January Favorites

I thought it would be fun if I took a moment each month to let you know what things are currently striking my fancy, so here goes the January installment! Current favorites:

Book: Mountain Story by Lori Lansens. From the beginning, I was caught up in the adventure and twisting plot of this story. I had a hard time putting it down and spent a lot of time wondering what was going to happen next. It was truly an entertaining read!

Verse: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy –think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” {Philippians 4:6-9} I worry. But I need to remind myself to cast my cares on God because He can bear the weight, giving me peace that confounds my understanding, and I then I am free focus on the good things in life instead of being dragged down by my anxiety.

Food: Fudgy avocado brownies from Half Baked Harvest. I used Stevia in place of the coconut sugar, whole wheat flour instead of almond meal, made flax eggs, and sprinkled more dark chocolate chips on the top in lieu of frosting since I had already eaten a good amount of chocolate chips while making them and felt the need to cut back a little bit. I served mine with some banana "nice" cream, which I adapted from a recipe I found on Prevention.com, making only about a quarter of the recipe and using one of my favorite new food discoveries-- powdered peanut butter!

TV Show: I watched all the episodes of Alton Brown's Good Eats available on Netflix in a surprisingly short time, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Some of them were more interesting to me because they involved foods I eat more often, but they were all intriguing. I particularly like Alton's approach to reviving foods that have become lessened versions of their traditionally great selves, whether through over processing or laziness on the part of home cooks. 

Blog: Pinch of Yum. I'll admit I would love to be friends with Lindsay in real life (partially because she, too, lives in the Minneapolis area-- a fellow Minnesotan found by chance!). I love how much time and effort she puts into developing her recipes and posts, describing the foods she creates and the inspiration for them. She's funny and honest, and her writing comes across like a friend's would, not like a sterile cookbook. I look forward to new recipes when I see there's a fresh post, as I've found some really delicious things there, like the Spicy Falafel & Roasted Veggie Naan-wich (which I recently made-- delish!), Chopped Thai Salad with Sesame Garlic Dressing (which I made for a get-together last year and received rave reviews for), and 20-Minute Healthy Chicken Parmesan (mmm, zoodles!).

Memory from last month: All the Christmas festivities brought me so much joy. I LOVED getting to spend so much concentrated time with my friends and family, celebrating the birth of Christ. Even though I ate far too many rich foods, I thoroughly enjoyed playing games, watching movies, and engaging in conversations around the dinner table with those who are nearest and dearest to me.

Now it's your turn. What are some of your favorite things? I'd love to hear them!