Act on Awareness

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Hi friends! Hope you’re all having a great day so far. Before I get into today’s post I want to share a quick recipe with you all. If you’re thinking “Shayla, you cooked?!” Well I don’t blame you, but yes, I finally cooked! πŸ˜‰

Sunday afternoon I stopped by parents house to grab my camera that I had left there and I had remembered I wanted my mom to give me some of her fabulous casserole recipes since I’ve been getting the itch to cook warm and comforting foods now that fall and winter is here. And if any of you live with a man, you know far too well what garbage disposals they are and that leftovers, and food in general, are the key to a man’s heart πŸ˜‰

My husband works hard physically everyday as an Electrician so it’s important for him to keep fueled daily with a good mix of carbs, protein, and fats…he’s also training for the Men’s Health Urbanathlon so he especially needs calorie dense meals to keep him going throughout the day. So if you’re looking to please your S.O. or fuel your own energy levels, try this recipe. I’m sure many people have variations of this kind of dish, but this is my mom’s version and I absolutely love it…it’s delicious, super easy to make, and healthy to boot! Thanks Mom! πŸ™‚

Taco Rotelle/Rotini Casserole
1 lb. ground beef (I used 93/7)
1 packet Taco Seasoning (I used Reduced Sodium)
1 28oz. can diced tomatoes
3 cups Rotelle or Rotini pasta
1 onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used Sharp cheddar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Chop the onion and salt the beef and place both in the pan on medium to high heat. Cook until meat is browned and onion is cooked through. Add taco seasoning packet and canned diced tomatoes (if it’s a little dry add about 1/3 cup water). Simmer (uncovered) for 20 minutes.
While meat mixture is simmering, start your water for the pasta and boil according to package directions – mine took 7 minutes. Once pasta is done cooking and meat mixture has been simmering for 20 minutes, mix everything together and this is what it will look like…

Then place mixture into an 11×7 casserole dish…and place into the preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes…

At the last 10 minutes, so after 20 minutes, sprinkle with 1 cup of cheddar cheese…


To give it more of a taco flair, you could add taco shell pieces into the mixture to give it some crunch factor. And if you want even more cheesy-ness to the dish, you can add a cup more cheese to the meat mixture during the simmering process. Again, super easy and delicious and Todd was mmm mmm’ing the whole time…that definitely means it’s a winner πŸ˜‰


I’m sure many of you have heard yesterday that Giuliana Rancic revealed to the public that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer…

My thoughts and prayers are with her right now…thankfully they found it soon in the early stages and she will have surgery to have it removed and will then undergo six weeks of radiation. And if you follow her reality show or celebrity news, you may know that she’s had many rounds of fertility treatments in order to get pregnant, and now with her diagnosis of breast cancer, my heart aches for her as she’s been through quite the roller coaster of stress and emotions.

Hearing the news of this and in watching her emotional interview, got me thinking about how aware we need to be of our health, and to act on that awareness. The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it reminds me that no matter how healthy I try to be through my diet and exercise, that we are not immune to this disease and any one of us are at risk for it. In one other interview, Giuliana mentioned how great we all have brought awareness to this disease, but it’s that next step we all need to take in taking that awareness and putting it into action. Act on the awareness of breast cancer by making that mammogram appointment with your doctor and doing routine self breast exams.

It’s important we continue to be proactive, aware, and act on our health…here are steps us women can take to reduce our chances of breast cancer: (source)
1. Maintain a healthy body weight (BMI less than 25) throughout your life
2. Minimize or avoid alcohol
This being #2 scares me (a lot) since I do like my champagne and wine…so I am happy that I’ve drastically reduced my consumption of this since trying for a baby. I am now definitely going to make this a lifelong decision of consuming less to zero alcohol even after I have a baby.
3. Consume as many fruits and veggies as possible
4. Exercise regularly the rest of your life
5. Do your fats right (maximize omega-3’s, minimize omega-6’s)
Sunflower oil was listed as one of the fats to minimize, does this include the Trader Joe’s Sunflower Butter I eat? Please fill me in ladies!
6. Do your carbs right (maximize whole grains, minimize white starches)
7. Consume organic, non-GMO,Β whole food soy products regularly (tofu, tempeh, edamame, roasted soy nuts, miso, soy milk)
8. Minimize exposure to pharmacologic estrogens and xeno-estrogens
9. Take you supplements daily
10. Maintain a positive mental outlook

What steps do you take to act on your awareness of breast cancer?
Have you (personally or a loved one) been affected by breast cancer?
Do you like casseroles? If so, what’s your favorite recipe?


16 thoughts on “Act on Awareness

    Shanna, like Banana said:
    October 18, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Where was my invite to dinner missy? ;-P

    I do love a good casserole and I like to make my own Mexi version — I use some taco seasoning, chicken sausages, pasta (of course), veggies, and enchilada sauce to keep it moist, then top with cheese.

    It definitely pays to be aware. I dont’ have any connections to breast cancer, but I know I’m not immune. Also it’s important to know about the flip side of some of the recommendations — for instance, a glass of wine every day has proven benefits in so many areas. And yes I like to bring that up because I’m a HUGE advocate for a daily glass of vino πŸ™‚

    PS Your blog is no longer blocked at my work — yippppeeee!

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      October 18, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      Yippeee you can see my blog now!! πŸ™‚

      Ooo I like your Mexi version, I’ll have to try that sometime.

      I definitely agree with the flip side of some of the recommendations, like wine! However my past drinking habits were definitely on the unhealthy side so in a way I feel like us trying for a baby has inherently made me a healthier person in learning how to enjoy wine moderately (like wine tasting! ;)) and not abuse it.

    Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries said:
    October 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Mmm that casserole looks great!! It sounds so easy too – right up my alley! πŸ˜‰

    Breast cancer hits home to me as my stepmother got it when I was 11 years old. She and my dad have been married since I was 2 years old, so she’s just like a second mom to me. Even though I was young, I remember feeling very scared. Ever since then, I try to participate in the Race for the Cure each year and promote awareness as much as I can. The steps you listed are a great reminder for everyone!

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      October 18, 2011 at 2:45 pm

      Thanks Ashley…I’m even glad I looked up those steps since I need the reminder every now and then too. I’m so sorry to hear that about your stepmother…that must have been so hard, especially at such a young age. That’s awesome you do Race for the Cure…I would love to participate in that one year soon!

      The casserole is super easy, if this non-cook can do it you definitely can! Try it if you get a chance to πŸ™‚

    loftyappetite said:
    October 18, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I make that kind of dinner all the time, but i add the cheese in the pan and don’t put it in the oven casserole-style. I will have to try to do that next time to try it out and because i don’t think I’ve ever made a casserole!
    I love that Guiliana video. It’s awful that her cancer was headline news like that, but I think her stepping out was important. It was so emotional but I absolutely love how she’s so strong and positive in it, it is really inspiring and a great message to women.

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      October 18, 2011 at 2:36 pm

      Ooo try making it into a casserole, I think you’ll like it! πŸ™‚

      I too think her stepping out was important in bringing awareness in all the young women that look up to her…I have to admit that I always thought I could wait until 40 to get a mammogram but now after hearing her story I’m going to be so much more proactive about it. She’s so inspiring and her attitude has been amazing throughout it all πŸ™‚

    Laury @thefitnessdish said:
    October 18, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I love Guiliana and my heart goes out ot her now. It’s so scary given how young she is!! They say women now are getting breast cancer 20 years younger than the generation before. Scary.

    All 3 of my grandmothers had breast…close to my heart and super scary for me. Both my mothers mother, my fathers mother and my step-fathers mother all survivors. Cancer scares the hell out of me. We can do everything right but I believe there is something in our environment because everywhere I turn another person is touched by it. I know so many people with cancer. Brain cancer…lost a friend my age to it this year…and know a few ppl right now with it…pancreatic and breast cancer is So common. They need to find a cure!!!

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      October 19, 2011 at 11:04 am

      Wow those are so very scary statistics…like you said, I love her too and my heart goes out to her and all she’s been through.

      Gosh Laury I’m so sorry you’ve been touched by it in that way with so many of your relatives and friends having this disease…it’s so very scary and I agree in that there is something going on in our environment that is causing this…it’s just so scary and strange that people all around me know of people that have cancer. They definitely need to find a cure soon!

    Sherri said:
    October 18, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    My Dad’s sister had breast cancer and she was a heavy drinker. So cheers to moderation!

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      October 19, 2011 at 10:59 am

      I didn’t realize that? So yes, definitely cheers to moderation…thanks mom! πŸ™‚ xoxo

    Andrea @ Andrea out loud! said:
    October 19, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Great post Shayla! I cant remember if I shared this with you yet (I think so?) but a few weeks ago I had mentioned on my blog we got some bad news about a family member. I didnt want to share too much on the blog at the time (and still havent) but have mentioned it in some comments lately (like this) since breast cancer awareness is in the air for Oct. Anyway, Torrances mom was recently diagnosed – for the second time. In Feb she had just hit her “5 years clear” from her original breast cancer diagnoses which they had cought very early. Unforunately it is back with a very different prognosis. We had gone to FL to visit her last weekend and it was great seeing her – she is a month into her chemo treatments and doing well but I am learning more, now than ever, about it.
    I truly feel taking steps earlier in life is a huge part of prevention and awareness all together (e.g. exercise, supplements, etc).

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      October 19, 2011 at 10:59 am

      Andrea I am so very sorry to hear this…my thoughts and prayers are with your her and your family. Thank you for sharing your story as this will help others, as myself, continue to realize that we have to start very early on in preventing and being aware of this disease.

    e@thisnotedlife said:
    October 19, 2011 at 8:50 am

    mmm this looks so good im going to have to try it.

    Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life said:
    October 19, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    This casserole totally looks like a nice comfort meal both my husband and I would love! Plus I love anything that involves baked pasta with cheese!

    My maternal grandmother had breast cancer so I make sure to eat healthy (lots of fruits and veggies) and workout to help keep it away.

      Shayla @ The Good Life responded:
      October 19, 2011 at 3:37 pm

      Good for you girl in being proactive about it….and I’m sorry to hear your grandmother…it seems to have touched us all in one way or another.

      You and your hubby would love this casserole…I agree in that there’s really nothing better than baked pasta and yummy cheese!! πŸ˜‰

    Lauren said:
    October 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I love all of the Kraft Casserole recipes! So easy, so delicious!

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