Sweet Potatoes Can Save the World

Okinawan purple sweet potatoes

My friend calls me a yaki imo (roasted sweet potato) addict. He told students that I teach that I have “yaki-imomania”. It isn’t far from the truth. I’m crazy about them! They are sweet, carby, filling, satisfying, and nourishing – the ultimate healthy comfort food. They give me an extra burst of energy and mollify my troubled soul on days when nothing seems to go quite right. But I can always rest contented knowing that I’ve given my body and soul what it needs – a whole foods solution.I didn’t really embrace my love of sweet potatoes until I read the book Sweet Potato Power. There I learned about the glory that is all things sweet potato, realized there were other people out in the world as crazy about sweet potatoes as I am (some even somewhat close by!), and became totally convinced that sweet potatoes can, in fact, save the world.

Homework: 5 Fabulous Things

I’m doing my homework! Assigned by Tracy & Joy from Homefries’ Joy the Baker podcast, here are 5 things I am loving at the moment.

1. My workout shoes. Japan has so many crazy colors!

2. Homemade laundry soap from Apartment Therapy.

3. Purple sweet potatoes. Sometimes stuffed with kabocha squash with coconut milk. Brekkie!

4. Cherry Blossom season

5. Random Acts of Kindness: They make you sooooo happy. They make a stranger-soon-to-be-friend happy. Or you can do it totally anonymously and shine with happiness all day knowing that you truly impacted someone’s life today.

25 Things & Sweet Potato Cakes

breakfast cakes

Hello all!

A little over a month ago, I posted a list of 25 Things for Turning 25. It is a list of year-long and daily goals to improve my quality of life by helping others (and living out a few dreams).  I had a fantastic birthday by sharing service with others, probably one of the best I have had ever. Here is a little run down…

3. Take a walk and pick up litter at least once a month. (Twice a month is ideal)


boo litter. yay clean neighborhood.

4. Make a sweet potato and chestnut layer cake, dairy-free cream cheese frosting optional. Achieved! It wasn’t a true cake with flours, etc, but it was the perfect breakfast. See details at the end of this post.

8. Reverse trick or treat

12. Laugh every day. Check

We also visited a friend in the hospital and had a mini party there. At lunch, my friends wanted to treat me, so I put the cost of my lunch into the donation box for the Japan Disaster Relief Fund. I sent out several care packages this month, as well as postcards. I’m going to start sending my mail with a Smile Card so people will pass it on. And I still need your help with these!

1. Get 25 people to make a $25 kiva loan, or more!

Kiva.org is a way to lend directly, in small amounts or microloans, to alleviate poverty while knowing that your contribution really makes a difference.You make a loan, get updates from your lend-ee, and then get paid back! You can make more loans with that money or do a communal loan.

7. Inspire others to send more snail mail.

A handwritten note speaks volumes from the heart. And they usually have really cute stamps at the post office.

14. Inspire 100 people to do better by the environment

Here is where I really need your help – spread the word! Recycle! Choose sustainable seafood! Conserve on water! Eat more greens! Share your thoughts on how we can integrate sustainable living and joy into our every day lives.

Oh! And I did do #17, Eat breakfast at Tsukiji fish market, the week before my birthday. Check! Sorry no pictures though. I was too busy eating.

I’m still working on the others, especially the daily tasks like getting rid of clutter and complimenting a person or laughing every day. And I WILL get in that hot air balloon sometime this year!!!

My birthday breakfast was slices of roasted sweet potatoes layered with my Sweet Potato Puddin’ Spread and topped with coconut cream. If you refrigerate a can of coconut milk (make sure it is BPA free!), you can scoop off the top layer of coconut fat and use it liked whipped cream! It was a wonderfully indulgent, yet healthy, way to start my day.

THANK YOU for reading and following, and here is to another year of joyful, green living!

Special thanks to Mayumi and Akane, who made my birthday extra special by participating in all the events! You guys are the sunshines in my life.

bringing sunshine with me wherever I go

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY today to one of my dearest friends. Sig, you will always have a special place in my heart. ♥

Sweet Potato Puddin’ Spread

I have a really hard time taking myself seriously when I write “puddin”. I am not a Southern lady and I do not dole out terms of endearment like synonyms for dessert. But “pudding spread” just doesn’t work for me, and this creamy, indulgent creation isn’t pudding at all. So, somehow my rationale is if there isn’t a “g” at the end there is no false advertising on my part.

This is a random snack/breakfast treat that I created on impulse a few weeks ago. Made with roasted sweet potatoes, coconut milk, chestnuts, nut butter, and some spices, it doesn’t have any traditional pudding ingredients that I know of, but the texture, and delight with which I consumed it, reminded me of pudding. White sweet potatoes are perhaps the sweetest I have encountered yet and I needed no extra sugar. But you could play around with it and add some honey or maple syrup if you wanted to. Japan is wonderful in that it has roasted chestnuts for sale all the time, shelled or unshelled, but they aren’t crucial to the recipe. I just like to pick out the chunks like I used to with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. And can I be a bit tangential and say, who decided vanilla was the best base for that flavor? Clearly chocolate would have reigned supreme. Continue reading