Sweet Potato Salad with Celery, Pecans and Cranberries by emily penn

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This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite things to make around the holidays. The original recipe from Smitten Kitchen involves sweet potatoes cut into coins with a “salad” that goes on top - like little one bite hors d’oeuvres. I’ve been making these for holiday gatherings since I was in my early 20s and they’ve always been a huge hit.

I wanted to revamp the concept this year and so this sweet potato salad was born. It is so delicious and has so many wonderful seasonal flavors all wrapped into one bite. You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy it! While it definitely has strong Thanksgiving vibes, it still holds its own for gatherings and dinners throughout the rest of the year.

It’s grounding, it hits all the flavor buttons and it’s easy to make ahead of time and transport. It comes off as way more sophisticated than most other potato or sweet potato-based side dishes this time of year and is sure to freshen up the staple sides that everyone is secretly a little sick of.

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Sweet Potato Salad with Celery, Pecans and Cranberries

serves 4-6 as a side
cook time 45 min / total time 1 hour

2 large sweet potatoes, cubed
2 tbsp avocado oil
5 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
¼ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped (ideally unsweetened or sweetened with fruit juice)
½ cup packed parsley, chopped
½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped

¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp white or red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
salt + pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400. Toss sweet potatoes with avocado oil and a generous sprinkling of salt. Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring once halfway, until cooked through and golden.

  2. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, chop your celery, shallots, dried cranberries, and parsley. Add to a large bowl and set aside. Make the dressing and set aside. Reserve the pecans for garnish.

  3. When sweet potatoes are done, remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

  4. Add the sweet potatoes and dressing to the large bowl and toss everything together until well-coated with the dressing. Taste and add salt/pepper if needed.

  5. When ready to serve, transfer to a dish and sprinkle chopped pecans on top. Salad can be made up to 2 days ahead of time. Leftovers will keep for several days in the fridge.

Good Medicine Everyday: Rosemary by emily penn

Rosemary has been my favorite herb for a long time. I love it with vegetables - especially roasted potatoes, I make a rosemary cashew sauce, I even make granola with rosemary in it! It’s just got such a satisfying flavor and aroma.

And - you guessed it - rosemary has some impressive health benefits. It’s packed with antioxidants and polyphenols. Rosmarinic acid is the primary compound that gives rosemary its health punch. This is what rosemary means for your health (1):

  • One of the oldest medicinal uses of rosemary is for improving memory and boosting brain health. It’s protective against Alzheimers and cognitive decline. I like to diffuse rosemary essential oil if I’m studying or anytime I want to enhance my memory.

  • Mood boosting - rosemary reduces cortisol levels and has a calming effect, making it great for those suffering from anxiety and depression.

  • Rosemary has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It selectively kills cancer cells.

  • Rosmarinic acid prevents accumulation of fluid in the lungs, making it a great remedy for a cough, cold, flu and even asthma.

  • Boosts immunity - like so many other herbs, the antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties of rosemary make it a great herb to consume regularly for immune protection.

  • It increases bile flow and gallbladder function, resulting in overall improved digestive health.

  • It supports the liver, especially the healing of the liver.

  • Rosemary essential oil promotes hair growth, slows graying and helps treat dry scalp. Try adding a few drops to your shampoo or doing a hair mask that includes rosemary.

Use rosemary in any savory dish where you want a pop of flavor or a boost in brain power. Marinate and cook meats with it - the high antioxidant content can help offset any potential carcinogens produced by cooking the meat (especially grilling).

This super herb is easy to access and also super easy to grow! Here in the PNW it grows everywhere, but it’s super hardy so will grow well in many regions, or you can always grow indoors!

Good Sips: Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer by emily penn

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My Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer was such a hit, I knew I had to keep the ball rolling. And I am never above the “basic” seasonal delights. Peppermint Mochas are the shit and while I definitely don’t want all the extra sugar and potentially weird ingredients from other creamers and syrups, I’m most definitely chasing that flavor combo.

The coffee creamers in stores are pretty sad - even the supposed “healthy” brands. They almost always have some form of undesirable sugar or thickener or preservative or SOMETHING. This is so easy to make yourself, it’s a no-brainer. And it is SO good. I’ve been known to take straight sips from the jar. No judgement, okay?

Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer

Make approximately 2 cups

1 can full fat coconut milk
2 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp MCT oil (or other neutral tasting oil, no vegetable oil please)
4 dates, pitted and soaked in warm water
1/2 tsp peppermint extract or 1 drop of peppermint essential oil
dash of salt


1.    Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend on high for 30 seconds.
2. Taste a little bit. If you like it super minty, add another 1/2 tsp of peppermint extract or drop of oil.
3. Add to all your favorite hot bevvies!

* There is A LOT of controversy about ingesting essential oils so do your research and do what feels best for you. If you do decide to ingest them, make sure you trust the quality.
* Don’t skip the oil - it helps emulsify the coconut milk so that it doesn’t separate and get hard in the fridge.
* Coconut consistencies vary wildly between brands and even within brands! Using full fat coconut milk yields a very thick creamer, but a light coconut milk will give you a more pourable consistency. You can use other non-dairy milks, but it might not be as creamy as the coconut.
* My favorite MCT oil