recipe! sweet potato pie smoothie

For years I’ve declared my utter dislike of sweet potatoes.  I thought I hated the taste and consistency.  As it happens, I love both.  I just wasn’t making them correctly!

A few weeks ago I chopped up some sweet potatoes, coated them in olive oil, chili powder, salt, and pepper, and baked them at 425 for about 40 minutes.  I used them in fried rice for a few days before deciding to experiment with another usage.

A smoothie.  A delicious, creamy smoothie.

First of all, let me clarify: I do not recommend putting olive oil, chili powder, salt, and pepper on something you intend to use in a pie-flavored smoothie.  This was just the way I happened to have my sweet potatoes on hand the first time I tried this smoothie.  I covered up the taste with a bit of brown sugar. You could also use maple syrup.  How yummy would that be?  Or, if you’re thinking ahead like I wasn’t and make plain sweet potatoes, you can skip the sugar.

Anyway, the second time I made it, I did plan ahead and baked the sweet potatoes with a little bit of olive oil.  Perfect, and I didn’t need sugar in the smoothie at all.

Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie

1 cup almond milk (regular milk or soymilk are just as good)
1/2 cup sweet potatoes, diced and baked
1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger
2 tbsp uncooked oats
half of a frozen banana
3-4 ice cubes

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a picture of this smoothie.  It’s pale orange in color, with dots of bright orange sweet potato fibers.  There are also flecks of tan oatmeal and nutty brown sweet potato skins.  (You could peel the sweet potatoes if it suits you better.)

The taste of the smoothie is rich but also very earthy.  The sweet potato is (obviously) sweet, and the banana adds another layer of natural sugar.  I love putting oatmeal in my smoothies because it adds some viscosity, nuttiness, and it makes me feel full for longer.  Really, though, it’s the spices that make this smoothie.  They definitely carry health benefits.  And they taste. so. good.  Never ever skip the spices in this smoothie!  Or in anything!

This smoothie makes a great pre- or post-workout drink to replenish your energy.  Not something to drink everyday if you’re just trying to lose weight — it is high in carbs.  🙂

What’s your favorite smoothie recipe?

recipe! roasted hemp seeds > doritos?

Well, this probably isn’t the greatest introduction to food photography.

...and the reward for Most Visually Unappealing Snack goes to...
…and the reward for Most Visually Unappealing Snack goes to…

These are organic roasted hemp seeds.  I just bought a 6oz bag at Grocery Outlet for a couple dollars the other day, having heard about the great health benefits.  A serving of 3 tablespoons contains 9g of protein and 14g of fat (12 of which are unsaturated).  Pretty good deal!

If you (like me until recently) have never seen or eaten hemp seeds before, let me enlighten you.  The texture is crunchy, similar maybe to puffed rice — just a bit heartier.  I would describe the flavor as earthy, nutty…fairly nondescript.  They taste a tiny bit like string, if you must know.  Don’t let that put you off.

Anyway, I tried them and liked them, but I never would have imagined that the addition of a few spices would inspire me to compare them to Doritos.  I.  Love.  Doritos.

Spiced Roasted Hemp Seeds

6oz roasted hemp seeds

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp paprika (CRUCIAL)

Sprinkle the spices right over the hemp seeds and give them a shake before enjoying.  Easy!

If I were to make any adjustments to this recipe, I might recommend salt.  I chose not to add any salt because a) the seeds I bought already had some salt and I didn’t want to overdo it on sodium and b) I’m a proponent of replacing fats and salts with spices whenever possible.  Good and good for you!

I would also point out that the dry spice mix only “sticks” to the seeds so much.  I might toss the seeds with just a bit of olive oil first if I was really worried about it.  (I’m not.)

I am really enjoying popping them in my mouth five at a time, but I think they’d be great in salads and soups, too.  The paprika in the spice mix is what really makes the seeds reminiscent of Doritos.  As an added bonus, the spices coat your fingers just like Dorito powder…just less fluorescent-ly.

I still love Doritos, but they don’t provide the nutrients and energy that hemp seeds do.  And the fact that I can even compare Doritos with HEMP SEEDS really says something about how tasty these little guys are!

Are you Team Spiced Roasted Hemp Seeds or Team Doritos?  😉

recipe! seafood fried rice

I really enjoy cooking, no doubt about it.  But it’s no secret that I just don’t follow recipes well.  I start to skim the ingredient list and instructions, and then my inner dialogue begins.

I don’t have half of these ingredients, maybe I should find a different recipe.

Well, that’s okay, chimes in the side of my brain that produces exploding mug cakes, bone-dry pasta dishes, and chocolate-covered Doritos.  I mean, you can probably substitute all those things with coconut flour and mayonnaise.

My eyes travel down to the instructions.  Oven temperature…cook time…

That’s all you need to know!  I’m sure there are absolutely no important instructions in this 3-page recipe.  Let’s get started!

Baking isn’t my strong suit, nor are cooking methods that require attention to detail.

When I’m cooking independently, though sometimes it works out really, really well!  That’s what happened today and now I wish I had taken a picture.  I decide to make some fried rice, which I LOVE.  Fried rice is great because you can put essentially anything in it — leftover proteins, almost wilted vegetables, any kind of grain — and it can still be really tasty.

Seafood Fried Rice

1 cup cooked white rice

1/3 cup (approx.) leftover cooked tuna, salmon, and fried salmon skin (handmade sushi last night!)

1/2 cup baby kale

1/4 cup chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

olive oil (any kind of oil is fine)

ground ginger, pepper, salt, soy sauce, and lemon juice to taste

(makes 2-3 servings)

Instructions:

Heat a generous drizzle of oil over medium-high heat.  Drop in the onion and garlic; let them cook for a few minutes, until they are just starting to brown.  Add the cooked rice and seafood, stirring to combine and break up clumps of rice.  Add about a tablespoon of water, give or take — this prevents the rice from drying out or sticking to the pan.

Once the fried rice is warmed through, tear the kale into small pieces and add it to the other ingredients.  You may need to turn the heat down at this point.  While the kale is cooking, add a splash of lemon juice and as much ground ginger, soy sauce, salt, and pepper as you like.  Take the rice off the heat once the kale is wilted but still has a bit of crisp.

That’s all there is to it!  The bit of lemon goes great with seafood and adds a bit of freshness that goes well with the sharp taste of kale.  I ate mine with half of an avocado on top for some creamy, healthy fatness.  Yum.

This recipe could be adjusted forever.

One of my favorite things to do with fried rice is to use half cooked rice, half cooked quinoa.  I don’t love quinoa by itself, but I know it has a lot of great nutrient benefits and I really like the texture it brings.  (When I have quinoa on hand, I cook the rice and quinoa together using about a 1:2 ratio of grains to water.  Cover the pot, bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low.  After simmering for 15-20 minutes, the rice is cooked perfectly and the quinoa is to the point of creaminess.)

I don’t usually have seafood on hand; normally I would use some cooked chicken or scrambled eggs.  This is also my first time using kale!  Usually I would use spinach, or my favorite fried rice combo: peas and corn.  While a lot of fried rice recipes call for peas and carrots, I don’t care for cooked carrots and I think that corn brings a great sweetness to fried rice.

Whatever you put in it, fried rice is delicious way to use up leftover ingredients and pack as many nutrients as you like!  It can be a full meal or a delish side dish.  Enjoy!

What are your favorite fried rice ingredients?