When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Good-bye, french fry

French fries -- those golden, salty sticks of crispy potato -- are an infamously popular meal and snack item for many North Americans. At least one quarter of Canadian children and adolescents eat fries two or more times a week, and in the United States, french fries are the most common type of vegetable children eat, accounting for approximately one quarter of their veggie intake. When you consider that a regular order of fast food fries is loaded with salt, empty calories, and up to 22 grams of unhealthy fat, plus the fact that the number of overweight children in North America is increasing, we would do well to seek out alternatives to this unfriendly fried food.

This recipe for roasted potato and yam chips, from the good food book for families by Brenda Bradshaw and Cheryl Mutch, provides a tasty and healthier way to prepare potatoes at home. My highly selective resident taste-testers give them two thumbs up, and the use of sweet potatoes gives all of us nutritional benefits in the form of complex carbohydrates, fibre, beta carotene, vitamin C and vitamin B6.

2 unpeeled yams, sliced into 1/4 inch medallions (the skin provides extra fibre and vitamins)
1 unpeeled russet (baking) potato, sliced into 1/4 inch medallions
2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss vegetables in oil, salt and pepper.

Spread vegetables out in a shallow baking pan and bake for approximately 50 to 60 minutes, or until potatoes are crispy and golden on the outside and yams are tender.

By preparing your own "chips" at home, you can provide your children with the crispy potatoes they love, while using small quantities of heart-healthy oils and controlling the amount of salt you use. This is a wise practice for everyone in the family to lower the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Good-bye, french fry!

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