05 May Sweeters – Nuff Said
Recipe by Olivia Wagner MS, RDN, IFNCP
Serving Size: 1 Sweeter
Ok so I have a bit of a sweet potato obsession…fascination…actual addiction here. I can only say this because I literally have days where I fear that I will get sick of sweet potatoes (cue the shivers up my spine).
I can honestly tell you that since I started on sweet potatoes (hmm my sophomore year of college?) there have been very few weeks where a sweet potato has not been present on my plate in some form (GASP!). And while I am not an advocate of eating the same foods over and over.. I have made sweet potatoes anddd and few other foods (not going to lie) a regular staple in my diet – ill introduce you to these bad boys soon!
So how do I like to eat my sweet potatoes? Well lets start from the beginning…
A sweet potato saga:
I started off in my college dorm with the basic microwave heat and serve a standard sweet potato. When I finally moved into a house and discovered the magic that occurs when a sweet potato is roasted in the oven (we are talking velvety center, oozing sweet potato juices, and a just slightly crispy skin – DROOL) a whole new world opened up for me.
Variations that soon followed…
The cinnamon sweeter – classic roasted sweet potato topped with sweet cinnamon (Penzeys cinnamon blend is my go to- the bomb.)
The cinnamon sweeter soon evolved to be topped with Greek yogurt- the contrast of the tang from the Greek yogurt, the sweetness from the potato, and subtle heat from the cinnamon…spot on. But it didn’t stop there. When pairing my sweet potato and Greek yogurt combo with a Mexican inspired frittata one night, one of my favorite combinations was born.
The cilantro sweeter- classic roasted sweet potato topped with sweet cinnamon, Greek yogurt, cilantro, lime, and walnuts. OK- I know that sounds bizarre. But I mean it has been a SERIOUS game changer for me. The tartness of the lime paired with the spicy cilantro balance perfectly with the creamy yogurt (I recommend full-fat Organic Wallaby) and the buttery walnuts. Honestly try it- you will NOT be disappointed. (If you are daring add a little cumin + cayenne to this combo- rocks too!)
And then…things got really weird. I found my self eating sweet potato…as a dessert – sweet potato addicts anonymous anyone? This is what became:
The cacao tahini sweeter – classic roasted sweet potato.. COLD (really threw ya for a loop here J ), topped with sweet cinnamon (again Penzey’s to the rescue), tahini AKA sesame seed butter, raw cacao powder, goji berries, cacao nibs, and hemp seeds. WHOA we’ve got a lot going on here.. BUT it rocks AND we’ve got some options.
You can dump whatever toppings you want on top of the hot or cold sweet potato.
You can MASH the cacao powder into the cold sweet potato with a fork (my favorite option). I call this sweet potato pudding – and yes it looks like baby food, but I swear its divine.
And then when I was seriously craving something reminiscent of fall…
The spicy ginger sweeter- classic roasted sweet potato, mashed with a splash of fresh squeezed orange juice or zest, a combo of cardamom, ground ginger, and sweet cinnamon, and topped with crystallized ginger bits, crispy pecans (dehydrated and delicious) and sprouted pumpkin seeds.
SO as if sweet potatoes couldn’t have appeared anywhere else in my did, they did… SPORT FUEL.
I will be running the Chicago half in October and have been working in my long runs on the weekends. If I plan to be out running for more than an hour I try to take in about 30-60g of carbs for each hour I’m out. I’m not a huge fan of the goo’s or processed sports foods (note: they do have a time and a place for some!), but for just 10 miles I thought I would explore my options. I purchased the organic squeezable applesauce packets, but each only came in at a mere 12g of carbohydrate per packet. TURNS OUT….1/2 cup mashed sweet potato is 125 calories and 29g of carb….YES! So, how did I eat a sweet potato on the run? I baked it until it oozed yummy sweeter juices (obviously), removed the skin, mashed it with a fork, measured ½ cup, and scooped it into a plastic zip lock baggie. Come 45 minutes into my run. I tore off the corner of my baggie and squeezed out the sweet potato just like a goo! About 15 minutes later I followed it with the applesauce pack and I was able to take in about 43g of carb for about 170 calories.. mission accomplished!
BOTTOM LINE sweet potatoes are delicious, versatile, and easily my favorite weekly staple. Where will my sweeter journeys take me next? I am thinking breakfast… stay tuned!