Monday, July 30, 2012

Crock-Pot Shredded Mexican Chicken

On days when you don’t feel like spending a lot of time in the kitchen, a Crock-Pot is a wonderful thing.  Even though I typically associate Crock-Pot meals (like soup or stew) with winter, they're also perfect in the summer because you don't have to turn on the oven and heat up your house!  Since this recipe is made in a Crock-Pot, it requires minimal effort and as an added bonus, leaves you with a good amount of leftovers.  It has great Mexican flavors that pair nicely with cool summer ingredients like fresh tomatoes and avocado.  It is also very versatile.  You could make a different meal with it every day of the week!  Serve it on salad, with rice or quinoa and beans, on top of steamed veggies, with a sweet potato, in a soft taco or enchilada... the possibilities are endless!  Pictured below is how Rem ate it last night.  He had the chicken with quinoa and black beans, steamed broccoli, tomato, half an avocado with plain greek yogurt, and fresh lemon juice squeezed on top.  Rem always does such a beautiful job of plating his food, while my plates usually look more boring.  Last night (and today for lunch) I ate my chicken in a salad with spinach, tomato, and avocado.  While this is my favorite way to eat it, it was not as photogenic as Rem’s meal.  Any way you serve it, this chicken is delicious.  And I forgot to mention that your house will smell FANTASTIC while it’s cooking!

I should thank Trader Joe’s for the inspiration for this recipe, since I purchased almost all of the ingredients for it there!  If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, don’t worry.  All of the ingredients (or some version of them) can be purchased at most grocery stores.

The tomatoes in the picture are from the Granville Farmer's Market.  They were so fresh and full of flavor!  If you live in the area, support your local farmers by checking out the Granville Farmer's Market on Saturdays (May-October) from 8:30 am-12 pm in downtown Granville on the corner of Broadway and Main.  They have an excellent selection of local meat and produce for very reasonable prices!

Let me know if you try this recipe or make any yummy variations!

Crock-Pot Shredded Mexican Chicken 

2.5-3 lb. frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 medium onions, sliced thin
1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
1 12-16 oz. jar salsa verde (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Juice from 1 small lemon or lime

Place chicken in the Crock-Pot (frozen or thawed, either is fine).  Slice onions and place on top of chicken.  Pour tomatoes over onions and chicken.  In small bowl, mix together salsa verde, garlic, cumin, oregano, pepper, and lime/lemon juice.  Pour this mixture on top.  Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours (or up to 10).  Half way through, stir everything a little to get it all incorporated.  About an hour before you are ready to eat, shred the chicken with a fork.  It should fall apart easily at this point.  Serve on salad, with rice or quinoa and beans, or however you wish!  Makes 8-10 servings.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

"Pollo Diablo" Marinade

This is our favorite marinade for grilled chicken!  It comes from Weber’s Big Book of Grilling, which has tons of delicious recipes in it.  I highly recommend this cookbook for anyone who loves to grill!  It also has directions and tips for grilling just about any cut of meat, which comes in very handy. 

We’ve marinated the chicken anywhere from 4-24 hours, and while it is definitely juicier the longer you marinate it, it tastes delicious no matter what. 

Definitely use fresh rosemary in this recipe, not dried.  It makes a huge difference in the flavor.  For the lemon juice and orange juice, we’ve use bottled and fresh, and both work equally well.  The chicken I’ve been cooking with lately is either Giant Eagle’s Nature’s Basket fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts ($5.69/lb) or Harvestland (Kroger carries this brand) frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts (on sale, they’re $8.99 for 2.25 lbs).  Both of these brands are hormone-free and antibiotic-free.  

The chicken in the photo below was grilled by ME with Rem’s guidance.  It was actually the first time I’ve grilled!  For as much as I love to cook, I’ve just never gotten into grilling  Rem always does the grilling, and does a fantastic job of it.  At least now I know how to do it!  

Try out this marinade if you’re looking for a delicious new way to grill chicken.

“Pollo Diablo” Marinade

3 T extra virgin olive oil
3 T orange juice
3 T lemon juice
2 T finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 T minced garlic
1 T crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp kosher salt
3-4 pounds of chicken (we use boneless, skinless breasts)

Whisk marinade ingredients together.  Place chicken in large resealable bag and pour in the marinade.  Seal bag tightly and distribute the marinade.  Refrigerate 4-24 hours.  When you’re ready, grill the chicken (or cook it however you like).  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Feeling Good

I am a huge proponent of eating nutritious food and exercising to be healthy, and I used to think that those were the only components of health.  They are incredibly important, but not the whole picture.  Over time I have realized that taking care of your health also means doing things to reduce stress in your life and maintaining a positive outlook:  doing and thinking about things that make you feel good.  Now hopefully what you eat and what you do for exercise do make you feel good, but I’m talking about habits and messages that revolve around your emotional, mental, and spiritual health.  These are important parts of your overall health that can easily be neglected.  I know I usually focus on healthy recipes here, but today I thought I would take a different approach and talk about some ways I take care of my health that don’t revolve around food. 

Note: For my book club, we recently read the book The Happiness Project which detailed a writer’s journey through one year of resolutions to increase happiness.  The book included tons of advice on ways to be happier, and prompted me to think about what habits I could adopt and what messages I could think about to help make me feel more peaceful, more grateful, and just happier right now.


1.       Walk after dinner.  Not only do I feel good that I’m giving Mason (my dog) exercise and obedience training, but this habit improves digestion and allows for time think, relax, and connect with nature.  I feel so much better when I walk after dinner than when I eat and then just plop down on the couch.  And now, every night after dinner, Mason sits by the back door waiting for me to take him for a walk. 

2.       Keep a gratitude journal.  Inspired by The Happiness Project as well as one of Rem’s co-workers (link to her blog), I decided to start my own gratitude journal.  At the end of each day, I write one sentence about something I did that day, one sentence about something for which I am grateful, and one sentence in prayer for someone.  So far it has proven to be a great way to reflect on the day and appreciate the wonderful people, events, and things in my life. 

3.       Pray together.  Rem and I started praying together before our meals, and even this small gesture helps us appreciate our food, our lives, and each other so very much.
Mason, my baby.


1.       If something takes less than one minute, just do it!  I read this tip in The Happiness Project and it instantly resonated with me.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written a task on a to-do list that I actually could have completed in the time it took me to write it down.  This tip has helped diminish those little stressors that stem from piled-up, unfinished tasks.

2.       Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.  This tip also comes from The Happiness Project.  I fall victim to this all the time.  I don’t want to start a task or set a goal because I don’t think I’ll be able to do it perfectly.  Do you ever feel this way?  I constantly have to remind myself: doing “good” is better than doing nothing at all.  This doesn’t mean I shouldn’t work hard and strive to do well.  It means that it is not necessary, or possible, to be perfect.  Which leads me to the next message…

3.       Mr. Rogers once said: “Some days, doing the ‘best we can’ may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn't perfect – on any front – and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else.”  This may not be meaningful to you today, or ever, but it’s something I think about every day.  Take some time to reflect on what this might mean for you. 

4.       My friends Meghan and Molly recommended that I listen to this truly moving homily from Father Gary Braun at the Catholic Student Center at Washington University.  I am thankful that they told me about it, and I pass the recommendation on to you.  Listen to it if you have the time (click on the link).  It is beautiful.  Do you think you’re beautiful?

I hope everyone has a great day!  I would love to hear about any healthy habits or messages that are important to you.  Post a comment if you have something to share.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Savory Zucchini Muffins

When we got married two years ago, Rem and I got Topsy Turvy planters as gifts.  We were pretty excited to start growing some fruits and vegetables, and last summer we had the best intentions, but they never went up.  This May, we finally planted some strawberry, Serrano pepper, and tomato plants!  My dad also gave us some zucchini and squash plants that we planted in our front beds.  So far the plants look pretty good and have lots of flowers on them, but we've only gotten about 5 strawberries and 3 Serrano peppers so far.  Hopefully we’ll have some more produce soon!  I’m just excited that we finally started growing some of our own food.

Tomato plant
Strawberry plant
Serrano pepper plant

Zucchini and squash plants
My dad, who is a very experienced and successful gardener, has a fantastic garden right now!  He grows kohlrabi, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, and cucumbers, just to name a few.  This weekend he gave us some HUGE zucchini and squash from his garden, which I promptly put to good use!

I used the shredder blade on our food processor to shred the zucchini, which made the whole process quick and easy!  I froze part of the shredded zucchini and used the other half to make these savory zucchini muffins.  I don’t think I’ve ever made savory muffins before, as I have a tendency to prefer sweet baked goods.  These muffins were awesome though, and had a very complex flavor.  The roasted peppers, sautéed onion, rosemary and oregano all come through in layers as you chew each bite.  These were delicious straight from the oven, but they can be refrigerated for up to a week.  I also froze some and plan to reheat them in the toaster oven.  Today I ate a refrigerated muffin reheated in the toaster oven for about 8 minutes at 400 degrees.  It was just as delicious as the one straight from the oven!  Of course they’re also good cold if you don’t want to wait that long!

I love cooking and baking with zucchini this time of year!  Other than these muffins, we like to sauté zucchini, squash, onion, green beans, and cherry tomatoes with some olive oil, salt and pepper.  Yum!  What do you like to make with zucchini? 

Savory Zucchini Muffins

Adapted from Thyroid Diet Coach

½ jar (6 oz.) roasted red and yellow peppers (I used TraderJoe’s brand), diced 
1 large onion, diced
1 very large zucchini, shredded (about 3 cups)
½ c extra virgin olive oil
½ c plain, fat free Greek yogurt
1 egg
2 c oat flour (I processed Bob’s Red Mill gluten free oats in the food processor until finely ground; 2 ½ c whole oats gave me 2 c oat flour)
½ c cornmeal
1 tsp salt
3 T fresh rosemary, chopped
1 T dry oregano
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line muffin tins (you will need 2 tins) with liners or coat with olive oil.  (I used muffin liners.)  Sauté onion on medium high in a little olive oil until brown and soft (caramelized).  Combine all dry ingredients (oat flour, cornmeal, salt, rosemary, oregano, pepper and baking powder).  Combine all wet ingredients (chopped peppers, shredded zucchini, sautéed onion. olive oil, yogurt, and egg).  Mix wet and dry ingredients together until fully incorporated.  Spoon into muffins cups.  For me, this recipe yielded 21 muffins.  The muffin cups can be pretty full because they don’t rise very much.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until the tops are firm.  Eat right away, or cool in pan 20-30 minutes, then remove to wire rack to cool the rest of the way.  Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator, or take remove muffin liners and freeze. 
Note: There are approximately 2590 calories in the entire recipe.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Granola

I’m not sure what sparked the idea for making oatmeal raisin cookie granola, but I woke up the other day and it just sounded so good.  When something sounds good and I want to determine the best way to make it, I sometimes google my idea (for this recipe: oatmeal raisin cookie granola) and browse different recipes to see what has been made before.  Then I evaluate the methods and ingredients, determining which method I think would work best (based on what I know about baking or cooking), and which ingredients I might substitute for what others have used.  In this recipe, for example, I used honey whereas other recipes I saw used sugar or agave nectar.  I also used coconut oil where other recipes called for butter.  But that’s just me!  When you go to make this recipe (or any other recipe on my blog), think about what ingredients fit your dietary preferences or match up with what you have in your fridge or pantry right now! 

The main recipe I used for my inspiration was from Gluten Free Easily, a fantastic blog for gluten free recipes.  This was actually one of the first gluten free blogs I found and is still one of my favorites.  I thought gfe’s method of baking healthy oatmeal raisin cookies until they are almost done, then breaking them up and mixing them with other ingredients, was a great idea.  When you bake the “cookies,”  don’t be alarmed that they don’t actually look like typical cookies.   They won’t hold together well and will be caramelized on the edges.  This is what you want!  It doesn’t matter what they look like at this point because you’re going to crumble them up.

After I made the cookie dough for this granola, I put it in the fridge, and ran to Kroger to get some brown rice crisps.  Well, they were out, and I didn’t feel like going to another store, so I adapted and crumbled up some brown rice cakes.  It sounds strange, I know, but it really worked!  Next time I make this I might use brown rice crisps instead though, since I think the crisps would make the granola even crunchier.  I’ve learned that brown rice crisps (or brown rice cakes) are a great way to “bulk up” a granola and make it less calorie dense (just sub brown rice crisps for half the amount of oats you would normally use).  You could also just use regular or sweetened rice cakes OR rice krispies cereal if that’s what you have on hand!  And if you don’t use coconut oil, try olive oil or butter if that’s what you use.  Don't have walnuts or almonds?  Use peanuts, pecans, or any other type of nut.  Don’t feel like you need to go out and buy any special ingredients just for this recipe.  

At first I was a little disappointed with the taste (when it was warm) because the flavor of the brown rice cakes was pretty strong, but after refrigeration, the granola tasted just like an incredibly delicious and crunchy oatmeal raisin cookie.  I couldn’t stop eating it.  Luckily, Rem likes it just as much as I do, so I didn’t end up eating the entire batch by myself. 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Granola

Inspired by Gluten Free Easily

¼ c coconut oil
½ c honey
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 T cinnamon
1 ½ c gluten free oats
½ c raisins
54 g almonds, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
60 g walnuts, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
4 brown rice cakes, crumbled

Melt coconut oil and honey for 20 seconds in microwave.  Let cool 2 min. (If you don't let it cool, the egg will become scrambled when you add it.)  Whisk in egg, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon.  Stir in oats and raisins.  Refrigerate 30 min-1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop walnuts and almonds.  Crumble rice cakes into very small pieces.  Place nuts and rice cakes in large bowl.  Bake cookies 8 min (should be slightly underbaked).  Immediately break cookies into pieces with spoon and mix cookie pieces with nuts and rice cakes.  Once mixed, spread this mixture back onto the parchment paper and bake 5-10 minutes longer.  Remove from oven and let cool completely on baking sheet.  Store in the refrigerator.  The granola may get clumpy in the refrigerator, but if it does just shake up the container it is in and it will break up again. 

Note: In a 2/3 cup serving, there are approximately 235 calories.   

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chicken Salad

This chicken salad recipe is inspired by our dear family friend, Gayle, who is a great cook!  On vacation last summer, she made a delicious chicken salad with baked chicken, Hellman’s Light Mayonnaise, grapes, celery seed, salt and pepper.  When we got home I immediately set out to make it, but with a few twists.  I wanted a high protein dressing with some healthy fat, so I replaced the mayo with plain, fat-free Greek yogurt mixed with lemon juice, olive oil, and Dijon mustard. (I have to admit, I used to think I hated mustard, but I’ve started to use it in many of the recipes I make for a burst of tangy flavor.  I’ve realized that I was missing out!)  I also wanted to add some more veggies and crunch, and celery proved to be a very yummy addition.  The last change I made was to add walnuts for more healthy fats and more crunch.   

I typically make this with chicken breasts, but most recently made it with thighs, which I actually prefer!  The dark meat is so tender and delicious. 

I like to eat this by itself or make a chicken salad salad, but it would also make a good sandwich I’m sure!

If you can’t eat dairy (I’m thinking of my friend Sara as I write this!), go ahead and use Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise instead of the Greek yogurt dressing, as it is dairy (and gluten) free. 

I've also considered using this Paleo mayonnaise as the dressing but haven't gotten around to it yet.  Leave a comment if you decide to try it.  I'm interested in finding out how it turns out!

Chicken Salad

Inspired by Gayle

2-3 lbs frozen boneless, skinless chicken breast OR boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1-2 cups red seedless grapes, cut in quarters
3-4 celery ribs, diced
¼ c chopped walnuts or slivered almonds
1 c plain, fat-free Greek yogurt
¼ c extra virgin olive oil
¼ c lemon juice
2 T Dijon mustard (or 2 “big squirts”)
2 T celery seed
1 T freshly ground black pepper (I don't usually measure, I just add a lot!)
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place frozen chicken in 13x9 pan and cover with foil.  Bake 25 min, then remove foil and flip chicken over.  Bake 30 min with foil removed.  (Alternatively, use leftover baked chicken, grilled chicken, or rotisserie chicken.  Any kind will work!)  When chicken is cool enough to handle, trim any fatty pieces or tendons and chop chicken into small, uniform pieces and put into a large bowl.  To prepare dressing, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, celery seed, pepper and salt.  Chop up celery, grapes, and nuts; add these to the chicken, then pour dressing on top.  Stir everything together.  Refrigerate.  Makes 4-6 servings.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cowboy Caviar

This “cowboy caviar” is a dish we originally found on and have adapted to suit our taste and dietary preferences.  We have made it dozens of times (usually a double batch), and every time it disappears too quickly!  This is a perfect summer dish because it requires NO cooking and is extremely versatile.  We typically eat it with burgers, grilled chicken, or on salads.  We used to eat it with tortilla chips, which was delicious as well.  If you can tolerate corn, add 1 cup of corn to the recipe for a nice contrast in color and texture.  If you eat Paleo, omit the beans and add cooked chicken to the mix.  What really makes this dish delicious is the avocado, so definitely don’t skimp on that!  Try this one or make your own version and let me know what you think!

Cowboy Caviar

Adapted from 

15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 roma tomatoes, diced
3 green onions, minced
1 large avocado, diced
1 c chopped fresh cilantro
½ c salsa (we like to use hot salsa, but any type will work)
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in large bowl and gently stir to combine.  Refrigerate.  This only keeps for 2-3 days (past that, the avocado starts to turn brown), but it probably won’t even last that long!

Friday, July 6, 2012

PB + Whey Protein Bars

A couple weekends ago, Rem and I had no plans in the afternoon, so we decided to experiment in the kitchen with our own protein bar recipe.  I realize this may sound lame, but it was an incredibly fun, relaxing and delicious afternoon!  Rem came up with the ingredients and ratios he wanted, and I helped him decide if it would actually turn into something in the oven.  And so we began.  These are the ingredients Rem wanted in the bars:
Protein: whey protein powder
Carbohydrates: banana, oats
Fat: coconut oil, flaxseed, natural peanut butter

In the first batch, we mixed these ingredients together along with egg whites and a bit of baking soda, poured them into a parchment lined loaf pan, and hoped for a good result!  We thought they would rise evenly and have the texture of a brownie.   So, we were pretty shocked when the first batch turned into bread!  It rose, had a nice crust on top, and was quite moist and tender.  The chocolate, banana, and peanut butter flavors were all present and blended nicely! 

On the second batch, we set out to make a fudgier, denser protein bar (not bread).  We made essentially the same recipe (used a different whey) but left out the egg whites and baking soda.  It was a great success!  The bars only rose a little this time, and were both dense and filling.  The strawberry, banana, and peanut butter flavors were delicious.

The fourth batch was the result of me making a third batch of very, very dry bars, so I decided to try AGAIN.  For the fourth batch, I decreased the amount of oats to 1 tablespoon and added ¼ cup of almond milk, and they turned out perfect! 

Batch 2 and Batch 4 were equally delicious and exactly what we had in mind when we started making these bars: equal ratios of protein, fat, and carbohydrates, prominent peanut butter and banana flavor, dense and fudgy texture, filling, portable, and delicious!  If you want to make these bars using a different brand of protein, just decide which protein powder yours most closely resembles in terms of calories, fat, carbohydrate and protein content per 40-45 g serving.  I’ve included below the recipes for the batches that actually turned out well!  So if you want a protein bread, try out batch 1.  If you want a protein bar, try out batch 2 or 4.  Let me know what you think! 

BATCH 1: Chocolate PB + Whey Protein Bread

1 ripe banana, mashed until liquid
¼ c (64 g) natural peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
1 T coconut oil
2 T ground flaxseed
¼ c gluten free oats (or regular old-fashioned oats)
Splash pure vanilla extract
4 egg whites
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.  Mash banana with a fork then stir until it starts to liquefy.  Add all other ingredients and stir until smooth.  Pour batter into loaf pan and bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Makes 4 bars.

BATCH 2: Strawberry Banana PB + Whey Protein Bars

1 ripe banana, mashed until liquid
¼ c (64 g) natural peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
1 T coconut oil
2 T ground flaxseed
¼ c gluten free oats (or regular old-fashioned oats)
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.  Mash banana with a fork then stir until it starts to liquefy.  Add all other ingredients and stir until smooth.  Pour batter into loaf pan and bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Makes 4 bars.

BATCH 4: Chocolate PB + Whey Protein Bars

1 ripe banana, mashed until liquid
¼ c (64 g) natural peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
1 T coconut oil
2 T ground flaxseed
1 T gluten free oats (or regular old-fashioned oats)
¼ c unsweetened almond milk
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.  Mash banana with a fork then stir until it starts to liquefy.  Add all other ingredients and stir until smooth.  Pour batter into loaf pan and bake 18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Makes 4 bars.

Macronutrient Breakdown in Protein Powders

Per 41 g serving Vitacost Whey Protein Iso: 140 cal, 33.3 g protein, 0 g fat, .6 carbohydrate

Per 44 g serving Body Logix Strawberry Banana Whey Protein: 172.5 cal, 36 g protein, 1.5 g fat, 4.5 g carbohydrate

Approximate Macronutrient Breakdown (for batches 2 and 4)

Per bar (4 bars per recipe): 240 calories, 14 g protein, 13 g fat, 16 g carbohydrates 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sweet Potato Salad

Happy Fourth of July!  I hope everyone has a great day and takes some time to honor the men and women who have fought for our country to give us the freedoms we enjoy every day. 

The recipe for today features a favorite food in our household: sweet potatoes.  They didn’t used to be a staple in our pantry (we used to eat mainly white potatoes) but over the past few months we have started to cook with them often!  We eat them baked, steamed, grilled, in chili, and in a variety of cold sweet potato dishes, including this sweet potato salad.  We also love the fact that they are full of nutrients, supplying high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B6, potassium, and fiber. 

This is definitely not a “traditional” potato salad recipe in any way, but it does fit the bill for a great summer side dish that is perfect for a cookout or picnic.  Although you’ve probably already planned what you’re making for any Fourth of July parties today, this would be a great option if you haven’t decided!  This salad has quickly become one of our favorite dishes with its great blend of texture and flavors.  The combination of sweet and spicy with smooth and crunchy makes it delicious!  If you’re not a huge fan of spicy, just leave the cayenne pepper out, but do try the combination of cumin and cinnamon.  It is the perfect spice set for sweet potatoes. 

 Fair warning, this recipe requires a LOT of chopping, so enlist some help when you go to make it.  It will save you tons of time if you have two people prepping instead of one!  Also, when we made this the first time, we added about 6 chopped hardboiled eggs to the mix to add more protein.  It was good, but I prefer it without the eggs. 

Sweet Potato Salad

8 large sweet potatoes
8 slices bacon (I use applewood smoked turkey bacon from Trader Joe’s)
2 granny smith apples
1 green pepper
6 green onions
5 celery ribs
1 tsp coarse salt
A few shakes cayenne pepper
Liberal amounts of: ground cumin, cinnamon, freshly ground pepper
Lemon juice

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes.  Place in large pot of water and bring to a boil.  Once the water starts to boil, cover the pot and cook until potatoes can be easily mashed with a fork.  Drain and leave in colander to cool.  As the potatoes are boiling, cook bacon however you like it best (baked, broiled, cooked in a skillet, etc.)  When the bacon is done cooking and cool enough to handle, chop it into small pieces.  Meanwhile, dice apples, green pepper, green onions, and celery.  Combine cooked sweet potatoes, bacon, apples, green pepper, green onions, and celery.  Add spices and stir everything together.  Drizzle with some lemon juice to keep the apples from turning brown.  Refrigerate.  The salad stays good in the fridge for up to 5 days. 

*Note: I’ve never actually measured the spices for this recipe, so go light at first, and add spice until the salad suits your taste.