If we really think about it, the ability to love others comes from no one but God Himself. 1 John 4:19 tells us that "We love because He first loved us." Without His initiative, we are completely unable to love others as He wants us to love others. Our human motives will tinge all our efforts with self-service. If we want to love sacrificially as He has loved us, it is only because He set the example. At Mom University, one of my desires is to help moms discover for themselves the joy of being in God's Word. So often, we hear it preached from the pulpit or we follow pre-scripted questions. But I want to encourage you to stretch yourself a little further. I want to challenge you to let God Himself teach you straight from the text.

This month, I hope you will be able to take some time to let Ephesians 1:3-14 soak into you. So often, we focus only on one aspect of God's love, but this passage shows us how He truly has "blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places." (v. 3) Take time to ponder words like "lavish" and "riches" in light of God's great gift for us.

When you ever feel like nothing but the chauffeur, the cook, or the homework police, take heart, dear mom. When you feel discouraged, alone, and way over your head, let Him lift up your head. He loves you more than you can ever imagine. Soak it in. Lap it up. Luxuriate in it.

And never forget it.

Here's the study: FebNL God's Valentine--Ephesians 1. You can print it out and go through it.

When you're done, come on back and listen in on what God has been teaching me through this passage.

I love to cook and try new things, so this month, I thought I'd foray into the world of granola making. I've collected about 20 granola recipes plus 4 granola bar recipes in this cookbook (click Homemade Granola Recipes to get a copy). From what I've learned, the process is generally the same, though there are some that you can microwave instead of bake. If this whets your appetite (in more ways than one!), I encourage you to look around for more combinations! If you'd like to actually see how it's done, here's a video from The Joy of Baking website.

[jwplayer mediaid="2808"]

This is the recipe that the video uses, also from the Joy of Baking website. If you want to see the original recipe on the site, go here.

Homemade Granola Recipe:

3 cups (300 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)

3/4 cup (75 grams) sliced or slivered almonds

1/2 cup (45 grams) raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup (45 grams) raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 tablespoon (5 grams) wheat germ (optional)

1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons canola oil or 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup (120 ml) pure maple syrup (preferably Grade A Dark Amber)

1 cup dried fruits (cranberries, cherries, apricots, dates, figs, and/or raisins) (optional)

Granola Recipe: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Either butter or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the rolled oats, nuts, seeds, wheat germ, ground cinnamon, and salt.

In a small bowl, stir together the oil (or melted butter), and maple syrup. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and toss together, making sure all the dry ingredients are coated with the liquid. Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 30 - 45 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally so the mixture browns evenly. (The browner the granola gets (without burning) the crunchier the granola will be.) Place on a wire rack to cool. You will notice that the granola may still be sticky when it is removed from the oven but it will become crisp and dry as it cools. Make sure to break up any large clumps of granola while the mixture is still warm. Once the granola has completely cooled, store in an airtight container or plastic bag in the refrigerator. It will keep for several weeks.

Makes about 5 cups.

Note: Once the granola has cooled completely you can add a variety of dried fruits; cherries, cranberries, raisins, and apricots are popular choices.

Granola Trifles

Here's a video about making granola trifles as a special breakfast treat, from The Joy of Baking website. It came from this page, along with another granola recipe to try, but I can't see why you couldn't use the one above.

[jwplayer mediaid="2815"]

Granola Bars

If you'd like to make granola bars (though not so healthy!), this is a tasty recipe to try, also from The Joy of Baking website. If you 'd like to bookmark the video, you can find the original page here, so you can still have a reference when I take this page down. The recipe is below the video, as well as included in the recipe book.

[jwplayer mediaid="2812"]

 

S'More Granola Bars:

 

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) (84 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

 

1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar

 

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 ml plus 1 tablespoon) pure maple syrup or golden syrup

 

1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour

 

2 cups (190 grams) old fashioned rolled oats

 

1 cup (100 grams) graham cracker crumbs (or crushed digestive biscuits)

 

1/4 cup (25 grams) sweetened or unsweetened coconut (optional)

 

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Filling:

 

1 cup (170 grams) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

 

1 1/2 cups (90 grams) mini marshmallows

 

S'More Granola Bars: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Butter (or use a non stick vegetable cooking spray) a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) square baking pan.

 

Melt the butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup (golden syrup) in a medium sized saucepan, placed over medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved remove the saucepan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a large heatproof bowl. Stir in the flour, oats, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, salt and ground cinnamon, making sure all the dry ingredients are coated with the butter mixture. Press about half of this mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan and leave to cool (about 5-10 minutes). Once the mixture has cooled sufficiently, evenly sprinkle with the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Top with the remaining crust mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 20 minutes. Cut into squares while they are still warm. Can be stored at room temperature for about 7-10 days.

 

Makes about 16 - 2 inch squares.