Baked Sweet Potato Fries

When the kids ask for French fries, it's easy to grab a bag from the freezer, but after reading the ingredients, you should think otherwise. The oils used in store-bought fries are on my list of bad fats, fried in soybean, cottonseed and canola vegetable oils. They are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which when higher than omega-3 intake, as our diets usually are, cause inflammatory conditions. Also, soy has estrogenic properties and think about it, cotton is clothing, not a food. Canola oil is overly processed, deodorized with hexane and can rancidify during the process.1 Canola has also been reported to contain some trans fats and to create even more when heated.1,2 Cold-pressed canola oil would be a better, but hard to find.

Think it's a huge pain to make your own fries? Let me help you simplify the process. You'll get a better tasting fry with lots of antioxidants and nutrients minus the bad fats. 

Leave the skin on for added nutrients since the majority of fiber is in the skin. (Note, I don't have the skin on in these photos because the sweet potatoes were a little older than I would have liked). High in phytonutrients, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and other carotenoids as well as contain vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium and iron.

Also, here's one I didn't know until recently, you need to add 3-5 grams of fat to make beta-carotene in sweet potatoes more readily available for use in the body. (5 grams is around a teaspoon). 
 

Baked Sweet Potato Fries Recipe

Ingredients

3 medium to large sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons avocado or coconut oil, melted

2 tablespoons arrowroot flour

Celtic sea salt

Black pepper
 

Equipment needed: One gallon Ziploc bag, baking sheet
 

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 425°.

Place coconut oil in a small pot on the stove and melt; let cool. Wash sweet potatoes. Slice into long sticks or wedges. (Leave skin on for added nutrients). Place cut sweet potatoes in a large Ziploc bag. Add arrowroot flour, salt and pepper. Add cooled coconut oil, seal bag closed and shake until all fries have been coated with the mixture. If there are too many fries to fit, use half the ingredients and separate into two or three batches.

Bake for 15 minutes, then with a spatula, flip the fries over. Cook 5-10 minutes more or until desired level of crispness. 

1. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health website. Ask the Expert: Concerns about canola oil. Available at: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2015/04/13/ask-the-expert-concerns-about-canola-oil/. Accessed 12/29/16.

2. Wiley Online Library Website. Levels of Trans Geometrical Isomers of Essential Fatty Acids in some unhydrogenated U.S. Vegetable Oils. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-4522.1994.tb00244.x/abstract#fn1. 

Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham

Every once in a while we get a breakfast request for green eggs and ham. Maybe it’s Dr. Seuss’s birthday, or nearing St. Patrick’s Day or just simply the crazy idea of green eggs. Now I don't use regular food coloring, so adding true green color can be tricky. I've tried scrambling eggs with "natural" food coloring, they end up with a weird taste and consistency; the colors are muted and are not even close to green. So what better way to get color than to use something natural – spinach! Now, before you leave the page thinking your kids will go running from the house screaming, hear me out. 

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

We're always looking for grain-free options for pizza. The good news with this crust is it gets in an extra serving or two of vegetables and you'd never know it. Cauliflower is also filled with phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals and has been shown to have a protective effect against cancer. This crust has the right amount of crisp and holds together more like a regular crust. 

Candy Buy-Back Day

For some, the day after Halloween represents All Saints' Day or the celebration of Día de Muertos. In our house, November 1st also signifies Candy Buy-Back Day. Last year we started the tradition of giving the kids the choice of keeping all of their candy or keeping 10 pieces and having us buy the rest of the candy back for $10 or $20. They get to go right to the store and buy a toy, so it's a win-win for everyone. We get the majority of the candy out of the house and they get to go pick out something fun. It's now something they look forward to each year.

Last year we removed processed food from the house and candy still falls into the "special occasion" category. Should you think I'm the meanest mother ever, let's talk about candy, and how it can contains high sugar, corn syrup, artificial sugars and bad fats. Increasingly, kids are falling prey to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes and other disorders at a young age. I'd prefer my kids and all others never fall into that category.

This year Sam looked at labels and told me to take back those with corn syrup. We found one of the worst he got to be Tootsie Rolls with sugar, corn syrup, partially-hydrogenated soybean oil and artificial flavors. Others purchased in bulk packs didn't even list ingredients. He even gave up a bag of chips because it contained canola oil. 

 If we can teach them good eating habits at a young age, hopefully they will be able to make good choices when they're on their own. (The jury's still out, I'll let you know in a few years how that worked out). Honestly I'd rather have the family get together and buy a couple of toys on November 1st and let them have some fun instead of negotiating how much candy they can or can't eat. 

Do you have any strategies to deal with Halloween candy or the handfuls of candy that come back in birthday or holiday goodie bags? I'd love to hear them. 

Grain-Free Blueberry Waffles

Grain-Free Blueberry Waffles

The kids got out of school at noon today and it was a busy afternoon. They have been asking for waffles a lot lately, so I figured let’s do breakfast for dinner. It’s a favorite and the kids always like to help measure ingredients and stir, especially Chef Ben who even put a whole egg into the batter unbroken by accident. No charge for the extra crunch! 

August, it's Blueberry Muffin Time!

August, it's Blueberry Muffin Time!

The blueberry and huckleberry bushes in the yard are overflowing with fruit. Somehow we've got a bunch of berries left that were not actually eaten while picking. I promised the boys blueberry muffins last week, so it was time to come up with a recipe that will make them happy and be good for them at the same time.  In keeping with grain-free treats, I used cassava flour for the majority of this recipe. The kids said these are the best ever.

Paleo Chocolate Donuts - Forget The Dose of Bad Fats and Refined Sugar, Make Your Own

Paleo Chocolate Donuts - Forget The Dose of Bad Fats and Refined Sugar, Make Your Own

Just in time to get ready for the weekend, here’s a great recipe to make on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

So after reading about how we ditched processed food, you’re probably thinking my kids are totally deprived. Now, they’re not getting Dunkin’ Donuts anymore and believe me they love a good trip to the Double D as much as anyone. 

Ten Small Things You Can Do To Improve Your Family’s Health

Ten Small Things You Can Do To Improve Your Family’s Health

1. Eat more foods raw
One third of your diet should be made up of uncooked, raw foods. Kids love finger foods, so this is an easy one. Cut up fruit and veggies for snacks or add them as a side for lunch or dinner. Mine love cucumbers, carrots and cherry tomatoes. Buy organic fruits and vegetables when possible. Exposure to toxic chemicals can affect children’s immune systems and many pesticides have been proven to cause cancer. If you can’t afford organic, buy certain organic fruits and vegetables, avoiding the dirty dozen, strawberries, peaches, apples and grapes to name a few.

Saying No to Fake and Processed Food. Why I Only Shop at the Ends of the Store.

Saying No to Fake and Processed Food. Why I Only Shop at the Ends of the Store.

Being a former art director, I was involved in all kinds of advertisements and designs over the years. I also worked on several brands and spent a lot of time on food shoots.

I’ll never forget the day we were shooting a TV commercial and the food stylists were delivered the appetizers and main courses for a chain restaurant and it was all boil in the bag.