A Taste of True Love

I picked up this sign from a new little shop that just opened up in my neck of the woods. I got it because I thought it was cute but also because it had something good to say. A reminder to always keep these ingredients on hand because they are crucial to a lifetime of love.

And, just in time for Valentine’s Day, I share with you…
The Recipe For Love
1 Cup of Romance
1 Pinch of Humor
2 Spoonfuls of Joy 

1 Lb of Compatibility
3 Tablespoons of Trust
1 Cup of Respect

1/2 Lb of Sharing
1 Zest of Tenderness
3/4 Cup of Patience
Mother Teresa was right when she said that “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” 
We all hunger for love. But too many of us are starving because we have the wrong ingredients. We are trying to feed ourselves with things that cannot ultimately fill that innate longing.

The Hollywood version of love is skewed, the kind that typically leaves you bitter and empty. But God’s word gives us a taste of true love, the kind that endures.

Sweet and satisfying.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
I pray this is the love that fills your heart today.

Linking up with On Your Heart Tuesdays

Fall Is For Baking

I saw this cake on the cover of a recent issuse of Southern Living magazine. Actually, my husband was the one who brought it to my attention. He was practically salivating when he asked me if I would try to make it. So how could I resist. Besides, baking is one of the things I love most about this time of year.

And who could resist the idea of scenting one’s house with the wonderful aroma of an apple cream cheese bundt cake! Not I.

However, I have been known to screw up a perfectly good recipe from time to time. So I was extra careful to follow the instructions for this one down to the last detail.  Toasting the pecans. Mixing the cream cheese filling. Then the batter filled with finely chopped gala apples. Even letting it cool completely (2 hours) before mixing and pouring the praline topping slowly over the top.

It was a true exercise in patience for me but the effort was worth it. The reward came when we took the first bite! The subtle flavors of fall. The crunch of the pecans balanced with the smooth texture of baked apples and cream cheese and a hint of cinnamon. Sweet but not too sweet. Just right.

And I think mine even came close to looking like the cover photo! What do you think?

Here’s a link to the recipe if you want to try it for yourself. Let me know what autumn recipes you’ve been inspired to make. Have a great weekend!

Joining Janelle at Comfy in the Kitchen for Feasting in Fellowship Fridays…

A Sweet & Simple Summer Pleasure

 As a kid growing up in the southern U.S., my memories of summertime include, among other things, catching lightning bugs (fireflies), splashing in sprinklers and running to meet the ice cream truck as it made regular rounds through our neighborhood. With music blaring and bells ringing, it was nearly impossible to miss.

And who can resist any sweet, frozen concoction that promises to help you beat the heat?

Recently, I found this recipe for chocolate gelato on eatingwell.com. It’s dairy-free and less fat than regular ice cream but my taste buds can’t tell the difference. And, with the long, hot days of summer already upon us (at least around here), I decided to give it a try.

My husband and I each enjoyed a cup of this cold, creamy treat with some pecans mixed in. We also added a few raspberries for some extra zing.

The result?

Well, let’s just say this little indulgence made me smile, recalling the summers of my childhood and leaving me with yet another simple pleasure for which to be thankful.


Project Simple Pleasures2

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably natural
2 14-ounce cans “lite” coconut milk (3 1/2 cups), divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt

1.Put cocoa in a medium bowl and whisk in enough coconut milk (about 2/3 cup) to make a smooth paste. Stir in vanilla.

2.Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in the remaining coconut milk. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until the mixture begins to barely simmer around the edges. Then, stirring constantly and scraping the sides and corners of the pan to prevent scorching, let the mixture simmer for 21/2 to 3 minutes to fully cook the cornstarch. Scrape the hot mixture into the bowl with the cocoa mixture. Whisk until well blended. Let cool, undisturbed, for about 45 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours.

3.Pour the gelato mixture into the canister of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

Guilt-Free Treats – A Simple Pleasure

I was born with a sweet tooth. Well, to be clear, not just one but every tooth in my mouth has always craved the sweet stuff.

Over the last year or so, though, I have realized that I need to cut way back on my sugar intake. The goal is a healthier body and lifestyle. Finding ways to decrease refined sugar in my diet while not feeling dessert-deprived has become a high priority for me.

I found this Banana Nut Cookie  recipe online under the diabetic dessert category on recipes.com. It is sweetened only with raisins and bananas. This is great as is but I decided to play around with the recipe a bit to make it a little more of a decadent, yet still healthy, indulgence.

To add more sweetness I added about half a teaspoon of agave nectar (a natural sweetener which has a lower glycemic index than processed sugar). I found this informative article on agave and how to choose the best brand. Thankfully, I’ve been using the one recommended here.

And, instead of raisins, I tossed in some chocolate chips. The higher cacao percentage the better. If I had dark chocolate I would have used that instead.

Also, I usually substitute unsweetened, natural applesauce in place of the oil but didn’t have it on hand. Next time, though.

These little treats are just that. A real treat.

They’re my guilt-free simple pleasure this week!

Project Simple Pleasures2

Banana Nut Cookies

YIELD: 3 dozen cookies (serving size: 1 cookie)


2 cups uncooked regular oats
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 3 medium)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Combine banana, oil, and vanilla; stir well. Add banana mixture to dry ingredients, stirring to combine. Let stand 15 minutes.
3. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool completely.

All Things New – A Simple Recipe

Today was a first for me. The first time to make one of my favorite snacks – granola. And, surprise! It actually turned out great!

Now, I know this might not seem like a big deal to some. Many of you have probably already made the discovery. But me? Well, let’s just say I’m always a little late to the party.

I have been in search of a healthy granola recipe for a while now. In keeping with my desire to make better food choices, I figured the best way to make sure I’m not eating too much junk is to make the “de-junked” version in my own kitchen.

The following recipe is my adaptation of the many different recipes I came across during what I’m calling “The Great Granola Search of 2011”.

Healthy Homemade Granola
Dry Ingredients
2 1/4 Cups Rolled Oats
1/4 Cup Raw Almonds
1/4 Cup Pecans
1/4 Raw Sunflower Seeds
1/4 Cup Ground Flax Seed Meal
Wet Ingredients
1 Individual cup (I think that’s 1/4 C) of Unsweetened Applesauce
1/4 Cup of Agave Nectar
1 Tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp Salt (very important)
Mix wet and dry ingredients thoroughly and spread out on cookie sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper). Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes making sure to turn every 10 minutes during cooking process.
You can add 1/2 Cup (or as much as you like) of dried fruit after granola is cooked and cooled, which I did of course. Keep in airtight container and refrigerate after granola has cooled completely.
There are few things in life that can provide instant gratification and be good for you at the same time. That’s why making an easy and healthy version of this scrumptious snack is my simple pleasure today.  

Project Simple Pleasures2