Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Snack Attack: 'Snip Chips!

If you live in New York, then there's a good chance you've contemplated moving to the Bahamas in the last few weeks. I know I have! It's been F-R-I-G-I-D here, and when it's not frigid, it's rainy. I mean, I'm wearing a thick hooded coat and carrying an umbrella, and I'm still wet and cold. For me, the only positive side of winter is the rosy glow it gives to my cheeks. Beyond the natural beauty assistance, I'm over it. 

When the weather's chilly and I'm looking to heat things up in the kitchen, I grab some root vegetables! Root vegetables are some of the best foods for warming up your body and feeling grounded during the long, cold winter season. My longtime favorite root vegetable used to be the sweet potato, but these days I have my sights set on the parsnip. 

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Here's why you should snack on a 'snip...

LOW CAL - One cup of parsnips is just over 100 calories. It's a sweet snack without the excess baggage! 

FIBER - Parsnips contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, helping to lower your cholesterol, regulate your blood sugar and keep things moving! 

POTASSIUM - The potassium in parsnips works to maintain your tissues and organs, helps send nerve signals and also aids in the metabolizing of protein. 

VITAMIN C - Parsnips are a natural immune system booster! Plus, the vitamin C they contain helps your body absorb iron and aids in the formation of collagen.

FOLATE - Eating parsnips can help protect your unborn child from birth defects, while also lowering your blood homocysteine levels, helping to prevent disease.

See? It's a smart snack AND a snack you can make yourself!

Just in time for this post, I stumbled across the most glorious blog - Good Things Grow - and was inspired to try Jacqui's recipe for Parsnip Chips, which I've affectionately shortened to 'Snip Chips! Head on over to her blog for the full recipe, but if you'd like the quick rundown play-by-play style, here's my attempt!

Happy Snacking!

Heat the oven to 475 degrees. Grab as many parsnips as you want chips (3 small-medium sized parsnips yielded me a cereal size bowl of chips). Wash them and peel the outsides like you would a potato.
With a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice your chips very thin. The thinner the better!
Now pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any excess perspiration.
In a pan, melt 2 Tbs. (or more if you're making a larger batch) of organic virgin coconut oil. We're using coconut oil because it has a much higher smoke point than olive oil. You can find it at Trader Joe's for about $6/jar.
In a large mixing bowl, drizzle the melted coconut oil over the chips and toss gently with your hands to spread evenly.
Now toast 1 tsp. of fennel seeds over medium-high heat (this should only take a couple of minutes)...
...then grind or crush the fennel seeds.
In the same bowl, add 1/2 tsp. each of ground cumin, chili powder, paprika and black pepper.
Mix the spices together and toss evenly onto the chips in the mixing bowl.
Now roast the chips on an ungreased baking sheet for 15-20 minutes, flipping the chips halfway in and at the same time, moving the pan from the top rack of the oven to the bottom rack. You have to watch them very carefully, as they burn easily!
Let them cool for a few minutes, then dive into your homemade, healthy snack!

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