Me, wall, BOOM

We had a meeting over the phone with Chickadee’s “treatment team” (and I use that term loosely) last week, during which I’m pretty sure my head exploded. In the aftermath I had a small tantrum and then returned to all of the things I’m supposed to be doing. We took Chickie out for a while on Saturday and on the drive home I made Otto stop and get me some coffee because I was starting to feel that bone-crushing weariness that was putting me to sleep while I was sitting up. He stopped; I drank my coffee; I fell asleep anyway. And then we came home and I was futzing around online, and while reading the words of a woman who lost her child in a terrible accident I realized I was actually (do not think this is comfortable for me to admit) jealous. In a few short hours her nightmare descended and was over. Nine months into losing my child in bits and pieces, I was jealous of someone else’s loss. Something in me just… broke.

So that was me realizing I’d hit the wall. I basically crawled into bed for two days and tried to cry/sleep it off. I don’t know how successful I was. Yesterday I got up and shopped for groceries and wrote a long email to the CEO of the hospital. Today I go back to putting one foot in front of the other.

There’s a hundred things I need that no one can do for me and I’m still trying to figure out how to do for myself. I know it’s ridiculous, but what I really need right now (that you can maybe provide) is a new recipe. Hit me with a dinner idea that incorporates sweet potatoes; I am tired of alternating between veggie chili and baked sweet potatoes topped with black beans. I know it’s a dumb-sounding request, but I think it will help. Thanks.


  1. Ri

    We love to take chopped peppers, onions and sweet potatoes, toss them into a pan with black beans or chickpeas, frozen corn (roasted is great!), smoked paprika, salt, garlic powder and a little bit of olive oil. Then you roast it at 400 – 450 until the sweet potatoes are cooked through. Easy, though a little more time consuming than sweet potato and black bean.

  2. cath in ottawa

    I so feel for you and even though I am a rare commenter, I think of you often. my two favourite ways to eat sweet potatoes are 1) in a SP and chard curry (start with onions, garlic, ginger and curry paste; add 3-4 sweet potatoes until almost cooked and then throw 3-4 cups chard or kale in about 5 min from the end. You can add a squeeze of lemon right at serving too. 2) in roasted root veggies –equal parts SPs, potatoes, carrots, beets etc roasted at 400 with whole cloves of garlic, tossed in tons of oil and lemon juice and salt and pepper, sometimes rosemary.

  3. Lucinda

    Here you go:

    It’s gluten free too. You could substitute any starch for the arrowroot such as corn, potato, or tapioca. Whatever you have on hand.

    Big hugs to you. I was wondering how you were doing when you hadn’t posted in a few days. You are brave to admit the scary stuff. You are normal to feel it. Anyone who faults you for it is an idiot, to put it kindly. I know all your readers wish we could reach out and make it all better.

  4. Randi

    Hey Mir – I’m so, so sorry that wall jumped out and smacked you. Mean wall. I don’t cook sweet potatoes, I’m sorry, but know that I’m thinking of you and wub you!!

  5. Kati

    Wish I could do more to help you, pretty Mir, but here’s something to try (yummy crockpot recipe):

    African Sweet Potato Stew with Red Beans From Cooking Light

    2 teaspoons olive oil
    1 1/2 cups chopped onion
    1 garlic clove, minced
    4 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
    1 1/2 cups cooked small red beans
    1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
    1 cup chopped red bell pepper
    1/2 cup water
    1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
    1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
    3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
    3 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts
    6 lime wedges

    Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cover and cook 5 minutes or until tender.
    Place onion mixture in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Add sweet potato and next 10 ingredients (through chiles). Cover and cook on low 8 hours or until vegetables are tender.

    Spoon 1 cup cooking liquid into a small bowl. Add peanut butter; stir well with a whisk. Stir peanut butter mixture into stew. Top with peanuts; serve with lime wedges.

    Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups stew, 1 1/2 teaspoons peanuts, and 1 lime wedge)

    From: Cooking Light – African Sweet Potato Stew with Red Beans-CL-10/04

  6. Julie

    I don’t like sweet potatoes, but I sure do like you, lady.

  7. AlisonC

    Hugs to you xoxo

    I like to slice sweet potatoes up like fries and sprinkle on paprika and chili flakes and roast them in the oven. Healthy fries!

  8. Jill W.

    Wish there was more we could do to help. I use this very simple recipe for sweet potatoes as a side. My DH gobbles them up, even though he usually hates sweet potatoes:

    Preheat oven to 400-425. Thinly slice a couple of sweet potatoes.Spray a couple of cookie sheets with olive oil. Lay out the slices of sweet potatoes, but do not overlap. Spray the slices with oil. Sprinkle with seasoning (I use cajun seasoning or kosher salt). Bake for about 20 minutes, switching pans about half way through if they are on two different racks in the oven. They are done when they get to be a little golden brown. Ridiculously yummy for so little effort.

  9. Jen

    Aw crap.
    The main way I prep sweet potatoes is grilled in foil or baked…and than drowned in butter and brown sugar, usually accompanied by a large steak. Yeah, true health food; my husband and I learned this method of preparation in college, lo those many years ago, at a restaurant reserved for “special occasions.”
    Honesty hurts, but refusing to speak honestly hurts more.

  10. Christina

    I don’t have a recipe, but I wanted to tell you that you are so brave for sharing your journey with Chickadee and I for one appreciate your honesty. I have a daughter who was almost hospitalized this summer for different reasons, but the same type of hospital. So far we have managed to keep her out, but it is always helpful to know that others have been there and are living through it. Try to stay strong, we are all behind you, thinking of you, praying for you.

  11. Jill W.

    Alison C- great minds think alike. : )

  12. charlotte media

    Mashed sweet potatoes with coconut milk and lime or smashed sweet potatoes with whiskey.

  13. Jamie

    Hugs! Here’s a dish that I’ve had for brunch, but breakfast for dinner is always a good thing!! A girlfriend of mine sent me her instructions, it’s yummy.

    Sweet Potato Sausage Hash

    Sweet Potatoes – Three medium-sized (you’ll be surprised how much you
    get out of them!) I use a julienne shredder after peeling them and
    then cut the strips in to fork size
    Medium onion – diced
    1.5 lb pork breakfast sausage – I use the pan sausage from Whole
    Foods’ butcher case
    1 Tbl Cumin
    1/2 tspn Cinnamon
    Cheese is totally optional. I don’t normally put it in there.

    I use a large non stick skillet.

    It is best with poached eggs on top. I start the water and poaching
    right before I start peeling the sweet potatoes and they are done when
    the hash is.

    Put the onions in an oiled skillet and brown at medium heat (5
    minutes). Add the sausage and break it up. Once cooked, drain the
    skillet and set the onions and sausage on paper towels to drain some
    more. Set aside.

    Put the julienned sweet potatoes with cumin and cinnamon in the same
    skillet and brown until softened. About ten minutes. They will get
    soft and then you can leave them in to brown further depending on

    Add the sausage and onion mix back in and cook a few more minutes
    until it is all warm.

    Top with the eggs and serve!

    (You could also use bacon instead of sausage or fried eggs
    instead of poached too for a variation.)

  14. anon

    I like using cooked, cubed sweet potatoes in enchiladas with green chilies and beans and lots of cheese.

    You can smother in red or green sauce as you please. Or guacamole. Because we all need more guacamole in our lives. Come on, it’s like a party in a bowl. Wooo!

    And I’m sorry about the wall. I can actually relate, as my marriage has struggled again and again and again and sometimes when my spouse withdraws from me I think that it would be easier if my spouse were taken away from me forever. Then I could mourn and people would truly mourn with me. And it would be final.

    I understand. And I’m so very sorry. I tell myself that there is always hope, and hope is that keeps people inventing and loving and trying every day.

  15. CIndy

    Totally not dumb. Why focus on something you can’t fix when you CAN fix something good to eat? Avoidance! It’s the (underrated) coping technique that waits for YOU!

    I like to cut up sweet potatoes in bite size chunks, toss with a bit of oil (grapeseed is great but I use canola when I don’t have any cuz olive oil is too strong) then sprinkle them with cumin and chili powder. Bake at high heat (450?) until done then squeeze a lime over them. Sounds weird but SO YUMMY. I will do this with baked sweet potatoes as well but it’s better with the cut and roasted ones.

  16. Beth in IA

    Wall hitting sucks. Beds are a soft place to land and I hope that a couple of days in yours helped, even if it was ever so slightly. Prayers continue!

    On to sweet potatoes . . . we like a recipe that is kind of similar to this one:

    However, we don’t use the cream or wine so the sauce is much lighter and add a diced apple and fall spices (think nutmeg, cinnamon). I’m sure you have a tried and true non-gluten way to thicken sauces?

    I’m a huge fan of the yam so I’m looking forward to seeing other people’s suggestions. Hang in there, Mir.

  17. Julie Marsh

    I have no sweet potato offerings, but I’m sending tons of love.

  18. not supergirl

    I’m also in need of recipes, so reading the comments right along with you. I wish I had a good one to share. Mine have been misses lately, and have not included sweet potatoes anyway.
    More importantly, though, I want to offer my support (however distant) while you continue to fight. I know how tempting all the “what if” thoughts are, even if they’re bringing up possibilities you wouldn’t rationally choose. Emotionally, they’re still all appealing in some way. You *know* this road is miserable hell, maybe another road, however miserable and hellish, would be less so, right? I can never believe how much pain we can survive. People say we’re strong, but we know we just don’t have a choice about it.
    I’m glad you’re writing the CEO and remembering that you (and your girl) are customers, and they are working for her health! I’m another Iowan, cheering you on from the heartland.

  19. Mama Bear
    If the link doesn’t work it is Spicy Pasta with Sweet Potatoes on BHG’s site. It’s not actually spicy in my opinion. It is delicious and easy though.
    May God Bless you and your family. One foot in front of the other and all. Hugs.

  20. Kelly

    This website has great ideas:
    I really like it for it’s pictures, step-by-step instructions and that each week the main page is updated with ideas to get you thinking. It’s a great distraction and sometimes can be energizing!
    I’m sorry I don’t have anything that I’ve actually tried to share with you.
    Hang in there – every day is a new day!

  21. CuriousParty

    Ah, Mir, I’m sorry you bounced off that wall. I would gladly help except I don’t cook. At all. For the sake of public safety. So, my contribution will be this:
    Get some paper and draw a representation of the “treatment team” (Stick figures are fine).

    Hang it somewhere away from anything you want to keep.

    Make these:

    Alternate drinks with throwing chunks of sweet potato at the picture.

    Done and done.

  22. Jen
  23. Kate

    We love a recipe from Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley for spicy coconut sweet potato soup with collard greens. (Two fighting little ones prevent me from typing it all out.) He serves it over rice with crispy tempeh, which is the only recipe we’ve found that we actually like tempeh in. But I’m sure it would be good with chicken or another protein, as well.

    I feel so much for you AND for Chickadee. I went through a mental illness for several months earlier this year, and the mental agony was terrible. I was able to pull through with some medicinal help, but I cannot imagine that I would have done so as a teenager.

    Wishing for better times for you and yours.

  24. My Kids Mom

    Did you leave a dent in the wall?

    No sweet potatoes (although I’m checking out the recipes already offered.) Just hugs.

  25. Monique

    Oh, Mir.

    (((((((Hugs)))))) And prayers.

    That’s all I got.

    I’m sorry it sucks. I’m sorry you all are in so much pain. I’m sorry that there isn’t anything anyone could do.

    I’m also sorry I only do my sweet potatoes as fries or mash. So I can’t even offer you a recipe.

    Praying for you.

    And P.S. As a christian and someone who has struggled with depression my whole life I stumbled across this recently:

    It’s been a blessing to me. Maybe it’ll help you and give you strength. I often find I can’t do it alone. I fall under the weight of all the worry and stress (deployed husband, child with autism, child with allergies, doing it all alone). It just all too much sometimes. It’s peaceful knowing I have Someone who will carry that weight for me.

    Forgive me if I appear insensitive or if I’m stepping out of bounds. I’m truly just trying to help. Praying for you all. God bless.

  26. Sue-dragon

    Oh sweetie….wish I could make it all better. I don’t even have a new sweet potato recipe for you. We love sweet potato fries but you already have a few recipes for those.

    Just know that I’m thinking of you. Remember what my uncle says: “It all works out okay in the end. If it’s not okay…it’s not the end.”

  27. mamalang

    I’m so glad that Chickadee has you in her corner, even if she doesn’t quite realize how awesome that is yet. It’s sad that in this day and age, people still need an advocate to make businesses do the right thing.

    We don’t eat a lot of sweet potatoes, so no additional recipes. Just prayers for continual soft landings on the bed.

  28. Angela
  29. Sara

    Sweet potato home fries: nuke sweet potato slightly. Cut into cubes or slices. In a big skillet, heat oil of your choice. Grate 1/4 to 1/2 onion into the oil, stir around a bit, toss in sweet potato pieces and let them sit in one spot for a bit to get brownish bits. Shake/stir the pan, and let sit again. Season with salt and black pepper. Once potatoes are at desired level of done-ness, turn out onto a plate, top with shredded cheese and cover with aluminum foil to let the cheese get melty. In the pan, prepare some eggs in your favorite configuration (I like over-easy). Slide the eggs on top of the potatoes.

  30. Dottie

    I’m praying for your girl. Heart abolutely breaks for you all.

    Here’s a recipe for you. I love this recipe- the sweet potatoes make it special. It’s from Chef Ming’s cooking show.

    Teriyaki Chicken Stew
    4 boneless chicken breasts, skin off, cut into 1-inch cubes
    1 cup Wanjashan organic teriyaki sauce
    1 tablespoon minced ginger
    1 large red onion, 1-inch pieces
    2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, 1- inch cubes
    4 ribs celery, 1-inch pieces
    1 pinch chile flake
    1 cup white wine
    2 cups cream
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Canola oil
    Steamed Brown Rice

    Marinate the chicken in the teriyaki sauce for 2 hours. Drain chicken, save the teriyaki. In a large skillet or pot on high heat, coat lightly with oil and sear the marinated chicken until brown, set aside. In same pot, coat with oil and sweat the ginger and onions until soft and deglaze with wine, then reduce by 75%. Add the potatoes, celery, chile flake and deglaze with wine. Reduce completely, add back the chicken, cream and water to cover. Bring to a simmer and reduce by 25%. Then taste for seasoning. You can add more teriyaki from the marination, but make sure to bring to a boil and cook through. Serve on brown rice.
    I used less chicken and added mushrooms
    I used one sweet potato instead of two

  31. Genevieve

    Thinking of you and Chickie and family all the time, Mir, and sending good wishes, good karma, hugs, and strength your way. I’m so sorry you hit the wall.

    West African Sweet Potato Soup
    Prep + Cook Time: 30 minutes
    This is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. With sweet potatoes, carrots and tomato juice, it’s a healthy infusion for your family. With peanut butter and ginger, your taste buds will get a kick out of it, too — it’s addictively good! The soup can last a few days in the refrigerator and freezes well. Serve it with cornbread or corn muffins.

    Ingredients for main dish

    1 Tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
    1 1/2 yellow onions, chopped (about 3 cups)
    1 tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and grated, or 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
    4 large carrots, sliced (2-3 cups)
    2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped (about 6 cups)
    32 oz. reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
    2 cups tomato juice
    1 cup smooth natural peanut butter
    1 Tbsp. sugar
    1/2 lime, juice only, about 1 Tbsp. (optional)

    recommended side dish – Cornbread or Corn Muffins (if you have a gluten-free recipe)

    (If you are making cornbread or muffins, start that first.) In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saut̩ them until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, and carrots and saut̩ it for 2 Р3 minutes. Add the potatoes, broth and tomato juice. Bring it to a boil, and simmer it for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are tender.

    In a blender (a hand or immersion blender is perfect for this) or food processor, puree the vegetables and cooking liquid, and return it to the pot over medium-low heat. Whisk in the peanut butter and sugar until well blended. Stir in the lime juice (optional) and serve, or refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 3 months.

    Sweet Potato, Lentil and Spinach Soup
    1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
    1 large yellow onion, chopped
    2 tsp. dried thyme
    1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
    28 oz. diced tomatoes, with their liquid
    4 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
    1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
    3/4 cup brown or green lentils, soaked in water for several hours or overnight, if possible, and drained
    1/4 tsp. black pepper
    12 oz. fresh spinach
    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

    Heat a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the oil, and when it is hot, add the onions and cook them, stirring occasionally, until they are soft, 3- 4 minutes. Stir in the thyme and cinnamon, and then add the tomatoes, broth plus 2 cups water, sweet potatoes, lentils, and pepper. Cover and bring it to a boil, then uncover and reduce the heat to keep it at a simmer for 30 – 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender (check after 15 – 20 minutes for presoaked lentils).
    Stir in the spinach, cover the pot for a minute to wilt it, then remove the cover and simmer it for 3 – 5 more minutes. Season it with salt, to taste, and serve it (or refrigerate it for up to 3 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months) topped with the cheese, if desired.

  32. Carolyn

    I’m sorry, but I think the idea of throwing chunks of sweet potato at a picture of the treatment team (as CuriousParty suggested) is the best idea yet. Or maybe just take them along and throw them at the ACTUAL treatment team on your next visit!

    And as Dory said, “Just keep swimming, keep swimming…”

    Thank goodness that girl has you for a mom.

  33. Karen R

    I wish I had an answer for you. Loss is hard to deal with. Not just the loss of the child you know, but of your hopes and dreams for her. Hopefully something will be found that will give you back your child, and new hopes and dreams for her.

    I can’t even help you with a sweet potato based mail course. I like to put them on the grill until they caramelize. Dessert?

  34. Marie

    I want to make this lentil recipe that surprisingly (at least to me) also has sweet potatoes.

    2 1/2 c. cooked lentils
    1 sweet potato peeled and finely diced
    1 yellow bell pepper finely diced
    1 medium onion finely diced
    3-4 cloves garlic finely diced
    1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
    1/2 tsp. ground ginger
    2 tsp. ground cumin
    1/4 tsp. cayanne (can add more for additional heat)
    1 tsp. ground tumeric
    2 tsp. paprika
    1 TB. ground coriander
    1 tsp. garam masala
    2/3 c. vegetable broth (organic)
    Juice of 1 lemon
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1. Gather all your ingredients, including chopped veggies. I used a food processor for my onion, bell pepper, and garlic to speed it up. (It also finely dices them the way I like!)
    2. Throw everything into a crock pot, and set on high for 3 hours, or until sweet potatoes are soft and cooked. This can also be done over the stove, just cook the garlic and onions with some oil over heat for a little bit until brown. Then add the rest of the ingredients and cook over stove top for at least 30 min, or until potatoes are soft.
    3. Serve with brown rice and naan bread.

  35. Carrie

    mir, i feel for you, i really do. thank you for your honesty, it makes me feel a little less alone with my own terrible thoughts. i hope today is good. or goodish. and, i make a mean fancy hamburger helper-style pasta dish that uses pumpkin puree and sweet italian sausage, i’m sure you can sub sweet pots (as i lovingly call them). it’s from rachael ray of all people, i’m sure it can be googled.

  36. Samantha

    I like them best in soup. Peel and chop then simmer in whatever stock you have around with heaps of some leafy green like kale, veggies from the fridge, some kind of bean like cannelini and a few shakes of red pepper flakes. A little spicy with the sweet from the potatoes is nice.

    I also like them baked and then scooped out and mashed with butter and then spread over chicken pot pie filling instead of crust. Add a little rosemary and sea salt to the potato toping or leave them plain and season your filling with cumin instead.

    I’m afraid I do methods more than actual recipes. I rarely comment, but please know that I pray for you often.

  37. Therese

    Since I am not a fan of cooking, I am out of ideas for sweet taters. Also, I am the person on the other end of the spectrum (lost a daughter), and I can’t help admitting that a few weeks ago, I was actually jealous of you when you were making the post about passing the high school. I was thinking to myself, well least Chickie will someday go back there, but my girl not ever. It seems like we always think the grass is greener. But you will struggle through and make it out the other side the same way my family did. Hugs to you and Chickie. And please don’t think this response is a censure–it is merely the way the thought popped into my head when I read that post.

    [Ed. note: Therese, I sent you an email. I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for your kindness with this comment.]

  38. Steph

    There’s a recipe in Moosewood called Gypsy Soup, kind of a chickpea-veggie stew with a lot of paprika. Very yummy.

    I also like sweet potato biscuits and peanut butter soups (a lot of which have a tomato-sweet potato base).

  39. CJ

    A sucky thing about the expression “hitting the wall” is the implication that there’s just the one wall. It’s really kinda like a house of mirrors, where you don’t know where the next one is, and whether you see yourself headed toward it or not…bam. i’m sorry.

    scrub and slice sweet potatoes into quarter-inch disks
    baste with coconut oil
    sprinkle with cinnamon
    grill on a heated grilling tray until tender

  40. lynn

    I second the West African Sweet Potato Soup – I have the Sundays at Moosewood cookbook too, and that’s one of my favorites.

    Also here’s a soup with squash and sweet potatoes:

    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

    2 onions, chopped

    1 large apple, peeled and diced

    2 whole peeled butternut squash, steamed until tender

    3 peeled sweet potatoes, steamed until tender

    12 cups chicken stock, or more to taste

    Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    In a large flameproof casserole, melt the butter and cook the onions for 10 minutes or
    until soft but not brown. Add the apple and cook 2 minutes. Add the squash and
    sweet potatoes.

    Gradually stir in the chicken stock with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat,
    and let the soup simmer gently for 20 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender or food
    processor, return to the pan, taste for seasoning, and add more stock or water if you
    want to thin. Serve at once. Serves 8.

  41. Holly

    I do a one dish meal that combines large chunks of yams with chopped cabbage or kale, onions, garlic, red and/or green peppers, red pepper flakes, and large chunks of pineapple. Other additions could be tomatoes, coconut, peanuts or cashews.

  42. Little Bird

    I can offer two recipes, roasted root veggies, and mashed sweet potatoes.
    For the first you just chop up potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, red onion, beets (and I like to add butternut squash) and an unchopped garlic clove or three. Drizzle with olive oil. Roast at 350 for about thirty minutes or untill a fork easily pierces all of it.

    The mashed sweet potatoes are super easy. Wrap the sweet spuds in foil and bake pretty much like one would normally do. Then mix them in a bowl with heavy cream ( just a touch), sour cream (as much as you want), and a couple of table spoons of cream cheese (I only make this ONCE a year). Them spread in a roasting dish an cover with halved pecans. Cook at 350 for about fifteen minutes or so.
    I hope things get better, walls aren’t much fun.

  43. RL Julia

    Have a killer sweet potatoe/pork recipe but don’t know if you are a vegetarian.

  44. Kate

    Since I hate sweet potatoes, here is a recipe that you might find useful:

    Bake 12 sweet potatoes for 45 minutes on 350degrees. Put oven mitt on and grab one in your mitted hand. Gather all your strength, take aim, and throw at wall. Repeat 11 times.

  45. Arnebya

    I hope all the recipes being sent your way do indeed help. But shit. I wish there were more.

    I typically like mashed sweet potatoes (I use butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, and orange juice and I know nothing of gluten alternatives so, well, sorry). When I do baked sweet potatoes, I do them one of two ways: if they’re going to be eaten individually, I boil them a bit first, then bake them for about 30 minutes on 375. I use butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. If I peel and boil them to make a whole pan of potatoes, I employ the same 30-40 minutes on 375 after boiling, and after topping with butter, brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, pineapple, and marshmallows. Also, mmmmm. With both of these, we usually have turkey legs or chicken. Let us know which one you choose and what you pair it with. Sweet potato lemonade.

  46. Kyallee

    *HUG* Wish I knew what else to say…

    We like baked sweet potato fries. Cut into wedges, coat with your favorite oil and seasonings, spread onto a cookie sheet or two and bake ’til tender. Although Kate’s recipe (comment #63) is good too…

  47. kathy

    Mir, her nightmare was not over when her child died. In those few short hours her nightmare simply Began. I know you’re wallowing in your difficulties and i wish I knew what the answer was for you to see that you Seem To Be (from what you post) looking at everything as Yet Something Else That Has Gone Wrong instead of just something else. I personally find it helpful to look around me and appreciate what I have. I understand that probably does not work for you so I’ll leave it at it helps ME deal with one crisis after another.

    As long as you have a living, breathing, sentient being of a child there is hope. Things will be Different but you have the hope that you can make some connection, you can watch your child grow up, you can still see their baby face as they age, you can still connect on SOME level. When your child is dead, you have No Hope. Light has left the world. Darkness descends on your head and nothing, absolutely NOTHING is the same AND you have NO CHANCE to have hope again. Your child is alive. There is a chance you will connect again. There is hope.

  48. kris

    Looks like several others have recommended this recipe already, but let me add another vote for it’s awesomeness:
    When my husband makes them, he dices the sweet potatoes into .5″ cubes, tosses them in a little olive oil and roasts them. So the sweet potato isn’t particularly squashy soft, if that makes sense. It’s different. And good.
    And again you have proven how brave you are with this post. You have more strength than you know, though I am so so sorry that you feel the limits are being tested right now. :(

  49. Lisa

    First, I want to say thank you for saying the things that the rest of us would keep to ourselves. I am sending happy, healthy thoughts to you and your family. (And toiletries to my local foster care system.)

    This has a small amount of flour, so should be easy to substitute gluten free. And the pictures should amuse you and Monkey, even if you don’t make the recipe:

    Or if you really wanted a main dish, here’s a yummy soup:

  50. suburbancorrespondent

    Oh, I hear you. But my kids refuse to eat sweet potatoes unless they are sliced like fries and baked with lots of olive oil and seasonings.

  51. Mary K. in Rockport

    Hands across state lines, holding firmly to one of yours. I wish I could do that in person. There’s all that crap about “God not giving you more than you can bear” – yeah, well sometimes He/She does. Sometimes we pathetically keep going, dragging one crippled leg behind us, or take to our beds until some semblance of copingness returns. My daughter (not the troublesome one) says you’re brave to admit your less savory feelings publicly which we all feel but don’t often admit to.
    Sweet potatoes – baked in their skins with butter and maple syrup?

  52. Jan

    Man almighty would I love to be able to do something to help, but there are like 3 things in the world that my husband of nearly 20 years refuses to eat and sweet potato is one of them. (I got: bake and freeze into ice cube trays, but that’s for feeding to an infant. Not so very useful for dinner.)

    Nothing but prayers for all good things for every one of you, Mir. Keep on keepin’ on. Sometimes that’s all you can do.

  53. Kelly

    One good thing about hitting a wall, you have to either go around it, go over it-or smash it to pieces–then you are free to move forward. Stay strong.

  54. Rose

    These look supper tasty:

    Brown butter is very easy, but oh so rewarding. My boyfriend makes big batches of gnocchi (the plain potato kind) and then freezes them, because I simply cannot get enough! And then I have them throughout the week with parmesan cheese or tomato sauce or pesto, so it saves me a lot of trouble for lunches.

    Hope that helps! Keep your chin up, or you know, wherever your chin needs to be.

  55. Shimei

    I don’t have a recipe but here’s a hug.

  56. Jeannie

    Here’s one of my favorite recipes, sweet potato minestrone with turkey sausage, filled with all kinds of good things to fuel your body. The recipe came from Cooking Light originally, but there are many variations online (meatless, tomato-less, etc.).

  57. BethRD

    I bet if someone could present you with a clear picture of how this was all going to turn out, even if that picture never matched the picture you had of the future a year ago, you could handle it. It’s the not knowing that can drive a person crazy. I don’t think longing for certainty, even longing for a minute for the worst kind of certainty, is hard to understand. I haven’t tried this particular recipe, but I have tried other contest winners from Food 52 and they are all generally yum, and frying things in oil and then dousing them in sour cream is always good for the soul.

  58. LizD

    Big Hugs from Oakland, CA. I have no awesome sweet pot recipes, although we do enjoy them roasted with other kinds of potatoes, carrots, garlic, oil, s&p, as do many who have already replied.

    This summer, my family lost two members to cancer (my Dad and my Brother.) While I did spend quite a few days in bed, my Sister, Mother and I actually talked about folks with worse burdens. You have been a frequent target of our concern and prayers.

    I think that you are doing a remarkable job of getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of the other. I hope for better days ahead.


  59. Alix D

    Roast them like potatoes, brown sugar and butter/margarine/whatever your creamy fat of choice may be. Yeah, maybe not super healthy, more dessert than dinner… sme days that’s a good thing.

  60. Amy

    Apparently they have a free kindle download available right now:

    Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes

    (Who knows how long it will be free though…)

  61. Catharine

    This sweet potato salad is surprisingly delicious (I think I must end up using less mayonnaise than the recipe because mine doesn’t look quite so goopy.) Keep fighting the good fight . . . .

  62. Jenn

    Because I firmly believe that comfort food should be soft:

    Sweet Potato Hash
    3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded like hash browns
    1.5 – 2 lbs breakfast sausage, crumbled

    Cook the sausage until almost done. Roast the sweet potato hash in the oven for 30 minutes or cook on the stove. Mix sausage and sweet potato hash browns together, add salt and pepper and heat through. If you make a giant batch you can store it in the fridge and reheat what you need. This also works well with white potatoes.

    Hang in there! We’re all pulling for you!!!

  63. KarenP

    The North Carolina Sweet Potato Commisiion has some interesting recipes. I thought their Turkey burgers with sweet potato sounded good.
    Sorry you have to go through all this. Hoping you can turn the corner to a better situation and treatment very soon.

  64. Viviane

    I totally understand, both jealousy and need for practical things such as a recipe. Cooking helps you stand on your feet and reconnect to the world around. Sweet potato is not a standard vegetable where I live, especially when you try to eat locally. And anyway I guess you have enough recipes for a year or five of eating sweet potatoes… I think of you often and I believe there will be better days. Big hugs.

  65. Amy-Go

    Man I feel utterly useless. I don’t cook- ever. I was gonna say infuse the sweet potatoes with the liquor of your choice but Curious Party beat me even to that. This sucks. There just aren’t any words for how much it sucks. Thinking about you all the time!

  66. brigitte

    I think the occasional weekend crying in bed is much needed, hugs to you and your family.

    I second (or third, or whatever) the African stew, I just throw sweet potatoes, chicken thighs, peanut butter, cayenne, onion, red bell pepper, garlic, baby spinach and a can of diced tomatoes (and maybe a little water) in the crockpot. If it’s chunky enough, I serve it over coconut rice.

    Also you could do a bisque: cook some onions and butter, add chicken stock and cooked sweet potatoes (no peel!) and puree. Add salt, maple syrup, cayenne and cream to taste.

  67. Jodie

    Two ideas for you –

    First, crock pot a tri tip.

    Second, the next next cube sweet potatoes and make a hash. Sounds boring, but was heaven!

  68. Valerie

    She will come back to you. You have no choice to believe anything else. She will come back to you. I have the benefit of less information. You have the burden of too damn much information. Sometimes less makes it easier to see what is important. From my seat, your daughter has what she needs to fight this, this, this, this. With tears, prayers, hope, chocolate and even a damn sweet potato, I will say it again. She will come back to you.

  69. Anna

    I see a minimum of TWO recipes for sweet potatoes with bacon. The chowder and the gnocci. I don’t have any recipes to share, but please, please make one with bacon. Who doesn’t need bacon?

  70. Mariya

    You are so very brave and strong. I think there is light at the end of this tunnel, but I know it is very dark right now. So many of us are sending you good thoughts and lots of love!

    For the recipe: I toss sauteed brussel sprouts with pecans, a little blue cheese and a sprinkling of dried cranberries. I bake the sweet potato first and then saute the other ingredients (except the cheese) in a little olive oil, smash the sweet potato, and add the other ingredients.

  71. Jeanie

    So brave of you to post your feelings. I would absolutely feel the same, but probably wouldn’t put it out there because “what would people think?” I appreciate your honesty and adore you for it. The only sweet potatoes we ever have are plain baked and slathered with butter (or gravy) like regular potatoes at Thanksgiving and, occasionally, frozen sweet potato fries. Sorry I’m not more help.

  72. StephLove

    They’re really good roasted in olive oil, too, with rosemary, white potatoes, beets, carrots and onions. Put it a lot of onions. They get nice and crispy around the edges. An hour and 45 minutes in a 300 degree oven is how I do it.

  73. Lori in MN

    Work it, Mom has Chris Jordan’s really easy and yummy recipe for curried chicken & sweet pots in the crockpot served over cocoanut rice…so sorry I don’t know how to put a link on with my iPad. Thank you for sharing with us, both the good and the bad. I may have said this before, but your blog is like a wonderful book that doesn’t end.

  74. Kim in Minnesota

    Perfect fall substitute for hashed browns. Nods to Pillsbury Fast & Healthy cookbook:
    2 medium apples, unpeeled, quartered and cored
    1 large sweet potato,, peeled
    1/8 tsp. salt
    1/8 tsp. pepper
    1 tsp. oil
    1/4 C water

    Use the food processor shredding disk or a grater with lage holes to shred the apples and sweet potato. Toss them with salt and pepper to mix.
    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the sweet potato mixture and water; cook 13 to 18 minutes until the sweet potato is tener. Turn the mixture over occasionally. Serve when it reaches the level of brown-ness you like.

    I hope your new recipe stash provides some comfort.

  75. Karen

    You are brave and stronger than I could ever imagine being.

    I’ll just tell you what I am having for dinner as we speak (this is kind of speaking right) – Homemade sweet potato chips (oven baked) and hummus. Not a meal that you’d feed the family per se, but it is good and satisfying.

  76. Reb

    My favourite way to eat sweet potatoes is roasted in olive oil with a large sprinkling of black pepper and plenty of melted cheese on top. I treat it as a whole meal, but I’m guessing Monkey might grumble.

    And in any recipe that calls for potatoes, I just use sweet potato instead. I’ve got a sweet tooth.

    Like everyone else, I’ve been impressed with how you’ve been bearing the unbearable for all these months. I’m not surprised you hit the wall, I’m surprised you haven’t earlier.

    Hang in there. I’m praying for you.

  77. MM

    I’m pretty sure you meant for you, but I couldn’t resist sharing this recipe for your four-on-the-floor love bug:

    Our dog goes crazy for these.

    Here’s to a light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can’t see it yet.

  78. Alie

    Cube up a sweet potato and steam it (you could do it whole, but it takes longer). When it’s nearly done, cook an egg to your liking: I like sunny side up, but you could scramble, poach – whatever. When the ‘tater is done, mash it up, put the egg on top, and top with salsa and fresh cilantro. It’s my ’emergency’ meal -fast, filling, and healthy.

  79. Another Dawn

    There are no dumb-sounding requests for help when you’ve hit the wall, as evidenced by 107 respones, none of which tell you you’re dumb and most of which offer SP recipes.

    You’ve already got 47,000 recipes to try, so I won’t add another. Mostly on account of my favourite sweet potato recipe goes something like, wash, slice off ends, pierce with fork and bake for 50 mins in 400F oven. I am a woman of simple tastes. Or lazy. Whatever.

    Nine months is a long time to deal with this kind of stress. A couple of days in bed is totally deserved. Please know we’re all keeping you and your family in out thoughts.

  80. suzie

    Mir, I love you. really. I don’t know you, except through here, and the occasional email responses to my comments, but I think you are amazing. I relate to you, for whatever reasons: our kids’ similar ages, our divorces at likely the same time, our remarriages, also likely at the same time (also, aren’t you from New England? So am I!), and our older children both bucked against that remarriage at around the same time.

    And because of the wonder of the internet, I’m able to find these similarities, despite your location hundreds of miles south of mine, and love you.

    Because I love you … I have not only one, but TWO (no, wait, THREE!!) sweet potato recipes for you. All of them so very beloved. {actually I may have FOUR!}

    (I also think all of them are gluten-free):

    1. wilted spinach, potato & egg salad
    serves 4
    4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    3-4 sweet potatoes peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
    Coarse salt and ground pepper
    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    1 tablespoon Dijon of honey mustard
    1 shallot, minced
    2 bunches flat-leaf spinach, thick stems removed, leaves washed and roughly torn OR
    approximately 2 pounds baby spinach leaves
    2 ounces Parmesan, shaved
    4 large eggs, maybe 8 eggs, depending on how hungry folks are

    toss the cubed potatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil and spread in a lined baking dish;
    salt and pepper and bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes until soft

    meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons oil with vinegar, mustard and

    dump spinach on top but do not toss just yet.

    get a pan ready to fry up some eggs

    when potatoes are done scoop from hot pan onto the spinach. NOW toss, the warmth
    of the potatoes should wilt the spinach. if it doesn’t, cover the bowl for a few minutes

    plate the spinach and sweet potato mixture, top with shaved parm evenly divided.

    fry up the eggs, slide on top of salad and serve immediately

    2. Here’s another:

    3. And another:

    4. And No. 4!! I can’t find it. I need to check with my husband. I will do my best to come back & Post.


  81. Varda (SquashedMom)

    I love that you have 112 responses with about 120 recipes among them. I don’t really cook anymore these days (which makes me sad , especially reading all these wonderful recipes) but wanted to pop on here to send you cyber-hugs anyway. Hope you had a wonderful creative dinner!

  82. Theresa

    No request for help is dumb. Don’t you just love that in just a few hours, you had well over 100 hundred recipes? I’m sure everyone here is checking in daily (as I am) to see how you are doing because our hearts ache for you and we want to help in any way we can. Asking for a recipe seems like a perfect solution to me. I wish I had one to share, but it looks like all your other fans have that covered. I just might have to try a few of these myself.

    Hang in there Mir. You have an entire cheering section of readers who are sending you warm fuzzy thoughts and good wishes for your entire family. You will get through this. You will. And we will be right there with you…every…step…of the way.

  83. smarty

    It’s my dream that in my next life I will know how to cook and eat sweet potatoes. (and fish tacos) but for this life, thank goodness for the internet where you (most honest and real and really real Mir) can do this. JKS (just keep swimming)

  84. EmmaC

    Oh, Mir. I totally totally totally support you. This is crazy-times, and that calls for much pulling of covers over one’s head. Very comforting. For everything else, sweet potatoes:

    I particularly recommend the sweet potato flatbread (aka pizza) and the sweet potato hash with baked eggs (aka awesome).

    Also, if you haven’t discovered it yet, go watch a few episodes of Bob’s Burgers on Netflix. Thank me later.

  85. Demery

    “losing my child in bits and pieces” broke my heart. I’m so so sorry you have to continue to bear something unbearable. Sending love.

  86. Paula

    My recepies are rather dull. But I can imagine how your daughter’s illness knocks you out, as a mother of a son. The problem with therapists, physicians and “specialists” always is, that they are specialized. A psychiatrist will diagnose something psychiatric, an endokronologist something endocrinological, a psychologist a mother-daughter- or a family problem. But what if the syndromes are complex, like nutrition allergies, hormones changing at that age, reactions to medicine, whatever.

    When you are lucky you find a doctor with a good intuition, who sees the whole person, body and soul. I never found such a doctor for our son to help him with his problems (which were not as severe as your daughter’s problems, and completely different, though), so very early I turned to self-help advice in our community or in the internet. There must be a mother somewhere, somehow, who’s daughter has the same problems as yours. It can be enormously helpfult to exchange advice and information.

    But I made a big mistake, there where times when I googled for hours and hours and found so many possible explanations that in the end I got kind of obsessed by all those probable explanations, diseases, syndromes. Thou shallt not google to much!

    I wish you the very best and a lot of strength to keep on going. And maybe some day you find an ajurvedhic Indian healer or a homeopathic doctor, an intelligent psychiatrist, whatever, who is able to help your sweetie!

    Kind regards

  87. addy

    I am so going to try some of these! I usually do the fries in the oven or just nuke the sucker in halves and smear butter, nutmeg and a bit of pepper on them. My friend makes a sweet potato soup at her restaurant but she doesn’t share those recipes :( I know big meanie…..
    Have fun creating and escaping for a bit.

  88. Victoria

    Hi Mir, I’ve been on anti-depressants this summer which don’t seem to be functionning. I digress. Anyway, if I can help you any, so much the better.
    I haven’t read all 120 comments so I may be repeating here: How about ”Stuffed Green Peppers” In my mother’s home, that meant tomatoes, tomatoe paste, rice and ground beef plus spices. If rice does not work for the gluton constraint, I’m certain you can toss in a substitute to your taastes :)
    Oh, also popular in our house, crepes (I hope there is a gluton-free version) for dinner, where people add in ham, cheese, maple syrup etc….sort of make/roll your own.
    Thinking of you

  89. Aimee

    First of all, I wish there was something more I could do to help. I can’t even imagine your level of frustration and exhaustion. I’m so sorry.

    Second, I’m a little late to the (sweet potato) party, but one thing I really like is to take sweet potatoes and puree them, cook them with some spicy sausage and sage, and serve it over some whole wheat (or in your case, gluten-free) pasta. It’s a little carb-tastic, but hey, carbs are good for stress! This is actually adapted from a (don’t hate me) Rachael Ray recipe where she used pumpkin instead of sweet potatoes. You can also add some dried cranberries for extra zip.

  90. Sharon

    been there, felt that.
    could not look at the house where my son’s best friend lives because the friend was graduating and getting married, and there is yet no way I can see my son getting to that point. he’s better, but sometimes better seems a very small step. some days, he changed his clothes and showered is a major milestone.
    a good friend has a child with down’s syndrome and there are times when I think, that’s not so bad. No one will ask how your child is doing, and whether they’ve graduated yet, or ask why they have not yet chosen to be “cured” of mental illness.
    have thought before, yes, God will give you more than you can bear sometimes, and that I would smack the next person who told me that.
    sometimes you have to go up on the prairie and scream these things,
    or hide in your room and think them….
    and then, finally, you can deal with that low point, pick up, and go on to other points.
    I knit a lot, sometimes cook.
    many hugs.

  91. Laurie

    First wanted to say sorry that you have to go through so much. Sending prayers that things turn around for you and your family.

    I am trying to go grain free right now and limited in what I can eat so have tried to get creative, also knowing that I don’t love to cook.

    This sauce is amazing, and since I can’t have any grains, I had it over a sweet potato that I had microwaved and then mashed a little with butter. My husband and son had it over rice pasta but I much preferred the sweet potato. No need to simmer for that long, just cook the onion and meat, add the rest, and serve. Freezes great too.

  92. Kate

    I know I’m late to the game, but I’ve spent the last day and a half reading through your archives and wanted to send some love your way. From the Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites cookbook – Sweet Potato and Black Bean burritos, with gluten free tortillas, natch.

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