Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Incredible, Edible...Sweet Potato!

So, have I mentioned before that I love sweet potatoes? Yea. I like them. They're pretty much my favorite. They are so packed with flavor, and so hearty, and so versatile. They can be mashed and fried and baked and grilled and sweet or salty or spicy or some combination of them all. My favorite ways to eat them has been mashed or grilled, with brown sugar and butter and cinnamon. (Yum.) But, sometimes, it's nice to mix things up and throw some spice in the mix.

A while back I had tried this recipe for Crash Hot Sweet Potatoes. We thought they were pretty good, but they were kind of labor intensive. The other night, I was going to make my sweet potato chips, but I wanted to add something more interesting. So, I took the leftover spice I had from the Crash potatoes and sprinkled it over the regular chips, and wow. What a great combo! (Recipe below.)

But you know what the best part is about these tasty taters? They are absolutely jam packed with nutrients! They're so good for you, you could practically live on them. Well, maybe not, but seriously. I actually just got a new book called Fight Back with Food: Use Nutrition to Heal What Ails You.
Great book. It lists all the benefits of specific foods, as well as providing a reference for foods to help with particular ailments. Anyway, it has tooooons to say about this little root.

" sweet potato has 187% of the recommended intake for beta-carotene. Beta-carotene may help to prevent certain cancers and macular degeneration.
Caffeic acid- this phenolic compound shows promise in fighting cancer...
Insoluble fiber- When eaten with it's skin, a sweet potato is an excellent source of insoluble fiber, which may help to prevent constipation, diverticulosis, and weight gain.
Pectin- about half of the fiber in sweet potatoes is soluble pectin fiber, which may control cholesterol.
Plant Sterols- theses cholesterol-lowering compounds may reduce cancer risk by binding carcinogenic agents in the digestive tract.
Potassium- this heart-healthy mineral, found in abundance in sweet potatoes, (397 mg per potato), is associated with lower blood pressure and a lowered risk for heart disease, kidney stones, and stroke."

And that's just a sample! They also are rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, chlorogenic acid, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Aren't they just amazing? And doesn't it just make you feel so healthy to eat it? And they're so sweet, it's like eating dessert! Anyway, perhaps that was long and involved, but I find it fascinating! Plus, it inspires me to eat more health consciously. So, expect more excerpts from this fun book!

Spicy Sweet Potato Crisps

1 Large Sweet Potato
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Spice mix:
  • 1-½ Tablespoon Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ Tablespoons Sea Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • ½ teaspoons Chili Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Smoked Sweet Paprika
  • ¼ teaspoons Onion Powder
  • ⅛ teaspoons Granulated Garlic Powder
  • ⅛ teaspoons Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel and slice your potato into the thinnest slices possible. If I were smart, I would use something like my food processor for ultimate thinness. But I'm too lazy to dig it out of my cupboard for one little potato. So I slice.
Layer your potato slices in a single layer in a rimmed baking sheet/pan. The less overlap, the crispier the slices will be. But, if you must overlap to avoid dirtying another pan, you must. At least, I must. As we've already established how lazy I am.
Drizzle LIGHTLY with extra virgin olive oil. I emphasize the lightly, because if you get too much, it will just be oily and...yech. The oil should form just a very thin layer over all of the potatoes. No oil hanging out in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with spice mix.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes have gone past the soft stage and started to crisp. If you want them crispier, keep cooking, but you do run the risk of burning some. It all just depends on how much of a dare devil you are. I like 'em crispy, and am willing to sacrifice a few.
Enjoy warm! But, they're even still good after they cool, kind of like regular potato chips.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I am going on a mini vacation tomorrow. My husband and I are going away. We're staying in a nice hotel and eating out for three days. I am insanely excited. I'm just so thankful for the chance to just get away and relax for a few days. : )
I meant to make several posts this week, but alas, The Strep got me. I was out for a couple days, and supper didn't get made, dishes didn't get done, and this blog certainly didn't get written. But, I will get back into it eventually! Until then...relaxation, here we come. Aaaah...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Good Ol' Pasghetti and Meatballs

Ok, so I really am not crazy about meatballs. I mean, I'd rather have my meat as ground beef than a solid meaty mass. And up until now, I really didn't like Spaghetti and Meatballs. I was into the whole ground beef in the sauce thing. That's how my mom always made it, and that's how I liked it. But, my husband was lamenting the last time we had spaghetti how he really missed the meatballs. Cuz that's how his mom used to make it. So, (to celebrate the last weekend of Wrestling Season Widowhood!) I surprised him with Spaghetti and Meatballs when he got home last Saturday night.

OH my.

Oh my, oh my, oh my.

Meatballs, where have you been all my life?

They were astounding. Life altering. DE-licious. And the smell. My house smelled amazing...simmering tomato and basil, parmesan, garlic, meatballs...groan. I don't think I can ever make normal spaghetti again. Don't get me wrong, it's still good, but this...this is priceless.

Check it out. Try it. Trust me, you will love it.
One small side note- I had to add quite a bit of extra salt to the sauce to get it to my taste, so just taste and season as you go. I also used basil instead of parsley, because I just love basil in my spaghetti, and left out the red pepper flakes.

The Pioneer Woman's Spaghetti and Meatballs