Monday, June 14, 2010

Sweet Potato Hash

      Some people feel that eating "healthy" equals not enjoying life.  I beg to differ.  Eating "healthy" has opened up a huge world of wonderful foods, awesome energy, and great mental/emotional/physical balance that I never experienced prior to really understanding the effects of food on my own health, happiness and overall well-being.  Treating myself and my family to a special weekend breakfast used to involve pancakes, waffles, biscuits or pastries, with fried potatoes and some form of eggs (usually with some cheese) accompanied with a salty processed meat like sausage, bacon or ham (think about the colors of these foods:  tan, brown, golden...).  We'd eat these breakfasts and then go back to bed to recover.
     I am not a big fan of these sodium-filled, starchy, insulin-raising breakfasts that leave you feeling bloated and lethargic for several hours, anymore.  Today my ideal special breakfast is tasty and colorful with a variety of textures, and leaves me feeling satisfied and energetic for hours.  By eating a variety of foods with different textures and colors, prepared in various ways, we ensure getting the biggest nutritional bang for our bucks.  Getting stuck in a “food rut” can cause us to miss out on lots of valuable nutrients that we simply can’t get from a supplement (since scientists and researchers believe that, as yet, they have only been able to identify - and attempt to replicate - about 50% of the elements in our foods). 
     I came up with this breakfast entrĂ©e yesterday morning after perusing the fridge and trying to figure out how to combine some random vegetables that I found:

Some oil to coat bottom of pan (canola or olive oil)
½ medium sized onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 medium sized sweet potato, cubed
1 small zucchini, cubed
1 small bunch of kale, cleaned and chopped in fairly small pieces to resemble whole parsley leaves (this is a great way to trick the kiddies!)
salt & pepper

Heat oil in large skillet on medium to high heat(canola works better than olive oil for this because it has a higher heat-point – meaning that the olive oil may get smoky or burn when trying to get it hot enough to make your hash).
Sautee onions for about 5 minutes then add red pepper.  Sautee for another 5 minutes, or until onions become transparent and begin to slightly brown.
Add sweet potato to skillet and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add zucchini and stir well to heat, about 1-2 minutes (I don’t like to cook the zucchini too long because it will become mushy).
Add kale, stir to combine for approximately 1 minute.  Remove skillet from heat but keep turning the vegetables for another minute or two.  The hot vegetables will wilt the kale, barely cooking it, thus keeping it from becoming bitter.

Makes approximately 4 smaller servings, or two larger ones (may get more or less, depending on size of vegetables you use).

We topped our hash with eggs (local free-range, organically fed), over-medium.  Poached or soft-boiled eggs would be good, too.

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