What a delicious, zero-calorie treat it is to enjoy General Conference one weekend and Easter the next! With the Prophet’s and General Authorities’ inspired words still whispering in our hearts as we contemplate the last, tremendously tender week of the Savior’s earthly life and glorious resurrection on Easter morning, there is much to be grateful for.

I hope today’s message will help us replace overfilling our stomachs (and the resulting overfilled clothing) with overfilling our hearts and minds with gratitude and the deeply satisfying knowledge that He lives, that He loves us and that He will care for us in a very real and physical way.

Today’s Scripture: “… and He took five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and brake, and gave them to his disciples. And the disciples did give unto the multitude. They did all eat and thus were filled.” (Matthew 14:19-21)

Last year my daughter Kelly (now nearly 14) did a Young Women value project with two other Beehives. From beginning to end they planned a wonderful Easter party for 11 adorable three-to-five-year-old Primary children in our ward. The children colored bags for the Easter egg hunt, played “Pin the Tail on the Bunny” with a poster the girls had made, sang songs, read a story, then drew giant bunnies and flowers on the driveway with colored chalk. It was simply delightful and delightfully simple.

The party goodies were equally simple: carrots/celery sticks, fresh orange slices and peanut butter spread on whole wheat bread with a dusting of pastel colored sprinkles, then cut into little shapes. They had orange juice boxes to drink. There was a small cupcake to take home at the end. That was it! No hordes of candy, no chocolate.

However, that was not the original refreshment plan! Oh, no! I had very much wanted to create a large bunny cake as the centerpiece and treat. I had found true inspiration on the cover of a Women’s World magazine. It was so easy, and Kelly and the girls would have a great time making it. It required only three pre-made pound cakes for the body, head and ears, Hostess cupcakes for the paws, assorted candy bars and colored candies for the details, three cans of frosting, (one chocolate and two white) … and me to supervise before, during and after with licks, tastes, tests and nibbles to make sure everything was perfect.

Before buying everything I looked at the calorie count. As I recovered from a mild heart attack, my own inability to manage an open can of chocolate frosting vividly came to mind and that was that, thank goodness.

So, although we could have had more, we didn’t. What we had was enough, and no one even thought or asked about more. The Cadbury eggs and the cake ingredients were left safely at the store, and all was well. Very well, in fact, because 1) that cake would not have made this precious party one bit better and 2) there were no sugar-highs as the party ended.

Well, Easter is a joyful time. As we celebrate with recipes like today’s low-cal muffins and only a taste or two of your absolute favorite Easter candy in the good company of others, I cannot help but imagine how wonderful it would have been to be with Him and to personally experience even a moment of His ministry.

Close your eyes and imagine being one of the 5,000 He fed with the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Imagine eating in the presence of the Savior, and gently transfer that image with the meals and snacks you eat today and throughout this next week. Since we already say a blessing where we thank Him for our food, it’s only one step further to imagine Him watching as we eat what he has given to us. What a difference this sweet visualization can make in our choices and portions.

The great miracle of the fishes and the loaves teaches two important things:

  • Being fed physically matters a great deal to Him. He wants us to be full and comfortable. He knows that life goes better when we’re not hungry!
  • With his love and grace He can turn small portions into a beautiful, unforgettable meal that will feed both body and the soul. He did it for the 5,000, and he will do it for us.

Oh, how we need to be lovingly fed, both spiritually and physically! With the touch of the Master’s Hand to bless our own lives and meals, this week we can feast on His word in unlimited portions, and then ask Him to bless our food, even as He did the loaves and fishes. As we ask Him to join us as we eat, He will make our own measured portions as filling and satisfying as the meal served to his followers on that sacred, memorable afternoon.

Happy Easter!

Today’s Empowerment: “I ask the Lord to bless my food so that my measured portions will fill, nourish and satisfy my needs. I replace overfilling my body with overfilling my heart and mind with thoughts of His love and life.”

Today’s Journal/Discussion Questions:

  1. Identify several foods that cause trouble for you (for me it is chocolate frosting from fingers and spoons, open bags of candy for holiday projects, and so on). Picture them with a red flashing light on the top with sirens going off as a warning.
  2. What satisfaction do you derive from those foods? Is it a habit, or do you genuinely enjoy them enough to work them into your program occasionally?
  3. How do you know when you’re full? Consider and use the 1-10 Scale below. (Space eating 3-4 hours apart.) The satisfaction safety zone is 4-6:
    1. “Starving,” dizzy, head-achey – more than 4-6 hours after eating
    2. Ravenous, irritable, headache is starting
    3. Stomach pains and growling
    4. Slightly hungry, mouth feels stale
    5. Neutral, comfortable; can wait longer
    6. Satisfied, clothes feel comfortable
    7. Somewhat full, pants are snug
    8. Feeling uncomfortable, need to loosen belt
    9. Stuffed and uncomfortable, need to take pants off!
    10. Nausea, stomach churning, feeling regretful

Today’s Recipe: Easter Bunny Carrot Muffins

I had a similar recipe that I enjoyed very much from an old Weight Watcher Cookbook . The high fiber makes them very satisfying and filling, indeed!

Easter Bunny Carrot Muffins
(Serves 12 at 112 Calories)

1 cup All Bran cereal
three-fourths cup skim milk
4 carrots, shredded (2 cups)
1 to 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon shelled sunflower seeds (or finely chopped walnuts)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
one-half teaspoon ground ginger
one-eighth teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten

In a 2-quart bowl, combine bran, milk, and shredded carrots. Let stand for 5 minutes. Mix the remaining ingredients separately, then add to bran mixture. Line muffin tin with paper liners and fill each cup half-way.

Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes, until they spring back when touched lightly. Makes 12 muffins.

(2 g Dietary Fiber; 112 Calories; 4 g Fat; 19 g Carb)