Walking into a house warmed by an oven baking a meal that smells oh-so delicious is a quintessential winter memory. The hippocampus aids in olfactory memory. So, it makes sense that a certain smell can take us back to our childhood or other time of life, evoking distinct memories that we might, otherwise, never recall.
Ayurveda teaches us that winter is a time to nourish the body well, stay warm, and eat more healthy fats. Ayurveda also teaches us that how we eat and when we eat are just as important as what we eat. Taking time to slow down and eat in a calm, relaxed environment will do wonders for digestion and assimilation of nutrients and the body’s ability to function optimally.
Seasonally eating for this time of year calls to mind sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes possess such qualities as being sweet, unctuous, grounding, satisfying, and strengthening for the liver and spleen.
Couple sweet potatoes with nuts to pack a protein punch and a helping of healthy fat, and you have a wonderful winter winner!
Fennel & Hazelnut Sweet Potatoes
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
- 1 head fennel, sliced thinly
- 2 Tbsp ghee
- 2 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander, cardamom, and mineral salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1/2-3/4 cups chopped toasted hazelnuts
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
- In a small pot, melt ghee. Stir in the cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon, salt, and mustard seeds, and cook over low heat until the mustard seeds start to dance.
- Place the sweet potatoes and fennel in a baking dish large enough to spread them out a bit.
- Pour the ghee/spice mixture over the sweet potatoes and fennel, and mix to coat evenly.
- Bake at 350 until fork-tender, about 30-40 minutes (the smaller you cut the vegetables, the faster they will cook)
- Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the vegetables when they are done.
- Give thanks and enjoy!