Carrot Cake Oatmeal

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Don’t tell me you’ve never started the morning with a steaming bowl of oatmeal! If so, you are really missing out. I love and adore oatmeal. Almost every morning for breakfast I have a bowl of plain oatmeal with flaxseed and it will most likely have a few dashes of cinnamon in it… Now I have a confession to make, I will add cinnamon to just about anything: I absolutely love cinnamon! On occasion I enjoy mixing up my morning breakfast by adding warm peanut (or almond) butter, fresh-cut banana, or I’ll make a killer bowl of Carrot Cake Oatmeal! Most of the recipes that I have seen for it have a ton of added sugar, maple syrup and other sweeteners. I prefer to try to keep it a little healthier. I hardly enjoy starting my day with feeling like I just ate dessert. One morning I was in the kitchen and threw this together and loved it! I hope you enjoy this delicious breakfast as much I do!

Ingredients:

* 1/2 cup of oats (I use old fashion oats, any kind will work though.)

* 1/2 cup of water or milk or choice (I’ve done 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup vanilla soy milk before, which is nice. It will just make it a tad bit sweeter.)

* A few dashes of cinnamon

* 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

* 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

* 1 tablespoon of raisins

* 1/4 cup or more of shredded carrot

* 1/2 teaspoon of flaxseed (optional)

* 1 tablespoon of shaved almonds

* For sweetness you can sprinkle a few teaspoons of brown sugar ontop or add a bit of maple syrup.

Directions:

It’s super simple. You combine the shredded carrot, flaxseed, raisins, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla all in a saucepan with the milk or water and let it start to bowl. Add the oats and stir it. When the oats are finished cooking put them in your bowl and top it off with some brown sugar or maple syrup and shaved almonds. As my Dad would say “Yummo!” Enjoy your bowl of goodness! Double the recipe and share the goodness with a friend or family member!

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Who Will You Be This Valentines Day?

Valentine’s Day: What is it? Over time the meaning has been muddied and in recent years there has developed new thoughts about the day. I have found that most people can be put into three main groups. In this post I am going to take a look at what those groups look like and as a Christian where we should fit in. What should our reaction to this holiday be? Sometimes we do not fully think about where to stand on certain issues. It can be easy to just go along with other people and their views and opinions. I want to really get you thinking on this issue. It’s not just about Valentines; it’s about your attitude and heart towards that which God has given to you. As you read through each of these I want you to keep this verse in mind “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content.”- Philippians 4:11 Consider each group and ask this question: Are they themselves being content in the circumstances in which they are placed?

Love and Appreciation
Having that in mind, we will take a look at group one. This group of people have a dear, sincere response to the day. They celebrate because they have found the one they love and want to show their appreciation in some way. There are some that would rather celebrate by going on a walk together or just sitting by a fire talking. For them they don’t need anything too fancy or a kind of special gift. This group is genuine and faithful. They really do love one another and nothing makes them happier than acknowledging what the other has done for them. There’s no pressure to perform, just true love. Sadly, this group is dwindling and the later two groups are becoming more prevalent.

Fear of Being Lonely

Group two looks at the day in this light, or lack thereof: “I am single. My life is empty. Woe is me. I am SO lonely and I am bitter towards all those that have someone, because I have no one.” We’ve all heard at least one of those before. Maybe you have even thought it yourself. Generally speaking these are the thoughts of singles on Valentine’s Day. They will become down in spirit because they feel weighed down by the medias constant advertising about love and romance. So Valentine’s Day for group two is spent being depressed and unsatisfied with their life and envious of the life that others have. They feel as if the day only brings up and accentuates their lonesomeness. These people are so desperate to have someone on this one day that it has been shown that 70% of singles consider going on a blind date on Valentine’s Day. Isn’t the point of the day to celebrate the love that you have for someone, not to manufacture a fake love for some random person? People in group two want to have a story to tell about February 14th. They don’t want to simply be alone having a TV dinner that night. Part of them hates the day because they know they still don’t have the love that “Love and Appreciation” have.

Afraid of Being Loveless

Lastly, Group three. They are the individuals that a month before Valentine’s Day actively starts looking for a relationship to be in. They might not really care for the person they are going out with all that much. He or she will tend to be in and out of relationships all year, because they are only looking to receive from the other, not giving anything in return. The love is not real it is pretend. The Bible defines love as this: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails”- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. They’d like to have a long lasting love but they have no idea how. Their greatest fear is that others can get dates and be loved, while they themselves could not. Their greatest problem is that they think being involved in a relationship equals being loved. What they miss is that they were intended for only one and no one else will ever fully satisfy.

According to an analysis of data on social networking site Facebook. The days following Valentine’s day and two weeks before Christmas are the peak times in a year when people break up. Why is that? I’m sure a lot of it could be due to stress. Though in many cases the reason is that the couples are unsatisfied and selfish. We live in a culture that is “Me” driven. If something or someone does not make ME happy, then I should not have to put up with them. Now I’m curious, why so many people split up in the days following Valentine ’s Day? I believe it’s one of two reasons. Either there are a lot of artificial relationships that are stirred up around that time to make people not feel alone. Or the second possibility is that those couples don’t get what they want out of the relationship and Valentines is a make it or break it day. If they don’t get what they are expecting out of that person on February 14th, such as the necklace that they had been wanting, or that special date night to the winery, then they see no value continuing the relationship.

Now, as you read each group did you find any that fit the verse “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11)? We will start by looking at “Fear of Being Lonely”. In no way are they content. They envy what they do not have. Jealousy runs their life’s. Not only in numerous parts of the Bible does it talk about being content (1 Timothy 6:6, 1 Timothy 6:8, Hebrew 13:5) but it also talks about delighting yourself in the way of the Lord. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him,” – Psalm 37:4-5 Group two is guilty of not delighting in the Lord; rather they envy and want more.

Those in “Afraid of Being Loveless”, are not content either. They are worried about not being loved, never having that feeling, or someone in their life. What they miss is that they have Christ. So instead of waiting on the Lord to bring them the right person, they try to manufacture it so that they can get a small taste of that feeling.

That brings us to “Love and Appreciation”. They are the only content group. They are a picture of Christ marriage to the church. By being faithful to their spouses and not caring about the looks or gifts, but just being content with that person. Singles can and should have exactly that in Christ.

I believe that there should only be two groups. The first would be: They have found the right person, and like in group one, they celebrate to show appreciation. Not out of this feeling “Well it’s Valentine’s Day. I guess I should do something “. No, that would not be the proper reason to do it. If the heart is not in the right place then the actions don’t matter. The roses and cards were all meaningless if they were not given with the heart of undefiled love.

The second group would be, if you are single, not to sit at home and mope, rather to celebrate with your friends. Not to be envious and coveting of those that have, but to be grateful for all those that you have, such as friends and family. Most importantly, as a Christian to be forever grateful for the most wonderful relationship that you ever could be in, this is your relationship with the Lord. Valentines Day is celebrating love that you have for others. It doesn’t have to be with a spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend.

We should strive to be like Paul. To be content in whatever circumstance the Lord puts us in. Whether that means being married, in a relationship, or single. We must remember that our happiness should lie elsewhere. So I challenge you this Valentine’s Day, to simply be content, grateful, and appreciative of all those that are in your life and remember where your true happiness lies.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”

~ Matthew 6:19-21

”But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night”

~Psalm 1:2