Treat yourself to a plate of parsnips

Treat yourself to a plate of parsnips

If you’ve not tried parsnips before-those white root veggies that resemble carrots-you don’t know what you’re missing!

Parsnips are similar to carrots in shape and they are related to carrots, but they don’t taste anything like them or any other root vegetables you might be familiar with for that matter. Parsnips are very mild in flavor and, because they’re a bit starchy, they’re great roasted or mashed in with your favorite root veggies.

There’s also a lot of good nutrition in a parsnip.

Fiber. Parsnips are full of fiber. A cup of sliced parsnip provides you with 6.5 grams of fiber.

Vitamin C. Eating a cup of parsnips gives you 25% of the Vitamin C you need in a day, and Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen (important in bone, tendon, blood vessel and ligament formation).

Vitamin K. That same cup of sliced parsnips gives you 25% of the Vitamin K you need each day. Vitamin K is important for cell growth and it might actually help prevent you from developing osteoporosis.

Folate. Parsnips are an excellent source of folate; a cup of the vegetable gives you almost a quarter of your daily recommended amount of this important vitamin. Folate is responsible for helping with DNA and RNA manufacturing, and it can prevent anemia.

Parsnips also contain B vitamins, calcium, zinc and potassium.

While parsnips are often the star of the show in Europe, they haven’t quite gained the attention they deserve here in North America.

Pick up a bunch of parsnips the next time you’re at the market and try them a few different ways. Or plant them yourself! I’ve added parsnips to my fall garden and there’s nothing to it.

Whether you buy them or plant them yourself, I’m sure you’ll enjoy parsnips!

 

Tip:

Parsnips make a wonderful stand-in for potatoes in a creamy mash, provide a delicate sweet base for a soup and, shredded raw into a salad, they offer a refreshing crunch.

 

Trick:

When selecting your parsnips at the store or market, resist getting the biggest ones–they’re often have cores that are woody and bitter.  Go for small-to-medium ones that are firm and don’t have dark spots.  Store them unwashed in a cool dry place just like you would carrots.

 

Recipe:

Print Recipe
Pumpkin, Parsnip, and Squash Beef Stew
Course Soups & Stews
Cuisine Slow Cooker
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Soups & Stews
Cuisine Slow Cooker
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.
  3. Remove bay leaves and stir well, serving when beef falls apart and vegetables are tender.
I can’t get enough of these!

I can’t get enough of these!

When I was a little girl, there was no way I’d be giving thanks for the little green balls of mush my dear mother would put on my plate.

I would have to sit at the table forever, trying to choke down those disgusting blobs of leaves. I love my mother dearly, but the woman did not know how to cook Brussels sprouts.

As an adult, I learned how to cook Brussels sprouts, and now I can’t get enough of them. And, thankfully, my children grew up knowing how delicious these nutritious vegetables are when you cook them properly.

In fact, I can almost guarantee you that if you learn how to cook Brussels sprouts just right, they will become a new family favorite.

Why do I care so much that you eat these tiny little cabbage-like veggies?

Well, because Brussels sprouts are superhero cruciferous veggies, which lower our risk of developing many types of cancers, as well as our bad cholesterol levels. They’re also full of fiber, vitamins and folate.

With Thanksgiving coming up, I challenge you to put a dish of Brussels sprouts on your dinner table, and trust that it will impress everyone and turn you all into Brussels sprout fans. But no worries! I’m going to give you the recipe I use to impress my non-Brussels sprout loving dinner guests.

 

But before we get to your recipe, it’s time for your Trick:

Before you start cooking, remove the outer leaves and cut off the stems from your sprouts. Cut your tiny cabbages into halves (or quarters for the big ones), and let them chill out on the counter for about five minutes before you do anything else with them. This step gives their cancer prevention properties a boost.

 

And your Tip:

Brussels sprouts do not need much cooking time. Overcooking these little guys is the reason they end up smelling like rotten eggs and tasting gross. Steam Brussels sprouts for no longer than five minutes!

 

And your Recipe:

Print Recipe
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Red Onion
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine Paleo
Servings
Ingredients
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine Paleo
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Turn the heat on under a skillet (use one with a lid) to medium–high heat. Add olive oil and butter to your pan, and let that fat get good and hot.
  2. Chop a red onion and add it to the hot pan, then toss in the Brussels sprouts. Give them a toss, and then turn the heat down to medium-low. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Give the Brussels sprouts and diced onion another toss and then snip in your strips of leftover bacon with your kitchen shears into the pan.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let it steam for about five minutes.
Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is a winter squash that gets its name from its acorn-like shape. The skin is usually green and the flesh is an appealing shade of orange that looks similar to pumpkin. The flavor of acorn squash is sweet and somewhat buttery. Many acorn squash cooking methods enhance these qualities by adding sugar and butter but it can also be served as a savory dish all on its own.

Acorn squash is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A and beta carotene. Being fat free and low in calories is an extra bonus. Choose an acorn squash that feels heavy for its size and has smooth, dull skin. Acorn squash can keep for up to three months if stored in a cool, dry place.

Preparing an acorn squash is as easy as 1-2-3… 1. Cut the acorn squash open. 2. Remove the fibers and seeds. 3. Season and cook.

 

Here’s today’s TRICK:

The seeds can be seasoned and toasted just like pumpkin seeds for a healthy snack.

 

Here’s a TIP:

If you have trouble slicing your acorn squash open, pop it into microwave for a minute or two to soften it up a bit.

 

And your RECIPE:

The most popular way to serve acorn squash is to cut in half, scoop out the seeds and then fill (did I just say FILL??… I mean spread) the center with butter and brown sugar. The halves are then placed on a baking sheet and roasted for about an hour or until soft. Cinnamon and nutmeg can be added to enhance the flavor.

A healthier way to serve acorn squash is to drizzle it with olive oil and chopped fresh rosemary before roasting. Acorn squash is also a wonderful candidate for pureeing to create an autumn soup. You can simmer onions, carrots, and celery together in some chicken broth, and then add some mashed cooked acorn squash and puree everything; add coconut milk to make it into a creamy soup (the chicken broth will add flavor). I like a little thyme and some sea salt and pepper to taste–talk about easy!

Pears

Pears

Did you know that pears are a member of the rose family? Yes! They sure are. There are over 3000 varieties of pears in the world. If you plant a pear tree today it will take about 7 years to produce fruit, but they can live for 100 years.

Pears are packed with fiber and a good amount of vitamin C. One pear gives you 6 grams of fiber in a sweet, juicy, crunchy package for only 100 calories for a medium sized fruit.

 

Here’s today’s TRICK:

All pears can be eaten raw as they are, or diced and put into fruit salad. Pears are also great for cooking with meats, used in a stuffing, jams, chutneys, and can even be roasted, grilled or braised.

 

Here’s a TIP:

Buy your pears unripe and ripen them up at home. These babies are one fruit that does better coming home to ripen rather than on the tree—birds get them, they get squishy quickly after ripening, so don’t feel bad taking home unripened fruit.

 

And your RECIPE:

Print Recipe
Pear Strawberry Salsa with Feta Cheese
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix the first 7 ingredients.
  2. Add the feta on top and serve with the toasted French bread.
  3. Enjoy!
3 Super Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

3 Super Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds

It’s time once again for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe. Today you’ll learn a tip, a trick and you’ll get a great recipe to try it out with. Neat, huh?

Oh it’s autumn! And you know what that means, don’t you? A plethora of pumpkin seeds! I mean, who doesn’t equate fall with pumpkins? I love me some pumpkin puree and I love me some pumpkin seeds. Even though these little nuggets of wonderful are available year round, they’re best enjoyed when pumpkins are in season.

Did you know that Native Americans held pumpkins and their seeds in very high esteem? They treasured them for their medicinal and dietary properties.

Some people refer to their pumpkin seeds as pepitas but it doesn’t matter to me what you call them, just trust me when I tell you that these little guys deserve a spot in your diet.

 

Pumpkin Seed Nutrition

Just a quarter cup of pumpkin seeds provides you with almost 75% of your daily recommended dose of manganese, almost half of your daily requirement of magnesium and a good serving of nutrients phosphorus, copper, protein, iron and zinc.

Studies show that pumpkin seeds help promote good prostate health, benefit arthritis symptoms and they can also help to protect bone mineral density. Try to encourage your loved ones (especially men) to snack on these nutritional seeds. The bonus, of course, is that they taste delicious!

Speaking of how they taste, here are some suggestions for enjoying pumpkin seeds.

First of all, they are wonderful just taken right from the pumpkin, dried off and baked in a 170 F oven for 20 minutes. They’re best roasted at a low temperature for a short amount of time so that their healthy oils aren’t destroyed.

Eat them just like that or toss them into your stir-fry or salad. Put them through your coffee grinder and add it to your homemade vinaigrettes and even to turkey, beef or veggie burgers. Put them in your oatmeal, add them to granola and oatmeal cookies…the options are really limitless.

 

Here’s your Trick:

Keep your pumpkin seeds stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Try to eat them within 2 months to enjoy them at their freshest.

 

And your Tip:

If you’re buying pumpkin seeds in the store, try to smell them before you bring them home. Don’t worry about looking like a crazy pumpkin sniffer. If they’re musty or rancid smelling, leave them where they are!

 

And your Recipe:

Print Recipe
Saving Dinner Salad with Pumpkin Seeds
Course Salads
Servings
Ingredients
Salad
Dressing
Course Salads
Servings
Ingredients
Salad
Dressing
Instructions
  1. Toss together salad greens through diced tomatoes.
  2. Mix together dressing ingredients.
  3. Top salad with dressing and pumpkin seeds.
Recipe Notes

Make as much of this dressing or as little as you want and store in the fridge to use anytime you need it.

An Apple a Day

An Apple a Day

You know the old saying, right? An apple a day keeps the doctor away. There’s a lot of truth to that saying. Apples are fiber rich, full of vitamin A, beta-carotene and vitamin C as well as a smattering of other vitamins and minerals. Definitely a valuable part of your daily bites!

It’s not just red, Delicious apples that are worthy of your produce dollar, either. There is a whole bushel of apples I bet you’ve never tried. Honey Crisp apples are some of my favorites—delicious, crisp and juicy. They look like big Gala apples and are hugely flavorful. Another favorite apple, but hard to find is the Arkansas Black apples. This would have been the apple the witch in Snow White gave the princess…the skin is such a dark red, it’s nearly black. On my trip home from the mountains of North Carolina this weekend, I happened upon them and promptly brought home a half a peck. I’ve already had one today and plan on attacking another one later this afternoon for my afternoon snack. Yes, they are THAT good!

Apples may be available year round, but that’s because they’re put in cold storage. Nothing wrong with that and heaven knows I’ll still be eating apples all year ‘round, but right now they are just positively scrumptious. Don’t neglect finding a little orchard or apple stand and getting some just picked ones to put in your fruit bowl. If that’s not possible, I know they’re probably on sale in your grocery store right now! That’s why buying in season is so economical.

However you get your apples and in whatever variety or form, now is the time! Here’s a recipe that’s worth the time to make just for the smell they produce. Guaranteed to warm your home and bring smiles to all who partake—enjoy!

 

Tip:

Apples are wonderful for helping you control your appetite because the fiber in the apple is pectin; it gets bigger as it gets in your tummy, yay! That pectin is also important in your digestive tract because it gets the toxins and bad guys out of your body. See why the old “apple a day keeps the doctor away” adage is so important?
Green apples for baking pies for sure, but any apple will work for applesauce. If your apples are starting to get a little old, don’t throw them out, make applesauce!

Trick:

Buy your apples organically if at all possible. The skin is full of flavonoids and you miss those if you peel your apple. Flavonoids are what give fruits and veggies their colors and fight inflammation. Important stuff!

 

Recipes:

Print Recipe
Baked Cinnamon Apples
Tastes like a rich, apple-y custard without all that nasty fat--that little bit of butter makes them almost velvety in texture and rich in flavor.
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Take apples and set them in a baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle spices and brown sugar on the apple and top with 1 teaspoon of butter each—the secret in keeping the fat down on this recipe is using whipped butter—it’s a favorite weapon in my fridge!
  4. Bake for about 45 minutes or till tender.
  5. Serve warm in a bowl with vanilla yogurt (or vanilla ice cream, but you didn’t hear that from me).
Recipe Notes

Per serving: 100 Calories; 2g Total Fat; trace Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 5mg Cholesterol; 3mg Sodium

Print Recipe
Slow Cooker Applesauce
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a crockpot, place prepared apples and cook on high for about 3 hours, or until fork tender.
  2. Serve in bowls warm.
  3. For an extra special touch, put about a half teaspoon of butter on top and sprinkle with a little bit of sucanat or brown sugar (just a little!).
Recipe Notes

NUTRITION per serving: Per quart: 730 Calories; 4g Total Fat; 2g Protein; 191g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 0mg Sodium