From sides to stews: a sweet potato recipe round-up

Sweet potatoes are front and centre in the Simple Bites winter kitchen, but not just as a side dish.

In addition to the recipes included in today’s round-up, I find ways to incorporate them into all sorts of meals from breakfast to dinner. I try to roast off a few spuds here and there when I have the oven on for holiday baking projects, then stash them in the fridge for convenience.

In the past I’ve smashed the roasted sweet potatoes and stirred them into a fragrant brown rice pudding. I’ve scooped a few spoonfuls into my smoothies, and together with almond milk, dates, cinnamon and ice, it makes for one delicious shake. I’ve puréed them and added them to chia pudding and even my morning muesli. Once sweet potatoes have been roasted and puréed, you can use them like pumpkin in a wide variety of cooking and baking.

Today’s recipes stay on the savoury side of things. From a delicate buttermilk biscuit to a wintery vegan stew, there’s a sweet potato recipe here for everyone.

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Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Walnut-Bacon Crumble

The boys had a few well-rehearsed pranks for us on April First, such as glue on the toilet handle (!), but the worst prank by far was played by Mother Nature: yet another snowstorm.

Snow in April isn’t a big surprise, but was still disappointing; I’m really, really ready for the snowbanks to melt. Yesterday the sun shone brightly, daring us to escape outdoors and defy the snow. So we did.

The boys shovelled the snow off of the fire pit and Danny built a roaring campfire. I brought pots and pans out from the kitchen and simmered maple beans and a cider ham over the open flame. In the coals I roasted sweet potatoes, and we boiled maple syrup to pour in the snow for maple taffy.

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Grilled Green Onion & Sweet Potato Salad with Warm Chèvre

If you haven’t hit your grilling stride yet this summer, today’s recipe will be the incentive you need to fire up the coals.

Let’s see, I’ve prepare it two…three…four times already and each time I delight in the smoky sweet potato, charred green onions and the tangy goat cheese that finishes off the dish. A hint of maple syrup in the mustard dressing brings balance to the salad and a few zesty grilled garlic scapes add a touch of excitement.

Every summer I tend to get stuck on a particular grilled salad – last year it was with strawberries and asparagus, before that it was green beans and cherry tomatoes. This grilled green onion & sweet potato salad with warm chèvre is definitely my 2016 summer salad obsession.

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Tender Sweet Potato Red Lentil Biscuits

If you haven’t experienced the arrival of spring through the eyes of a four-year-old, then you’ve missed out on a contagious excitement that is one hundred percent genuine.

For example, every puddle is enthusiastically tromped through – repeatedly. Each patch of earth is pointed out and tufts of new grass are greeted with shrieks of delight. Who needs an Easter egg hunt when the discovery of a simple green plant is heralded with so much joy?

It was only a few short months ago, just before Christmas, when Clara stood at the window and lamented the absence of snow. Of course it came in deep drifts soon after, much to her delight, but when you are that young, each season seems to last forever. Now she’s thrilled for spring and I’m aching to feel a warm breeze on my face every bit as much as she is.

For now, however, I’m happy that we’ve arrived at sugaring off season, which means our annual outing to the family sugar bush this weekend.

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Eating the Pantry: Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili Recipe

Last night we enjoyed dinner at my in-law’s place and during the meal, Noah informed his grandmother that at home we were ‘eating the pantry’.

Her eyelids fluttered for a second and then she politely inquired what ‘eating the pantry’ meant, exactly. It does sound strange, I will admit, but it was rewarding to hear my boys explaining the very practice I’ve been teaching them. Apparently, they do listen and understand.

Other than a milk run and a bag of produce from a local market, we haven’t bought groceries yet in 2015. We’re living off the kitchen stores…that well-stocked pantry with its grains, legumes and pasta, the canning shelf of fruits, tomatoes, applesauce and jams, and the freezer, with its jars of stock, frozen summer berries and vegetables.

There are plenty of ingredients to cook from; it just takes a little more planning. It’s a lot more vegetarian eating, which is a welcome change after the excess of the holidays (four turkey dinners).

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