Eat, Uncategorized

Organic gluten free BANANA BREAD

I’ve made this recipe literally dozens of times over the years.  I’ve modified it several different ways to fit dietary restrictions and the tastebuds of my family.  This is the organic gluten free and almost lactose free version of the recipe.  To make it lactose free you would just need to omit the chocolate chips.  I would do that but my kids would not be happy with me…  So here it is.  You can substitute a little coconut flour with almond flour to increase the texture and taste.  I love the little bit of extra flavor that the coconut and vanilla almond milk provide.  To make the batter less dry, I melt the coconut oil and peanut better together, it seems to make the bread a little more moist and is much easier to blend.   I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have.

2 cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour

1/2 tsp Salt

1 cup Organic cane sugar

1 TBS Baking Powder

3 mashed bananas

1/3 cup vanilla almond milk

1/4 cup organic peanut butter

3 TBS extra virgin organic coconut oil

1 egg

1 C. dark chocolate morsels

350 degrees for 1 hour

Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder.  Add three mashed ripe bananas and almond milk.  Melt coconut oil and peanut butter and mix into batter with slightly beaten egg.  Stir in chocolate morsels then pour batter into greased bread pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

 

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Travel, Uncategorized

Norfolk Botanical Garden Pictorial

If you live in the Coastal Virginia area I’m sure you have heard of the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.  It’s one of my most favorite local places to visit.  I make sure to keep my membership up to date because I enjoy touring the gardens regularly throughout the year.  I’ve put together some pictures of my son and I earlier this summer exploring some of the beautiful areas throughout this magical place.

These pictures represent just a small glimpse of how wonderful this place is.  The park offers around the clock tram services throughout the park if you’re not up for walking.  The tram has several stops, providing an opportunity to stop and walk for a bit as well.  My son and I usually do the boat tour a couple times of the year.  There is much to see from this perspective including an assortment of birds and the beautiful shoreline of the gardens.  For families with young children, there’s an interactive children’s garden with various activities throughout the year for the young gardening enthusiasts!

One of the great things about NBG is that they have year around classes and events during the different seasons.  Some of the offerings are free, some have additional fees.  You can take horticultural classes, sign up for yoga,  or even get creative with crafts including painting and photography, to name just a few.  If you are hungry or thirsty, there’s a quaint little cafe where you can swing by for a sandwich, delicious salad or even a healthy smoothy.

If you live in the Hampton Roads area or find yourself traveling through here please make it a priority to stop at the NBG!  You will not be disappointed.  You will leave feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Live, Uncategorized

Peace.

Peace I leave you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

The word “Peace” spoken by Jesus to His Disciples was a common form of greeting one another, often a way of saying hello as well as goodbye to someone. Such a common everyday word of Jesus’ time, and yet when He said it, it seemed to mean something much more significant. It was in an attitude of love and encouragement, with a sense of hope that Christ gifted this precious promise to His followers. Jesus knew there were tough times ahead not only for Himself but also his Disciples, the road to the cross was getting shorter.

As parents we want so much for our children. What I want most for my boys as they navigate life is that they know true contentment and peace as they grow and become the men God intended for them to become. Unfortunately I can’t swing by Target and pick up a box of “contentment” or a bag of “peace” and gift it to them. That’s what makes this verse so mesmerizing and beautiful. Jesus is freely leaving us a beautifully packaged gift box with His perfect peace inside. All we have to do is unwrap it and accept it.  Peace is simply knowing Jesus.  It doesn’t mean that life will be easy and there will be no set backs or suffering to endure.  It means that during the tumultuous storms of life and crushing waves of pain, Jesus is in the boat with us.  He is peace.

Jesus must have sensed that His beloved Disciples were having a hard time understanding His mission and work on earth. They were afraid of what was to come. The words our Heavenly Father spoke to those so dear to Him must have been like a soothing salve to their troubled and fearful hearts. Much like the men that followed Christ during such troublesome times, many of us are facing circumstances beyond our control or understanding. We too need to cling to those precious words so lovingly gifted to us in this verse. Dive into God’s life giving Word everyday, read it, meditate on it and pray it. When we open ourselves up to the presence of God, we open ourselves up to His perfect peace.

Travel, Uncategorized

Day Trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina

To celebrate Mother’s Day with my husband and boys this past month, I decided I would like to take our first trip of the season to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It’s an easy 1 1/2 hour drive to the beautiful Outer Banks Islands from our home in Virginia. Along the way we pass fabulous Farmer’s Markets that are so much fun to stop and take a look around. One of them, Morris’, which I previously blogged about, is one of those places. You know spring has sprung when they open the doors for the season to the huge red building full of natures delicious bounty. There is plenty of great things to sample, cute sea inspired home decor items and a truly unique bathroom, (yes, I said bathroom) which makes it the perfect stop for a break along the way to the OBX. The bathrooms have a wonderful rustic, seaside charm. Each one is its own private sanctuary for the guest filled with antique pictures of the farm and surrounding area, but most importantly, is thoroughly cleaned after every patron and smell quite nice.

apple business fruit local
Photo by Erik Scheel on Pexels.com

The charming bathrooms run on donations and typically do have a little bit of a wait, however there are portable bathrooms available if you decide you can’t wait and don’t have a dollar or so to spare on gratuities. If you are lucky enough to visit Morris’ Farmer’s Market, PLEASE use their wonderful restroom facilities, it’s certainly not your typical bathroom break while traveling.

The excitement is palpable in the car as we cross over the Wright Memorial Bridge connecting the mainland of North Carolina to the OBX. The air seems more fresh and the vacation vibe is everywhere once on the island. It is time to relax and simply enjoy an afternoon escape with my family.

wood-wooden-number-home-decor-5733.jpg
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Our first stop is Trash to Treasure, a quaint antique shop on Croatan Hwy in Kill Devil Hills. The shop is open seven days a week and filled with eclectic treasures from days gone by. There are vintage pieces still in their original condition as well as fresh re purposed furniture ready to find a new home. There is a heavy nautical theme in the shop which makes it a perfect place to find that, “one of a kind” item for your beach cottage. I hope to visit some of the other antique stores that seem to be popping up along Croatan Hwy very soon!

We never go to the OBX without stopping at the Outer Banks Boarding Company. This is no “run of the mill” surf shop. It’s owned and operated by Lynn Shell, an internationally known surf board shaper and all around amazing guy. If you need a surf board or anything related to surfing or water sports, this is the place. Lynn’s vast knowledge of the sport and top of the line surf equipment make his shop the best of the best. It’s one of those home town places that we just want to always support, we wait until we can stop by the OBBC to make a purchase that we could easily buy back home. The place is jam packed with not only surfing equipment but apparel, shoes and all things “beachy”! Spending time talking with Lynn and browsing through his shop is definitely a must do!

After eating dinner and stopping for dessert at a frozen yogurt bar, we end the day with a relaxing walk along the beach in Nag’s Head. It’s really the perfect day in my opinion!!

Live, Uncategorized

Breakfast on the Beach with Jesus

4 As morning was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; however, the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 So Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish [to eat along with your bread]?” They answered, “No.” 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find some.” So they cast [the net], and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great catch of fish. 7 Then that disciple (John) whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer tunic (for he was stripped for work) and threw himself into the sea [and swam ashore]. 8 But the other disciples came in the small boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.
9 So when they got out on the beach, they saw a charcoal fire set up and fish on it cooking, and bread.   John 21:4-9

Try to envision what that must have looked like to Peter that morning…seeing Jesus. His friend and Messiah who he had just watched be crucified and suffer a horrible death. Now Peter sees Jesus on the beach through the misty crisp morning air next to an inviting crackling fire. I think Peter must have rubbed his eyes a couple of times, squinting through the fog and his own disbelief. Could that really be Jesus? But Jesus was there on that miraculous morning. Not only was Jesus patiently waiting for His disciples on the beach that morning, but he was making them breakfast. That blows my mind! Jesus was making them breakfast on the beach… just take that in for a minute. I can’t imagine eating breakfast, (which happens to be my favorite meal), on the beach with Jesus, (which also happens to be one of my favorite places to be). The Creator of the Universe was serving them and meeting them right where they were. Breakfast on the beach with Jesus is absolutely one of he most beautiful visuals of Jesus’ love for us from the scriptures in my opinion.

Peter had walked beside Jesus and been a part of His amazing and oftentimes controversial ministry on earth, he was part of the original 12 disciples. Peter was the boisterous and zealous disciple, he was a fighter — maybe best known for cutting off the ear of one of the soldiers that had come to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Peter witnessed miracle upon miracle at the hands of Jesus and was always bold in his service for Him. He accompanied Jesus as they fed the thousands of people with the loaves and fishes, he watched in amazement at the beautiful healing work of the Messiah and even offered his services (as silly as it sounded) to provide shelter for Jesus, Moses and Elijah at the transfiguration. Peter believed with everything that he had within him that Jesus was the Messiah and was constantly trying to prove his love for his Master.

BUT – Peter STILL denied Jesus three times after Jesus’ death.

Peter must have felt so confused and horribly ashamed at his actions against his Savior. He may have even doubted everything he had just been through, all the miracles and teachings at Jesus’ feet. Was it all for nothing? Im sure in Peter’s desperation and fear he acted in haste, denying his relationship with his beloved.

It seemed Peter was at a desperate place after all the events that had just unfolded and he didn’t know what to do after Jesus’ death. So feeling defeated, he just went back to the only thing he knew…fishing on the Sea of Galilee.

Who was God to Peter?

Peter knew Christ well. He had experienced a heavenly encounter on earth with God’s Son, they had served together and walked the dusty roads spreading the message of Christ to the Jews and the Gentiles. This was not a casual relationship, it was a firmly rooted friendship and Peter truly loved Jesus. But, yet Peter was able to deny Him.

Jesus, filled with grace, goes on to give Peter three opportunities to profess his love for Him. After doing so, Jesus gives Peter a purpose and commissions him for ministry on that magnificent morning together on the beach. Peter obediently responds to the call and serves God faithfully the rest of His life.

This account of Peter and Jesus and the reality of their relationship prompts me to examine my own thoughts on who Jesus is, my relationship with Him and how I can better serve Him.  Here are three questions to ask yourself if you are wanting to know Jesus more intimately…

What tangible ways can you get to better acquainted with God?

List some characteristics of God based on the text.

Who is God to you?