Friday, May 31, 2013

Sweet Potato Sweetie Packs (for campfire, grill, or oven)

I love sweet potatoes. They are, hands down, one of my most favorite foods. I will even eat them for breakfast. I could go on Bubba-style (think Forrest Gump) about the many ways I eat them, but I'll spare you!

Last week I was considering food my three year old would likely eat for our camping trip and arrived at an old favorite: grilled ham steak, pineapples, and yams. My grocery store doesn't sell a lot of canned vegetables, which overall is a good thing, but annoying when you want canned yams. Then I remembered that I had two large sweet potatoes in the pantry and also remembered how good my last batch of grilled sweet potatoes was... this would mean that I would not have to go to a second grocery score... score!

I used the same method as before and they tasted AMAZING! They work on the campfire, grill, or in the oven. When we camp I prepare the pack before we leave and put it in a gallon zip bag in the cooler; that way all I have to do is throw it on the coals.

Sweet Potato Sweetie Packs
  • sweet potatoes, sliced (however many you need for your group) - I used two HUGE ones
  • butter (I use Earth Balance spread) - I used about 2 Tbsp.
  • honey (coconut palm sugar or sweetener of choice if vegan) - I used about 1 Tbsp.
  • cinnamon - I used about 1/2 tsp.
  • heavy duty aluminum foil (don't even think about skimping on this!)
  1. Set out a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil. For two huge sweet potatoes I used a piece that was about 2' long. I also use the wider (18") heavy duty aluminum foil for foil packets.
  2. Smear butter on the aluminum foil, where the potatoes will go.
  3. Place half the potatoes on the foil. Drizzle honey over potatoes, scatter a few pats of butter, and shake on some cinnamon.
  4. Add the remaining potatoes on top.
  5. Gather the long sides of the foil and roll to close. Roll in each short side to form a packet. If I'm camping I put this packet in another sheet of foil to create a second packet around the first.
  6. Cook and enjoy!
    • Campfire: Cook right on top of hot coals for about 40 minutes, flipping and turning about every 10 minutes.
    • Grill: Grill over hot, indirect heat for about 25 minutes.
    • Oven: I've never done it, but I would cook it in a 400°F oven for about 30 minutes.

Mmmm... butter AND honey AND cinnamon!

On the grill (along with a chicken)!

Yummy perfection!

This recipe has been shared on Diet, Dessert, and Dogs' Wellness Weekend, Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten Free Fridays, and Allergy Free Alaska's Whole Food Fridays.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Week Ahead... 5/20/2013

It's yet another crazy week. I have a few evening meetings, my mother is having surgery on Thursday, and we leave for a camping trip with friends on Saturday morning, which is why I already know what we're eating next weekend.

We are going to the same campground the moms went to last fall. It will be the same moms, along with their families, as well as another family. I believe the total count is 10 adults and 9 kids, so it should be tons of fun. If all goes well with the food I'll be blogging on the trip later.

Menu for the Week of May 20th

Monday: Cuban-style black beans (source) with brown rice and tomatoes
Tuesday: Halloumi Quinoa (we didn't get to it last week)
Wednesday: Beet Salad
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: ham steak, grilled pineapple, foil sweet potatoes, s'mores!
Sunday: chicken foil packets with potato, bacon, apple, and onion, s'mores!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day and The Week Ahead... 5/13/2013

Sometimes I look at my son and am so surprised. The whole biology of it is awe-inspiring. I see so much of both my husband and myself in him, yet he is truly unique. And, I love him so much... more than I ever thought I could (yes, it's cliche, but true.)

It's funny the things you live for when you're a parent, like the fact that I hate leaving for work if he hasn't woken up yet because I don't get to hear, "bye, Mommy" as I walk out the door. Or, the way he runs to me every afternoon when I pick him up at daycare. Or, a request to go look at the tower cranes.

When I was pregnant we referred to my son as "little man". About a year after he was born I heard a song by Eddie From Ohio called "Hey Little Man" and it brought me tears. As a stereotypical engineer, I do have a hard time putting my thoughts and emotions into words, but this song nailed it for me. Here's my favorite line, and my hope for my son as well:

"May luck be by your side and the spirit be your guide,
And may you know the blessing, and may you know the joy,
And may you know the love of a true friend"

I wish a happy mother's day to all the moms out there!

Menu for the Week of May 13th
I'm out of town Tuesday and won't be back in time for dinner on Wednesday, but the fridge is stocked with leftovers!

Monday: Curried Spinach and Chickpeas with rice (sweet potato for me)

Tuesday: leftovers

Wednesday: leftovers

Thursday: hot dogs, baked beans, raw veggies

Friday: Halloumi Quinoa

Saturday: farmer's market find! (bison steaks, asparagus?????)

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Week Ahead... 5/6/13

This week's calendar is kind of crazy, so I tried to keep the menu rather simple. There was a request from a certain 3 year old for Sloppy Joes, even though we had them last week. Since they taste amazing and are easy, I agreed. We did not get to the beet salad last week, so I've moved it to this week since I already had the beets.

Tonight's dinner is another favorite of the 3 year old... Cuban-style Beans. The recipe is from my wonderful nutritionist and is super easy, but it does take a while to cook the beans. I made the beans last night and will throw some brown rice in the rice cooker when I get home. I'm not actually eating beans these days as I'm essentially on a paleo diet while my nutritionist gets my thyroid perked up. Beans are perfect for tonight, though, as I'm going to yoga and won't be eating dinner. I used to do yoga a lot but haven't done it in about 4 years. Swimming is making my muscles tighter, so I figured I needed to counteract that with yoga. And, the bonus with the beans is that I can freeze the leftovers and the family can eat them as I'll be away a few nights in the coming weeks. Hopefully that will make the next few weeks not as crazy as they look on the calendar!

Menu for the Week of May 6, 2013

Monday: Cuban-style Beans (source) and rice with avocado and tomato
  • prep salad
Tuesday: Make-ahead Layered Salad
  • prep Sloppy Joes and bake Scrumptious Sandwich Bread (source)
Wednesday: Sloppy Joes with raw veggies
  • cook beets
Thursday: Beet Salad
  • cut veggies and chicken
Friday: chicken stir fry over quinoa

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Swimming Update and Chard (or Kale) with Dates

I have to admit that I'm very proud of myself because I swam at least two times every week for the month of April. This is the best I've ever done with exercising and there are two reasons for my success: (1) I don't hate swimming so its not too much of a chore; (2) I'm trying to be a good role model for my son and show that regular exercise is just something we should incorporate into our lives. Clearly the latter reason is the most important and the one that really keeps my motivated to get up at 5 AM and get in the pool!

I'm definitely getting stronger and gaining stamina. I'm swimming about a 1/2 mile in 30 minutes. My abs, inner thighs, and arms are getting stronger. I just feel all around better. So, yay me!

Chard (or Kale) with Dates
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1 bunch chard or kale, washed, de-stemmed, and roughly chopped (I prefer chard)
  • 4 dates, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet. I use a 12" skillet.
  2. Sauté shallot until translucent.
  3. Add chard or kale and stir occasionally until beginning to wilt.
  4. Add in dates and stir occasionally until the greens have wilted.
  5. Finish with salt and pepper, as needed.

This recipe has been shared on Vegetarian Mamma's Gluten Free Fridays, Diet, Dessert and Dogs' Wellness Weekend, and Allergy Free Alaska's Whole Food Fridays.