Monday, November 21, 2011

By the fruit....

Psalm 19:7

English Standard Version (ESV)
 7 The law of the LORD is perfect,[a]
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
    making wise the simple; 

Matthew 7:18-20

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
18 A good tree can't produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn't produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So you'll recognize them by their fruit.

Psalm 19 tells us that the Bible (i.e. law and testimony of the Lord) revives and makes wise those who believe it. Matthew 7:18-20 tells us that we will know who true Christians are (did you know the term "Christian" means "little Christ"?) by the fruit they bear (meaning their actions/lifestyle).  One cannot know what the fruit of a Christian should be without reading the Bible and studying what God has given us to help us live like Christ. 

So many take the term Christian upon themselves simply because they live in a "Christian nation." Sadly, last time I checked, America is not a nation acting as Christian. Others take the term because they "grew up in the church," or "are a good person," or "read the Bible once in a while," or their "parents are Christians." However, the truth is anyone can call themselves a Christian, but that is not what makes you a Christian. What makes you a Christian is believing what the Bible teaches. All of it. Not just the easy parts or the parts you want. ALL of it. Christianity is realizing that you are not good enough on your own. That you can never live a life worthy of heaven without help. Jesus Christ is that help. He made a way for us to live eternally in heaven worshiping the one true God. We must take all of His word, study it, and live it no matter the cost. This life is short compared to eternity's reward for true Christians!

This holiday season take time to examine your heart. Take time to listen to truth. Take time to study God's Word to you.

I love you all so much!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Clearly, I love oatmeal...

So I have ANOTHER oatmeal recipe for you. I just LOVE oats. Seriously, in college, I ate oats at pretty much every meal:) This recipe is baked oatmeal. The inspiration came from this recipe at allrecipes.com. Of course, I had to modify it because it's so much fun to change things up! Here are my tweaks (denoted by an asterisk*):


Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk*
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/ unsweetened applesauce*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup raisins*

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Beat in milk, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla extract. Stir in raisins. Spread into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. 
 I made this while listening to Christmas music and burning a holiday candle:) Nice.

This turned out so yummy! It's best when you pour some warm milk on top (I did use dairy milk on top since I used coconut milk in the recipe, I figured I could get away with a little dairy right? Hopefully my baby boy won't notice it later, hehe:) Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Not your grandma's cookie....

We all know that one of the reasons we love visiting grandma's is because you can eat whatever you want and she makes some pretty awesome cookies (ok, to be honest, neither of my grandmothers ever made homemade cookies that I can remember, but go with me here....:). This recipe I just made and it is wonderfully hearty and mostly (semi?) healthy! These cookies are cake-like in texture and are not very sweet. The chocolate chips lend a nice balance to the overall flavor. I like them because they are not SO sweet that you feel like you have to stop at two....(hehe:)

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
(now there's a mouthful of goodness)
(makes approx 40 cookies - I used HEAPING teaspoonfuls:)

1/2 cup of butter, softend
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/3 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups oats
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cream butter. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda.
3. Stir in vanilla, 2 eggs, and applesauce.
4. Stir in little by little flour, oats, and chocolate chips.
5. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto nonstick or greased cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
7. Enjoy some deliciously, fall-ish, mostly guilt free, pleasurable, cookies:)


*I came up with this recipe by playing around with ingredients:) Next time, I'm going to try substituting pumpkin for the applesauce....mmmmm!!!

Paul, Timothy, and the Philippians oh my!

I've been studying Philippians recently. I've studied it many times in the past, but this time is particularly rich! My goal is to memorize the entire book (so far I have the first eight verses down....it's a start:) because it is such an edifying and encouraging book. My husband and I live on a very tight budget and in an even tighter apartment. Although I have my moments where I struggle with contentment, I have been so blessed during our time here. God has always provided exactly what we need and has given us no doubt that He will continue to do so.

As this Christmas season is approaching, I am reminded (although, it's not like I forgot!) that our culture is so consumed with consumerism! Everywhere you look there are ads for the latest, greatest gadget promising you joy upon purchase. I don't have a television, but even still I am bombarded with ads on the internet, at stores, in the newspaper, etc. It grieves me to see so many get caught up in the race to attain "stuff" thinking it will make them happy or fulfill their emptiness. All "stuff" breaks, burns, gets stolen, is lost. There is only one thing that can be all yours and cannot be stolen, cannot break, cannot burn, and can fulfill - Jesus Christ. This may be cliche, but where is Christ in Christmas in our society? So many forget (or simply choose to deny) that HE is the reason for the season. Not christmas trees, or gifts, or pretty lights. Jesus Christ.

The Philippians knew this, as did Paul and Timothy. Do you?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Hungry, Hungry Hippo

Do you guys remember that game? Two hippos and one ball. Oh the good ol' days.

Anyway, lately I've been feeling like those hungry hippos.


I made some super yummy chicken chili last night. Dairy free, no sugar added, and mostly organic deliciousness. This is not a spicy recipe as I do not like very spicy things...or should I say spicy things do not like me.
Here's my recipe:

Chicken Chili
1 lb cooked chicken breast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 15 oz can organic white navy beans (drained)
1 15 oz can organic tri-blend beans (i.e. black, kidney, navy beans)(drained)
1 28 oz can organic diced tomatoes (do not drain)
2 cups organic chicken broth
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground black pepper

1. Cook chicken in olive oil over medium heat.
2. Cube cooked chicken.
3. Place chicken, beans, broth, tomatoes, and seasonings in pot (could also use crockpot on low for 4 hours) and simmer for 30 minutes.


This recipe is so versatile. You could also add more veggies, but I just didn't have anything on hand (i.e. today was grocery day, so.....). Also, normally I would saute onion and garlic, but again, it was the day before grocery day. Ha:)
* The picture above is my husband's bowl. He added sour cream and shredded cheese as any dairy loving man would. I thought it looked better than just my plain bowl, but mine was still delicious:) The cornbread in the picture is homemade, though I'm sad to say it is not very healthy thus I am not posting the recipe (however, I did make it a little healthier by using vegan butter and no sugar:) And yes, our dining table is also our desk.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Dinner's on the table....

I don't know about you, but I like quick, easy. healthy recipes. I love to cook, but now with a baby I do not have time to spend all day cooking (of course, who does even without a baby!?). This is a super easy, all natural, and very healthy dinner we eat often. Here's the recipe but feel free to play with it...it's too easy! My recipe is refined sugar and dairy free....

Champagne Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

1 lb Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Your fave dressing (I used this all natural Champagne Dressing)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place chicken in glass baking dish.
Puncture chicken with fork or knife to allow dressing to soak down into the chicken.













Pour 1/2 cup dressing over chicken and bake for 30-45 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken breasts.








Mashed Sweet Potatoes
4 medium sweet potatoes
1/3 cup Agave nectar
2 tbsp vegan buttery sticks
1 tbsp cinnamon





Place water into a medium size pan and set to boil.

Wash, peel, and rinse sweet potatoes. Chop into small chunks.
Boil sweet potatoes 15-20 minutes.




Drain water.
Add above ingredients and mash with potato masher or spatula.

Enjoy a naturally delicious meal!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Long time, no write....

It's been a little crazy around here lately...not that that's an excuse...actually, it is....a good excuse. My grandmother passed away. She was 74. I am happy. What did I say? Yes, I am happy. I know where she is and she is even happier than I. She was a Christian and  believed that Jesus Christ was her Savior. She was right and now she is no longer suffering or in pain! I can't wait to join her when God calls me home! What a day of rejoicing that will be.

Anyway, I made some delicious pancakes the other night. I like to use this all natural syrup made without high fructose corn syrup (because organic is expensive and I'm too lazy to make my own). They also make an all natural pancake mix that I use too, but it's not on their website....anyway take a load of this....

Excuse the shape of my pancakes....they are not perfectly round and I'm ok with that.
To reduce my syrup use, I put a tablespoon of syrup with 1/2 cup of frozen berries in a microwaveable bowl (glass) and microwave it on high of 1 and 1/2 minutes....then I pour it on top of my pancakes....yum is all I have to say. YUM.

(You will notice these are not whole wheat pancakes...come on, I like to indulge ONCE in a while:)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The ultimate "going green"

Hey friends. I've been thinking lately about the whole "green" living thing. I'm all for it, don't get me wrong. I love using less, recycling, eating healthier and more whole, and being responsible with God's creation. But sometimes I'm afraid that I lose sight of the fact that one day I will be a NEW CREATION. Romans 8 talks about the future Christians (those who believe that God sent his son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for their sins - a punishment that he did not deserve but we did - so that you and I could spend eternity in heaven with him) have and the hope of new bodies and a new life in Heaven. It's amazing! I am sorry that I lose my focus and spend more time finding ways to be "greener" and not spending time finding ways to be more Christ-like. Living like God teaches us in his Word is the ultimate way to be "green." My friends, lets be intentional about living our lives according to the Scriptures. After all, being "green" is about being whole, being good. Unfortunately, most people don't realize that that's not enough. You cannot be whole or good without God. He is the maker of all things. He completes who we are and is the only "peace" that fills our emptiness. God made all that is green, all that is. He made me. I will live to serve HIM.
Check out this message by Alistair Begg. You'll see what I mean.
P.S. God has given me his love to love others. I love you!

Monday, September 19, 2011

What the hay is BPA?

The title of this post is supposed to be funny...but in all seriousness I wanted to find out all the raucous about BPA. So far, I have avoided any toys and cookware with BPA because I have heard that it can cause adverse health effects. If any of you were wondering, here is a good informational site http://www.hhs.gov/safety/bpa/ about it. I found it to be helpful. I try not to be over the top in my sort of obsession with health (I do admit it can sometimes be an idol of sorts, and I am working on this daily) but I also want to strike a balance between being mindful of what I give to my husband and baby and what I let go....any of you feel the same struggle?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bananas for Bananas....

Ok, so oddly enough I can't eat raw bananas. Don't ask me why because I don't know, but my twin sister can't either. However, I LOVE bananas (how did that happen?). Thankfully, I can eat them cooked! So I try to find recipes that use bananas so I can get my fix. I used this recipe as a base but changed a lot. This is the link to the original recipe.
http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1625,144173-244197,00.html

Here is the recipe with my changes.

Whole Wheat Banana Cake
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
1 cup mashed bananas
2 tbsp veg. oil
1 egg
1/4 brown sugar*
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup coconut milk*
1/2 cup crushed walnuts*
1/2 tsp cinnamon*

Topping*:
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp vegetable sticks (i.e. smart balance baking sticks)
1/4 cup walnuts

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mash bananas. Add egg, oil, milk, salt, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, oats, and flour. 
Mix well.
*In a separate bowl, soften butter. Add brown sugar to make paste or crumbs. Mix in walnuts.
Use nonstick 8 inch cake pan*. Pour batter into pan. Spread brown sugar/walnut topping on top.
Bake for 20 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

*The asterisk denotes my changes. I'm currently trying to avoid dairy for my baby and like I posted before, I try to refrain from using refined sugar. You could probably use agave (instead of brown sugar) in this recipe and forgo the topping for a much healthier version, but I haven't tried that...yet:) Also, you could probably use applesauce instead of oil! Oh so many possibilities! The original recipe was for muffins, but I hate cleaning muffin pans so went with the cake pan instead. Also, I wanted to add some yum-ness thus added a topping:)
It turned out pretty good. I think it was a little dry....maybe applesauce would be better. Plus using dairy milk would probably help too....If you want to get really crazy I think some chocolate chips would be good in it too!!
Let me know what you think when you try this!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Falling into fall....

So, as most of you have noticed, fall is arriving! I'm super excited because it is my FAVE time of year. The beautiful leaves, the cool but not too cold weather, pumpkins, sweaters, hot tea, and ALMONDS. It's true, I love me some almonds. So, on behalf of fall I would like to share with you my recipe for starting off the season with deliciousness. Behold: Fall Spiced Almonds a la Manley! Here's the recipe I came up with:

2 cups raw almonds
1 egg white
1 tsp cold water
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar*

*I used Truvia (http://truvia.com/about/) because I try to limit my refined sugar intake. You can use brown sugar, white sugar, agave, or Stevia as well. I've tried all of these except white sugar and they turned out well too. If you use Stevia it has a little different flavor, but they're still tasty:)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Whisk egg white and water together until frothy. Stir in sugar of choice.
Add almonds and coat well.
Add salt, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.
Toss until almonds are covered well.
Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
Spread almonds on cookie sheet making sure almonds are in a single layer.
Bake for 1 hour stirring every 20 minutes.
Perfection baby!

 Let the games begin!
 Save the yolk for something else
 H2O
 "tru" story...ha couldn't resist...
 Frothy....

 Coat it well
 Pumpkin pie spice anyone?
 Cinnam-yum!
 A little salt never hurt anybody....



A thing of beauty


Let me know if any of you try this and how they work for you. Be creative add something special to make them your own:) Playing with food is fun!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Words, words everywhere....


 The heavens declare the glory of God,
   and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
 Day to day pours out speech,
   and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
   whose voice is not heard.

Read the words above again. REALLY read them. That is the first three verses of Psalm 19. It's one of my favorite psalms from the Bible and I've been meditating on it a lot lately. There are a lot of words in this world. Just think about it. Words are everywhere. It is our main source of communication. Many times we feel we don't have the right words or we don't have enough words or we don't understand the words or our words are empty. In truth, God has given us the Words. The only words we need. His. Unfortunately so many people don't believe these words; don't take the time to read these words; don't want to live these words. These words are life. Without these words we are nothing. Without Christ we are nothing. Without faith in Christ words are meaningless. Life is meaningless. There is no hope apart from Christ. Sure, there are a lot of words that people use in place of His words. They use words such as money, friends, addictions, tv, children, family, boyfriends, girlfriends, homes, cars, phones, e-mail to fill the missing Words in their lives. They lead themselves to believe that the words of others will give them hope; will bring them happiness and yet after all the words given to them they still feel empty. His Words are the fullness of life. His words are true joy. His words are THE words. 

Think about all the words you encounter every day. At work, school, home, via e-mail, text message, phone, websites, magazines, books, blogs, television screens. Do any of these words give life? Do any of these words bring hope? Do any of these words fulfill? 

There is only one, true word and it is the Word of God. Some of you reading this are probably thinking, "oh, great another crazy religious person trying to win me over." Well, you're wrong. I'm not trying to win you over and I'm not crazy. I love you. And I want you to know the truth. So, with my words I will live the Truth. With my words I will honor God. With my words I will share the life He has given me. So go, read His word. Ask me questions. Speak words to Him in prayer. These are my words to you. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Deliciousness....well, naturally.

Blogs. I have a love hate relationship with blogs. Hate: I think some people take things a little far with rants and raves (I promise I will TRY not to:). Love: loads of helpful information and ideas.  So I decided to start a blog for those of us women who are striving to be faithful females in a culture of unfaithfulness.  My husband is currently a seminary student (yes, that means I still live in a 500 sq ft apartment, quiz him with Greek flashcards at all hours of the day, and named our first son after the first man to translate the Bible into English...). Anywho, I love using my time and money to best honor God by taking care of my family as healthy and naturally as possible. So, to start off this venture I am posting a fantastic recipe I just made. YUMMY. Thanks to http://www.thesweetslife.com/2011/07/banana-oatmeal-breakfast-bars.html. This blog is luscious!

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips
-1/4 cup brown sugar
3 ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 1 cup worth)
1/4 cup peanut butter, melted in the microwave
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 x 13 pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
2. Mix together oats, flour, chocolate chips, brown sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in bananas, peanut butter, egg, and vanilla extract until well combined.
3. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven. Allow to cool, cut into bars, and store in refrigerator.

I used organic choco chips, organic bananas, all natural peanut butter and cage free eggs in case you were wondering.... Also, I used a glass pan to bake these and added a little more peanut butter because, heck I'm breastfeeding and I can....

 The goods
 Before the scramble
 Potato masher comes to the rescue
 Vanilla on the scene
 Peanut butter baby
 A little salt never hurt...
 Sugar mama
 Whole wheat flour power
 Gimme them oats!
 My favorite ingredient...organic choco chips!

 Before
 After
 It was totally worth the dirty dishes!
 Viola!
This is guiltless pleasure on a plate people....


Enjoy!
Psalm 19

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