4 Mood-Enhancing, Tempting Recipes

recipesRECIPES: Did you know what you eat affects your mood? 

Here are four eco-friendly,

 energizing,

mood-enhancing

healthy and oh-so-delicious recipes for you.

These recipes were first published in my book Energy Eating, Peak Nutrition for Maximum Physical Performance, Brain Power, Body Strength and Mood Enhancement!

What makes these recipes eco-friendly? They’re vegetarian! Eating green is earth-friendly because it make the best use of the earth’s resources. Also, they’re light on sugar, which affects mood, and high in healthy plant-based protein, carbs, and fats that help improve your mood. Let me know if you’d like more mood-enhancing recipes.

Quick Black Bean Burritos

Need a speedy dinner? This dish pairs legumes and healthy carbs — and it’s ready in just 20 minutes.

Sauce:

1/2 onion, chopped

1 tsp. minced fresh garlic

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

One 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 to 2 Tbs. minced green chilies, fresh or canned, seeded

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Burritos:

Eight 10-inch flour tortillas, preferably whole wheat

One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 red onion, diced

3/4 cup cooked brown rice

3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

1/2 cup nonfat sour cream (optional)

1/2 avocado, diced

2 Tbs. fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

Sauce: Place the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside.

Burritos: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. lay a tortilla on your working surface. Spoon about 1/4 cup black beans across the center of the tortilla, followed by a tablespoon each of onion, rice, and cheese if using. Roll up and place the burrito seam side down in a 9-by-13-inch lightly oiled baking dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, onion, rice, and cheese.

Spoon the sauce over the burritos and backe for 12 minutes. Serve the burritos topped with the sour cream if using, avocado, and cilantro. Serves 4.

Spicy Sesame Noodles

I could eat pasta every day, especially soba. Yum!

1 pound whole-wheat soba noodles or regular linguini

1 Tbs. sesame oil

6 scallions, green parts only, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 tsp. peeled and minced gingerroot

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste

2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Prepare the noodles according to the package directions. Drain. Transfer to a serving dish. Cover.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and saute the scallions, red bell pepper, and gingerroot for 2 minutes. Add the cilantro, cayenne, and soy sauce, and saute a minute more. Toss with the noodles. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. Serve warm or cold. Serves 6.

Strawberry Orange Ice

This refreshing meal-ender is a pretty, deep pink and vitamin-rich.

1 cup calcium-fortified orange juice

2 cups stawberries. fresh or frozen

1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup granulated sugar (optional)

Orange slices for garnish

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the orange slices. Pour into a shallow, nonmetallic pan and freeze, stirring occasionally, until almost frozen, about 3 or so hours. (Freezing time depends on the shallowness of the container and the temperature of the freezer.) Spoon into four dessert dishes, garnish with the orange slices, and serve at once. Serves 4.

Raspberry-Peach Smoothie

A breakfast drink or dessert, this drink delivers choline-containing soy, betacarotene, calcium and other phytochemicals.

2/3 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries

1 peach, peeled, pitted, and frozen

1 banana, peeled and frozen

4 ounces reduced-fat soft silken tofu (or plain Greek yogurt)

1 1/2 cups calcium-fortified orange juice

Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Makes 2.

Sharing Hope (and recipes) with Your Heart,

Self-Care: Changing Bad Habits into Good (part 3)

self careSELF-CARE: As you follow in step with Christ and make godly habits that come from a changed heart, you’ll also experience joy.

In case you missed them, here are part one and part two in this series. So far, we’ve looked at the role of the heart in true self-care (part 1) and the first three steps in whole health wellness: recognizing emotions, choosing godly thoughts, and acting on renewed beliefs (part 2).

In the final part of this self-care series, let’s consider:

  1. Making new godly habits and sticking with them.
  2. Experiencing the joy-filled life.

Making New Habits

Acting on my renewed beliefs a time or two isn’t enough to make a genuine difference in my thoughts, emotions, and actions. We need a fourth step: making new habits that stick.

I used to eat super healthy foods and was a vegetarian for 14 or so years, and exercised regularly too. In recent years, however, I believed the lie I was too busy for regular meals, exercise, and rest.

God helps you and me break ungodly habits, including things like critical speech, self-pity, worry, smoking, chewing fingernails, people-pleasing, pornography, and more. In my case, the bad habit of neglecting self-care came from a heart of pride.

Sinful habits are not disorders or defects. Jesus Christ gives us victory over sin. You and I no longer have to live in slavery to sinful thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and motivation. God himself provides the way out.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Putting off pride, renewing my attitude, and putting on humility: This is my new thought habit.

New Habit Plan, Detailed

To successfully change a habit, we need a plan. The more detailed, the better. First you’ll see an overview below. Then I’ll share a detailed plan a counselee and I wrote together.

  1. Put off: Identify the ungodly habit that needs change. For me, I was irresponsible with diet, exercise, and sleep. For a counselee I meet by Skype, she is quick to argue with her mother.
  2. Renew my attitude: Me — I agreed with God that I was sinning by erroneously thinking that I was too busy for self-care, as if God didn’t stuff enough hours in a day. My counselee agreed with God to honor her mother and to choose Christ righteousness over self-righteousness..
  3. Put on: Me — humility. I am not Super Woman! I need good food, exercise, and rest…just like Jesus when he walked this earth. My counselee also needed humility as well as determination to speak the truth in love.

Together my counselee and I wrote a plan for her that looked like this:

  • When mother says something mean, quietly thank God for an opportunity to practice the new habit.
  • Remind myself of James 1:19, which says, “… Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” and that I need to change my attitude, desiring most of all to honor God.
  • Then speak the truth in love. Depending on what mother says, I may say, “I feel hurt when you suggest I’ve put on ten pounds and am lazy. You know I am an honor student and my clothes fit as they always do. I want you to know that I’m making a new habit to speak the truth in love. This is what the Bible tells me to do.”
  • Proactively and regulary choose words that build up, saying something like, “Mom, I love you” or “Great to see you!” or “Just want you to know I appreciate that you want the best for me” or a simple “Thank you,” always with a loving tone of voice and friendly body language.

body languageWhen making a new habit pattern, we need to repeat it many times for it to take hold. In counseling others, I’ve discovered that this step of forming new godly pattern is challenging and part of the reason why we need our brothers and sisters in Christ to come alongside us and encourage us.

What bad habit does God want you to replace with a godly habit? What obstacles are in the way? How might other Christians helped you?

Receiving Joy in the Journey

What I learned in this self-care journey may sound kind of crazy. It’s counterintuitive. My avoidance of true self-care fed my sinful appetite to live self-sufficiently and was, in fact, self-indulgent. Does this make sense?

For me, counseling my heart has meant stopping to rest and eat well and exercise.

I thank God that my poor self care didn’t create a health crisis. Rather, fear crept in and settled in my heart and mind. This is equally bad, this unsettling. Yet it has resulted in my obeying God’s call for heart change, which is always good. He knows what you and I truly need.

A quick review of the biblical counseling journey:

1. Recognizing your difficult emotions.
2. Identifying your faulty thinking.
3. Acting on renewed beliefs.
4. Making new habits.

As I continue my journey, how may I pray for you? All of us need God’s help, and he’s faithful. How we handle our everyday problems reveals our hearts: our desires, our motivations, our beliefs, and our thinking.

When God shows us that our hearts are self-centered, he gives us everything we need to live life according to his plan, which is what any true Christian really wants, right?

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 1 Peter 1:2-4, ESV

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

3 Common Marital Complaints and Cures

complaintsComplaints in marriage are as plentiful as summer dandelions. Left alone, they multiply and their roots grow deeper. Guest writer and Heart2Heart Counselor Julie Ganschow gives effective, biblical cures to marital complaints. Her article appeared first here on her website and is used by permssion.

It’s no secret that most of the couples who come for biblical counseling have marriages that are in trouble. The reasons won’t surprise you much, the solutions might!

Here are some common complaints and some rapid-fire thoughts I have on how to fix your marriage. The complaints are nothing new and fall into the typical categories: time, money, and sex. The mother of all complaints: “I’m not happy.” Usually at least one person will tell us they are not happy with their marriage.

Spending Time Together

It really surprises me how little time couples spend together and how much of marriage is conducted via text message. If you are a wife whose primary means of “talking” to your husband is a text message or a social media post I have some advice for you–STOP IT. It is impossible to have a true relationship in 140 characters or through your cell phone text box.

Spending time together is the only way a couple will remain a couple. Every couple needs a date night. EVERY couple, EVERY week needs to go on a date.

For those of you who don’t remember what a “date” actually is I will refresh your memory. A date is when a man asks a woman to accompany him somewhere outside the house for several hours. A date can include dinner, coffee, dessert, water over ice, seeing a show or movie (not my personal favorite because there is no communication), a walk, a boat ride, a ride in the car or on horseback. In short, anything that the two of you do together for the purpose of enjoying each others company can be a date.

The couple can take turns determining what date night will consist of, or one person can always decide. It does not have to cost a fortune or any money at all. The purpose of a date is to enjoy being alone together.

TALK while you are together. LEARN what is going on in each others lives during the day. LISTEN to your spouse talk about their hopes, dreams, job, latest project, favorite cooking show, the thing that bothers them the most, their favorite color, or hand tool. Talking leads to relationship building, relationship building leads to understanding.

Click to watch a funny marriage video.

Figure Out Finances

Talk about money and finances. Create and live by a budget! Discuss what your financial goals are for your family in 1-5-10 years and beyond. All of these things lead to what is known as happiness. Relationship building will also lead to that emotional connectedness that will increase sexual desire with your spouse.

Sex and Marriage

While I am at it, let’s talk a bit about sex. I am really astonished that so many Christian marriages are sex-less! It is heartbreaking to listen to couples say there is no physical desire between them, or that one partner could live without sexual intimacy for the rest of their lives.

People…can I tell you how wrong that is?! Husbands and wives are to meet each other’s physical needs on a regular basis. If you have no desire for one another, get to the doctor and be sure you have no medical condition that needs addressing.  Once that is taken care of, if there is still no desire for sexual intimacy with your husband it is clear you have relationship issues that must be addressed.

3 Common Desire Killers

ONE: being overweight. Yes, I dare to say it. As a person who struggles with her own weight, there have been times when I was self-conscious about my appearance because I packed on a few too many pounds.

I didn’t want to be physical because I thought I looked bad. Few women will admit it, but many know it’s true; some women hide from intimacy behind their size. The “simple” solution….you already know it. Lose the weight, every pound helps.

TWO: tiredness. Some women just do too many things in a day and are too tired to be interested in physical intimacy. If this is you, cut  things out of your daily schedule that are non-essential like crafts, book reading, television watching, and so on, and go to bed early with your spouse! If you have time, take a short nap so you are refreshed and awake enough to be interested.

THREE: kids in your bed. Get the kids out of your bed and your bedroom. Your children do not need to sleep with you, even if you are nursing them! It is dangerous to have them in bed because they can be crushed as you sleep. It is also wrong to use the kids as a shield against intimacy. Even if they cry, like their little heart is breaking in the beginning I promise, your little one will be just fine in his or her own bed or crib.

You and your husband need the private time in your room that will grow your relationship. Once the kids are out of there, determine not to have difficult discussions in your bedroom either. There are most likely several other places to have unpleasant discussions in your home.

Your bedroom should be your sanctuary, the place that is uniquely yours as a couple. Fix it up in a way that stirs up romance and desire. If the television is a distraction, get it out of there and replace it with soft, sensual music. Repaint, recover, or redecorate if you can afford it. These things are simple and will help your mindset turn toward romance.

These are only a few of the more basic complaints and cures to think about if your marriage is a mess.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

Self-Care: Your Emotions and Thoughts (part 2)

self careSELF-CARE: For the best self-care, recognize your emotions and choose godly thoughts so you can act on renewed beliefs. And God will heal your heart in the most important way.

In case you missed it, here’s part one in this series where you learned the role of the heart in true self-care. In part three, you’ll also discover how to change habits that hurt your heart.

This brief article shares my own journey in embracing self-care, beginning with these steps.

  1. Recognize emotions.
  2. Choose thoughts that line up with God’s word.
  3. Act on renewed beliefs.

Recognizing Your Emotions

I’m tired of my own crazy fear of self-care that it is extravagant. This is how I’m changing, a step at a time. You can too.

The first step begins with recognizing your emotions.

The emotion of fear tells me something’s wrong with my heart. In the bible the word heart refers to the inner self. Your heart is the control center of your being; it is the immaterial part of you that includes desires, motivations, beliefs, and thoughts.

As in water face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man. Proverbs 27:19

We do what we do and feel what we feel because we think what we think. More simply, your thoughts determine your emotions and actions.

Personalizing this truth, I recognized that my thoughts led to fear and to the actions of working overtime, and failing to rest, exercise regularly, and just enjoy this wonderful world God created. I knew I had a problem when I became too busy to notice my hardy red geraniums had turned brown and crunchy. Have you let busyness crowd out your self-care?

I love my work as a biblical counselor and counseling hearts to hope. I love love love finding treasures of truth in books by Ed Welch and Paul Tripp and Elyse Fitzpatrick and Bob Kellemen and other biblical counseling leaders.

But when I choose Ed, Paul, Elyse, or Bob over eating dinner, wouldn’t you agree I’ve gone too far?

Identifying Your Thoughts

Recognizing my faulty thinking and choosing new godly thinking is a second step in true self-care. When one’s thinking is out of line with God’s thinking, this means the heart’s desire is off. My focus was pleasing me not God.

My thoughts sounded like,

I need to work harder.
Self-care is a waste of time.
My worth depends of what I do.

food cravingsNote the emphasis on self. Having battled self-sufficiency since childhood, I know that God was giving me another chance to deny the sin of pride. This time it’s pride in thinking I can defy God-ordained limits in my physical needs. Jesus slept, ate, and had fun too. Am I above Jesus?

Where do you tend toward faulty thinking?

Acting on Renewed Beliefs

To choose to change faulty thinking is life transforming. At Biblical Counseling Center where I counsel hurting people in person and by Skype, we often say, “Faith is believing the Word of God, and acting upon it, no matter how you feel, knowing God promises a good result.” So the third step is acting upon biblical truth.

Namely, get enough sleep, exercise, and spend refreshing time with family and friends while trusting God.  I’m learning to view and practice consistent self-care in a new way: an act of worship.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Do you agree consistent, true self-care an act of worship? Please leave a comment. Thanks.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

Self-Care: Heart Checkup for Your Soul (part 1)

self careSELF-CARE: The best self-care is a heart checkup.

In part one of this 3-part series, you’ll discover…

  1. Why you may bristle at the word “self-care.”
  2. A definition of heart checkup.

Self-Care Hangup?

Self-care may sound…extravagant, even selfish. But for some of up — my old me! — I didn’t think I deserved self-care. Then I dared to ask myself, What’s my hangup?

Also I considered that Jesus took time to rest, didn’t he? He got away to the mountains and rejuvenated. He hung out with the broken people and lunched. I can imagine him smiling and laughing and cracking jokes.

And I asked myself, Am I denying the reality of my own humanity when I think I’m too busy to watch birds flit about my neighbor’s feeder? Or take time for a walk?

Could I reek with. . .twisted pride?

Reminder: The self-care of rest, exercise, meaningful work, eating well (and, for me, chocolate too!) isn’t selfish when your self-care is “onto the Lord.”

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

But divorced from a Godward focus, self-care can be selfish, wouldn’t you agree? Your motivation matters.

Heart Checkup

Most people think the heart is the emotional part of a person. Scripture suggests that it is your mind, emotions, and will. It is the center of your being. You can compare it to a control center. Your heart controls what you think, feel, say, and do.

Proverbs 4:23 says it well:

Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.

Everything.

But there’s bad news. The Bible says your heart “tricks or deceives us into thinking that our desires are pure, that we want what we want because it is good and God approves,” writes Elyse Fitzpatrick, biblical counselor and author.

And this is why you need a heart checkup.

During the check up you’ll see whether your thoughts align with God’s thoughts. Also, you’ll find out if your actions and emotions are rotten or good.

By the way, in the counseling office, we focus on the heart. And when the counselee’s heart changes so does her life. But the goal isn’t life transformation per se; it is growth in Christlikeness.

3 Parts of the Heart

As mentioned, “heart” is the word the Bible uses for your mind and your emotions and your will altogether. Your mind, emotions, and will influence one another. Let’s look at the parts of the heart.

Your mind: Your mind involves your ability to understand, reason, and discern. It includes your beliefs and opinions.

Taken aback with news from angels about her son, Mary the mother of Jesus “treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
The power of God’s word “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
As a man thinks in his heart so is he (Proverbs 23:7, NLT).

Your emotions: You emotions include your moods as well as your longings, desires, and hopes.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation (Psalm 13:5).
If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts. . . (James 3:14).

Your will: Your will is the part of your inner person that chooses what actions to take. Your mind and emotions inform your will what to do.

Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve (Joshua 24:15).
Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth (2 Corinthians 12:6)

I pray this three-part series helps you understand why your do what you do, so that you can choose God’s best always. Next time will focus on your emotions and thoughts. If you haven’t signed up for my blog and complimentary eBook, please do. Then you’ll get parts 2 and 3 delivered to your inbox.

God bless you as we grow together.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

 

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5 AMAZING NAMES GOD CALLS YOU!

Blessed, Daughter, Saint, and more!

In this delightful, four-color ebook, you’ll discover the precious names God calls you. Today so many Christian women don’t fully know their wonderful identity in Christ. Isn’t a time to know yours? Filled with scripture, photography, personal stories, and encouragement!

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