spiralized sweet potato “noodles” with baby spinach, fresh basil, and organic uncured turkey bacon

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So here’s the part where I guiltily admit that I haven’t posted an entry in 7 months. Too busy to write about food? What could I have been doing!? Well, talking/writing about food! As a full time inpatient pediatric clinical dietitian AND a part time online nutrition coach, sometimes by the time I cook and eat, I just don’t have the energy to write about it. But tonight I was extra motivated by the arrival of our newest kitchen gadget… the spiralizer!

Let this post serve as both a quick recipe idea and a gentle warning about buying cheapie versions of kitchen gadgets. I’ve been eyeing spiralizers for some time now, but have been making do with my mandolin when I want to make zucchini noodles, or zoodles, because the spiralizers I’ve seen at my local kitchen gadget store are around $50. (Check out this helpful article for some background info if you’re unfamiliar with the recent spiralizer craze). But when my husband got an email deal for $10 spiralizer, we just couldn’t say no! The suspiciously inexpensive Mamazura SpiralMaster was ours just two business days later.

In theory, you can really spiralize any semi-firm vegetable or fruit: zucchini, beets, sweet potatoes, broccoli stems, carrots, apples, butternut squash, turnips… you get the picture. For the first trial, we decided to branch out and use a veggie other than zucchini, which I’ve kind of zoodled to death over the past year. So sweet potatoes won the vote.

The recipe I chose was inspired by this one, but I don’t eat pork so I swapped out the pancetta and made a few other small changes, the biggest change being not actually making noodles. First, I washed and peeled two medium sweet potatoes and spiralized them per the package directions (or rather my husband with his superior arm strength spiralized them… and by that I mean shredded them into an unrecognizable orange mess). This particular spiralizer couldn’t seem to produce long ribbons, no matter how far around you contort your wrist, and we ended up with what looked like a pile of shredded carrots. It also created unsuable torpedo-shaped leftovers of sweet potato core (pictured below for comedic value) which I guess I’ll slice up and bake into fries this week at some point.

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Once you have your graveyard of dead sweet potato shreds in front of you (or long delicately curled ribbons, depending on your device), heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and sauté a diced white onion until translucent. Then add a large minced clove of garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, cooking for about 2 more minutes. Then add in 4 slices of chopped uncured organic turkey bacon and cook until starting to crisp. Add the sweet potato “noodles” and season with salt and pepper. Then add 1/4-1/2 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth) and a handful of chopped fresh basil. After the liquid has reduced completely, cook for about 3 more minutes or until the sweet potato thingies are cooked through. Finally add in 3-4 packed cups of baby spinach and cook until wilted.

What came out of my pan at the end of this was truly a sweet potato hash and not noodles in any way. In the end, a mandolin probably would have done a better job. But it was tasty! And I will battle the spiralizer again, maybe with a different object of more uniform diameter. Some suggestions for swaps: instead of turkey bacon, you could do grilled shrimp as a pescetarian option, or crispy tofu or chickpeas for a vegetarian option, or even a fried egg on top. Also, this would be pretty good with some shaved parmesan on top. Honestly the only reason it’s not on here is that I forgot to pick some up at the store and wasn’t going to go back out in a heavy thunderstorm to get some!

The morals of this post: don’t forget the parmesan in a thunderstorm, and don’t skimp on your spiralizer.


root vegetable latkes with homemade applesauce

While I’ve never – to my memory – celebrated Hanukkah (although my stepmother owns a menorah which I can remember being lit occasionally and I think I got a hat once as a present), this year I decided to use the holiday as an excuse to try my hand at making latkes. Now of course, because it’s me, I attempted to health-ify them just a little (only in that they’re not completely submerged in oil and deep fried) and make them nontraditional by using a variety of root veggies instead of just potatoes. Root vegetables can be fairly interchangeable in my experience, and adding parsnips, sweet potatoes, and leeks to your latkes bumps up the fiber and Vitamin A content. And the flavor is so much more interesting and complex! I read a few recipes, just trying to get a sense of proportions, and then did this:

Take 1 small baking potato, 1 small sweet potato, and 1 parsnip, peel them, and shred them using a cheese grater. Add 1 tsp of salt to the mix and let it sit for 20 minutes, squeezing out as much moisture as possible afterwards – the regular potato will have the most moisture. Then add to the mixture 1 small grated yellow onion and 1 very finely chopped leek (stopping at the dark green part). Stir in some freshly ground pepper, about 1/3 cup whole wheat flour and about 1/3 cup egg whites. Form into patties – if they fall apart (which mine did at first – a LOT), you need to adjust the amount of egg white and flour until they’re sticky. Generously coat the bottom of a pan with some vegetable oil with a high smoke point (I use safflower or sunflower oil) and heat the oil until very hot. Drop the patties in and cook about 2-3 minutes on each side, then transferring to a baking sheet. You’ll have to do this in stages; just make sure the new oil gets hot enough before adding each round of latkes, otherwise they’ll just soak up the oil and not brown. Once all the latkes are browned, bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes until cooked through. Serve with sour cream (or Greek yogurt, like these) and applesauce. Homemade applesauce is super easy by the way – just peel a few apples, chop them up into very small pieces, and heat on the stove with a touch of water and cinnamon until the consistency is saucy. You can also use an immersion blender if you like smooth applesauce.

Root vegetable latkes with homemade applesauce and Greek yogurt

Root vegetable latkes with homemade applesauce and Greek yogurt

Happy Hanukkah!


sweet potato & beet hash

Sweet potatoes and beets happen to be two of my favorite foods on this planet, so incorporating them both into one meal is pretty much perfection for me. No offense to the regular potato, but my philosophy is why have a potato when you can have a sweet potato? You don’t get as much Vitamin C with a sweet potato, but you can make up for that elsewhere, and you do get about 7,000 times the Vitamin A! Yay for good eyesight.

I wanted to make a sort of hash-browns-esque side dish to go with our scrambled eggs for brunch this morning (thank you, presidents, for the day off!). There are a lot of recipes out there for sweet potato beet hash, but I went with this one since it was simple and didn’t require a whole lot of extra ingredients. I used organic turkey bacon instead of bacon, but you could go with some kind of veggie-bacon or skip the bacon entirely if you wanted to make this vegetarian. I also used two different kinds of beets. There was a stand at the farmer’s market that had huge bins of all different shaped wild beets, so I got one long skinny one that was the usual deep purple on the inside, and another that was round and had knobs and tails coming off of it, and was swirled magenta and white on the inside (looked like marbled beef when you cut it open).

The result: a little charred as a result of my non-precise timing with the oven, but tasty!

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Sweet potato beet hash