10 Bible Verses to Bring in the New Year

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Happy New Year!!!  The new year always represents a fresh start with new goals and new year’s resolutions. It also involves letting the disappointments of the past year go and moving forward in trust of Him and with no fear. I don’t know about you, but I want to squeeze every last drop out of my time here on earth that God’s blessed me with while spreading every word and act of kindness and encouragement that I possibly can this year!

Of course, we can’t go it alone, and the good news is that we don’t have to! He is always with us, protecting us, loving us, and making a way for us. He’s so enamored with us, and I hope that in the new year that if you haven’t already, you will come to grasp just how fond of you He truly is.

In the spirit of the new year, I’ve compiled 10 of my favorite bible verses that I like to meditate on on New Year’s Day, and guess what? I’m gonna share them with you!!!

1.) 2 Corinthians 5:17 ~ Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

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2.) Isaiah 43:19 ~ See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

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3.) Jeremiah 29:11 ~ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

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4.) Proverbs 23:18 ~ There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

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5.) Lamentations 3: 22 – 23 ~ Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

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6.) Ezekiel 11:19 ~ I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.

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7.) Micah 7:7 ~ But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.

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8.) Isaiah 40:31 ~ But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

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9.) Psalm 90:12 ~ So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

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10.) Proverbs 16:9 ~ In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.

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No matter where your at in your journey in the new year, you can rest assured that God has you in the palm of His hand and knows exactly what you need to become the best possible you and experience all the blessings He has in store for you! You are loved, friends, with a deep and unfathomable love. Take rest in Him in the new year and watch as His plans for your good unfold! Happy New Year!!!

happy new year

Healthy Almond Honey Cookies

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Guys…Christmas season = Cookie season, which is awesome and not awesome at the same time, because cookies are delicious, but let’s face it…they aren’t usually good for you!  Well, this time of the year, I always try to find a healthy cookie recipe that really does taste like a cookie, and if I might say so myself, I’ve definitely succeeded this year!

These almond honey cookies are SO yummy!  You know how a perfect cookie  is a little bit crisp just on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside…um, yes…these cookies!  They are the PERFECT texture, and guys, they really taste like a cookie…not just like a healthy substitute for a cookie!  BUT…they are, in fact, healthy!  The main ingredients are almond butter, raw honey, and almond flour, all of which have some really great health benefits!  Oh oh!!!  And, guys, they’re GLUTEN FREE!!!

Both almond butter and almond flour have all the health benefits of almonds, some of which include

  • Good for heart health
  • Helps thwart cancer formation
  • Good for blood sugar management
  • Can aid in weight management
  • Good for energy levels

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Although raw honey is a sugar, it has so many great benefits that if you’re going to have sugar, it’s probably one of your best options, since many of its benefits counteract the drawbacks of sugar!  The following pin explains 50, that’s right FIFTY, healthy benefits of raw honey!

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Phew!  That’s a lot!  So, as you can see, these cookies that actually taste like cookies really are good for you, so they are great to have on hand during the holiday season!  I like to have a batch made whenever I’m going to be baking cookies for get togethers or to hand out to friends and neighbors.  They keep me from indulging on cookies with less desirable ingredients while still giving me my cookie fix!  No need to feel deprived during cookie season!

ALMOND HONEY COOKIES

Ingredients (makes 1 dozen cookies)

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup almond flour/almond meal
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. alcohol free vanilla
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 egg white

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.  Put all the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix them together.  If the batter seems too runny add a bit more almond flour until you could handle it with your hands – though it will be sticky.

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2.) Drop the batter on the prepared baking sheet by spoonful.  Use a fork to gently impress a criss cross pattern on the top of each cookie.  If the batter is sticking to the fork, try dipping the fork in a bit of almond flour and then creating the criss cross pattern.  These will get bigger as they bake, so leave some space in between them.

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3.) Bake for 8-10 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees, and let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing.

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4.) Remove from the sheet and chow down!

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SO SO SO GOOD!!!  Yay to being able to enjoy cookie season without sacrificing good health to do it!  Enjoy! 🙂

Lighted Wood Christmas Craft

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Aren’t these the most darling lil crafts ever?  These are what I am giving out as Christmas gifts this year…hmmm…hopefully my friends and family don’t read this before they get them! 😉

I love these things, because they look really nice and rustic, but they’re actually not all that hard to put together!  Of course, if you LOVE the way they look as much as I do, and you don’t feel like having to do it yourself, you can also easily purchase these on my Etsy store too!

They make for a perfect Christmas decoration, and the lights in them give such a warm and cozy ambience to any room they may be displayed in!  The wood is unfinished, and I put a light coat of gray paint on them to make them look nice and rustic.  They are just perfect for a nice looking Christmas decoration!

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You can hang this craft on the wall, or you can display it on a shelf or table.  Regardless of how you display it, believe me, you will LOVE the way it looks!

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Let’s get to the instructions on how to make this!

LIGHTED WOOD CHRISTMAS CRAFTS

Materials Needed:

  • Unfinished block of wood (like a side of a crate) – I got mine at Amazon here.  It’s perfect, because it has the hardware for hanging it on the wall already installed.
  • pencil
  • Stencil of the design you would like to paint on
  • tape
  • measuring tape
  • drill (size of the drill bit is up to you – bigger = more light)
  • dark grey paint
  • white paint
  • paint sponge
  • paint brush
  • toothpicks
  • Craft glue (I use Crafter’s Pick – it’s the best)
  • LED wire lights (you can get these here)
  • cuttable cork board
  • scissors
  • Large thumbtacks (4)

Directions:

1.) Use your tape measure to place your stencil in the middle of the wood accurately. Tape in place, and do a light sketch of the stencil onto the wood with your pencil.

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2.) Remove the stencil and draw in dots around your stenciled design where you want to have your light holes.  Use a drill to drill holes over those dots.

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3.) Mix your gray paint with a bit of water, and use your sponge paintbrush to paint your board gray.  Let dry completely.

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4.) Once the paint is dry, place your stencil back on the board in the same position you had it on there before.  Tape into place, and use your paintbrush and your white paint to paint the stencil onto the wood. Carefully remove the stencil. Don’t worry if it’s a little sloppy – we will clean it up in the next step.

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5.) Use a toothpick and both paints to clean up the stencil design on the wood.

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6.) Flip the piece of wood over.  On the back, glue your battery pack of your LED lights along the bottom of the wood.  Arrange your LED lights in a pattern so that the lights line up with the holes you drilled.  Tape into place, then glue into place by placing drops of glue along the wires (not on the lights).  Allow the glue to dry completely, and then you can remove the tape.

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7.) After the glue is completely dry, use your tape measure to measure a piece of cork board that you can lay over the back to cover up the wires and lights.  Cut out the piece of cork board using your scissors, and then lay it over the wires, but keeping the battery pack outside of the cork board.

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8.) Use four thumbtacks to secure the cork board into place, taking care not to poke a thumbtack into the wires.

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You’re all set!  The on/off switch for the lights is on the battery pack.  Display your finished product proudly! 🙂

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Enjoy! 🙂

Healthy Creamy Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup

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Alright, guys!  I have a new slow cooker favorite!!!  Wow!  This stuff is so incredibly good, and with it being a slow cooker recipe, it is SO easy to make!  On top of all that, it’s REALLY healthy!

I got the idea for this soup from the following pin.

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This looked so tasty, and I had some sweet potatoes on hand, so I decided to see what I could come up with!  The recipe that the pin links to isn’t a slow cooker recipe, I changed pretty much all of the ingredients and spices to use ones I had on hand, and I didn’t put the end result into a food processor, but it still was my inspiration to come up with this soup, and for that I’m super thankful!  Like I said, this is my new favorite!!!  Let’s get to the recipe!

HEALTHY CREAMY SLOW COOKER SWEET POTATO AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large red onion chopped
  • 4-5 green onion stalks, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garlic granules
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 3 ounces soft goat cheese

Directions

1.) Prepare all your veggies.  Put the cauliflower, sweet potatoes, red onion, green onion, broth, garlic granules, thyme, paprika, and sea salt in the slow cooker.  Cook on high for 4 1/2 hours.

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2.) After the veggies are all cooked and tender, turn off the slow cooker and add the almond milk and goat cheese to the slow cooker.  Stir to combine completely.

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3.) Use a ladle to transfer to bowls to serve.

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You will seriously love me for introducing you to this soup if you try it!  Enjoy! 🙂

Pumpkin Smoothie

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I know that Fall and Winter don’t usually scream “Smoothie time!”, but this smoothie will have you thinking differently.  After all, doesn’t fall mean pumpkin everything? 🙂  This is a pumpkin smoothie that is beyond delicious, incredibly good for you, and very filling.  In case you aren’t already familiar with some of the excellent health benefits of pumpkin, here’s a pin explaining some of them.

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Pretty awesome, huh?  So, I think the pumpkin says it all!  Let’s get to the recipe!

PUMPKIN SMOOTHIE

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2-3/4 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Almond Butter
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • Pumpkin pie spice, to taste
  • Stevia, to taste

Directions

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend till smooth.

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Transfer to a cup to serve.

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Perfect Fall/Winter smoothie!  Enjoy! 🙂

Homemade Maple Cinnamon Vanilla Walnut Butter

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So, today, I whipped up a batch of my Loaded Carrot and Apple Muffins this morning for breakfast, and after I finished them up, I realized that I didn’t have any almond butter, or any nut butter for that matter, to top them with like I usually do!  I decided to get creative with the leftover walnuts and a food processor, and the result is this absolutely delicious maple cinnamon vanilla walnut butter…oh, and it went PERFECTLY with the muffins!

Not only is this walnut butter super tasty, it is really good of you!  Walnuts have tons of health benefits, and when made into a nut butter like this, it’s even easier for your body to digest and absorb the nutrients in the walnuts!

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Look at all those health benefits!  I am super excited about this walnut butter, and even though I created it only because I didn’t have any nut butters on hand, I can pretty much guarantee that this will be a regular staple in our household from now on!

This stuff is super easy to make, and it goes so well with so many different things – muffins, biscuits, sandwiches…even by itself, it’s amazing!  Let’s get to the recipe!

HOMEMADE MAPLE CINNAMON VANILLA WALNUT BUTTER

Ingredients (makes about 3/4 -1 cup of walnut butter):

  • 8 ounces chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the walnuts out on the baking sheet.  Place in the oven and bake for 12 minutes total, removing it from the oven and stirring the nuts every 4 minutes (so you’ll stir the nuts a total of two times at 4 minutes and at 8 minutes, then at 12 minutes, remove from the oven).  Allow the nuts to cool completely (you can place them in the fridge for about 10 minutes to speed up the cooling if desired).

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2.) Once the walnuts are cooled, place them in the bed of a food processor and add in the rest of the ingredients.  Process on high, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until it takes on a nut butter type consistency.  This may take a while, so just keep at it until it gets to the desired consistency.

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3.) Transfer to a bowl to serve immediately, or place in an air-tight container and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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Spread onto a muffin, biscuit, bread.  Use as a dip for fruit or veggies.  Eat a spoonful all by itself.  Use it in any recipe that calls for a nut butter of some kind. The possibilities for this stuff are endless!

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DELICIOUS!  Enjoy! 🙂

Cauliflower Stuffing – Gluten Free!

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I know I’m not the only one that loves stuffing on Thanksgiving day!  Unfortunately, since I gave up gluten, it’s challenging to find a good recipe for it, since one of the main ingredients is bread!  Kinda like the recipe that this pin links to!

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Frick, that looks delicious!  But, alas, it is full of gluten. 😦  I started thinking about the fact that there are so many ‘bread’ recipes that can be made using cauliflower instead of flour, such as cauliflower crust pizza, cauliflower bread sticks, cauliflower grilled cheese, etc.  The list goes on and on, so I thought maybe I could come up with some sort of stuffing using cauliflower instead of bread, and guess what – it’s AWESOME!  Totally tastes like delicious stuffing and not only is it gluten free, but it’s also REALLY good for you!  Another great thing is that it’s easy to make, so let’s get to the recipe already!!!

HEALTHY GLUTEN FREE CAULIFLOWER STUFFING

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. coconut oil
  •  1 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 large celery stalks, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large leek, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into tiny pieces
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh chopped sage
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1.) Prepare all of your vegetables by finely chopping everything…the smaller the better.  heat the coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and leek.  Cook for 7-10 minutes until vegetables begin to sweat.

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2.) Add the cauliflower, and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

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3.) Add the parsley, rosemary, sage, and broth (or water).  Cover and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until the broth is completely absorbed, and the vegetables are completely tender.

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4.) Transfer to a plate, and season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.

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Nom, nom, nom!  Enjoy! 🙂