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Smorgasbord

Definition of SMORGASBORD

1
: a luncheon or supper buffet offering a variety of foods and dishes (as hors d’oeuvres, hot and cold meats, smoked and pickled fish, cheeses, salads, and relishes)
2
: an often large heterogeneous mixture : mélange
(Thank you, Merriam-Webster online…)
Also:

Examples of SMORGASBORD

  1. <every day the director has to first deal with a smorgasbord of problems before he can begin filming>

Origin of SMORGASBORD

Swedish smörgåsbord, from smörgås open sandwich + bordtable

First Known Use: 1879
(again, credit here shall go to Merriam-Webster, here:
Why do I start with this crazy word of Scandinavian origin?  Well, growing up, when we had a lot of leftovers to eat, my Mom would tell us that it was Smorgasbord night…meaning time to eat all the leftovers in whatever conglomeration they come.  Sidenote:  it was my Dad’s favorite meal.  He loved eating leftovers.  When they were heated and put in front of him.  Ahem (Is this a male thing?  Because honestly, my sweetie will also be glad to eat leftovers once they are heated and on a plate smelling delicious, but in the fridge in a container, they do nothing for him.  Funny. Random.  Moving on.)
Welcome to your Smorgasbord blog!  I just thought I’d throw out a few things that made me smile this week.  That’s all. =-)
One:  If you follow my blog, you know that we did not have a totally traditional Thanksgiving, so we made the little bits of a traditional Thanksgiving meal throughout the season…and early this week, I just finished the homemade and healthy Hallelujah Acres version of Green Bean Casserole.  It was YUM.  What it leaves out is the Cream of Mushroom soup, but you would never know it! There are mushrooms in it for sure, and yes, even the French’s fried onions, as they have minimal ingredients.  Check out this much healthier version of an old fave on their site:
Two:  I have been reading “Sweet Deception” by Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Kendra Degen Pearsall for awhile now; it is a non-fiction book that mainly concerns the origins and problems of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, nutrasweet, splenda, etc, but it also delves into issues of the FDA and Big Pharma.  It has taken me awhile to read, because admittedly, it’s a lot of information and does not always have me on the edge of my seat.  I am still really glad  that I read it, and I highly recommend it!  Last night, though, one quote from the book totally spoke to me, and I was not expecting it:
“My conscience is formed by the voice of Christ speaking internally to me.  That’s what the conscience is:  it’s the voice of God speaking to each and every one of us about what’s right and what’s wrong.  I knew what was right.  If I walked away from that, nobody else would have to do anything.  I’d be beating myself up because my conscience would condemn me.  So, yes, faith plays a part in everything that I do.  It’s not saying I’m a saint, because I’m not.  But I can’t separate who I am from my religious faith.  It’s all part of the same person.”
Dr. David Graham, the “whistle-blowing FDA physician who testified before the Senate, in the wake of the Vioxx catastrophe, about the critical flaws in the FDA” on whether or not his faith had to do with his decision to testify.
I ask you, does that speak to you, too?
Three:  Raw Veggie Cereal is my new favorite cold cereal.  I love cold cereal.  I do.  And let’s just say that even the healthiest ones out there are still super-processed, unless you know how to make Buckwheat Krispies, which I do, but they have a distinct flavor that I don’t really want to have every day.  (I also love hot cereals, but that is not the point right now. snicker snort.)
For me, veggies at breakfast usually come in the form of A) blended into a smoothie–which is not always what I am longing for in the cold winter months, B) used in sweet salad in combo with fruit and nuts, or C) sauteed lightly before adding some egg to the skillet–great in the winter, but I am more of a sweet than savory breakfast kind of girl.  (Frittatas are awesome at lunch and dinner, though!)
I happened upon this link recently and thought, well, that sounds intriguing…a bunch of veggies, some fruit, and some nuts all mixed together making a “raw” cereal?  And I wondered about the taste when I saw that broccoli and cauliflower were among the ingredients…but let me assure you— THIS STUFF IS YUMMY.  I mean, mainstream flavor yummy, not that-chick-drinks-green-smoothies-yummy…you know what I mean.  I would never have guessed by the taste that there were some usually (dare I say it?) pungent veggies in there!  But processed with apples, pecans, and carrots, topped with coconut flakes, almond milk and cinnamon, and this stuff has raw-nutrient-deliciousness-that-tastes-like-cereal all over it!!!  And no sweetener needed!  CRAZY.
So, go try ya’ some…I dare you.  It made about 3 heaping 1 cup servings, I found, and I topped each with 1 Tbsp coconut, a dash of cinnamon and just enough almond milk to make it look like a bowl of cereal.
Ps…the blog site is hosted by Candace Cameron Bure, but the author of that post is Janelle of Comfy in the Kitchen, if anyone else happens to follow those blogs…I found both of them through Darlene Schacht of The Time-Warp Wife blog (see side panel)…all have great blogs to follow!!!  In fact, here is a post from Darlene that I adored this week (it was timely, you know…):
(and ladies, so you know…it’s not tips on how to WIN…it’s tips on how to love…good stuff!!!)
Finally, (Four) I loved this quote from Oswald Chambers:
“Believe God is always the God you  know Him to be when you are nearest to Him.”
So wonderful.  I so needed that.  For when I am nearest to my Lord, I am the girl who twirls around in her backyard with happiness.  I feel safe.  I can talk freely with Him.  I feel approved.  Calm.  Joyous.  Giddy. Yes, all at the same time.  So, no matter how I am actually feeling in a real time moment, I can believe that God is still the same God with whom I feel those glorious emotions.  He is still looking at me the same way.  He is still protecting me the same way.  He is still loving me the same way.   That has not changed.  Whatever my circumstances, I can remember that and hold on to it!  And it certainly gets me through to the next moment…

Me, in St. Louis, Open to His Grace (with Pinocchio, of course!)

I want to end this post with one of my most favorite scriptures.  So fitting no matter what your journey this week or next has been or will be.  Random? Focused? Busy? Slow?  Guess what God says–
“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Exodus 33:14
Hold on to Him, and don’t let go…He will guide you the entire way; He will see you through the journey.  He promised.
Much love to you all,
Robyn
Ps…what spoke to you this week?  What spoke to you from this post?  Feel free to leave a comment below!  (I will be off-the-grid for a little while, so-to-speak, but I will love checking them out when I re-enter techno world!)

What’s on my Bookshelf, Pt 1…& Fun Feet Give-a-way!

Well.  It has been a little longer than I anticipated to get back here!  I have been overcoming a slight cold that led to some ear infection and ultimately, a ruptured eardrum, just to be factual…the details of the drama of the last 2 weeks are too icky and no fun to relate, so let’s just say…I am still resting when I can and trying to get back to “normal” in a  balanced way…meanwhile, I am, at best, getting used to the “extra instruments” in my right ear that come with having a hole there.  Honky-tonk piano, anyone?  Alien autotune?  How about an out-of-tune harpsichord?  It seems at any moment, I get to hear a few more sounds that the average Joe or Jill…At least it makes life even more interesting as a professional singer….but ANYWAY…

Truly, I have been praising God for His supernatural favor even and especially in this trial.  There have certainly been many little incidences where I can see His love and protection, even while the world would say I was at my worst…so, it’s all good.  Cuz He’s ALL GOOD, amen?!?

Today I am starting a blog series called “What’s on my Bookshelf?” where I will be talking about the various things I am reading at the moment…it will definitely come in parts, though I will not commit to the blogs being consecutive!  You just never know what life is gonna throw at ya’, so I choose to go with the flow in at least this area…=-)  (It’s a good thing, since I meant to write this particular post a week and a half ago…that is, before I came down with whatever-it-was…)

Something you should know about me: I love books.  Always have.  I love fiction, I love self-help, I love inspirational, I love non-fiction, I love biographies, etc, etc.  On any given day, I would guarantee you that I have a minimum of 4 books “cracked open” that I am switching back-and-forth on, depending on my mood.  Usually at least one fiction, one edifying, and/or one educating, not to mention my ongoing devotional and Bible choices…

As a yoga teacher, I am constantly learning more about yoga via books.  Sometimes the books are about a famous teacher’s method or style of yoga, sometimes they are about breathwork and meditation, sometimes they are about the lifestyle that goes with it (according to the author).  As a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance, I actually HAVE to continue my education in this way (among others) to continue being registered, and I am actually quite thankful for that.  I also always have a few yoga magazines partially read, waiting to be finished, laying around my nightstand.

I like fiction for when I need to escape or DON’T want to think too hard…whether secular or Christian.  Usually they center on some interest of mine: a place, a time, a lifestyle, a country, a language, what-have-you…

And there is usually something else educational or thought provoking—-not necessarily self-help, but something that teaches me more in depth on a subject.

Finally, though, the most important book (or books) on my proverbial bookshelf?  My bible.  Ok, bibles.  I like to compare versions.  I like to study.  I like to revel in the amazing words and meanings.  So, let’s just start there…

There are bibles all over my house, really, so I am just going to discuss the ones sitting on my nightstand shelves. Typically I have an NIV (New International Version) Bible, an Amplified Bible, and The Message Bible.  The NIV, for those who don’t know, is probably the most commonly used “standard” version.  It is not so formal or high language as the King James version, but it is also not necessarily a contemporary language version, either.  Kind of right there smack in the middle of it all…So, I often look at it first, to read the Bible verses as I have heard them most of my life before I compare them to a different version.

The Amplified Bible has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  It has this wonderful way of expounding on the meanings that could be meant or conveyed for various words (based on the original Hebrew or Greek), so you can really get a thorough/deeper view of what is meant by what you are reading!  For instance, typically if one were to recite to you a “regular” version of John 10:10, it would sound something like “I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly.”  Ok, pretty cool.  Thank You, Lord Jesus, because we are so grateful for that!

But here is what the Amplified Bible says: ” I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, til it overflows).”  Wow!  We don’t just have our lives because of Jesus, we are entitled as His followers to enjoy them, too!  And, a LOT.  Overflowing wonderfulness….wow, wow, wow!  Or often, when the word “blessed” is used in a verse, it says “blessed (happy, to be envied)”.  Doesn’t that just give you  SUCH a better picture!?!  So, I love to use this bible as I study…

When I TEACH, however….

I most often use the Message bible.  I do use the other versions as well, but most often, my class scriptures are from The Message.  Why?

I was introduced to the Message bible while doing my yoga teacher training.  I liked how it said things, sure, but I was still a major devotee of the Amplified.  However, my teachers certainly emphasized how it put things in such a way that was great for a class–especially when your students are currently relaxing and centering themselves with eye pillows over their eyes, it’s nice to keep things as easy and simple to understand, without too many words to complicate their meditation and stillness…..so, I looked into purchasing one.  It wasn’t until I learned WHY it was written that I became totally gung-ho…

The author, Eugene Peterson, is a pastor and a scholar, among many other cool things…feel free to look him up on the internet…but he didn’t start as those things.  He began as a teacher of Hebrew and Greek.  When he began pastoring, he noticed that people in his congregations either knew next to nothing about the bible, or they had been reading it for years and  it somehow had gone dry and boring for them…reduced to trite sayings and cliché’s, perhaps.  (Now, here is where I DO want to say that our RELATIONSHIP with our Savior is an ongoing thing, and if we are feeling dry, perhaps we need to dig a bit deeper?…but I totally understand what Mr. Peterson is talking about…)  Here is a portion of what he writes in the Foreword of my edition of the Message bible:

“I lived in two language worlds, the world of the Bible and the world of Today.  I had always assumed they were the same world.  But these people didn’t see it that way.  So out of necessity I became a “translator” (although I wouldn’t have called it that then), daily standing on the border between two worlds, getting the language of the Bible that God uses to create and save us, heal and bless us, judge and rule over us, into the language of Today that we use to gossip and tell stories, give directions and do business, sing songs and talk to our children.

And all the time those old biblical languages, those powerful and vivid Hebrew and Greek originals, kept working their way underground in my speech, giving energy and sharpness to words and phrases, expanding the imagination of the people with whom I was working to hear the language of the Bible in the language of Today and the language of Today in the language of the Bible.”  He did that for 30 years with one congregation and  was eventually asked to write a Bible that expressed what he had been sharing with them.

I also love this quote:

“When Paul of Tarsus wrote a letter, the people who received it understood it instantly, When the prophet Isaiah preached a sermon, I can’t imagine that people went to the library to figure it out. That was the basic premise under which I worked. I began with the New Testament in the Greek — a rough and jagged language, not so grammatically clean. I just typed out a page the way I thought it would have sounded to the Galatians.” (from Wikipedia:Clint Kelly. “Eugene Peterson: The Story Behind The Message”, Use of Italics, mine.)

I believe it was that quote which sent me rushing off to buy my own copy…imagine!  The Bible written with language that expressed the emotion and passion behind the words, in a way that might make as much sense to me emotionally as reading a heartfelt letter from a friend or laughing at a joke someone tells!

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I believe the Bible is the Living Word.  I can get a new revelation from a scripture I have read many, many times, each time I read it…and it doesn’t matter which version I am using…

But it is nice to know that the Message version is not just some “watered-down” version of the Bible as I have heard some suggest who have not actually looked into it or know its origins.  In fact, it is right on the money.  The real meaning with the real passion.

For fun, here is another description of why the Message was written:

http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Message-MSG-Bible/

I do compare the verses of different bibles often…and, there are times when I like the NIV best or another version over the Message…I just leave that up to what the Spirit is revealing to me at that moment!

However, here are a couple of my faves from the Message:

For instance, the NIV of Matthew 11:28-30 is classic, and I love it:

   28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I ALSO love this MSG version, though:

28-30“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Learning how to “take a real rest” and “the unforced rhythms of grace” certainly appeal to this driven, type-A personality, let me just tell you….
Or, how about John 10:10, since we already mentioned it above?:

I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

Now, I will tell you right now, my favorite version of that is still the Amplified…BUT, I do love the comparison of Real life and Eternal life…more and better than I have ever dreamed of??!?!  Wowza.  So, I basically cannot even begin to comprehend or imagine how amazing my life is intended to be according to my Lord’s standards…how cool is THAT?!  Both the life I am living here right now, and the future life in heaven…or both the natural life I am living practically, and my Spiritual life that is also happening right now in the heavenly realms…THAT is part of my inheritance in Christ…and all I need to do is believe and step into it!  So….

Joshua 24:15

But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

Or the Msg version says, As for me and my family, we will worship God. =-)

(Stay tuned for future blogs in the series, “What’s on My Bookshelf?” for fun reads, inspirational reads, things you might wanna’ pass on (maybe?), and things that will teach and reach you!)

This week at Vessels of Clay Yoga, we have been considering  God as our comfort, our refuge, our Answer, our Help…

Dear Lord, help us to give up our fears and anxieties and give ourselves fully to you.

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

Deuteronomy 33:27

Psalm 20:6 “That clinches it–help’s coming, an answer’s on the way, everything’s going to work out.”

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Finally,  it’s time for our Fun Feet Give-a-way!!!

The winner of this week’s give-a-way will receive the adorable pair of crazy toe socks of their choosing (from the photo), which can even be used to do yoga! 

Comment below to enter; need an idea of what to say?  Maybe you’d like to share what your favorite version of the Bible is…and/or perhaps include a favorite verse?  Or would you like to share your reading style? (one book at a time, no distractions, or multiple books going off-and-on, or just magazines thank you much, or are-you-crazy-I-only-read-blogs, etc, etc…) And/or say where you would choose to wear your crazy toe socks if you win!!!

Good Luck!!!  I will draw a winner’s name from the bunch early next week!  May God bless and keep you this week as you cast your fears and anxieties up to Him and lay back in His everlasting arms….

Yumminess can come in many forms….

Yumminess can come in many forms. Yes, it refers to flavor, but does that have to only apply to food and drink? I think not. Flavor is needed to spice up life in general! As Christians, we are called to BE Salt and even to season our conversations with it. (Matthew 5:12-14 {NIV and The Message both!}, Mark 9:50, Luke 14:34, Colossians 4:6), I have heard a few interpretations on that verse, some saying that Salt makes people thirsty, drawing others to Christ. Others have said Salt brings out the flavor–whether it brings out the flavor in the other person or the one who is Salty, both seem like a great result to me! It is your own personal flavor that makes you who you are, and Who God created you to be. There is also the thought that Salt–the good stuff, mind you, not the over-processed and laden-ed with chemicals kind– is made up of Trace Minerals that we need…so it is FOUNDATIONAL to life.

–and yes, I know we can over-do the salt thing as an actual flavoring.  If you are on a low sodium diet, there are lots of healthy alternatives that you have probably looked into already, including celery salt, salt subs made from potassium (I think?), as well as Dulse flakes, and Bragg’s Amino Acids, to name a few.

–We can possibly even over-do our own personal Flavor of salt and wear out our friends and family with our “me”-ness…so we do need to keep turning our focus to Jesus and asking Him to help us sense when our Flavor is overwhelming our loved ones…but I digress…(one of the many attributes of my own flavor that I need to watch!) And luckily, there is Grace…again, check out Colossians 4:6.  Love it.

So.  Back to Yumminess.

This week my brand of Yumminess to share will come in both physical and spiritual forms…tastes, peeps, loves, and tastes again…shall we?

This week was my anniversary week.  I have been married for 7 years to a wonderful, wonderful (can I say that again?) wonderful man!  I was asked if we have experienced the 7 year itch…I would say that if we did, it was EARLY in our marriage, when things were quite rocky at times…but by the Grace of God and His leading us to a few workshops as well as the commitment we have made, we are stronger than we have ever been, in every way, and I am so grateful.  We have chosen to realize that at times it may be yucky, and we can say, “hey.  It is getting yucky.  Since I am not leaving, and you are not leaving, we have to choose either to live yucky the rest of our lives, or to fix it and live not-yucky again…”  Guess what we have chosen?  So, my first yummy flavor is love, marriage, hard work, fun, and love again and always, with my sweet baboo….Thank You, darling man.

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Flavor #2:  Olive Oil…Devo Olive Oil, to be exact. And Vinegars.  I love ’em!  One day a couple of years ago (or just one?), I talked my hubby into going into a Devo Olive Oil store with me; they had samplings of many Oils and Vinegars.  My husband does NOT like to sample.  I could repeat that thirty times, that is how much he despises sampling.  Somehow, I convinced him (probably with the help of their descriptions and flavors) to sample, and away we went!  I cannot imagine how many he tried that day!  As he was embarking on a healthier lifestyle, he went in and bought a sampler pack a few weeks later, as well as a big bottle of Sicilian Lemon Balsamic, our favorite from the sampling day (do you know how much we love Italy and all things hinting of Italian?  Type “Italian” into the search window of this blog, and a few posts will come up…).

That was over a year ago…we are almost through with the sampler pack (by just a few drops, actually), but let me just say that we have been hoarding it a bit or it would have been gone in NO TIME! We finished the Lemon a few weeks ago…I finally let it go, as a wonderful friend of mine had gotten me some of the Blueberry Balsamic, and I felt free to move on…sigh.  Emotional attachment to food anyone? oops.  Thank You, Lord, for meaning more to me than food…but thank You also for yumminess!

Let me tell you something:  that Blueberry Balsamic?  amazing.  Like many of their fruit flavored balsamics, this stuff can go straight on a whole grain pancake with no other sweeteners needed, not to mention a salad!  In fact, I have been eating green salads for breakfast often since having that flavor in my kitchen!   A handful or two of greens, some pumpkin seeds or almonds, and 2 tsp of Blueberry Balsamic, and I am good to go! Sometimes I add a teaspoon of flax oil, just for added creamy buttery goodness and little bit of Omega-3…

Breakfast Salad of Spinach, Almonds, 2 tsps Devo Blueberry Balsamic, 1 tsp Flax oil, salt to taste

Another favorite of mine?  Using vinegar on popcorn.  Seriously!  I especially love using the Devo Honey Ginger White Balsamic mixed with a little EVOO (maybe a Devo flavor, or standard!) or some Flax Oil, and pour THAT over my popcorn!  So, so, so yummy, and you have cut out at least HALF the fat you normally used on your popcorn, if not more!  I dare you to try it.  A little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and so good.  I cannot stand dry popcorn, but I don’t want to load up on yucky fats, so this is how I Flavor my life in that regard…Thank you Devo for so many great products!

Popcorn with a Traditional Balsamic and EVOO; I am out of the Honey Ginger White, but I just ordered some more Sicilian Lemon AND the Natural Butter Olive oil to try with popcorn!

You can check out the Honey Ginger White Balsamic in the 9- or 16-pack samplers with a whole bunch of other amazing flavors…if I list them all, I will start drooling, so maybe you should just go browse the website…The other flavors I have mentioned come in 3 sizes of bottles, so you can choose what fits your lifestyle and budget best!  Plus if you go to the website and get on their mailing list, they often have links and promotions where by “liking” them on facebook, following on Twitter, etc, you can get discounts off the products!  What is not to like about that?!?  So, follow my instructions: Right-click the link below to open in new tab (you don’t want to totally navigate away from this blog, do you?), and check out all that is Amazing and Flavorful at Devo Oil!!!

http://www.devooliveoil.com/

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Amazing flavor in my life #3?  My darling yoga peeps.  Got some more pics for you of my sweeties and their accomplishments…keep in mind, though, what I am REALLY PROUD of them for is not just some new and challenging pose (some were even doing jumpbacks from crow to plank…and we all LOVE flower!) –which is worth the praise for sure!— but their ever increasing ability to chill out and relax at both the beginning and end of class.  So wonderful.  If you could only see how they lay back and rest in their Savior’s arms and let it go…It makes me so very happy for them.

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Final Flavor this week…We are getting closer to fall, y’all!  I know, I know, we still have this holiday weekend to get through and it looks like it may still be hot as blazes for awhile yet, but with school starting up again, I keep thinking about the smell of a number 2 pencil and the crackle of fall leaves!  So when I saw this recipe show up in my e-mail box, I just had to share it…and you can eat it cold OR warm (or hot, if you aren’t trying to preserve the “rawness”), so you can have it even when it is still 101 degrees outside…ahem.

This comes from the Hallelujah Acres website, of the Hallelujah Diet book, etc.  I highly recommend the book…it has wonderful Biblical principles, testimonies of better health through a change in diet and lifestyle, recipes, and more! Slight warning/note:  they do promote some of their own brand products within the book, which I do not think are always necessary…other than that, I really think they are a good company with a good foundation, and this book has a balanced approach to raw food-ism, which includes intake of cooked food!  Don’t be scared!

Raw Harvest Pumpkin Soup

Submitted By: Rhonda Malkmus

This raw soup rivals any chilled soup from the fanciest of restaurants! Try it for Thanksgiving… your guests will be impressed!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups raw pumpkin OR butternut squash (peeled and diced)
  • 2 ½ cups distilled water
  • 1 orange (peeled, quartered, and seeded)
  • 1 red bell pepper (quartered and seeded)
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels (thawed)
  • 1 tsp raw unfiltered honey
  • ½ avocado (pitted)
  • ½ tsp Celtic or Himalayan salt (or to taste)
  • ¼-inch piece of ginger (peeled)
  • 1 garlic clove (optional)
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a Vita-Mix or other powerful blender and process until creamy.
  2. Divide into 4 soup bowls and garnish with raw pumpkin seeds and fresh thyme.

Organic ingredients are always recommended.

To print the recipe alone:

http://www.hacres.com/recipes/cards/raw-harvest-pumpkin-soup/print

So, I pray that you all have a wonderfully Flavorful weekend in every way!  How do YOU flavor your life?  comment below….

The entire breakfast: Sweet Spinach Salad, Sprouted Millet Porridge with Chopped Figs, and a little half-caf coffee with Almond Milk and Truvia

My Amazon review of “The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast” by Kristen Feola…and some other stuff…=-)

The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast
Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Nourishing in every way! Heart, soul, mind, and body…=-),May 10, 2011
By
Happy Girl “Happy Girl”
This review is from: The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast (Paperback)

If I could describe this book in one word, it would be WONDERFUL. Meaning, full of Wonder(s)…miracles on the plate, in my mouth, in my mind, and in my heart…

Could one buy this book just for the 21 days of devotions inside and be pleased? Yes.

Could one buy this book just for the amazing, natural, unprocessed and tasty recipes inside and be pleased? Yes.

However, with both resources at your fingertips, why would you only utilize one portion?!?

I will not go into the long story of how this book came into my hands, but trust me, that was a miracle in itself. I literally heard about it on a Saturday and won it on a radio show the next Wednesday…having only found out about the radio show the night before…but again, I’ll save you the details. Just know that it was evidence to me that I was indeed supposed to do this.

I am already a pretty healthy eater. I am a professional singer/dancer and a Christ-centered yoga teacher who promotes the ideas of whole foods, juicing, raw food, small lists of ingredients on labels, etc…but I do live in this world and indulge in the “other stuff” from time to time.

With all of that activity, you might expect me to look like one of those fitness cover models, but I don’t…in fact, over the last few years, I have accumulated and kept that “last 10 pounds” so many are plagued with…

I wanted this book so that I could really HEAR what God was trying to say to me about not only my habits, but perhaps my Christ-centered yoga business, my family, or anyone else that maybe I was needing to pray for! I did know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I needed to tune in.

I heard the author on the radio show and was touched about her description of fasting as an outward activity just as much or more so than inward. It’s not just some diet you go on, and it’s not just something you do as a method hoping to get some miracle or revelation from God…It is something you do as an act of Devotion, perhaps in order to bless others through intercessory prayer, or to really draw closer to God in your dependence on Him through this time…and then, yes, I would say it is not unusual for some kind of “breakthrough” to happen in your life! But rest assured, it is the kind of breakthrough you need, not just what you want…but the funny thing is, I would bet just about anything to say that by the time you receive “it”, you realize how much it is EXACTLY what you need AND want…(Funny how a loving Father likes to do that…)

But back to the book!
The pictures are beautiful; the devotions are RIGHT ON. During my 21 days, I did not have a single bad recipe. There is an optional meal plan provided, but there are so many recipes included in the book that you can switch things out for other things that look more appealing to you. There are even recipes never used in the meal plan…and one thinks, wow! I can’t wait to use those later, too!

The book is divided very well. The first section explains the different kinds of fasting there are, what kind this is (Partial food fast), and why one goes on a fast.
SIDEBAR: You will not go hungry on this fast. There is more than enough food, and it is satisfying. You are only fasting from certain types of foods, not food altogether.

The Second section is called “Focus” and contains the daily devotions, as well as sidebar testimonies of the experiences other Daniel fasters have had. Kristen Feola obviously seeks the Lord in her own life, is a human being with typical daily challenges, and allows God to change her with each one…and in the process, He has used her pen and paper to not only share her journey but encourage others who are also traveling His path! 1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds us that no temptations, trials, daily problems will we come across that are not “common to man”…meaning we all go through it and can encourage each other!

The Third section contains the recipes and meal plan.
Let’s talk about the food, shall we? Yum. Yum. Yum.

I honestly made so much food in the first week that I was able to extend the leftovers through the following weeks to a certain degree by putting half in the freezer. I have a daily habit of making green smoothies, so that was one full meal I did not need to make, but honestly, there is plenty of food here!
My all time favorite? The Baked Oatmeal…who would have thought a baked oatmeal square sweetened only with the dry fruit within could be so scrumptious?! I literally had my last serving in the freezer for a week, because I was putting off the bittersweet feeling of it being my last serving! Ha! Like I couldn’t make more!

The Tuscan Soup is very good, as is the Black Bean Chili Bake. My husband loves both soup and chili far more than I do, so I shared (though I like them a lot!). He couldn’t stop raving! They are hearty, filling, and yummy.

Of the Savory dishes, I really, really, really, really, really, loved the Asparagus-Mushroom saute’!!! Again, so yum…I confess, I was kind of glad my hubby is not a fan of Asparagus so that I could be a little selfish…(that has to sound funny as I draw closer to God, huh…)

How could you not love something called Antipasto Pizza Pie! Nourishing, warm, satisfying.

The Mega Greek salad was such a great thing to have in the fridge and nosh on all week!!!

When I was beginning to miss “bread”, I made the Pineapple-Citrus muffins. They were awesome…I just ate my last one yesterday. I was admittedly “hoarding” it, again, silly fear of that “last one” feeling…and then I turn that over to God and say “Thank You for the great food and the opportunity to enjoy it again!” I did add a little salt to the muffins when I would eat them, as for my taste buds they seemed to need a little. (Not worried about that, as I have typically low blood pressure and my health care provider has given me the “all clear” on salt…)

Kristen Feola's beautiful picture of the Pineapple Citrus muffin

My last lil Pineapple Citrus muffin, having been in a ziploc bag in anticipation...

The smoothies are Scrumptious. Snickerdoodle smoothie and Strawberry-Banana smoothie are in the book, but I have also tried Feola’s plum-good smoothie and sweet spinach smoothie from her website, and they are amazing!  www.ultimatedanielfast.com

SIDEBAR: One of the reasons I wanted Feola’s book over others out there; she is soooo generous. Her website is chock full of these recipes! You can tell she is out there to help others, not just sell a book by holding out in the recipe department. The website also has her blog and lots of wonderful information…Go there, and be blessed by it! And then buy the book; you will be glad you did!

One day, I made the flatbread with cinnamon…it was so satisfying that I literally only ate that, while drinking some green juice I just made, for breakfast…and I was full and content! That is not like me. I typically want a “Capital B” breakfast…
Which leads me to the Nutty Fruit cereal. Again, total surprise at how full and satisfied I was. And also, soooo delicious.

I have just given my husband the grocery list of ingredients I need to make the Flatbread pizza tomorrow…I am very excited about that! I have been finished with the Daniel fast for over a week now, but I am still using the recipes..that is how good they are!

As for what I learned from God through this whole process, believe it or not, my “breakthrough” was a bunch of little things I had been hearing from Him all along, but not really plugging into…things that help me function in a more peaceful and productive manner (and it was like finally seeing the neon sign)…and prayers for very specific people.

And yes, I had some material breakthrough blessings as well! I am hoping to include my personal Daniel Fast notes and experiences on my blog in the next week or soooo…feel free to comment on my review if you would like to know where you can find that…=-)

One more thing, I do have to disagree with one reviewer: not all of the recipes are gluten-free, as some call for whole wheat flour. However, substitutions can be made…again, feel free to comment here if you would like suggestions on how.

Kristen Feola certainly has a heart for God and for His people, and I am so glad that she followed the call in her spirit to write the book and be used of God to help others. I do believe that God can and will speak to you through this book if you seek Him with your whole heart…He will be found; He promises!

To whomever is reading this review, I pray blessings and discernment about whether or not this book is for you…I can assure you, you will not regret its purchase! Allow yourself to hit the “re-set” button on your physical and spiritual life, and tune in to God and your body!

Have a blessed day!

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So, I pasted those pix in here…obviously they are not on Amazon…and I was not allowed to type in the website there, either, but I can do it here!  yay!

And truly, today I did prep to make the Flatbread pizza tomorrow… I have the dough resting in the fridge, and my Spinach-Artichoke dip is ready to be spread on the crust tomorrow when the time comes (and bonus!  I won’t be using it all on the crust, so guess who gets to have some Spin-Art with her gluten-free rice crackers!  Yesssss!)

Here is my fresh out of the oven Spin-Art:

I will not post the recipe here, but I will encourage you again to go to the website to get it, and have a look around!  It is amazing!!!  Be blessed by it, say Robyn sent ya, and go buy the book!

http://www.ultimatedanielfast.com/2009/09/day-5-last-night-feast.html

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Also, a sidebar!!!  While I was prepping for the Spinach-Artichoke dip, I was using my garlic press from Pampered Chef.  I love that thing!  I was also using my Pampered Chef measuring cups AND my oil spritzer, which is hands-down my favorite of all P.C. products…I love that I can put a healthy cooking oil in it and spray it onto my cooking dishes.  MUCH healthier than those store-bought things with propellants, etc.  All of that to say, if you don’t have a Pampered Chef Consultant yet, and would like one, please consider my friend Kristin Cartwright.  She has NO idea I am writing this, but I will probably send her a link right after!

Her website is WWW.PAMPEREDCHEF.BIZ/KRISTIN2010

Be blessed, today, ever’body!  I have another blog in my head that has been ITCHING to come out since Monday, but it will just have to wait…soon!

(Been saying that to myself a lot lately, but you know what?  Between doing 6 shows a week, exercising 5 times a week, doing my devotions, making healthy food, spending time with my husband, running a small-but-growing yoga business, and scheduling quiet time…well, you just have to make room for balance, you know?)  1 Peter 5:7…casting my cares on Him, and He will take care of me…

And He will do the same for you!  Keep Looking Up!

My Amazon Review of Reshaping It All

(here is a cut-and-paste of my recent review…followed by a picture…=-p )
Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Loving encouragement, NOT a tell-all or lofty impossibility,May 6, 2011
By
Happy Girl “Happy Girl”
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness (Paperback)

I am really enjoying this book. To be honest, I hesitated to buy it after I read a bunch of the reviews. Some made me want it more; some made me cautious. I had heard Candace Cameron Bure’ speak and found her to be genuine and sincere, but that was over a year ago, and I wondered if I had missed something? Some of the reviews make this book sound as if it is centered on her and how amazing she is and that she serves a god of discipline. I find that NOT to be the case…more on that in a moment.

I actually had the opportunity to her hear speak again LAST FRIDAY and was taking a friend, based on my previous experience. Once again, I was delighted with how genuine she is, how much she loves her Lord and Savior, and how deeply she feels that need for everyone to know Him…and delight in Him…and give their whole selves to Him…

I had just begun following her and the co-author, Darlene Schacht (a darling woman of God), on twitter a short time before, and right after hearing her speak last week, I saw that there was a “65 days to Reshaping It all” challenge beginning in a few days. That did it. Having heard her speak so wonderfully again, having considered this purchase for awhile, and having various other confirmations that this was resource I was supposed to get, I ordered from Amazon the very next day.

I am not disappointed.

I don’t know what other reviewers were referring to when they mention the book jumping around or not being well-written…I have not found that to be the case at all!!! Granted I have only read 3 chapters, but honestly, I think a writing style would be prevalent by now, and those remarks do not characterize what I am seeing.
I am seeing warmth, open-ness, and loving encouragement. Is it a sordid tell-all? No. Doesn’t need to be. Candace openly acknowledges faults, quirks, what have you…issues that are just as the Word says, “common to man” which we all share, so guess what? We can all relate. (and by the way, having faults does not make one less of a Christian or ruin their witness…God has used many “fallen” folks along the way! and we ALL are! That’s why we needed Jesus! and still do…)

Is it rocket science? No. Many of us already know in our hearts what she is saying, and maybe just needed it confirmed this one last time. or next 30 times. As far as nutritional advice, again, nothing majorly new here, if you have read anything about nutrition…moderation, whole foods, eating when you are hungry and abstaining when you are not…but the focus is on how our relationship with God can change us from the inside out and give us the power to stand in these areas!

So, if you are looking for a new diet book, or celebrity tell-all, or magic method to weight loss…this isn’t really it…or maybe it is. Depends on your perspective…
If you are looking to be changed from the inside out (and have that change be reflected in your health–physical, mental and spiritual), you must seek God first…and this book just may have the encouraging words that help you get there, or affirm that you are normal, or point you back to the Best Book of all…
If you have a good friend or sister to whom you often listen for loving advice, you know how to hear that…THAT is what this book is like…pull up a chair, have a cup of coffee or tea, and sit down for a chat with sister/friend Candace…maybe her story will help you!

Ps–there are helpful things like recipes, scripture references, practical tips at the end of each chapter. Also, yes, she has included fan letters and her responses, as well. One reviewer thought these were repetitive. Perhaps they are; I have only read 3…but here’s the deal: Candace says that she wrote this book because she kept receiving sooo many e-mails and letters asking her these questions, so clearly that falls in line with the purpose of this book- not as a “look at me and how great I am”, but as a validation of why the book needed to be written. So many of us struggle with the same things! be validated, friend. You are not alone, and there are many with whom you can bond and rise up from your trial! God will lift you up!

Get the book and enjoy.

PPS–as for discipline…yes, one can get obsessive. That is something we need to go to God about to protect ourselves from going out of balance. But discipline is necessary. Hebrews 12:11 “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. ”

Go for a harvest of righteousness and peace!

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A picture of me and one of my “Besties” (who first coined that term?  It has grown on me), Alana, waiting to hear CCB speak at the Women’s Rally at James River Assemble in Ozark!

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