Two amateur cooks explore the world of cooking for a Crohn's and Colitis diet

A Sweet Potato Breakfast

A strange thing happened last Tuesday.  Marnina and I looked out our window and noticed one lone tree that had a streak of orange leaves near its top branches.  During our four years at Brandeis University in Boston, the Fall foliage always seemed to quickly appear; within the span of a week or two, most of the leaves would be a beautiful mixture of yellow, orange, red, and every color in between. Here in Maryland, we had forgotten how slowly the foliage arrives.  It might take weeks for the foliage to really be noticeable.  At first we were saddened by the inevitable arrival of the Fall season, but our sadness quickly diminished when we thought of the many Fall-inspired dishes we would be cooking in the near future.  While Marnina will still go through peaches (peeling each one prior to eating them) and other late-summer fruit until the very last one is harvested, we wanted to cook a ‘transitional’ dish that incorporated some elements of both Summer and Fall.  In the end, the finished product definitely recalls the colors of Fall, which is appropriate as we must acknowledge the arrival of a new season.  We decided on a Sweet Potato-Apple Breakfast – there is nothing like breakfast for dinner!

In their raw form, sweet potatoes, apples, peppers, and onion are treacherous to most people with IBD (raw sweet potatoes would wreck havoc on most anyone!).  Even cooked sweet potatoes and other hard veggies may not be soft enough for Marnina, and so we often boil these veggies before beginning any recipe.  For this recipe, other than pre-cooking the sweet potatoes, we only had to peel the outer layer of the pepper to make this dish Marnina-friendly.  Marnina often laments that she has to peel so many veggies and fruit, which often creates odd-looking food (ever try peeling a strawberry or a grape?).  The skin is the most nutritious part of fruits and veggies because it contains a large portion of the fiber, phytonutrients, and antioxidants.  Marnina is obviously trying to avoid fiber because eating more than 3g of fiber at a time causes severe gastrointestinal distress…and many trips to the bathroom.  Marnina can eat sweet potatoes in moderation.  They are a good source of Viitamin A, a carotenoid that is mostly found in orange-colored fruits and veggies.  Sweet potatoes are also a source of vitamin B6, C, potassium, and iron.  While Marnina wishes she could eat sweet potatoes three times a day, she has to be careful, because they are fibrous even when they are cooked. This dish is safe for her because it balances the sweet potatoes with cooked apples and other vegetables.

This dish can be assembled fairly quickly if you prep 24 hours before.  Cut up the ingredients and store them in containers in the fridge and whip together this dish the next day when you are short on time.  Remember to cook the harder veggies first in the skillet, and after cracking some eggs on top of the cooked mixture, bake everything until the eggs are set.  You will have a dish that is nutrient-packed, light on the stomach, and a new Fall favorite!

Note: We added some spices 1-2 minutes before everything was finished cooking in the skillet (1 tsp each of cumin and chili powder) because we like a little heat.  If you would rather add herbs, feel free to toss some oregano, thyme, or rosemary in while cooking everything in the skillet.  We definitely recommend using fresh herbs because they provide the most flavor.  Just remember to not bake fresh herbs for too long because they can burn.

Pictures and recipe below.

The fruit and veggies that comprise the hash.

Who says we are too old to play with our food?

Cut up fruits and veggies.  You can cube or chop the sweet potatoes and apples depending on your preferences.

Sauteing everything until tender.  Remember to add the fresh or dried herbs + spices 1-2 minutes before everything is ready to go into the oven.

Throw everything into an oven-safe dish.

Crack some eggs on top of the mixture.  You can add as many eggs as you want, but just don’t overcrowd the pan.

The finished product with a cilantro garnish.

The Recipe
1 sweet potato, peeled & cut into small cubes
1/2 onion, chopped
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1 small apple, cored & cut into small cubes
1 green onion, chopped

Using a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Start by adding the ingredients that will take the longest time to cook. Add the sweet potato first and fry it for 4-5 minutes. Next add the onions and red peppers, along with a pinch of red pepper flake, salt, and pepper. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes.

Let the ingredients brown and don’t constantly stir the skillet. The sweet potatoes will take on a lightly brown color. Finally, add the chopped apple and green onion.

Cook for another 2 minutes or until everything is fully cooked.

Crack a couple eggs on top and place into a 450 oven for 5-10 minutes, until the eggs had set. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from: http://www.Eatingoutloud.com

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