Sweet Potato

Maple & Bourbon Sweet Potato Soup

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Thanksgiving is only 11-days away and I'm busting at the seams with joy and excitement! I absolutely LOVE this time of year! I love the anticipation of what each day holds. Yesterday, as I walked with my husband (Mike), I spent the majority of the time rambling about the different possibilities for Thanksgiving and how special this day was going to be. Almost as if I was willing it to be!  Of course I had to confirm that watching the Macy's Day Parade and reading the Black Friday ads were first on the agenda! I love an excuse to make a fuse, to throw a party, to gather with family and friends, the justification to showering others with gifts and the wonderful joy in the air of closing out another year with the hope and expectations of dreams to come in the looming year ahead! Its AMAZING!!!! It feels... HOPEFUL because I find I am more reflective this time of year than any other which allows me the chance to acknowledge the purposeful gifts and mighty ways God has shown up and showed off in my life!

Ok.... so I will stop digressing and get back to my point in writing this post.... THIS SOUP. AHHHHMAZING!  (and full of amazing nutrients as well!) If you really want to get creative this Thanksgiving and take the pressure off of providing a labor intensive meal... join me in my Laid-Back GREATFUL Holiday Extravaganza movement!!! I'm going rogue this year and getting away from traditional, and embracing more free time to enjoy the loved ones in my life!!!

I'll be serving up this amazing Maple & Bourbon Sweet Potato Soup alongside a fresh Cranberry & Spinach Salad with Turkey & Brie Crostini. Nutritious. Delicious. And Easy!!!

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Maple & Bourbon Sweet Potato Soup                                                         (Recipe Inspired by Half Baked Harvest)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 2 1/2 cups Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 1 cup Apple Cider
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • Pinch of cayenne (to your taste)
  • Salt + Pepper, to your taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Bourbon (optional)
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (I recommend Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream)
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Wrap sweet potatoes in foil and bake for 1 hour or until soft and tender. When the sweet potatoes are cooked, slice them in half and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, add the maple syrup and cinnamon sticks to a large soup pot, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to cook for 10-15 minutes. You want the maple syrup to thicken and reduce to a syrup like the consistency of honey.

Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel away the skins and add the orange flesh to the bowl of a food processor or high powered blender. Add 1 cup of broth and puree until smooth. Slowly stir the sweet potato mixture into the thickened maple syrup. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups broth, the apple cider, thyme, nutmeg, cayenne and a pinch of salt + pepper. Cook over medium heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes. Stir in the bourbon (if using) and cream. Continue to cook another 5 minutes and then add the cheese + butter, cook until the cheese is melted and the soup is silky smooth. If the soup seems too thick, add more broth to thin. Keep over low heat until ready to serve.

Whether you are planning a traditional menu or creating new menu, I would love to hear what you are planning on having for Thanksgiving! Regardless of your main entrée, make sure you serve it up with plenty of gratitude for the beautiful life that you lead!!!!

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burrito

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SWEET POTATO & BLACK BEAN BURRITO

Makes 8 Servings

Recipe Inspired by Oh She Glows

Sweet Potatoes:

  • 3 medium Sweet Potatoes, Diced
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • ½ Tbsp Ground Cumin
  • Garlic Power
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Rice & Bean Mixture:

  • 1.5 cups Uncooked Short Grain Brown Rice
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2-3 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin, or to taste
  • ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper, or to taste
  • 2, 15-oz can Black Beans, drained and rinse
  • 4 Sprouted Grains Tortilla Wrap
  • Baby Spinach Leaves
  • Avocado or Guacamole
  • Sriracha Sauce (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F and line a large glass dish with tinfoil. Drizzle olive oil on potatoes and toss with salt, pepper, chili powder & cumin. Roast sweet potatoes for 35-40 mins. or until tender.
  2. Cook brown rice in 3 cups water with sea salt. Boil for 20-25 minutes or until rice has absorbed liquid.
  3. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add oil, onion, and minced garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Now add in salt and seasonings and stir well.
  4. Add chopped red pepper, black beans, and cooked rice and sauté for another 10 minutes on low.
  5. When sweet potatoes are tender remove from oven and cool slightly. Slightly mash sweet potatoes with a fork. Add 1.5 cups of the cooked potatoes to the skillet and stir well.
  6. Add rice & bean filling to tortilla along with desired toppings. Wrap and serve.

Leftovers can be reheated and served as topper of spinach salad, stuffed in baked potato, served as tacos, or as a base for grilled flank steak! 

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Spice of Life - Health Benefits of Herbs and Spices

Spices have health benefits!! Spices and herbs have one of the highest antioxidant and polyphenol (a plant compound) level in food particles!! Both polyphenols & antioxidants help fight chronic health problems such as heart disease.

Not only do spices and herbs make our food taste great, but they serve as a substitute for ingredients that do not add value to our health such as salt, saturated fat, and sugar!

My hope is that you enjoy this easy, weeknight chili recipe that Im sharing in this post!! The recipe includes several spices that will benefit your body and satisfy your taste buds!!

Chili Powder - Helps rev metabolism and eases indigestion!

Paprika - potent vitamin A source which promotes immune function, good eyesight, healthy skin, and wound healing

Cumin - aides digestion, relieves constipation, helps with insomnia, and promotes healthy skin

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Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

INGREDIENTS: 2 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil 2 Medium Sweet Potato, Peeled & Diced 1 Large Yellow Onion, Diced 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced 2 Tbsp Pickled Jalapeño, Diced 3 Tbsp Chili Powder 1 Tbsp Ground Cumin 1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika 1 teaspoon Sea Salt 3 cups Water 2 15-ounce cans Black Beans, Drained & Rinsed 2 14-ounce cans Diced Tomatoes 3 teaspoons Lime Juice

DIRECTIONS: Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato and onion to the Dutch oven and cook until onion softens.

Add minced garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and sea salt to onion mixture. Stir constantly for 30-seconds.

Add water and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until sweet potato is tender.

Add black beans, diced tomatoes, diced jalapeños, and lime juice and return soup to a simmer for another 5-6 minutes.

Serve warm and garnish with diced avocado, sour cream or French fried onions. Serve alongside cornbread or cold guacamole salad!!!

RECIPE INSPIRED BY EATING WELL

Cook Smarter, Not Harder

When meal planning I hear a lot of individuals struggle with variety. Meal planning can be made easy by using one main ingredient to build different meals. Don't feel the need to reinvent the wheel each and every night.

Start by looking at what meats or protein sources are on sale. If meat products are too expensive that week, look for meat alternatives such as beans. They are always an inexpensive option. Publix announces their sales every Wednesday for the upcoming week which is why I typically shop on Fridays. This gives me enough time to be informed of sales and develop a meal plan. Last week Publix had pork tenderloin on sale so I will use this for my meal planning example.

I decided to cook my pork in the slow-cooker to free up my time to work on Monday!! Since I cooked the meat that day, I kept my sides easy.... I served with Roasted Rosemary Sweet Potatoes and Collard Greens. (sorry no picture)

I took the leftovers and used inexpensive ingredients to create different meals but minimal cooking.

On the second night I made baked potatoes stuffed with pork tenderloin and side salad made with organic greens I found on sale!!

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Since the greens were on sale I decided to use the same ingredients on the third night. Salad greens are easy to grow at home as well so feel free to get in touch with your green thumb!! On the third night I made pork tenderloin salads with homemade croutons!!

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To make the most of meal planning just takes a few simple steps: 1.) Don't try to re-invent the wheel each and every night 2.) Choose one main ingredient and vary it up 1-2 ways 3.) A variety of produce can drastically change your meal presentation 4.) Think of ways to change FLAVOR & TEXTURE (Example: use leftover pork in a stew or soup) 5.) Think of themes for your meals (example: Mexican Night - pork tacos, Sandwich Night- pulled pork sandwiches, Chinese - pork lo mein)

Just remember to have fun!!!! There is no wrong or right way to meal plan, it's just about being intentional!!!!

Cook smarter not harder!!! >