Tag Archives: thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving

This past Sunday night’s sermon was on the giving of thanks as an evidence of a Christ-filled life as well as “a significant weapon in the arsenal of spiritual warfare.” Pastor Brooks challenged us from Ephesians 5:1-21 to “be imitators of God,” walking in love, truth, and wisdom.

Thankfulness is not only in direct contrast to impure living and conversation, but it is commanded by the Lord. “Jesus is the Object AND Means of Thanksgiving.”

Pastor challenged us to do three things as we enter this week of Thanksgiving (adapted from Jerry Bridges’ The Practice of Godliness):

  1. Develop a grateful heart by meditating in Christ’s character and work (see Psalm 111).
  2. Express your gratitude frequently (e.g., as you rise and as you rest).
  3. Journal your thanks specifically.

As I contemplate these things, I am encouraged to begin journaling again. Journaling has always been a blessing to me. I have journals for nearly every year of my life, beginning around the 1st grade. It’s good to look back and rehearse the blessings and challenges and see God through every step–especially the ones I thought I’d never make it through.

So tonight, I journal. God has been so gracious–I am overwhelmed by this fact! I am thankful, first and foremost, for my salvation. I am an unworthy wretch, and yet God looked down and, in lovingkindness, chose me to follow Him. He is my wisdom, my righteousness, my sanctification, and my redemption (I Cor. 1:30).

Secondly, I am thankful for my family–for a Christian heritage, and an extended family of likeminded believers. I am also overwhelmed with gratitude for my loving husband. God brought two sinners together and it is by His grace that we are best friends and united in Christ. I do not take that lightly, and I want never to take that for granted.

Also, I thank God for my past–for the education, the experiences, the opportunities, and, yes, even the trials. I am thankful for the opportunities to trust Him, though I have not always seen trials like this. I am thankful that He has not given up on me–and promises to never do so! What a great God we serve! I was reminded last weekend that when we are sinned against, it is an opportunity to grow in grace; it is an opportunity to remember the story of God’s grace on us and to return that grace to the offender; it is a chance to show and share the love of God Himself in our responses. And my responses have sometimes been all too human. So I am reminded to be thankful for those who “wrong” me, because it is not me they wrong, but Christ. And it is not me that should be put on display or defended, but rather Jesus. So I am thankful to be reminded of my salvation and God’s great grace to me.

I am thankful for so many things. I am thankful for God’s provision–of friends, of freedom, of protection, of basic necessities, like food and shelter. And God has done more than just provided the needs, but He has supplied “far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20) with good things, great things–not just shelter above our heads, but a comfortable home that we can share with friends and family; not just nourishment, but delicious, belly-filling, soul-warming food. We have so much compared to the majority of the earth’s population. And yet we complain and compare ourselves among ourselves, like fools (II Cor. 10:12).

I am thankful for my health. I am reminded of this more and more every day, as I see cancer and other disease and afflictions strike young and old alike. I know that our frames are but dust, and that health is fleeting (Psalm 103:14). I know that God is sovereign, and that His definition of “good” is our conformity to His Son, and sometimes that means sickness or pain (Rom. 8:28ff). But for now, I have good health, and my family has good health, and I thank Him for that.

I am thankful for my work. I would say “job,” but it is more than that, as it is quickly becoming my passion and my ministry, all rolled up into one. I get to work with fellow believers, helping in the effort to share Christ and “advancing the Gospel in the world’s difficult places” at Frontline Missions. It is thrilling to see what God is doing! The Gospel is alive and well, and God works not just through us but so often inspite of us. He is building His church, and “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). I love it! I actually enjoy waking up each morning, and I don’t even notice the clock passing or the sun setting, as I work on mailings, or filing correspondence, or proofing newsletters or answering the phone, or even vacuuming the office. God is teaching me so much and allowing me to enjoy this work–even the simple things, like having similar tastes with coworkers for dark chocolate, good coffee, and Christ-centered conversation.

My heart is full! And my God is great! And I am thankful…as I enjoy this journey He has me on!

Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?!

Thanksgiving Medley

The Hasty Sisters sing the Doxology:

The Huron Sisters sing I Sing the Mighty Power of God:

CRCWorship presents a Thanksgiving Medley which includes “We Gather Together,” “For the Beauty of the Earth,” and “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”:

“The Thanksgiving Song” by Mary Chapin Carpenter:

Psalm 100:1-5 ~ “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name! For the Lord is good; His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.”

Happy Thanksgiving from My Journey To Lean! 

A Special Thanksgiving Week Basket and Recipe Ideas

Happy Thanksgiving! This week’s basket from Milk and Honey Organics was amazing and so festive for the holidays! They delivered on Tuesday instead of the normal Thursday schedule, due to the holiday. Instead of a meal plan this week, I’m sharing extra recipe ideas along with table-scape and fall decor tips for Thanksgiving Day…and what to do with the Leftovers!

This Week’s Basket includes: 

  • Microgreens from Chef’s Greenhouse
  • Green Beans
  • Cranberries
  • Sweet Yellow Onions
  • Garlic
  • Yukon Potatoes
  • Macintosh Apples
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Granny Smith Apples
  • Acorn Squash
  • Salad Mix (or Lettuce)
The first thing I did (after taking today’s picture using my Instagram app) was wash the salad mix and microgreens and toss them together with thinly sliced pears, apples, shallots, avocado, and carrots and topped with chopped nuts, feta cheese, dried cranberries and balsamic vinegar. If you’re not sure what to do with microgreens, mixing them with your salad greens is delicious!

Recipes Ideas for the Thanksgiving Week Basket:

For more LOTS of ideas on decorations and recipes, check out my “Thanksgiving” Pinterest Board.

And for Post-Turkey-Day, check out these great ideas:

by Mary Kate McDevitt

 Happy Thanksgiving! Bon Appetit! And Enjoy the Journey!

Biggest Loser 2011 Thanksgiving Dinner

Tuesday night’s Biggest Loser featured a Thanksgiving meal for the participants. It looked really yummy! For these recipes go to The Biggest Loser page on NBC.com:

Other Recipes on NBC.com not shown on last night’s episode:

Thanksgiving Tips:

Remember, just because it’s Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you need to make TONS of food! Just make a delicious, healthful spread and focus on the meaning behind the holiday: Giving Thanks!

I would recommend eating a healthful breakfast – something like steel cut oats with chopped apples and walnuts and a glass of milk. This will get your metabolism going for the day.

If your celebration dinner is at lunch time, try to limit your calories to 650-800 calories. If possible, space it out into two 300-400 calorie mini-meals. If you’re not in charge of the menu, offer to bring a couple of side dishes that will help you avoid the fat-laden foods. Don’t feel like you have to taste everything on the buffet! Eat a balanced, nutritious meal and really enjoy it!

If you’re waiting till late afternoon or evening to eat your main meal for the day, enjoy a light snack (like the Spinach Salad with Pears and Pomegranate with the Roasted Carrots and Parsnips or Beet Chips listed above), then keep your main meal restricted to 650-700 calories.

Also, you will boost your metabolism significantly if you go for a 20-40 minute brisk walk after dinner. So, grab the family and walk around the neighborhood or go outside and start a game of tag football or soccer. Nothing like family competition to keep the energy up!

Don’t forget to watch The Biggest Loser’s Thanksgiving Special Episode on Wednesday night at 9PM EST (8PM CST) on NBC.

For the 2010 menu, check out last year’s blog post.

Sweet Paul’s Thanksgiving…And His New Winter Magazine!

If you love beautiful photographs of delicious food, fun crafts and home decorating ideas that will make you smile, then check out Sweet Paul! They also have recipes to go along with the beautiful food pics and some DIY gift wrap inspiration! Enjoy!

Recently he’s been putting out digital magazines of his collections. Last year, he put out a Holiday edition that featured ideas for Thanksgiving and Christmas! So, if it’s your turn to host this year’s Thanksgiving feast for your family, and you still don’t know what you’ll be serving, check out some of Sweet Paul’s ideas here. Here’s a glimpse:

And for the latest Winter edition of Sweet Paul's Magazine, check this out!

Doesn't French Toast Stars sound like a fabulous Christmas Morning breakfast?!

Check out the adorable tartan Scottie ornaments!

Don't forget to check out back issues of the magazine on the left nav bar when you're viewing any of the editions.

My favorite edition to date is the Special Kids edition from this past spring! This article is full of recipes for homemade organic baby food! So great! And the rest of the magazine has adorable crafts and kid-friendly recipes and party ideas!

I always look forward to the next edition of Sweet Paul Magazine! I hope you will too! Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Tips: Stuff the Turkey, Not Yourself!

1. Don’t skip breakfast! Eat a low-calorie breakfast to kick-off your metabolism for the day. A cup of yogurt topped with fresh fruit and a handful of granola is perfect, or try a cup of steel cut oats with sliced apples and cinnamon. Another great option is the Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage breakfast sandwiches.

2. While your meal is cooking, get active. Lifting a turkey in and out of the oven doesn’t count as a weight routine, so grab those weights and do some training before your feast.

3. Watch your portions. Stuff the turkey; don’t stuff yourself! Too many of us overeat at family affairs. Don’t feel like you have to take a serving of everything on the buffet. Choose the healthful options. Wait several hours before returning for seconds. Go for a 3-4 oz. serving of roasted turkey, and avoid the fatty portions. Avoid casseroles if you can; many of them are full of hidden fats and sugars. Mash cauliflower instead of potatoes to cut down on some calories; eat mashed sweet potatoes instead of sweet potato casserole, and serve your green beans steamed with a sprinkling of cranberries or pomegranates, garlic, and almonds. Don’t forget that apple cider and other holiday beverages contain calories too.

4. Get the family involved in fitness. Go for a 45 minute walk or play a game of football in the backyard after your feast as a family and boost your metabolism by as much as 15%.

5. Remember that Thanksgiving is about the people and the memories more than it is about the food. So, don’t stress out if your pie doesn’t look just like grandma’s did or if dinner doesn’t start exactly on time. Enjoy the moments and thank God for Who He is and what He’s done and will do in your life.

Happy Thanksgiving! Bon Appetit! And Enjoy the Journey!

~Melissa

Biggest Loser Inspired Thanksgiving Dinner

The following recipes were created by Chef Curtis Stone. The meal plan serves 12. For the full recipes, visit the Biggest Loser site at nbc.com by clicking here.

Herb Crusted Grilled Turkey Breast (I reduced the serving to 4 oz. instead of 8 in the nutrition facts below.)

Creamy Mushroom Sauce (I reduced the serving size to 1/4 c. instead of 1/2 c. in the nutrition facts below.)

Leek and Celery Stuffing (I reduced the serving size to 1/2 c. instead of 1 c. in the nutrition facts below.)

Roasted Root Vegetables with Mandarin and Thyme (1/12 of recipe)

Green Beans with Pomegranate and Garlic (1/2 c. green beans and 1 Tbsp. pomegranate arils – see comments below for my recipe idea, since it wasn’t posted on the nbc website)

Pecan Crusted Caramelized Apple Crisp (1/12 of recipe)


My Idealistic Thanksgiving Feast

Most people wait until Christmas to have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. I, on the other hand, dream about food often. The funniest part is it usually doesn’t include sugar plums (or desserts in general, for that matter) and I’m usually day-dreaming. Food is, always has been and always will be a passion in my life…especially delicious, nutritious and aesthetically pleasing food!

With Thanksgiving less than one week away, I have been dreaming of turkey and cranberry-everything! If I could create my perfect Thanksgiving feast, I think it would include the following recipes:

Fresh Pomegranate, Sliced Apples and Honey

Ina Garten’s Roasted Turkey Roulade (I would use boneless, skinless turkey breast and a lean turkey sausage instead of pork sausage for the stuffing)

Giada De Laurentiis’ Butternut Squash Soup with Fontina Cheese Crostini

Roasted Red and Sweet Potato Wedges, Carrots, Garlic and Brussel Sprouts (drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, 450F, 45 minutes)

The Pioneer Woman’s Green Bean Casserole (I actually really like green beans, so I might reduce the cream sauce by half)

Mom’s Cranberry Relish

Ina Garten’s Ultimate Ginger Cookies

Mom’s Cran-Apple Pie with Pecan Crumble Topping and my Great-Grandmother’s Perfect Flaky Pie Crust recipe

Recipe: Vegetarian Black Bean and Quinoa Fiesta

Talk about a Vegetarian Delight!

Get ready for a nutritious and delicious explosion of flavor in your mouth. This is a new recipe I created last night that was so yummy I had to share! I can’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch today! And it’s ready in less than 30 minutes!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c. dry quinoa
  • 3/4 c. 2% organic milk
  • 3/4 c. water
  • 2 tsp. organic butter
  • 1 tsp. garlic infused oil (you could use 1 tsp. olive oil and 1 minced garlic clove)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 organic leek (white and light green portion only)
  • 1 can organic black beans (about 10 oz.)
  • 3 oz. feta cheese crumbles (1 good size handful)
  • 2 organic roma tomatoes, chopped
  • sour cream and paprika to top
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

Instructions:

  1. Prepare quinoa: combine water, milk, and quinoa in a medium pot and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cover, simmering for 15 minutes (until moisture is absorbed).
  2. Heat large saute pan with butter and garlic oil. Slice leeks into strips or rounds and add to pan. Sautee with salt and pepper.
  3. Drain black beans and add to cooked leeks.
  4. Add feta cheese and stir till beans are warm and feta is melted into mixture.
  5. Add diced tomatoes and warm through.
  6. Serve black bean mixture over the quinoa; top with a dollup of organic sour cream and avocado slices; sprinkle with paprika. Goes well with all natural tortilla strips and Publix Greenwise Organic Salsa.

Servings: 2 good source dinner portions or 4 side dish portions (in case you want to serve tacos, grilled chicken or steak strips on the side).