Maple Alps

Maple Alps Roundup: 6 Sweet Treats for Summer Days

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

It is hard to believe that Summer is here again! It has been another eventful year - a lot of things have happened and changed - and I think that goes for pretty much all of us!

To kick off the Summer season, I thought I might share some the sweet, cold treats we’ve shared before for you to enjoy over the next weeks! It will be a pretty hectic summer for us while we transition to a new state and I take two classes and get ready for a brand new type of school year, but the best thing about these treats is that they’re relatively quick to make and easy to keep in the freezer!

Maple Alps Roundup: 6 Sweet Treats for Summer Days | www.maplealps.com

I’ll be releasing some new goodies over the summer, but just in case you forgot about these ones, here you go!

 

This mango swirl ice cream is delicious and easy to whip up! All you need is a pot and an ice cream maker! Well, and the ingredients, but that’s a given….right?

Chocolate Chai Ice Cream? Yes, please! Also, I just realized that 'chia' and 'chai' are basically the same but just with the last two letters rearranged. Okay. Go make this ice cream already!

 

Speaking of chia….these chia peach frozen pops are perfect for those days on the porch. Bonus: they're low in sugar and high in fun! Also, they’re highly customizable. Don’t like peaches? Pick a different fruit!

You won't find a tastier vegan Fudgsicle! These frozen chocolate pops are creamy and delicious and you can bet I'll be keeping my freezer stocked with these - they’re my personal favorite actually.

For those days you're feeling a little fancy: try this strawberry cream dream cake! You’ll need to do a bit of planning, but it will be worth it! Again, customizable. Don’t like strawberries? Pick something else!

It’s not summer without a good chocolate cream pie! I love cream pies - especially when I get to enjoy them out on the deck with a good friend. What about you? This one is gluten free, has little sugar, and vegan, so less guilt, right? Maybe. Still tastes great.

 
vegan pantry | www.maplealps.com
 

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting into an Intercultural Relationship

RelationshipsAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

Interracial and intercultural relationships are becoming more and more normal these days with the world opening up as a global world. Growing up, I had interracial parents from very different backgrounds, and so it didn’t seem strange when my husband and I got together and have been making it work.

I decided that in honor of Loving Day, I would share a few things that I wish I knew before getting into an intercultural relationship.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting into an Intercultural Relationship | www.maplealps.com


One.
Knowing your spouse’s mother tongue will help so much in understanding where they are coming from. Language is deeply connected with culture and understanding that what might be a literally translated idiom from one tongue could be an insult to another could possibly be the prevention of World War Three in your home. Trust me. There have been so many times where one of of has had to say (kindly, of course), “Well I know in [your language] you say [this], but in [my language] it can be taken as [this].” On the other hand, if you know each other so well and are switching between languages in your home, it’s easy to forget to mention this, and you end up offending someone outside of your home. But that is another story, heh.



Two. Your living possibilities suddenly expand. I mean, yes, you can always live wherever you want in the world, but once you marry someone from a different country, the process usually becomes a tad easier. While we live in a country where neither of us are from, we have some strange kind of peace of mind that we have options in case something happens.



Three. Travel becomes special. You develop a love for your spouse’s country and it becomes a second home for you. You have people from all over the world to visit. It also becomes extra special when you get to explore new countries and cultures with each other!



Four. Your culinary tastes will expand. Chances are that your spouse’s culture eats differently than yours! This could, of course, be good or bad. But if you’re an adventurous eater like I am, then it definitely is a good thing. I enjoy learning how to make specialties from my husband’s country, and I love sharing favourites from mine with him! When we go to international markets, we are like little kids running up and down the aisles and drop far too much money to share these special indulgences with each other.



Five. Your home has its own culture. While your past plays a part in how your home culture turns out, it’s important to focus on making it yours - together. That may mean taking things you love about one culture and omitting things that are not as desirable. Focusing on building your own family is important, rather than trying to hold on selfishly to one way or another. Compromise is good, but blending is even better!

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Getting into an Intercultural Relationship | www.maplealps.com

Six. Home is where the heart is. While it may be hard to leave family behind (a possibility when marrying someone from a different country), it is an adventure to start a new one. When so far away from those you grew up with and who are near and dear to your heart, you learn to lean on God and your spouse to get you through that. Sometimes you only have each other and that is okay.



Seven. There are still people out there who disagree with interracial marriages, but that doesn’t have to get you down. Just because people might automatically assume certain things, doesn’t mean your relationship is not valid. These situations can be great when turned into teaching moments. Certain comments may hurt, but learn to let them slide. Everyone is at a different level of understanding, and some people might not even know that they are being offensive.



Eight. Humans are humans. Humans are very different, and yet very similar. Even though we might have different physical appearances or cultural backgrounds, we all have similar needs and longings, but just various ways of expressing them.




Nine. Communication style varies across cultures, but it’s important nonetheless. Any relationship, romantic or not, depends on communication. Understanding where the other person is coming from and how certain things are communicated is important. It will also help you avoid a lot of unnecessary hurt due to misunderstandings. Communicate, communicate, communicate! And yes, it is much easier said than done sometimes.

Ten. True love is unconditional. I think I’ll leave it at that for now.


Are you or anyone you know in an intercultural or interracial relationship? Tell me about it in the comments below!


 

8 Things I've Learned as a Vegetarian

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time now. Over the years, I’ve had many people ask me about it and just the other day, I sat down and wrote out a few things I’ve learned from my experience. It’s so natural for me as I view it as a lifestyle rather than a dietary restriction. It has become second nature to me, and I feel better and more intentional with my food choices. Vegetarian is the only title I exclusively “subscribe” to when asked about my diet, though we mostly eat completely plant based at home.

There are a few things I’ve learned over the years, and I’m going to share 7 of them with you today!

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8 Things I've Learned as a Vegetarian | www.maplealps.com

Cravings Change, and so do taste bud preferences. This has definitely been true for me. Tastes and even certain smells (like meat cooking) that used to be so good to me now make me feel ill. I remember a time when I thought I could never go completely vegetarian, and I was totally wrong. Now, I can’t imagine going back.



One can still be an unhealthy vegetarian! I know a lot of people who are vegetarian who are unhealthy. I also know a lot of people who don’t understand that it really is possible to be healthy as a vegetarian. Crazy, right? Even as a vegetarian, it’s important to eat your daily servings of vegetables, fruits, and grains! Getting the nutrition one needs is important. Substitute meat products are oftentimes even less healthy than the actual stuff, so I’m careful about them and limit the amount of processed foods I consume. I’ve caught myself from time to time not eating as healthy as I could be, even as a vegetarian! Making sure I plan meals ahead helps reduce the amount of processed and unhealthy food we consume!

 
meal planning guide | www.maplealps.com



B12 is important. There are a few supplements to consider when going vegetarian. Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak. Vitamin B12 is necessary for us to function properly, and yet it is hard to get on a vegetarian diet (and especially on a vegan diet).  Finding vegetarian supplements (I use this B12 from Amazon) and buying fortified nutritional yeast flakes to add to food help with B12 levels. A few other supplements I’ve needed as a vegetarian have been iron and vitamin D.



Protein is actually pretty easy to get enough of. Besides finding out that protein is easy to get, I found out that so many people became concerned with my protein levels once becoming vegetarian. It turns out, however, that protein is not the main concern when going vegetarian after all! I mean, of course cows get protein somewhere, right? It is indeed possible to get plenty of protein on a vegetarian diet. Some examples of some high protein foods are edamame, beans, dark leafy greens, and my favourite, tofu. By the way, my doctor of many years has never once asked me if I get enough protein and she knows I’m a vegetarian. She doesn’t seem too concerned.



Reading Food Labels is Key! It’s interesting what foods we may assume are vegetarian are indeed not! Reading food labels ensures food really is animal-product free or vegetarian-friendly. Barbeque chips, marshmallows, and even some vitamin capsules are just three examples of snacks that are not usually vegetarian-friendly. Ideally, one should be eating foods with no labels at all (fresh produce, bulk grains, etc.).



It is not that weird after all. When I first went vegetarian years ago, there were so many people who thought it was the strangest thing. Nowadays, there are a lot of people who choose to go vegetarian, either for health or ethical reasons. It is much easier to live and eat out and enjoy lots of different foods now. I enjoy food more because experimenting with foods is enthralling and fun! I’ve met so many new people who have taught me how to enjoy life as a vegetarian.



Being a vegetarian has made me more mindful. Instead of just being okay with everything I eat, once I decided to be vegetarian, I became more mindful of what I was putting in my body. I want to make sure that my food nourishes me, not just fills my stomach. Of course, you don’t need to be vegetarian to be mindful of your consumption habits, but it has helped me on the course of healthier living.



Vegetables are tasty AND pretty! I love experimenting with different vegetable combinations to make delicious meals! And I love the color that is added to my plate. because of them! If I have a meal that has too many brown tones, I immediately start to miss my fresh veggies - I can’t go without them!


Are you a vegetarian? What have you learned about it?


 
vegan pantry | www.maplealps.com
 

On Adding Value

FaithAmanda Walter | Maple Alps2 Comments

The other night, my husband turned to me and said the sweetest thing:

“You add value to my life.”

It really got me thinking. I’m always trying to be intentional about what I add to my life, but am I intentional about what I add to the lives of those around me?

I’d like to think that that I always try to be considerate and intentional with my interactions, but sometimes it’s easy to let our words or behaviour slip through the cracks. Today, I want to explore a few broad guidelines to keep in mind when interacting with others intentionally that will help you add value to their lives.

On Adding Value to Others | www.maplealps.com

Consider Your Words

This may be obvious, but being careful of the words we choose is important. Do we inspire and encourage, or do we mock and tear down? Are our words too few or too many? Are we too quick to speak or accuse?

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29, ESV)

It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. (Proverbs 21:19, ESV)

Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.(Proverbs 17:5, ESV)

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

(1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV)

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (James 1:19, ESV)

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.(Proverbs 17:28, ESV)

 

Consider Your Actions

Think about your actions and interactions. What we DO is louder than what we SAY. How do we treat others and how might they perceive our actions? How do we act even when we don't think others are watching (by the way, someone is always watching). Do our actions stem from our hearts - or do we just "act good" without having our heart in it?

Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. (Haggai 1:5, ESV)

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:23-25, ESV)

 

Consider Service

What do we do for others that can add value to their lives? It could be as simple as a smile, a hug, a cup of tea. Maybe some time together sharing that cup of tea. Do we meet greater needs too? Do we have an ear that listens, an eye that pays attention to basic needs that need to be met...simple consideration for others? We may tell someone that Jesus loves them, but do we show them Jesus' love?

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17, ESV)

 

Consider Everything

What you put into your life, you’ll get [and give] out. I think I'll just let Paul finish off this one:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8, ESV)

 

How do others add value to your life? How do you try adding value to others?


 

Finding God In Your Every Season

FaithAmanda Walter | Maple AlpsComment

 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, ESV)

 

I have had many seasons in my life. My guess is, so have you. I’m not talking Summer, Winter, Spring and Fall - though we’ve likely all experienced our share of these. My favourite thing about God is that everything He does has a purpose - down to the times of the year. We see object lessons if we look, and amazing truths can be discovered. The same could be said in each season we find ourselves in.

In the last 4 years alone, I’ve found myself in so many different ones: as unemployed, as a graduate student in a city where I knew no one, as a newlywed pastor’s wife and homemaker, as a part-time teacher’s aide, and now as a full-time teacher juggling many responsibilities. This one is extremely busy. Each season has been trying in their own way and some were even satisfying and fulfilling, but in every one of them, I’ve come to learn that true contentment that comes only from the Lord. I have also learned that even though it is difficult at times to see, God is in every season.

Each differs and some seasons last longer than others, but one thing remains constant; the love of God and the fact that we need Him. How amazing that God wants to be near us in everything we go through!

Finding God In Your Every Season | www.maplealps.com

In seasons of closeness with God, delight in Him and savour His presence (see Psalm 37:4).

In seasons of doubt and drought, remember the delight you found in God’s presence, and cling to Him (see Psalm 77:11).

In seasons of busy-ness, find quiet times to be restored. Remember that your life exists not without the Creator (see Isaiah 40:28).

In seasons of God-gifted love, remember that God is Love, and we can only love the way He loves when we love Him with our whole heart (see 1 John 4:8).

In seasons of hunger, remember that Jesus is the bread of life (see John 6:35).

In seasons of disappointment, rely not on your feelings. The heart is deceptive...who can know it (see Jeremiah 17:9)? Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

In seasons of uncertainty, hold fast to the promise that God is the same yesterday, today and forever (see Hebrews 13:8).

In seasons of searching, seek for the Lord (see Deuteronomy 4:29)!

In seasons of longing, remember that God is the strength of your heart (see Psalm 73:26).

In seasons of shame, remember that Christ restores (see Psalm 51).

In seasons of contentment, thank God for His many blessings, and share them with others (see Psalm 9:1)!

In seasons of discontent, remember that God will never leave you and is all that you need (See Hebrews 13:5).

In seasons of discouragement, remember that God’s grace is sufficient (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).

In seasons of confusion, remember the truth will set you free (see John 8:32).

In seasons of anxiety, remember that God has everything under control (see Matthew 6:25-34).

In seasons of joy, rejoice! This is the day the Lord has made! (see Psalm 118:24).


 

What seasons are you experiencing in your life right now?