February 25, 2016

Sweet Potato Muffins

I do not know what has happened to my four and a half year old all of the sudden, but it is like her taste buds have come to the realization that there is more to life than grilled chicken, rice, broccoli, and protein bars. Ok, that is a little bit of an exaggeration because she also loves all sorts of fruits, eggs, pancakes, waffles, and of course cheese quesadillas, but one thing she has never really been a fan of, is sweet potatoes. Growing up, I was never really a fan of them either, so I have never pushed them on her, except when she was an infant, but still, it is like a switch was flipped, and all of the sudden, she is eating avocado and sweet potatoes by the spoon full. It is amazing, and I for one, am thrilled.

I have no idea what on earth inspired me to write this recipe, except for the fact that I had one lonely sweet potato sitting in a bowl on my counter, and it needed a purpose. I decided to peel it, shred it, and toss it in some muffin batter with cinnamon and hand it to my kiddo, and she ended up eating three. Yes, three. When I took pictures for this recipe, I ended up dicing it, and it was delicious, but the sweet potatoes still had a tiny bit of firmness to them, which we were all totally fine with, and-you could taste the sweet potato more than just when they were shredded. How you dice, shred, slice, whatever, is completely up to you. I usually do it different every time, because you know, I am no chef, I am just a home cook who likes to keep things fun, and "throws it all together". I hope you enjoy these as much as we do. Breakfast, snack, dessert, they are good for anything.

Sweet Potato Muffins
Yield: 8-10

2c. Pamela's Baking Mix
1/3c. Sugar
1T. Cinnamon
1 Egg
1/2c + 2T Water
2T Honey
1c. Peeled, Diced/Shredded/Chopped Sweet Potato (One small/medium Sweet Potato)

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine Dry ingredients in a mixing bowl with a fork. Mix in wet ingredients and then fold in sweet potatoes. Spray muffin tins or lined muffin tins with non stick spray and fill to the top of the liners or almost to the top of the tin. Bake for 16-18 minutes until muffins are just firm to the touch.

Sautéed Kale

For some reason, here lately, I am extremely obsessed with Kale. When I say obsessed, I mean obsessed. Like, I need the t-shirt, the car decal, the tire cover, the face tattoos, the phone cover, I know, it has gotten very out of hand. I feel like I have been blessed with the ability to take a vegetable that has the potential to taste like dirt, and make it taste delicious. I can take it the Italian route or the Asian route and on New Year's Day, it was our "Green" and we had it with pork, black eyed peas, and corn bread and it was delicious. I have no idea how I did it, but I feel like if you will take the leap of faith and trust me, and try it at least two of the few ways I have created, I really do think you will like it, and then you will be on your way to being a whole new healthier you! Kale is packed full of so many amazing nutrients and vitamins. If you don't believe me, just google. You know Google doesn't lie. :-)

Tonight, I will share with you one way we love to eat it, and then hopefully tomorrow, I will share another one of my many secrets to finding your obsession with KALE!

Side Note:
The key to purchasing kale. If you choose kale on your own, and you do not choose a bag of pre-washed and packaged kale, choose a bunch that is firm and dark green. You do not want a bunch of kale that is limp and light green or even limp and dark green. Dark green AND firm is your perfect bunch of kale. I have found that Whole Foods has the most amazing bunch of kale and it is perfect every time and it is the better bang for your buck. At least here on O'ahu it is. The bunch is large, and it is organic and dark green and crisp and firm every single time. At the commissary, I never know what I am going to get. Most of the time it is half the price of Whole Foods, but it is maybe enough for one person for one meal and it is limp and light green, when Whole Foods is enough for two people for two meals. Find your best bang for your buck in your neighborhood and stick with that. Just because the organic may be a tiny bit more, you may be getting a bigger bunch and a whole lot better quality. I have also found that the flavor of organic compared to the flavor of the other kale is a whole lot better too. And for the record, I normally buy whatever is best for my bank account. Produce in Hawaii is definitely no help in that department.

Sautéed Kale

One bunch of Kale
1/3c Red & Yellow Bell Pepper Diced (Mixed, NOT of each)
1/4c Olive Oil
1/2t Fresh Garlic
1t Dried Minced Onion (I never have fresh onion, commissary is usually moldy-Yay Hawaii!)
Salt & Pepper to taste, usually at least 1/2t of each
Gluten Free Soy Sauce (For a drizzle)

Separate kale from stalk, wash and pat dry. Set to the side.

In a large sauté pan, on low-medium heat, combine olive oil, onion, bell peppers, salt, pepper, garlic, and let peppers cook. Do not let onions burn. Stir frequently.

Once peppers are soft, place kale on top and let sit for about 30 seconds. Stir kale and peppers together, getting kale covered well with olive oil and combining well with peppers and onions. Keep stirring and combining so that kale does not over cook. You do not want kale to go limp like sautéed spinach. Once combined well, and cooked for about 1-2 minutes, take your soy sauce, and drizzle around the pan, quickly, 2-3 times, then combine again.

Combine kale with quinoa or rice as a side dish or an array of other vegetables (mushrooms, asparagus, tomatoes, larger cut bell peppers, and rice or quinoa) and it makes an even better side dish.