Inspiring you to make healthy food and choices one step at a time

January 29, 2010

Dr. Roizen and Superbowl plans

It’s always best to get nutritional information from an expert and Dr. Roizen, co-author of You: the Owner's Manual is. My husband interviewed Dr. Roizen on his radio program, Peak Performance Radio from I thought I could just write the highlights in one post but there is so much great information that it’ll take a couple of posts. Here is the link for anyone who wants to listen to the whole interview, Go to past shows and find Roizen



Minor changes that you can make to reduce coronary heart disease by more than 80%...

1. Don’t smoke.
2. Have physical activity for 30 min. a day (as simple as walking)
3. Eat 5 servings (handfuls) of fruits and vegetables a day
4. Be 40 pounds or less overweight compared to what you’re supposed to weigh.

That sounds easy, right? But how often do we consistently do this? (Hint: Keep a food and exercise log to find out.)

The most amazing fact I’ve learned that has stuck with me everyday since I heard it is…

When we eat unhealthy foods like saturated fats and sugar, etc., we are switching on genes, RAS genes, that cause inflammation in the body for 3 to 21 days. Yes, that’s right… 3 to 21 days. When we eat bad food, it’s not over when it’s eliminated out of the body. It has your genes running around causing damage for up to 21 days, that’s 3 weeks. 

On the flip side, when you eat healthy foods it turns on GSTM1 proteins that kill the diseased cells that are causing inflammation for the same period of time - 3 to 21 days. 

Lest you think you can eat something bad and then right after eat something good to combat it, Dr. Roizen says it’s not “Let’s Make a Deal” with food. What you are eating is affecting you on a DNA level.

Your genetics are what you have in your body no matter what you do. You can either have those genes expressed (meaning come to fruition as disease) or you can live symbiotically with them not turning into the disease.

Ultimately, God is completely in control and he is the one who is the Author and Finisher of our Faith. I just find it interesting that He has given us so much information through the sciences and tests to find out we need to go back to a more biblical (old fashioned) way of eating. 

That’s all for now, but that should be enough to chew on for a while.
Superbowl is coming up with all the food that usually includes saturated fat, processed cheese, and prepackaged food. It’s a good thing you’ve read this so you can make better choices for you and your family. 

You can add a dish of fruit with whatever you have planned for your menu. Sometimes when we add fruit to a meal it’s a last minute “whatever’s available” choice. But if you strategically choose the right fruit that will complement your menu, it will be eaten. 

Our fruit of choice will be Mangos and Strawberries. Have them cut up to bite size pieces and serve with toothpicks. They will also serve as a sweet snack so make sure you have plenty. Buy your fruit no later than mid week for the weekend so it’ll be ripe and at its peak when you serve it. Mangos especially need time to ripen on the counter. Click here for step by step instructions on how to cut up mango.

Keep your strawberries in the frig and rinse right before you need them so they won’t get mushy. If, and that’s only if, you have any left, you can use them in a fruit bowl in the morning with your breakfast or freeze them on a cookie sheet to stick in a smoothie next day. 

In the 15 minutes it’ll take you to make a healthy addition to your Superbowl plans, you can be reassured that you are turning on disease fighting genes that’ll keep working for you up to 21 days. That’s getting a bang for your buck!

January 27, 2010

Strongman Chronicles

Once at church, a kind lady, who had just met my husband and learned that we were married, turned to me and said, “He’s your husband? You must live a Very Interesting Life.” That pretty much summed it up right then and there, my life with my Strongman. Well, now he’s on a new journey. He’s won the titles he wanted in Strongman – National and World Champion Heavy Weight Division in the over 40 year olds – and now sees no need to keep the extra bulk which served him so well in lifting the heavy weights.

His quest is to lose extra pounds while maintaining his strength and endurance to continue weight training. Why am I chronicling his quest? We need to do this together in order to succeed. My part is to plan the meals and see to it his nutrition will be at his best to accomplish this goal.

What is the plan? He’ll have a series of 30 day goals. The eating plan will consist of a mainly plant-based diet, supplemented with proteins like eggs, canned salmon, and lowfat plain organic yogurt. We’ll focus on raw and cooked vegetables with whole grains, psuedograins, and nuts, with limited gluten and dairy.

The part my husband plays (besides being a happy camper with the food) is to maintain his eating plan without veering when he’s on the road and to add a lot more cardio to his workouts. The challenge is that he’s 49 years old, and realizes that his body will fight him along the way, mentally as well as physically. That’s why he needs the Lord’s help, to feed his spirit with the Word of God and deny his flesh in ways that would defeat his purpose.

Goal for the first 30 days

Consistency – To be consistent with the eating plan and workout schedule is top priority.

How are we going to do this? A food and exercise log will help us track our progress, along with keeping a simple vision, plain and clear.

What about taking a 15-minute spread throughout the day to log what you eat and your exercise? You may not need to lose weight but tracking your food and exercise will give you an accurate assessment of what you’re actually putting in your mouth and how much exercise you’re getting or not getting. Our memory of what we eat is a lot more biased than paper. Let me know how you do…

“The person who makes a success of living is the one who sees his goal steadily and aims for it unswervingly. That is dedication.”
-Cecil B. De Mille (1955)

January 25, 2010

Cherished Chai Tea Latte

During these cold months, it’s easy to turn to Hot Chocolate as a beverage to warm your body. We did, and while it was a nice treat, we like a beverage that we can have more often. By using a mindset, as much as a method, called “examine and exchange”, we consciously make better choices for what we put in our body.

First, we examine what ingredients could use a nutrient boost. We don’t need to have the mindset to eliminate ingredients, just exchange them. Sometimes when we grow up in a “meat and potatoes” or prepackaged food environment, it’s easy to look at healthful eating as eliminating all the “good stuff”. We don’t have to do that; it’s all in exchanging for a better, more nutritious, good tasting option.

The worst choice for warm drinks is going for one of the packaged hot chocolate mixes. So those definitely need to be exchanged with something homemade. The ingredients to the Hot Chocolate we make occasionally are: unsweetened cocoa, sugar, milk and vanilla extract. A minimal change that we’ve made is to use organic sugar and organic milk. So for an occasional treat this is a good start. While I don’t have a problem with cocoa, some have problems concerning their skin breaking out. The concerns with white sugar are evident and the limiting of dairy in one’s diet is becoming a growing concern due to the acidic nature that dairy produces in the body.

Now that we’ve examined our ingredients, what can we exchange? One alternative is to make a Hot Carob drink. It uses carob and raw honey in exchange for the cocoa and sugar. We also like to exchange Almond milk (brand: Almond Breeze) for the milk. While some like to exchange milk for soy milk, we personally do not. (More about that later)

One of my favorite exchanges though, is a Chai Tea Latte. Most of the time when you get a chai tea latte at the coffee shops, it’s from a mix filled with sugar, oils and chemicals. You can easily make this at home with healthful ingredients and a more full-bodied “mouth feel” than tea alone. This recipe was adapted from our good friend, Jessica. Originally, the recipe called for individual spices with black tea bags but, I really like all the flavors that an actual chai tea bag offers and it uses less ingredients, which is a time saver.


Chai Tea Latte

4 chai tea bags (Celestial Seasonings preferred)
2 cups water
Boil the water and let tea bags steep for 5 min.

2 cups milk or almond milk (to lower dairy intake)
Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally

When heated, add
2-3 tbs. raw honey (according to taste)

In less than 15 minutes, you have a spicy, creamy, sweet drink that will warm your body while still nourishing it. This makes 3-4 servings. If it’s just for you, you can refrigerate what’s left and heat again later, or refrigerate half and freeze half in ice cubes to make a chai tea latte frappuccino for tomorrow. Sometimes I even double the recipe to do this.

You can use all the different chai tea flavors that they offer now to bring variety to your beverages, hot or cold. (Know that the black tea will be stronger than the green or white tea varieties.) Feel free to share them with a friend.

Who could you think of now that could use warm company as well as a warm drink?

This post is linked to:

Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

Blessed with Grace

January 23, 2010

Roasted Vegetables- The Basics

Vegetables are a mainstay of a healthy eating plan. They supply antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber all wrapped up in a low calorie package. Eating them raw is best but not always practical. The USDA recommends 9-13 servings a day. That’s not easy; it takes a conscious effort.

One thing’s for sure though, we can start with having a lot more variety! Vegetables have all the colors of the rainbow, every shape and texture, along with strong to mild flavors. Grocers and produce stands have more to choose from than ever before. The problem with most of our meal plans is that we have no variety. It’s the same ol’ vegetables day in and day out, no wonder we get tired of them.

Let’s start with a plan of adding more veggies at dinner. Go to your local produce stand (or grocer) and get one vegetable to add each evening. Don’t worry about the amount or if it’s organic; organic is best but just begin with what you can do today. No fancy recipes needed either.

When you get home, take 15 minutes and soak them in a sink filled with water and ¼ cup apple cider vinegar. This gets the dirt, bacteria, and pesticide residue off as much as possible. Rinse and let dry or wipe with towel. (Mushrooms should be brushed off and not rinsed.) When you have the produce already rinsed, it’s a real time saver for later and you’re more likely to quickly “grab and add” to the meal.

The idea is to keep the cooking simple but maintain variety. The less water you use the better, when you cook veggies. Steaming is good but we really like the ease and flavor of roasting. I have found that 400 degrees for 15 minutes is the most optimal cooking approach, with minimal damage. The size you cut the vegetable is the only change. Broccoli and cauliflower florets are a little bigger than bite size. Brussel sprouts are usually cut in half. Most mushrooms can be left whole. After trimming asparagus ends, place in a single layer to cook whole. With a little practice, you’ll find the size that is best suited for each vegetable. You want it cooked but with a little crunch.

Here’s the best part. Immediately after you take the veggies from the oven, lightly pour extra virgin olive oil over the veggies and sprinkle lightly with sea salt or kosher salt. The buttery oil with the coarse salt is delicious together and you’ll never miss the butter.

Start with asking yourself or your family, “What are my top 3 vegetable favorites?” Try to vary the colors. Then add 1 or 2 “not so favorite” or “never tried” to give some variety. Mix them up or serve one at a time. The choice is yours.

Remember Vary the color and add Variety to promote your Vegetable success.

January 19, 2010

Very Good Very Easy Vegetable Stock

Genesis talks about Isaac loving Esau because of the wild meat he would bring him, and Rebekah loving Jacob more. In one commentary, it stated that “the children please their parents according as they supply what is lacking in themselves. Isaac, himself so sedate, loves the wild, wandering hunter, because he supplies him with pleasures which his own quiet habits do not reach. Rebekah becomes attached to the gentle, industrious shepherd, who satisfies those social and spiritual tendencies in which she is more dependent than Isaac.”

Often we admire or like those things in people that benefit us. We also admire those things that we lack ourselves. I have friends that are absolutely gifted in the organization of their home. I certainly admire this and benefit from their example and enthusiasm of their giftings.

I hope to inspire those around me to take an inventory of the natural food we are feeding ourselves and make better choices, perhaps when we thought we didn’t have the time or ability to do so. Why should eating better be a priority? Just like we are to be good stewards of our material possessions, we need to be good stewards of the physical body God has given us. Being a good steward of my time has motivated me to find faster ways to provide healthful food for my own family.

In less than 15 minutes you can make your own vegetable stock for soups, rice, and more. Why make your own stock? It’s not so much what’s in your homemade stock as what’s NOT in it, too much sodium, hydrolyzed oils, MSG; the list goes on. We choose vegetable stock over chicken stock to lower our saturated fat intake. How do I have the time to make my own stock? By taking 15 minutes after dinner…

Basic Vegetable Stock

6 qt. crockpot
2 onions, quartered
3 carrots, cut into thirds
3 celery stalks plus any leaves
1 garlic bulb/head, cut in half
2 tsp. sea salt
10-12 peppercorns
handful parsley

Wash but leave skins on. Use as many organic vegetables as possible. Toss in crockpot and fill with filtered water. Set to “high” and let work overnight for 8-12 hours. I like “high” to keep a good simmer and evaporate some of the water. In the morning, let cool, strain and put in freezable quart containers. You now have 4 quarts of clear, deliciously rich vegetable stock that took 15 minutes of your time to fix. The health benefits of the vegetables cooking in the water and the elimination of harmful ingredients make whatever time you took to prepare it, worthwhile. I often have 2 crockpots at a time going to have enough for the week. Freeze and thaw when needed.

What talents do others have that benefit you? What gifts do you have that others can benefit?

January 13, 2010

Taco Salad Goodness

Taco Salad is one of my favorite salads to eat. I grew up eating the ones my mom would make for us. Since it’s been so cold I haven’t wanted salads as much but they are a vital part of a nutrient dense eating plan. But even a regular taco salad can use improvement. Let’s see how we can take 15 minutes at a time and make a meal…

Taco Salad (New and Improved)

After dinner last night I took 15 minutes to cook up the meat with the spices. This taco meat recipe is adapted from Suzanne Somers’ book, Eat Great, Lose Weight.

2 tbl. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
Cook on medium high until tender.

2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs. ground turkey
Cook until no longer pink.

1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Add spices then:
2 tbsp. tomato paste
¾ c. water
Stir in and cook until water evaporates.

I refrigerated the meat and had a plan for today’s dinner. I reheated the meat until warm (using a little water). While it was heating, I readied the salad ingredients which took about 15 minutes.

1 bunch Red Leaf lettuce (rinse, use salad spinner)
2 tomatoes, chopped small
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

For dressing, I used 2/3 c. Marzetti’s Ranch salad dressing (no msg) mixed with 3 tablespoons mashed avocado. Whisk together for avocado ranch dressing. Makes enough for 4 salads.

When meat is warm, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and a green onion.
Spread over salad fixings and top with salsa (I like raw salsa from Sam’s Club) and the rest of the avocado for quacamole.

For a little crunch, we use either baked Tostitos or throw some corn tortillas in the toaster oven until crisp. Cut up into chips and top salad.

This is appetizing, warm goodness! It’s low in saturated fat because of the turkey and you never miss the cheese. (Cheese is one of the most acidic foods you can put in your body.)

The Lord has created good food to satisfy our bodies and give it what it needs to function and heal itself. The more man does to it the further it gets from the original plan. All it takes is 15 minutes to infuse some key healthy additions to your already existing meal plan.

What can you do in 15 minutes tonight that will add nutrients to tomorrow’s dinner and make it easier to stick to a healthy eating regime?

January 11, 2010

Chef Cristina - Avocado + Tomato Salad

I am honored to have Chef Cristina with us who loves healthy, organic, delicious food with a Mediterranean, Spanish, and Italian touch. She is one of our contributing writers that will bring you the very best recipes that are not only good for your health but good for your palette. Here she is...

I grew up sitting on the countertop of the kitchen, watching closely how my mom would prepare our family meals. I can vividly remember on schools days waking up to the smell of oatmeal being served; the aroma of cinnamon always made me SMILE. On Saturdays I would help her make her famous chicken spaghetti for me, and the troops (only imagine having a family of seven and adding your cousins brings the number to sixteen).

In consequence of my inquisitive spirit when it came to FOOD I gave in to the powers of salt and pepper and have been cooking ever since I can remember.

You want a delicious snack? Why settle with these protein, oatmeal, or whatever bars that will only deceive your taste-buds and fill you up with little or no vitamins and other nutrients that we all need to charge ourselves up.

Avocados and Tomatoes are a GREAT source of antioxidants like vitamins E + C. Avocados deliver iron and copper for your blood, have a low sugar content and because of their density like bananas they are very filling.

Tomatoes will cleanse your body of toxic compounds.

With this easy to make Avocado + Tomato Salad you will be ‘ready to go’.

This salad can be served on its own, but it is a great choice with simply prepared fish or chicken.


1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ Cup Olive Oil
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
Kosher salt and black pepper TO TASTE

2 medium tomatoes, cored and cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
1 medium Hass avocado, half, pitted, peeled and cut into 1 ½ to 2 inch chunks
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, cilantro or basil
Kosher salt and black pepper TO TASTE

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, dry mustard, salt and pepper. SET ASIDE

Toss the tomatoes, avocado, onion and parsley together in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss with ¼ cup dressing.

For me, there is nothing more heartfelt than the time spent in the kitchen weather it is alone, with a friend, with your spouse, your nephew, your dog, or your children.



My Note: That's a picture of my lunch. It was delicious! I had a yellow along with a red tomato for my salad (different color means different antioxidants). If you have any comments or questions for Chef Cristina please let us know by using the comments below. Enjoy!

January 9, 2010

Portrait of a Frig

My daughter came across a very interesting webpage. It features pictures of people’s refrigerators. Not the outside (that would be an appliance store) but the insides. He just opened them up and took the picture as is. He calls it, You Are What You Eat. Here is the site. Go and have a look; I’ll wait.

Did you see it? The snake. Can you believe what some people keep in their refrigerators? This, for some reason, was intriguing to me. So what do you think I did next? Of course, I went and opened my frig.

Go ahead, open your frig and really look, I mean, really look. It’ll just take a moment; I’ll wait.

Did you see any resemblance to any of the refrigerators in the pictures? Hopefully, it’s not the one with the snake. What did you see? You know, for something that we look into at least twenty times a day, we just don’t really see what’s inside. I mean, exactly, what the inventory is or has become.

After I saw the website, I went to see my own refrigerator. I opened the door and, yes, I took a picture. I had needed to go to the produce stand for a couple of days but hadn’t had the chance. I took the picture anyway. That’s what the photographer did, just opened the door and, click, took the picture.

Here’s the picture I took.

We are very conscious of what we buy at the grocery store, but this time I actually stood and, not only looked, but actually saw what was in it. There were a few good things I noticed: alfalfa sprouts, quinoa, brown rice, whole grain tortillas, spinach, high fiber whole grain bread, omega-3 eggs, some veggies and fruit in the crispers below, organic yogurt, organic milk and an “almost gone” 15 pound bag of organic carrots for juicing. In the door, I keep all our raw nuts, dried fruit, almond milk, salad dressings, and supplements. (No, that’s not wine; it’s JUS, a nutritional beverage.) Wow, I sound like a real health nut.

The bad news is that when I really examined it, I had way too much dairy and those sprouts growing out of the turnips meant that they had been in there way too long for use. I had no meat for thawing (which could leave me unprepared for dinner since I had no beans either) and overall, definitely not enough produce to feed a family of four.

That may not sound so bad since I didn’t have a frig like some of those folks, but I went there thinking I was okay and ended up enlightened to see I wasn’t okay after all. What is in your frig that you never really noticed before. If you are what you eat, then what are you eating from the looks of your refrigerator?

Opening my frig, taking a picture, and putting it on a blog, for me, is something that in the past, I would never have done. This whole examination was so eye-opening for me.

What would it be like if we could open up our spirits and be that transparent to each other that all could see the contents of our lives. If we did open up like that, others would see not only our good but our dirty, rotten contents as well. There is no hiding from God; He sees all anyway. But we could be a little more open with our struggles than maybe what we are. Not in a complaining way, but in an empathizing and understanding way with others to let them know they are not alone in their hardships. This is the transparency that Beth Moore talks about in her Esther study to really be able to reach people for Christ.

So what’s in your frig? Is there anyone brave enough to leave a comment on the best and worst thing that they found in their refrigerator after examination? Come on, be transparent, no one has a perfect frig. And definitely, if there’s a snake in your frig, I want to hear about it.

January 6, 2010

Salmon and Broccoli Frittata

Tired of just plain ol’ eggs in the morning? What’ll ya have – scrambled, fried, poached? Well, this is a breakfast we have quite often, even as a dinner. It’s quick, easy, and tasty, and if you use cooked veggies it will definitely be ready in 15 minutes. It can be served as a stand alone for breakfast or with other dishes to make a full meal. It is mainly protein which is a good “stay with you” meal that is low in carbs.

The quickest way for the frittata to be ready is to use already cooked veggies and meat from your frig. Any veggies can be used in any combination. Any meat can be used in any combination or not even used. Any spice that you feel like adding is possible.

I want the basic frittata plate today so ingredients are left to a minimum. This makes one frittata. If you need more, like I often do, double everything and use 2 pans and 2 burners at the same time, or serve your frittata with toast or yogurt.

Salmon and Broccoli Frittata

Heat a 10” pan that can go in the oven as well on medium heat (I like a well seasoned cast iron skillet) and turn on your broiler. Place one of your oven racks about 4-6 inches from the heating element.

7 large eggs (We like Omega-3 eggs)
½ to 1 tsp. sea salt
¼ tsp. black pepper

In the skillet, sauté until warm:
2 tbl. olive oil
1 clove chopped garlic
2 c. cooked broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus

(You can use fresh broccoli and cauliflower; dice into small pieces and put lid on skillet for 5-10 minutes until tender)

Sprinkle on top:
¼ - ½ c. canned salmon (crush bones if you like)

You may need 1 tbsp. more olive oil to prevent eggs sticking.

Pour beaten eggs over and move pan around to evenly distribute.

Cook over heat for 3-5 minutes until bottom is firm. At 3 minutes, run your spatula around edge to lift sides and check if set.

You may sprinkle 1/3 c. cheese at this point, but we limit our dairy so we like it plain.

Place in heated broiler for 3 minutes until puffed and set.

Run your spatula around the edge to loosen and carefully slide out onto plate.

Cut and serve immediately, plain or with toppers that include plain low-fat yogurt, salsa, or pesto.

Serves 3-4 people or 1 big guy.

As you can see, this dish is extremely flexible. There are more variations than can be printed in these pages, but we’ll do our best to give it a try.

It just reminds me of how there can be so many variations with the body of Christ. It’s the same basic plan but different flavors and textures to create a unique product. I have come to realize, especially now in the blogging world, that God has gifted so many men and woman in various ways. They all have the common goal to glorify Christ but all have a different flavor or texture in order to bring about the variety and originality that is so like our Creator. Just look at the uniqueness of each animal and plant in the world; we serve an awesome, creative God that has so gifted us in His image to portray a little of His flavor and texture in our creations. Enjoy your own uniqueness and appreciate the variety in others. It’s what makes us a “peculiar people”. (1 Peter 2:9)

January 4, 2010


I enjoy researching and learning about nutrition and food. It's a passion my husband and I have had for a long time. With that passion, it spills over into helping others eat better, but everyone has time limits. Is it really that easy to add better nutrition to your already existing meal plan? Yes! It's all about examine and exchange. Examine what you're eating. If you could make a better choice, exchange it for something else.

There are basics or essentials in all of our eating plans, something you fix every day or every week. We mainly do this out of habit and convenience. If we buy it at the store, it's because that's what we've always bought or if we buy it on the run, it's for convenience. What are some of the basics you have in your meal plan? Is there room for improvement? Examine and exchange one of your snacks or breakfasts to get a well needed nutrition boost with this smoothie.

In less than 15 minutes you can blend up a smoothie that is delicious and extremely healthy. If you’re rushed in the morning for breakfast or need a snack in between meals this is an easy solution. The ingredients can be readily available and there are many variations.

Here’s one...

Banana Berry Smoothie

In a blender, add
2 tbs. whole flaxseeds (optional)

Blend on medium high speed until ground

1 c. plain low-fat yogurt
2 c. water with 1 freshly squeezed orange or lemon
or 2 c. water
2 large or 3 small bananas
2 c. frozen berries (blue or mixed)

Blend on medium high till smooth (50 sec.)

Pour immediately in 4 pint sized glasses or 2 large glasses.

You can use frozen bananas and fresh berries instead.

(Protein powder or a smoothie packet can be added as well.)

Substitutions are fine. Just be sure to have the bananas if you’re using yogurt; they add sweetness.

Garden of Eden Nutrition: The flaxseeds add nuttiness and have Omega-3 essential fatty acids as well as added fiber to slow digestion. These fatty acids are not made by the body; we must get them in our food. Just 2 tablespoons contain 146% of our daily intake of Omega-3. Check out more about flaxseeds. Grind in the blender or a coffee grinder right before use so the oils will not go rancid. Beginner's Note: You may need to start with one tablespoon and work your way up if not used to the flavor.

TO GO: Place in container and stick in frig or cooler. Make sure to use citrus juice (lemon, orange, grapefruit) so the bananas won’t brown. Shake before serving.

January 1, 2010

Chocolate Strawberries

So getting ready for New Year’s Eve, as I did two other times during the holidays, I made Chocolate Covered Strawberries. This is an excellent healthful dessert since it’s mainly strawberry that you’re eating. Though definitely not a 15 minute meal, I did discover a shortcut to have the strawberries ready in 15 minutes for dipping. Then once dipped, they can be ready in about 15 minutes to serve.

Usually you have to rinse the strawberries and let them dry (while rotating so they don’t get a mushy spot). This can be time consuming, especially turning them. My shortcut is to get a little fan, set parchment paper on your counter, and as soon as you rinse your strawberries, set them slightly apart and turn the fan on. Within 15 minutes a quart of strawberries is dry, with no mushy spots, and ready to be deliciously dunked in chocolate that you’ve melted on the stove top while waiting.

While you’re dunking the delicacies, leave the fan on and place the strawberries back on the parchment for setting. No need to try and make room in your frig or move them around while setting. The fan dries them quickly and you’re off to your party.

As is my custom (as my children tell me), I can make a moral lesson out of anything. After all, isn’t that what a mom does? So as I sat looking at these berry beauties I thought to myself, if I didn’t stir or rotate them they’d get mushy spots, become unusable, and not complete the mission for which they were purposed. If God doesn’t stir us up or rotate us out of our comfort zone, we can get a little mushy, a little less useful, and not be ready to complete the mission in which we were purposed.

As we start this new year, we all have areas that need to be stirred up or rotated out of the rut. Ask the Lord, “In what areas of my walk with You have I become ‘mushy’ or ‘less useful’?”

2 Timothy 1:6 talks about stirring up the gift of God. One commentator actually states that he must stir it up; otherwise it would decay.

How does one get stirred or rotated? By prayer and by reading the Word, the Bible. How about starting a reading plan? What other goal could be more profitable than that for the new year?
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