Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

This post was written three times over, which is two times more than the norm. First I wrote about something so unremarkable I can’t even remember it. Later that night I read an article on climate change and it left me unsatisfied. Shouldn’t I write about something worth taking action on? Something that actually matters? So then I wrote the post again, and attempted to find that perfect balance you need to strike when writing a post like this — but I’m not sure I ever found it. So, fair warning: it is a bit of a rant. If you’d prefer to just scroll right on by and get the recipe, I won’t even know it.

“Perfection is the enemy of good and done,” so let’s just get down to it.

8,030. That’s how many days are in twenty-two years.

It will be the year 2040. By then, I’ll be 49.

How about you?

By 2040, the International Panel on Climate Change predicts the planet will increase in temperature by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (you may already know this, it’s not the newest of news). It’s a minuscule difference, something that seems like nothing — barely discernible to the human body - but oh, it is most certainly not nothing.

The impact of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit? “Worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs.”

Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet
Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

This blog has never touched on political issues before. That was intentional. And that’s not likely to change, aside from this one blog post. (TBH, it's absurd to me that keeping our planet live-able is even a political issue.) But I felt a need to say something, to spread the word, so here we are.

Because in the end all of us — you, me, and 7.2 billion other people - have to face this together. And while it feels, in so many ways, out of our hands (I get it), it doesn’t mean we can’t try.

I am a fairly environmentally conscious person but have never been an extremist by any definition, so I’ve been thinking about what I can do that still fits into my life. Tiny things that will add up. I already drive a hybrid car (though I could take the time to walk more places!), and we compost and recycle regularly. But what else?

Here is my running list so far — things that have just been on my mind.

  • No food waste. I have already been much more aware of food waste and what it means to eat “root to stem” in the last few months. We are still eating crops harvested from the garden, but our first frost hit earlier this month so very few crops are still growing. Of course I knew this would happen, but going from growing most of our own food to figuring out how to preserve what we have has made me super aware of how the first homesteaders had their work cut out for them just to get through winter — and here I can just pop over to the store when our pile of squash runs out (or when we just don’t want to eat squash!!). So what? Eating local is on just about every “how to live an eco-friendly life” list,  but it’s just not realistic in every location. Our Farmer’s Market is only around in the fair weather months, and all I’ll be harvesting for the next six months is hearty greens. I’ll have to buy some food that was produced far, far away, and that’s just reality (at least for me, in the suburbs, where growing tons of grow beans, grain, or livestock isn’t realistic). But when I do, I’ll do my absolute best to make sure not a bit of it goes to waste. (Eh-hem, like that suuuupper crusty sourdough I made last week, which was basically a giant bread cracker. Strata, stuffing, bread crumbs... here we come!)

  • Buy less. In college, I had a self-enforced rule that when I wanted to buy something (new clothes, jewelry, etc), I would put it on a list and wait for a month. If I still wanted it in a month, then I really wanted it — it wasn’t just an impulse buy. Back then, the rule was put into place because of financial reasons (college student making minimum wage!), but it’s a really practical rule. It is easy to get just about anything delivered to your door overnight now, and sometimes our recycling bin fills up over the course of just a few days! It’s not just the packaging thought — the amount of energy that goes into getting something from point A to B is a lot!

  • Tame my wanderlust. I get this craving to see new places — to see the world. (Typical Millennial of me). But one round trip cross-country is a lot of greenhouse gases, and driving — or better yet carpooling - is more efficient in terms of CO2 emissions. I am very lucky to have travel a lot over the last twenty years, which I am so thankful for. Those trips molded my mind and made me who I am. But! There is no denying that all those plane tickets fuel an industry that’s putting of a lot of greenhouse gases. So, next time a case of wanderlust creeps up on me, I’m going to try to remember this paragraph, and go somewhere local instead. (Just this last weekend, we did a biking brewery tour of a near-by town and it was like being on vacation — so many places right here I’ve never seen!)

  • Support brands making eco-friendly decisions. I am just one person, but companies are made up of dozens (if not hundreds) of people, and are serving many many more. When they make eco-friendly decisions (like using recycled packaging, buying organic ingredients, or avoiding harsh chemicals) they make a big difference faster.

  • Collect and reuse water. For a long time in the state of Colorado, collecting rainwater was not permitted, but that changed two years ago. I’ve considered getting water barrels for watering my plants several times, but have never actually done it. Recently, I’ve been pondering what other water can be collected — for example, using water from rinsing dishes (avoiding harsh soaps) to water trees. A half baked plan, just something in my head.

We’re also considering getting solar panels on our house, but that’s not so much a resolution as it is something we’ve always planned to do.

That’s it for today. Just a rant and a resolution. And a breakfast!! Something that you can totally make from local ingredients almost no matter where you live, all year round.

Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

Published October 18, 2018 by
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Serves: 3   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 packed cup kale, chopped small
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles

  • Directions:

    1. Heat coconut oil in skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion, minced garlic, and cubed sweet potato to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
    2. Add chopped kale, and cook for 2 minutes, allowing greens to wilt.
    3. Crack the eggs into the pan. Cook for 3-5 more minutes, until egg whites are cooked through and yolks are cooked to your preferences. Top with crumbled goat cheese, and season to taste with salt & pepper. Serve hot.

    Sweet Potato & Kale Breakfast Skillet

    Vanilla Chai Spice Dried Pears

    Vanilla Chai Spice Dried Pears

    A big box showed up in our dining room in mid-September with my name on the shipping label. 

    It was my birthday but I still scratched my head. This September, I had been so stressed that I mostly avoided the topic of my birthday or gifts with anyone that asked— I certainly didn’t need anything, but I also just couldn’t find a minute to think about it clearly.

    I had ordered nothing from Amazon myself (though in the same minute that thought entered my mind I also started doubting myself— had I hit “buy now” on that Dehydrator I had been eyeing instead of “add to cart?”). 

    When I got halfway through opening the box with a paring knife and found it was a Dehydrator, I doubted myself even further. So much so, that I stopped right there and pulled out my phone to check my Amazon order history.

    Vanilla Chai Spice Dried Pears

    Relief washed over me when I saw I had placed no orders in the last month, but I still had a mystery on my hands. I finished unpacking the appliance before drilling Oliver on who had bought it. It probably took me four tries to get it right, but when I did land on my dad it all made sense. I had given him a non-answer when he had asked about my birthday in general, so he had asked Oliver.

    This new dehydrator was about five times nicer than any of the ones I was planning to buy myself! Quieter, easy to use, and has a timer (key, if you ask me!). It’s the Excalibur 5-Tray Dehydrator (affiliate link!). (THANKS DAD!)

    So far, my absolute favorite thing to dehydrate has been pears.

    This recipe is inspired by one I found in Dried and True (affiliate link), a cookbook that takes dehydrating to the next level, moving it from boring old-fashioned recipes to new, inventive, and tantalizing flavors. I made the Dried Vanilla Pears from the book twice before venturing out on my own.

    Vanilla Chai Spice Dried Pears

    As soon as our first fall day hit, I immediately was dreaming about warmer flavors, like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Chai. And that’s how these pears came to be — a day dream, like most of my recipes 😉

    In real life, each slice of pear was such a treat, I savored every one. We took them hiking, ate them around the house, and packed them in our bags for outings around town. I always looked forward to those delicious pears. I thought, for about 5 seconds, about sharing them with a few coworkers but greed got the best of me and I kept it to myself. Sharing the recipe is almost as good, right?!

    This recipe is good for dehydrating-pros or a newbies like me. Make it while the pears are at their peak! I used Starkrimson Pears one round and Colorado Heirloom Pears another; Bartlette and D’Anjou would also be great.

    Vanilla Chai Spice Dried Pears

    Vanilla Chai Spice Dried Pears

    Published October 16, 2018 by
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    Yield: 20 slices   |    Active Time: 8-9 hours



    Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe pears Starkrimson
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 slices of fresh ginger - each about the size of a nickel
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch of ground cloves

  • Directions:

    1. Combine all ingredients but the pears in a sauce pan, and bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
    2. Wash pears and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices. Remove seeds and cut of stems as you go.
    3. Work with 3-4 pear slices at once: submerge pears in syrup on the stove, simmering slices for 10 minutes. Pears should be softened through but should not fall apart easily.
    4. Use a slotted spoon to remove slices from syrup and set on a plate to cool for several minutes.
    5. When all of the pears are done, spread them out on the wracks of your dehydrator (I use this one - affiliate link!), with at least 1/4-inch of space between each slice.
    6. Place wrack in dehydrator and set to 135°F for 8-10 hours, until pears are dried but still chewy.

    Instant Pot Yellow Dal

    Instant Pot Yellow Dal

    The air smells of pine as it whips in the window. Up here, it’s 62 degrees. The Aspens have turned; their bright yellow leaves look stark against the pine trees mixed among them. The air is thin, there is not a bar of cell service to be found, and the moon is up. This is Mount Evans.

    We’ve gone to Mount Evans to climb several times this summer and the change in elevation is always the perfect escape from the summer heat. (Eh-hem, I’ve obnoxiously shared the exact same view every weekend for the last month on my Instagram stories. I just can’t help it — the view takes my breath away every time.) Lately though, it’s been even better than usual because of the fall colors and crisp air. And, even I avoid cooking when it’s ninety degrees out, but when it’s only sixty-two, bring ooooon the baked goods, stews, and cozy foods.

    Instant Pot Yellow Dal
    Instant Pot Yellow Dal

    I love red lentils when the weather starts to turn, and my go-to is dal. It’s creamy, spicy, satisfying, and so easy to make in an Instant Pot. So easy! The best weekend days start with breakfast, take us climbing somewhere among the Aspens, and end in dinner from the Instant Pot.

    Instant Pot Yellow Dal

    Instant Pot Yellow Dal

    Published October 11, 2018 by
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    Serves: 8   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 2 cups red lentils
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small red onions or 1 large, diced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon whole black mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Juice 1/2 lime, plus wedges for serving
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced, plus more for garnish

  • Directions:

    1. Turn the Instant Pot (affiliate link!) to sauté setting. Add coconut oil to the Instant Pot. When the oil is hot, sauté the garlic, onions, ginger, and jalapeño, stirring occasionally.
    2. When the onions are transparent, add the lentils, broth, cumin, coriander, curry powder, mustard seeds, salt, lime juice, and cilantro and stir.
    3. Place lid on Instant Pot and turn to “Bean” setting. Set timer for 8 minutes with the seal closed.
    4. When the timer goes off, release the pressure or allow it to release naturally. Stir the lentils, and serve hot with lime wedges and cilantro.
    5. To make this on the stove top instead of an Instant Pot: Use a large soup pot. In step 3, bring everything to a simmer and cook, stirring occassionally, for 15-20 minutes, until lentils are softened through.
    6. Note: If you soak your lentils for 6-12 hours ahead of time (we usually do this), then strain water from lentils before use. Reduce broth quantity to 4 cups, and reduce cooking time to 4 minutes.