Happy Thanksgiving Week!
It’s hard to believe that we are already so far into 2015, isn’t it? I know I probably say that every year around this time, but seriously where does time go?
I think Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because I love that the focus is on celebrating a good meal with seasonal flavors (because food duh) with good company, there’s no stress or fuss about gifts, and it centers around taking time to really reflect and practice gratitude.
Obviously practicing gratitude need not be reserved for a single day of the year. I just really enjoy the extra attention on it the week of Thanksgiving and appreciate that such a special holiday marks the start of the festive season.
One thing I’m always grateful for?
And carrots. And oatmeal. OK, basically anything I can douse in copious amounts of cinnamon.
Today I’m dedicating all my gratitude to the humble sweet potato.
Out of all the ways to eat sweet potatoes, my favorite has to be sweet potato fries. I love how they get perfectly crispy crunchy on the outside yet have a soft and sweet interior.
I also love that you totally don’t have to deep fry them to get this effect—simply tossing them with coconut or olive oil and baking the fries on a sheet pan gives you the exact same texture minus all the nasties. Even better? The smaller hand cut fries kind of caramelize on the pan, which really brings highlights their natural sweetness.
And while I don’t remember exactly when I first had sweet potato fries, I very clearly remember the first time I had sweet potato fries with apple butter.
APPLE BUTTER IS THE NEW KETCHUP
It was at a small and unpretentious restaurant in Cincinnati called Dilly Deli (although after Googling it just now, I noticed that it’s now “Dilly Bistro Bar & Bottle Shop”). Anyway, Dilly Whatever-You-Call-Ot was a quaint little eatery in one of our favorite neighborhoods and the casual atmosphere made it the perfect place to grab dinner on a Sunday night when neither of us felt like cooking.
Or more accurately when we wanted sweet potato fries—a.k.a. always.
I have no idea if they still serve their sweet potato fries with apple butter or if it was even housemade apple butter because these details are all actually irrelevant. The main takeaway is that sweet potato fries dipped in apple butter is slap-your-momma good. For real.
I swear it will make even the most devout ketchup user (a.k.a me) never look back.
SWEET + SAVORY
There’s just something about the spicy-yet-sweet and tangy sugar-free apple butter that pairs perfectly with the savory, salty sweet potato fries.
So if you heeded my warning last week to whip up a batch of my sugar-free apple butter from applesauce, like stat, you’re just 35 minutes away from what will quickly become your new favorite side dish for every meal. And if you didn’t make the apple butter last week, I forgive you but I have a feeling that now that you know why I urged you to make it, you’ll be breaking out the crock pot tonight.
And, obviously if you want to eat the sweet potato fries sans apple butter, well I suppose that’s OK. Just promise me you’re going to try them with it sometime in the very near future? Fist bump.
BENEFITS OF SWEET POTATOES
Sweet potatoes (also sometimes called yams) are not only delicious, they are crazy healthy thanks to loads of nutrients and slow-digesting carbs.
While they are higher in natural sugars compared to white potatoes, they actually help stabilize blood sugar levels and improve the body’s response to insulin (the hormone that shuttles glucose out of the blood). This is due to the fact that they have a lower glycemic index than regular potatoes, which means that the carbohydrates are burned more slowly giving you more sustained energy, rather than a quick rise and fall.
The orange spuds are a great source of carotenoid antioxidants and all varieties are high in immunity boosting vitamins A and C, potassium (important for muscle function, water balance, blood pressure), and thiamine (helps convert food into energy).
You can peel ‘em if want—the good news is that you’ll still get most of the nutritional benefits—but leaving the skins on increases the overall fiber content. So I say, skip the peeling part. Plus it’s one less step and mess to clean up and that’s reason enough for me.
SIMPLE CRISPY BAKED SWEET POTATO FRIES
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 30-35 minutes
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt + black pepper
Coconut oil for baking sheet
- Preheat oven to 400-degrees Fahrenheit and brush a baking sheet with coconut oil.
- Scrub outside of sweet potatoes with a vegetable brush, cut into wedges/fries, and add to a mixing bowl.
- Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and stir with a wooden spoon to evenly coat.
- Spread fries onto prepared baking sheet and pop into the oven for 30-35 minutes until they are crispy and browned. Flip once halfway through.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and more sea salt (preferably pretty flaked Maldon sea salt)!
- Enjoy with sugar-free apple butter, organic ketchup, or as they are! DELISH!
Beyond sweet potatoes, a few more things that I’m especially grateful for this year include finally having this blog to share healthy recipes and nutrition advice and the incredible support and friendships that I’ve made through the process. I’ve always loved writing and knew I would probably feel the same way about blogging and I do. It really brings me so much joy to create for and connect with each of you here.
Thank you for taking the time to read my posts, try my recipes, sending me the nicest emails, and taking time to comment and share your experiences with eating healthy. It’s also been very gratifying to work with so many of you one-on-one through my nutrition coaching offerings and support you in your journeys to better health, digestion, and wellness.
PS: How are you all celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday (if, of course, you’re in the U.S.)?
While my husband and I haven’t been home for Thanksgiving since moving to California due to work schedules or astronomical plane ticket prices, we’ve been really lucky to spend it with different friends and their families every year. This year though, we’re staying home and celebrating with just the two of us and I’m really excited about it.
Our plans include attending a Thanksgiving gratitude yoga flow class with guided meditation and intention setting at our yoga studio and making a simple meal together. And yes, there will definitely be sweet potatoes involved.
Again, thank YOU for being such a fabulous reader and for all your support here and over on social media. You guys are the best. Wishing you all a safe and joyful Thanksgiving!
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