Monday, June 22, 2009

Favorite Products: Granulated Stevia Powder

Sugar, Splenda, Sweet & Low, Equal....there are so many sweeteners out there - but which one really is best for you? Here is one of my PERSONAL favorite products - and a special savings for my blog readers thanks to my friends at Jay Robb Enterprises, Inc.

Here is the info straight from Jay Robb's website!


Our new granulated Stevia powder is spoonable like sugar and dissolves almost instantly, even in cold beverages like fresh made lemonade. 200-300 times sweeter than sugar, Stevia creates an intense effect upon the taste buds without raising blood sugar levels. Research indicates that both diabetics and persons suffering from hypoglycemia may use Stevia.

"I use 1/2 to 1 tsp of the powder in my yogurt mix each day and it turns sour tasting yogurt into a creamy dessert that tastes like pudding. It also sweetens lemonade, limeade, orange juice, grapefruit juice, herb teas, regular iced and hot teas, and is also tasty in baked goods and other recipes including JayCookies and Macaroons."
—Jay Robb

Our Stevia comes in 10 oz jars that should last an individual 30-60 days. Stevia has been used in Japan since 1970 with no reports of any side effects. Stevia has been used around the world with no reports of any problems for over 40 years now. Stevia is heat stable to 392 degrees Fahrenheit so is great for baking.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 1 scoop (scooper inside container)
Servings per container 113
Amount per serving:
Calories 10
Total Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0g
Sodium 0g
Total Carbohydrate 2.5g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugar Alcohol 2.5g
Protein 0g

Other Ingredients
Erythritol (a natural fiber from vegetables, fruits and grains)

Our ingredients contain No gluten, No msg, No casein, No artificial colors or flavors

Jay Robb's Stevia is a dietary supplement extracted from leaves of the Stevia plant.

Stevia Powder to Sugar Conversions

Use Stevia for baking and in drinks instead of sugar. Most people prefer the Stevia powder for drinks such as coffee, tea or blender drinks. It works great to even sweeten up a Jay Robb egg protein shake.

1 Jay Robb Stevia scooper = 1/2 tsp of Stevia powder
1/2 tsp of Stevia powder = 2 tsp sugar
3 tsp of Stevia powder = 1/4 cup of sugar
6 tsp of Stevia powder = 1/2 cup of sugar

Order as much as you want between now and July 2, and you can save 15% off - that's a serious deal! Either order online, or phone in your order using the information on the coupon above.

Enjoy, and thanks again!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Tangy BBQ Chicken

School's finally out, and summer is in full swing. With Independence Day right around the corner, invitations to backyard barbeques keep rolling in. Here is one of my favorite recipes for BBQ chicken that is a crowd pleaser...without being a diet buster! Enjoy!

Tangy BBQ Chicken(Serves 4)

You will need:

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 TBSP reduced sodium ketchup
3 TBSP cider vinegar
1 TBSP ready-made white horseradish
2 tsp Splenda brown sugar blend
1 garlic glove, finely chopped
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper


1. Preheat your grill to medium.

2. Cut chicken breasts into halves.

3. In a small saucepan, combine ketchip, vinegar, horseradish, brown sugar, garlic and thyme. Mix well and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened. (Should take about 5 minutes.) Remove from heat, then stir in the pepper.

4. Brush the tops of the chicken pieces lightly with sauce. Place the chicken, sauce-side down, on the grill rack, and brush the other sides of the chicken lightly with the sauce.

5. Place the chicken about 3 inches from the heat, basting with remaining sauce and turning until no longer pink in the center. (Should take 5-7 minutes per side.)

6. Let the chicken stand 5 minutes before serving.

**Option, you can double the sauce recipe to serve the sauce on the side with the meat for an extra burst of BBQ flavor!**

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Are You Truly Heart Smart?

If you've met me once, you probably know that I'm a health freak. Everything from fitness and nutrition to illness-prevention and medical research is a huge passion of mine. But even if you don't seek out health info like I do, there's no way you can miss the phrase "heart smart" in your normal life. Everything seems to have jumped on the heart smart bandwagon these days - Cheerios, almonds, aspirin, pedometers, treadmills, gym memberships...even WebMD (probably your family doctor's office) encourages your yearly check-ups as being heart smart.

I admit it - heart smart is a catchy phrase. It's only two syllables, it rhymes, it just rolls right off the tongue...but I also can't help but wonder - what does it really mean to be heart smart? Are there things that are heart smarter than others? Are all heart smart items created equal? Can being heart smart be faked?

As far as things of this world go, I'm not about to attempt the answers to those questions. However, my yearly Bible reading plan has had me in Psalms and I Kings this week, and it's had me thinking about the heart...and how God would define being "heart smart."

I Kings begins with the last days of David's life - the one referred to as "a man after God's own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14), which triggered my thought process. In his final charge to his son, Solomon, before his death, he proves this statement true. He challenges his son to show himself a man by keeping God's charge - " walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His act according to your wisdom...and show kindness" (I Kings 2:3;6-7).

Wow. I know carrying on the family business can sometimes be difficult for a son, especially if his father was so gifted at his craft - but can you imagine trying to fill a legacy like that? Plus, this wasn't just any family business. After his father's death, Solomon was now the king...of Israel...God's chosen people. Yikes.
Solomon wasn't incompetant. In fact, when Solomon was proclaimed king, I Kings 1:40 says that "the people were playing their flutes and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth shook at their joy." And this was actually before David died. It would have been easy for Solomon to start his reign as king puffed up and full of himself.

But in humility mirroring his fathers, Solomon prayed this prayer:

Now, O Lord my God, You have made your servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. Your servant is in the midst of Your people which You have chosen, a great people who are too many to be numbered or counted. So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?

Can you believe that "Wise King Solomon" compares himself to a child who cannot find his way? How incredible is it that the person who has more power than anyone else in the land doesn't refer to the people in his country as his people but as God's people? And what does he ask for of the Lord - more riches? Increased favor? No. He wants an understanding heart, which the Lord grants (I Kings 3:12, 4:29).

Confession time. When I first came to seminary, I didn't know anything. Let me re-phrase that...I thought I knew the Bible. I'd grown up with these stories. I'd been reading it daily since the 7th grade. But in my first few classes, I was introduced to words like hermeneutics, propitiation and disponsational premillenialism. It became obvious quickly that I had a lot to learn.

Over the past three years, I've studied more than I ever have in my life. I've taken classes in church history, interpreting Scripture, preparing Bible studies - and I actually have an opinion now about disponsational premillenialism (which we won't get into).

Most of you are probably thinking, "That's great." On one hand - yes, it is. I am so thankful for the lessons I've learned and the professors who have invested in me. However, there is a danger in "knowing" how to do things now. There have been moments when I've sat down to read the Bible and immediately began reminding myself of what was going on in that time period and who the author of the text is. Almost subconciously, I search the footnotes for commentary and additional background information.

And while there's nothing wrong with any of those things I just mentioned, there's a critical component missing:

I forgot to ask God to speak to me through His Word - to teach me what He wants me to learn.

It seems simple...but how else would we be able to read one book for our entire lives and learn something new each time we open it? Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, trying to understand Scripture out of our human wisdom is pointless...but it's so easy to get caught up in our "knowledge" and forget the heart.

God is powerful enough to impart His wisdom, even if the world doesn't think that we are very smart. Look at the people he chose: Moses - a helpless Israelite baby in a basket; David - a shepherd; the disciples - an assortment of non-religious leaders who help occupations like fishermen and a tax collector; Paul - a persecutor of Christians...the list could go on. Bottom line - If God's in it, anything is possible. If we try to do anything on our own power, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

After Solomon built the temple, I Kings 8:10-11 says, "It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud [God's presence] filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord." God's presense was so strong that the ministers SAT DOWN. They didn't need to do their own ministry thing because God was doing His...and He will do that everytime if we just have tthe humility to get out of the way. Instead of trying to think about what we should do, we just need to follow after His closely and quickly as possible.

No, this doesn't mean that ministers should just sit down in church and wait for God to take and pulpit. But our gifts, abilities and aquired wisdom should be second to following God's heart. We don't read in Scripture about following God's brain. Infact, Scripture is pretty clear that's impossible since His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). But His heart? We can incline our hearts towards His and truly seek to follow Him in all we do (Psalm 119:36).

I love the way Psalm 78:72 summarizes David's life. It says, "So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them with his skillful hands." David's wisdom didn't begin with his skills - it began with a heart of integrity to do His Father's business. That phrase has echosed in my brain this week - heart of integrity. Your heart - the center of your body's circulation, where everything must be pumped in and out - should focus on integrity...doing the right thing, even if no one is watching.

Today, I challenge you with the same question I've issued to myself: Am I truly heart smart?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Sumo Squat

Have you ever seen a sumo match? These wrestlers may look funny (and flabby - I will spare you an actual picture), but they're actually powerhouses of strength and balance.

In the beginning of a match, the two opponents face off while performing a special type of squat in slow motion. Lifting one leg while leaning to the side, the wrestler uses his full weight and power to strike the mat. After repeating this move with the other leg, the wrestler then sinks down into a deep, wide-legged squat.

You'll probably never have to intimidate a competitor in the ring, but doing this sumo-inspired exercise will strengthen your inner and outer thighs. Best of all, there's no loincloth required! :) Good news for you...and anyone who works out near you!

How it's Done:

1. Stand with your feet as wide apart as possible while pointing your toes outward.

2. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.

3. Hold for a beat, exhale, then press back up to starting position. Repeat.

4. Keep your shoulders directly over your hips at all times. For best results, don't lean forward or let your knees extend beyond your toes. Keep your abs drawn in and don't arch your back.

5. Extra challenge needed? Put a dumbbell in your hands and add some extra weight!