Baking is one of those healing practices I love.
From start to finish, the process feels like a ritual dance:
walking to the book shelf and choosing a cookbook…
sitting on the couch with tea, and leafing through the pages…
choosing a recipe…
placing the ingredients on the counter…
mindfully following the recipe…
smelling the transformation happening in the oven…
remembering baking projects from times before…
My wonderful mom, Annabeth, passed away this last Sunday. She was 65. She taught me to garden, cook, sew, make friends anywhere, and how to turn every aspect of life into a living art project.
Diagnosed with inoperable liver and gallbladder cancer, Mom moved back to my home town of Portland, Oregon in June where she could get the best alternative treatments and be surrounded by old friends and family.
I was lucky enough to spend most of the summer in Oregon with her, and we cooked a bit together.
Her naturopath had recommended a sugar-free diet, high in protein, and plant-based. Not 100% plant based, but based mainly on plants. Mom and I talked a lot about what foods she could enjoy, and how to make green smoothies in her Vitamix my brother had purchased for her.
I went home again over Thanksgiving, and while Mom’s energy was low, she requested favorite foods: including sweet potatoes. A friend had created something using raw sweet potatoes blended with eggs and little else, and I recreated the recipe in my grandmother’s kitchen for the holiday feast.
Mom loved it, and ate a second helping, which made my heart glow. I mean, feeding the people I love when they’re sick and need nourishment is one of my most basic joys in life.
Last night my son and I baked the favorite that his “Nanabeth” loved: Sweet Potato Bread.
A good source of magnesium, Vitamin D and C, iron and potassium, sweet potatoes, especially the darker Garnet or Jewel “yams” (we tend to call yams sweet potatoes in the US), sweet potatoes are are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body. Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer.
I also baked several muffins from the same batch, and tucked them into my son’s backpack for naturally sweet, high-protein snackes after school. So this is a great kid recipe, too!
- 4 cups raw, chopped sweet potatoes
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch sea salt
- 3 eggs
- Combine all in a heavy duty blender and blend until smooth.
- Add any additional water as needed to get a pourable mix, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Bake in coconut oiled bread pans or muffin tins at 400 F for 25-30 minutes.
- Serve to someone you love – include yourself in that.