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Sweet potatoes, one of the 18 “Feel Good” foods on the kidoing! Immunity Poster, are such an indulgent root vegetable.  They are sweet and creamy and can be used in a myriad of recipes.

My favorite way of preparing them is baking them, although I do roast them often.  In our house, we eat sweet potatoes a couple times a week.

Sweet potatoes are such an easy and likable food to incorporate into your family’s diet.  They do take a long time to cook, but here’s how I do it, while still keeping up with our busy household schedule.

I always have sweet potatoes on hand (they keep for months in a dark dry place).  It takes a little bit of planning, since they take about an hour to bake (depending on size, cook time takes between 45 minutes and 75 minutes).

Here’s how quickly you can prepare them.  It takes me just 2-3 minutes of prep time and if you bake a few at a time they will last several days in the fridge.

1.  Wash, poke (to let steam escape), and wrap them in parchment lined aluminum foil

2.  Bake at 400 degrees (check at 45 minutes, then every 10 minutes after until done – don’t worry if you are busy and overcook them, they will just be sweeter!)

We bake our sweet potatoes at various times throughout the day…as soon as we wake up in the morning, while my toddler is napping, while I’m prepping dinner (to be eaten another time), while I’m catching up on stuff after the kids go to bed.  I love to use my small toaster/broiler as it uses less energy and has a convenient timer function/bell.

Getting Kids Doing! Tip:  My five year old can wash, dry, poke and roll the potatoes in the foil (I help her with tearing the parchment and foil).  If they are old enough to use a toaster, voila, with a little supervision they can be in charge of baking the potatoes.

Now, on to the yummy part – how I use my sweet potatoes! Sweet potatoes are full of beta carotene.  I do think it’s important to point out that, when possible, we include some sort of fat in our sweet potato recipes since fat is needed to enjoy the full benefits of beta carotene.

1.  Whipped Sweet Potatoes – Super quick/easy in blender or food processor…just add sweet potatoes, a little coconut milk and a pinch of salt.

2.  Sweet Potato Bean Dip – There is a delicious recipe in Dreena Burton’s Vive Le Vegan book called “Cannellini Bean Yam Hummus”.  I took it to my daughter’s kindergarten class for snack and they ate it all! (Yes, this was a group of 18 5-6 year olds that ate sweet potatoes and beans in a dip flavored with fresh raw garlic.)

3.  Sweet Potato Smoothie – Add one frozen banana, coconut milk, a sprinkle of pumpkin pie seasoning, a pinch of salt, some ice and blend away!  Add a tablespoon of hemp seeds for protein.

4.  Sweet Potato Pie – Pick your favorite recipe! I sweeten with maple syrup instead of white or brown sugar.

5.  Sweet Potato Soup – Add sweet potato to your blender or food processor with some vegetable stock, a little coconut milk, some cooked oatmeal (leftover from breakfast), a pinch of cinnamon, a dash of vanilla and a pinch of salt.  Blend/process.  If you have a high speed blender, keep the motor running on high for five minutes and there’s your soup.  If you don’t, blend it all up and warm it on the stove.

6.  Sweet Potato Quesadillas – with black beans and caramelized onions (and some cheese if you want) – ’nuff said…DELISH!

7.  Sweet Potato Chips – I peel, slice thin chips (using my Kyocera slicer, which I love), sprinkle a little sea salt and dehydrate for about five hours for a raw treat.  You can also bake in the oven at a low temperature, but they won’t be considered “raw” if baked over 105 degrees.

What’s your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes?