Every February, B heads to Europe for a week-long sales kickoff. Because his trip always falls on the heels of the fat-kid stretch between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, I welcome the opportunity to use it as a mental and physical reset. I work out every day and cook supa-clean meals at home; write for hours on end and read at least one old lady book; maintain a delightfully tidy home with everything in its place; drink many varieties of hot tea and kombucha; and most importantly, enjoy the sound of sports-free silence for up to seven luxurious days (only interrupted by PBS and Scandal of course). In essence, I live the life of an 80 year-old British spinster and love every second of it.
I of course miss B’s companionship and presence by the end of the week (which is usually when I realize how terribly boring I would be without him around). But this annual respite is still a relished time to focus on taking care of myself and addressing my needs and wants above all. A key part of doing so successfully is restoring balance to my diet and nourishing myself in a beautifully simple way (so there’s plenty of time to enjoy tea and books). Below is a new creation worth sharing; a cozy, comforting winter meal that emerged from this year’s week of self-love.
Warming Winter Bowl
Spiced Sweet Potato Hash
2 tablespoons refined coconut oil
2 small apples (Honey Crisp are my favorite, Braeburn is yummy too. Pick Pink Lady or even Granny Smith if you like apples a little more tart)
3 medium shallots (or 2 large)
1 medium - large sweet potato
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon curry powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Fresh ground pepper
½ small red onion
1 bag Shredded Brussels sprouts from Trader Joe’s
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon avocado oil (or your preferred roasting oil)
1/4 cup raw pecans, chopped
3 tablespoons golden raisins, chopped
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Chop apples and sweet potato into ¼ inch cubes and slice shallots into about 1/8” thick slices. Set aside.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (a non-stick skillet will work just fine too, but no need to warm ahead of time).
- In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts and thinly sliced red onion (between 1/8 and ¼ inch thick) with avocado oil to coat. Add garlic powder and sea salt and stir to coat.
- Spread Brussels sprout mixture on a large cookie sheet coated with foil and roast for 10 minutes.
- Add coconut oil to warm skillet and swirl to coat. Add apples, shallots and sweet potatoes; coat evenly with coconut oil. Sprinkle garam masala, curry powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper over hash and stir. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring only once.
- Stir Brussels sprouts at the 10 minute mark and return to the oven to cook for another 10-15 minutes (depending on how crispy you like your sprouts).
- Remove lid from hash, stir and continue cooking uncovered for 10 more minutes or until apples and potatoes reach desired tenderness.
- While hash is cooking, chop 8-10 ounces grilled chicken breast, or grab about 2 cups of my favorite shredded chicken breast recipe shown below, adapted from Clean Eats (I make this almost religiously on Sundays to have around for the week).
- Toss the chicken in the skillet with your hash for the last minute or so of cooking. Be careful not to do this prematurely or you’ll end up with tough chicken – you just want to warm the previously cooked meat at this stage.
- Serve hash and chicken over a bed of sprouts and sprinkle with pecans and raisins (optional). If you find the mixture a tad try, toss with a teaspoon of warmed coconut oil and add salt and pepper to taste.
Tip: If your hash needs a little more time than your sprouts, turn the oven off and leave the door ajar to allow some heat to escape before leaving them in the oven until your hash is ready. About
2 lbs chicken breast
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
About 2 quarts of water (enough to cover chicken by ¼ inch)
- Trim fat from chicken and cut each breast in ½.
- Place all ingredients in a pot, cover and bring to a boil. (Start peaking under the lid after about 7 minutes to ensure you see when it starts to boil – this will prevent overcooking).
- When pot comes to a boil, reduce to a simmer over low heat and cook covered for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Remove lid and cool until chicken is just warm to the touch.
- Transfer chicken to cutting board and shred by hand.
- Cool completely and place in refrigerator in an air-tight container.