A new year

Sunday, January 8, 2017
Sintra, Portugal - May 2016
We're a week into the New Year, but I want to write about one of my favourite year-end traditions. Andrew, the girls and I always go out to dinner between Christmas and New Year's, and spend the meal taking turns talking about our favourite memories of the past year.

2016 was a year many people were glad to see the end of, so we really appreciated remembering the wonderful experiences we had, either individually or as a family. While some of them were big (a family trip to Portugal, and a 25th wedding anniversary trip to Argentina), most of the things we remembered were smaller: a picnic lunch by Lake Ontario, a Thanksgiving weekend hike with my mom, going to church together on Christmas day. We had so much to be grateful for, we were still sharing memories when it was time to go.

Evora, Portugal - May 2016

Iguazu Falls, Argentina - September 2016
As always, it was a great way to end a year. And a good way to start this year is to prepare food that's both delicious and healthy. Susie Middleton is my cookbook hero - her recipes make vegetables the star, and I can always count on them being full of flavour. If this is a taste of what 2017 will be like, it's going to be an awesome year.

Gingery Sweet Potato and Apple Saute
(adapted slightly from Fast, Fresh and Green by Susie Middleton)

1 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp chicken broth
1 Tbsp unsalted butter (first amount)
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (first amount)
2 3/4 cups sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2" dice (about 1 1/2 medium sweet potatoes)
1 small yellow onion cut into 1/2" dice
1 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp olive oil (second amount)
1 Golden Delicious apple cut into 1/2" dice
2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
1/2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp roughly chopped toasted sliced almonds

Combine the cider vinegar and broth in a small bowl and set aside.

In a 10" saute pan or skillet, melt 1 Tbsp butter with 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add sweet potatoes, onion, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and lightly browned, and the sweet potatoes have turned bright orange and are starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and the diced apple. Turn the heat down to medium low, and stir frequently until sweet potatoes are tender, and the apple and onion are browned, 8 to 12 minutes.

Add ginger and stir for about 30 seconds to incorporate. Remove the pan from the heat, clear a small spot in the pan, and add the vinegar-broth mixture and remaining 1/2 Tbsp butter. Stir well immediately to incorporate the butter. Transfer to plates and garnish with toasted almonds.


Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

I love your dinner tradition. I think I'm going to try to remember that for next year. We sometimes do the "name one thing you are thankful for" at Thanksgiving, but that's a bigger event so it's quick and not always personal. Enjoy the time with your girls!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

What a fun idea for the holiday season. My kids usually have some sarcastic answer when I try the thankful question on Thanksgiving---maybe boys are different (Katie just follows suit!). Love this delicious side dish---simple yet packed full of flavor. Happy New Year to you and your lovely family! xo

Natalie Aguirre said...

I love your family tradition. It's such a good one. And I LOVE sweet potatoes. I'm definitely trying this one some night for my boyfriend.

Angie's Recipes said...

I love the photo of you and your hubby in front of Iguazu Fall..such a beautiful and happy couple, Beth. 2016 wasn't a good year for us, lost one of our cats and we actually are just back from a family funeral. But I am still grateful and glad that yours was a wonderful one.
Happy New Year to you and your loved ones, Beth.

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

What a wonderful tradition Beth, lovely pics of you and your family. this sweet potato dish looks like a keeper. Hope 2017 is wonderful!!!

Monica said...

That is a beautiful tradition, Beth. I loved reading about it and I am totally going to copy it. : ) Hope you and your family have a wonderful 2017, filled with healthy and good eats, and many new memories!

grace said...

fun tradition!
i love sweet potatoes with apples, and the almonds are a great addition too. don't know this author but will seek her out!

Jemi Fraser said...

What a lovely tradition!!! 2016 was a difficult year in many ways, but there are always many, many wonderful things as well!

Kayte said...

What a wonderful tradition! We always talk about what we hope to do in the coming year, I've never thought about using it to reflect back on the previous one. (Although you and I can both agree this might not be the year for us to do that...but NEXT YEAR hopefully!) xo

Kitchen Riffs said...

What a fun family tradition! And what a neat dish, too. Love sweet potatoes. In fact we had some tonight for dinner in a soup Moroccan-inspired soup. I gotta try your recipe, though -- can never have too many! Thanks.

Abbe@This is How I Cook said...

I like this tradition. We used to make our new year's goals in my parent's hot tub but they sold the house! In any case, this healthy recipe seems the perfect way to start a new year!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Sweet potatoes and apples, that sounds like a winning flavor combination. I've served them together on a dinner plate but have never combined them in one recipe.

handmade by amalia said...

This is a lovely tradition, Beth. Hope you're having a great start to the new year.

Gloria Baker said...

These are really lovely pictures Beth !!

lisa is cooking said...

I love that year end tradition! What a great way to celebrate. And, this recipe sounds delicious. I've thought to combine sweet potatoes and apples.

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