Baking · Secret Recipe Club

Out of Sight

Sweet Potatoes & Apples

I was doubly blessed this month by the Secret Recipe Club in that I got two (2!!!) amazing blogs to talk about.  Needless to say having two blogs caused twice as much agony when it came time to pick THE recipe to feature.  When I was sent Kate’s blog I was blown away by everything that she has got going on.   She cooks, she bakes, she takes care of her three adorable kids AND she’s a part-time paramedic.  As someone looking to go back to school to become a PA, I’m in awe of this blogger and hope I’m able to rock it all as well as she does.  Once I stopped staring at, and drooling over, her foodporn entries I got down to business picking the perfect recipe to showcase.  I originally set out to recreate her Salted Browned Butter Butterscotch Chocolate Chip Cookies but then I got distracted by her recipe for Udon Noodles which then resulted in me finding THE recipe.  Essentially I followed the tags at the bottom of the udon noodles recipe which eventually led me to the ultimate fall side dish: Sweet Potatoes & Apples.  I LOVE sweet potatoes and apples and idea of them together…yum!  The fact that both of these items are in peak season right now just made this recipe all the better.  For my apples I went with Pink Ladies, which are a sweet-tart medium sized apple.  They aren’t always the easiest to locate at the Farmer’s Market but fortunately I was able to find the two needed for this recipe.  I didn’t make any changes to the recipe, outside of soy butter, so be sure to check out Kate’s blog for all the delicious details on this can’t miss recipe.

As an added bonus, the aroma that comes from this baked creation is insane! I could still smell the cinnamon and nutmeg the next morning when I was getting ready for work, which had me looking forward to lunch since I had been able to stash some leftovers.

For my other entry please go here for an outstanding Thai Green Bean and Tofu recipe, and be sure to check out the other Secret Recipe Club entries for more can’t miss recipes!

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52Weeks · Home Cooking · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Vegan

Rain Makes Corn

Quinoa with Corn & Potatoes

Temperatures are starting to creep back up, but the lack of sun is seriously stunting my garden.  Luckily Joe’s mom gave us a bag of fresh from the farm goodies, so I am still on track with my goal of eating locally.  I also swung by the local market to find some seasonal corn, something that has been harder than normal this summer.  While my small area of Virginia has had a fairly average summer rainwise, that is certainly not the case for the rest of the country.  Since I’ve been relying on my garden I wasn’t fully aware how bad things were even after reading numerous reports and seeing the depressing photos.  Finding corn that was full proved impossible, even though they were shorter than normal most of them had kernels only 3/4 of the way up with the last quarter looking dried out.  This time last year corn was EVERYWHERE, and the cobs were large and fat and filled to the brim with fat and juicy kernels.  I can only imagine what prices are going to look like this winter, and how creative people will have to get with making their budgets work.

For a fair amount of time I considered skipping the /52week corn challenge since I’m really trying to avoid frozen/canned vegetables this year but eventually I was able to get enough local corn to give it a go.  I debated a number of recipes before deciding to do something involving quinoa and some of the vegetables we got in our goody bag.


This dish was incredibly easy to prepare, nothing like one pot dinners!  I added some sour cream to the leftovers in order to insure that everything stayed moist and lunch the next day turned out perfectly.  This dish would also serve as a great burrito stuffing, just add some fresh avocado and ready to go!

Casserole · Slow Cooker · Vegan

Runaway Train

Sweet Potato Gratin

I really thought I had posted this recipe before, and with that thought that I had a picture.  Yet somehow I have managed to either delete or just forget to post what is easily my favorite Thanksgiving Recipe.  I stumbled across the original version of this recipe many moons ago in the Washington Post and in the years since have modified and adjusted until it is just right.  I’m not even sure if I have the original version written down anymore, but I remembered it involved bacon and pecans and didn’t involve brown sugar, coconut milk, or vanilla.


To me this dish is the best of Thanksgiving, and I love sharing it with others.

Mexican · Vegan

I got Issues

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

Lately my household has been on a slight Mexican/Tex-Mex kick so I apologize for the sudden surge in South of the Border Recipes.  I’ve always been a fan of Mexican food and now that Joe’s heat tolerance has gone up I no longer have to water down sauces/skip the peppers, it’s GREAT!  I’m always looking for new ways to change up old faithfuls and have decided to fully embrace this Mexi craze and see how many different combination I can stuff inside a taco/enchilada.  Normally when I do tacos I just stick to black beans and onions in place of the standard ground beef, and then top with an insane amount of fresh veggies.  This time I decided to make the black beans more of a supporting member and gave sweet potatoes the spot light.  I’ve only had sweet potatoes once before in a Mexican-style dish and since that was a delicious success I figured I really couldn’t lose.  I did cheat cheat however by using a prepared bag of taco spices but sometimes cheating is okay.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 12 tacos (hard or soft)
  • 1 pack of taco seasonings
  • 1 tbsp veg. oil
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cubes
  • 1 jalepeno, diced and seeded (optional)
  • 1 vidalia onion, chopped and divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 beef steak tomato, chopped
  • salsa (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • taco cheese (optional)
  1. Prepare the taco seasoning per instructions and set aside.  If using hard tacos preheat the oven to 325 and place the taco shells on a baking sheet.  Bake for 7minutes.
  2. Meanwhile heat the veg. oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the sweet potatoes and cook for 2 minutes before adding the onion, pepper and garlic.  Cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking before adding the black beans.  Pour the taco seasoning mixture over the sweet potatoes and beans.  Cover and simmer for 5 minutes then allow to sit for 3minutes which will allow the sauce to thicken.  
  3. Remove tacos from oven and start stuffing!

When I was younger we use to set up taco stuffing sections, in an attempt to prevent a bottleneck.  Since my kitchen is large enough for one person and two dogs,  I normally stuff all the tacos while Joe preps the table along with any chips/salsa that are being served along with the dish.  I’m also a fan of Rice-a-Roni Spanish Rice, using Rotel Mexican Tomatoes with Green Chiles but that’s just me.  As for toppings there is no wrong way to top a taco, the trick is just getting it all to fit!