Friday, July 4, 2014

Hawaiian Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Happy Fourth of July! Usually on the Fourth I am running a race in Frankenmuth, MI called the Volksaulfe. This year no one is going, but my family has been running in it for 25+ years. I remember as a kid watching my Uncle Craig jump in the river after his 20k and dancing to the polka band with my cousins. Two years ago, Charlie was 7 weeks old, my husband at the time wasn't feeling up to running, but my family was still going so I ran the 5k in his place. It was brutally hot at 97 degrees by the race start time at 10am and I had not been cleared by my doctors to exercise yet, but if you know me at all you know that I am defiant and I do what I want so I ran it anyway. I finished somewhere around 30 minutes and below is a picture of me with my sister who had run the 20k with my cousin Emily that day. I used to hate this picture and was embarrassed by my belly at the time. Now, looking back, I am proud of myself for getting back to the things that made me happy even if it was the slower, softer version of me doing them- No one has ever said it was going to be easy!

It really helps to have people in your life with similar interests and positive attitudes towards fitness. This picture is with my best friends since childhood, Shannon and Ashley, who ran the race with us one year- both were college runners and we have always cheered each other on. Shannon now has a baby girl, Ada, and Ashley got married almost a year ago exactly in Colorado. You win steins and therefore beer when you place in this race and Shannon had one a stein. I have only won one once--- 3rd place in my age group for the 20k when I was 19... no beer :(

As hard as it is to be sitting here with no Charlie today, the parade was this morning in my small town and there are fireworks and the "firecracker mile" tonight, I am going to make the best of my day because that's all I can do, right? Next year we will get to do all those things and it will make it all the more special. This recipe is inspired by something I made for her when she first started eating solid foods. She LOVED sweet potatoes so I made the grown up version like I have here, and the Charlie-version which was the potato out of it's skin with the pineapple and ham on top. It is really filling and serves 4 adults, each getting a whole potato, or more people if the adults or children only eat a half. 

For this recipe I used turkey "ham" because there are a lot of people in my life who don't eat pork. If you eat regular ham then of course you can use that.

Hawaiian Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

(Printable Version)

- 4 Sweet potatoes
- 1/3 Fresh Pineapple (about 1 cup), cubed into bite-szed pieces
- 1/2 lb Turkey Ham Steak, cubed into bite-sized pieces
- 1 Orange (zest and about 1 cup of juice)
- 1 Lemon (zest and about 1/3 cup juice)
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Aminos or gluten-free soy sauce
- Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
- Drizzle of Honey (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1. Poke holes in the sweet potatoes and bake on a cookie sheet for 45min-1hr until soft when you squeeze them or a knife can penetrate them easily.

2. While the potatoes are baking, make the glaze. In a skillet over medium-high heat, zest 1/2 the orange and 1/2 the lemon. Juice both of them into the skillet- Measurements here don't need to be perfect- however much juice they have is fine. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce has reduced to a glaze.

3. Cut the potatoes down the middle and pour the pineapple/ham mixture in. Enjoy!

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