Kora’s Blueberry Muffins taste delicious

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When I had the chance to hang out with my two-year-old niece Kora last week, one of the first things we did that morning was make muffins. I just can’t say enough about getting kids involved with the cooking. The kitchen is a great place to talk to kids about what is healthy. And it is good for children to see where food comes from and that there are many options available for making food. Food is much more than processed junk out of a box. When my nieces ask for fruit snacks, my new answer is “Ok here is some fruit what kind do you want?” It is fruit and it is a snack. How did we get to a place where fruit snacks are handed out everywhere and they are brightly packaged and many times very sneaky in their marketing tactics. I believed for many years, fruit snacks were a healthy snack. Well, obviously I was not reading the ingredients back then, I was just going off the name. The fact the name has fruit in it makes us think it is healthy. So even when the package says,”100% real fruit juice” Fat Free,” “Gluten Free” or “All Natural” do not be fooled. When we turn over the package and look at ingredients it is startling. Most brands have at least two or three artificial colors, sugar (and sometimes more than one kind of sugar) and when I was reading labels for this blog post I also came across some brands that had artificial sweeteners in them. And yes, there are some organic fruit snack brands that do not have artificial colors and other harmful ingredients. However, I recommend these only as a special treat. They are still packaged and processed with lots of sugar and they can be an expensive snack. When time allows, choose real, whole food for your kids.

It is important for kids to be involved with making healthy, real food.  Both of my nieces really enjoy helping in the kitchen. When they come to visit me cooking is always one of the fun things we do together. The recipe I had decided to make was blueberry muffins.

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I started off asking Kora if she likes blueberries. She said yes but I was not sure I believed her because she can be a pretty picky eater. So I took the blueberries out of the freezer and gave her a couple to eat. She ate them and said yes I like them. I told her we were going to put the yummy blueberries in the muffins we were making.

My teaching background of course always shows through in the kitchen too. We talk about what color the blueberries are and we count how many eggs are in the recipe. Cooking is a great opportunity for learning about counting and measuring. We even practice words in Spanish while we are making the muffins. Kora’s first job was to put the silicon muffin cups onto the cookie sheet. We counted them in both English and Spanish when she got them on the tray.

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This is a new recipe I put together. I wanted a muffin recipe that used applesauce because I still have some unsweetened applesauce in my freezer that my sister and I (with Chloe and Kora’s help) made last summer. I was really curious to see if Kora would eat the muffins once they were baked. Trust me, I had nothing to worry about. She loved them and wanted to eat only muffins for lunch. I really think when kids are actively involved in food preparation they are more likely to eat what is on the table because they had a part in making it. OK, so I was not super surprised when my two-year-old niece liked the muffins because she helped make them (when kids help prepare food they are always more excited to eat it) but when my husband asked on Sunday morning if we had any blueberry muffins left, I knew they must be good! We both really like them and in fact, I made another batch this week. If we don’t eat them fast enough I will freeze the extras.

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Kora’s Blueberry Muffins

2 ½ cups almond flour

¾ tsp. baking soda

3 eggs

2 tbsp. organic, unrefined coconut oil

1 tsp. organic apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. pure vanilla

1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen will work)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a glass bowl, mix the flour and baking soda. Melt coconut oil. Then mix in the eggs, applesauce, honey, coconut oil, vanilla and vinegar. When mixed well stir in blueberries. Put in muffin tins and bake 15 to 19 minutes until a nice golden brown color. If you are using muffin tins without paper liners be sure to grease the pan with coconut oil.

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Wellspring women share favorite Bible verses

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A few weeks back it was the night before Wellspring devotion group and I had not written a devotion. Life had been really busy and I just did not have it in me to get a devotion done. I knew that writing one would be stressful, so my friend Stephanie had the idea to have each woman bring a favorite Bible verse to share! This turned out to be a wonderful idea and it was great for us to dig into our Bibles and choose a verse to share with the other women. The discussion was awesome and when the devotion group was over that morning, I was so glad that we decided to do this. It was exactly what we needed that morning. God definitely knew what he was doing.

Sometimes when life is so busy, we must have the courage to step back and realize we cannot do everything. We must prioritize and only do what we are able. And when I made that conscience decision to not write a devotion last time, I had to let the guilt and self-destructive words go. Instead, of being really hard on myself and feeling like a slacker, I tried to embrace my decision and feel relaxed about it.  And my am I glad I did. The Bible verses shared were powerful and each woman had a story to go with why they chose that particular verse. We all agreed it was hard to pick just one verse.

Here are the Bible verses that were shared.

John 1:9-“The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.”

Song of Solomon 2:4-“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”

1 Corinthians 13: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Isaiah 40:31-“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Psalm 23- “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

1 Samuel 2:25-“If someone sins against a man, God will mediate for him, but if someone sins against the Lord, who can intercede for him? But they would not listen to the voice of their father, for it was the will of the Lord to put them to death.”

1 Philippians 4:13-“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

In the 10 months since we started Wellspring it has definitely enriched my life! It is such a blessing to be able to start the day surrounded by positive, God-loving women. If you are wondering, Wellspring is a morning devotion group focused on encouraging women to relax, recharge and renew their faith with God’s word. Life is busy and filled with many distractions. Wellspring is a time for women to grow and pray together. Women from Worthington and the surrounding area meet the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7 a.m. in the Family Room at Grace Community Church. One of the things I really like about this group is that it is women from all walks of life, women from a variety of churches. In fact, attending a church is sure not required, we want all women who long to know Jesus more to join us and be encouraged by the word of God. If you live in the area and would like more information please feel free to email awalljasper@yahoo.com or send us a message on our Facebook page.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse to share? Feel free to leave a comment!

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Holistic pregnancy coach offering class in Worthington

When I met Sandra Fraser Maurer and her husband in my store back in August, they had only been in town for a few days and my health food store was one of their first stops. I could tell right away they were cool people who care about healthy food and healthy living. I will not forget the day Sandra told me she was a doula. To be honest, I had no idea what it was. I actually went on the Internet and looked it up so I knew what she was talking about. Yes, I feel silly now (but hey, cut me some slack I have never given birth) and to be honest doulas are not something you hear a lot about in these parts. That is why I am excited to write this blog post.

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In Sandra’s words “a doula offers physical, emotional and informational support during pregnancy and birth.” To learn more check out her website Whole Beginnings Doula Services. It is so much more than these few words on paper.

Being a holistic pregnancy coach/doula was not always in Sandra’s plan. In college she majored in art therapy and she worked in that field for a year and was very stressed out. She decided to try being a nanny. “I loved it. I spent a lot of time with moms and I heard a lot of birth stories,” she remembered. “One woman was a women’s health practitioner and she had lots of books and I became so interested in the birthing process.” During her five years as a nanny, she also became a certified yoga instructor.

“We moved to Worthington in the middle of my morning sickness,” said Sandra. Now Sandra and Bryan are the parents of a baby girl, Fiona, who was born in March.

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In honor of Mother’s Day, Sandra will be offering a free class at Schafer’s Health & Gifts on Monday, May 12 at 5:30 p.m. Click here to register for the class. “I want to connect with women locally who might want guidance through pregnancy and birth,” Sandra said. “I want to be a resource for moms because they are a big part of the community and the world. Mothers can change the world if they feel their motherhood journey is being honored and well treated.”

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This class is for you if: you are an expectant mama, you are considering or planning on expanding your family, you want to do everything you can to create the joyful pregnancy, birth and postpartum you deserve, you are just starting to learn about holistic nutrition, you already love nutrition and health and want to learn how to start to apply that to motherhood or if you work with mamas-to-be and want to know how to help them more.

All women who attend the class will be able to take home Five Keys to Nourishing Your ‘Mama Spirit’ in pregnancy, Mama Nutrition Inventory and Mama Nurturing Inventory. Sandra is generously providing these at no charge to everyone who attends the class at Schafer’s. The regular price for these resources is $97.

Sandra hopes the local class will connect women who are pregnant or new moms. “Everyone can read books about pregnancy and birth but having a mentor and other women to connect with through it is important,” she said.

As I said earlier, I am not a mom and have never went through the experience of pregnancy and birth but I have learned so much from Sandra about supporting women in pregnancy and especially post-partum! I am so grateful to my sister and brother-in-law who have allowed me to witness the birth of each of my nieces! It is truly the most amazing, miraculous thing I have ever been a part of. What a blessing to see one of God’s new creations enter the world. What I have learned from Sandra and her blog posts is valuable information and I hope I can use it to be more supportive of new moms.

And a quick reminder, if you want to be updated via email every time I write a new blog post please subscribe to my blog.

 

Blogging: Always learning

Today I got to start my day at the Social Media Breakfast Club in Worthington. I was happy to join bloggers Aaron Hagen from the Daily Globe and Julie Foote of MVTV WIreless on a panel talking about blogging.

When I was asked to be a part of this panel, I was happy to participate in the discussion but I was thinking I am so new to blogging I really don’t know much at all. The experience proved to be a great one and I came away with some valuable information to help me continue to grow this blog!

One of the things I realized today is I need to have a place on my blog so you my readers can subscribe and be updated every time I write a new post! I know, I know several people have told me I need to do this for awhile now and today I took the time to get it set up. It is easy all you have to do is enter your email address and you will start receiving notifications when I blog! The email signup is to the left of this post or if you are using a phone to view my blog it might be at the bottom of the page….so keep scrolling.

Thanks for being a part of my blogging journey!

Amanda

Zingers make drinking water fun and flavorful

Remember when I wrote a blog post at the beginning of this year called, “New Year: A time to make healthy changes.” There is a lot of great information packed into that one post (for those of you who are new to my blog and want some tips for getting healthier you can click here to read it). The very first tip I wrote about was drink plenty of water! Again, I just can’t tell you how important it is to drink a sufficient amount of water on a daily basis.

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One of my favorite new water bottles is the Zing Anything Citrus Zinger. This bottle makes it easy to add real fruit flavors to your water and enjoy the flavor all day long! It is so simple! I received a Citrus Zinger bottle as a gift in October while I was in Texas and as soon as I saw it I knew it was something I wanted to order for The Daily Apple Worthington and The Daily Apple Storm Lake! What a genius idea to flavor water naturally! Yes, I know a lot of people think they do not like plain water. Trust me, I hear this every day! It is important that we realize here that not all water is created equal. So many people grab zero calorie drinks marketed as flavored, healthy waters. What many people do not realize is these waters are loaded with icky chemicals and artificial sweeteners. So before you grab for a flavored water, be sure to read the label and find out what your are really ingesting.

Here’s an idea—make your own flavored water and it will be cheaper in the long run and much healthier! And using a reusable bottle is much better for our Earth (with Earth Day just around the corner what better time to start using a reusable water bottle).

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Zing Anything makes two styles of bottles to infuse water. The first one I owned is the Citrus Zinger. This bottle works great for lemons, limes, oranges, cucumbers and even more. It is easy to juice the fruit in the bottom. This bottle has a lid that screws off to open and drink out of. I have come to like the Aqua Zinger bottle a lot because it has a straw in it and so it is easier to drink on the run or at work near the computer. This bottle has a different style of grinder. It works better for berries. For great recipes from Zing Anything click here.

The bottle that makes me the most excited is the brand new bottle designed for kids! (We actually had moms asking for a kid’s version of the Citrus Zinger even before the company released the kid’s zinger).  It is smaller and with a straw so it is perfect for teaching kids to drink water. Adding fruit to the bottom makes it fun for kids and it shows them ways to incorporate fruit into their diets.

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Zing Anything bottles are so easy to get excited about and I am so happy that this company has given me two products to give away! Be Real blog is now just over three months old and I think it is a great time for a giveaway. We are giving away an Aqua Zinger and a Citrus Zinger. And this contest has now ended. Congratulations to Michelle and Terri who were the lucky winners.

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Here’s to lots and lots of ‘zinging’ healthy water!

Amanda

 

 

Wellspring Devotion, April 1, 2014

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Matthew 5:14-16: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

This verse reminds me of my childhood days when we used to sing the song, “This Little Light of Mine.” What a simple song with some very powerful words. “This little light of mine I’m going to let it shine. Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m going to let it shine. Don’t let Satan blow it out! I’m going to let it shine.” To be honest, I have not thought of this song for a long time but as I was reading this verse in my Bible the song kept coming in to my mind. The words are ingrained in my mind and easy to remember. Though this song is often geared toward children it is packed with powerful truths that we all must remember once we have accepted Christ as our Savior.

Sometimes, once we have accepted Jesus into our hearts, it is easy to get complacent and not continue to follow God’s will for our life. Sometimes we see the attitude, “I am saved now. I don’t have to do anything.” In fact the Bible tells us the exact opposite of this. Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Verse 20 specifically tells us to obey God’s commandments that are spelled out in the Bible. Whether we are new Christians or have been a believer for many, many years there are some things we can incorporate into our daily life to strengthen our relationship with Christ. Read the Bible regularly (click here to see ideas from my earlier post). Pray often (with everything going on in life take time throughout the day to pray). Find a place to worship with others who believe in the Bible. And let God’s love shine through you in all that you do. As the verse above says, “let your light shine before others.”

For the past several weeks at church, our pastor has been reminding us that we are “the church” everywhere that we go. We are called to sacrificially love and serve Christ and others in all places that we are. “Church” can be our homes, our workplaces, our community! Let us remember always to love others as Christ has so graciously loved us.

Prayer for the week: Dear God, We thank you for sending your only son Jesus to take away our sins so we can live our lives focused on our eternal home in Heaven. Help me this week to keep the focus on you and let me be a light to others in this sometimes dark and negative world. Give me the desire to know you more each day! This little light of mine-I want to let it shine all of the days of my life for you! In your name we pray, Amen.

Discussion questions:

What are some ways we can let God’s light shine in our home?

What are some ways we can let God’s light shine in our community?

The Wellspring devotion group meets the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7 a.m. at Grace Community Church in Worthington, MN. The group is open to all women in the area.