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Feels Like Redemption

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does not disappoint." --Romans 5:3-5

Read: Romans 5

Exercise is not good for you. Yes, you read that right. Strictly speaking, it's downright harmful. Take running, for instance. It's traumatic, and the breakdown puts the body at an extremely vulnerable state. But what? It's only how the body comes back from a beating that proves its worth.

Speaking of tough exercises, try and name one biblical character that didn't run into problems. (Go ahead and save your breath). But did you notice that each person that came to mind was likely restored to become a more effective God follower?

Healing, repair, growth, strength: descendants of diligence and progenies of prudence. The next time you're sore from a workout or when your soul hurts from tribulation, whisper to yourself, "Feels like redemption".

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Onions

Most people don’t eat as many vegetables as they should and an easy way to add a side of veggies at a meal is to roast them. Broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, onions, carrots, collards, kale, sweet potatoes, squash –- there are so many options! Starchier veggies (carrots, sweet potatoes, squash) tend to take longer to cook, but the smaller you cut any vegetable, the quicker it will cook. One of my favorite combos for roasting is brussels sprouts with apples and onions. The sweetness of the apples balances the sprouts, which some people find mildly bitter.

Ingredients: • 2 cups fresh brussels sprouts • 1 large apple • 1 medium onion • 1½ tablespoons canola or olive oil • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil, then spray the foil with cooking spray. Cut the stem ends off of the sprouts and cut them in half (or quarters if they are large). Core the apple and cut into ½-inch chunks (no need to remove the peel, there are a lot of nutrients in there!). Chop the onion into ½-inch chunks. Put the sprouts, apples, and onions on the aluminum foil in the pan, then drizzle everything with oil and lightly season with salt and pepper, stirring everything together. Roast for approximately 20 minutes, and continue to cook at 5-minute intervals as needed until sprouts are beginning to brown and the apples and vegetables are fork-tender. You may need to cover with foil partway through if they are getting too brown. Serves 4.

Approximate nutrition information per serving: 105 calories, 5.5g fat (0.5g of which is saturated), 15mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 2g protein. (Adding ½ tsp. salt adds 290mg sodium/serving, adding ¼ tsp. salt adds 145mg sodium/serving.)

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, DC-based independent, nonprofit science organization, where her work is currently focused on environmental and policy solutions to obesity prevention. She also speaks to groups about health and nutrition and provides nutrition education to patients at a free medical clinic that serves low-income, uninsured adults in the Washington, DC area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.

40 DAYS & NIGHTS

March 9, 2011Read: Luke 4 "...man does not live on bread alone." --Luke 4:4

Moses spent 40 days and nights atop Mount Sinai before bringing down the law. Elijah walked 40 days and nights in a valley on his way to the mountain. And most importantly, Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days and nights in the desert before He began His ministry.

Of the many lessons these stories teach us, I think it's the fact that no matter where we are -- mountain-top moments, life's lowest valleys or the day's deserts -- it's God who meets us there and prepares us for what lies ahead. Truth is, it's our availability, not our ability, that matters most in all our days and nights.

--J.P.

10 WAYS TO COOK CAJUN

By Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC

Looking to spice up your food Cajun-style? The sassy mix of black pepper, red pepper, garlic, paprika and dried herbs is good for more than just gumbo and jambalaya — here are 10 ways to add some Cajun to your cooking.

1. If you don’t have some on hand, make your own Cajun Spice Mix.

2. Sprinkle over freshly popped popcorn.

3. Mix with canola oil, brush over salmon, then grill.

4. Mix with ground turkey breast or 90 percent lean ground beef, Dijon mustard, and finely chopped red onion for a jazzed up burger.

5. Give oven fries a kick when they’re hot out of the oven.

6. Whisk with low fat ranch dressing to serve over a grilled chicken salad.

7. Make a one-pot Cajun shrimp dish – ready in less than 10 minutes!

8. Mix with nonfat Greek yogurt as a dip for veggies or baked potato topper.

9. Combine with crabmeat and cream cheese for surprisingly delectable party food.

10. Use on its own or mix with other favorite spices to make a dry rub for chicken, fish, steak, pork, corn on the cob or thick slices of vegetables.

TELL US: How do you use Cajun spice blend?

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC is the nutrition expert for Food Network.com and the Healthy Eats blog. She is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.