Tag Archives: feature

Sweet Potato Chips

I’m so exhausted from the PLA Conference this week that I didn’t have much on the docket for today, other than cuddling with my boys and making sweet potato chips.

I don’t buy sweet potatoes often, but I’ve been trying to eat a little healthier lately so I bought two not long ago. I keep forgetting I have them and decided to make both into chips so I can eat them whenever I want, instead of having to bake or mash them. I’ve made regular potato chips but not sweet potato chips so I’ve been eager to see how these taste. Turns out: They. Are. Amazing.

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To make these sweet potato chips I used a Simple Slicer and Microwave Potato Chip Maker, both from Pampered a Chef.

First I washed and peeled the sweet potatoes. You don’t have to peel them, but I like them that way.

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Next, I used the Simple Slicer to slice the sweet potatoes. The top piece has spokes to hold the produce on for easier and safer slicing, but I have to admit I just hold the potato with my hands. Keep in mind that doing it that way is not suggested.

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Ideally you should use the sliding mechanism and the produce holder to slide the potato safely across the blade, set at thickness setting 1. Again, I do things in a way that will likely make me lose a finger one day. Anyway, next I slid the potato up and down to make thin slices.

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Once I have several slices I lay them flat and without touching other pieces on the Microwave Chip trays, then stack the two trays on top of a each other.

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Put the two stacked trays in the microwave, then heat for about 3 minutes. I do between 3-5 minutes, depending on how even my slices are. I check after 3 minutes and heat at 30 second increments after. Please note, my microwave is filthy. Don’t judge.

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You want to make sure hung chips are crispy, not raw, but not burned. See the three differences below:

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Sometimes I let the chips sit on the tray for about a minute after cooking to let them harden a little more. Luckily I have two sets of trays so while one set of chips on the trays is heating I can slice and prepare a second set, and let the set cool at the same time. It’s all about rhythm, baby.

When they’re finished, try not to eat them all at once. It won’t hurt you, in fact they’re quite healthy. But you’ll be sorry later when you don’t have them to snack on.

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Hey Brother

Looking through pictures of my kids is something I do frequently. They are all three so different and wonderful.

Though Nick isn’t mine by birth I love him so much. He’s generous and smart and mature beyond his ten years. I am so lucky to consider myself a parent to him, even if not by birth and even if I only see him every other weekend. Nate and I have a fantastic relationship with Nick’s mom which totally helps keep things sane. He is a sports-lover like his mom, and an avid reader and video gamer. I love discussing books with him… If only I understood sports enough to hold a conversation about that with him.

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Trent is my crazy and passionate 4 year old. My labor and delivery with him were totally a sign of things to come. He was an awful sleeper and a needy baby, but he has taught me more about patience and love than I ever hoped to know. That boy puts his heart and soul into everything he does. If he sings he does it loud and proud with hearty vibrato! If he gets upset the whole world might as well know it. If he hugs and kisses you can expect the best hugs and kisses you’ve ever known.

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Atticus is still so young and little, but I can tell he is going to be a charismatic wallflower, like Charlie from Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He’s such a quiet observer you’d think he isn’t even paying attention but he always is. He’s a little guy who loves to socialize quietly and sweetly and on his terms. But he’s so sweet you’d never know -or care- that they’re indeed his terms.

I am so proud of these boys. Every day they teach me something new and make me laugh. As soon as I begin to think my day/week/life can’t get any worse they make me realize that I am the luckiest. I am so happy to be able to influence and be influenced by them.

Stale Bread & Soap Nuts

Well, today turned out to be a technology-hates-Laura kind of day. My predecessor, who thankfully walked me through some troubleshooting for approximately 53 minutes today, warned me that some days are like that. By the time I got home to switch off parenting/working duties with Nate, I was ready for bed. But alas, my boys needed cuddles and hell, I did too.

Atticus, my 12 month old, is toddling around everywhere all smiles, all the time. While I scarfed down a delicious snack of pizza rolls and Frank’s he pulled some beer off the drink shelf from the pantry. I thought about adding a picture here but feel it may be too soon to show what a bad humorous parent I am. Anyway, he also grabbed an unused pack of cocktail rye bread that “expired” 4 days ago. I don’t do expired here. I may not do that whole cooking dinner thing, but I hate throwing things away, so I make expired bread work. I had a stick of butter and spices, so… Everyone loves croutons!

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I lay the bread slices out on the counter and got out a stick of butter and the seasonings I planned to use. Giving the boys a bath and nursing Atty to sleep was the perfect amount of time to let the bread stiffen up and the butter soften. Didn’t plan on Trent getting out of bed twice and Atty waking up once during my little baking sesh, but hey…

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Once the boys were in bed I preheated the oven to 325 degrees, lined a baking sheet with foil sprayed lightly with canola oil, then sliced the bread into bite-sized chunks. I use a super-sharp Rada knife I got from Lehman’s (um, possibly my favorite store) so that I could stack the slices up and cut them 4 or 5 at a time.

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I melted the butter in the microwave while I piled the bread squares into a bowl and sprinkled them with some of the herbs and spices. I used garlic, thyme, and parsley this time but have also used oregano, Italian seasoning, rosemary, and others. Before adding the butter I shook the bowl and added more seasonings a few times.

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Next I added the butter little by little, tossing the bread gently with my hand. I’ve made the mistake of pouring too much butter in at once and it ends up leaving some of the croutons dry and others soaked. Yuck. After the butter is added I shake more seasonings in. It’s hard to have too much flavor on croutons, I feel.

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I spread the croutons on the baking sheet and sprinkled with kosher salt and pepper, then bake for 15 minutes. I took them out, tossed them around and tasted tested their crunch factor, then baked for 10 more minutes. Once they’re sufficiently crunchy I let them cool.

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Then I eat a handful. So yummy. So glad my mom taught me that little trick. These make an awesome snack.

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While the boys’ bath was running I decided to wash some clothes and wouldn’t ya know it… I’m out of detergent. Thankfully I have a bag of soap nuts (also from Lehman’s!) that I keeps around mostly for washing my woven wraps. I grabbed a few, threw them in a cloth bag, and dropped them into the washer. Done! I love these things. 3-4 nuts can be used about 5 times before they’re no good anymore.

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Ehh, soap nuts? Yes, soap nuts. They’re not really nuts, they’re actually the dried and de-seeded fruit of the sapindus mukorossi tree. They’re natural and biodegradable, which is awesome, and they’re unscented. And they work, believe it or not. Plus, they’re one of the preferred washing methods for woven wraps, so they’re a must in this house 🙂

Here is the packaging information for the soap nuts I purchased from Lehman’s in August. The bag was just under $10.

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