Sweet Potato Stuffed Spud

Hi guys!  Guess who is getting her fall on?  Yep.  That’d be me!  Who is going to be SO sick of autumn inspired foods come spring?  Yep!  That’d be me!  I invite you all to join me in OD-ing on festive, healthy, fall inspired food with this idea I’ve been kicking around for a few days now.

So you know how you can have a stuffed spud with sour cream, chives, bacon, etc. etc.?  Well, I was wondering, what if you did a sweet potato that was stuffed with stuff?  And what if it was more of a hearty, healthy meal?  I’m on a real sweet + savory kick right now and I thought the spud idea could be included in this flavor pairing!  Plus, I’m kinda in love with cooking dinner in one pot these days.  So, three birds, one stone!  Winning! 😉

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Introducing the Sweet Potato Stuffed Spud!  Get your taste buds ready.

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Ingredients:

1/2 Peeled and Chopped Apple (Preferable something firm, tart, and tangy, like a Granny Smith, Fuji, or Braeburn)

1/4 – 1/3 Cup Peeled and Chopped Squash (like butternut or acorn–I used delicata, the trendy squash these days! Chop into bits about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch)

2 Cloves Minced Garlic

1 Small Shallot, Minced

2 TBS Olive Oil (or oil your choice + a little extra for rubbing on potatoes)

1 Cup Cooked Lentils (I like to cheat, bad Jess! and use the pre-made ones from Trader Joes)

1/8 Cup Dried Cranberries and Raisins

1/2 Cup Veggie Stock

1/2 TBS Molasses

1/2 TBS Maple Syrup

1/2 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar

1/4 tsp Oregano & Dried Sage

Dash Nutmeg

1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 Large Sweet Potatoes or Yams, Washed Well & Dried

Optional:  Chopped walnuts/pecans

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Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Rub your washed potatoes with oil until nicely coated.  Place on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.  Pop in oven.  Depending on size, they will take upwards of an hour.  You can cut that time down if you want and up the temperature in the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large pot, drizzle olive oil and saute the shallot and garlic for about two minutes.  Add your chopped squash, a little salt and pepper, and cook over medium low heat until squash starts to soften; about five minutes.  Add veggie stock, molasses, vinegar, maple syrup, and spices.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in the lentils, cranberries, and raisin, and let come to a boil.  Lastly, add your apple, stir, and cover.  Turn heat down to a low simmer and let cook until apples and squash are soft, about twenty minutes.

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Sweet potatoes will be done when easily pierce through by a knife.

To plate, cut the sweet potato in half, then stuff with the lentil/apple/squash.  Top with nuts (walnuts are awesome!) and serve with a side salad.  Makes 2 totally stuffed sweet ‘taters!  Enjoy!

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Let me tell you, this meal was indeed the perfect blend of sweet and savory.  The sweet potato was creamy and when paired with the filling, became rich and took on an almost buttery quality.  All that was left were the empty skins.  The raisins and cranberries just added a happy, sweet note and balanced out the shallot/garlic combo.  Nick was skeptical about it, but tore into his dinner in rapid order, and was even vocal about how much he liked it!  All in all, I’m stuffed. 😉

Happy autumn eating y’all!

Totally Yummy Vegan Tacos + Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!  Avast ye mateys!  Ye be lookin’ fer some treasure?  …how about an easy, quick, and SATISFYING taco filling that is, oh yeah, VEGAN.

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Ingredients:

1 Can Drained and Rinsed Black Beans

1/2 Chopped Onion

1/2 Tbs Coconut Oil (my new favorite thing!)

3/4 Cup Veg Stock

4 Tbs Lentils (I used Red Split Lentils, I find it made for a meatier sort of texture and took less time to cook)

Salt & Pepper

Garlic Powder (to taste)

Cumin (to taste–less is more for me on this one)

Smoked Paprika (to taste-I didn’t measure, just shook some in, like 6 heft shakes)

Red Pepper Flakes (one or two shakes)

Oregano (to taste–I used roughly 1/2 tsp)

South African Smoke Seasonings (optional and again, to taste)

4-5 Tbs Salsa (or tomato sauce)

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Directions:

1.  Saute onion in coconut oil until translucent. 

2.  Add beans, veggie stock, salsa, lentils, and seasonings.  Stir.

3.  Cover and simmer over lower heat for about 1/2 hour, or until the liquid has been mostly absorbed.  Give it a little taste-er-roo about 15 minutes in and add extra seasonings if you need ’em.  If you find that your lentils have sopped up the liquid and aren’t quite done, just add more veggie stock, cover, and simmer.

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I served with lettuce, tomato, and made some cashew cream, from scratch!

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Want to know how to make it?  Soak raw cashews for a couple of hours.  Blend with water, lemon juice, salt and pepper until you achieve the desired consistency. 

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Nomy-numers.  Here is me, going to town on it, cookie monster style!  (Me want it!)

I don’t know about you other vegans, but I miss good ol’ greasy, lard-laden Mexican food sometimes.  My stomach and backside don’t, however, so this recipe is great.  It quenches the cravings for Mexican food and is pretty darn healthy.  

Next order of business!  Kickstarter!  Thank you to my first five backers!  You guys rock so hard!  (Don’t know if you read this blog, but if ya do, thank you!)  I’ve got a ton of stuff to do today to promote Modern Pirate Quarterly, and I have my usual business development for Knot Design.  If you missed the link to my Kickstarter project, here it is again!

Go watch the video!  It’s funny!  …least, I think so.  🙂

Arrg!  Go speak like a pirate and smell like one, too!  Arrrrg!  And make tacos!