Happy Thanksgiving, friend! What are you doing for Thanksgiving this year? If you are anything like me, your plans have changed several times and may change again before Thursday! With all the uncertainty and chaos that are part of pandemic living, trying to find a way to connect with our loved ones is very, very challenging!
The truth is that things don’t always go as planned, but the impact of that is never felt more than during the holiday season. It is during these times that we realize that good health goes far beyond the physical. Our social connections have a great influence on our level of overall physical and mental/emotional well-being.
When plans fall apart during the holiday season, it’s important to remember that maintaining relationships is more important than maintaining traditions!
This Thanksgiving may feel a bit overwhelming as we are focused on not only the food, but on creative ways to stay connected.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving that is focused on sharing and giving thanks, I’d like to share with you my “go to” Thanksgiving food solution for when things don’t go as expected - Thanksgiving in a Pan! This recipe was a lifesaver on the Thanksgiving that our plans fell apart due to a family crisis. This simple recipe allowed us to celebrate and stay connected while still enjoying some of the traditional flavors of Thanksgiving, but in a very efficient way.
Thanksgiving in a Pan is easy to make for yourself and easy to deliver to loved ones who you may not be able to see face to face this year. The recipe contains many Thanksgiving favorites, such as: turkey, stuffing, cranberries, sweet potatoes, and green beans. All you need is a can of gravy and you have a great Thanksgiving meal.
Thanksgiving in a Pan is both simple and efficient, leaving you with the necessary time and energy to think of some creative ways of staying connected whether that be by Zoom, a socially distanced visit, or a phone call or letter.
Thanksgiving in a Pan
Source: adapted from https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/thanksgiving-casserole/
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small white onion, peeled and diced
1 large, sweet potato, peeled, thinly sliced, and diced
2 cups chopped fresh green beans (about 4 ounces), ends trimmed off
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3 stalks celery, diced
fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
6 cups of stuffing bread cubes
1 pound diced cooked turkey
2/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, sage, etc.)
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Turkey gravy (canned or homemade)
Optional: chopped toasted nuts, for sprinkling (such as pecans or walnuts)
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Mist a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large non-stick sauté pan. Add the onion and sweet potato and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potato is mostly softened. Add the green beans, garlic, celery, and season the mixture with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper. Sauté for 2 to 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant.
3. Transfer the cooked veggies to a large mixing bowl. Add in the stuffing cubes, cooked turkey, dried cranberries, and fresh herbs. In a separate bowl, briefly whisk together the stock and eggs, then pour the mixture into the large mixing bowl. Very gently, use a spatula to toss the mixture until it is evenly combined. Transfer it to the 9 x 13-inch baking dish and spread the casserole out in an even layer.
4. Bake the casserole uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes, or until it is cooked through and the top is nice and golden (if the top turns too brown, gently lay a layer of aluminum foil on top of the casserole until it is done baking.)
5. Remove the dish from the oven and top with turkey gravy. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, if desired. Serve warm, drizzling each individual serving with extra gravy, and enjoy!
Image by Congerdesign on Pixabay.com
Being misunderstood because I was not willing to abuse alcohol with college friends….
Being ridiculed for not participating with co-workers in an after-work get together that included a visit to a psychic…
Being labeled “unsophisticated” by family members with a more progressive worldview…
These are some of the minor hardships that I have faced in living for Christ over the years. As we look around us at the continued deterioration of Christian influence in our culture, it is easy to become concerned about the types of hardships we may face in living out our faith in the future.
We will need to be overcomers. And the good news is that overcoming is exactly what Christians are designed to do!
In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul gives this description of what the experience of an overcomer looks like:
Hard pressed on every side, but not crushed
Perplexed, but not in despair
Persecuted, but not abandoned
Struck down, but not destroyed
Paul makes it clear that God is the source of the strength and power that allows us to overcome.
This all-surpassing power is from God and not from us
If you have any doubt about that, just take a look at what God is working through in bringing the light of the gospel to the world.
...we have this treasure in jars of clay
What is a jar of clay? Think about the common clay flowerpot.
Clay pots are:
Clay pots are nothing special, but they are purposeful in housing and displaying something beautiful to the world outside.
In spiritual terms, clay pots are the vessel through which the light of Christ shines into the world. The light of Christ shines through our physical being as common, fragile, and inconspicuous as it may be. And all that is required of the clay pots is to be available and functional.
As a clay pot Christian, have you ever considered that your health habits have something to do with being available and functional for God’s use?
If we neglect our clay pot by neglecting our health, we run the risk of becoming limited, both in our availability and in our ability to function. The consequences of a lifetime of poor health habits may limit us in what we can do and where we can go.
In your life as a clay pot Christian, are your health habits supportive of you being able to enthusiastically answer “yes” in response to God’s calling or next assignment for you?
Some may resist giving serious thought to this question by making the argument that if God receives glory by fulfilling His purposes through humble clay pots, then the condition of the clay pot is irrelevant. In fact, the more cracked the clay pot, the better, so that God can receive the most glory. Putting this in human terms, neglecting our health is seen as an opportunity for God to be glorified by displaying His strength through our weakened state.
This argument is similar to the one made by Paul regarding the contrast between sin and grace in Romans 6. If the presence of sin magnifies the abundance of God’s grace, then why not continue to sin so that God’s grace can be displayed?
But Paul emphatically answers, “By no means!” God’s glory shines through our weakness, but this is not an excuse for sin and poor stewardship.
As Christians, we are called to be overcomers. Hardships will come, but through God’s light and power working through our humble clay pots, we can continue in our God-given assignments day after day.
God provides the treasure - the gospel, gifts, and good works.
God provides the means to overcome adversity - strength and power
God provides the clay pot - your physical being - designed to be both available and functional so that His glory can be displayed to the world through you.
As a clay pot Christian ministering to others, your health matters!
It matters because:
Good Health for Good Works Challenge: In light of facing increasing hardships living out our faith in a godless culture, ask yourself these questions about your readiness to be an overcomer:
How are you stewarding the clay pot that God has given to you?
How are you taking care of and maximizing whatever degree of good health God has given to you?
Is the condition of your physical being making you available and functional for God’s use when He calls?
Has the neglect of your physical being placed limitations on your ability to say “yes” to God?
Stay Well to Serve Well!
About the author:
Ginger Hill is a Christian wellness speaker, coach and consultant and the founder of Good Health for Good Works where she helps the earnest, but often exhausted, workers in Christian organizations to take steps toward healthier living so they can fulfill their organization's mission with energy, excellence and endurance.
Psalm 92:12,14 (NLT)
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