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This past week has been both relaxing and busy. My husband and I had the week off and spent the great majority of it in Tennessee with family and friends.

A mountain stream….

From Tuesday to Friday, we stayed at a cabin in the Smoky Mountains with a fantastic view and a relaxing hot tub. We hiked, grilled out, and shared romantic moments. It was nice to get away from it all and just enjoy each other’s company.

A view from Clingman’s Dome…

Friday to Sunday we spent just outside of Knoxville celebrating the marriage of a college friend. A large group of my Berea College friends were there to celebrate as well as my BFF of 6 years. It was so wonderful to reconnect with and meet some amazing people. Plus, we were able to stay at my grandmother’s house and spent time with her.

My best friend and I…

I am sure you have noticed that my posts have decreased in their frequency as of late.  Now that I am back home, I hope to increase my posting frequency. Even though I had so much fun on vacation, I missed the quality and healthiness of home cooking. Sure pizza, ribs, and steak are yummy. Sometimes, I just long for the comforting familiarity of my own food and knowing what goes into it’s preparation. Even though we drove home today and I am exhausted, I wanted to eat something healthy and quick for dinner. The thoughts of another commercially prepared meal make me want to puke.

Portabello  mushrooms are a hearty, tasty replacement for meat. I love the earthy taste and the juicy texture; the high antioxidant levels are also a plus. Mushrooms are low in sodium and high in a whole host of things including fiber, iron, potassium, and zinc. I love fixing them as a sandwich with sauteed onions and cheese.

Instead of regular fries or chips, I am fixing Cajun sweet potato fries. Made in the oven, these fries are healthier than fried white potatoes for two reasons- 1) fried is way worse than baked and 2) sweet potatoes are better than white potatoes. Sweet potatoes have a lesser glycemic effect than white potatoes and are higher in fiber and Vitamin A. The Cajun spices give these fries enough pizzazz that you don’t need to add ketchup or extra salt.

For good timing, start potatoes first while you prep your mushrooms.

Portabello Mushroom Sandwiches

  • 2 portabello mushrooms caps, rinsed
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste
  • Pam spray
  • cheese, if desired
Spray a glass 8×8 inch baking dish with Pam. Place mushroom in pan, stem up. Spray mushroom with Pam. Sprinkle spices over mushroom evenly. Bake on 400 degrees for 10 or until tender, depending on size of mushroom.  Remove from oven and top with cheese. Serve on a buttered, toasted bun with desired toppings. I personally like to saute onion and add to my sandwich.
Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
In a small bowl, stir together paprika, brown sugar, black pepper, onion powder, thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Slice the sweet potatoes into desired size (I usually do about the size of a carrot stick). Pour olive oil over potatoes and stir to coat. Sprinkle on spices and stir again.  Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet or in a shallow pan. Bake in 400 degree oven until tender, or about 1 hour.