Baking with the Sweetest

Still have the baking urge post-holidays? Though your sugar cravings might have subsided after all those cookies, it doesn’t mean you have to put down the spatula.

Yes, it’s true – some of our favorite baked goods include frosting and sprinkles. But we’re here to tell you that baking can be healthy. Where there’s a whisk, there’s a way. After all, an apron is just a cape on backwards. And truly, isn’t life what you bake of it? We could keep going.

Let’s stop hatin’ and start bakin’, you whisk-takers. Ok…we’re done.

  • Sweet Potato Date Scone – Created by Morning Glory Bakes in our 2011 Sweet n’ Healthy Blogger Recipe Contest, these deliciously healthy scones are still one of our tried & true favorites. Sweetened naturally with dates and yours truly, these scones will be your new breakfast staple. scones
  • Sweet Potato Blueberry Breakfast Bars – Anyone who’s super awesome deserves this super food breakfast. And yes, we mean you! Physical Kitchness blended two of our favorites and yet, unexpected pairings: sweet potatoes and blueberries. Give it a try!blueberry-sweet-potato
  • Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies – No judgement. Not one ounce. Eat those cookies for breakfast, ya’ll! We commend you, My Whole Food Life – you know how to start the day right! sp-cookies
  • 5 Ingredient Sweet Potato Brownies – For those who need their daily chocolate fix, try these dense and creamy brownies. The best part is how easy they are – all you need is sweet potatoes, almonds, oats, cocoa powder and sugar. And truly, how could we discuss baking without a mention of chocolate. brownieWhat type of goodies are you baking this January? Be sure to show us some love on social, we love seeing your delicious creations!

New Year, New You with the Sweetest!

It’s that time of year again y’all: salads, workout classes and the countless promises to be a healthier person. So often it seems like come February, we just give up on these goals when the going gets tough or if we don’t see results fast enough. But truth is, being healthy shouldn’t be a fad, it should be a lifestyle! We personally think one of the best ways to do that is adding in more nutritious fruits and veggies – like yours truly! – into your diet to keep you fuller longer. Take a look below at some of our favorite ways to add sweet potatoes to every meal, to make sure you keep that resolution going all year!

Paleo Leftover Turkey Sweet Potato Frittata

Rise and shine! Start your morning off right with this dish. A little bit of sweet, savory and a whole lot of deliciousness, this recipe from Bless Her Heart, Y’all had us at hello!

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Sweet Potato Falafel

RD-approved and perfect for everyone in their busy lives, these little sweet potato falafels are best when tucked into a pita pocket and topped with tahini. Whoever said your brown bag lunch had to be boring?

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Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl

There’s a reason why y’all have been seeing ‘Buddha bowls’ just about everywhere – because they’re just so delicious! This one comes from Minimalist Baker, and we think it’s just what we need to have the perfect balance of healthy and delicious.

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Good luck to everyone with their New Year goals! Remember, sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients and versatile to every meal. Take pictures of your healthy sweet potato ideas and tag us on social media at @sweet_taters!

Simple Holiday Entertaining with Sweet Taters

Curb that holiday stress, y’all. There’s loads of simple sweet tater dishes out there to get you through your gatherings – whether you’re a host or a guest.

First up, we’re sweet on these Sweet Potato Crisps with Chive Crème Fraiche and Cranberries. The Taste SF has sure outdone themselves this time with this delicious finger food. And if this topping isn’t your jam, then try out a few other ways to top these easy-to-make sweet potato crisps.

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Now how about dips? Guests go wild for them and they’re so simple to make. We’re loving this one from our friends at Bon Appétit – a Grilled Sweet Potato Baba Ghanoush with yours truly. Scoot over eggplant.

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Now here’s one we can’t stop snacking on from Spices in my DNAParmesan Herb Sweet Potato Stacks. These little guys have all our favorite flavors and they’re as easy as popping them into your muffin pan to bake.

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And last but not least, if you’re feeling fancy, you’ve got to whip up some of our Twice Baked Maple Chipotle Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese and Pumpkin Seeds. Here’s a little secret: guests will think you spent hours in the kitchen.

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So go forth with your holiday entertaining! We hope some of our recipes make your time with friends and family that much sweeter.

And sweet tater lovers, be sure to tag us in your photos on Instagram using @sweet_taters. Can’t wait to see what you cook up!

Have a Sweet & Spooky Halloween

Halloween: an evening with candy by the handfuls and lots of cute (or scary) costumes. Make yours ghoulishly good, but also have some healthy-ish snacks on hand. That’s where our sweet taters come in. Take a peek at some delicious, guilt-free Halloween treats to enjoy over the next few days!

We like to make our food fun ‘round here, so we’re serving up these Sweet Potato Halloween Fries from Tablespoon. These taters are also baked so they’re healthier than your normal fries and certainly more so than the usual Halloween candy!

Sweet Potato Fries

What else? Take a look at this delicious idea from Food52 to whip up a killer sheet cake with sweet potato frosting. It’s perfect for any Halloween gathering and the frosting is so easy to make with just two ingredients.

sweet potato sheet cake

And last, we’re lovin’ this scary Sweet Potato Milkshake from Artsy Momma.  It’s a great way to get those veggies in, but in a shake everyone will adore.

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Stay sweet this Halloween and remember to tag us in your sweet potato pictures, at @Sweet_taters!

2017 Annual Meeting of Membership

email-blast-card-4PARTNERS IN PROGRESS

January 19, 2017

Please join us as we enter our 57th year of serving North Carolina’s sweet potato growers.  We look forward to even more success in providing new information and perspectives for our industry.

Location:

Sampson County Agri-Expo Center

414 Warsaw Road

Clinton, NC  28328

2017 Annual Meeting Registration

Deadline: January 9, 2017

To better serve you and ensure shorter registration lines, please return the Registration Form, link below, to Cindy Vanderhoof at the NCSPC Office no later than January 9, 2017.

North Carolina SweetPotato Commission

700E. Parrish Drive, Suite C, Benson, NC  27504

accounting@ncsweetpotatoes.com

Phone (919) 894-1067 • Fax (919) 894-7018

Please click here for the downloadable Registration Form

Program Topics

  • State of the Industry
  • Domestic & International Promotions
  • Crisis Management
  • State & National Updates
  • Black Rot Update

2017 Annual Meeting Sponsor/Exhibitor Opportunities

Please consider joining us as a sponsor or exhibitor at the 57th Annual Meeting of Membership to be held on Thursday, January 19, 2017 from 8:00am until 2:00pm.  Financial support from partners like you has enabled the NC SweetPotato Commission to provide our membership with industry-relevant information, programs and events.  As we enter our 57th year of serving North Carolina’s sweet potato growers, we look forward to even more success in providing new information and perspectives for our industry.

The Sampson County Agri-Expo Center allows us the opportunity to offer more space to you to communicate the importance of your business to our industry.  Each exhibit space will be provided with one 6 foot table and two chairs for exhibiting in the network area.

For more information, please click here for our downloadable Sponsor Form and Exhibitor Application

#SweetShortcuts

Between work, social lives and just gettin’ some rest, sometimes it feels like having well-balanced meals aren’t an option.  But once again, sweet potatoes are here to save the day! We’ve rounded up the best #SweetShortcuts to make life a little bit easier and definitely more delicious.

bfast-potatoesCarrots ‘N’ Cake has a simple & easy way to give a kick to your ordinary potato hash! Featuring a mix of russet & sweet potatoes and garnished with steak seasoning, this big batch can last you through the entire week in any meal of the day. Crack an egg on top for breakfast or add to a veggie bowl for lunch or dinner. No time? No worries!

sp-burritoWe know meal-prep is all the rage these days, so we couldn’t help but want to share Kim’s Cravings‘ Sweet Potato Breakfast Burritos that are freezer-friendly. Got about an hour to spare on the weekend? Make these little guys, wrap in foil or plastic wrap and put them in the freezer. They’ll be waiting for you on your busiest morning when you’re on-the-go!

For more quick and easy ways to enjoy sweet potatoes, take a look at our “How-to” page! From cutting to baking, microwaving or  grilling, there’s so many ways to prep these spuds for a fast meal!

What are some of your favorite #SweetShortcuts? Tag us in your ideas for a chance to be featured for our #WhatWeDig!

Berry Sweet Potato Smoothie

Recipe developed by Veronica Shah of Healthsomeness 

smoothie_recipe (3)Ingredients

  • 1 cup mixed frozen berries
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato, cooked, peeled
  • 1/2 banana, frozen
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Instructions

1. To prepare, add the coconut water into a blender followed by the rest of the ingredients. Blend for 20–30 seconds, until smooth. Enjoy!

Number of servings (yield): 1 smoothie

A berry tasty sweet potato smoothie

Guest post written by Veronica Shah of Healthsomeness 

smoothie_recipe (1)Smoothies have got to be one of the easiest and quickest types of recipes to prepare. All you need is some fruits, some vegetables and a liquid to mix everything up. Because of the different types of ingredients that you can add to them, smoothies are very nutritious and there are dozens of healthy & delicious smoothie recipes available.

Many people don’t think of adding sweet potatoes to smoothies, but they don’t know what they are missing out on! Thanks to its natural sugars and unique taste, the sweet tater adds a delicious twist to any blender creation.

When using sweet potato in a smoothie, you want to first make sure it is cooked, peeled and cooled before adding it in. You can cook the potato any way you like – bake, steam or microwave. The power of your blender’s blades will determine if you need to cut the potato into smaller pieces or whether you can add it in whole.

smoothie_recipe (3)This Berry Tasty Sweet Potato Smoothie recipe has the following ingredients in it:

  • 1 cup mixed frozen berries – blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries to be precise. Berries go well in just about any smoothie and using them frozen helps to make beverages thick and frothy, much like milkshakes. Antioxidants and berries go hand-in-hand and because of this they are considered to be some of the healthiest foods on the planet.
  • 1/2 cup of sweet potato, cooked – A half cup serving of sweet potato will provide you with plenty of Vitamin A, which plays a vital role in vision, bone development and immune function. Sweet potatoes also provide you with vitamin C, manganese, fiber and antioxidants!
  • 1/2 frozen banana – Thanks to their sweetness, bananas are a very popular smoothie ingredient. When selecting them, go for the ones that have bright yellow skins with small black spots on them. These are the ones that are not too raw and not too ripe – they are just right.
  • 1 cup of spinach – If someone handed you this smoothie without you knowing what was in it, you most likely wouldn’t be able to guess that there’s a whole cup of spinach in it! The pigments from the berries disguise it completely. A one cup serving of spinach has only 7 calories in it and is made up of more than 90% water. Despite this, it is very nutrient dense; one cup will provide you with lots of vitamin K which helps to promote bone density and strength.
  • 1 cup of coconut water – Coconut water is a fantastic source of electrolytes, which is why it is sometimes drunk in place of sports drinks by athletes. Use coconut water straight out of the refrigerator to ensure that the smoothie is nice and cold when you sip it.
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon – Cinnamon and sweet potatoes work so deliciously together. The oils found in this spice give it that lovely aroma we all know very well. Cinnamon contains substances that have medicinal properties and studies have shown that it acts as an anti-inflammatory and could protect against cancer.
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds – Last, but not least, add some chia seeds to your smoothie for a little extra fiber and a small dose of protein. You can use any type of seed that you like, including flax, pumpkin and sunflower.

To prepare, add the coconut water into a blender followed by the rest of the ingredients. Blend for 20–30 seconds, until smooth. Enjoy!

Remember to tag @sweet_taters in your sweet potato smoothie experimentations and we may feature your delicious image!

Exploring the Versatility of Sweet Potatoes with Vivian Howard

CHF_4819A natural culinary risk taker, Vivian Howard of A CHEF’S LIFE continues to find creative ways to maximize the versatility of sweet potatoes. Whether pairing with heat-seeking spices or re-imagining traditional cultural fare, Vivian has awesome suggestions on how to make the most of the sweet potatoes on your menus!

At Chef & The Farmer, what sweet potato dish(s) have you served/are serving that is a customer favorite?
We’re currently serving a poultry, either chicken or pheasant, with pecan relish and sweet potato butter that is very popular with our diners. It’s not an actual ‘butter,’ but we call it that because of the texture and the spice combination is similar to apple butter. A couple of things that come back each year are braised pork shoulder and sweet potato lasagna. It’s a free-form lasagna where we take one sheet of dough and fold it over the filling, so everybody gets their own personal lasagna.  It has the flavor of a sweet potato infused, cheesy barbecue since we braise the pork in vinegar and thyme and use sweet potato ricotta as the filling. People are either obsessed with it or wonder, “Where’s my lasagna?” Because I love it so much, we’ve kept it on the menu year after year.

Many people just think of sweet potatoes in casseroles, pies or fries. What are some of your favorite recipes that showcase the versatility of sweet potatoes?
One thing we do at Chef & The Farmer is treat sweet potatoes like tostones, which are traditionally cooked, sliced, smashed, then fried plantains, so we apply this process to the sweet potato. Another favorite is to caramelize the sweet potatoes until they’re candied then drizzle them with a maple bacon syrup. This is a technique that’s a bit out of the box, but the sweet potato, maple and bacon are a delicious flavor trifecta! Another recipe I’ve been working on is a take on a spoonbread, cornmeal that’s cooked and then baked, giving it a dense texture. Currently, I’m experimenting with a sweet potato spoonbread, which is like a riff on the casserole…but deliciously different.

Chef Vivian Howard's Tahini & Sesame Sweet Potato Wedges

Chef Vivian Howard’s Tahini & Sesame Sweet Potato Wedges

We love trying new flavors and ingredients with our sweet potatoes, such as rosemary or bacon. What is the most interesting flavor combination you’ve discovered with sweet potatoes?


I’ve recently discovered that tahini and sesame are really great pairings with sweet potatoes. I think most people immediately think of sweet potatoes with cinnamon and nutmeg, but I like to pair them with spicy things as well.  I love them with chipotle, cumin – warm spices with a little bit of heat.

Commonly associated with winter comfort food, many people are surprised to find sweet potatoes are delicious in lighter, healthier meals – such as salads or smoothies. What are some ways you incorporate sweet potatoes into your meals during spring and summer?
We eat a lot of tacos at my house, because it’s something we can all agree on and it encourages us to eat outside during the summer. Sometimes I’ll grill slices of sweet potato and toss them with cumin and other spices to create an interesting and different taco filling that Ben and the kids love.

In the busy world we live in, it’s easy to become lazy in meal prep – especially when there’s a fast food restaurant on every corner. What are some easy, convenient ways you have used sweet potatoes for a quick meal?
I truly believe that roasting a sweet potato is one of the easiest things you can do, but I also try to encourage people to think about what they can put on the sweet potato other than brown sugar. What about roasted broccoli with grated parmesan or roasted with garlicky or gingered greens? Just thinking about the sweet potato as a vehicle for other things can produce new ideas for a quick and easy meal. One of my household favorites is a sweet potato roasted directly in its skin topped with turkey, chili spices, sliced avocado and a dollop of sour cream – it is a really good dinner that doesn’t take long to prepare.