Spicy Sweet Potatoes

The holidays bring so many opportunities to let your senses play… the scents of warming spices, the textures of natural decorations, and the visual ambiance of flickering candles.

All that sensory goodness can help you connect to your body and soul. Having easy go-to’s that soothe or ground you can make all the difference when things get hectic and inner peace seems out of reach.

This easy side dish is sweet and sassy, thanks to a little tang of citrus. It only takes a couple minutes of hands-on prep, but it really brings the festive with bright color and satisfying crunch.

Please note: I can’t ever seem to follow a recipe and I’m not a professional recipe creator. I’m an intuitive cook, and I like to experiment with flavor and texture combinations. So, let’s just say this is basically what I do… feel free to toss in more or leave out some. Most important – savor!

Sassy Sweet Potatoes

serves about 8
4 medium sweet potatoes
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
juice of 1 blood orange
1/2 c dried cranberries (apple juice sweetened*)
fresh parsley, chopped (a palm full, or 1 tsp dried)
couple pinches smoked paprika (or cayenne)
ground sea salt & black pepper to taste


Wash, peel and chop sweet potatoes. Put in slow cooker with some hefty shakes of salt and stir. Cook on high for 2 hours and turn to low for an hour or 2 – you want them very done. (You can boil them if you’re short on time, but slow cooking really brings out their sweet, earthy flavors.)

After starting potatoes, heat a dry skillet on low until warm. Add the chopped pecans. You need to keep a close eye on these so they don’t burn. Shake the pan about every minute or so.

While pecans are toasting, mix the blood orange juice, parsley, half of the cranberries, paprika, salt & pepper – I like to shake it up in a jar. Do this now so the flavors can blend while the potatoes are cooking (and so you can keep an eye on the pecans).

The pecans should be nicely toasted in about 5 minutes – you’ll know when they’re ready by the nutty aroma. Put them in a dish and set aside.

When potatoes are cooked, let them cool for about 10 minutes. Shake up the dressing again and pour over potatoes and stir to combine. Transfer mixture to a pretty dish (a pie plate looks nice but a bowl is fine) and top with remaining cranberries and the pecans.

You can make this ahead and then warm up in a low oven till heated through. If you do that, put the cranberry/pecan topping on after you take it out of the oven.

*These are surprisingly hard to find! Most are sweetened with cane sugar, which you can also use. I did find apple juice sweetened ones at Whole Foods in a plastic container near the bulk section.

Wishing you…

Blessings ~ Love ~ Peace ~ Joy ~ Delight

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