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!

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

Emy’s Famous Banana Bread

Don’t you hate it when bananas start to get those little brown spots on them, soon they become over run. They’ll become just mushy enough that no one wants to eat them, but they haven’t really gone bad yet.

I find this to be the best time to use them in baking. They are wonderful to use in place of sugar in recipes because of how sweet they are! I’ve made cookies with them, gluten-free vegan pancakes, but those are all recipes for another time. Today I want to share with you my banana bread recipe! We’ll just call it Emy’s Banana Bread.

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This is probably one of my family’s favorite breads. The brothers love it when I put chocolate chips in it. Thankfully, they are boys, so they’ll eat just about anything.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large bananas
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • a dash of cinnamon

Instead of using raisins you can do chocolate chips, any kind of nut, or even better, do a combination! Chocolate chips and nuts. So good!

Topping:

  • 1 tablespoon chopped almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • a dash of cinnamon

20130110_131301First you are going to take all of the wet ingredients and mix them together. Then mix in the dry ingredients. When I put the bananas in I’ll chop them up and put them in the mixture, this makes it not as smooth. If you’d rather have it be smooth, just get out a separate bowl to mash the bananas in, then add the bananas in with the wet ingredients.

Grease the pan and pour mixture in and set aside while you make the topping.

20130110_132534Put all of the ingredients into a bowl for the topping and mix together.

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Sprinkle topping onto the bread and then place in oven for 60 minutes. Now the waiting begins……

20130110_134107I like to do the dishes while I wait, it really helps the time pass. Sadly though, it didn’t take the full hour to clean the dishes, so I had to find something else to do while I waited……

20130110_142731Ta’ da! An hour later and it is finished! Mmmmm, it smells so good and it taste delicious!

Adventures in Portland!

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On Friday my brother, a friend of ours and I all journeyed into downtown Portland. We live about an hour away, so we don’t go there often. When we do, we’ll look for old buildings to photograph, new food carts to eat at and cute bookstores and shops to go into. It was freezing the whole time we were there, so I didn’t take too many pictures. Here’s just a few of them…

You can't really tell in this picture buut this building was a church at one time. There's a cross above the bottom windows.

You can’t really tell in this picture but this building was a church at one time. There’s a cross above the bottom windows.

I love old brick buildings!

I love old brick buildings! I really liked the different colors of brick on this particular building.

 

 

I loved the arcitecture on this reastraunt down there. It's so unique and beautiful!

I love the architecture on this restaurant called Mama Mia. It’s so unique and beautiful!

There was this neat little market on the corner of one of the streets in the Alphebet district and outside they had this wonderful display of flowers.

There was this neat little market on the corner of one of the streets in the Alphabet district and outside they had this wonderful display of flowers.

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The inside of the little corner market.

The inside of the little corner market.

My great find in Powell's Bookstore!

My great find in Powell’s Bookstore!

Now is that not adorable or what??

This is a picture of an adorable little pub in Portland. It was screaming to me to take a picture of it!

I didn’t get very many pictures this time, but hopefully the next time I’m down in the heart of Portland I can get more pictures to share with all of you. The city is so full of character and I can’t wait to go back and explore more of it!

It has to be the end of the world. The sky has been a bright, brilliant blue, with the sun out and shining for the past 2 days straight. You would think that it was summer! Until you stepped outside and realized that it was 34 degrees fahrenheit. Then you’d remember that it’s winter in Oregon… Still, for the sun to be out like this in the middle of winter in Oregon is very un-normal.

There’s nothing I enjoy more than looking out of my bedroom window and seeing the goats on the farm behind the house, grazing on the green grass. The simplicity of living out in the country is quite nice. I love being able to go on walks and hikes around were I live and see all of God’s marvelous creation! I can walk the same route a hundred times and never get tired of seeing all that God has created. It seems like I notice new things every time. God is truly the most magnificent artist!

Well, I think I’m going to get all bundled up and go on a walk! I need to take advantage of some of the vitamin D beaming from the sky!

 

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
2 Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
4 Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.”

~Psalm 19:1-4

The Begining of a New Year

I’ve been thinking about how the new year, 2013 is just around the corner. It amazes me that once again, a whole year has gone by. It seems to fly so fast! While at the same time, it seems as if so much has taken place in this last year alone that there could be no way to tell someone all about it in a few paragraphs.

Every year is so different. Each year has its own new struggles, celebrations, surprises, disappointments, sorrows and joys. I’m glad though, that even with all the changes that take place in my life that I will always have one constant. That one constant is my Lord and Savior. He is never-changing, He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. That encourages me. To know that no matter what crazy things happen in life that my Lord will always be with me, leading and guiding me through this world and molding and shaping me into the woman that He wants me to be.

This year I won’t be starting the year with a list of things that I MUST accomplish. I realize that almost everything thing that happened in 2012 was not planned. I was not looking for 99.9% of the events that took place in my life, to take place. The majority of my hopes and wishes did not come true. Instead God opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities that I could have never imagined before. He changed some of my passions and desires and has made me see things from a different view. You could say that He’s made me see things through a different lens. I feel like with the end of high school coming up, I have been able to take the time to really ponder all that God has taken me through these past few years. I don’t know all of His reasons for why He did what He did, but I realize that He allowed everything in my life to happen for a reason. So instead of trying to plan out this next year and say to myself “Here’s a list of things that I have to do!”, I’m instead not going to make any plans. I will simply see where the Lord leads me. I have certain hopes and desires and things that I believe the Lord might be calling me to do, that doesn’t mean that it will all happen this year or in the ways and means that I had imagined it would.

I’m excited! I’m excited to see what this next year has in store for me. What adventures the Lord will take me on, who I’ll meet, where I’ll go, and what new and exciting things will be revealed to me.

“A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.” -Proverbs 16:9

Hello, my name is Emily, I am a sixteen years old, I am a Reformed Christian who loves photography, reading, cooking and serving others in the ways that God has gifted me. I am excited to post some of my thoughts on this blog and hope that you find my post, thought-provoking, encouraging, and entertaining. Above all of that, I hope you find my blog to be glorifying to God and a testament to how a young Christian should live.