Quick Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

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For lunch today the kids and I wanted some oatmeal, but I didn’t have a lot of time. I went to the cabinet to get some instant oatmeal (don’t judge!), and realized we were all out. So I decided to try making my own on the stovetop and the results were really good! This recipe made enough for me and my two boys with approximately the same amount as three packets of the instant variety. Make yourself a bowl and enjoy!

Quick Stovetop Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Ingredients
1 cup quick cooking (1 minute) oats
1 cup milk*
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp. butter*
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Dash each, cloves, nutmeg, ginger
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3-1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
Brown sugar to taste
Ground flax seed (optional)

In a saucepan, combine milk, water, butter, and vanilla and heat over medium heat, stirring regularly, until boiling. Stir in oats and spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in applesauce and brown sugar (I used about 2 tbsp. and it was fairly sweet) and remove from heat. Stir in flax meal if desired, let sit for 2 minutes to cool and thicken and serve.

Servings: 2-3 (1 cup servings)

*For a vegetarian version, use almond milk and vegetable oil or coconut oil

Taco Soup

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While it is technically spring, this week has been cooler and rainy here in the Midwest, and I don’t know about you, but cool, rainy weather always makes me want a big bowl of soup!

This soup is very flavorful and easy to throw together. As I mentioned last week, during my Daniel Fast, I typically made a big pot of soup at the beginning of the week and then ate it along with a salad for lunch throughout the week. This was one of the soups I made and it was delicious!

Vegetarian Taco Soup

Ingredients
1 tablespoon Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, diced
3-4 cups vegetable broth (for a Daniel Fast, use this recipe, or just use water)
1 can black beans (15 oz), drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (14.5 oz), drained
1/2 can fat free vegetarian refried beans
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 Tbsp. Taco Seasoning (for a Daniel Fast, use this recipe to make your own)
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper

In a large saucepan, sauté onions in olive oil until translucent. Add vegetable broth (use more or less broth depending on how thick you want your soup), black beans, tomatoes, corn and seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in cooked rice and refried beans and simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until the refried beans have dissolved into the broth and the rice is heated through.

Recipe Notes:

  • For a non-vegetarian dish, use chicken broth in place of vegetable broth and add 1-2 cups cooked shredded chicken when you add the rice and refried beans
  • For a non-Daniel Fast meal, consider adding the following toppings: sour cream, shredded Mexican cheese, diced avocado, and/or crushed tortilla chips
  • Can use regular diced tomatoes if you can’t tolerate spicy food
  • Can substitute 1/2 cup dried polenta for the brown rice

Servings: Approximately 8 (1-cup servings)

Adapted from (Ultimate Daniel Fast)

Tips for Doing a Daniel Fast

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Last Saturday marked the final day of my 21-day Daniel Fast. It has been an exciting time of spiritual growth and renewal, and today I’d like to share a few practical things I learned along the way, in case you are interested in doing a Daniel Fast for yourself!

Here are a few tips and ideas:

  • Begin your fast knowing that the ultimate focus and outcome is spiritual, rather than physical. If you just want to eat more healthy or lose some weight, then you’re really just dieting, not fasting. A true fast should include a spiritual element of prayer, confession, and Bible study, asking God to speak to you as you focus on spiritual nourishment, rather than physical nourishment.
  • Have a spiritual goal in mind while fasting. Maybe you need wisdom before making a big decision, maybe you need direction in some area of your life, maybe you want to begin to have more consistent time in the Word, maybe, like me, you want to use the time leading up to Christmas or Easter as a time of reflection and spiritual preparation. Set a goal or focus, but also be prepared for God to show you new things along the way!
  • Find a devotional plan to use during the time of fasting and get a journal to write down what you’re learning, your prayer requests, etc. The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast has daily devotionals to use during your fast, or use another book or Bible study method of your choosing. I read through the devotionals in the book, but I also did the Easter study from Good Morning Girls. She Reads Truth is another good source of Bible study plans.
  • Figure out your menu ahead of time and shop for necessary ingredients. While I had some of the ingredients I needed, because I couldn’t use things with added sugar or leavening agents, refined flour, etc. I had to go to the store to buy a number of ingredients, and making a meal plan ahead of time helped me to make sure I didn’t make unnecessary trips to the store because I didn’t have one or two ingredients.
  • Decide ahead of time how to fit your fast in with your family’s meals. This is a hard one if your family doesn’t want to participate in your fast or if they are not used to eating lots of unprocessed, whole grain products. When I made up my meal plan, I tried to find ways that I could make things easier by making dishes we normally eat, and just modifying them a bit for myself. That way I didn’t have to make two separate meals every night. For example, our family likes tacos and nachos. I was able to make those once a week and just have them without the chicken for myself (just beans and brown rice with lettuce, tomato, avocado, cilantro, etc.), or I made spaghetti and meatballs, but used whole grain spaghetti (which we eat normally), and just skipped the meatballs for myself, and made sure the tomato sauce didn’t have sugar. The kids were happy for the most part, and my husband was really supportive and decided to just eat whatever I was eating for dinner, rather than asking me to make a separate meat for him.
  • Make things as easy as possible so you’re not tempted to “cheat.” Make sure you have a good variety of things available, especially fresh fruits and veggies. Cut things up ahead of time so they are readily available with minimal work. At the beginning of each week I made a big batch of soup for lunch, and then I would just reheat a bowl every day along with a salad for lunch. That way I knew exactly what I was going to eat, it was easy and quick, and it allowed me to focus on other things.
  • If you have any special dietary needs, you are pregnant, or you are nursing, check with your doctor before beginning your fast, or adjust the fast as necessary. For example, because I was nursing and needed extra calories (and didn’t want to risk any “supply” issues as baby is only a few months old), I chose to include seafood in my fast as an extra source of calories and protein.

That’s all I can think of for now! If you’re planning a Daniel Fast soon, please leave a comment and let us know!