How to Make Parsnip “Rice” + Recipe!

Parsnip Rice

One really easy way to cut back on grain (and gluten) in your diet is to get creative with your vegetables. I’ve talked about zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash pasta, and cauliflower crust pizza, but one of my latest obsessions is making rice out of parsnips!

Never tried a parsnip, or, not exactly sure what a parsnip looks like?

Parsnips are a root vegetable closely related to carrots. In fact, parsnips pretty much look like a paler version of a carrot with a slightly sweeter taste. And lucky for you (and me), they’re in season right now!

What I love about parsnip “rice” is that it’s so versatile. You can use it in place of rice in any recipe to lighten up a dish and make it a truly vegetable-centric meal. Throw in some protein of your choice to make it a satisfying main entrée (as I did), or feel free to have it on its own as a side-dish. You can also try out numerous variations of this recipe by using different vegetables, seasonings, and spices.

Recipe: Vegetable Fried Parsnip “Rice” with Roasted Chicken

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 large parsnips, peeled and chopped (makes approx 2 cups)

1Tbsp of coconut oil

1 cup of mushrooms of choice, sliced

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 small zucchini, chopped

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp of grated ginger

pinch of sea salt

*roasted chicken (approx. 1 cup shredded) – optional

*always buy the highest quality animal products you can afford, and from a trusted source*

Directions

Parsnip “Rice”

Throw parsnips into a food processor or high-powered blender such as a Vita-Mix and process until consistency looks like rice (about 30-60 seconds). Place parsnip “rice” in a bowl and put aside.

In a large skillet heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add in mushroom, onion, zucchini, and any other vegetable of choice and sauté until soft (about 5 minutes). Add in ginger and garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Stir in reserved parsnip “rice” + sea salt and cook for another 1 minute. If your skillet becomes dry add a splash of water. Lastly, add in roasted chicken and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.

Vegetable Fried Parsnip Rice

Enjoy!

In the comments below, share with me your favorite dishes using vegetables in place of grain. Would love to hear your ideas!

Easy Homemade Coconut Milk (and Flour) Recipe

Coconut milk, like other nut and seed milks, is a great alternative to pasteurized cow’s milk and definitely my favorite dairy-free “milk” alternative. Not only is it delicious and creamy, but also nutrient dense and high in healthy fats – primarily medium chained triglycerides (MCTs), which require minimal digestion and are shuttled directly to the liver for an immediate fuel source rather than being stored as fat.

When you first start transitioning your diet away from pasteurized cow’s milk, store-bought dairy alternatives are obviously the easiest way to get you across that bridge. Once they become a staple in your diet though and you find yourself using them regularly, there comes a point when it makes sense to step things up and start making them from scratch yourself.

Let’s face it, those store-bought tetra paks, cartons, and cans might be fine when you’re in a pinch, but the fact is, they’re in no way pure and do contain preservatives and other additives such as carrageenan and guar gum (used as thickening agents), which can give some people digestive troubles. And of course there’s the issue of BPA (Bisphenol-A) if you’re buying canned milk – unless you’re able to find one that’s BPA-free.

Homemade Coconut Milk

Thankfully making your own coconut milk at home is super simple and affordable. All you need is a bag of unsweetened coconut flakes – that’s it! You can even use the leftover coconut pulp from the recipe below to make your own homemade coconut flour. This is a pretty sweet bonus as I’m sure you can attest to if you do any gluten-free or grain-free baking – you know the cost of store bought coconut flour can be a bit on the pricey side.

Homemade Coconut Milk Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of hot water (not boiling)
  • 1.5 – 2 cups of unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions

1. Place coconut flakes and water into a high-speed blender (I used my Vita-Mix) and blend on high for a few minutes until thick and creamy. If all the water doesn’t fit you can do this in two batches.

2. Pour blended milk through a mesh sieve or colander to strain the coconut pulp, then squeeze it through a cheese cloth or nut milk bag to filter out the finer pieces of coconut (see my note below). If you split the water into two batches add the strained coconut pulp back into the blender with the second batch of water and repeat above steps.

3. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator in a glass container. Use within 3-4 days for best flavour and texture. Since there are no emulsifiers or thickening agents, you’ll notice the cream may separate from the milk. Give it a shake before using. You can also throw the accumulated hard lump of cream into a smoothie to make it extra creamy and decadent.

4. Put aside strained pulp (or refrigerate for later use) if you’d like to make coconut flour (optional).

Notes: I usually don’t bother squeezing the milk through a cheese cloth or nut milk bag since I don’t mind my milk a little “pulpy”. I usually use my coconut milk as a base for smoothies and I don’t mind a little extra texture:)

 

Homemade Coconut Flour Recipe

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 250 F and spread coconut pulp on a parchment lined baking tray.

2. Dry in the oven for 45-60 minutes, until all the moisture has evaporated.

3. Place dried coconut into a high-speed blender (or food processor) and blend for about 40-60 seconds.

4. Store in an airtight container and use for future baking.

Notes: This yields about 1 cup of coconut flour which is great since most recipes only call for ¼ cup to ½ cup of coconut flour due to its highly absorbent nature.

Homemade Coconut Flour

Enjoy!

Do you like making your own coconut milk and flour? In the comments below share with me your tips, tricks and recipes!

5 Tips to Make This Year Your Healthiest (and Happiest) Year Yet

Happy New Year, dear friends!

I hope your 2014 is off to a good start. As the first full week of the year winds down and we’re back into the swing of our regular routines, I can’t help but wonder how everyone is feeling. I know the beginning of the year brings with it much excitement as we set out new goals and intentions for the year ahead, but, as the mundane of everyday life creeps back in, or we “slip up” with said intentions, that excitement we were feeling just a short while back can fade pretty quickly.

So if that sounds like you at all then check out my 5 Tips to Make This Year Your Healthiest (and Happiest) Year Yet.

1. Be kind to yourself. Did you make a list of resolutions or punishments? I know sometimes after what feels like an eternity of celebratory eating in the later part of the year our goals can have a tendency to reflect some of the judgment and guilt we feel about getting off track with ourselves, or for not having accomplished what we had set out to do in the year prior. When it comes to health-oriented goals things like lose weight, give up sugar, and exercise more are among the top contenders. Just remember you’re not perfect so please don’t set yourself up for failure by making your goals unrealistic or unobtainable (i.e. all or nothing).

2. Make your goals actionable and achievable. It’s nice to have big picture goals for the year but it’s important that you also have clear action steps that allow you to follow through and make things happen. For example, “improve digestion” or “lose weight” may be worthwhile goals to have but they’re both pretty general. What specific steps will you take to make them a reality? If one of your goals is to take your “dream vacation”, are you putting aside money from each pay cheque into a special account? Checking action items off can be helpful especially in the beginning when you’re trying to make a new habit stick. Once it’s become ingrained it will become as much a part of you as removing your makeup before bedtime. Revisit your goals regularly and make adjustments if necessary. Nothing is carved in stone in January. As our life circumstances change, so too will our goals and desires.

Here’s a quick example of a big picture goal along with actionable steps one might include:

Goal: Improve digestion

Action steps:

  • Include fermented foods at least 3 x a week with meals
  • Drink water with lemon upon rising each morning (before coffee)
  • Practice food combining during the week (at least at breakfast and lunch)
  • Pack lunch from home 4 x week  (1 day out with co-workers)
  • Eliminate __________ (suspected food trigger) for 4 weeks to see if my symptoms improve (it might be helpful to break this down into 1 or 2 week chunks if that feels more achievable for you)

3. Let go of rigid belief systems. We are all individuals and there is no one diet that is perfect for everyone. You may be drawn towards one particular way of eating which is fine, but please use it as a template (not the law) and adjust according to your unique circumstance, health, diet history, etc. Collect the golden nuggets from various food philosophies that serve you best, and leave the rest. Don’t cling to any one paradigm too tightly and always be open to other points of view, even if they go against “the rules”.

4. Go beyond food. When we’re looking to get healthier it’s not uncommon to place all efforts on perfecting our diet but then pay very little attention to other areas of our life that might need improving. Two areas that often get overlooked are stress-management and getting enough sleep. It’s disheartening when I see a client eating perfectly, exercising regularly and supplementing wisely, but then unable to overcome health challenges often as a result of a stressful lifestyle and/or sleep deprivation that has left them hormonally imbalanced. If you take the focus off of food and put more attention on getting more sleep, relaxation, fun and pleasure in your life, you may be surprised to see your health challenges and stubborn belly fat “mysteriously” disappear.

5. Practice presence. Most people live between the past and the future and spend very little time in the present moment. I know living presently is easier said than done but set an intention each day to at least try and be more mindful of your thoughts. Are you constantly reliving out past interactions, or are you fantasizing about some future point in time when everything will be perfect and you can “really start living life”? Having a dedicated meditation practice can help bring more awareness into your day, even if it’s just 5-10 minutes each morning and/or before you go to bed. I always liked this quote from the movie Fight Club (although I’ve been told it’s a bit morbid):

“This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.”

Stop wasting your life away on stuff that doesn’t matter (i.e. petty dramas, grudges, blame, self-deprecating thoughts, chasing perfection). The quality of your life is based on the quality of your thoughts. Life is precious, enjoy every moment as if it were your last.

I think Helen Keller puts it best here:

“Use your eyes as if tomorrow you would be stricken blind….Hear the music of voices, the song of the bird, the mighty strains of an orchestra, as if you would be stricken deaf tomorrow. Touch each object as if tomorrow your tactile sense would fail. Smell the perfume of the flowers, taste with relish each morsel, as if tomorrow you could never smell and taste again. Make the most of every sense; glory in all the facets of pleasure and beauty which the world reveals to you”.

I don’t know about you, but this how I want to be living out and each and every one of my precious days left here on earth.

Wishing you your healthiest and happiest year yet!

All my love,

Elaine

p.s. For more New Year inspiration, check out this post I wrote last year.

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5 Natural Remedies for the Common Cold

Prevention is the key to avoiding illness, however sometimes it sneaks up on you when your defenses are down. You know how it goes…maybe you’ve had a hectic week at the office or you’ve been burning the midnight oil one too many nights in a row. Perhaps you ‘ve been feeling emotionally stressed, and/or you overdid it on the Halloween candy. Then – wham! Next thing you know you have a runny nose, a sore throat, and your body aches all over.

Different types of colds will bring about different types of symptoms, some worse than others.The trick is to be vigilant and nip it in the bud at the very first sign of symptoms. Although you may not be able to avoid getting sick all together, you can often reduce the severity and duration of those pesky symptoms. In most cases, letting nature run its course while supporting the body however we can is much more favorable than suppressing symptoms with medications.

Here are my top 5 natural remedies for fighting the common cold.

1. Wild Oregano Oil

Oregano oil contains infection-fighting and anti-inflammatory compounds, and it’s held a special place in my home apothecary for the last 5 years now. I’ve had great success with both the 1:1 and the less potent 1:3 formula by St.Francis Herb.

At the first sign of symptoms I place a few drops directly under my tongue and hold it there for as long as I can (usually about 10 seconds). This stuff is strong and it can sting so you’ll want to chase it down with a glass of water afterwards. Alternatively, you can place the drops in a glass of water and take it that way, however in my experience I have found it to be more effective at combating sore throats and upper respiratory infections when taken directly.

2. Raw Garlic (and plenty of it!)

Garlic is nature’s natural antibiotic and a great immune booster to boot. Crush 1-2 cloves and sprinkle it over your salads or cooked dishes. Raw is best but you can throw it in your cooking as well, keeping in mind that the longer it’s cooked the less effective its therapeutic properties will be.

3. Probiotic

Our bodies are host to a lot of bacteria – in fact we are 10 x more bacteria than cells. Much of the bacteria in our bodies reside in our gut, playing a very important role in the health of our immune system. Supplementing with a high-quality probiotic, especially at times when we are most susceptible to illness is a great way to get a therapeutic dosage of these friendly guys to our gut where they can keep the bad guys in check.

4. Immune-Bolstering Diet

Be sure to avoid sugar, gluten, processed foods and alcohol – all which depress immune function. Stick to nourishing whole foods and be sure to include plenty of veggies. Make sure to take in enough fluids including green veggie juices with ginger, herbal teas, warm water with lemon, as well as soups and broths. Two key nutrients that help reduce the duration and severity of the common cold, as well as boost the immune system are Vitamin C and Zinc – which can also be supplemented.

If you don’t have much of an appetite just eat lightly and don’t force-feed. Don’t forget that old adage “If you feed a cold, you’ll have to starve a fever”. Basically you’ll feel worse the more you eat!

5. Rest

Getting plenty of rest and sleep is the fastest way to recuperate. Don’t force yourself to go for a run or do your regular workout routine if you’re not feeling well, as this will only stress the body further. Instead, if you’re feeling up for it, stick to low-intensity exercise like yoga, light weight training, or better yet – a brisk walk outside in the fresh air.

Do you have a favorite natural remedy for the common cold? Share with me in the comments below!

Lots of love,

Elaine

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