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,

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,

The Resistant Teen: Helping a Teen Who Hates Help

resistant teenLet’s be honest: Some teens do not want counseling! The resistant teen can be reached, however! In this article by Heart2Heart Counselor Ellen Castillo, which appeared first here, she delves deeps into why teens resist counseling and how counselors and parents can help the resistant teen. Used with permisison.hope icon

Fear Leads to Resistance

Fear of man is the primary reason that teens resist counseling. This is revealed in a variety of ways, but some of the most common are:

  • A resistant teen often has a perception that counseling is a form of punishment. They see the counselor as another parental figure and are therefore resistant to counsel.
  • There is a stigma that comes from the idea of “counseling.” Preconceived ideas or past negative counseling experiences often cause resistance. Sometimes they feel embarrassment.
  • Young people want to be understood, but they are often convinced that adults are incapable of it. This leads to distrust, which creates resistance to counseling.
  • A resistant teen often feels extreme insecurity, wondering if they are the “only one” who struggles, which leads to feeling hopeless. This “why bother” attitude leads to resistance.

In order to be prepared to encounter a resistant teen, it is helpful to gather data from the parents before you begin meeting with the teen. It takes some digging into their history in order to get an overall view of the teens. Teens are often unreliable historians because of their limited perspective and resistance to counseling.

Questions to Ask Parents of a Resistant Teen

Here are a few questions that are important to ask the parents:

  • Have there been any major changes in her life recently?
  • Has he had trouble like this before, or is this a new problem?
  • Has she ever been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder? Is she medicated? Ask for details.
  • How well does he cope with school, peers, church life, hobbies, sports, etc.?
  • Is there anything going on in your marriage or home life that could be troubling her?
  • What behaviors are you most concerned about? (Listen for defiance, isolating herself, mood swings, suicidal, substance abuse, sexually acting out, etc.)

The parent’s perspective on these types of questions gives you a good starting point when approaching the resistant teen. With this kind of background, you will know better what direction to go in your initial discussions. That will be critical to building some trust.

An Invitation to a Resistant Teen

Here is an example of a counselee that was initially resistant to counseling. Ahead of the initial session, the mother told me that this teen was failing in school, that she was angry and defiant with both parents, that she was isolating herself from the family, and that she had told a teacher that her mother hit her (which was true, resulting in a CPS investigation, which led to the counseling referral).

This fourteen-year-old girl walked in to my office, looked around as if to take note of some Christian themed decor, and before she took two steps she pronounced, “I am an atheist.” She looked surprised when I invited her to have a seat as I told her: “That’s ok, I look forward to getting to know you, and I was one until I was 30 years old.”

Behind what she meant to be intimidating and off-putting to this biblical counselor, I could hear the fear. She clearly hoped I would be offended and excuse her from the session. Instead, I invited her to tell me her story.

She Tell Her Story

She talked of troubled relationships at home, insecurities at school, conflicts with peers, and insistence that at age fourteen she felt quite ready to be emancipated. Her reasoning for rushing her independence was to “get away from the people who are causing all my problems.”

She told me that she did not need counseling and that she only needed to be rid of her parents. This unearthed a long story of family dysfunction and trouble on many levels.

I listened, interjecting heart-probing questions, and listened some more as I allowed her to tell me what is troubling her. She eventually broke down in tears, and I was able to ask her if she knew about the gospel.

She said yes, because she had been in church most of her life. The teen told me she remembered Awana verses from years past, and that she had always attended Sunday school. And then she admitted that she was not really an atheist. She confessed, “I was hoping you would be mad when I said that and then I would not have to stay in counseling.”

The Gospel Breaks through Resistance

By the end of this first session, we were able to begin the process of seeking God’s Word to address her fears. We began with a basic teaching about the fear of man—what it is and how to address it. Galatians 1:10 gave us a good starting point:

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

This led to a discussion about the details of the gospel, which she understood intellectually but admitted she was not certain she really believed it. Because she had shared some of her story, we could start to discuss how her story fit in to the story of redemption found in her Bible.

She had softened to the counsel, I believe, because we were able to get right to the heart issues. Because I had the background from the parents, I was prepared to address her fears and give her hope. The fear of man is a very relatable issue, because it is common to all of us. We began to talk about the ways it manifests in people’s lives.

I briefly shared some of my own struggle with it so that she would see me as a mentor more than as an authority figure. The beginning of a potentially fruitful journey together began that day. We did not get to every discussion needed to address her struggles, but we did get to the gospel, and she was listening.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. (Psalm 34:4)

Join the Conversation

What other causes of resistance have you experienced in discipling teens, and how did you address them?

Focus: Seeing Life Clearly Brings Peace

focus

A right and godly focus cuts through the complications of life and brings peace to your heart. In her article, which appeared first here on her website, Heart2Heart Counselor Karen Gaul shares insights from story of Ruth as well as Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

Life has a way of being very complicated. It is so easy for us to get lost in the situations that happen around us that we quickly lose our focus and our way. We become overwhelmed, disillusioned, fearful, maybe even bitter and angry.

When Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians it seemed that might be the case. Paul hoped to encourage this church. I wonder if they were thinking that since Paul was a follower of the Way and was imprisoned that maybe it could happen to them too. Perhaps the scuttlebutt around town was “imagine Paul in prison, chained up. I wonder if he is going to be killed soon? He must be scared. This is terrible. How could God let this happen? Is Paul wrong?”

But this is what Paul writes,

Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.

Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” Philippians: 1:12-14

Deciding Your Focus 

Wrong thinking is one of the first places we look focus.

You can hear it in the true story of Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah. 

Naomi’s focus: Naomi faced famine and moved to Moab, a godforsaken land, where her husband dies. Her sons marry idol-worshipping women. They produce no offspring. Then her sons die, leaving her with two daughters-in-law. Life couldn’t get much more difficult than that.

She believes God’s hand is very heavy on her and that she has been emptied of anything and anyone who mattered to her. Now she was old. Death would have been a welcome visitor for her. She saw nothing but her difficult circumstances. Poor Naomi … lost, alone and disillusioned and bitter. She sees no hope for her future..

Ruth’s focus: Ruth, on the other hand, could have thought that if she went with Naomi to Israel, she would not be welcomed. She could have thought: “I will never marry or have a child. Perhaps I will face abuse and ridicule. I may starve.”

These were all real possibilities for her future. Yet she did a remarkable thing. She wanted to be where God was in the Land of Bread, and she was determined to go. She persisted and off Ruth and Naomi went to Israel.

Orpah’s focus: Orpah, the other daughter-in-law, returned to Moab and her idol-worshipping life. She lacked God’s perspective. To her, returning home looked most promising.

When we focus on circumstances, we miss what is really going on.

Listening to Paul’s Solutions

The aspostle Paul…

  1. clarifies the gospel
  2. focuses on results
  3. looks at the big picture

Clarification

Paul clarifies things so this little church isn’t discouraged or fearful. He doesn’t go into the details of what has happened to him. Instead, he reminds them that the Gospel is being advanced all over the place.

Focus

Paul focuses on the results. Paul reminds them that he is in chains for Christ and that the Gospel is advancing.

When we get lost on the problem, doesn’t our vision become limited? Naomi couldn’t see past her circumstances, Ruth saw something way beyond herself. She was going to be in the place God was and she couldn’t wait to get there. It didn’t matter what happened to her as long as she was close to Him.

We become self-absorbed when we focuse only on the horizontal of life. Our world gets smaller and smaller and it appears nothing will ever change. Naomi was caught in that place for quite some time.

But Paul took advantage of his circumstances and shared Jesus to everyone who was attached to him as well as anyone else. Ruth also took advantage of her situation and lived a life of integrity committing herself to the care of this older bitter woman who she loved. Both Paul and Ruth were witnesses of what a follower of Jesus looks like and people noticed.

  • How can we think differently about the situations that happen to us? What might God be up to? 

Sometimes we know the purpose but other times we don’t. Paul took advantage of this situation and proclaimed Christ.  Ruth on the other hand just lived her life in love and obedience to the God she found.  She wasn’t a great teacher or spokesperson instead she lived a life of grace and others noticed.

Big Picture

Paul looks at the big picture. Paul sees he is in chains, and other believers speak more boldly. And that is all that matters to him, that Christ gets proclaimed.

God desires for us to change our thinking. We live in a soft and comfy world and we quite like it that way, but following Jesus comes with great cost.  We might not be in chains like Paul was, but there will be ample opportunity for us to suffer and go through hardship and in it we can choose to respond like Naomi and get bitter or we can like Paul see the big picture.

Paul endured, he suffered, he sacrificed, he gave and he served because he loved.

How can we take up that same challenge?

During your darkest hours God is working, He is up to good things. He wants to redeem your struggle and use it for nothing but good in your life. You may not always know what He might be doing but you will know the end result is to make you reflect Christ more. (Romans 8:28,29)

What an honor we have.

Will you allow God to use your suffering to produce in you a most pleasing aroma for Him?

An Invitation to You

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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