Like most kids with autism, my son Christopher had gastrointestinal issues. For years and years we strictly adhered to the GAPS diet (and by we, I mainly mean my poor kiddo), which helps to heal the gut. Today, his diet has changed a little (kind of a dairy-free PALEO that excludes certain foods that he is sensitive to) and we’ve been able to add in a few foods that are not GAPS-legal like lentils and sweet potatoes. With very few exceptions, we still avoid regular potatoes though. My kids have been fantasizing about French fries and the other day C2 said, “I really miss smiley fries” (which I think we had our freezer stocked with when we very first went gluten-free and didn’t know what we were doing and bought a whole bunch of GF packaged and frozen food). Since I had some free time over the weekend, I thought I’d work on a sweet potato version of the smiley fries.
Happy Face Sweet Potatoes
- 4 large sweet potatoes
- About 4 TBS coconut oil
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 TBS spice of choice (I love cinnamon on sweet potatoes, so I used Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Pie Spice, which is a mix of cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom. Do not buy it through the link – I just put it in there so you could see it – that is a ridiculous amount to pay for a spice. It is much cheaper at an actual Trader Joe’s or you could buy all of the ingredients and make your own). This is optional. These would taste perfectly delicious – and probably have less dirty looking “faces” – simply salted.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Wash, peel, and cut sweet potatoes in chunks to make circle shaped faces. Aim for pretty much consistent thickness so that they all cook the same.
- Use a pairing knife to cut faces into your circles (obviously this is optional – it’s kind of a pain in the ass – and if you do this and you don’t have kids you are a little weird or you have a lot of free time).
- Put sweet potatoes in a large bowl and toss with oil and then salt and spices. Mix well.
- Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and lay sweet potatoes out in a single layer.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Turn sweet potatoes over.
- Bake another 10 minutes (check for desired texture and bake an additional few minutes if needed).
- Remove from oven and put on plate with a paper towel to soak up the extra oil.
- Let cool and serve.
These ended up being a big hit. We decided to have a BBQ and serve them with (all-beef, nitrate-free) hotdogs and burgers.
Unfortunately, it was raining while we were making dinner, so my husband had to make the burgers on the stove top in a cast iron pan instead of on the grill.
But, everything turned out delish and it cleared up enough for us to have dinner outside. Christopher often rejects my side dishes, but he gobbled up the happy face sweet potatoes!