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Oatmeal Bowl

I find that there’s nothing as comforting than something warm and soothing in your stomach in the morning.  For me, a bowl of oatmeal seems to do the trick every time.  This recipe is just what you need to get the day going.  Ideas for variety for this oatmeal bowl would be switching out the pumpkin seeds for sunflower or other seeds,  trying goji berries, golden raisins, and other fruit.  On some days, switching out the oatmeal for  grits, polenta, or malt-o-meal might interest you as well.  Brazil nuts can be swapped with walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, etc.  

The thing that I like is that you don’t need to use a lot of the ingredients to get in all of your nutrition.  Just the quinoa alone gives you a great protein boost.  Plus, I love the colors that are in this bowl.  Yes, I do like the aesthetic appeal of things.  Just as a tip, quinoa, oatmeal, coconut, and chia seeds are inexpensive when you buy them by the bulk, or you can go to places like Whole Foods to scoop them in your storage containers or bags.  I just recently learned this secret. 

For example, I measured out about $1.30 worth of chia seeds, and it’s been almost three weeks since I bought them, and I still have some left over.  I have found out that every store has certain things that they sell that are inexpensive compared to others.  The sacrifice is the time and energy involved in finding out what items are cheapest in what stores.  If your valley is financial like mine, it is worth the adventure and planning.  Happy eating!

oatmeal bowl ingredients, chia seeds, coconut flakes, quinoa, raisins, vegan bowl

Activity:  Making an Oatmeal Bowl

coconut flakes, fruit and nut bowl, oatmeal, quinoa, healthy living
Oatmeal Bowl

Total Prepping and Cooking Time:  20 minutes


  • (8) 42 oz.  containers of oatmeal  – $24.00
  • scoops of coconut flakes –  $3.00
  • scoops of chia seeds  – $3.00
  • (1) bag of pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds  – $8.00
  • (5)  lbs of quinoa  – $16.00
  • (1) 24 oz. container of honey  – $2.20
  • (1) container of regular butter or vegan butter (I like Earth Balance.) – $3.80
  • (6) cartons of milk – $15.00
  • (1) pound of brazil nuts – $16.00 (excellent source of selenium)
  • (2) cartons of raisins – $6.00

Total Cost: $ 97.00

Cost for one day: $3.23

Estimated Duration of Food:  1 month for a family of 4 to 6, 2 months or longer for a family of 1 to 3


  • Boil two pots of water, one having just water in it, and the other, along with quinoa. 
  • While the water is boiling, place the following in small, clear glass bowls, or whatever bowls that you have:
    • coconut flakes
    • pumpkin seeds
    • chia seeds
    • raisins
    • brazil nuts
    • honey
    • butter
    • milk
  • Chop up about three brazil nuts, placing them back into the bowl when finished.
  • Add the oatmeal to the boiling water.
  • After quinoa is done, you can drain off excess liquid with a strainer, and place it into a clear bowl.
  • When oatmeal is ready, add butter and milk.
  • Pass out the bowls and everyone can add their own toppings.
  • Enjoy!

I have been young, and now am old,
    yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
    or his children begging for bread.
 He is ever lending generously,
    and his children become a blessing. 

Psalms 37: 25-26, ESV

Penne Pasta with Spinach

Here at Valley of Grace, our main goal is to instill hope while you are in your valley, whatever that may be, and lead the way with ideas for living simple, functional, and grace-filled lives.  That includes healthy, inexpensive recipes that will save you time and money.  I cooked the following recipe of penne pasta with spinach the other night, and my daughter and I enjoyed it.  As of lately, I have decided to make everything from a vegan base, since my daughter is vegan, and then, if we need extra protein for my son and I, I can always add ground turkey or chicken.    This also helps to save money.  However, for this recipe, I didn’t make any on the side protein additions.  I hope that you will enjoy!  Blessings!

pasta, food, mushrooms, vegan, spinach

Activity:  Cooking Penne Pasta with Spinach and Mushrooms for Dinner

Total Prepping and Cooking Time:  40 minutes


  • 1 box of penne pasta  – $1.00
  • (2)  15 oz. cans of low sodium pasta sauce –  $3.00
  • (1)  .75 oz of parsley flakes  – $1.00
  • (1) .75 oz of onion powder  – $1.00
  • (1)  .75 oz of oregano  – $1.00
  • (1)  8 oz. of mushrooms  – $2.20
  • (1) 13.5 oz can of cut spinach – $.80
  • 1 container of butter or bottle of olive oil or vegan butter – $3.69

Total Cost: $ 13.69

Cost for two days: $6.85

Cost for four days: $3.42

Estimated Duration of Food:  2 days for a family of 4-6, 4 or more days for a family of 1-3

spinach, mushrooms, healthy eating

pasta, food, healthy living, vegan


  • Boil the water for the pasta in a big pot or saucepan, along with one tablespoon of butter or olive oil so that the pasta doesn’t stick.
  • While the water is boiling, you can drain the can of spinach and add the spinach to a nonstick pan with olive oil or butter.  If you like minced garlic, you can also add this to the spinach.  
  • Heat up the spinach for about ten to twelve minutes.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water, and after about 15 minutes to 18 minutes, the pasta will be ready.
  • Drain the pasta, and then add the two cans of pasta sauce, along with all of the spices above, and two tablespoons of olive oil or butter.
  • Rinse the mushrooms and place them in a skillet, or whatever pan you have, along with butter.  
  • Cook the mushrooms for about 12 to 15 minutes, and then add the mushrooms and spinach to the pan of pasta.
  • Stir and eat!

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:

 Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:

Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The Lord looseth the prisoners:

 The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind: the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous:

 The Lord preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.

The Lord shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the Lord.

Psalms 146: 5-10, KJV

Reflections and Revelations

Do you ever have those moments where you sit back, relax, and reflect on what God has done, and is currently doing in your life?  I do.  Majority of the time, when it happens, it is usually right after waking up first thing in the morning, and my mind is fresh with ideas.  I call this my time of reflections.  There are other times that it happens right after taking a much needed walk outside on a breezy, summer evening.  These walks have helped me to refocus my thoughts and regain a sense of being centered again.  I can give myself permission to take note of all of the things that God has created, and feel his presence at the same time.  The poem below was written after having a trying day, and me pressing into Jesus for comfort and reflection on the important things in life.

backpack, inspiration, reflections, freedom
Photo by Nina Uhlu00edkovu00e1 on

The Revelation

When our focus is on you,

Then our life begins anew.

When we see there is no coincidence,

There is only divine Providence.


When we listen for God’s perfect plan,

Then we’ll know that he is the only Man.

Who can fulfill all our needs,

Have people plant all those seeds.

Work at erasing all those greeds.


They say that the best things in life are free.

I had to think to myself,

“Is this what I believe?”

Stop, focus, and count to three.


But I opened my eyes and then I saw.

He pulled away the layers and he stripped me raw.

I could feel my eyes fill up with tears.

As he bent down low,

And whispered into my ears.


“Have you heard?

Contentment is the secret word.

I AM enough!”



But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 

1 Timothy 6:6-12, NIV




Our Burdens and Grief: His Plans

I am often amazed at how we think we have our days all planned out down to the minute, and then, out of nowhere, things get shifted around.  Oftentimes, it comes down to one phone call, a text, or an encounter with someone that changes our plans to God’s plans.  Our focus shifts over from our plans to our backpack of burdens.

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. (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

About a year and a half ago, I had a day of fighting with grief off and on.  I decided that after not feeling any better, I needed to take a walk, get fresh air, and get out of my own thoughts.  Walking to the beach to watch the sunset seemed like the perfect idea.  After walking a few feet, I ran into my neighbor, and after our encounter, God pressed upon my heart to write this poem, dealing with our backpack of burdens.

Christianity, backpack, poetry, burdens, prayers
Photo by Tobi on




Lord, what did my plans look like for tonight?

It was watching your sunset with a ton of delight.

As I walked out the door, the sky grew dark.

Should I walk to the beach, or fly home like a lark?


I walked a few feet and ran into a neighbor.

Then taking my bag of grief, you whispered, “No labor”.

Catching up on life, we talked for a while.

A bless you, a wave, and it ended with  a smile.


Lord, what did my plans look like for tonight?

Sharing my backpack of burdens, making my load ever so light.


Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

(Galatians 6:2, KJV)