Tag Archives: Christmas

Kale, Pomegranate, and Caramelized Parsnip Salad Recipe by PBS Food

I had a large bag of kale from our winter garden, along with a few other mixed greens, 2 small bags of parsnips, and 4 pomegranates in my refrigerator, so when I saw this recipe on Pinterest, I immediately wanted to try it.

I put on a large pot of chicken noodle soup while I roasted the parsnips and prepped the other salad ingredients. It was absolutely delicious! And it looked like Christmas! This one’s going in the archives. The dressing recipe alone is worth saving! And it was the perfect accompaniment to the soup on this dreary winter day.

Here’s what PBS says: “Prepare a crispy maple-caramelized, roasted parsnips intermingled with sweet pomegranate seeds and shredded kale from Aube Giroux of the Kitchen Vignettes blog.”

Kale, Pomegranate, and Caramelized Parsnip Salad Recipe

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

For the Salad:

  • 1 large bunch of kale (about 10 large leaves)
  • 1 pomegranate
  • 4 medium parsnips (about 1 pound)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup

For the Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Optional Garnish:

  • 2 Tbsp. freshly grated parmesan
  • 3 Tbsp. toasted hazelnuts

Directions

  1. Wash the parsnips and scrub if needed, no need to peel them. Slice lengthwise into pieces about 3 inches long and then cut those into quarters (or eights if the parsnips are big). Place them in a roasting pan with the 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp maple syrup and toss well. Roast them in a 375 F oven for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender inside and crispy golden on the outside. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  2. Place all the salad dressing ingredients in a jar, screw on the lid, and shake vigorously.
  3. Cut away the stems from the kale leaves and discard them. Place the kale leaves on top of one another and shred finely. Place the shredded kale in a large salad bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Let the kale rest for 30 minutes to absorb the dressing.
  4. Deseed the pomegranate. This video shows how to do it. Add the pomegranate seeds and the cooled roasted parsnip to your salad and toss.
  5. If you wish, garnish with toasted hazelnuts (simply place hazelnuts in a skillet on medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t burn) and freshly grated parmesan.

Original URL: http://www.pbs.org/food/kitchen-vignettes/kale-pomegranate-and-caramelized-parsnip-salad/

 

My Christmas Prayer

This Christmas, as I contemplate the true meaning of the holiday, I am brought back not just to the birth of my Savior, but to the reason for His coming–to save me and my fellow sinners from our sins. So, this Christmas I think through not just the nativity but all the way to Calvary and beyond.

Speaking of beyond, I think of so many of my friends who have lost loved ones this year–spouses, siblings, children, grandparents, parents, unborn children, close friends. On one side, I can almost see them singing with the choir of angels, “Gloria in Excelsis Deo!” Then I started thinking, at this time of year when we celebrate the birth of our baby King, the very miracle of His birth means that God Himself gave up His Son from the glories of heaven for a while too. And I pray for those who have a painful glimpse into the glories of God’s great Sacrifice.

Dear God,
This Christmas, help me to focus on Christ and not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of this holiday season. Let me show those I come in contact with the glories of your mercy and grace and love–whether it be family or friends, or those in the grocery store or shopping mall, or even on the roads–let me be an example of your patience and peace, and forgive me of my own impatience and selfishness. Whether there be snow or sunshine, whether we be near our loved ones or far away, whether we have great sorrow or great joy, great wealth or great need, may Christ shine His light and likeness into our lives–a light that is greater than even the star that shone over Bethlehem many years ago. And may I cling to the cross where King Jesus shed his blood on my behalf to save me from my sins to the glory of His great grace.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Merry Christmas from Our House to Yours!

Screen Shot 2012-12-24 at 3.41.28 PM

 

You’re Invited: Christmas Concert and Coffee Social

HBC Christmas email.inddAt Heritage Bible Church, 2005 Old Spartanburg Road, Greer, SC 29650

“Dispatches from the Front” Now Available in a Boxed Set!

I recently started working for Frontline Missions International, and I wanted to let you know of an incredible resource that Frontline has available. Over the past several years, they’ve been producing the “Dispatches from the Front” DVD series, providing glimpses into international missions in the world’s hard to reach places. They are inspiring, convicting, Christ-focused and professionally produced!

The first five episodes of the “Dispatches from the Front” series are now available in a boxed set at Amazon for only $50! These boxed sets would make great gifts! It’s not too early to start planning for Christmas!

Boxed Set Includes the following DVDs (normally $15 per DVD):

  • Episode 1: Islands on the Edge (Southeast Asia)
  • Episode 2: A Bold Advance (Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro)
  • Episode 3: I Once Was Blind (West Africa)
  • Episode 4: Souls of the Brave (India)
  • Episode 5: Father, Give Me Bread (Ethiopia and South Sudan)

These videos are worth watching and sharing! And if you don’t want to take my word for it, here’s what others are saying:

  • “Beware of watching these Dispatches if you don’t like being moved and inspired and shaken out of the ruts of your life. My wife and I were riveted in watching the frontline reports of God’s work recorded in the Dispatches from the Front. This is the sort of information that builds faith in the present providence of God over his mission, and stirs up action for the sake of lost and hurting people near and far. I would love to see thousands of people mobilized as senders and goers for the sake of the glory of Christ and the relief of suffering on the frontiers, especially eternal suffering. ” – John Piper, author of Desiring God; pastor for preaching and vision, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis
  • “I want, and I want my kids to have, a heart for world missions. These videos stir that passion. . . . I would highly recommend this series.” – Joshua Harris, senior pastor, Covenant Life Church, Gaithersburg, MD
  • Dispatches offers a potent reminder that in the darkest places, the gospel shines brightest. It should come with a warning label. Danger: Graphic scenes of mission reality that will disrupt your comfort and ignite your heart for God’s work on the frontlines. Pray, watch and act!”  Dave Harvey, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Church Planting & Missiology
  • Dispatches is like watching a reality television show. You feel like you are there, and you sense the emotions and crises of the people you meet on the screen; but it is not entertainment. It opens the vistas of spiritual reality, and after it is over you can’t just turn it off and walk away. You have to pray and say, ‘Lord, what would you have me do?’”  Mark Vowels, director of missions, Bob Jones University, and long-time friend of the family
  • “In Dispatches from the Front: Islands on the Edge the stories are powerful because the Gospel is powerful. We made this DVD presentation the focal point of a Sunday evening service recently, and the Lord used it to cause our people to “lift up their eyes and look on the fields” in new and fresh ways–seeing the faces, hearing the voices, and sharing in the sorrows and joys of our brothers and sisters in southeast Asia.”  Dan Brooks, senior pastor, Heritage Bible Church, Greer, SC, and my pastor

Order Here! You will not regret it!

Merry Christmas!

I’ve heard the Christmas story and celebrated the birth of Christ my whole life. Every Christmas we put up a nativity in the living room as part of our celebration. But this year, through sermons and testimonies and readings, I have come to appreciate the Christmas story in a new way, with a new perspective.

Here’s a sermon that Pastor Brooks preached a few weeks ago that got me started. He went through II Chronicles 28 and Isaiah 7-9 and gave the backstory of the prophecy of a Savior. At that time, the people were misplaced, distraught, and grieving over the loss of many men and children who had been killed during a time of captivity. It was at this low point, that God told Isaiah to tell His people that a baby was to be born who would be their “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), their “Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14) – God WITH us! He had not left them alone.

I also saw the perspective of what Mary and Joseph went through. It took a great deal of faith on Joseph’s part to trust God (and Mary) when his betrothed announced that she was pregnant and she hadn’t done anything wrong. It took faith on Mary’s part, as she was young, scared, and had all kinds of changes happening to her body that she was unfamiliar with, not to mention the scorn the town must have placed on her for being pregnant and unwed.

It must have been hard to travel on the back of a donkey being at full-term in her pregnancy. I’m sure she felt every bump along the long, dry road.

And then, there must have been feelings of doubt and unbelief and fear as they could not find a room to sleep in in Bethlehem, but were instead forced to nestle down with the stinky, dirty, overcrowded animals in the inn’s stable. Joseph must have thought, “Don’t you understand?! My wife is carrying the Messiah! She’s 9 months pregnant, and you can’t find a few square feet for her to rest?!” But instead, he stayed with her and coached her through the pain of contractions and the stench of manure to bring forth the perfect Christ-child, Jesus. It took faith from both of them to trust in this baby as their Savior.

And then this baby Jesus didn’t stay a cute little baby in a manger. He grew to be a man, a perfect, sinless man, who would die for the sins of mankind, my sins, on a cruel and crude cross. Praise Him! Thank Him! And when you look at your nativity set, remember the journey His earthly parents went through, and the path He took from that humble stable to the humiliating cross, and know that He had you in mind the whole time. Trust Him! Love Him! For He did not stay dead. He arose! And lives triumphantly in heaven, preparing a place for each of us. And it will not be a humble stable, but palaces of grandeur, glorifying the God of the Universe!

picture found on LoveFaithBlogs.blogspot.com

Merry Christmas!

A Merry Christmas Basket and Meal Plan!

This year’s Christmas basket included Granny Smith Apples, Sweet Potatoes and Yukon Golds, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Oranges, Green Beans, Pomegranate, Butternut Squash, and Sweet Onions.

And here’s this week’s Meal Plan (using PepperPlate once again):

The first recipe that came to my mind when I walked in the house yesterday and saw these beautiful Granny Smith Apples from my Milk and Honey Organics weekly produce basket was the Marcia Adams’ Granny Smith Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce! It’s a family favorite around the holidays and a quick dump cake that is delicious every time! The last time I made it, I used buttered ramekins, so each person got their very own apple cake and could put as much or as little caramel sauce atop as they liked. This cake would also make a beautiful homemade gift for neighbors or friends. If it doesn’t turn out exactly as beautiful as you would like, just drizzle some caramel sauce on top and pipe some whipped cream on it! (Yes, I confess, I have done that before.)

Recently, I’ve been watching a lot of The Chew episodes. It’s a fairly new morning talk show on ABC featuring four chefs and a fashion stylist. It’s pretty funny, most of the time, and has a lot of good recipes. Here are a few that I saw over the last few weeks that would be great to feature this week’s basket in:

(Other Recipes from the Meal Plan can be found in past Weekly Meal Plan posts).

What will likely happen in my house (and perhaps yours), is that you’ll plan your Christmas Dinner as your main meal for the week and then snack and attend parties and family gatherings for the rest of the week.

Leftovers will likely be a part of this week’s menu for all of us, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be every bit as delicious as the feast itself. Enjoy plenty of  beautiful, organic produce this week! Keep it light and healthful and enjoy the time with family and friends even more than you enjoy the food! I hope you have a blessed and peaceful holiday season, full of family, food, and festivities!

Merry Christmas from My Journey to Lean!

I Corinthians 13 Applied To Christmas

A beautiful application of the love of Christ and the distractions, preoccupations, and false philosophies we often struggle with during the holidays. May this season of Christmas be focused on its original purpose: the celebration of Christ.

“I Corinthians 13 – Christmas Version”

“If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love, I’m just another decorator.

“If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love, I’m just another cook.

“If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love, it profits me nothing.

“If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

“Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.

“Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

“Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

“Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

“Love never fails.

“Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.”

~Author Unknown

One Busy Week in Review

Tis the Season for holiday hecticness! I’m almost done with Christmas shopping. I have a few more small items I want to get Bryan, but other than that, I think all I have to do is finish wrapping gifts and tucking them under the tree! It certainly has been a busy time, ever since we got back from our little mini-post-Thanksgiving-vacation in Tennessee. I haven’t had a lot of time to post, so let me share a semi-brief recap.

Let’s start with last Friday. A dear friend and coworker, Grace, is moving away soon, so a group of us got together and had a sushi lunch at Murasaki downtown to celebrate and wish her well in her new endeavor.

That night, I started decorating for Christmas. I pulled out all the Christmas China and stemware and started setting up the dining room.

 Saturday was a wonderful day! Bryan came home from work around 9:30AM (my night shift man) and we decorated the Christmas tree! It’s a sky blue, white,  and copper/brown theme this year, and of course we always hang the little wooden bear ornaments.

I attempted my first batch of homemade English Muffins, using Simply Life’s recipe. They turned out pretty good. I used white wheat flour instead of the recommended combination of whole wheat and all purpose, and my yeast was a bit old, so I added a little extra “for good measure” and I also think the heat on my stove was a little high for the griddling process, so they were slightly different from the recipe, but they were still tasty. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture.

But since those had to rise twice, I decided to make some Pomegranate Orange Scones using ingredients from last week’s basket. They were so good!

I even got a “retweet” from the recipe’s creator, Gina @runtothekitchen.

I bought a white tablecloth for the dining room and two cranberry red taper candles for the crystal candle holders we got at our wedding five plus years ago (not shown). And I put up the mini tree in the dining room with all of my “produce” ornaments. Yes, there’s a little chef’s coat that says “Bon Appetit,” one of my favorite sayings, and all kinds of hand-crafted ornaments from Poland in the forms of fruits and vegetables! I found them at Sur La Table last year, my mom bought several pieces for me for Christmas and I bought several more in the after-Christmas online sale. Now, that’s my kind of tree!

There’s even a precious little garden gnome with his own produce wheelbarrow!

I found a special treat in the Christmas decoration boxes this year that I had forgotten about from last year. Tucked neatly under the tree skirt was my set of Christmas pint glasses that I purchased last year on after-Christmas clearance! I love the gold lettering, even if they do have to be hand-washed.

After a day full of decorating (and cleaning up from decorating), Saturday ended with a dinner of Chicken Lentil Soup with my friend Shannah, and some coffee and scones. I love hanging out with like-minded friends (and including coffee with fellowship is always a win).

Sunday started with going to morning service with Bryan at Heritage, followed by teaching 2nd grade Sunday school. This week’s lesson was on the Trinity and Unity of God. That afternoon included some fellowship and a time of rest for me.

Monday night, I had lunch with a new friend Tami from church. It’s amazing how God can bring people from different backgrounds together to have such a special bond in Christ!

Monday night, I had the privilege of attending a ladies’ banquet at Locust Hill Baptist Church and hearing Gracia Burnham share her testimony of God’s grace through being a missionary in the Philippines, being captured, being rescued the same day her husband was killed, and walking in faith while raising her children without him. I remember praying for their release back when I attended a small Christian high school in Ohio, and tonight I had the pleasure of meeting Gracia and shaking her hand. She took my hand and hugged my neck, and graciously agreed to let me share her story on my blog. She truly lives up to the name Gracia, as she walks in grace towards her fellow mankind, even sharing the Gospel with her former captors! And I pray for those in attendance who do not know Christ, that they will remember the words they heard and trust Him alone for their salvation.

Tuesday night was Bible study. We served a baked potato bar and salad bar, which is always fun. And we discussed topics relating to confrontation, edification, and our obligation for accountability among fellow believers.

Wednesday night was Shepherding Group. We love our Shepherding Group at Heritage Bible Church and are thankful for how the Lord is knitting this diverse group of believers together in His Name and for His Glory! Bryan and I went out for a quick date night dinner before Shepherding Group for a little “us time” in the middle of this busy week.

Thursday night was my office Christmas party. In the last couple of months, our good friend Dave joined the team, working in IT, so it was fun to have him and his wife Rachel with us at the party this year. I thought the food was great, the decorations were well done, and overall, it was a good time had by all. We left early, since Bryan had to work, but it was just long enough to have a nice meal, mingle for a bit, and relax with friends. Plus, it’s always fun to have an opportunity to get dressed up a bit.

Friday was our Sunday school Christmas party (no, not the 2nd graders – our adult Sunday school that we’re apart of when we’re not on rotation to teach – the LifeBuilders class with Pastor McCormick). What a refreshing time to catch up!

On top of all this is full-time work as an Executive Assistant, plus blogging here and for Milk and Honey Organics, trying to keep the house clean, laundry done, and yard in decent shape, and still see family and friends, all while staying sane.

Next week shouldn’t be quite as busy, but it is a busy time of year for sure. We’re looking forward to welcoming our brother-in-law James home from Afghanistan and seeing family for Christmas!

Oh, and one more exciting thing for me over the past week or so was having some very positive feedback on Twitter from my posts using PepperPlate.com as a Meal Planning Tool! Check out what they had to say:

Today was filled with fellowship with my friend Gina, running errands, hanging out with my sister and her boys, babysitting the neighbor kids so they’re parents could wrap up Christmas shopping for them (this included making shortbread press cookies and gingerbread and teaching them to play Blokus, along with much laughter).

I hope you had a fun-filled week and are beginning your preparations for worship tomorrow. Good night!

I hope you had a wonderful time

The True Christmas Story

Matthew 1:

The Birth of Jesus Christ

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Luke 1:

Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

Luke 2: The Birth of Jesus Christ

2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

ESV