olive branch

A FLOOD OF HOPE

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"When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth."— Genesis 8:11

It might seem odd during Christmas season to read about the flood, but if you live in sunny southern California, it's pretty appropriate this week. It won't stop raining. At all. Ever. Where's the nearest gopher wood vendor when you need him?

When Noah built the ark, those around him probably laughed and scoffed. But we all know the story. The ark was completed, then came two-by-two, and then the rain (a lot of it). A year later, the dove returned to Noah carrying hope; the olive branch meant land was near.

You and I just might be going through a flood this week. Sure, maybe not a literal downpour of rain, but caught in a torrent all the same -- up to our knees in doubt, our waists in worry, and our necks in fear. An olive branch to grab onto right about now would be nice, amen? A little break in the clouds maybe?

Well, it is Christmas time after all -- a reminder that the hope we need came in human form. And those ten little fingers and toes would eventually heal the broken, raise the dead and yes, calm storms. You know, if I'm not mistaken, I think it just stopped raining.

–Jimmy Peña

RECIPES OF THE WEEK: CRACKERS

Boasting one of the most palate-pleasing crunches in the world of snack, crackers are a fantastic low-calorie food -- not to mention the perfect complement to your favorite calcium-loaded cube of cheese. Try one -- or both -- of these healthier home recipes to create a kindler, gentler cracker to tote along to your next social gathering.

Parmesan & Oregano Crackers Makes 40 crackers 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour 1/2 all-purpose flour 1 stick unsalted butter, softened 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (optional)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Combine ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment – mix until dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 to 1/4 –inch thick and use a cookie cutter to cut into desired shapes. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Package or serve.

Nutrition Info Per Cracker

Calories: 32
; Total Fat: 2 grams; 
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
; Total Carbohydrate: 1.5 grams
; Protein: 1 gram
; Sodium: 49 milligrams; 
Cholesterol: 6 milligrams; 
Fiber: 0 grams

Homemade Whole Grain Crackers Makes 40 crackers

2 whole wheat flour tortillas 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil Herbs and spices of choice (see ideas below)

Cut tortilla into small squares. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with seasonings and bake at 350-degrees for  8 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Seasoning Ideas: Poppy seeds and sea salt (pictured above) Fresh rosemary and black pepper (pictured above) Garlic and chili powder Fresh thyme and sesame seeds

Nutrition Info Per Cracker

Calories: 13
; Total Fat: 0.5 grams
; Saturated Fat: 0 gram
; Total Carbohydrate: 1 gram; 
Protein: 0 gram
; Sodium: 33 milligrams; 
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
; Fiber: 0 grams

>> GIFTING TIP: Serve up your homemade crackers with grapes, cheese and wine at your own house party or bring them along to the neighborhood potluck. Wrap them up in tins or decorative bags just like cookies, or give alongside homemade chutney.

PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

GOD WILL COME THROUGH

"He rained down manna for the people to eat, He gave them the grain of heaven."— Psalm 78:24

God came through. When His people were in the desert; manna. When Noah opened the ark's window; an olive branch. If you're like me, you're waiting on something.  Maybe it's a promise to be kept, a letter to arrive, a phone call. Whatever it is, let's remind each other that while the world can be unfair and people forget, God delivers. Oh, we might not be waiting for a dove to signal land, or bread to fall from the sky, but look up -- God will come through.

--Jimmy Peña

PORTION CONTROL

Want to cut back on how much you eat this holiday season? Try reaching for...a smaller plate. Brian Wansink, a Cornell professor and author of Mindless Eating, suggests using a smaller plate, and serving the meal from the stove, not from the dining table. “Our research shows you eat 22% less on a 10-inch than on a 12-inch plate.”

Source: Harvard Health

YOU'VE GOT MAIL

May 24, 2011 Read: Philippians 1

"Being confident in this, that he who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." --Philippians 1:6

I bet Noah spent a good deal of time at the window when he was on the ark. If nothing more than for some needed fresh air, something tells me he often kept his eye out for land. After all, he built what he had to, and he was ready to deliver. So I'm guessing if he wasn't caring for his precious cargo, he could be found watching and waiting.

If you're like me, you spend a lot time at your window. Oh we're not at sea, per se, but you may often feel like you're drifting as you wait for that offer letter, that e-mail, that phone call. You've done everything in your power, but what you need most -- to land something -- seems nowhere on your horizon.

As for Noah, hope in the form of an olive branch finally arrived. The dove on the window sill was Noah's "You've Got Mail." No more waiting, no more watching, no more send/receive. Land was nigh. Yours just might be too.

--J.P.

COLORADO SLIM

It's not just a cool Old West poker name. In one of the most recent surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Rocky Mountain State was found to be among the leanest in the nation, with a prevalence of obesity below 20%. Only the District of Columbia joined Colorado below the 20% mark. Louisiana weighed in the heaviest, with a 34% obesity rate.

>> EXERCISE CENTRAL: Find out how to properly perform many of the key exercises presented in our workouts by clicking here.

>> SHOP: Looking for a good Father’s Day gift? Visit PrayFit’s online store to pick up a hat, shirt, wristband or book for the dads in your life!

 

 

GOD COMES THROUGH

February 8, 2011Read: Psalm 78

"He rained down manna for the people to eat, He gave them the grain of heaven." --Psalm 78: 24

God came through. When His people were in the desert; manna. When Noah opened the ark's window; an olive branch. If you're like me, you're waiting on something.  Maybe it's a promise to be kept or a letter to arrive, but whatever it is, let's remind each other that while the world can be unfair and people forget, God delivers. Oh, we might not be waiting for a dove to signal land or bread to fall from the sky, but look up -- God will come through.

--J.P.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE

If you've been looking for a way to stick to a fitness program, science may have an answer: Open the door and go outside. A recent study published in the research journal Environmental Science and Technology found that those who exercised outdoors had greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date.

Source: Science Daily

A FLOOD OF HOPE

December 22, 2010Read: Genesis 8

"When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth." --Genesis 8:11

It might seem odd on Christmas week to read about the flood, but if you live in sunny southern California, it's pretty appropriate. It won't stop raining. At all. Ever. Where's the nearest gopher wood vendor when you need him?

When Noah built the ark, those around him probably laughed and scoffed. But we all know the story. The ark was completed, then two-by-two, and then the rain (a lot of it). A year later, the dove returned to Noah carrying hope; the olive branch meant land was near.

You and I just might be going through a flood this week. Sure, maybe not a literal downpour of rain, but caught in a torrent all the same -- up to our knees in doubt, our waists in worry, and our necks in fear. An olive branch to grab onto right now would be nice, amen?

Well, it is Christmas week; a reminder that the hope we need came in human form. And those ten infant fingers and toes would eventually heal the broken, raise the dead and yes, calm storms. You know, if I'm not mistaken, I think it just stopped raining.

--J.P.

RECIPE(S) OF THE WEEK: HOMEMADE CRACKERS

Boasting one of the most palate-pleasing crunches in the world of snack, crackers are a fantastic low-calorie food -- not to mention the perfect complement to your favorite calcium-loaded cube of cheese. Try one -- or both -- of these healthier home recipes to create a kindler, gentler cracker to tote along to your next social gathering.

Parmesan & Oregano Crackers

Makes 40 crackers

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour 1/2 all-purpose flour 1 stick unsalted butter, softened 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (optional)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Combine ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment – mix until dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 to 1/4 –inch thick and use a cookie cutter to cut into desired shapes. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Package or serve.

Nutrition Info Per Cracker Calories: 32
; Total Fat: 2 grams; 
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
; Total Carbohydrate: 1.5 grams
; Protein: 1 gram
; Sodium: 49 milligrams; 
Cholesterol: 6 milligrams; 
Fiber: 0 grams

Homemade Whole Grain Crackers

Makes 40 crackers

2 whole wheat flour tortillas 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil Herbs and spices of choice (see ideas below) Cut tortilla into small squares. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with seasonings and bake at 350-degrees for  8 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

Seasoning Ideas: Poppy seeds and sea salt (pictured above) Fresh rosemary and black pepper (pictured above) Garlic and chili powder Fresh thyme and sesame seeds

Nutrition Info Per Cracker Calories: 13
; Total Fat: 0.5 grams
; Saturated Fat: 0 gram
; Total Carbohydrate: 1 gram; 
Protein: 0 gram
; Sodium: 33 milligrams; 
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
; Fiber: 0 grams

>> GIFTING TIP: Serve up your homemade crackers with grapes, cheese and wine at your own house party or bring them along to the neighborhood potluck. Wrap them up in tins or decorative bags just like cookies, or give alongside homemade chutney.

PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.