Friends and Food

Tuesday, September 06, 2011  ::  

One of the most interesting culinary expansions for the Haynes family this year came from my friend, Alysa Bajenaru. She's a freaky food genius. Not only is she a great chef, but she's also a registered dietician, so the foods she teaches about are delicious and certainly nutritious.

Sweet potatoes...in Mexican food.  DEE-lish.

I've choked down the smashed up, gooey, sugary, marshmallow ick that so many people enjoy at Thanksgiving. Personally, I never liked the stuff. So, when Alysa used diced, sauteed sweet potatoes in her famous enchiladas, I scoffed. However, the spicy flavors of Mexican food mixed with the subtle sweetness of the potato works to combine flavor explosions in your mouth.


Now I use sweet potatoes sauteed in olive oil with chile powder, garlic, cumin seed, black pepper, and kosher salt in almost all Mexican dishes...enchiladas (rolled and stacked), burritos, nachos, tacos, stews... you name it.


Tonight we had nachos for dinner. The whole family loves this meal because each person can pile on exactly what they want. It was pretty basic tonight: Ground turkey, brown rice, pinto beans, sauteed sweet potato, cheese, guacamole, green chile salsa.  Sound good? It was.

This is Carah's plate.  She likes everything except the green chile. Her preference is traditional salsa which I also had on hand.



I opted for a healthier version and used fresh spinach for the base and crumbled a few chips on top for desired crunch.



I wanted to give you all a glimpse into my family's eating habits, make you drool a little, and possibly inspire you to try something new, but the point of this post is actually more purposeful.

My friend, Alysa, is knowledgable registered dietician who writes a great blog full of advice, delicious recipes, and pictures of her beautiful family. Her husband was on staff at Second Mile for a season, but took an exciting coaching job in the game of baseball that the whole Bajenaru family loves. Alysa was a vital part of Moxie (our women's ministry) and is sorely missed. She's a great wife, awesome mom, and wonderful friend. She was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease and seeks to live and eat in such a way to feel good and honor God with her attitude. I hope you will click over and check out her coolness!

Alysa, you are loved, missed, and valued. Thanks for sharing your life and knowledge with us. I hope you feel encouraged!

Linking up with Jami, the mastermind in encouraging us to encourage others. Thanks, Jami! 

10 important comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Angela DeSoto said...

Aww, I've been thinking so much lately about how much I MISS Alysa! Thanks for posting this, Alysa definitely is worth paying attention to, that's for sure.
Your dinner looked super delish!! Thanks for sharing that with us :)

Jeff Bajenaru said...

Wow...what an encouraging blog Angel. Thank you for lifting up my wife!

PS: I thought the same about the sweet potato enchiladas before trying them. :)

Breeann said...

Thank you for your sweet comment on my blog! And, those nachos look yummy!! :)

Anonymous said...

Crazy! We had sweet potato enchiladas tonight and as I was dicing up the sweet potatoes, I was thinking about Alysa and how much I miss her! :)
---Tia

Alysa said...

Angel, I am so honored that you would sit down and write an entire blog post to encourage me. I feel amazingly blessed by your kind words, and as I sit here with tears in my eyes, I miss you all so much. Moxie girls, I hope you know how much I think about you. As excited and happy as I am for our new adventures in baseball, leaving my Tucson family has been hard.

I'm glad that even from a distance, I can inspire you to expand your palate. That makes me happy :)

I love you!!

hannah singer said...

this looks AMAZING!
hooray for good food and dear friends! xo

Jen said...

Love your blog! :) I have a dog named Moxie... :)

myriahmae said...

Thanks for stopping by my little old blog!! So great to check out yours, I just became a follower...I am exctied about your Moxie Memorizers!!

The Arizona Russums said...

mmmmm...i LOVE sweet potatoes. i will have to try this!

sweetpeaskitchen.com said...

Sweet potato enchiladas?! That sounds incredible! I am off to look at the recipe...I know my family will love it! :)

Post a Comment