Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Gluten-Free Coconut Chia Bars

This afternoon we were snowed in again, and so after I finished school with the kids I decided to make up a few healthy snacks to keep the restless crowd appeased.  And, thinking that I haven't added a new recipe to my site for a while, I thought I would try something new and see if the final product was worthy to share...and thankfully it was!  And if you like the mixture of sweet and salty like I do, you will flip for these really good for you goodies.

Here is what I used for this recipe:
  • 3 cups diced dates in gluten-free oat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups cashew pieces
  • 2 cups large flaked coconut (if using small flaked, cut it down to 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large food processor, put the dates, nuts, coconut and chia seeds.

Pulse the mixture until it is all uniformly chopped.

Slowly then add the coconut oil while the food processor is running.

In an oiled pan (using extra coconut oil, of course)... the mixture out evenly and then sprinkle with salt.

Set aside somewhere cool until you can easily cut into bars.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Trusting in God's Plan for Your Children

" For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."  Jeremiah 29:11

Snowed in on our farm this past week-end.  This was our driveway with 7+ feet on it.

When my boys were little, I used to fantasize about the day they would grow up and start lives of their own.  Now I know that may sound awful, but you have to realize that on top of battling my own issues with Candida, both boys also struggled with similar issues, thus living day-to-day in our home was a bit like walking through a mine field...not knowing where the next explosion was going to take place, but knowing it was only a matter of time.  Thankfully the Lord has now made those days just distant memories and the time I have with my boys each day are cherished, especially since the time I have left to enjoy with our oldest at home is drawing to an end...he is actually counting down the months he has left here until he leaves for trade school in Florida.

As you can imagine, and if you have ever been in this place of getting ready to launch one of your children out into the world, you know there is a lot of anxiety that comes along with this phase of parenting.  Daily I find thoughts come to mind that have me questioning everything I have done and/or taught my son, all the way back to when he was even too small to walk.  And, I believe if I were left to my own devices, parenting as it is would surely be my one way ticket towards becoming a certified basket case!  But thankfully, I am not alone in this venture and Jesus is the Rock on which I must put my trust for this child and all that He has planned for his life. (The same can be said for my other children too.)

From very early on in the parenting process I learned how important it was to trust in Jesus.  I especially had to make a conscious effort to remind myself about what His promises said about His ability to work out those promises in our family...the things He was "working out for good" as we chose to believe in Him and His eternal and saving work in our lives.

Readily, I admit, I had days where doubt about those promises were stronger than my faith to believe otherwise.  But small faith, and the HUGE steadfast nature of Jesus, always kept on showing us the diamonds He was making out of once seemingly hopeless situations, and thus this was how He worked amongst us to increase our faith, with each promise revealed and answered in His perfect way and in His perfect time.

It is with these past fulfilled promises and thus my mind flooded with the many times God has been faithful in bringing the members of our family through all sorts of seemingly hopeless or difficult circumstances, that I find myself daily entering into prayer and my morning studies of the book of Luke.

I love how Luke goes back to the beginning of the lives of Jesus and John the show that their lives were never a product of random events.  Rather God had a plan for each man from the that involved bringing Him glory apart from how the world looked at the product of their lives.  He knew what He was working out in their lives and what needed to happen along the way to bring His purposes together.  And, He did not leave them or their families to figure things out on their own.  Instead His instructions were straightforward, filled with love, and perfectly timed so that they were able to weather all the trials that could have, apart from Him, torn them and their life purposes apart.

Also, in reading through these earlier chapters of Luke while going through all of these changes at home, I have been particularly impressed with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.  These mothers showed faith in God and the plans He had for their children that make my faith look like shifting sand.  What I have realized more and more as this lesson of parenting has been unfolding in my life, is less of my need to pray for God's favor to be on the lives of my children, and more of my own need for greater faith in what God has already planned to do in each of their lives.

In the end, trusting in God's plans and that they are best for my children, especially as they leave home and start lives of their own, is the biggest test of my faith so that will have me on my knees all the more as I look out into the unknown and watch in expectant wonder at the work He has purposed for each of them.

"You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."  Isaiah 26:3

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sourdough Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

This is a recipe I made some time ago (OK, it was before Christmas) but now that I am finally finding time to post, I thought I would share it. 

And, as you can see by the pictures below, I made some small loaves and a few normal sized ones.  This recipe works great in any are only limited by your creativity and time.  And also note that the reason the cinnamon needs to be sprinkled in the roll of the loaf instead of being mixed into the dough is because cinnamon has natural anti-bacterial qualities and if mixed in it would inhibit the growth of the yeast.

Mix together and let sit, covered, overnight:
  • 2 cups sourdough starter
  • 2 cups water, heated to lukewarm
  • 3 cups milk, heated to lukewarm
  • 1 Tablespoon yeast
  • 8 cups flour, hard white

In the morning, divide the above into 2 batches and then to each batch add:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 warmed honey
  • 4 1./2 cups flour, hard white
  • 1 cup raisins 
 Knead together

Let rise in warm place

Divide into 6 pieces

Roll out, sprinkle with cinnamon, then roll up and place in oiled bread pan

Let rise again

Bake at 375 for 35 minutes