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I love reading what everyone is thankful for this time of year. Most of the social media posts I read are about being grateful for family and the like. I also appreciate the less profound posts such as this one, in regards to the Magic Eraser products used to remove marks from walls. “I know the package says magic, but man, they are amazing. Every time I use them I swear I stand there with my mouth wide open in wonder it truly worked! Thank you Mr. Clean!” Whatever makes you happy, right?

Though I have yet to publicly announce my thanks on Facebook or Twitter, I make a legitimate effort to say thank you for something each day of the year. Some times they are simple things I usually take for granted, like having a bed to sleep in or the convenience of a working washer and dryer in my town home. Other days, my thanks are more profound, and I express how grateful I am for my health and the health of my family.

Yesterday evening before the start of a yoga class, I was chatting with a friend who mentioned he just returned from a lovely cruise to the Bahamas. I did not catch all of the details (music was playing and I may just have a hearing problem), but the gist of the story was this. There was a man on the beach selling shells, and for whatever reason, he was offered a trade of two pears instead of money for a shell. My friend said that man ate both of those pears right away because “he was hungry!” Emphasis on hungry. Thoughts of that hungry man on the beach stayed with me throughout the class.

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The cynic in me says I know nothing about that man or his situation or even if the story as I interpreted it is based in reality. But the theme of appreciation for what I have yet take for granted spoke to me through that story. My dad has always said the one thing he does not understand about God is how He can give some people so much, yet others so little. There certainly is an argument to be made that people make their own luck and hard work can get someone anywhere, but when I look at the circumstances some individuals are born into, that seems like a pretty tall order.

I simply wanted to share that story with you today in hopes it inspires you to take just a moment to say a silent or public thanks for something good, no matter how minor, in your life.

As we approach Thanksgiving, a number of us will likely be giving thanks for good food and the work of those who prepared it. This recipe is likely not one to grace the holiday table, but I do think it has a place in the rotation of day-after-Thanksgiving leftovers. I took my inspiration from a baked sweet potato recipe from Epicurious. Feel free to use shredded turkey in place of bacon and cranberry sauce in place of cranberries. And some pears made it in as well…

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If you are not keen on the version I prepared, you are in luck. There are approximately 1,600 recipes for stuffed sweet potatoes floating around the internet. I have listed some of my favorites below.

For a Mediterranean option, visit Gourmande in the Kitchen.  If a Southwestern style is more your speed, Elly Says Opa has you covered. And for what I call a California version full of avocado, Betsy Life is the place to be. How Sweet It Is offers both meat lovers and fruit lovers a stuffed sweet potato option.

For breakfast, try a sweet potato stuffed with eggs and cheese at Running to the Kitchen. Later in the day, Healthy. Happy. Life. has a  two lovely options – skinny and fully loaded - for lunch and dinner. My adopted state of North Carolina has a SweetPotato Commission Foundation that suggests Ambrosia Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are the way to go.

And my pick for the most innovative use of sweet potatoes – in a stuffed recipe no less – is the Sweet Potato Stuffed Crust Pizza at Savor the Rainbow. Enjoy!

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Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Serves: 2
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, washed and scrubbed
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large pear, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup crumbled bacon, fully cooked
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  1. Pierce the clean sweet potatoes in several places with a fork and wrap with aluminum foil.
  2. Place the wrapped potatoes on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately one hour. The potatoes should be tender when fully cooked.
  3. While the potatoes cool, plump the dried cranberries by placing them in a bowl and pouring warm water over them to cover (a few will float).
  4. While they fatten up, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the pears and sauté until tender and slightly golden, about 4 minutes.
  6. Drain the plump cranberries and add them to the skillet along with the walnuts, bacon, ginger, and brown sugar.
  7. Sauté about a minute to warm, then remove from heat.
  8. Cut the tops and bottoms off each potato and slit lengthwise.
  9. Use a fork to gently mash the pulp inside each potato.
  10. Mound 1 cup of the filling mixture into and onto the sweet potatoes.
  11. Garnish each potato with one tablespoon of crumbled feta cheese.
The amount of filling this recipe makes could easily be spread across three medium to large sweet potatoes. Simply go a bit lighter than one cup of filling per potato.

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