Thursday, February 9, 2012

Chocolate No-Bake Energy Bites

Chocolate.  Doesn't the word just give you warm and fuzzy feelings? It's almost my BFF.
But unfortunately, a lot of the chocolatey goodness sold today is pretty much h-o-r-r-i-b-l-e for us.


However, when I came across the recipe I'm about to share, I was giddy with excitement. You mean I don't have to feel guilty about eating something chocolate? Oh my. Sign me up.
I found the original recipe via The Cheapskate Cook.
Ladies, these are splendidly simple and you can mix things around. It's totally forgiving. (My kind of recipe)

photo from The Cheapskate Cook

The list of ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats*
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes (sweetened works fine)
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds (or ground nuts or flaxseed) **
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or raisins, mini chocolate chips, M&M’s or ground nuts)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

*(From the Cheapskate Cook herself) "My only disappointment with these is that they use uncooked oats, which according to my research aren’t the easiest for your body to digest. I’m sure these can be replaced with something healthier, but up until now I’ve just been thankful for a frugal treat that doesn’t have an ingredients list a mile long."

**Instead of the sesame seeds, I ground up raw walnuts, raw almonds and raw organic pumpkin seeds. I also sprinkled in a tiny bit of ground flax. (Not a huge fan of the taste of flax, but that stuff packs a nutritional punch, so I put in just enough to get something out of it, but not enough to really taste it ;)

I like that this recipe uses honey as the sweetener. It's still a sugar, but it's nature's sweetener. Good ol' raw honey.

Just FYI: Your kids will totally think you are the coolest mom ever if you give them a few of these beauties for breakfast.  I honestly don't feel bad doing that every now and then, because not only is this recipe a "not as bad as..." one, but depending on which ingredients you choose to add, and their quality, these Chocolate No-Bake Energy Bites can actually be very nutritious! 

Now, I'm off to the fridge to get my Chocolate fix. And I'm not feelin' an ounce of guilt about it ;) 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


There seems to be a great awakening in the hearts of believers. An awakening toward those who need to be rescued--orphans. Those precious children who have no home, no security, no love of a mother and father, or siblings.

James says that pure and undefiled religion is " visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world"  (James 1:27 NASB)
We may not all be called to adopt or to foster a child(ren). But we are all called to help in some way. That's what the Word of God tells us.

Bob and I have been challenged by our church and its mission to care for the orphans of our city, state, nation, world. We are praying for wisdom in this area to know exactly at what capacity He would have us obey. It's a little scary, I must admit. But we know how important it is for our children to have a loving and secure home--we want that for others, too.

In the words of R.C. Sproul Jr., "God didn't say natural born children are a blessing; God said children are a blessing."  All children. Orphaned or not. They're a blessing. And we are to care for them in some way. 

There's a documentary coming out soon called Rescued. I'm a documentary-lover, much to the chagrin of my husband =) But he's a trooper--he's watched documentaries ranging from health, homeschooling, abortion, and natural birth to even...gasp...the beauty industry! That's true love my friends. But back to the point at hand...

Here's the trailer for the upcoming documentary Rescued. I believe it's something all Christians should watch, if possible, and to pray fervently about how they are to answer the call "to visit [care for] orphans and widows in their distress"

Let's be the church. Let's not just be hearers of the Word, deceiving ourselves. But let's be doers of the Word, to the glory of God!

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
James 1:22 NIV

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Look at Gratitude

The ungrateful thought struck me in the middle of my complaint-filled internal tirade. "What on earth are you saying? You have nothing to complain about!" It must have been the Holy Spirit gently prodding me to remembrance. Remembrance of all the unmerited blessings in my life. Even though some days are tough, some seasons of life are longer than I would like, I have been given blessing after blessing. If I were to count them and name them one by one, it would surely take an eternity.

I know how hard it is for me to bear my son's constant whining. Is that what I sound like to God sometimes?  I feel like a spoiled child at times, so prone to whine and complain when things get tough--even if it's mostly inward--for God certainly can hear those complaints when others do not. It grieves Him, too, those wayward thoughts. Because as the following quote points out, an ungrateful and complaint-filled life is a life full of pride. 

"Gratitude is the overflow of a humble heart, just as surely as an ungrateful, complaining spirit flows out of a proud heart. Proud people are wrapped up in themselves. If people or circumstances don’t please or suit them, they are prone to whine or become resentful.

A humble person thinks much of God and others and little of himself. He recognizes that anything he has is better than he deserves. He doesn't feel anyone owes him anything. He doesn’t feel entitled to have more, or for life to be easy, or for everyone to love him and treat him well. He’s grateful for the least little kindness that’s extended to him, knowing it’s more than he deserves."
~Nancy Leigh DeMoss~

What conviction for me!  I don't want to be wrapped up in myself. I want to think much of God and others. I want to realize the truth that is this: I don't deserve the goodness of God--certainly not His salvation. But He, the God of the universe, humbled Himself and came to earth in human form and willingly laid down His life to save us all.

How can we not be humbled at such deep, unwavering love? Divine love. Amazing and unmerited grace. In light of all that, how can we possibly be ungrateful? Ladies, let it not be named among us.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Crusty Cheese Bread

I love to bake.
But since I've drastically cut down on the amount of sugar I eat, I haven't been baking dozens of cookies each week like I used to. Sigh.

So, I've turned my attention to homemade bread.

I've always been nervous around recipes involving yeast. Not sure why. But I've dodged yeast-necessary recipes for years.

However, I think I'm becoming more courageous as I age. It's probably motherhood that's done it for me. After all, if I can survive the shockingly wild tantrum of an almost three year old boy while simultaneously nursing a 10 month old baby girl, I should be able to handle a recipe that involves yeast. ;)

The recipe I'm sharing today is from Hallee the Homemaker. And my word, it's good. I'm a carb and dairy lover by nature, so this is heaven in my mouth!

Crusty Whole Wheat Cheese Bread --- Here's the link to the recipe

2 packages (4½ tsp) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (it should feel warm to the touch – if it feels hot, it’s too hot)
5-5½ cups of whole wheat flour {I used unbleached all purpose flour}
2 TBS sugar
2 tsp Kosher or sea salt
2 TBS unsalted butter (softened)
1 cup warm milk (105°F to 115°F)
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried parsley leaves
16 slices provolone cheese {I d
idn't quite have enough provolone, so I added freshly shredded Mozzarella}
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. 
Grease a large bowl. Grease the bread pans. 
Mix the flour, salt, sugar, and salt, garlic, and herbs to bowl.  Stir (or if using a stand mixer, mix on power level 2 with bread hook for 1 minute.)
With the mixer running, gradually add the yeast and water mixture, warm milk, and softened butter.
Mix on level 2 for about 2 minutes. Add remaining flour, ½ cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticking to the side of the bowl.  Don’t use all of the flour in the recipe unless you need it – the amount of flour used will be dependent upon the moisture content of your flour. 
Knead dough for 2 minutes on power level 2 (or knead by hand for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.)
Place in greased bowl, turning over to grease the top.  Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place, free from draft, for one hour or until doubled in bulk.
Punch dough down and divide in half.
Place dough on a floured surface and roll into a rectangle approximately 9×14 inches.
Evenly distribute 8 slices of provolone cheese.
Starting at the short end, roll the dough tightly. Pinch the ends. Place in greased bread pan.
Repeat with the second ball of dough.
Cover and let rise for one hour or until doubled.
Preheat oven to 375° degrees F (190° degrees C).
Bake each loaf for about 40 minutes, or until browned.
Remove from pans and cool on a wire cooling rack.
Slice and enjoy!
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