Avocado Banana Smoothie


Despite two posts in a row highlighting food ideas, I assure you that we aren’t turning this into a food and recipe blog site. 🙂

It was during my time living in Malaysia (2001-2007) that I first learned avocados are drinkable. I rarely encountered avocado drinks in Malaysia, though. They were far more popular in Indonesia, Malaysia’s neighbor to the south, and I made sure to have one every time I traveled there for a conference. After one try, I was hooked. A typical Indonesian smoothie is made with avocados, sweetened condensed milk, and Hershey’s chocolate syrup drizzled along the sides of the cup.

Indonesian Avocado SmoothiePhoto Source

Back here in America, I haven’t recreated the Indonesian-style smoothie shown above, but I’ve experimented some with avocado-based smoothies. I’ll share one simple recipe that my wife also appreciates. This makes enough to serve two people:

1. Two avocados
2. Two bananas
3. Milk
4. Cinnamon (optional)
5. Nutmeg (optional)
6. Vanilla (optional)
7. Honey (if smoothie is not sweet enough for your personal taste)

Mix in a blender and serve. The total cost should be about $3, assuming you already have any desired spices on hand.

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Five spice coffee


Growing up, I never did like coffee. At age 17, my first job was at the McDonald’s in Hartville, Ohio (near Akron). I tried just a little bit of their coffee, and also their cappuccino, but I couldn’t stand either of them. Not only did I detest the way it tasted, but my stomach couldn’t take it, and I consider myself to have a strong stomach.

Then I spent nearly six years in Malaysia, from 2001-2007. While living there, I spent time in countless homes, and it’s safe to say that I was given coffee or tea in at least 95% of the homes I visited. That did it – now I love coffee, and I drink it just about every day. From time to time I’ll get a specialty coffee drink from Caribou Coffee (my top choice), Starbucks, 1st Cup Cafe (a Somalian shop in south Minneapolis), or another lesser known coffee shop. Often, though, I’ll brew my own coffee at home, and add my customary International Delight or Nestle chilled creamer.

This morning I decided to “spice up” my coffee, as I do sometimes. I’ll share my concoction here, along with a couple of photos. Perhaps some readers will have tried a similar blend, others might be a bit surprised to hear what I mix together, and perhaps others will be inspired to give this combination a try. Here are the five spices I added to my coffee this morning, before adding creamer, and it turned out very well:

1. Cinnamon

2. Nutmeg

3. Ginger

4. Cayenne Pepper

5. Black Pepper

Yes, I do add plenty of cayenne pepper, to the point that it burns. I probably wouldn’t drink my coffee that way if it was just black, but with the right amount of sweetened, chilled creamer, it ends up being delicious, at least to me.

I was first inspired to spice up my coffee after falling in love with ginger tea in Malaysia (the spicier, the better). I never thought of adding cayenne pepper, though, until 2009/2010 when Caribou Coffee featured a Spicy Mocha, which was a $2.00 option on “Happy Mondays.” One day I asked a cashier what made their Spicy Mocha spicy, and that’s when I found out that cayenne pepper and coffee can go well together. Perhaps today is the day when you will find that out. Give it a try!

Five spices with the skyline of downtown Minneapolis in the background

Running with hope


Demonstrating that you really don’t know what lies around the next corner (literally), drivers heading into downtown St. Paul today see this image of me running around Lake of the Isles.

Five years ago, I would have had trouble running to the end of the block.  But at my prosthetist’s encouragement, I was fitted with a running prosthesis and it has been great fun.  The leg works really well and I have been blessed to have run a couple thousand miles over the past few years.

Running was the one activity that I had missed not having a right foot.  As a teenager I would run the mile course near our house or around the high school track.  To be back on the running trail in this season of my life is an unexpected gift.

But there is more to come, and this is where I have fully set my hope.

Reading through the betrayal and arrest of Jesus last week, these sentences grabbed my attention:

“And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.  But Jesus said, ”No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him.”  (Luke 22:50-51)

Imagine the scene.  Out comes the sword and in a moment some guy is looking at his ear on the ground.  The ear isn’t just damaged or mangled — it is gone.  What a shock it must have been for him to be separated from his ear.  But it is absolutely no trouble for Jesus to restore it.  He simply touches what was left and:  a new ear!  All of the intricate tissues and ligaments and skin were created anew and it was shaped just right so that sound could travel down his ear canal.

Those of us who belong to Jesus are looking ahead to the restoration of our bodies in the coming age.  He has promised it in His word and has given us demonstrations of His healing power while He walked on earth.  He can replace an ear and He can replace a right foot.  Complete healing awaits God’s children when our bodies are restored in the next life.

I am delighted and thankful to be able to run around Lake of the Isles with my prosthetic leg.  But one of the joys of eternity for me will be putting on a pair of shoes and running with two feet on a heavenly trail.

” . . . set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  1 Peter 1:13