Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese, Sage and Pepitas
I was walking along the West Side Highway last week when a girl ran by me in the most insane “shoes” I have ever seen. They were sort of like a skinny version of Moon Shoes, and she bounced approximately 3 feet in the air with each stride. Much to my delight, I saw her twice in the span of an hour (bitch was fast!), and although she looked absurd, I was intrigued.
As luck would have it, my friend Fifi happened to send me this video the very next day…
Now, I don’t know where Fifi found this video, but I felt that it was a sign. It turns out that the crazy girl’s shoes have a name. They are called Kangoo Jumps, and they are worn to workout classes run by some dude named Mario Godiva. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not that big on exercising, but this class looked too good to be true. I mean, I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing such footwear in public, but since this ridiculousness took place indoors, I was mildly okay with it. After some in-depth research (aka watching several YouTube videos and cracking ourselves up), Fifi and I decided to book a class.
On Sunday evening I received an email reminding me to bring water and long thick socks, and to be prepared to “work hard and sweat.” Why Mario would send me such a threatening email when I already had the Sunday Night Fear was beyond me, and I started to get nervous. My productivity on Monday was understandably low, given that I spent most of the day in a state of severe anticipatory anxiety about the impending Kangoo class. But when 6pm finally rolled around, I dutifully put on my high socks and hightailed it to a very sketchy gym in Chelsea to give my all at “plyo-dance.”
Fifi and I located our fellow Kangoo-ers in the basement of the aforementioned gym and put our “Jumps” on. Suddenly, I was 6’5 and very unstable. I boldly did some practice jumping, which was fun, scary, and extremely tiring at the same time. I am swallowing my pride to share my test-bouncing with you…
This is me doing Kangoo Jump. *In case you didn’t understand what I was saying, it was: “It’s difficult to bounce.” Fact.
Turns out we had accidentally signed up for the “advanced plyo-sport class.” Translation: circuit training in trampoline shoes. Let’s just say that it was not the bouncing around to Nicki Minaj that I had anticipated. In fact, at points I felt the need to warn my 250 pound, 50 year-old Russian circuit buddy that I may pass out. He giggled a lot and his English wasn’t very good, so I don’t think he was grasping the seriousness of what I was saying.
I spent the entire hour sweating (which I dislike), trying to avoid the inevitable face-plant, and fighting the urge to laugh/cry/throw up. Adding insult to injury, the stereo was broken, meaning that I was forced to exercise to a soundtrack of everyone’s Kangoo Jumps smacking the floor and my own ragged breath. Oh, and Mario was out of town. This was disappointing because I feel like I would really get along with somebody named “Mario Godiva.” He sounds fun.
Despite all of this awkwardness/pain, I have to admit that Kangoo was an excellent workout. I am currently incredibly sore, and I figure after like three of these workouts I’ll definitely be in Sports Illustrated shape. I will probably, maybe return. At the very least, I would like to meet Mario and give plyo-dance a whirl.
Anyhoo, I walked home on jelly legs last night craving something healthy and delicious after Kangoo-ing my heart out. I had some sweet potatoes and goat cheese on hand, so I decided to whip up some Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese, Sage and Pepitas.
This creation really hit the spot. The combination of sweet potatoes and goat cheese is truly awesome, especially since the cheese gets a little bit melted and adds the perfect amount of tanginess to the potatoes. I love sage and sweet potatoes together, and just a tiny bit of the herb adds major depth to this dish. Throw in some toasted pepitas, and you’ve got a sweet and savory masterpiece with a nutty crunch.
From a health perspective, these mashed sweet potatoes will do you all kinds of favors. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of fiber, and they’re packed with cancer preventing anti-oxidants. They also have large amounts of beta-carotene, which apparently defends your skin from sun damage, and vitamin C, which smoothes wrinkles and stimulates collagen production. So basically, sweet potatoes will make you look younger and prettier. That alone should be enough to sell you on this recipe.
While I would ordinarily serve these sweet potatoes as a side dish, they made a very satisfying, yet light meal. They also taste delicious cold, which means they’re an easily transportable lunch option. In case you are looking for a classy way to dress up this side dish at your next party, I suggest serving your mashed sweet potatoes in their skins. They look very fancy and impressive.
If you need another reason to give this recipe a try, it is apparently US Veg Week, which is some sort of weeklong, meat-free extravaganza. I found out about this via Twitter, so I don’t know if it’s actually a thing, but you know I love to stay on trend. You’re welcome.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese, Sage, and Pepitas: (Serves 4-6)
Preparing your mashed sweet potatoes:
*Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
-Clean your sweet potatoes. Poke holes in each of the potatoes using a fork/knife and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet/baking dish.
-Bake potatoes for 1-1½ hours until tender. (Just give them a little squeeze to see if they’re cooked. Obviously, you should do this using a dish towel so that you don’t burn yourself. They should feel nice and squishy.)
-Place your pepitas in a pan (with no oil!) and toast over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside until ready to use.
-When your sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove them from their skins and place them in a mixing bowl. If you plan on serving your mashed sweet potatoes in their skins, make a slit in the top of each potato and carefully scoop out the insides, keeping the skins intact.
-Use a fork to mash the sweet potatoes with 1½ tbsp of honey.
-Fold the crumbled goat cheese and chopped sage into the mashed sweet potatoes. Add salt to taste. Top with toasted pepitas and get after it.
*If you are serving your mashed sweet potatoes in their skins, fill the skins with the mashed sweet potato mixture. Top with some extra crumbled goat cheese and pepitas.
I’m psyched to be part of Food Network’s Sensational Sides event this week. For more inspired ideas checkout these other amazing peeps’ Mashed Spring Sides below.
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