Saturday, September 29, 2012

Overnight Oatmeal Recipe and Why It's Healthy

I have been seeing all of these recipes for overnight oatmeal and about how we should soak our oats overnight.  My first thought was, “Why would I do this when it’s just as easy to throw your oats in a bowl the next morning?”  Upon researching this topic, however, I have learned that it is actually beneficial to soak our oats overnight.  By soaking our oats, it makes them more digestible and helps our system obtain more of the nutrients in the food. 

With that being said, I may not always remember to do this the night before, but when I can, I will try to do this.  I have been experimenting with different recipes for this, and have actually found it helpful to make it the night before.  It’s kind of nice to wake up the next morning and have my oatmeal mixture all ready.  I just pop it in the microwave for a minute and it’s done.  All of the fruit has already been added, so it’s ready to go! 

I have tweaked several recipes and like this one the best.  This recipe is the right amount for 2 adult serving and 2 kid-size servings.

Overnight Oatmeal:

1 cup rolled oats
¾- 1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
¾ cup- 1 cup plain yogurt (greek or regular works fine)
1 apple (sliced and cut in small chunks)
½ cup raisins
1 tbsp. chia seeds (optional)
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt

Stir everything together in a bowl and place in fridge overnight.  In the morning, you can top it with something crunchy, such as nuts or granola. Or, top it with your favorite nut butter.  It can be served cold or warm. We like to serve ours warm.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Human Praise

Jesus had arrived in Jerusalem and knew He would face the cross soon. He had just performed many miracles, including raising Lazarus from the dead.  Many people believed He was the Messiah, but the Jewish leaders wanted to have him killed.  Many people wanted to believe in Him.  Deep down, they had a feeling He was the true Messiah.  But, what would the other Jewish leaders and Pharisees think?  They were too concerned with the opinions of others to take a stand for the Truth.  They loved human praise more than the praise of God…
“Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue.  For they loved human praise more than the praise of God.” John 12:42-23

It’s easy to read these verses and think how crazy it is that these people would not take a stand for the Truth.  Jesus was in their presence; they saw him face-to-face and watched Him perform miracles, including raising a man from the dead!  How could they NOT take a stand???

But, don’t we do this ALL THE TIME?  Don’t we care more about the opinions of others than the opinions of Christ?

Just the other day, I felt Him prompting me to lead in prayer in a setting where wisdom was needed.  But, I let the opinions of others keep me from doing this.  What will they think if I ask to pray out loud right now?  What should I say in my prayer?  Then, I told myself I would just pray in my heart and that would accomplish the same thing.  I cared more about what people thought of me than what God wanted me to do. 

It’s good to be sensitive to the needs around us and to be conscientious of others.  But, it’s not okay to put that above what God is calling us to do, even if it is at the expense of another’s feelings.  I want to put the needs of others above my own and to treat others the same way I would want to be treated.  More than that, however, I want to put God above everything else…even if it means I offend someone in the process. 

May we all listen to the convictions that God places on our hearts and follow through with His promptings.  May we take time to look at the needs of the people around us, but not let their opinions keep us from following after the Lord. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No Bake Oat Treats

I am always trying to find healthy snacks for my kids.  It is all too easy to buy a box of processed food (like gold fish) and hand those out to my kids.  But, the more I learn, the more I realize that these are not nutritious.  I came across this recipe a while back and I am so glad I did!  They have healthy items like oats and flax and they are only sweetened with honey...not refined sugar!  

We are also experimenting with our oldest son's diet right now.  He is only 3 years old and began complaining about joint pains and tummy aches over a year ago. It has been a long battle of experimenting with acid reflux medications, going to different doctors, having blood drawn, undergoing an endoscopy, etc. Gluten intolerances (not celiac disease) run in the family, so we have decided to try a gluten free diet with him for a month and see if we can tell a difference. We are on day 4 right now and he hasn't complained about his tummy yet!  We are praying God leads us in the right direction as we try to figure out what's going on with our little guy's body. It has been quite challenging to try to find snack foods that are gluten free.  I depended heavily on whole wheat flour in the past. So, I am very excited that this recipe does not contain any gluten...yea :)  

Anyone else have experience with gluten sensitivity with a toddler???

No Bake Oat Treats

I cup oatmeal ( I used old-fashioned oats)
1/2 cup peanut butter (or almond butter, etc.)
1/2 cup ground flax seed (or wheat germ)
1/2 cup choice topping (ex. raisins or chocolate chips or both)
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Stir all ingredients in a bowl until mixed. Roll into balls and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to on week.  Makes 15-20 balls.  

The first time I made these, I used chocolate chips.  Since then, I have used raisins to try to make them a little less fattening.  They are definitely tastier with the chocolate in them, but are still good with the raisins.  1/2 raisins and 1/2 chocolate may be a good compromise!   

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Homemade Crackers

Today I decided to venture out and make some homemade crackers.  It's so hard to find healthy snack foods for our family.  Sure, I would love to be able to always give my children an apple or carrot sticks when they want a snack. But, many times they are pleading for some gold fish, crackers, etc.  After looking at the ingredient list for crackers such as wheat thins, etc., I just couldn't bring myself to buy another box and feed my family processed junk.  So, I came across a recipe today and thought I would give it a looked easy enough!  This recipes originally comes from King Arthur Whole Grain Baking cookbook.

One of our sons seems to be having difficulty with some foods so we are experimenting with different flours, so I am giving spelt flour a try.  To see the benefits of spelt flour, see here.  I decided to stick closely to the recipe since this was my first time making them, but I may try substituting honey for the sugar next time.  I was glad to see it only called for such a small amount, though.  They have a subtle, sweet taste to them.  And, I'm wondering if coconut oil could be substituted for the butter???

After making these, I am so confused as to why the foods we buy have so many ingredients in them!  It would be one thing if the added ingredients were actually healthy, but they are not!  I would love to be able to buy healthy snacks, not spend a fortune, and know that I was not loading my children with food that was bad for them.  Until then...I guess I'll be researching more and more recipes so I can make stuff from home!


1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (I ended up using Spelt flour and it turned out great)!
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra for topping
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup water (you might need to add a little more)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

2. Add the flour, sugar, salt and paprika to a medium bowl and whisk to combine.  Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the bowl.  Using a pastry blender, mix the butter into the dry ingredients thoroughly.  Combine the water and vanilla in a small measuring cup or bowl.  Add to the butter/flour mixture and mix until a smooth dough forms. If the dough is still dry, add a little more water.

3. Divide the dough into 4 pieces.  Work with one piece at a time, keeping the others covered with a towel so they don't dry out.  Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll the dough into a large rectangle.  Lift the dough and turn it as you roll to ensure it's not sticking.  You want to roll the dough as thin as possible, try to make sure it's 1/16-inch thick at most.  If you want all of your crackers to be perfect, trim the edges of the dough so you have a rectangle with even sides.  Use a pizza cutter to cut the rectangle into squares about 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide.

4. Transfer the dough squares to the prepared baking sheets. You can place them close together because they will not spread.  Sprinkle the squares lightly with salt.  Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the remaining 3 pieces of dough.  Save all of your scraps under the towel to keep the dough from drying out; reroll them all at once to create a final batch of crackers.

5. Bake the crackers, one sheet at a time, until crisp and browned, about 5-10 minutes.  Check the crackers at 5 minutes, and if some of the thinner ones are browning too quickly, remove them from the oven.  The crackers can burn quickly so you want to keep a close eye on them.  Remove crackers from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.  Store the crackers in an airtight container.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Devotion Time for our Children

 How can a young person stay pure?
    By obeying your word.
 I have tried hard to find you—
    don’t let me wander from your commands.
 I have hidden your word in my heart,
    that I might not sin against you.
 I praise you, O Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
 I have recited aloud
    all the regulations you have given us.
 I have rejoiced in your laws
    as much as in riches.
 I will study your commandments
    and reflect on your ways.
 I will delight in your decrees
    and not forget your word.
-Psalm 119:9-16

 Even though our children may be young, it is never too early to begin reading God’s Word to them and helping them see the importance of a relationship with Him. 

In our own lives, we can sometimes let the busyness of life keep us from making God’s Word a priority in our lives.  But, this is such a huge mistake!  We must make it a daily habit to be in His Word each day.  There is no greater habit that we can pass on to our children than spending time in His Word every day. 

Our favorite Bible to read to our children is The Beginner’s BibleThe stories come straight from the Bible and are written in a way that children can understand easily.  The pictures are bright and really catch our children’s attention. Our son can’t wait to read a Bible story from it each night. 

As we read the Bible with our children at night, we also like to help them realize the importance of praying for those who have not had a chance to learn about Jesus yet. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


“So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”
Deuteronomy 11:18-19

As Fall is approaching, it makes me think of the ways I want our children to celebrate the holidays.  What do I want them to remember about Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.?  What traditions do I want to pass down to them?

One book that has been particularly instrumental in my life as I have thought about important traditions for our family is Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper. It has been a good reminder to me that the most important thing I can impart to my children is Christ:
 “The things we do regularly that help us in our deepest being to know and love and want God, the things that help our lives to be infiltrated with God—those things are tradition…For a Christian, tradition is laying up God’s words in our own hearts and passing his words to the next generation.”
Throughout her book, Noel talks about the importance of “everyday” traditions.  Then, she focuses on some special things to do throughout the holidays to help ourselves and our children keep Christ first.  As I was re-reading it the other day, it made me think of some ideas for Christmas.  Some of the following ideas came from her book and I've stumbled upon some other ones.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

An Awesome Book and a Yummy (and healthy) Dessert!

I checked out an awesome book at the library a few weeks ago.  It has been so good that I had to order one for myself.  It is called Discipline: The Glad Surrender by Elisabeth Elliot.  Here is a quote from the chapter, “The Discipline of the Mind”:

“If I am to love the Lord my God with all my mind, there will not be room in it for carnality, for pride, for anxiety, for the love of myself.  How can the mind be filled with the love of the Lord and have space left over for things like that?...Throughout our earthly lives, it is always at the point of need- that moment of crisis when we cast about for some solution or answer or even some escape- that the opportunity is offered for us to choose.  We will accept either the solutions, answers, and escapes that the world offers (and there are always plenty of those), or the radical alternative shown to the mind attuned to Christ’s.”

It’s a short read, but each chapter is challenging and convicting.  Other than the Bible, God really uses books like this to help me grow spiritually.  See the book here.

I also found an awesome recipe that’s actually healthy too!  I love no-bake cookies, but I haven’t made them in forever because they are full of butter, sugar, etc.  But, I saw a recipe from, adapted it a bit and tried it out tonight.  I couldn’t believe they tasted so much like no-bake cookies but with no refined sugar or butter!  Try them out.  I only wish I had doubled the recipe, because they didn’t last long!

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup chocolate chips or 1 tbsp. cocoa powder

Cook the peanut butter and honey over low heat until melted. Add remaining ingredients. When cool enough to handle roll into small balls and place on wax paper to finish cooling (if you can wait that long).  

Apparently wheat germ is packed full of protein, folate, vitamin B, and fiber.  What a good way to get a serving of it in a yummy cookie!  I bought my wheat germ from publix, but you can get it so much cheaper from amazon...wish I would have known!  See here

Note: I have made them with both the chocolate chips and the cocoa powder and they taste great both ways!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Chocolate Green Smoothie

I really want to like green smoothies, but it's been hard to find one that doesn't taste too "vegetabley" and that my kids will like.

Today, through experimenting, I found one that I actually like!  And, it's kid-friendly too!

1 frozen banana
1 handful of spinach
1 tsp. flax seed oil or ground flax seeds
1/2 cup Almond Milk (or any milk you like)
1/2 cup Water
1 Tbsp. unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Tbsp. Almond Butter (or peanut butter or cashew butter, etc.)

Put it all in a blender and voila!  It's pretty yummy...I didn't have to choke this one down!

Note: I used the Ninja Blender.  See here.  It may not be as good as a Vitamix, but I've been pretty impressed with it and it's way cheaper than the Vitamix!

I've also found a good lunch alternative for my children is to make smoothies ahead of time and freeze them into freeze pop molds.  See here.

A good recipe I use for the freeze pops is:
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
Handful of Spinach
1 Banana (Frozen or Room Temp.)
4 Frozen Strawberries
1/4 cup juice ( I use apple or orange)
1 Tbsp. Flax Seed Oil

*Additions: Oatmeal can be added, flax seeds, chai seeds, etc.

What's your favorite green smoothie recipe???

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Starting My Day

“We awaken each day with a tendency to forget that which is most important: the gospel. All of us should assume this tendency and be aware of this tendency. Because of the Fall and due to the effects of remaining sin, we have a daily tendency and temptation to forget stuff in general and to forget that which is most important in particular. Assuming this tendency, we must create practices that will enable us to remember what we must not forget—the cross. So each day I seek to spend time in a location where I am not distracted, unhurriedly reading and meditating on Scripture and finding my way in Scripture to a hill called Calvary to meditate each day on Christ and him crucified. Each day I need to remind myself of the gospel. I cannot live on yesterday’s recollection of the gospel. I need to review and rehearse the gospel each day or I will assume the gospel, forget the gospel, and prove vulnerable to all manner of temptation and sin.”
-C.J. Mahaney

After I made the decision to be a Christian, I thought that it would be easy to live for Christ each day because I’d already committed my life to Him.  But, the opposite has been true. Instead, I have just become more and more aware of how sinful I am and how hard it is to choose Christ.  Because of this, I have realized just how important it is to spend time with Him each day. 

Yes, I want to live for Christ and I want Him to have control over every thing in life.  But, if I do not make a daily decision to spend time with Him, what will come out?  Anger. Pride. Arrogance. Jealosusy. Gossip. Impatience. Selfishness.  These are the things I am filled with because I am sinful.  

At times it seems almost impossible to overcome these sinful tendencies.  And, it is impossible to overcome them on my own.  If I don’t take time to spend pouring over God’s Word each day, I will be relying on my own strength and I will fail miserably.