Sunday, March 11, 2012

college spring break: honey lime chipotle sweet potato tacos

It's 7 p.m. Sunday evening on the first day of Daylight Savings Time and after a full day of sunshine and almost 70 degrees I have that warm and fuzzy feeling as I sit and write.  Sara and I started the day at Banker's Life Fieldhouse and the lululemon stretch zone before running the B1G Ten Hoops Game Day 5 K (great route through monument circle and past Lucas Oil Stadium the house that Peyton built, sniff sniff).  After a day of packing and a drive to the airport I am back home.  Some windows are still open, the daffodils which opened today are still lighting up my wood line and contentment abounds.  Sara is just now back on campus at gorgeous Duke after Spring Break in not quite as beautiful Indianapolis, Indiana.  Kelly is loving her senior Spring Break in "Frat Lauderdale".  Greg is enjoying his first full day in the Paris of South America, Buenos Aires with plenty of Malbec, beef and even a boat ride.  I'd be jealous, but after my cold stole my last full week alone and nothing got done around here,  I'm fine with being home.  This week I might not check everything off my spring cleaning list because vacation is on the horizon and I'm ready to get all geared up for our trip to St. John.

Kelly drops by the house on a pretty regular basis and we love having her knowing she'll be anywhere but Indiana fairly soon with graduation almost here.  Hopefully, she'll be gainfully employed and living somewhere a bit more bright and shiny.  We see Sara more on ESPN working a Duke basketball game then we see her in person.  That's the sacrifice we all make for her to live her dream of attending a prestigious school in a much warmer climate.  So, it was absolutely wonderful to have four of us around the dinner table once night last week.  I love my little family.  To hear the two girls up in one of their rooms just flat out giggling is pure joy.

There's been lots of Spring Break talk around lululemon with our guests shopping for trips and outdoor sports.  Had a lovely talk with one of them as she tried on some cute luon (everything looked good on her, she's a barre method instructor).  Somewhere in the conversation she asked where my family was traveling and I had to say out-loud that most likely our days of vacations as a family were over.  And then of course tears started to well in my eyes.  True, when my kids are home I stay up too late and end up a bit exhausted but it was still a little sad that tears sprung to my eyes as I folded a stack of wunder unders (if you don't have wunder unders, stop by and try on the world's best tights/leggings-the crop ones are my favorite).  Time to get back to the yoga mat and work some of that out.

Back at the ranch, when the girls are home I will cook whatever they want and if we need any missing ingredients they are happy to run out and get whatever to have "delicious food" they don't get on campus.  We'll make a family classic, try a new recipe from online or a magazine or just wing it like we did with the following recipe.  Sara's love of sweet potatoes meant there are always a few of those in the house, we had plenty of avocados from a Costco trip earlier in the week and there was ground turkey in the freezer as a meal-planning stand-by.  I found a few sweet potato taco recipes online and did a little addition, subtraction and substitution to come up with a really yummy dinner.

The tacos can be vegetarian using black beans (the chipotle pepper brings smokey and spicy to the table) or you can do what I did and cook up a little ground turkey and onion filling and fold it into the sweet potato mixture.  Either way you can't go wrong.  Everything is better with guacamole even if you don't have cilantro (it's the lime you can't live without).  And all Mexican meals at my house involve my pinto beans.  If you belong to Costco, please go buy the Sweet Mesquite Seasoning (nice and smokey too) in a big square plastic bottle for fajitas, tacos and whatever.  If you don't use a fajita seasoning or your favorite taco spice mix if you are serving the ground turkey version of these tacos.  I always serve this type of meal with quartered limes and light sour cream.

My Purdue Boilermakers are a 10 seed in the tournament and if they get past St. Mary's they'll face Kansas so it's not looking super promising, but these tacos are winners.  And now we get to cheer for Duke too.  Amazing how having a daughter there quickly turned them from reviled to one of "my teams" on my ESPN app!  Enjoy the March Madness.  I'll be watching.  Time to fill out my bracket!

this is how I know my trial contacts are failing me
by the end of the day I can not see the screen on my camera
anyway, this is my plate honey lime chipotle sweet potato tacos

Honey Lime Chipotle Sweet Potato Tacos

optional filling:
1 pound lean ground turkey
one medium onion, chopped
olive oil
taco or fajita seasoning (I use about 2 T of Kirkland Sweet Mesquite Seasoning from Costco)

veggie filling:
two medium-large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
one medium onion, chopped
1/2 C black beans (optional)
1 chipotle  in adobo sauce
2 T of adobo sauce from chipotle chile can
1 T honey
juice of one lime

6-8 soft tortillas or hard taco shells

guacamole
sour cream
shredded lettuce
lime in quarters

If you have meat-eaters make the turkey taco filling by heating about a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a large saute pan.  Saute the onion and turkey until meat is cooked through and onion is soft.  Add seasoning and cook a few minutes to blend flavors and taste for salt, if needed.

For veggie filling, heat another tablespoon or so of olive oil in a large skillet.  Add the onion and sweet potatoes and stir and cook until browned and softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, honey and lime along with black beans if using.  If the mixture is too dry, add about 1/2 to 1 cup of chicken broth to help soften the sweet potatoes (at this point I covered the skillet and reduced the heat to make that happen).  Taste for salt and pepper.  Fold in turkey mixture if using.

Heat soft tortillas wrapped in foil or hard shells on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.
                                                     
Serve with guacamole, shredded lettuce, sour cream and limes.                                                                                                                                    

sweet potatoes and onions browning

honey, chipotle, adobo sauce and lime juice added in

Sara stirring while I make guacamole

turkey mixture folded in

my pinto beans

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