Keeping Christmas in the Heart

When I hear someone complaining about holiday music and decorations before Thanksgiving I smile and think they had better not come to my house.  My nativity collection and winter village have been up for three weeks.  After finding their places in our new home they may stay up the rest of the year.  We have also been listening to Christmas music and watching holiday movies.

Everyone complains about the intense month of activity and spending that surrounds the holidays, yet we still do it — every year.  Maybe we need to rethink what we’re celebrating.

What if instead we kept Christmas in our heart all year?  Recognizing the Spirit of God within us, positive upbeat music, peace on earth, goodwill to all and people being a little nicer and kinder sound like things we could use more than once a year to me.

So this year instead of taking the baby out the manger, wrapping him up and putting him back on the shelf let’s keep Christmas in our hearts all year.

Thought for Today

Fall at Chalco #8 Copyright 2013 by R.A. Robbins

Fall at Chalco #8
Copyright 2013 by R.A. Robbins

“I am thankful for a new day, to live, to love, to talk, to smile, to laugh, to walk, to dream, to share, to write, to hope, to pray, to praise God and to fulfill my purpose on earth.”  — Lailah GiftyAkita

Healthy Living A to Z: X is for Xanthan Gum

If you are a gluten free baker you are probably familiar with xanthan gum. Many believe this is a necessary ingredient in gluten free baking, but some people are sensitive to it and others prefer to avoid it for other reasons.

Xanthan gum is made by mixing fermented sugars with the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium. It has medical uses for lowering blood sugar and total cholesterol in people with diabetes, as a laxative and sometimes as a saliva substitute for people with dry mouth. Xanthan gum is also used to thicken and stabilize foods, toothpaste and medications. [Source:

I don’t use it in my gluten free baking. I have learned to use the properties of various gluten free flours to increase stability and produce a nice texture. Some flours such as brown rice and buckwheat work fine on their own. Blends with at least some starch in them (corn, tapioca, potato, arrowroot, etc.) also seem to do well. Adding flax seed meal to the flour may also help. By not using xanthan gum in gluten free recipes you will not necessarily avoid it entirely as zanthan gum is used in commercial products, including salad dressing and medications as well as some gluten free flour blends

To use xanthan gum or not is your choice. Do your research and be aware there are other options.

Thought for Today


“Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted–a paved road or a washing machine? If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” — Rabbi Harold Kushner [Source:

Thought for Today


Copyright 2012 by R.A. Robbins

Copyright 2012 by R.A. Robbins

“I’ve started to look at life differently. When you’re thanking God for every little you – every meal, every time you wake up, every time you take a sip of water – you can’t help but be more thankful for life itself, for the unlikely and miraculous fact that you exist at all.”  — AJ Jacobs

Thought for Today


Copyright 2014 R.A. Robbins

Copyright 2014 R.A. Robbins


“To attain true inner freedom, you must be able to objectively watch your problems instead of being lost in them… Once you’ve made the commitment to free yourself of the scared person inside, you will notice that there is a clear decision point at which your growth takes place.” — Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul:  The Journey Beyond Yourself

A Savory Pumpkin Side Dish

Who doesn’t love pumpkin pie?  I know I do, but I also enjoy savory pumpkin dishes, like my Pumpkin Quinoa Pilaf with Bacon.  This recipe and more are available in Have Yourself a Healthy LIttle Holiday.

Copyright 2013 by RA Robbins

Copyright 2013 by RA Robbins


Pumpkin Quinoa Pilaf with Bacon


6 strips turkey bacon diced check the label for gf turkey bacon — I use Jennie-O

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

2 cups pumpkin puree

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon lemon pepper

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon



1. Brown turkey bacon.

2. Remove bacon from skillet and drain on paper towels. Reserve for later.

3. Add 1 Tablespoon oil to skillet. Add quinoa and cook, stirring until lightly browned.

4. Add water and bring to a boil.

5. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until just a little liquid is left on the quinoa.

6. Add pumpkin, nutmeg, pepper and cinnamon.

7. Reserving 1 Tablespoon of bacon for garnish add rest of bacon to quinoa. Stir.

8. Return pan to stove, cover and allow remaining liquid to be absorbed.

9. Pour pilaf into serving dish and garnish with remaining bacon.

Serves 6.

Like this recipe?  Find more of my holiday recipes in Have Yourself a Healthy Little Holiday available at Espirational Books.

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Thought for Today

Copyright 2014 R.A. Robbins

Copyright 2014 R.A. Robbins

“Real life isn’t always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgement of what is working in our lives can help us not only to survive but surmount our difficulties.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach []