May 30, 2014

Praising Through the Pain // Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Poor health stole the vitality from Thomas Obadiah Chishold's young adult life. Born in 1866, Thomas was often ill but had to work various jobs to make ends meet. At age 27, he became a Christian and soon found much solace and peace in the Bible. He entered the ministry but due to his health, was only involved for one year. But as an ordinary man with an unimportant lay position and health issues tackling his energy, he ended up writing 1,200 poems throughout his life.  He was specifically encouraged by the faithfulness of God in times of need and sickness. He clung to verses like Lamentations 3:22-23:
It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, 
because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: 
great is Thy faithfulness.
During his young adulthood, he'd write letters to a friend named William Runyan (a young, unknown musician at the time). Thomas would include poems inspired by the Bible and among them was a poem that would become the well-known hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness in 1923. The hymn gained recognition by the Moody Bible Institute because a professor loved it so much, it became the unofficial school hymn. Two decades later in 1945, the world heard this powerful hymn through George Beverly Shea at Billy Graham evangelistic crusades. 
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: 
with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations.” 
(Psalm 89:1) 
God is a faithful God. The Bible is full of stories of broken people who found joy and peace in the faithful God. And today, our broken pasts and our hopeless future can be mended and filled with hope when we hold onto the faithfulness of a God who will not tire of us or let go of us even in the deepest hurt. His love is deeper than it all and He is faithful to the end. 
Great, oh yes, so GREAT, is His faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness! 
Great is Thy faithfulness! 
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

(Sources: 1, 2)

May 28, 2014

Cooking with Elle // rosemary garlic roasted salmon

Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Salmon

Today's delicious recipe comes from the blog In Sock Monkey Slippers and was found through Pinterest. I've been experimenting with salmon (and by "experimenting", I mean this is my second time cooking with salmon, haha! But I intend to "experiment" some more!) and this was one of my favorite things I have ever made. Packed with aromatic flavor, the salmon is a great source of omega-3, protein, amino acids, and vitamins B and D (2). 

What You'll Need:
2 garlic cloves
2-3 fresh 6″ rosemary sprigs (~ 1 tbsp chopped)
1 1/2 to 2 pounds salmon of choice
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

How To Prepare:
1. Preheat oven to 425°. 
2. Peel and chop garlic and rosemary. Set aside
3. Place salmon on a parchment lined baking sheet
4. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, rosemary, and garlic
5. Place in the oven and roast for 12-15 minutes (until the salmon is flaky)
before cooking
served with broccoli slaw (with paleo tahini sauce) and quinoa 
Liked this recipe? Check out more on the Cooking with Elle series!

May 24, 2014

Cooking with Elle // Honey Lemon Chicken

Honey Lemon Chicken

I am not a huge meat-eater, but I have recently been trying new chicken dishes and purchasing free-range, antibiotic-free organic chicken breast. This recipe is so good, I made it twice in the last few weeks. The recipe in Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantryby Elana Amsterdam  (p. 65) calls for a whole chicken, but I substituted chicken breast since that is the only part of the chicken I typically eat. I made a few other changes to the recipe and love the result.

What You Need:
2 lb chicken breast
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sea salt
2-3 lemons, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 head of garlic

Preheat the oven at 350*F then rinse chicken and pat dry. Cut into strips and place in a 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and honey, sprinkle with salt. Place onions, lemons, and garlic in between the chicken breasts.

Bake the chicken for 60-80 minutes, until well browned. 
Serve with kale avocado salad and voila! A delicious paleo meal,
full of proteins, healthy fats, and tons of nutrients!

Liked this recipe? Check out more on the Cooking with Elle series!

May 22, 2014

spring wish list update

Spring Wish List

I have been focusing on my monthly goals and thought it was time to see if I actually accomplished any of my spring wish list, which I now see are all related to being in the outdoors (because really, a wish list should be fun!). So here is how I am doing so far . . .

>> visit a tulip farm
Nope :( I was so busy during tulip season that I never got around to it.

>>  plant a balcony garden
Yes and no. I had a hanging planter that was going strong for about a month … and then I had a super busy week and it happened to be the same week we got our first burst of sunshine. I forgot to water my flower and . . . RIP pretty flowers.

>> bike, walk, and/or have a picnic near cherry blossom trees
Seattle's Green Lake pretty blooms in early spring!
Yes! I got to see a lot of cherry blossoms this year!
surprised by a cherry blossom heaven in Seattle's UW
Lovely cherry blossom's at Portland's Pittock Mansion 
>>  run outside in different nearby trails
Yes! I started jogging on a few rural roads near by apartment and have been so excited to see old barns, rippling streams, and miles of untended green grass. SO pretty! I also went on a hike last month on a trail I've been wanting to explore called Angel's Rest
Angel's Rest in the gorgeous Columbia Gorge
Jogging with a view of natural beauty!
>> visit farmer's markets and buy flowers 
Not yet! Our farmer's markets in town don't start until late June, so I still have a ways to go!

>> cruise around on my cruiser!
Yes! So fun! I cruised around the aforementioned rural roads 2 weeks ago and fell in love with the area.

Stay tuned for my summer goals/wish list coming soon!

May 21, 2014

cooking with elle / healing vegetable bisque

Two cooking-related posts in a row? You can see what I have on my mind these days. I am currently on day 3 of a food elimination diet to evaluate if I have any food sensitivities. I am avoiding gluten, dairy, eggs, processed sugars/foods. And since I had the day off, I relaxed by cooking a few different recipes, one of which was . . . 

Healing Vegetable Bisque
Root vegetables are considered healing due to different benefits including antibiotic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, respiratory, digestive, skin, and bone health (1). This is a perfect bisque to get some powerful vitamins and it tastes delicious to boot!

What You Need:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (~1 cup)
4 medium carrots, chopped (~2 cups)
1 medium daikon root, chopped (~1 cup)
1 medium burdock root (~1/2 cup)
6 cups chicken stock
1/4 tsp sea salt
(I added some cumin and pepper for taste)

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions for 8-10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add carrots, daikon, and burdock. Continue to sauté for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables start to brown. Add stock to saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat to cool for 15 minutes. 

In a high-powered blender, puree 2 cups of the soup at a time until smooth, then transfer to saucepan. Stir in the salt, reheat, and serve.
It yielded enough to sip on throughout the rest of the week. Yum!

(Healing Vegetable Bisque from Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry (by Elana Amsterdam), page 55)

Liked this recipe? Check out more on the Cooking with Elle series!

May 15, 2014

cooking with elle // colorful winter salad on a warm spring day

Colorful Winter Salad

It's definitely not winter anymore (can I hear an AMEN?!), but this salad seemed just on warm spring night. I do not usually eat cabbage, but I was pleasantly surprised by this delicious salad!
The cabbage, carrots, and romaine lettuce pack this salad with fiber and vitamins A and C. And the tahini dressing perfectly blends it all together while adding calcium (from tahini's sesame seeds). 

This salad (along with most of the other recipes I'll be sharing in this series) is from Elana Amsterdam's Paleo Cooking from Elana's Pantry (page 48).

What You'll Need:

1 small head purple cabbage, grated (about 3 cups)
1 small head romaine lettuce, grated (about 1 cup)
2 medium, julienned (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup Tahini Salad

In a large bowl, combine the ingredients and toss with Tahini Dressing.

Note: my "small" head of purple cabbage yielded closer to 5 cups, which overpowered the salad a bit, so I would stick with 3 cups. Also, I do not have a julienne slicer, so I grated my carrot. It wasn't as photogenic, but the taste was still great!

Tahini Dressing 
(page 91)

1/2 cup roasted tahini
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

In a high-powered blender, puree the ingredients until smooth.
Refrigerate whatever you do not use right away (up to 3 days).

Liked this recipe? Check out more on the Cooking with Elle series!

May 6, 2014

travel tuesday // green lake park [seattle]

Happy Tuesday! Today I am sharing some photos of my favorite place in Seattle, Green Lake Park. 
I lived a few blocks away from this dreamy park for about four months in 2012 and felt so incredibly blessed to be so close to so much beauty! I spent many mornings jogging, walking & talking (with friends), and biking around the 3-mile path, lounging on the grassy carpet on sunny summer days, and praying through different issues while sitting on rocks by lake. Green Lake has a special place in my heart, and I visit every time I visit Seattle to reminisce on the memories I will always cherish.

Here are some photos from that sunny day in March. I spent a few hours of introvert-time that day and was definitely in my happy place, especially since the gorgeous cherry blossoms where in bloom!

I ended up going to Green Lake two of the three days I was in Seattle. On Sunday, prior to heading to church, I made a pit-stop to enjoy the lake one last time. I just could not peel my eyes away from the cherry blossoms. 
What are your favorite parks in your town/in your favorite city?

p.s. check out my first post on March's Seattle trip here

May 1, 2014

goodbye April showers, hello May flowers!

Happy May!
It was a toasty mid-80s day today, which is almost unheard of in the NW this early in the season. But hey, I am not complaining! I got home from work in time to grab dinner and eat at a nearby park while watching kids wade in the lake, a few small rowboats drift by, and frisbees fly by. I read my devotional (the current She Reads Truth series, The Risen Christ, is awesome!) and journaled amidst all that summery cheer and now find myself blogging with a frozen fruit bar in my hand. 
Oh, sunshine, please stick around for awhile.

April was a busy month. I didn't get to all the goals I wanted, but still made some progress. I think it's important to make goals, but yet also hold them with an open hand and remember that while you're busy making plans, life happens. And this can include fun, exciting, spontaneous interruptions in your neat, goal-oriented month like this month was for me, or hard trials that sent your month to a screeching halt. Whatever it is, it's ok for some plans to be put on hold to make time available for more important things once in a while. 

April Goals
++ spend 1/2 hour each week reviewing journal articles and notes on nursing-related education
++ learn 3 new recipes this month (YES! paleo:bread, apricot muffins, banana bread, colorful winter salad, cauliflower rice, honey lemon chicken, mustard salmon fillet)
++ finish Open Your Eyesstart a new book, The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler, and read 2 chapters of Desiring God by John Piper
++  Take my sewing machine out of the box and actually use it! (Finally! I hung out with a friend and caught up while we figured out how to get the machine ready for sewing)
++ memorize 3 verses in the next month using this plan  (John 3:30; 4:23-24, 20:21)
++ get off phone and computer by 11pm & no electronics in bed (I did it a few nights! And it felt wonderful! Working on doing it more often!)
++ journal at least 3 gifts/blessings every night
++ meet with the "little sister" I mentor
++ choose a day each week to pray for the clinic I work at.

May Goals
++  spend 1/2 hour each week reviewing journal articles and notes on nursing-related education
++ choose a day each week to pray for the clinic I work at.
++ get off phone and computer by 11pm & no electronics in bed 
++ daily journal 3 gifts 
++ memorize 3 new verses from John
++ blog 2-3/week, including the current series: Travel Tuesday, Praising through Pain,  Cooking with Elle, & Elle's Book Reviews
++ Continue using She Reads Truth studies and journal prayers/thoughts
++ 4 new paleo recipes

Here are some sweet memorable sights from April caught on my iphone:

What are some of your May goals?