Tasty Sweet Potato Fries

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These are a favorite in our household.  Bitsy Girl hasn’t met a sweet potato she doesn’t like, and I found this to be a great way to convince Beard to enjoy sweet potatoes, too.  Win win in my book.

I know sweet potato fries are becoming ridiculously popular nowadays, and everyone and their mother has a recipe up for them, but I think my version is slightly different, so I thought I’d put my two cents in.

First, I start with two cleaned sweet potatoes and I cut off the ends:

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Then I slice up the sweet potatoes into fries.  I make them relatively large, but definitely not like steak fries.  Sweet potatoes become much softer when cooked, so you can’t make them too thin, but I just don’t like a giant hunk of potato as a fry.  So mine end up looking like this:

100_2407I sprinkle some salt (to taste), 1 tsp cumin, and 1 tsp chili power on the fries.  Then I mix them in the bowl.  After that is when I drizzle over a few tbsp of olive oil and coat the fries.  I find that the fries retain flavors better if they are seasoned prior to the olive oil coating.

100_2408I spread the fries out on a cookie sheet so they aren’t touching each other for the most part.  These babies get baked at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.  And they are delicious!

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For Those of Us Who Don’t Have Self-Cleaning Ovens..

A few nights ago, Beard and I made some homemade pizza.  It came out pretty tasty, but the baking process was less than pleasant.  Since we moved into our house, I’ve never cleaned the oven.  I’m not sure if the people who lived here before us cleaned the oven either because they weren’t here very long.  So I can safely assume that the reason our oven smoked and stank like death was because it hadn’t been cleaned in over two years.  Until this morning, that is.

For this job I rounded up my favorite cleaning products:  baking soda and distilled vinegar.  Consequently these two ingredients also make a nifty “volcano”. 😉

(I’m also very glad I threw the washcloth in this picture, because I was able to take a shot of that after cleaning.)

Here is what my oven looked like before I started:

Lovely, isn’t it?  There was also a chunk of charred stuff on the bottom that I couldn’t photograph properly, but I’m pretty sure that is what was causing my smoking, smelly mess.

To get started, I poured some straight vinegar in the spray bottle and sprayed the whole oven generously.  Then I grabbed a mug and sprinkled my baking soda over as much of the oven as I could.  Again, this was a generous sprinkling.  The baking soda and vinegar fizzled and made crazy bubbles, so I left it for about a half an hour to work it’s magic.

This is how it looked after that half hour:

The fizzing settled down, and the vinegar was able to loosen up some of the grimey stuff in my oven.

I filled a clean bucket part way with hot water and used my washcloth to scrub out as much nastiness as I could.  The baking soda really helped to scrape off some of the baked on stuff without scratching the surface of my oven.

This was my finished product:

Admittedly this is not perfectly clean, but in comparison to what it looked like before, this is beautiful!

But the easiest way for me to tell how much gunk I got out of my oven:

And that was my third bucket of water for this job!