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Thanksgiving Makeover: Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pomegranate & Mint

Posted Nov 01 2009 12:00am
Our family loves all the Thanksgiving traditions. We love food, football and family. We love a chance to contemplate our country's beginnings and an opportunity to share our abundance with others. However, we have discovered through the years that we don't really like the comatose state that follows the Big Turkey Meal. The last couple of years we have been on a journey to find more locally-focused, healthy-inspired versions of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes. One stipulation is we were not willing to compromise on taste. We believe that feasting once in a while is not only good it's Biblical. Celebration with family and community is important to us. We just want our food choices to reflect our lifestyle.

Tomorrow morning we will be running the Annual Turkey Trot in Fresno. This is a family tradition we've continued for many years to start out our big Turkey Day with exercise and celebrating community. This year I will be running the 5k with my dad and Ericlee and the girls will be cheering us on with Nana Maria. After our meal we also take a family walk through the neighborhood and say hello to friends. We indulge in the color show presented by the fall leaves.

When it comes to holiday foods, it's all about baby steps. The first year we tried this we added a homemade Green Bean Casserole to our Thanksgiving and tried out our Banana Pumpkin Muffin recipe, which can be used for a bread or a dessert at the meal. Last year we wrote all about that experience.

This year we are sharing the cooking duties with my mom and mother-in-law. For dinner, our family is contributing our traditional Butternut Squash Soup, Green Bean Casserole and a shazam appetizer we made in our Cooking Club a few years back - Baked Brie with Dried Cranberries and Pecans with Whole Grain Crackers. We even convinced Ericlee's mom to make the stuffing with whole wheat bread - major milestone!

Our poll at the right suggests some of you are interested in a "makeover" version of sweet potatoes. We're actually ditching sweet potatoes this year as we minimized the number of dishes are serving for 6 adults and 2 kids. However, this is a dish I make throughout the winter months when sweet potatoes are ripe in the garden or at the market. You won't find marshmallows and brown sugar in this one but you will find some other secret ingredients to wow your guests. Buon Appetito!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pomegranate & Mint

Ingredients:
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds (arils)
Chopped fresh mint, for garnish

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, olive oil and salt.
3. Put cut potatoes into a 3-quart baking dish or 9x13 dish. Pour maple syrup mixture over the potatoes. Toss to coat.
4. Cover with tin foil and bake for about 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
5. Uncover potatoes and stir. Bake an additional 30 minutes.
6. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top with chopped mint. Serve.
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