Monday, November 17, 2014

Sweet: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

Moist and flavorful spiced-pumpkin bars 
loaded with chocolate chips 
and topped with a thick smear 
of creamy, dreamy cream cheese frosting.

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins

Dry Ingredients
·        1 cup all-purpose flour
·        2 teaspoons cinnamon
·        ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
·        1 teaspoon baking powder
·        ½ teaspoon baking soda
·        ½ teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients
·        2 whole eggs
·        cup brown sugar
·        1 cup canned pumpkin
·        ¼ cup milk
·        ¼ cup oil
·        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·        ¾ cup mini chocolate chips

Cream Cheese Frosting:
·        4 oz cream cheese, softened
·        2 Tablespoons butter, softened
·        1 cup powdered sugar
·        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13-inch pan with non-stick spray.

To make bars:
Combine dry ingredients a large bowl, set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine all wet ingredients. Fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chooclate chips until evenly distributed. The batter will be very thick. Transfer into prepared baking dish and bake for 14-15 minutes. If you have trouble spreading the bars to cover the pan, spray a spatula and the top of the batter with non-stick spray.
Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before cutting into 12 bars.

To make cream cheese dipping sauce:
In a mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy. Stir in powdered sugar and mix until creamy. Add vanilla and stir until evenly distributed. Spread on pumpkin bars and serve immediately.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Sweeter: Free E-copy of Passport Through Darkness!

Get it here:

Sweeter: Good & Bad People-Pleasing

It's taken me a while.
But I think I've finally figured it out - maybe.

Here's the *big* question:
What's wrong with trying to please people?

1. When I try to "make people happy" - i.e., to get them to be pleased WITH ME and to want to be my friends - in other words, when the actions I take are really self-serving (aka selfish) . . . that's bad. 

The bad people-pleasing usually takes a lot of effort, is usually somewhat exhausting, and ALWAYS requires doing something "nice" that is also either fake or contrived.

Example: I wear skirts. Partly because I like them and partly because it's what I think God wants me to do. But what if I wore them because I know people who believe that way, and because I wanted those people to think well of me? What if the only reason I wore skirts was to earn other people's good opinions of myself?

An example of something bad I actually do to "please people": When I feel like someone's mad at me, I tend to rack my brain for some reason why they might be mad and then to apologize for whatever I did/said that I think they're mad about. Which tends to backfire and to only result in their being scared to death of spending time with such an awkward person!

Something else I tend to do: If someone seems scared to talk to me, I tend to try to think of a pleasant conversation to have with them in order to change their minds into thinking they can afford to be my friend again. Which, tends to backfire, too! :)

But please don't be afraid to talk to me! I'm really tryin' to do better about this! Yes, those sentences was probably yet another example of the negative kind of people-pleasing. In fact, a big part of why I included any (both) these examples of stuff I actually do was because I thought it necessary in order to please people, because I felt like I had to include these examples in order to keep people from being mad at me for writing this post, to keep them from thinking that this post is about me passing some kind of judgment on them - which it's not. 

I'm trying to say that this is a struggle for me - which should be absolutely obvious after that paragraph of people-pleasing (which may well have been the bad kind - I don't know; and for the sake of this post, I'm not even gonna worry about it).

2. However, when my efforts to please other people are truly God-motivated and others-focused - in other words, when I'm forgetting myself in real Christian love - i.e., when it's actually about pleasing THEM instead of getting them happy with ME . . . isn't that 1 Corinthians 13? Which is good, right? 

Example: What if I notice some older homeless man looking lonely and depressed. What if I think I sense God leading me to talk to him, to try to get him laughing about something? What if I notice - but ignore - all the weird looks my friends give me? (All the looks that say, "Why are you talking to him?") What if all I'm thinking about is, honestly, what I can do to be a blessing to this guy? And what if I succeed in getting the guy to laugh? 

Yes, that actually happened a few weeks ago. . . .

Sweeter: God's Beautiful Way

"And we know that all things work together 
for good to those who love God, 
to those who are the called 
according to His purpose" 

(Romans 8:28).

Friday, November 7, 2014

Sweet: Date Bars (Homemade Fig Newtons :D)

2 1/2 cups chopped dates
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup butter
2 cups rolled oats

In a saucepan combine chopped dates, brown sugar, and water.
Bring to a boil and cook until dates are soft enough to be mashed with a fork (about 5 minutes).
Set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl combine oats and your brown sugar.

In another bowl cut in butter with flour, baking soda and salt (previously sifted together). It is best to work with cold pieces of butter as they are easier to cut into the flour.

Once butter and flour are mixed together thoroughly, combine with oats and brown sugar.

Press half of the oat mixture over bottom of a greased 8 x 8 square pan.
Pack the layer down firmly with a fork.

Next place entire date mixture for the second layer.
Cover and spread evenly.

Cover with remaining oat mixture and pat until smoooth.

Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes or until a light golden brown.
Cool before cutting into squares and serving.

Enjoy! :)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sweeter: Operation Stars and Stripes

Bless our military this Christmas! From November 5-21, donate signed Christmas cards and new DVDs to the collection at the Battle of Richmond Visitors Center, 101 Battlefield Memorial Highway, Richmond, Kentucky 40475. 

Don't live in Richmond? Not to worry! You can send your gifts directly to Rosalyn-Sue Smith, President, Operation Stars & Stripes, Inc., 483 Old Canton Road, Suite 100, Marietta, GA 30068.

For more information, visit 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Sweet: How to Make Moringa Powder Taste Good

I started taking moringa capsules daily this past spring. Moringa is a superfood known to have helped with many health issues, from headaches to cancer.

Since I started taking moringa, my skin is a little clearer, I sleep better, and my bathroom-related health is better. I'm sure it's done other things that I haven't known about.

But recently, I took the last of the capsules my parents got from Amazon; so I started on a bag Mom got of moringa powder. The capsules are, of course, tasteless like all my other medicines; but the powder has a taste - boy, does it have a taste! The serving size on the bag I am using says 1 Tablespoon.

I tried it with water for a while, and let's just say that's pretty nasty. I tried adding several things (one at a time). Brown sugar, cinnamon, chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, molasses, nutmeg, . . . It was still awful.

There is a prepared mix you can get, Zija, that tastes better with just water. After taking moringa for a month and noticing some nice changes, I took Zija for a month.and was very disappointed to find that the changes had disappeared. When the month ended and I returned to straight moringa, I was greatly relieved to find them come right back!:)

(Not to totally bash Zija - I have friends who take it and who say it helps them a lot; so please don't think I'm saying it's bad for everyone! It just didn't do for me what the straight moringa did.)

Well, so I was trying different things with the moringa-water and nothing was working; and then a couple weeks ago I remembered that the bag says you can put moringa powder with any food, so I tried that - with success!

My first try was yogurt with just a teaspoon of the powder. With the whole Tablespoon, I've had yogurt and oats, or oatmeal. But by far my favorite recipe has been microwaving a bowl containing 1 Tbsp moringa powder, 1 cup water, 3/4 cup quick oats, & 1 whole apple (sliced). I'm not saying this recipe tastes particularly awesome or that you should make it to share with your friends "because it tastes so good." But it is certainly bearable! I'd say it even tastes kind of good.

And now I really have to try the 5 breakfast recipes this website lists: