Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Southwest Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Southwest Loaded Sweet Potato

She's just a girl but she's on fire...Looks like a girl but she's a flame. So bright she can burn your eyes, better look the other way. You can try but you'll never forget her name. She's on top of the world. Hottest of the hottest girls. We've got our feet on the ground and we're burning it down. Got our head in the clouds, and we're not coming down. This girl is on fire!

Guess what? The other day when Isabella came home from school with girl problems, I actually had the emotional and physical energy, time, and calm to listen to her. I actually sat and listened. I was careful to hear her. I was careful to discern whether she just needed to talk or was asking for my advice. I sat with her for 30 minutes and I actually had valuable wisdom to share with her and I empowered her with the idea that she could do something about it. She could fix it. And I would be rooting for her.

I know, this what good mothers are "supposed to do". But you guys, I couldn't have done this before; not consistently anyway. I probably would have listened a bit and cut the conversation short with a "Oh, it'll be okay, sweetie. I'm sure you'll figure it out". When I am busy, hurrying about, and have lots of plans, even if it's "fun" stuff, it wears me out. I don't have the capacity for listening to my own daughter when I'm worn out, and I can get really annoyed with 10-year old girl drama. 

She's living in a world and it's on fire. Feeling the catastrophe, but she knows she can fly away...

Alicia Keys sings Girl on Fire and exactly how I feel in recent days. She also sings Brand New Me. Heard it? It's my current anthem.

Southwest Loaded Sweet Potato

I haven't changed. Quite the contrary. I read a book over a year ago that pretty much changed my perspective on a lot of things. It wasn't a self help book, but rather, incredibly startling in the truth it conveyed. Perhaps you've heard of Ann Voskamp?  The tagline of the book is:

"A dare to live fully, right where you are"

It sounds nice. I got it intellectually right off the bat. But, it's the kind of concept you don't really grasp until you just do. I have found the freedom to let myself be the person I already am but was not really living. The person who loves people and parties, but needs plenty of unscheduled quiet time. Someone who feels most alive while creating something alone, whether it be writing, reading, cooking, or folding laundry with intention. Quiet allows me that peace. Then, and only then and I more capable of being more fully alive when I am with other people. I need space. I need to not feel pressured to make plan after plan. This is me. And I finally love it. And I am proud to say it, because it's been a long time in accepting and adapting my lifestyle around it. Setting boundaries can do wonders for the soul. Spring has sprung.

She's got both feet on the ground and she's burning it down. She's got her head in the clouds and she's not backing down...

It may seem like cooking and recipes are not much related to this topic, but it seems everything that is woven through my life relates to this topic. This perspective shift has changed my cooking. I find more relish in cooking the simple things. This recipe for southwest loaded sweet potatoes might not have been something I blogged about before. Not because it's not really, really yummy, but because it's a no brainer food. It would normally be something I whipped up quickly, rushing through, opening a couple cans of salsa, browning some turkey or veggie crumbles, roasting a sweet potato. We're not creating anything particularly beautiful with this kind of food. Ah, but beauty and joy are found everywhere if you can see it. I didn't rush through. I noticed how perfectly orange the insides of the sweet potato were. I took time to breathe in the seasonings in the meat as I added each new spice. I didn't even have to try. It was a natural by-product of not hurrying and of not being overwhelmed of mind. This was the most intentionally crafted, made with love, loaded sweet potato that you will ever find. And, it was seriously delicious. More so than it should have been. I feel like this will be a staple in our household. I don't love stuffed sweet potatoes any other way I've made them. But that sweet flesh teemed with the subtle sweet-spiceness of the chipotle salsa, and salty green salsa, mixed with taco spiced meat (or veggie crumbles in our case) and finished with a cool dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream? Home run baby. In the simplest and most fulfilling of ways. It was a happy night.

This girl is on fire!

Southwest Loaded Sweet Potatoes
adapted from Biggest Loser (no, seriously)
serves 4

4 roasted sweet potatoes (one per person)
1 lb ground turkey (or 1 package Boca brand veggie crumbles)
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt
1 container chipotle flavored red salsa
1 container salsa verde (green salsa)
Greek yogurt or sour cream

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add turkey and brown, or cook veggie crumbles according to package directions. Add Worcestershire sauce, dijon, chile powder, cumin, garlic salt, onion powder and a pinch or two of Kosher salt to the meat and stir to combine. 

When sweet potatoes are roasted, split each in half and fill with a layer of the red salsa, followed by a heaping spoonful of meat or veggie crumbles, top with green salsa and Greek yogurt.


  1. YUM! Ive missed blogging, been away for awhile but always love reading your posts! hope you are doing well, lady!