Sweet Potato Month Recipe Round-up

February is Sweet Potato Month and that makes sense to me. My birthday and Valentine's Day are both in February, so it seems like a perfect month to honor a vegetable that is so close to my heart.

Sweet potatoes are long known as a Thanksgiving staple, served mushy and frequently covered with marshmallows. This, in my opinion, is a great disservice to the sweet potato, which is perhaps one of the most versatile veggies the earth gives us. Play up the sweet qualities or use it as a foil for spicier dishes. Roast or bake it to maintain its firm sensibilities, or mash or puree it for a silky smooth sauce or filling.

I've written so many recipes for sweet potatoes that I've lost track, but here are a few that illustrate how unique and dynamic this beautiful orange veggie can be. Enjoy!

Roasted Sweet Potato Sandwich with "Honey" Mustard Poppyseed Sauce

Sweet Potato and Garnet Yams in Ginger and Peanut Sauce 

Sweet Potato Pierogi

Bengali-Style Oven Sweet Potato Fries - one of my favorite and most popular recipes!

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Things That Make You Go "Mmmmm!"

My food is not fancy. It's not complicated, either in ingredients or in techniques. In fact, typical meals around my house often include little more than salad and roasted vegetables.

Sounds boring, but it's not. With each dish I cook, I take out insurance against boring by adding just a little bit of an ingredient that contrasts the overall flavor profiles of the dish. This helps "wake up" the palette and lends variety to any dish that might have a tendency to feel a little "one note."

Here are 5 of my favorite things to add to a dish to make you go "Mmmm!"

1. Vinegars, especially balsamic and sherry. 
It's no secret that I put balsamic vinegar in almost everything I make at home. I may have an addiction but the fact is, it makes things taste interesting. Other types of vinegar can do it too, sometimes adding just a bit of acidity to balance out earthy flavors, like beans, tempeh and mushrooms. Tinker with your own flavors by infusing plain white vinegar with herbs and spices. Studies also show that adding just 1 Tbsp vinegar to your meals aids in maintaining a healthy weight. Who can argue with that perk when it's so delicious?

2. Oil-cured Moroccan black olives.
Take some help from your supermarket's olive bar. On every trip, I grab just a few spoons (about 1/2 cup) of these midnight black oil-cured olives. Look for the pitted ones to save yourself the trouble. They are super olive-y and although salty, they are not as strong as Kalamata olives. Use 3-4 olives, chopped finely, as an addition to rice dishes or on your homemade vegan pizza. They are also really tasty in any salad containing avocado.

3. Ground cumin. 
Cumin delivers a smoky, earthy flavor that you might recognize from taco seasoning. I like to use cumin with any dish containing chickpeas and, recently, with roasted cauliflower. Cumin is strongly flavored so a couple of pinches go a long way.

4. Roasted or marinated red peppadew peppers. 
A sweet, just slightly spicy pepper, the peppadew (also sometimes called a pepperazzi) is probably my favorite pepper. I first started using them in cold bean salads, but quickly realized that they made a fantastic addition to roasted veggie dishes (especially when paired with broccoli, asparagus or Brussels sprouts). Finely chopped, they also pump up simple pasta dishes.

5. Nutmeg.
It's an Italian thing. Add just a bit of freshly grated nutmeg to any cooked greens, especially spinach and chard. Nutmeg is also a traditional ingredient in many tomato sauce-based dishes in Italy.

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Mambo Sprouts Blogger of the Month - guess who?

You all know about Mambo Sprouts, right?

What? You don't? For shame! Mambo Sprouts is a web service that offers coupons on natural and organic products, in addition to recipes, articles and tips on greening your lifestyle. Oh yeah -- and it's FREE. I've been subscribed for years, receiving e-mail updates as well as coupons in the mail.

At the end of last year, Mambo Sprouts' marketing team launched a Blogger Affiliate Program, in an effort to get the word out to more people about the products they promote. It's not a secret club or anything, but it does mean that we get exclusive sneak peeks on Mambo Sprouts' promotions a few days before the rest of the world, which I think is pretty cool. 

So, riddle me this. What's better than getting a good deal on products you love that are also good for you?

Only being Mambo Sprouts first-ever Blogger of the Month, that's all!

Check out the blurb that appeared in the Sneak Peek e-mail that went out to bloggers on January 31:

Even if you're not a blogger, I highly recommend that you register for Mambo Sprouts Sprout E-news, their monthly e-mail newsletter and coupon deals. They've probably saved me about a bazillion dollars over the years on products I would have bought anyway, so it's really a win-win-win situation.

I've added the badge proudly to the sidebar of my website and I warmly welcome all the new readers who are coming to visit, thanks to this honor from Mambo Sprouts.

I have to admit... It kind of makes me feel like dancing...


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