a sweet, sweet potato

Just in case you didn’t think dinner was going to be on the table in 45 minutes or less tonight…

Just in case you didn’t think it was possible to turn your humble sweet potato into a meal…

Just in case you wanted a comforting, non-fussy sort of meal…

You know. Just in case.

This recipe is for you.

Broccoli-Feta Stuffed Sweet Potatoes—as seen in Moosewood Cookbook and on this website

Serves 4

Salty feta cheese and sweet, sweet potatoes; what an irresistible combination.  This luxurious (but simple!) dinner carries with it a faint reminder of my mom’s famous broccoli pie that she serves every Christmas.

Serve this creamy dish with a fresh, crunchy side salad.  Save any leftovers for a quick and easy lunch the next day.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 4 medium-large sweet potatoes, with skins
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups finely chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. Pierce sweet potatoes and rub with olive oil. Bake at 450 degrees until soft-about 45 minutes. Or microwave.
  2. In a large skillet on high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Add the broccoli and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until most of the water has evaporated and the broccoli is tender, 8-10 minutes. Add the salt and pepper and set aside until the sweet potatoes are baked.
  3. When the sweet potatoes have baked, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the pulp, leaving a shell at least 1/4 inch thick. Set the shells aside. Mash the pulp a bit and stir it into the broccoli mixture along with the feta cheese. If the stuffing has cooled, turn on the heat under the skillet and rewarm. Add water, if too crumbly.
  4. Fill the shells with the stuffing. Serve each half separately or push back together with stuffing showing between the two shells.  ENJOY!

QUESTION: How long does it usually take you to get dinner on the table on a week night? 30-45  minutes is average for me.  Unless I’m feeling lazy and decide to go the omelette route (i.e., 10 minutes. 😉 )

a pretty bowl of lentils

Cars won’t start.  Doors won’t open.  Only a select few of the towns’ runners will be seen traipsing through the snow.  They wave to each other—a moment of mutual respect for the other

It is a cold, cold day here in New England.  Frigid, Jack Frost nipping at your nose, should my fingers be this blue? kind of cold.

I think it’s about time to hug a big bowl of hot, steamy soup.

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I’ve made many types of lentil soups in my life.  Spicy.  Sweet.  Earthy.  Zingy.  Powerful.  Mild.  I have a special place in my heart for each of them, and it’s really no secret at all that I am head over heels in love for the little brown lentil.

And yet, I’ll be the first to admit it. Lentil soup is not much to look at.  Unless, of course, you like the color brown.  Because that is really the only way to describe such a mono colored soup. 

5

As I was meandering my way through blogs and recipes, I fell upon this lentil soup from Two Peas and Their Pod.  It most literally popped right up and out of my computer screen.  There were lots of lentils.  Sweet potatoes.  And spinach.  All combining to form a bowl of beauty.  Who knew the lentil had such possibilities? 

Yes.  It’s true.  I was instantaneously sold on the soups’ rustic good looks, hoping that a bright personality would come along too. 

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I quickly realized that there were many ingredients that I did not have on hand for this soup, but the idea of bundling up and making my way to the grocery store was not such a happy one.  Thankfully, I had plenty of good substitutes on hand, all of which worked out really, really well. 

In the end, the soup remained as pretty as the original version.  And its personality was better than even I expected.  So I guess you could say that this recipe is—in a way—fool proof.  Easy to tweak based on what you like (or what you happen to have on hand!)  I think bell peppers would make a nice addition. 😀

4

Cold winter days.

Frigid, falling temperatures.

Hugging a bowl of soup. 

Life is good.

1    

Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes & Spinach—tweaked from the original version as seen on Two Peas and Their Pod

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 small sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
16-oz dry, brown lentils
4 (15 ounce) cans vegetable broth
2 cups water
2 cans (15 ounce) diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
16oz. frozen spinach, dethawed
Tabasco sauce, to taste

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic. Saute until onion is tender and garlic is light brown in color. Add celery and sweet potatoes. Cook until vegetables soften, about 5-7 minutes.

2. Stir in the lentils, vegetable broth, and water. Add the diced tomatoes, thyme, and rosemary. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cook on medium-low heat for about 10-15 minutes or until lentils are cooked.

3. Add the fresh spinach and stir. If necessary, season with salt and pepper. Serve hot and ENJOY!

Serves 8-10

Question: Do you often use leftovers for lunch the following day?

orange you glad?

Prepare yourselves.  This post is about to explain to you why my hands are orange. 😉

Reason #1: It all started with a humble carrot.

Carrots never crossed my mind as a kid.  I ate them, yes.  But they were nothing special.  And then my tastebuds discovered carrot cake, which is when I realized that carrots were God’s gift to man.  And then—then!—a whole new world of flavor opened up, and I realized that carrots were not meant solely for cakes (although some might argue this fact.)  I ate them roasted.  Honey glazed.  Plain.  Raw.  With dip.  Grated in oatmeal.  Dunked in peanut butter. 

Yes.  I ate carrots.  Lots and lots of carrots.

Reason #2: After my newfound love for the carrot, I discovered canned pumpkin. 

I grew up hating pumpkin pie.  Absolute hatred!!  To this day, I can not eat it.  Which is such a shame, because I’m convinced that aside from a roasted turkey, pumpkin pie is the heart and sole of Thanksgiving. 

However, once I discovered that it was just pumpkin pie that I didn’t like, and not so much the actual pumpkin, a whole new world opened up.  Pumpkin bread.  Pumpkin lattes.  Pumpkin muffins.  And now that I’ve fully stocked up on Libby’s canned pumpkin, I’m including pumpkin in my breakfasts as well.

Breakfast Pumpkin Cookie—(the texture of this “cookie” most closely resembles that of “overnight oats”)

  • 1/2 c. uncooked oatmeal
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 c. canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 T. peanut butter
  • 2 T. cranberries (I use ‘Craisins’)
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl, mashing well with a fork.
  2. Spread evenly across a plate.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. ENJOY! 😀

Reason #4: Lastly, I am obsessed with the sweet potato, which destroys any hopes of my hands ever returning to normal.

Tonight I opened up my Moosewood Cookbook and pulled out a recipe for Samosas.  Sticking mostly to the recipe, I did make some substitutions.  Like using all whole wheat flour in place of the white.

I also turned up my nose to the white potatoes and subbed in 1 large sweet potato instead.  I’m sure you would agree that the sweet potato makes for a much more colorful, tasty filling.  😀

The dough to these Samosas was so fun to work with.  It was super stretchy and flexible.  I pulled it, smashed it, rolled it, and stretched it. 

And then I preceded to fill, fill, fill these babies up.

I may have overstuffed these guys just a little, but the dough was very forgiving.

The results were worth the 2 hours of prepping and baking time.  So, so, so worth it!

It was love, my friends.  Love at first bite.

Reason #5: Eaten with herbed carrot soup.  Of course. 😉

So there you have it.  I have an obsession with all things orange, and there’s just no stopping me.

Samosa Recipe—from Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood Cookbook, as seen on the Food Network website

The Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups flour (used whole wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk or yogurt
  • Extra flour as needed

The Filling:

  • 2 large potatoes (the size of a large person’s fist)–used sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup finely minced onion
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander (if available)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked green peas (frozen, thawed=fine)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Cayenne, to taste

Directions

Dough 1) Place the flour in a medium-sized bowl. Mix in the salt. 2) Make a well in the center, and add the buttermilk or yogurt. Mix first with a spoon and then with your hand, to make a smooth dough. 3) Add extra flour, as needed, to keep the dough from being sticky. The dough will be quite soft. knead in the bowl for about 5 minutes. Cover tightly and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the pastries.

Filling: 1) Peel the potatoes and chop them into 1-inch pieces. Place in a saucepan, cover with water, and boil until very soft. Drain and transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Mash and set aside. 2)Melt the butter in a heavy skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger, mustard seeds, coriander, and salt. Saute over medium heat about 8 to 10 minutes, or until onions are quite soft. Add this to the mashed potatoes, along with the remaining ingredients. Mix well, but try not to smash the peas. Cool for at least 15 minutes before filling the pastries.

To Assemble and Bake: 1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Generously oil a baking sheet. 2) Keep a small container of flour, a fork, a small bowl of water, and a pastry brush close at hand. Flour a clean surface, and, one by one, roll 1-inch balls of dough into 5-inch circles, using a rolling pin. 3) Place approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons filling in the center of each circle, and fold over, just like a turnover. Brush the inside edges of each circle with a little water, and fold the edges together to make a small hem. Crimp the edges firmly with a fork. Note: If you are storing the samosas to bake later on, place them on a heavily floured plate or tray, dust the tops with more flour, and cover tightly. Store in the refrigerator or freezer until baking time. 4) To bake: Place the samosas on the oiled baking sheet. Brush the tops with oil. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees F., then reduce heat to 375 degrees F. and bake for 10 minutes more. For maximum crispness, turn the samosas over when you turn the oven down. 5) Serve within 5 minutes of baking, with Dipping Sauce. A nice way to serve the sauce is in individual saucers or tiny bowls, so each person can hold both samosa and sauce directly under his or her face while eating, and the sauce bowl can catch the drips. (It does drip, but that’s one of the charms of this ritual.)

The Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt

1) Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar dissolves. 2) Heat to boiling, then let simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes. it will reduce slightly. 3) Serve warm or at room temperature with hot samosas.

Question: If you turned the color of what you eat the most, what color would you be?