It's hard to imagine that I used to eat sweet potatoes just once a year, on Thanksgiving, since they are now one of our go-to snacks between workouts. Laurel and I got on the sweet potato kick because our gym, Chelsea Piers, sells baked sweet potatoes for a buck each. When we camp out at the gym for a full day of workouts, we need real food (not just bars) to keep us energized. I'll get a sweet potato and mash it up with a little honey and Laurel usually tops hers with olive oil, salt, and pepper. We find that sweet potatoes not only give us the calories to keep going for that final swim set, but they’re also full of fiber, beta-carotene, vitamins C and B6, potassium, manganese, and much-needed iron.
Sweet potatoes were always our immediate family's contribution to the Thanksgiving feast at our grandparents’ Maryland farm. Our mom and dad would make them at our house, and Laurel and I would have to keep the casserole dish safe in the back seat of the car on the 45 minute drive up to the farm.
Farm Pots by ljw
Our parents made the same recipe every year, straight from The Williamsburg Cookbook. The traditional recipe includes five pantry staples: milk, butter, potatoes, brown sugar, and spices. With the added sugar, this dish is sweeter than our training-day baked potatoes, and with the milk and butter, it’s much richer. But with all those vitamins and minerals it’s still athlete-friendly—and indulgent enough to make me thankful when there's enough left for a second helping. --Bec
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE, from the Williamsburg Cookbook
3 lbs. sweet potatoes
3/4 c. light brown sugar, packed, divided
3 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease a 1 1/2 quart casserole.
Cook sweet potatoes in boiling salted water until done; drain, peel and mash them.
Stir in all of the remaining ingredients except 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Turn the mixture into prepared casserole and sprinkle with remaining sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes.
**My mom reminded me that the potatoes should be fully mashed until creamy--just as creamy as my uncle Mario's (regular) mashed potatoes!