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,

Stop Food Cravings and Glorify God

food cravingsFood cravings come on quick and strong, don’t they? You’re driving along singing to KLOVE or whataver, and out of nowhere food cravings strike.You may crave a Snickers bar or chips or ice cream or a Ding Dong. Perhaps you crave strawberries, carrots, or freshly baked multi-grain bread.

Up the road sits a 7-Eleven, beckoning.

In this short article, let’s look at…

  1. Biological food cravings versus emotional food cravings
  2. A biblical solution to food cravings

Choose Your Choice 

So what should you do when hit by food cravings?

A. Try your very, very best to ignore them.

B. Proceed to the 7-Eleven and get the goodies..

Well, it depends! Biological food cravings differ from emotional food cravings. It’s wise to fill the biological kind because your body needs what is craves. Just think of how delicious a glass of water is when you are super thirsty. So when you fulfill this type of craving, you’ll think and feel better. But fight the temptation of emotional food cravings. If you cave, you’ll feel worse, and you’ll miss out on God’s best too.

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

Biological or Emotional?

Here’s a simple what to tell whether your food cravings are biological or emotional:

When you have a biological food craving and fulfill it, you feel nourished. And it doesn’t take much food to meet such a need either. One bagel, a wedge or two of low-fat cheese, or a couple of chocolates–that’s it.

In contrast, emotional food cravings aren’t about food. They are an attempt to meet a need apart from God. An emotional eater looks for comfort in food. Sometimes it follows “I’m a loser” self-talk. And a small treat is never enough. Never.

Emotional eaters confuse love and self-acceptance with food. It is their drug of choice. Their god.

Solution to Food Cravings

The good news is by obeying and trusitn God, your can have victory over food cravings.

To have victory, you’ll need to break the vicious cycle of emotional eating. You can make this break when you begin desiring what God desires and, with God’s help, change your heart. Your heart is the immaterial part of you where your motivations, beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and actions reside.

For life transformation you need heart transformation!

God’s life-changing power helps you embrace a right perspective of food, make good and godly food choices, straighten out your thinking on food, and practice, practice, practice. A great resource with helps for those times you mess up — and we all mess up sometimes — is Love to Eat, Hate to Eat by biblical counselor Elyse Fitzpatrick.

God wants you to live life based on truth, not emotions. The truth of who he is. The truth of who you are. His truth is sure. Our emotions go up and down like an elevator.

Now emotions are fine; God gave them to us. You and I must not trust them to influence our decisions. We need to turn to truth.

10 Tips for Healthy Choices

Here’s truth talk on healthy eating. You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating:

~ Choose water over coffee and soda pop.

~ Shrink your portions by using smaller plates.

~ If you desire seconds, go for the veggies.

~ Eat at least five vegetables and fruits daily.

~ Choose whole grains.

~ Limit your consumption of sugar.

~ Skip foods with ingredients you cannot pronounce.

~ Sit down during meals.

~ Eat slowly.

~ Remember eating becomes sacred when it becomes worship.

Remember the Bible verse I mentioned? So whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Let this command guide your motivations and desires.

When you do, then everything — from washing dishes and sweeping floors to helping your children with homework and writing blog posts — can be worship. As long as you line up your thoughts with God’s, the simplest things become sacred.

And so it is with food.

For YOU!

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Sharing hope with your heart,

 

Say ‘No’ and Flee from Idolatry!

idolatry

Idolatry is making a god of something or someone who is NOT the God. All of us are tempted to cozy up to idols. Guest writer Ellen Castillo, one of the counselors in Heart2Heart Counselor Directory, reveals her go-to idol and how she–and you–can learn to say “no” and flee. Her article appeared first here on her website and is used with permission. 

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What do you run to? What should you run from?

 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 1 Corinthians 10:15

It’s humbling to admit this. For many years my go-to idol has been. . .food. Sin is always humbling, isn’t it? And it can be embarrassing and even humiliating, except that the Gospel takes care of that kind of self-focus and self-condemnation.

I’ll take the humbling, because that is what keeps me from turning back to idolatry. I’ll keep purposing to reject the embarrassment and humiliation, because I know that my sins are forgiven. To try to pretend that I am not the worst of sinners is just silly because it’s written all over me. And you.

Let’s remember this: we have a Savior.

Idolatry Everywhere! 

Idolatry today comes wrapped in a lot of different packages. Food, alcohol, drugs, prescription meds, sex, materialism, shopping, anger, status, playing the victim, seeking approval and attention, relationships, celebrities, pride of all kinds, and so many more.

There is no end, really, to what we allow to become idols in our hearts. Whatever we put before God, wherever our treasure is, whatever we worship, those are our idols.

There is a reason these idols are called “false gods.” They are counterfeits. They ultimately fail us. We actually “become like them” and that is, to put it bluntly, disgusting.

The psalmist wrote:

The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them! Psalm 135:15-18 

This disgust gripped me a few months ago when I got a serious medical diagnosis that is worsened by my idolatry. I realized I had “eyes, but did not see, ears, but did not hear, and there was no breath in my mouth.”

I won’t say my idol is entirely gone now, but I am seeing consistent victories along the way. Praise God, it is His work in me, not my own. I am too weak apart from His strength. I have a long ways to go, but I am daily choosing to go toward Christ rather than my toward my false god.

Where are you going?

The Gospel Ensures Victory

One of the beautiful things about Jesus’s Gospel is that we do not need to strive for victory.

Yes, there is a part we must engage by obedience, but when (not if) we fail at times, we can praise God because He does not see what we see. Even if my hand gets caught in the cookie jar, I am forgiven.

That does not excuse my behavior nor does it give me the green light to worship my idols. It does offer me grace to get back up again and press on in obedience because of the indwelling Spirit in me. I need to know that God’s love for me does not change (nor does my eternal security) when I fail at times, and I do fail. But by God’s grace you and I can experience more victories and fewer setbacks as long as we are not relying on our own strength.

How does God deal with our idolatry? How are we to be rid of it? We see in Scripture that His dealings with His people were consistent and blatant. We see the same kind of dealings with our current culture (just view the news or your Facebook feed and you will see it.)

The Word Reveals Our Need

The commands are clear: we are to have no other gods before Him. God is a jealous God.

You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:3-6 

In our personal lives, if you have a personal relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus, God deals with us and our sin of idolatry very individually and specifically. For example, my conviction came as a result of that scary medical diagnosis that requires a change of habits if I want to be healthy and live to know my grandkids, Lord willing.

We fashion our idols and enjoy them for awhile, until God reveals to us the thoughts, beliefs, and desires that lie at the core of our hearts. Those are the things that mold and transform in to our idols.

Out of that core of our hearts flow the things we worship, and we must remember that those things are not going to satisfy ultimately because:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9

God’s Word is clear. When God reveals our idols to us, we are then responsible to flee them.

Ephesians 4 instructs us to put off the old man, and put on the new. Through the conviction, empowering, and enabling of the Holy Spirit, we can do this. We can say no.

Titus 2:12 reminds us that grace actually teaches us to say no.

Grace. The Gospel. Spirit indwelling. SAY NO. Flee!

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

lucy-signature-blue

Eat Well, Obey God

eat well

Did you know God wants you to eat well and take care of your body? I received a strange message from God (it’s in the Bible) one summer day several years ago. This message led me to eat a pork chop. Weird, huh?

Pork isn’t particularly healthy and I had been a vegetarian for fourteen years. God had better plans. How does an avowed vegetarian–and author of vegetarian books–end up with a chunk of pork chop on her fork?

I obeyed God.

God Spoke, I Obeyed

While at the barbecue, piling my plate with corn and coleslaw, I heard in my heart this Bible verse.

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 1 Timothy 4:4, NIV

It sounds silly but this was a spiritual crisis for me. Would I stick to my vegetarian principles and eat well (i.e., no meat), or be thankful for the food set before me and obey God?

There sat a pork chop on my plate. I held a fork and knife. I stabbed. I ate. The verdict: Delicious!

My hubby grinned. My children looked at each other, wide-eyed. I forked another piece of pork.

Even though my vegetarian days ended a dozen years ago, I keep my meat intake to a minimum in order to eat well. One reason: Eating green is eco-friendly. Eco-friendly eating is good stewardship of God’s creation. I’d love to share a few recipes I wrote. I hope you like them. Eat well, my friends.

3 Delicious Vegetarian Recipes 

Quick Black Bean Burritos

This dish pairs legumes and cheese with healthy carbs. It’s ready in 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

1/2  cup nonfat sour cream

1/2 avocado, diced (optional)

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. 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 bake for 12 minutes. Serve the burritos topped with the sour cream, avocado if using and cilantro. Serves 4.

Spicy Sesame Noodles

Pasta with Asian flair. Soba is best but linguini works too.

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 ginger root

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 ginger root 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 ice is a pretty, deep pink and vitamin-rich.

1 cup calcium-fortified orange juice

2 cups strawberries. 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.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

lucy-signature-blue

Is Dieting Sinful?

Millions of women are on a diet now. Is dieting wrong in God’s eyes? Is it (gulp) a sin?

Diets. Gotta love them, gotta hate them.

We women love them because losing weight helps us look better and feel energetic. We hate them because we may feel deprived, grouchy, and fearful that we’ll gain back the pounds we worked hard to lose.

I have a crazy Weight Watchers story that begins at age 10. You can read part of my crazy story here in the intro of my eBook, Fit for Life.

Back to the BIG question:

Is Dieting Sinful?

The quick answer: no. In itself dieting isn’t bad. In fact, caring for yourself by eating right is good. But dieting can turn bad. It depends on your attitude. What’s your attitude regarding food and self image? Do you hate how your jeans fit? Do you count calories? Do you call yourself awful names if you go off your diet?  

If you fear that eating certain favorite treats like ice cream, chips or cookies will prompt you to binge; or if you believe that eating your favorite treat is wrong (even if the Bible doesn’t teach that it is), then you must not eat it, says Elyse Fitzpatrick, a leading biblical counselor and author of several books including Love to Eat, Hate to Eat.

The bible says that if you compromise your conscience, you sin.

He who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)

This passage primarily speaks to food offered to idols (which was a problem when the apostle Paul wrote this epistle), yet the biblical principle holds true: anything that compromises your faith is sin, including faithless eating.

The upshot: If you believe dieting or cheating on your diet is a sin, then it is for you. If not, then feel free to diet.

Listen to Paul’s words on sin and grace.

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14)

If you choose to lose weight by dieting, select a good one that teaches healthy habits to keep you Fit for Life.

What About Gluttony?

Derived from the Latin gluttire meaning to gulp down or swallow, “gluttony” means over-indulgence of food or drink to the point of extravagance or waste, gluttony has a spot on the infamous list of the seven deadly sins. While I’ve never heard a sermon on gluttony, the Bible speaks against it. (Check out Proverbs 23:20,21.) In a strange twist, under-indulgence of food is also gluttonous because it is an extreme use of food. For some, the problem is anorexia, which troubled my counselee Heather (not her real name), who found healing as she determined to put God first and to bring glory to him in everything she did.

Like Jesus she learned to enjoy eating food, a gift of God.

Indeed. “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:4,5), Paul declared.

4 Quick Self-Care Food Tips

1. Cut out or reduce sugary drinks like soda. (When my husband corked the pop last year, he lost 15 pounds in three months and feels more energetic, especially in the afternoon.)

2. Drink a glass of water before a meal or when you feel hungry between meals. Drinking water makes you feel fuller, helping you to reduce portions easily.

3. Eat fruit. Have lots of fruit on hand, washed and ready to eat. You’re less likely to crunch a cookie when you’ve set out nectarines, peaches, and other favorite fruit.

4. Decide NOT to diet. A diet is an eating plan you go on and off, typically regaining the weight you lost. Instead, listen to advice from MayoClinic.com:

“Successful weight loss requires permanent changes to your eating habits and physical activity. This means you need to find a weight-loss approach that you can embrace for life. Even then, you may always have to remain vigilant about your weight. But combining a healthier diet and more activity is the best way to lose weight and keep it off for the long term. Take your weight loss and weight maintenance one day at a time and surround yourself with supportive resources to help ensure your success.”

This is exactly the approach of my ebook Fit for Life, with a strong biblical emphasis. You can read the introduction here, my compliments. God created you to sparkle and shine with his light. He cares about you and me. God’s plan is for you to enjoy him forever.

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

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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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