So as I mentioned last week, this month I'm writing about a different food that I'm thankful for each week in honor of Thanksgiving.
Last week was butter, which was the first thing that popped into my mind and couldn't be bumped from its top place by anything else. But choosing the other three, or rather, narrowing it down to just three others, has been incredibly difficult. So I am repeating my disclaimer - these are not necessarily my top four foods, but they are foods that I eat quite regularly and truly appreciate.
Which leads me to today's choice: sweet potatoes. Maybe sweet potatoes are really on my mind because of Thanksgiving and maybe they wouldn't have made the list if I was composing this in April, but I do eat sweet potatoes year-round and greatly prefer them over white potatoes or baked potatoes, even over French fries.
For one, they are sweet. Not as sweet as the ridiculously sweet sweet potatoes most people prepare in some sort of casserole form for Thanksgiving, but they have a really nice, natural sweetness to them. One of my favorite preparations is to make a marinade of olive oil and honey, then lightly salt them and dust with cayenne before roasting them in chunks in the oven.
I also like them because they have enough starch to be filling, but they are lower in the glycemic index than traditional potatoes, which means they don't turn into sugar by your body as quickly and mess with your blood sugar and insulin levels. I asked my husband for an explanation of why a sweeter potato would cause less of a sugar spike in your body and, well, it's more complicated than I can explain here. But if you want to learn more about that, just research the glycemic index in general.
I like to roast sweet potatoes, grill them, mash them (for both myself and my baby), I like putting them in biscuits and I'm going to say it - I think they make a better pie than pumpkin. Pumpkin pie is a little too custardy to me, but sweet potato has just the right density and almost identical flavoring if you use the same spice ratio.
So there you have it - that is why I am thankful for sweet potatoes. Here comes the fun part: some new ways to use them. The first recipe is for a corn muffin with sweet potatoes and jalapeno. These aren't your standard muffins - they've got sweet potatoes, cream cheese and Greek yogurt in them to make them very moist. I thought they would be perfect with chili, so why not look for a chili starring sweet potato as well? The second recipe is for chili featuring sweet potatoes, and labels the meat as optional.
The third recipe is for a sweet potato and Brussels sprouts hash. It calls for "veggie crumbles," so that it can be vegetarian, but I say go ahead and use sausage if you prefer.