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Use parsnips instead of potatoes for healthier carbs

I make a vow every year. I will not eat every sweet, chocolaty, caramel, confection that passes my way. I will forgo the egg nog. I will not overindulge. I will be that person who eats carrot sticks before the party and drinks two glasses of water for every glass of wine. And every year I seem to have the same problem. I am not that girl who eats carrot sticks and drinks two glasses of water before the party. And come January I've gained the 5 pounds that most of us gain during the holiday season.

What's the solution for the winter cleanse? Everywhere the experts say to eliminate carbohydrates. But our bodies crave carbohydrates. Besides I've tried those juice makers and after a Kale, Spinach, Carrot and Orange "Smoothie" I'm not convinced that juicing is the answer. Authors of "Clean Cuisine" Ivy Ingram Larson and Dr. Andy Larson write that "Low-carb diets are not only unhealthful but can actually be dangerous; complications such as increased cancer risk, lipid abnormalities, impairment of physical activity can all be linked to the long-term restriction of carbohydrates in the diet." The key they say is to make sure the carbohydrates are whole carbohydrates from real food including starchy, earthy vegetables like the parsnip.

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Not only is the parsnip available year-round , the lowly root vegetable seems to be enjoying a trendy moment in the cooking-sphere. They were in Bon Appetit recently and even Oprah is on the parsnip band wagon. Below I've tweaked the parsnip recipes featured recently to allow for some more everyday seasoning (harissa paste is both an acquired taste and a little hard to find around here). Use parsnips anytime you'd use potatoes. You'll notice a more earthy flavor in your recipes and the nutrition is much better than the average white Russet baker.

Parsnip Carrot Salad

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1 pound parsnips

1 pound carrots

Juice from 2 lemons

Zest from 2 lemons

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½ cup olive oil

1 tsp. coriander

½ cup pistachios

Peel carrots and parsnips. Using a mandolin slice both thinly. Combine remaining ingredients and toss with carrots and parnsips. Allow flavors to meld a few hours before serving.

Baked Parnsip "Fries" with Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce

6 large Parsnips, peeled

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 tsp of each: coriander, cumin, sea salt and pepper

1 cup Greek Yogurt

1 lemon

1 tsp. honey

Salt, pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut parsnips into long strips for fries. Toss with olive oil. Combine coriander, cumin, sea salt and pepper. Sprinkle over parnsips and roast until tender about 35 to 45 minutes. Meanwhile make the dipping sauce. Zest the lemon and add the zest to the Greek yogurt. Add 1 Tbs. of lemon juice, the honey and salt and pepper to taste.

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