Celebrating Advent – The Prophet’s Candle, The Candle of Hope

Originally posted on Whole to the Core Blog:

Today we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent. This week’s candle is called the Prophet’s  Candle, and it represents the hope God gave to His people with the promise of the coming Messiah.

 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:1-2

There are over 300 Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Jesus.

Mathematically speaking, here are the odds of any one person fulfilling these 300+ prophecies:

  • 1 person fulfilling 8 prophecies: 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000
  • 1 person fulfilling 48 prophecies: 1 chance in 10 to the 157th power
  • 1 person fulfilling 300+ prophecies: Providence at it’s best!

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,

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Sluggish From Sugar? Challenge Yourself!


I just read this post from Tosca Reno about finding your trigger “food”, some steps to take to eliminate it from your diet, and the results you will most likely see.  I see it is such a logical progression and a fairly easy challenge as it is just one food at a time. Hope this helps if you’re struggling in trying to clean up your food choices! 

From Tosca Reno’s June 3, 2015 blog post:

What do you eat today that makes you feel brain addled, foggy, irritable, inflamed and just plain sick? What food do you turn to every time to “solve” your problems? How do you ingest sugar and other anti-foods on a daily basis? Is it during breakfast, while watching a movie or driving? Where does the drug sugar live in your life? And what are the consequences? Are you ill? Depressed? Moody? Overweight? Do you drink too much (alcohol is sugar)? What extent would you go to, to reclaim your birthright of optimal health?

Provocative questions. Easy answer.

1. Name that one food, your sugar trigger.
2. Remove it from your diet today.
3. Ride out the tough few days of detoxing, because they will be there but they pass.
4. Eat Clean.
5. Drink more water.
6. Eat more healthy fat.
7. Feel the energy returning.
8. Watch the inflammation, illness, stiffness, foul moods and depression lift.
9. Watch your brain clear up as the Sugar Fog lifts.
10. Re-experience what it feels like to be truly alive.
My prediction is that soon we will see a robust campaign to warn against the evils of sugar. It will penetrate all we do, but consider this writing your early warning.

Grilled Caesar Broccoli Steaks 

When I took my oldest, Aleyah, to Season’s 52 a few weeks ago, I ordered this side dish simply because I saw it on someone else’s plate as we walked by to be seated. They gave be two large “steaks”, and I was kind enough to save one to share with my mom.

I love to try to recreate favorite dishes from the restaurants I visit, so I grilled these up over the weekend, and 2 out of 3 of my kids love them. (The non-lover of the grilled broccoli will eat raw and steamed broccoli so I’m not complaining that she didn’t like this as much. Just leaves more for me!) I also grilled up some onion and tomato slices to accompany this.

  Grilled Caesar Broccoli Steaks 

Slice broccoli lengthwise into 4-5 “steaks”. Spray with olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Place on a medium high grill. Grill 7-8 minutes on the first side, flip, and grill an additional 7-8 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached. Place on a serving platter and brush with dressing. Serve warm.

Other recipes you may enjoy:

Homemade Honey Mustard Pretzels


If you buy store bought honey mustard pretzels (or any flavored pretzels), you’ll find MSG, modified starches, hydrogenated oils, and other dirty ingredients. We made our own recipe with pretzels and 6 other real ingredients, and they won the approval of the whole household.

 Honey Mustard Pretzels

  • 7 cups organic bite size pretzels

  • 3 tablespoons honey

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

    In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients together except the pretzels. In a large baking pan, pour half the sauce into the pan. Place pretzels on top of the mixture and then pour the rest of the mixture on top of the pretzels. Mix well until all pretzels are coated and spread out pretzels in a single layer. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes, stirring twice. Allow to cool completely before enjoying. Store in an airtight container.

You will also enjoy:

Avocado and Sweet Potato Hash

Meet my new addiction: Warm and crispy sweet potatoes tossed with cool and creamy avocado. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, or dessert!

  • 1 medium sweet potato, cooked
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon purple onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add in onion and garlic. Cut sweet potato into bite-sized pieces and place them into the skillet. Fry for about 5-7 minutes, flipping potatoes a couple of times. Cook until potato is browned and slightly crispy. Immediately add into chopped avocado and gently fold together. Garnish with parsley.

Spanish Quinoa Bowl

After making my cilantro tabbouleh, I had enough quiona to make another dish. While rummaging through the fridge, I found some mini peppers and decided to create a spanish style quinoa bowl. I did make a mental note to make my smoked almonds next time rather than using just raw almonds. The smoky flavor of my roasted almonds would be perfect for this!

Spanish Quinoa 

  • 1 cup quiona, cooked

  • 1 cup assorted bell peppers, chopped

  • 1/2 cup celery stalk and leaves, chopped

  • 1/2 cup black and greens olives, chopped

  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Chopped almonds for garnish

Place oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic into a mixing bowl. Whisk. Add in quinoa and remaining ingredients except almonds. Stir, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 min. Serve with almonds scattered on top.

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

We made these peanut butter balls after having something similar given to us by some friends. You can vary the size depending on how hungry your partakers usually are. My crew seems to be bottomless pits, so we make our balls a bit bigger. I treated my Pilates ballerinas to these after my 4 days with them. They worked hard and deserved a reward, and it was the perfect fuel for them as they faced another 3 hours of dance after my class. 

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

  • 1 1/4 cup of all natural peanut butter

  • 2 Teaspoons of honey

  • 1/3 a cup of oats (gluten-free if necessary)  

  • 1/3 a cup of unsweetened coconut flakes

  • 1/3 a cup of ground flax

  • Chopped nuts, oats, coconut flakes, or raw quinoa 

Place peanut butter, honey, oats, coconut, and flax into a mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. Using your hands, roll dough into balls. Roll balls into the garnish of choice. These are pictured here with a mix of chopped peanuts and oats, but we’ve also used raw quinoa too. Be creative- even some orgainc cocoa powder with a dash of cinnamon would be delicious! Store in airtight container in refrigerator until ready to eat.

Cilantro Tabbouleh with Quinoa

After visiting a local Mediterranean restaurant with some friends the other night, I’ve had tabbouleh on the brain! I created this version knowing that I wanted to replace the standard bulgur wheat with quinoa to make it protein-rich. And I love cilantro so it was a fun twist to the traditional parsley and mint. My kids enjoyed it, but thought that I made it too lemony (which is my favorite part!) so you can use less if you prefer. You can also play around with various toppings too – like black olives, avocado slices, organic corn, or fresh tomatoes.
tabboulehCilantro Tabbouleh with Quinoa

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa

  • 1 cup packed fresh, chopped cilantro

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup red wine vnegar

  • 2 teaspoons organic soy sauce

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion

  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • Ground pepper

Whisk oil, vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add in quinoa and onion and stir. Fold in the cilantro. Cover and chill for a least 30 min. Makes 4 servings.

You may also like:

Fajita Quinoa

Mediterranean Farro Salad

Lox and Schmear

   This version of “lox and schmear” has turned out to be one of my kids’ favorite snacks. Whenever I grill up salmon, I always make sure to have leftovers for two reasons: #1 – Because I’ll eat more the next day and #2 – It will become a super simple and healthy afternoon snack for my kids. The “recipe” is as follows:

  • I use Real Foods Organic Corn Thins as the base instead of a bagel so it’s not an overload of carbs.

  • We spread on a layer of organic cream cheese (I use reduced fat).

  • We top each one with large flakes of grilled salmon.

    Now that summer is here, this will actually become a lunch for them especially once it is accompanied by fresh fruits and veggies- the best way to get the RIGHT carbs!

Other easy snacks/lunches you may like:

Roasted and Seasoned Crunchy Chickpeas


Roasted and Seasoned Crunchy Chickpeas 

I have been adding these to my salads or just grabbing a small handful for a light snack. I LOVE the crunchiness of them, and you can take the liberty of seasoning them in some many ways. I’m hoping to try them with my Mexican spices and Indian spices next. You can adjust the amount of chickpeas depending on how much flavor you want them to have.

Chex Mix Spiced Chickpeas

  • 2-3 cups cooked chickpeas

  • 1 1/2 t seasoned salt

  • 1/2 t garlic powder

  • 1/2 t onion powder

  • 1 t Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 t olive oil

Once cooked, drain and pat the chick peas until they are dry. (This is a very important step in order to get them crunchy.) Line a cookie sheet with foil. (fold up sides of foil if you are not using a flat/no side pan so those guys don’t roll off!). Mix seasonings, worcestershire sauce and oil in a mixing bowl. Place chickpeas into the bowl and stir until well coated. Pour them onto cookie sheet and bake 45 min in a 400 degree oven. Flip them about have way through. Allow to cool completely once they are done. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Italian Chickpeas

  • 2-3 cups chickpeas

  • 1 t dried basil

  • 1 t dried oregano

  • 1 t dried parsley

  • 1 t nutritional yeast

  • 1/2 t garlic powder

  • 1/4 t onion powder

  • S & P to taste

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

Follow the same baking directions above.


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