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‘Tis the season for sweet potatoes!  November is Sweet Potato Awareness Month and it’s perfect timing with Thanksgiving coming up in just a few weeks.  These edible roots are a healthy edition to your diet and now is the perfect time to add them to your menu while they are at their peak of flavor.  Sweet potatoes are a powerhouse of nutrition–they are a good source of dietary fiber, high in Vitamins A and C, and a good source of potassium.  Now, for most of us, the first thing that comes to mind when we think of sweet potatoes is the traditional sweet potato casserole Grandmom served each holiday.  While that’s fine,  there are many other ways to enjoy this delicious veggie that don’t include the extra sugar and calories.  Plus, these preparations allow for the flavor of the sweet potato to shine.

 

Fruits & Veggies–More Matters features sweet potatoes in one of their healthy plate dishes.  Sweet Potato Pancakes with Balsamic Maple Mushrooms is an interesting take on the traditional potato latke recipe.  This savory, vegetarian meal is perfect for brunch or dinner.

 

sweet potato pancakes

 

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili is another delicious meat-free menu item.  This recipe uses a variety of additional veggies like onion, bell pepper, garlic and diced tomatoes added to vegetable broth and lots of spices to create a zesty chili that will warm you up on those chilly winter nights.  The added bonus is that you’ll get more than your fill of heart-healthy fiber from the sweet potatoes and black beans!

 

sweet potato chili
Photo courtesy of Alida’s kitchen

 

Who doesn’t crave fries every now and then?  If you do, you’ll want to try these Oven-Roasted Sweet Potato Fries.  Aside from being healthier than the traditional “fried” version and having extra fiber since they’re made from sweet potatoes, this recipe uses a combination of spices like garlic powder, cumin, paprika and cayenne pepper for a flavorful treat.

 

sweet potato fries
Photo courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

 

Mashed, roasted or grilled–Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has put together a Top 10 List on their favorite ways to enjoy sweet potatoes (bet you never thought of adding them to your sandwich!).  Get creative with these tasty and nutritious veggies while they’re plentiful at your local market.

 

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What do you think of when I say, “figs”?  If you answered, “Fig Newtons,” you’re missing out on the many delicious ways this tasty fruit can be enjoyed.  It’s National Fig Week and the perfect time to explore this healthy and versatile fruit.  Figs are terrific for snacking.  They can be enjoyed dried or fresh and are a good source of dietary fiber and potassium.  There are actually hundreds of varieties of figs and their color can range from white to purple-black.  While figs make for great additions to baked goods because of their sweet flavor, don’t be afraid to try some other interesting ways to add them to your healthy diet.

 

 Pizza may not be the first thing you think about when you think figs, but Proscuitto and Fig Pizza is delectable!  This recipe is a take on the common appetizer of figs wrapped with Proscuitto.  Fontina cheese, a Balsamic reduction and arugula are added to the whole wheat crust, making this a gourmet pizza you will make over and over.

 

fig pizza

 

This salad is perfect for the fall season!  Roasted Onion, Squash and Fig Salad with Maple Mustard Balsamic Dressing uses dried figs in its recipe.  The onion and butternut squash are roasted and then added to mixed greens, crumbled goat cheese, dried figs and chopped walnuts.  The entire mix is then topped with an amazing dressing made from a combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic and whole grain mustard.  Lots of heart-healthy fat and fiber in this salad, which is hearty enough to make for a main meal!

 

fig and squash salad
Photo courtesy of yummybeet.com

 

Figs, like many fruits, are terrific when put up as a jam or preserves.  This recipe for Fig Jam is simple, the only ingredients include figs, sugar, lemon juice, red wine and cloves.  You can use this jam on toast or in baked goods.

 

fig jam
Photo courtesty of deliciousshots.blogspot.com

 

Finally, Michael Marks, Your Produce Man, has an interesting way to add figs to your dinner menu–Figatoni!  Yes, add dried figs to your pasta.  He shows you how in this step-by-step video.  Enjoy!

 

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