My world right now is dominated by work and schedules and Christmas trees and baking and Christmas pageants and decorating and gift planning (we’ll get to the buying soon, I hope …) and …
‘Tis the season.
Between all this push-pull of responsibilities and seasonal traditions and holiday excitement, I am trying to soak in the joy of the season as much as I can. Even if that means admiring my tree for a few moments while Instagraming photos of my favorite ornaments. Or watching The Polar Express on an unplanned movie night. Or driving slowly through town so we can check out the holiday lights. Or letting the kids hang just one more ornament because they think the tree won’t be complete without one more.
It’s the little things.
No one is perfect, and least of all me. My outdoor decorating hasn’t even started yet. (Ahem … they may just be four pumpkins still on the porch.) My Christmas shopping is slugging along at the slowest of slow paces, held back by budget constraints. But we have a tree, and it’s set up and decorated with lights and ornaments. And our kitchen tree is trimmed in all it’s cooking-themed glory.
This won’t be the year that I shop till I drop. And it won’t be the year when my kids’ wish lists are practically a blueprint for Santa and us. But really, Christmas isn’t about money or expensive presents. It’s about honoring our traditions, family and giving without expectation — whether it’s your time, energy or a really meaningful present. Meaningful will describe the presents I gift this year. It should always be that way.
Amid all this busyness and stress, it’s almost second nature for me to slide into bad eating habits — trading nutritious lunches for frozen burritos (and I am not talking the organic ones). Eating too late into the night because I am up until 2 am every day. Skipping meals only to overeat later.
This is when it’s important to make an effort to eat things that excite you — and are nutritious. Like this Roasted Veggies and Rice Noodles with Poached Egg. This recipe serves four, which makes it super easy to adapt so I can enjoy it for lunch several days in a row (hint: roast the veggies ahead of time and you can reheat them for future meals while making the rice noodles and poached egg — which take little time and can be done simultaneously).
There are few things that excite me as much as roasted veggies. The way the heat of the oven weaves around them, rendering them so tender, slightly sweet and delicately awesome. They are perfect as a side dish, lovely as a mix-in for rice and divine as a breakfast hash. And roasted vegetables — potatoes and sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts and peppers and scallions — can make the most comforting mix to spoon over firm brown rice noodles and top with a perfect runny poached egg.
You all know how much I like my runny eggs.
It doesn’t hurt that this version of the dish uses California-grown Stokes Purple® Sweet Potato. Yes, purple! How fun is that? The folks at Frieda’s sent me some to try recently (with no expectation that I would write about them), and I have had a blast roasting and experimenting with them. These sweet potatoes are of the harder, denser variety with insides that are a vibrant, lovely purple — and remain so even after cooking. Delicious!
But don’t worry — even you can use any sweet potatoes in this dish. But purple ones sure make it fun, right?
Roasted Veggies and Rice Noodles with Poached Egg
- 1 approx. 9 oz sweet potato (I used a purple one, but any will work), cut into a 1/4-inch dice
- 1 Yukon gold potato cut into a 1/4-inch dice
- 1 scallion green and light green parts sliced into thin rounds
- 1/4 cup finely diced green pepper
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts trimmed and quartered
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 oz brown rice noodles Recommended: Thai Kitchen
- 4 large eggs
- sriracha sauce to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil (if desired) or just use a nonstick baking sheet. Pile all the veggies on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the veggies are tender and lightly browned.
- Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to package directions. Also, bring about two-inches of water to boil in a pot. Crack one egg into a small bowl. Remove the pot from the burner and let the egg slide into the water. Repeat with the remaining eggs. You may wish to cook them in batches (though in a big pot, you can easily cook all at once). Let sit for a minute and then return to the burner on low heat. Cook for 3 minutes (total cooking time: 4 minutes).
- To serve: divide the rice noodles and veggies among four bowls. Top each with a poached egg. Drizzle with sriracha, if desired, and salt and pepper to taste.
Disclosure: Both the purple sweet potatoes and Thai Kitchen noodles were samples sent to me by PR people. However, all opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this post.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.