Let’s not sugar coat it: I ate a lot of cookies this past month (a lot of Nutmeg Logs and Candy Cane Cookies, amongst others). Many more than I really should have and subsequently I’m grateful that I had several very full weeks of teaching Spinning classes at the gym, otherwise I suspect my clothes would be feeling pretty tight and uncomfortable right now.
That being said, let me reiterate that I’m clearly not perfect and I certainly don’t always eat perfectly (even within the bounds of being balanced and living and eating in such a way) but I’m glad that over the years, I’ve learned to start paying attention to my body. While I may not look like I’ve been eating too much refined flour and sugar, I can feel it. I feel a little more sluggish, a little less rested and less satiated; my body has been craving nutrient-dense foods: whole foods, filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals. If we are continuing with complete honesty here, most of this fall I really haven’t been in the mood to drink green smoothies, but this past week I’ve been all about those kale and spinach-filled drinks.
I’m looking forward to moving back towards my more natural eating roots and seeing how it affects my teaching, my workouts and of course, my general energy and mood. `This past Christmas, I received a lot of wonderful cookbooks and cooking supplies (see the photo above) which I intend to use to inspire and motivate me in the new year.
So many things have happened in the new year, with me moving back to Southern Maryland, traveling to L.A. as well as Japan, applying to graduate school, focusing more on my own social media work and becoming a Spinning Instructor. Realistically I haven’t thought too much about 2017 and my goals for it beyond plans for this blog (in which there are many). While I did more traveling that I had in previous years, I feel the need to do more in 2017: travel more, do more and see more before I end up locked into graduate school in the fall. As excited as I am about it, I also feel a slight panic in my soul: the panic that always comes whenever I think about being “stuck”- stuck in an area or stuck in a place with less control over my plans.
I will continue to take it as I always have though: one step at a time. I will make plans, move forward, and hope that it all works towards a “successful” 2017.
This recipes comes as my sweet transition to the new year, using whole foods with roasted Japanese sweet potatoes and fresh citrus, taking advantage of the natural sweetness in each. Expect more greens to come in the future!
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Rosemary & Candied Oranges
2 Medium Purple Japanese Sweet Potatoes
¼ Cup Olive Oil
2 TBSP Maple Syrup
1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary (approximately 1 TBSP when minced)
1 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
¼ tsp Red Chili Flakes
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Wash and scrub sweet potatoes and orange. Roughly chop sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes. Cut orange in half, slicing one half into 1/4 inch rounds before cutting rounds in half to form half-moons. With the other half of the orange, juice it and reserve the juice.
Pull off the rosemary leaves from the main woody branch and mince the leaves.
In a liquid measuring cup, add orange juice, olive oil, maple syrup, rosemary, balsamic vinegar, chili flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste (make sure you taste it- this typically wants a decent amount of salt!).
In a large bowl, toss together potatoes and orange slices before pouring over the marinade and tossing to coat in entirety.
Spread everything out in a single layer on a large sheet pan and place in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes before tossing and flipping the potatoes and oranges around and returning to the oven. Roast for another 20 minutes- this is when they should start to brown and caramelize!
Remove from the oven and serve warm!
You might also like my recipe for Roasted Potatoes with Fresh Sage, Mushroom and Toasted Pecans or Cinnamon Roasted Taproots.