Eating seasonally lends to many rich flavors. Throughout fall and winter, root vegetables like parsnips and carrots find their way to our table regularly–as does bacon. Moving into Advent also brings to mind other roots that run deep, namely faith and family.
Root vegetables reach deep into the soil as they grow. They fill up with nutrients that enrich them and us too. Parsnips are packed with fiber and folate (Vitamin B9).1 Folate is well known for preventing brain and spinal cord defects, giving a developing fetus a strong foundation. Folate is also recognized in cancer, stroke and depression prevention.2 Aside from that, parsnips are a surprisingly sweet treat, and I always look forward to the next opportunity to enjoy them.
A carrot’s vibrant orange flesh is pleasing to the eye and the sure sign vegetables are brimming with beta carotene. Once eaten, the body converts beta carotene to Vitamin A. This particular vitamin helps our immune system and many organs function their best, including the eyes.3 (Grandma always said carrots were good for your eyes, right?)
Faith & Family Roots
Speaking of Grandma and roots, this Thanksgiving I had the pleasure of spending time with my family. Four generations spent many special moments together, my grandson being the newest addition. Too young to partake in the food we shared, he still had a lot of fun playing with everyone and modeling matching Farmall hats he and Great Grandpa received from his Aunt Mandi.
Just like carrots, parsnips & family, the roots of my faith also run deep. Advent prepares our hearts for Jesus as Christmas approaches. Daily readings prophesize the coming Messiah and the good he will bring to all. This week’s readings from Isaiah talk about how Jesus, the root of Jesse will come to bring peace to this chaotic world with a Spirit of counsel and strength.4 Later he speaks about God serving an abundance of rich foods.5 Matthew’s Gospel passages recounts how Jesus feeds 4,000 people with leftovers to spare6 as well as building a strong foundation in Christ.7
Jesus’ strong roots, both human (Jesse’s linage through his mother, Mary) and Divine (God the Father) provide us a solid foundation of spiritual strength. Strength to turn to Jesus when fear, doubt, cold and loneliness start whispering in our ears. Calling on Jesus as these forces creep in, reinforces our connection to Him. He wipes away the fears & doubts, abundantly warming us with His love & peace.
Eating seasonally means these foods are abundantly available (and it’s usually easier on the pocketbook). This recipe is super simple and makes a rich appetizer, side dish or meal in itself. (OK, I’d say it makes a satisfying dessert, too!) The carrot & parsnip sticks can be wrapped together or separately. Either way, these yummy morsels will be gone before you know it. It’s an excellent way for someone to try root vegetables if they tend to shy away from them.
I look for parsnips without the protective wax on them. I don’t peel vegetables unless I have to. One of my UNI instructors (a licensed and registered dietitian) said most of the vitamins, minerals and fiber are in and just under the skin. Researchers are finding out (as Eastern medicine has known for centuries) the best way for the the body to use those vitamins & minerals is to eat the whole food, skin & all. (Didn’t Grandma say to eat the skin of that apple, potato & carrot, too?)
Just as parents, grandparents & great grandparents want to be with their descendants, God yearns to be with each of us. He sent his Son to physically teach us, heal us, feed us and die for us–all so He can always be with us. Simply spending time with God every day strengthens my connection to Him, bringing a peace to my heart that cannot be matched.
This simple root vegetable recipe is bursting with rich, abundant flavor. It would be a sweet addition to any meal or holiday gathering. Preparing these vegetables, I am reminded how deep my family and faith roots run, nourishing me in many ways.
How did you served these rich vegetables at your table? Appetizer, main dish, side dish? Or did you try something different, setting it out for a different dessert option?
- Isaiah 11:1-10 (NABRE)
- Isaiah 25:6-10a (NABRE)
- Matthew 15:29-37 (NABRE)
- Matthew 7:21, 24-27 (NABRE)