WHAT I “ATE” WEDNESDAY: Humbled and Undeserving

Oh what a gracious God we have in Jesus.

This morning I woke with the eager intention to watch YouTube videos and chill before my shift at work. God had a different plan.

I was led into the Word and spent my morning there, with Him, and the Spirit spoke a few verses loudly into my heart.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” JAMES 4:13-15

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. COLOSSIANS 2:9-10

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 1 PETER 1:1-2

Thank-you, Lord, for bringing me to You.

I made and ate a yummy breakfast before heading off to a chill and wonderful Starbucks shift. I worked the majority of the shift on front till, and had some awesome interactions with customers, praise the Lord! So many lovely people.

At the end of my shift, I stayed at work to do some work on choreography and recipes for a few hours before heading home, making dinner and snacks and catching up with my beautiful younger sister Courtney. I have not had many opportunities to be with her lately, and so this meant a lot.

The evening brought a spontaneous coffee catch up with Daniella, which led to meeting up with her boyfriend and two of our other friends, and then to Daniella’s house to finally meet her new kitten, the most precious thing I’ve ever seen.


I am exhaustedly heading to bed now, thanking God for a glorious day and praying into tomorrow. What a friend we have in You, Jesus. Bring me always, only, always to my knees before You, for you are my all in all. 

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TEN THINGS TUESDAY: Boston Calling Music 

The music at the Boston Calling Festival that Johnny and I attended this past weekend was packed with talent and beauty. Here, my top, must-listen songs by the artists from the festival– in no particular order.

Bon Iver, “Creeks.” 

Francis and the Lights, “Friends.”

Whitney, “No Woman.”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CGKN6qiDqnk

Whitney, “No Matter Where We Go.”

https://m.youtube.com/?reload=7&rdm=2leyxqui#/watch?v=SN-9ZAr2ePQ

Bon Iver, “666.”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=96t0rlPmn2E

Chance the Rapper, “Angels.”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eedeXTWZUn8

Chance the Rapper, “No Problem.”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DVkkYlQNmbc

Whitney, “You’ve Got a Woman.”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AMFfYbRz_kY

Bon Iver, “33 God.”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6C5sB6AqJkM

Bon Iver, “29 #strafford apts.”

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9utVR5Q67_k


MEDITATION MONDAY: Worldly Sorrow vs. Godly Sorrow

Forgiveness and Repentance.

When I was a little girl, my sisters and I certainly got into some little spats. I remember once my older sister and I playing a board game, and I was certain she’d cheated. I went to tug at her hair, and she thrust back and her head banged right into my hard, metal bed. I felt absolutely awful when she cried in pain. 

Going to my mom to mediate, eight-year-old me understood when she asked if I had apologized to and hugged Krystal, and if Krystal might forgive me. We had this verbal interaction, and, with even more gusto and peace than before, carried on with our game. 

Repentance comes from the Greek word “metanoia” which means a transformative change of heart.

Thus true repentance is not “Im sorry Lord, forgive me,” for selfish reasons, but a heart change.

The danger here is an assumption that repentance derives from feelings. On top of this, a common misperception, something the devil would have us believe, is that we must repent in order to “get right” with Jesus.

 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears. HEBREWS 12:17

There is nothing we can do to “get right” with Jesus. JESUS paid the price for our sin, that is already done, and IN JESUS we find true repentance. We do not need to repent or be any sort of “level of holy” in order to approach the throne. He is always there with open arms… always. 

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

This is just the God we serve, and our response shall be of PRAISE when we encounter His Holy Spirit that transforms and convicts. And while the Holy Spirit may certainly lead us in first encounter to repentance, the God who created us will never not want us to enter into relationship; He cares for us so deeply, and shows us our purpose in Him. 
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times seven. MATTHEW 18:21-22

Jesus calls us to “be perfect,” but we know only He is capable of that. In accordance with His Word, we know that He never stops forgiving. All of us. 

Father, this knowledge of Your goodness brings me to my knees before You. Teach me to love like You love. Reveal to me true repentance of my sins. 


UPDATE: Boston, Bon Iver, and Breakfast Recipe — Best Weekend Ever!

Hello Friends!

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Johnny and me in Finger Lakes, NY

It has been a while since you’ve heard from me, and for that I apologize– but I have a “travel blog” of sorts for ya, complete with a “road trip recipe” that will be featured in my upcoming cookbook, which, as I previously announced, will be available September 1st, 2017, in both print and ebook format. I could not be more excited to be sharing some of my favourite recipes with you, as well as some new ones that I’m working hard on.

When Johnny came back from Winnipeg this past April, he told me that we were road tripping to Boston for Boston Calling, a concert event featuring some of his favourite artists– Bon Iver, Chance the Rapper, Francis and the Lights, Whitney, and more– that I now love, too.

And since then, time has simply sped, as I’ve expected, and before we both knew it, the concert time arrived.

Preparing for our first road trip together was so much fun, and God used our time to integrate as a team. I am closer to Johnny romantically, spiritually, and as my best friend, than ever.

Wednesday night, I was blessed to stay at my soon-to-be roomie’s family’s house in Port Elgin, right near Niagara Falls. Autumn and I bonded more than we’ve been able to up to this point, and she gave me a tour of her town, including the bakery her mom owns that she currently works at, which I fell completely in love with. We went to the beach, which began the series of completely breathtaking sights I would be blessed to witness over the coming days.

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Delicious meal of the weekend NUMBA ONE: Autumn and I fixed salads with fresh berries, homemade balsamic dressing, rye toast (which I added peanut butter and cucumber to– of course), amazing medium rare pork tenderloin, and hummus)
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Autumn and me at the beach near her place in Port Elgin

Johnny picked me up from Autumn’s the next morning, and thus began our adventure together. Opening with prayer, we headed to the US border, crossed through, and Johnny patiently drove us to Finger Lakes, NY, where we couldn’t have prepared ourselves for the beauty we would behold.

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” ZEPHANIAH 3:17

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Each sight more breathtaking than the last

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Because of all our stopping and photo taking and MARVELLING, the hike took us just under two hours, and was one of the absolute highlights of our weekend. We ran into so many sweet folks, took in the endless sights, and could not stop talking about the glory and power of our God. I highly recommend this hike!

We ate sandwiches in the car before hitting the road again– I also hacked into my stash of my homemade chocolate peanut butter balls.

I am sharing this recipe as an awesome road trip snack for nut lovers like myself! With no baking required and just about 5 minutes of prep time– plus some time in the freezer to set– these are the perfect road trip accompaniment– filling and healthy, micro-nutrient packed deliciousness!

I could always go for dessert, and, if you know me, you know I put peanut butter on everything– and I do mean everything. These are certainly a “Cassie” road trip snack rather than a Johnny one, who doesn’t have a sweet tooth and stuck mostly to Ketchup chips and Welches’ fruit snacks (“Welch me” he said to me when he got hungry).

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Ingredients

1/2 c raspberries
1/4 c cocoa
1/4 c coconut oil
1/2 c peanut butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 c sesame seeds
1 c sweet and salty nut mix

Method

1. In small saucepan, over medium heat, combine raspberries, cocoa, and coconut oil. Stir until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil; stir one minute. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and salt.
2. Add seeds and nuts and stir well, ensuring all nuts are coated in the cocoa mixture.
3. On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, drop “dough” in balls, shaping as desired. Keep refrigerated until eating; enjoy!

The rest of the ride proved to be smooth and fun. Johnny had made a playlist featuring 167 songs by the artists we would be seeing the next day at the music festival, which we listened to while talking and laughing about all sorts of things.

We stopped in a town called Framingham to avoid traffic about an hour and a half away from Boston, at a diner called “Deluxe Depot Diner.” I was overly excited– just ask Johnny– when I discovered that the menu featured all day breakfast! And not only that– but dairy-free pancakes. I got two huge blueberry ones with maple syrup, and a fried egg and bacon on the side, and Johnny got a Reuben and fries. It was exactly what I needed!

It was a smooth drive to Johnny’s cousins’ place from Framingham, praise and thanks be to the Lord! And we were both stunned when the 167 songs– that we’d started when we left– finished precisely as we were pulling up to the house where Johnny’s cousins had just moved in to.

Spending the weekend with Dan, Johnny’s cousin, and his wife Hannah, was such an immense blessing and this trip would not have happened without them and their selfless, beautiful hearts for the Lord. They completely opened their home to us and welcomed us in so warmly.

After some chatting time with them, though, it was off to bed for Johnny and, gearing up for the concert the next day.

We made a Starbucks stop for breakfast and coffee on the way to the train station, where we caught an underground train to Harvard University! After touring the area a little bit, we settled on Chipotle for lunch, as it’s an American-only restaurant and we’ve both been curious about its hype. The verdict? It lived up for both of us– best guac I’ve ever had!

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Next stop? Touring Harvard before the festival. We had so much fun and laughs, and seeing the famous university was an unexpected and somewhat surreal part of our trip.

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We got to the festival gates about a half hour early, and as soon as the festival started, everything flew right by. The band Vundabar was first, and they were great, but only the beginning. The next highlight was Whitney, a band Johnny showed me last year whose music I adore, and whose performance we both enjoyed so much!

After Whitney was Francis and the Lights, a music producer who was also great to watch.

Carseat Headrest was next, one of Johnny’s current very favourites, and a band whose work has definitely grown on me!

We had a quick bite at a delicious hot dog vendor in the festival before catching a few songs by Mac DeMarco, and then heading over to Bon Iver’s stage, which we got to over an hour early, and still had quite a crowd to push through. We ended up quite close to the stage, and waited patiently for Justin Vernon, the genius behind Bon Iver to come onstage.

And he blew us away. This was the highlight of the whole weekend, and a large part of that for me was just seeing Johnny, being next to him watching the artist that he was so passionate about because of the artist’s convictions and storytelling that glorify and testify to Jesus Christ.

And once I knew I was not magnificent. –Justin Vernon

We didn’t have much time to really digest the beauty that was Bon Iver’s performance– the best live performance I’ve ever witnessed– because Chance the Rapper, the closing act, followed quickly. It had miraculously and beautifully began pouring during Bon Iver’s performance, and the walk through the field was MUDDY– but Johnny and it trekked it out and found ourselves near the back for Chance, which suited us just fine! We danced and enjoyed every moment of Chance’s energetic, TALENTED performance– despite being quite exhausted!

We made the trek back to the train station, took a packed train back to the car, and my wonderfully patient boyfriend drove us back to our three-day Boston home at Dan and Hannah’s for a sound sleep.

The next day was a peaceful blessing of time with Dan and Hannah and time for Johnny and I. As this trip featured the best live concert I’ve ever experienced at Bon Iver, it also featured the best pasta I have ever eaten, at an adorable place called Daniella’s Cafe– a restaurant we chose because my beautiful best friend is named Daniella. Thanks, Dani– we will never forget this pasta and delicious bread!

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We also got to go to a beautiful beach with Dan called Singing Beach, because the sand makes a singing noise when you pad along it– twas truly breathtaking!

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Dinner that night was in response to Johnny, Dan, and Hannah all saying to me, “What, you’ve never had Chick-Fil-A?” Johnny was disappointed to discover that there was dairy– which I’m allergic to– in the chicken’s breading, so I had to try the grilled chicken– which was quite good, still, in addition to waffle fries. Praising the Lord for such thoughtless freedom and simply time with my brothers and sisters in Him.

Our drive home Sunday morning was accompanied by a wonderful sermon and worship music and amazing conversation as always, Johnny’s patience, drive, and grace continuing to impress me always. I am endlessly blessed by this amazing man, and so excited and affirmed in where God is leading us for His glory.

 

 

TEN THINGS TUESDAY: TEN THINGS That Happened When…

Food rules stopped ruling my life. 

If you are in a similar position to what I was for many years, you have stumbled upon this post in a desperate search for a “reason” to recover, and peace about your worries. In that case, be sure to read this blog post first. The only peace that could ever satisfy my worries was “humbling myself under the care of my Lord” (1 PETER 5:6).

The devil had certainly lied to me, planting distractions about what “would surely happen” if I wasn’t aligned to food rules, and the untruth in these lies is not what is my focus at all, but their untruth serves as a testimony to the destruction of idolizing food rules, or anything that distracts from Jesus.

From head to toe…

My hair stopped falling out. It used to fall out in clumps, but is now healthier and stronger than ever.


My brain cleared up. I used to have a minute attention span, and struggle to listen attentively because I was so undernourished and my brain just thought about food. Now, food is the last thing on my mind unless I’m hungry or creating a recipe– and then, it’s “on my mind” in a totally different way.

Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. COLOSSIANS 2:20-23

My skin is healthier. My skin used to look greenish in colour, all around unhealthy, and there is now colour in my face.

I maintain my weight without thinking about it. What is “weight?” Our bodies are so incredible because they were designed for God, as His temples, and they need to be nourished to work for Him, to be fueled. My body does not by default want to store tons of fat or be bigger than it was created to be, but I just don’t think about this anymore. I trust God with my body, not for my sake, but for His.

I don’t get bloated 24/7. Maybe TMI, but the skewed food rules I thought were so intelligent used to often make me bloated and uncomfortable– probably because I was consuming an unhealthy amount of raw vegetables constantly. Simply drinking when I’m thirsty; eating when I’m hungry; I notice the incredible change in my body without that being the focus whatsoever.

I have energy! I teach dance in a newly energetic way; I love moving because it is so amazing to not be dizzy; I have energy to laugh and engage and run. Hiking with Daniella last week has been a highlight of that energy used for God’s glory.


My legs are stronger. There was a time that my knees buckled when I stood up. I don’t like thinking back on that time of allowing the devil to convince me weakness was a strength, but I know now that God calls me to strength for His plans.

Cooking and Eating are Totally Different– So That They are Not the Focus. I still smile when I spoon peanut butter out of the jar without levelling it off in a measuring spoon first, or enjoy my mo’ms dinners without asking how much oil went into her pans, or accept samples from store vendors and partake in coffee tastings at work.

My life is His. I don’t cancel plans because I’m afraid food will be involved. I don’t refuse food at gatherings only to think and plan what I will be eating instead later. What pride and how sad this makes me. If you are reading this and relating to the ill mannered thoughts and ways, I pray that the Lord would open your eyes and that you would receive His Truth in this matter as He sees fit.


MEDITATION MONDAY: Veracity?

As a Starbucks barista, I suppose I am slightly biased toward Starbucks beverages being higher quality than other coffee chains’ beverages. I wouldn’t want to work for a company whose quality and vision I didn’t admire and agree with! That being said, I have always wanted to work for an entrepreneured cafe, before perhaps opening my own one day– but, as far as chains go, Starbucks tastes the best for a reason.

My first date with my boyfriend Johnny was at a Starbucks a year and a half ago. I remember when he ordered hot chocolate asking him if he was a “coffee guy,” and he proceeded to tell me that he had never had a coffee in his life. Johnny stuck usually to Timmies white hot chocolates.

One Sunday morning months ago. we ventured into a Starbucks and I ordered him a white hot chocolate and a bagel, and while he really enjoyed it, he couldn’t be certain that it surpassed the taste of Tim Hortons. It became a bit of a joke that he teased me with, as I passionately wanted him to prefer Starbucks, to understand the better quality the way I did.

Last night, after an amazing day together, Johnny called me on his way home and told me that he’s picked up a Timmies white hot chocolate and that, while it was good, Starbucks’ was homier, and he could now see with more proof that he preferred it overall.

Veracity: conformity to facts; accuracy.

How important is veracity when it comes to faith? Are faith and veracity almost in opposition, or do they work harmoniously?

The urge for facts to back up what is true to our purpose in life is fair. Since the earliest literature, writers and theorists have been after “truth” vivaciously as a common topic. And why would anyone want to live this short life in pursuit of anything but the truth?

Why would anyone choose to drink a Timmies white hot chocolate when they’ve tasted so much better? 

As far as the hot beverage went, I could coax and convince Johnny all I wanted, but he was pretty neutral about the topic– until he tasted for himself the better drink, and knew that the other wasn’t as good.

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. –PSALM 34:8

Veracity is certainly powerful, when it comes in the form of provision from the Holy Spirit’s guidance to the truth. God speaks truth to us through his Word, and we experience His Word in our lives. And when we open ourselves to His healing power in faith, we taste and see that we are blessed for taking refuge in Him by His grace, and we can’t help but see all he is working in our lives. And, unfathomably bigger and better than the difference between two white hot chocolates, the Lord makes it impossible to turn back to any other semblance of “truth.” 

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me. JOHN 14:6

TASTEFUL THURSDAY: Chocolate “Brownie” Cupcakes (That Happen to be Vegan) PLUS AN ANNOUNCEMENT

Hey Friends!

This recipe is a little delayed getting to you for a few reasons.

a) I’ve spent a lot of time tweaking, testing, and sampling it.

b) It’s coming atcha with an exciting announcement,

c) the recipe was a guinea pig of sorts for my friend Laura’s birthday party, which was tonight.

But I am happy with this final product that I hope you will enjoy. This is my own version of a dairy-free by default, moist, chocolatey cupcake. Easy, made in one bowl, and delicious.

The announcement, you ask?

I have been working for a month or so under the radar on my first ebook and cookbook, which will both be available for purchase on September 1st, 2017. I am sooo excited to be offering a cookbook that will include:

-from-scratch, easy-to-follow, wholesome-ingredient recipes created by me

-stories, blurbs, and anecdotes

-full-colour photographs

-breakfasts and bowls, savoury and sweet

I cannot wait to share this book with you, which will have you hooked on all my variations of oatmeal breakfasts, toting a fancy homemade layer cake to your next get-together, and out of your dinner rut for good.

It’s been a lot of fun just cookin’ in my free time, seeing what kind of creativity just comes. I hope you’ll enjoy the recipes as much as I’m enjoying this process!

For now, enjoy today’s chocolatey goodness, which are the answer to any sweet or chocolate craving.

Chocolate “Brownie” Cupcakes

makes 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

3 cups dairy-free milk, unsweetened vanilla (I used almond milk)

1 T vinegar

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

1 cup grape seed oil

3 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups cacao powder

1 T baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Frosting

5 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

food colouring, if desired

Topping

Dark chocolate chunks, melted and cooled

Pretzel sticks

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 12-muffin muffin trays with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine milk with vinegar and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Stir in melted coconut oil and grape seed oil. Gradually add the flour and stir to combine. Add sugar, cacao, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and stir until no lumps remain. The batter should be thick, but pourable.
  4. Pour into prepared pans, filling each liner about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the centre of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.
  5. To prepare frosting, beat powdered sugar with coconut oil; it will look clumpy. Add just enough milk to made frosting smooth and spreadable. Add food colouring of choice, if desired.
  6. Frost completely cooled cupcakes. If desired, dip all or some of the cupcakes in the melted chocolate, or make designs with the chocolate, and top with chopped pretzel sticks for a sweet-and-salty version.

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