It's a new year, and I think it's time to be completely honest with you.We all deserve the truth:
I do not actually live out of the cookie jar. Believe it or not, I cook legitimate meals.
But there is a sweetness to be found outside of the bakery. Of course, fruit can do the trick. Almonds and cinnamon are helpful too. But I'm also talking about squash, onions, beets, carrots, parsnips: vegetables with a relatively-high sugar amount.
Before calling me a "wack-a-doo hippie" and snapping open a leftover candy cane, try caramelizing onions or roasting carrots - the brown color they turn, that's the sugar visibly releasing.
A balanced meal contains all five flavors: sweet, spicy/sharp, bitter, salty, and sour. When there's no sweet on that dinner plate, guess who going to be caught munching on chocolate or cereal an hour later?
When the amount of naturally-sweet and nourishing foods in the diet increases, the white-sugar addiction will diminish and eventually vanish as added sugars are eliminated. And, being post-holiday season, this is a great time to start.
I would pick the naturally-sweet yams and apricots over sugary pastries any day of the week. The ginger, cayenne, and soy sauce in this Millet and Sweet Potato Pilaf give it a nice boost to help you power through those resolutions. And did I mention there's no fat?
Millet and Sweet Potato Pilaf
3/4 cup water mixed with 1/2 cup vegetable stock (or 1 1/4 cup water with 1 tablespoon tomato paste)
1/2 cup dry millet
1 large sweet potato, medium-dice
5 dried apricot slices, slivered
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
Bring stock/water to a boil in a 4-quart pot. Add millet, sweet potato, apricot, garlic, ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, and cayenne pepper. Cover and simmer over low flame for 20 minutes, until sweet potato is soft and all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, let stand covered for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley.