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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2014
I found this beautiful quote by Oswald Chambers and thought it was appropriate for the new year, “Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ. Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.”

Step out into the irresistible future with Him…what an amazing thought. When we know that our future is settled in Christ what do we have to fear? We can step out in complete confidence knowing that “He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

We can also let our past ‘sleep on the bosom of Christ’ and say with the Apostle Paul, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

Let’s strive this year to leave the irreparable past in His hands and step out into the irresistible future with Him!


Coconut Oil – A Healthy Alternative

Have you tried coconut oil?  I’ve recently started using it and I love it! It turns out that coconut oil is good for you despite its bad reputation due to high fat content. It is actually one of the healthiest oils you can use.

Coconut oil and weight loss

Research suggests that coconut oil can help you lose weight because –

  • It doesn’t turn to fat in your body – it’s easy fuel for your body to burn
  • It keeps you naturally fuller longer keeping food cravings at bay
  • It fires up your metabolism and give you instant energy

Other benefits of coconut oil

An added benefit – the fats in coconut oil don’t wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system. In fact, some research shows coconut oil helps reduce bad cholesterol. Other benefits are it helps control blood sugar, has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties and helps absorb other nutrients into the body such as vitamin E.

How to use coconut oil

You can use up to two tablespoons per day in place of other fats. Make sure it’s pure coconut oil with nothing else added. Some people simply take it by the spoonful, but I’ll be honest – that did not appeal to me at all.  I use a couple of teaspoons in my oatmeal in the mornings. It gives it a smooth-as-silk texture and a slightly exotic taste. Delicious…and so much better for you than butter.

Unlike some oils, coconut oil has a higher smoke point so it can be used at higher temperatures. Try it for stir-frying vegetables or cooking healthy pancakes. Yesterday I made pumpkin bread and I spread just a smidge on it right out of the oven – yum! A little bit of coconut oil goes a long way.

One of my favorite ways to use coconut oil is to make popcorn. Turn your pan on medium high heat and melt just enough coconut oil to cover the bottom of your pan. Add 3 popcorn kernels and when one of them pops add enough popcorn to cover a single layer in the bottom of the pan. Add a lid and shake until all kernels are popped. Since coconut oil has a higher smoke point, the popcorn doesn’t burn and it tastes great. Just add a little sea salt, pop in a movie and you’re set.

Use your imagination and I’m sure you’ll be adding this healthy oil to your recipes in no time.

Use it as a beauty treatment

Coconut oil is great for your skin and hair. At night after I exfoliate with baking soda, I rub just a dab of coconut oil over my face and neck. My skin has never felt so soft and supple!! Use it all over just out of the shower for silky smooth skin. Be sure it has time to absorb before you put on your clothes or get in the bed. I haven’t tried this but others swear by it – use it to shave your legs. Also if you need to tame your frizzy hair, rub just a little in the palm of your hands then on your hair. Don’t get it near your scalp or your hair will look oily.

Recipe using coconut oil

I came across this recipe using coconut oil and it immediately became a family favorite. It’s delicious and easy to make.

No Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup honey (I use half honey, half agave nectar)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (no skimping or substitutions)
  • 2 cups oats (old fashioned, not quick cooking)
  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips (I substitute 1/4 cup of special dark cocoa powder)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (I don’t always add, but it is delicious)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut (this was not in the original recipe but it’s delicious)

In medium saucepan melt peanut butter, honey and coconut oil. (If you substitute the dark cocoa powder as I do, add it to this mixture once it starts melting.) Stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat, add oats, chocolate chips (if you don’t used cocoa powder), cranberries and optional coconut. Stir until well mixed and spread in a 9 x 9 pan. Refrigerate to set. (Optional tip – once I’ve spread it in the pan I put in the freezer for 30 minutes to let it set – it’s perfect and ready to eat much quicker than the refrigerator method.) Keep leftovers in the fridge.

If you haven’t used coconut oil, I hope you’ll try it.  If you have, what are some ways you’ve used it? I’d love for you to comment.

“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.  The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” Genesis 2:8-9

No Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Yummy – these don’t last long around our house!

john pavlovitz

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