By Chef Deborah Lieder
“As Above, so Below, As Within, so Without, as the Universe, so My Soul” Hermes Trismegistus
We are often programmed to think that our outward actions alone will give us the results we are looking to achieve. More awareness is surfacing around self-care, and the need for balance in our lives, essential components to achieving the goal. Part of physical health and wellness is not merely how many hours we log working out. Yes, it is a part, but it is not the whole.
Our body does just as much strengthening, if not more, during our resting hours. Hence, the need to make recovery time is just as important. We nourish our bodies with proper foods to give us the strength during endurance, which allows the proper nutrients to make the recovery that much more fluid.
As the Hermes Trismegistus quote points to, what we want to see on the outside – whether our physicality, relationships, lifestyle – we need to do the work on the inside. This reminds us that love does not only become an extension of our feelings for another, but it’s also a feeling we need to have towards ourselves. January is the time to create a game plan for the goals we set; February is the time to love them into being. Whatever desires we have, whatever goals we want to achieve, it’s in the palm of our hands. The fresh energy of the New Year, a new decade, gives us the surge of power to do so. While the colder months keep us homebound, it is an opportunity to assess our health needs and play around with different recipes in the kitchen.
We all know that a balanced diet consists of lots of vegetables, whole grains, healthy carbs, and healthy protein. Your body’s needs will dictate whether you choose to be gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan, low carbs, low sugar, etc. We all have different specifications that work best for our body type. Your body will communicate to you whether the foods you are choosing work for you or not.
The easiest way to know is how your digestive system responds. Cramping, gas, bloating, inflammation, energy surges, and exhaustion will be the telltale signs; something is not right. Listen to your body this year. Set the intention to love and nurture yourself, just as you do for others in your life. The face of love has many expressions, and as we all are aware, we cannot properly love someone else until we love ourselves first.
Braised Vegetables with Parsnip Mash and Goat Cheese
2 T. Olive Oil
2 ea. med Onion, diced
4 ea. table Carrot, peeled and diced
3 ea. Celery stalks, sliced
3 ea. Garlic cloves, minced
½ head Cauliflower, broken into med. florets
2 c. Butternut Squash, diced
2 ea. Zucchini, diced
1 bunch Kale
1 T. Garlic Powder
1 T. Onion Powder
1 T. Oregano, dried
½ c. Chicken/Vegetable Stock or Bone Broth plus more if using for parsnips
¼ c. White Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper
5 ea. Parsnips, peeled and diced
2 T. Olive Oil or Butter
4 oz. Goat Cheese
Peel and dice parsnips. Place in a medium saucepan, cover with water or stock (for more flavor) and boil until tender. Meanwhile, in a large braising pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion for 5-7 minutes or until translucent. Add carrots and sauté for 5 more minutes. Add celery and garlic, sauté for 5 more minutes. Continue adding vegetables – cauliflower, butternut squash, and zucchini alternating sautéing time in-between each addition. Turn the heat to high, allow to heat-up, then deglaze with white balsamic. Scrape off caramelized bits to get extra flavor. Once the vinegar is reduced, and the pan is almost dry, season with garlic, onion, and oregano, add the stock, cover, and simmer for 30-45 minutes on low heat. Add kale in the last 15 minutes of braising.
Meanwhile, strain parsnips. Place in a bowl of fitted mixer or bowl using hand mixer/masher, and add oil/butter. Mash parsnips, season with salt and white pepper. Once the vegetables are cooked, season with salt and pepper.
To serve, place mash down on plate, place vegetables over the top, ladling a small amount of braising liquid onto the plate. Crumble 1 oz. Goat cheese on top and around the plate.
Enjoy! Serves 4-6.
For added protein mix in 2 c. of your favorite bean/vegetarian protein or meat/fish protein! For additional vegetables, try adding mushrooms, bell pepper, Brussels sprouts, apple, pear, cabbage, green peas.