-o give you someone to talk to and to help you find a reason to keep on living:

  • 1-800-273-TALK (8255): you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area,  anytime 24/7.
  • (Lancaser, OH) Fairfield Crisis Serves Information & Referral (24/7): 740-687-0500

There are many free resources out there available to educate and/or help individuals on suicide. I highly urge everyone to take time out and look at a few of these resources to join in the goals surrounding what this day officially stands for. There are too many people out there who have lost their lives to suicide. There are just as many, if not more, who have had suicidal thoughts or have attempted suicide at one time or another. If you are considering suicide or think you might need help for this, please do not hesitate reaching out to someone! Don’t become another statistic.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem! I know that isn’t something that is necessarily easy to understand when/if you are in the middle of this type of crisis but that doesn’t make this fact any less true! On a personal level, I have fought suicidal thoughts ever since I was an adolescent. I have attempted suicide multiple times as well. Over the last 10+ years I have tried different types of treatment and medications in an attempt to overcome depression. Nothing has ever completely taken it away, because even to this very day, I still suffer from it.

There is something I want to say to those of you who suffer from depression and/or suicidal thoughts:  As long as you are alive, depression hasn’t won! This may be hard to believe, but as long as you are alive, you are still beating depression. Even if that means you often feel so lousy that you end up staying in bed as much as possible and sometimes don’t even walk outside. None of that matters! YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOUR ILLNESS! Believe it or not, but when it comes to depression, if the only thing you accomplished today was eating something sustainable and using the bathroom, you did good! I say that because regardless, you gave yourself the chance to see a better tomorrow. Even if tomorrow only ends up in you eating, using the bathroom, and maybe taking a shower (just to put on pajamas). It might sound ridiculous, but remember, I have been where you are, and everyday that you keep yourself alive, is a good day!

Suicide isn’t “the easy way out.” Whatever idiot came up with that phrase, obviously has never been in that position. The reason I say this is because when someone is contemplating taking their own life, a lot of thought goes into it! You think of all who might be effected from you taking your own life. You think of who might find you or who might have to clean up the mess. You think of all the things you might miss out on life if you go through with suicide. You think of absolutely everything. Meanwhile, all these things weigh in on any final decision that result from these thoughts. By no means is suicide “the easy way out,” because deciding to take your own life and following through, in my own opinion, is probably the hardest decision one would have to make.

To any of my friends or family out there, if you are ever in the position where you need to talk, I am that person who will always be ready to listen to you! Doesn’t matter the circumstances, I’m available, day or night! Don’t ever forget that there are people out there who can related to your feelings and thoughts. You are not alone! If anyone out there is considering suicide as the solution to all your problems, please please, take the time out to ask for help from someone, anyone! Because at the end the day, your life matters to someone, even if at the time, you are convinced that no one cares! BECAUSE I CARE!

10 Supportive Things You Can Say To Someone Suffering From Depression

Depression is a road we all have been down at one point or another in our lives. Some people can “have a sleepover” with depression, and wake up perfectly fine the next day. But if you are anything like me, depression will come over unannounced, stay for a couple of weeks, eat up everything in the house, keep you up when your body is physically tired, and then eventually will leave, almost as unexpectedly as when it showed up completely unannounced.

The going back and forth between this emotion and that emotion can almost be a bit too much at times. Unfortunately, at that time, the situation more than likely feels completely out of your control, and you’re left to seriously wonder how you can possibly make it through another day feeling the same way. During this time, hopefully you have someone close you can reach out too that is capable of being a reliable support system for you. Having someone that is at the very least, available to answer a phone call from you, can mean the difference between day and night for someone suffering from depression.

If you know someone who is depressed, or you are a regular support person to someone who regularly suffers from depression, I want to remind you of few positive things you could say to someone who is depressed. By all means, I’m not insinuating these phrases will be a cure all for them, but it could help enough to get them through that moment or even that day.

  1. “I’m here for you:” Having the reassurance that somebody is there for you is kind of like an emotional “safety net.” A lot of depressed individuals would rather be alone during this time rather than talk about it. Having that comfort in knowing that someone is just a text or phone call away if you them, sometimes can make things a little more bearable for the time being.
  2. “What can I do to help you?”: Don’t be surprised if you do not get an answer on this one. That individual in all reality, may not really know what would help them at that moment. Again, but having someone who is willing to do what they can to make sure you see happier days again, is all that that individual may need at that given moment. That person may just need to know that someone cares.
  3. “You are important to me”: This is another one of those phrases that has great potential in giving someone reassurance and comfort for the time being.
  4. “I love you (and mean it)”: This one might take a little more courage than the others, but those are very powerful words that could mean so much to the individual that is struggling. Don’t just say it just to say it though. You really should mean it. Maybe even follow those words up with a hug if that individual is okay with doing so.
  5. “You’re not alone in this”: From personal experience, feeling alone during this time never ultimately makes anything better. It definitely doesn’t make it go away any faster. Having someone around, maybe trying to get you to go eat or even just take a walk, can make a huge difference in a short amount of time.
  6. “I believe in you…you’re awesome!”:  This is something good to say too. They may not believe it themselves at that point but it doesn’t mean you can’t remind them that you think highly of that person in some way.
  7. Nothing at all: sometimes, just having someone around without necessarily being made to talk, is a pretty comforting feeling too.