Sweet Potato + Bacon Hash

The school year is coming to a close, ladies and gentlemen. I’ve always been told that as a first year teacher, your main goal is to survive. “If you finish with your head above the water, you’ve succeeded!” as they say.

Well… I MADE IT! On top of that, I feel confident that I got to show lots of love to my students, aid them in their learning, and challenge them on their way of thinking and doing life. Does this mean I get extra credit?

The downside, however, with “just surviving” the school year is that I let many of my healthy habits slip. Exercise was a nice treat once a week, if I was that lucky. Healthy eating only happened if I meal prepped on Sunday– and if I didn’t? Well, let’s just say the people over at Wawa started saying “See you tomorrow, Victoria!” as I walked out of the store with my usual breakfast order. #whatamidoingwithmylife

Here we are now. I’m getting back on track after falling off the wagon a bit. I might as well celebrate with a new mouth-watering breakfast dish! Which brings us to the star of this post…Sweet Potato & Bacon Hash

Sweet Potato & Bacon Hash (serves 3-4)
Ingredients:
– 2 small sweet potatoes
– 1/2 yellow onion (about 2 cups diced)
– 1 green bell pepper
– 3 slices Maverick Ranch Sugar-Free Bacon
– 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 1 tsp paprika
– 1 tsp rubbed sage
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp black pepper
– 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakesSweet Potato & Bacon Hash

Directions:
1. Peel sweet potatoes and finely chop. Also, finely chop green bell pepper and yellow onion roughly the same size for more even cooking.
2. Heat 3 tbsp EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add in potatoes, onion, and green bell pepper.
3. Add in all spices listed and stir to coat veggies.
4. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, heat a separate skillet to medium heat and cook bacon to desired crispness. Once bacon is to your desired crispness, take off pan and blot extra grease with a paper towel.
5. After the 10 minutes has passed, lower the temperature to medium-low and pat down hash into the skillet. Let it cook for another 5-6 minutes without stirring to allow potatoes to crisp up on one side.
6. Check potatoes for tenderness. If ready, give one last stir and take off heat. Then, chop bacon into similar-sized pieces and sprinkle onto hash.
7. ENJOY!

Sweet Potato & Bacon Hash

Today, I enjoyed my hash topped with scrambled eggs, chopped scallions, a dash of hot sauce, and an extra sprinkle of chopped bacon 😉
Hash & Egg BreakfastSweet Potato & Bacon HashNow if this doesn’t inspire you to a healthy breakfast, then I don’t know what will! The tenderness of sweet potatoes mixed with the salty crunch of bacon will make you rejoice! The best part about this dish too is it’s Whole30 compliant! (As long as you use approved bacon) BAM! Now get cooking–you can have this dish anytime of day! 🙂

Sweet Potato & Bacon Hash

 

Advertisements

Happy [Paleo] Friendsgiving!

Happy FRIENDSgiving!

 My heart is so overjoyed to have spent Saturday evening accompanied by friends, laughs, and gratitude! We had the pleasure of hosting a Friendsgiving event at our home. This meant LOTS of scrumptious foods and desserts to share, so I made sure to add some to the menu that were delicious and nutritious.

Our lovely friends arrived and everyone channeled their “inner Picasso” and drew on little index cards all the things they’re thankful for! Kudos to Austin to thinking of this awesome ideas! 😉Thankful Wall Thankful Wall Thankful Wall

Do I have a creative group of friends or WHAT? 

After a round of games, the turkey was finally done! This, by the way, was the first turkey I have ever cooked so I was truly elated when… “Guys!! The red thing finally popped up! It’s done! And I think it actually looks good too!”Turkey Time

Thank you men for handling it from here...
Thank you men for handling it from here…

There were a variety of foods that friends brought, but again, I made sure to sneak in some healthy Paleo options to share. Let’s start off with a delicious Sweet Potato + Pumpkin Casserole. It’s so good that your friends won’t even miss those marshmallows– well, maybe. It’s worth a shot. 😉Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole

Paleo Sweet Potato & Pumpkin Casserole (serves 9)
Ingredients:
4 large sweet potatoes
1 16-oz can 100% pure pumpkin
3/4 cup almonds, chopped
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 tbsp cinnamon, divided
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp pumpkin spice
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Honey, for drizzling

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees and fill a large pot with water. Chop all the sweet potatoes into large chunks and place in pot. Place the pot on high and bring to a boil. Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are tender. Once finished, remove from heat and strain all the excess water.
2. Return sweet potatoes to pot and add 1 tbsp of olive oil (for dairy-tolerant folks, you may use butter instead). Mash sweet potatoes until smooth. Then, add in your can of pumpkin and mix together thoroughly.
3. Add in pumpkin spice, coconut milk, vanilla, and 1 tbsp of cinnamon to mixture. Mix thoroughly once more. Next, transfer mixture to casserole dish (I used a 9×9 pan).
4. In separate mixing bowl, toss almonds with cocoa powder, 1 tbsp of olive oil, and 1 tbsp of cinnamon. Toss until evenly coated. Garnish the top of casserole with chopped almonds.
5. Finish off your casserole with a drizzle of honey over top of the almonds.
6. Bake in oven for 20 minutes. ENJOY 🙂

Paleo Sweet Potato CasseroleHow is that for a mouth-watering Paleo spin on a classic? Well, we’re not done yet. A fresh salad came to mind while I perused the grocery store on that Fall morning and then it hit me: Dino Kale + Cranberry Chopped Salad. I love when the grocery store inspires you! Also, this gem is Whole30 Compliant!Dino Kale + Cranberry Chopped SaladDino Kale + Cranberry Chopped Salad (serves 8)
Ingredients:
1 bunch Dino kale
3 cups spinach
1 small gala apple
1 green bell pepper
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Coat a oven-safe dish in coconut oil. Place washed cranberries in dish and stick in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, chop up kale, spinach, apple, bell pepper, and walnuts into bite-size pieces. Try to make everything about the same size. Place all ingredients in large bowl.
3. Once cranberries are finished, add them to the bowl. Toss all ingredients together.
4. If desired, add your favorite dressing (I suggest a balsamic) or top with some of that Thanksgiving turkey! EAT UP 🙂

Okay, so my salad is more "layered" than "tossed", but it was all for the photos, people!
Okay, so my salad is more “layered” than “tossed”, but it was all for the photos, people!

Other food items included green bean casserole, rolls, cranberry sauce, and a plethora of desserts. I will admit, I sampled a bit of everything. I will also admit that due to this I had a major sugar-induced headache for the next two days (Is a “food hangover” a thing? Because I think it is). Sometimes you pick your battles and choose to indulge every once in a while. Just choose wisely, then get back on track!

This is the "Remember to Make Wise Choices" Face.
This is the “Remember to Make Wise Choices” Face.

Happy Friendsgiving

I am so thankful to these wonderful people in my life (and those who couldn’t make it too) and I am happy to have celebrated Friendsgiving while sneaking in Paleo recipes at the same time. Thank you all for being my guinea pigs!


Happy Friendsgiving!
Maybe you can try some of these, or be inspired to find more Paleo Thanksgiving dishes for this year’s feast!Give Thanks

 

Inspiralized

BIG NEWS! I officially am the owner of a spiralizer, thanks to my wonderful mother and her willingness to part with hers. SCORE!

Before I move forward I would love to answer that question you’re pondering: Yes, “spiralizer” is a word and no, it is not a special weapon made up in some action-comicbook series. Seriously, Google it. I’ll wait…

See? Good, now back to the spiralizer and all its glory. Ain’t she a beaut?SpiralizedPasta used to be one of my favorite meals. Though, I’m not talking about your average spaghetti and red sauce here… #basic. I’m talking about the what seemed to be endless combinations of delicious sauces, proteins, and vegetables all intertwined with ribbons of wheat & gluten-filled goodness. Mmmm. I was always coming up with new creations when making pasta; plus, it was an easy meal for a college kid to throw together and make a “one-pot wonder meal”.

Now that the pasta days have basically come to an end, I have been hankering to get my hands on one of these spiralizers to make ribbons of veggie pastas. ZOODLES FOR ALL!Ooodles of ZoodlesMy original thought was to dazzle you with a ton of Paleo-friendly spiralized pasta recipes, but then I realized one awesome lady, by the name of Ali, over at Inspiralized.com has an entire BLOG dedicated to all things spiralized. Seriously, look at how mouth-watering some of these photos are:IMG_4282-copy IMG_4477-copy Turnip Noodles

I mean… TURNIP NOODLES? I don’t know that I would have ever thought of that. Dang, she’s good. But wait, there’s more! We need not limit ourselves with pasta over here, friends. I have started to experiment in the chip-department with my regular Sweet Potato Chip recipe, but with using the spiralizer rather than the mandolin. Which, for me, is safer since I my fingers constantly seem to gravitate towards the blade when using a mandolin. Safety, for the win!Spiralized Sweet Potato ChipsSpiralized Sweet Potato ChipsAll this being said, I am super excited to add this gadget to my kitchen and I can’t wait for more recipe-creating opportunities it will bring! Maybe it will inspire you as well to test one of these out!

Do you own a spiralizer? If so, what is your favorite thing to “spiralize”? If not, then what is your favorite go-to kitchen gadget? 🙂

What I Ate Wednesday #1

I’ve read a few “What I Ate Wednesday” posts (or WIAW for you trendy folk) on other health food sites and I couldn’t decide if they were silly or helpful. Once I realized how many meals plans I acquired, recipe ideas I’ve conjured up, and motivation I’ve received, I decided these simple little posts are actually quite positive!

Breakfast was two scrambled eggs with two strips of Maverick Ranch bacon and a portion of my newest recipe: Roasted “Sweet” Apples. Of course, it wouldn’t be breakfast without a Coconut Milk Latte to wash it all down.

Sept 17 BreakfastThe morning could not get started without some play time with the kitten. Storm loves playing hide and seek. Or maybe she is just scared of me… which is totally possible.

Little StormToday I caught up on a bunch of random chores: dishes, laundry, sweeping, you know… the good stuff. I got to spend some time in the Word and have been praying over this lovely piece of Scripture:

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
— 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

I hope that gives you a bit of encouragement about the incredible importance of love. I’m so thankful for God’s great love. I pray that I may demonstrate and share it with others as best I can. 🙂

Meanwhile, over in the kitchen, my sister was juicing…
Can you juice this?Or attempting to juice, rather. She told me today that she is going to start her Whole30 journey. Now that I’ve shared this with the public, she has to do it. HA. Committed. Really, I am cheering for you Jacqueline and I hope you stick with it! Proud of this decision!

For lunch, I sat down to take my online course and paired it with this lovely meal. Just a bunch of things I could throw together. Simple! A big helping of Mediterranean Salad (and I went back for more) with some Whole30-approved Turkey Breast slices. I was looking for something sweet and crunchy (I love a good “crunch factor”) and got out some roasted almonds mixed together with bareSnacks’ Organic Crunchy Cinnamon Apple Chips. Dang, those are addictive.

Sept 17 LunchAfter more online coursework, I then headed over to Austin’s place for a tabata-style upper body workout. Which, not to worry, I will be posting later. T’was a pretty good one. I imagine I’ll be sore tomorrow, so I’ll wait and see. This now brings us to dinner…

Sept 17 DinnerRosemary-roasted white mushrooms and sautéed green bell pepper + onions were scarfed down along with two Applegate Farms Uncured Turkey Dogs. I know, I know, turkey dogs are not super fancy. I’m out of sausages, okay?! Nonetheless, I am grateful for another delicious Paleo/Whole30 Meal.

Also, today is Day 14. YES.

Whole30 Day 14
He UNDERSTANDS me.

Now I am off to band rehearsal for our church’s worship team. And to stay committed to this whole WIAW post, I will have you know I will have a snack later. I’m not sure what, but it will happen– Looks like this is ending as a mystery. Have a great evening! I will be singing the night away… Happy Wednesday! 🙂

Roasted “Sweet” Apples

Do you know what I mean by the smell of fall?
That’s exactly what this dish smells like.

It gives you that warm & cozy feeling while it roasts away in the oven. For us Floridians, we need these types of dishes to imagine Autumn’s approach when it is truly 92-degrees and 84% humidity. Now that my mouth is watering and I have my Pumpkin Spiced Latte black coffee in hand (thanks Whole30), let’s get to it.

Roasted Goodness

Roasted “Sweet” Apples* (serves 1)
Ingredients:
– 1 small sweet potato
– 1 medium gala apple
– 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
– 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Sweet Potatoes + Apples

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450-degrees.
2. Dice apple and sweet potato and place in mixing bowl.
3. Add in coconut oil & cinnamon; toss together until produce is evenly covered.
4. Place on baking sheet and roast for 12-14 minutes.

Perfect Breakfast Addition

I am particularly excited about this recipe because I am always trying to find ways to spice up my breakfast routine– Today I’ll have an omelet with veggies… and for tomorrow, oh! How about an omelet with veggies? I immediately went into fall mode when savoring the aroma of this side dish. It is perfect for breakfast, but I can definitely see this being a quick dessert if you add some coconut milk whipped cream to it! Possibly even a side dish to a dinner with pork as the main event? Just think of the options! Roasty Toasty

I hope you find it heart-warmingly delicious too!


*Shout out to my lovely sister Jacqueline for the name of this recipe. Also, you can easily double or triple the recipe for friends and family too! WIN.