My $40 Farmer’s Market wellness challenge came at the perfect time this month. I’ve just set up shop in Sewanee, Tennessee at a writer’s colony for two weeks of intense focus on the book.
Between the launch of the wellness project series on the blog, private cheffing, and the return of all my favorite shows from winter hiatus, I’ve been having the hardest time sitting down and cranking out pages for my manuscript. Left to my own scheduling devices at home, I procrastinate by cooking for the site, which is much easier to do while simultaneously watching The Voice than writing at a desk. And my 10 day trip to Kenya (and subsequent jet lag + parasite sweats) didn’t help matters.
But the light at the end of the dark tunnel of distraction has been this retreat.
As the child of two writers, I’ve long heard about these mythical artist colonies. It sounded a lot like camp, except that arts and crafts hour is all day long and takes place in the privacy of your own cabin. Besides that vague picture, I don’t know a whole lot about what my dad does on his annual trips to the woods of New Hampshire, but he does usually come back with an on-going ping pong rivalry with one poet, painter, or the like.
I opted for a slightly more solitary situation in the mountains of Sewanee, with very few fellow writers and zero table sports. Most people go to these colonies to have all their meals provided for them around a communal table. But cooking is still a distraction I’ll happily keep, so long as I can give myself some boundaries to make sure I’m not staring at the stove instead of my computer all day long.
So the Farmer’s Market challenge, with the idea of cooking for 4 hours on Sunday and having 8 meals for the week, is right on schedule. Hopefully, I can actually find a farm stand in between Cracker Barrel and Chick Fillet. It will definitely be interesting to see how this type of cooking works when I’m not 15 blocks from the North East’s biggest greenmarket.
While I’m off digging up some produce down south, here’s a Mexican sweet potato hash recipe that I cooked up during my first weekend of the challenge. One of the easiest ways to stretch your budget is by making meatless side dishes and topping them with a fried egg if you want to turn them into a main course. This is a strategy I use across the board to make healthy eating more affordable. I also add some beans or legumes whenever possible to bulk up my fresh produce with some cheap, lean protein.
If you’re not trying out VB6 this month, give this Mexican sweet potato hash with spinach and black beans a try for weekend brunch. It wouldn’t be inappropriate to drink a kale margarita with it.
I may be a little MIA while down south so bear with me if I’m slow to return your tweets and comments. Please leave some crumbs anyway!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- One 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil. Cook the potatoes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until brown and tender, about 15 minutes. Turn the flame down if they begin to blacken. Add the shallot, black beans, salt, cumin, and chili powder. Sauté 3 minutes more, until the shallot is soft. Carefully fold in the spinach and cook until wilted. Drizzle with the lime juice.
- Serve the hash with a fried egg and a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Check out these other great dishes from Food Network’s #ComfortFoodFeast
Creative Culinary: Smashed Potatoes with Lemon Garlic Scallions
Weelicious: Yukon Gold Potato Fans
Dishin & Dishes: Cottage Pie
The Mom 100: Potato, Leek and Dill Frittata with Crème Fraiche
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Mexican Style Potatoes with Chorizo
Red or Green: Spicy Sweet Potato Gratin
The Heritage Cook: Irish Hash Browns Eggs Benedict (Gluten-Free)
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Crispy Pan-Fried Potatoes
Swing Eats: Healthier Twice Baked Potato Skins
Daisy at Home: Marriage Mashies
Taste with the Eyes: Baked Sweet Potato, Salted Caramel Puffed Rice Noodle Topping
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Spiralized Sweet Potatoes and Apples in Browned Butter
Virtually Homemade: Loaded Baked Potatoes
FN Dish: For the Love of Heavy Cream: 5 Scalloped Potato Recipes to Indulge In