Confession: One of my biggest fears in the world is the Oompa Loompa. You know: those little orange workers from Willy Wonka with the green hair who only show up when something bad is about to happen? At which point they sing a creeptastic song and they take the bad children away? I swear, as a child, these things freaked me out more than any other fictional character, or any real-life situation at that.
That being said, it’s become increasingly clear to me that I eat enough orange foods that I’m surprised I haven’t turned a glowing shade of Oompa Loompa Orange. I have enough beta carotene running through my veins that it’s probably unnecessary for me to ever reach for a self tanner. No joke. I was reading in some magazine at the gym the other day that eating large amounts of carrots will naturally cause your skin to glow (in a “I’m so healthy that I’m glowingly gorgeous” kind of way, not to be confused with a “I‘m highly radioactive” kind of way).
Besides carrots (which I eat almost daily), I have two other very delicious, and very orange, food obsessions: sweet potato and pumpkin.
I eat sweet potatoes almost daily. They are delicious, comforting, and so incredibly versatile. You can bake them, steam them, mash them, eat them hot, eat them cold, smother them in peanut butter, or cinnamon, or maple syrup, and the result will always, always be delicious. They taste like candy! So much so, in fact, that I never understood why, at Thanksgiving, people literally turn them into candy. All that brown sugar and marshmallow is unnecessary!
See these guys?
Easiest sweet potato “fry” recipe ever:
1. Heat oven to 375*
2. Scrub sweet potato, cut into rounds (or half-moons, as I prefer)
3. Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray
4. Spread potatoes on baking sheet and spray potatoes with cooking spray (I used to coat the tots with oil, but found that they got too soggy. This saves texture AND calories).
5. Sprinkle potatoes with salt and cinnamon. Bake until tender (around 30-40 minutes).
These are delicious served with burgers (meat or veggie), eggs, or just eaten on their own. Perfect!
I also have a wee obsession with pumpkin. I realized last fall that canned pumpkin is perhaps one of the most versatile foods I’ve ever cooked with. The nutritional stats on this bad boy are insane (high in everything good, low in everything not so good). It’s delicious. It’s filling. It can be used in baked goods, oatmeal, smoothies, pancakes, and a million other palate-pleasing goodies. It can be found in ridiculous abundance between the months of September and March. It’s fairly cheap. What’s not to love?!
I was a pumpkin hoarder this winter. No, seriously. At any given time, my pantry was holding somewhere between 6-8 cans of pumpkin, and I was eating it nearly every day. It started to get a little out of hand, I must admit. Then March rolled around, and pumpkin was ripped from the shelves (dramatic, right?). I was going through a pumpkin drought until Sunday when, during a routine trip to Target, I found this loner, just waiting to be snatched up:
And I let out an audible gasp. Yes, really. I’m saving this guy for next week, when I’ll whip up at least a few of my favorite pumpkin recipes like Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancake or Pumpkin Molasses Cookies.
Or I’ll make one of my favorite, easy breakfasts: 1/2 C. canned pumpkin mixed with 1/2 C. Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with a little peanut butter.