Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Ultimate Protein Balls

I started making protein balls years ago when my oldest son started running Cross Country & Track in Middle School. I was looking for healthy ways to get meals, snacks and drinks (can you say spinach smoothies?!) into his daily routine. And because running takes a lot of effort and energy, I also wanted something that had long lasting carbs (oats) and quick sugar (dried fruit) to help keep his stamina up. I researched tons of recipes and added to them to make up one of my own. I kept adding ingredients, trying to make them as healthy and effective as possible, but as I got up to about 15 ingredients it became too time consuming and overwhelming. And with so many people asking for the recipe, I knew I needed to make it simple. So the basic recipe is down to 5 ingredients with the option to add in or change ingredients anytime you want. 

I hope you enjoy them!

Colleen’s Ultimate Protein Balls    


2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup maple syrup

Supplies needed: 9x13 rectangular pan, 1 cup dry & 1/2 cup liquid measuring cups, kitchen scraper/spoon

Put the dry ingredients [oats, chocolate chips and cranberries] in a 9x13 pan and stir to mix. I use a pan instead of a bowl because I feel like it’s easier to mix the ingredients, especially the wet ones, but you can use a medium mixing bowl if you prefer. Add the wet ingredients [peanut butter and maple syrup] to the pan and use kitchen scraper/spoon to mix well [this will take a few minutes]. Form into balls. Recipe will make 30+ protein balls and takes about 30 minutes. Refrigerate. They will stay good for up to a week, but let’s be honest, they never last that long!!!

Note: I used to add up to 15 ingredients to this recipe but it was time consuming and overwhelming for myself and others to make which is why I condensed it to 5 ingredients. The great thing about this recipe is you can mix and match. If you prefer crunchy peanut butter, use it. If you prefer honey over maple syrup, use it. If you want to add more ingredients OR change the ingredients, do it. I’ve listed some ideas below that I’ve added to the recipe in the past. Experiment to find your own favorite combination!

Shredded coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened)

Dried fruit: dates, raisins, blueberries, etc

Chopped nuts: peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc

Seeds: chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, etc

Protein powder: vanilla, chocolate, chai, etc

Crunchy rice/flax cereal

Crunchy or flavored peanut butter

Local Honey

Colleen’s Tip: Make the basic recipe first (5 ingredients). Once you get the idea of what the texture is supposed to feel like you can start adding/subtracting ingredients to experiment with the perfect combo of dry/wet to form protein balls that won’t fall apart or be too soggy.

I hope you find that making homemade protein balls is fun and easy! Our family loves them!!!

Click on this link for the printable version:  Ulitmate Protein Balls Print Recipe

This pic shows the consistency/texture you're trying to achieve before forming the balls. Not too dry or too wet. You can see this batch I added shredded coconut and took out the cranberries. 

This pic is just the basic 5 ingredients. Classic, simple, delicious!

Another batch with shredded coconut, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, honey, dark chocolate, vanilla protein powder and raisins.  So many options!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

we're all broken

we all want to run from being broken.

we want the good heart.

the one with no tears.

the one that hasn't been hurt.

we want the shiny one.

the one that sparkles.

the one that still looks new.

we don't want the one that looks bent. 

the one that looks bruised.

we definitely don't want the one that looks broken.

because we don't see beauty in broken.

we don't see anything worthy or anything good in something that doesn't look whole.

but the truth is God can fix broken.

God can take the very worst part of our lives and turn it into something wonderful.

God can take the dark and give it new light.

He can take our scars and turn them into something sacred.

the world wants us to believe that brokenness is final.

that our story ends there.

but what the world won't tell us is that brokenness is often a great beginning.

it is often the start of who we are meant to be. 
we're all broken.

every single one of us.

no one goes through life without getting hurt.

no one walks without pain.

but we choose how that pain defines us.

we can choose to only see the bad.

or we can search for the good.

and if we search for it we will find it.

that's why we tell our stories. 

that's why we share our hope.

because if someone can see that we fell down,
that we were in a pit, 
that we thought we were going to drown and God saved us,

then they can find the hope that God will save them too. 

broken hearts have this beautiful way of shining for others to find their way

and it's a light that shines brightest because it knows the depth of the dark. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

i know you're mad at God

i know you're mad at God.

i know you're doubting anything you ever believed about Him. 

i hear you telling people He can't be real.

suggesting He's a fairy tale.

spouting your hatred of Him because you're mad at what you think He's done.

you look at this world and you see the pain.

you see the corrupt.

you see the evil.

and you tell yourself a good God wouldn't allow bad things.

a good God wouldn't let people fall.

a good God wouldn't



sit back while His children suffer.

and so you reject anything that remotely suggests that God is on the throne.

because you want nothing to do with serving a God like that.

but you can't base your faith on what others have done.
because you'll see their failures,
you'll see their shortcomings,
you'll see their moments of hypocrisy,
and you'll decide that their flaws are the reason why God can't be real.
not a God you want to believe in anyway.

but just like your body can't survive on what someone else has eaten,
your faith can't survive on how someone else has lived. 

you have to have your own conversation with Him. 
one in which you ask the hard questions.

and you stop to listen for the answers.

that's the hard part. the stopping long enough in your anger to listen. 
the quieting your mind long enough to hear Him speaking to your heart.

but the hard parts in life are often the most necessary. 

the hard parts are often the ones that help us the most. 

you've turned from God because someone else has sinned.
you've lost your faith because someone else has failed.
but their sins don't prove that God doesn't exist. 
and their shortcomings don't prove that God has fallen short.

it just proves we live in a fallen world. 

a world that breaks His heart too. 

i know you're mad at God. i know you think He's let you down.

you've told the world your pain.

it's time to tell Him.

He knows you've walked away. 

and He's waiting for you to come home. 

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ Luke 15: 20-24

Friday, August 24, 2018

God is still waiting on us...what are we waiting for?

I had a conversation with a man who almost died from a bad habit he was still trying to shake even 10 years later. I couldn't understand, with all the chances God had given him to get it right, how he was still making the same bad choices. And then God, in His infinite wisdom, reminded me of how I was no different than the man I was quick to find fault with...

Friday, July 27, 2018

when you're tired of holding on

hold on. 

there's so much wrapped up in those two words.
but how do you hold on when you're tired?
how do you hold on when you're slipping?
how do you hold on when you just want the relief of letting go?

you let go.

you stop holding and you let yourself fall.
sometimes we're so worried about falling we don't realize our holding on is the problem.
we've held tight for so long we believe it's all we can do.
that it's all we should do.

that if we FALL we've FAILED.

we have this crazy belief that nothing good can ever come from a fall.
but we've forgotten that falling teaches us.
falling helps us.
falling pushes us to stretch. to reach for help. 

to trust that God has something bigger. that God has something better.

we have to remind ourselves of that.

like a baby learning to walk, we were born with an innate desire to get up.
to keep trying.
to keep reaching.

to FALL and to TRY again.

think on that. we were born with a natural inclination to never stop trying. and yet as we grow older, the world and all its obstacles, all its distractions, all its troubles...trick us into believing that it's no use to try.

that it's no use to have faith.

that we're never going to stand.

but that's a lie from the pit of hell. because satan wants nothing more than for us to give up. he wants nothing more than for us to believe that God has forgotten us. 

he wants nothing more than for us to let this world and not God's Word become our focus.

Micah 7:8 tells us "Though I fall, I will rise again."

there's our focus. there's our promise.

there's our WORD.

we don't need to worry about falling. God's already there. 

and He's promised we will rise again.

so today we let go. and we look up. and we reach out.

and we let God's Word...and not this the source of what we're holding on to!!! 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

don't lose heart when life gets hard

sometimes life gets hard. 
and sometimes the hard lasts a long time. 
and no matter how hard or how long we pray, it seems like nothing changes. 
the hard is still there. and the hard has a sneaky way of turning into hopelessness. 
we become stuck in discouragement. we become overwhelmed by despair. 
because we think there's no way out. 
no way that would make us happy. no way that would give us peace. 
but if we hang on we find that the hard is what makes us better. 
the hard is what builds us. 
the hard is what gives us hope. 
like muscles that need to be worked to become stronger, the hard is what gives us strength. 
it doesn't feel that way when we're in the middle of it, especially when the middle stretches on for what seems like forever, but God has a way of taking the hard and helping us. 
He has a way of taking the hard and healing us. 
He has a way of taking the hard we thought would literally break our hearts and changing it into the grace that gives us new ones.

"16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Sunday, January 28, 2018

God can take what looks dead and give it new life

months ago i saw that i let my store bought bag of potatoes go bad.


they were soft and sprouting everywhere. i grabbed the bag and headed for the dumpster.

in my mind they were no good.



on my way out one of the ladies that works with us saw me.

"where are you going with those?" she asked.

"i'm throwing them away," i told her, "they're rotten."

"they're not rotten," she said as she took the bag from my hands, "they're perfect."

"perfect for what?" I asked.

"for planting," she told me.

over the next couple of days we got the ground ready and we planted those old potatoes. i didn't see
much hope in them but i did it anyway. as the plants grew my doubts grew as well. they didn't look like
much. in fact they looked pretty ragged.

but we watered them. and weeded them. and watched them.

and we waited.

as i was digging through the dirt at harvest time i was amazed.

there were potatoes everywhere.

and i couldn't help but think about the miracle.

how God took those old worn out potatoes and produced new ones.

how He took what looked like garbage and made it into something with value.

how He took what i wanted to throw away and showed me it still had purpose.

and so it is with the world and how we treat the people in it.

we're quick to toss out. quick to discard. quick to throw away.

we're quick to label. quick to decide who is no good. quick to decide who is worthless.

but just like those potatoes, we are wrong.

because God is able to water and weed and watch.

He can take those who look like they have no life and breathe new life into them.

He can take those who look like there's no hope and give them new hope.

and He can take those whose lives look meaningless and give them new meaning.

God can take what is old and make it new.

it may look ragged at first. it may look doubtful. it may look hopeless.

but God is not phased by what it looks like.

man sees the outward appearance. God sees the heart.

get the ground ready. plant the seed. and wait. 


because what God did for life of the potatoes, He'll surely do for the life of you.

"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it?" Isaiah 43:18-19

-keep the faith...God loves YOU!!!