What Kenny Rogers Taught Me About When To “Say Uncle”

By: Roshanda Pratt

RoshandaRemember when you were a little kid wrestling with your brother or sister? If you were like me, you were probably the one in agony on the bottom while your sister tried out the new moves she learned from G.L.O.W. (Glorious Ladies of Wrestling). It never failed; my sister would have me a “Nelson hold” while I worked tirelessly to maneuver out. Unfortunately, being the smaller sibling, I had to wave the white flag and scream out, “Uncle.”  I hated admitting defeat. My sister, on the other hand, relished in it.

There is something about the idiom “say uncle” that makes one feel like a wimp or a quitter.  Why is it that women seem to have difficulty with surrender?  I blame Scarlet O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind” with her damsel in distress drama or maybe I should blame the bra burning movement with their mantra, “I am women hear me roar.”

Surrender, as defined in the 1828 Noah Webster dictionary, means “to yield to the power of another; to give or deliver up possession upon compulsion or demand.” Let us focus for a moment on the first definition, “to yield to the power of another.” I would interpret that to mean the one who surrenders is the one receiving the greatest benefit. Let’s consider my beginning example.  My sister had me in a half nelson choke hold. I fought for as long as I could and finally decided to “surrender” my will in order to give her some “brief” power.

In my life, I have realized that “saying uncle” does not have to be such a bad thing. I learned the art of surrender as a college student embarking on the adventure of forgiveness. I learned how to surrender when it came to marrying my college love. I learned the beauty of surrender when my face was in a toilet dealing with morning sickness with my first child.

And, as I type this, I am again screaming “uncle.” Last year, I took the plunge into business ownership, starting a media consulting business.  The first year had lots of success, but there was also failure. Recently, I was brought on as a media consultant for a new business endeavor with other professionals.  The workload has increased, but I am having a great time being able to control my own schedule.  However, at the same time my schedule was becoming hectic, forming me to work late into the night trying to meet deadlines and projects.

One night, as I struggled to write a blog post, I realized I was again on that imaginary mat, pinned to the ground but refusing to surrender.  I needed to “say uncle.” That decision came recently when I submitted my “resignation” to the Every Woman Blog. I have enjoyed what I like to call my online “diary” community for the past two years. But, as the famous song goes, “Now it’s time to say goodbye to all our company…” I have enjoyed this experience, the friendships I have made with fellow bloggers, and the chance to connect with all of the readers. But, I must surrender.

As I typed my resignation letter, I disliked every bit of it, but knew it needed to be done. I had been taking a gamble for a long time and I had to look at my hand and stop “bluffing” with my life. The wonderful team at the Every Woman blog was supportive about my decision and left the door open for me to guest post. I was extremely grateful because this experience has been amazing!

Life is a series of wrestling bouts where someone has to “Say Uncle.” As women, I think we have to learn how to be okay with walking away, surrendering for something better or just to gain some priority in our lives. Doing so does not mean you are quitter, it just means you are smart enough to know when something is no longer working or you are no longer giving your best!

In the words of Kenny Rogers, “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run.”

So my dear friends, what do you need to surrender or “say uncle” to? And why have you not done it yet?

I won’t say goodbye. Instead, I will say see you soon!

Summer Fun & Feelin’ Like A Kid Again…

By: Shannon Shull

When summertime rolls around, those of us with kids scramble to find things to keep our children happy, active, engaged and entertained. And, if we’re lucky, we also get the opportunity to have a little fun ourselves!

We use everything from Disney shows, Super Hero movies, video games (Minecraft, Mario Brothers, Wii, you name it), arts and crafts, play dates, board games, Barbies, Legos, dance parties, and (my favorite summer fun) play time in the pool and on the lake.

High Fives for The Great Wolf Lodge!

My latest summer fun experience involved a water park and some wet-and-wild craziness. I recently took my kids to The Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, NC and had such a fun time! I probably haven’t felt that heart stopping rush nor screamed that much and that loud since I was a teenager. Those water slides were such fun. It’s a ridiculous thing when you really think about it – you’re half naked, you wait in a long line for a stupid amount of time for something that takes less than a minute, you place yourself in a flimsy tube (No straps! No seatbelt!), and then you plummet down a seriously claustrophobic tube at an incredibly fast speed as you’re pelted with water and ultimately get soaking wet! And the crazy thing?IT’S TOTALLY AWESOME! What a thrill! And you do this over and over again because the thrill of the ride is just too much fun, so you absolutely have to go back for more.

Mina Overlooking the Funland of the Water Park

Water Fun with Mina

At 38 years old, I allowed myself to be swished, sloshed, spun and catapulted on the Great Wolf Lodge’s main “high thrill” ride, “The Howling Tornado.” My daughter Mina’s description describes it perfectly: “It’s like you’re a piece of poop being flushed down a big ole yellow toilet!” It’s the Great Wolf Lodge’s main “high thrill” ride. I was so proud of Mina for being willing to ride that one with me. Heck, I was proud of myself for actually doing it! Had my friend’s 13-year-old son not wanted to ride the thing so bad and talked me into it, I’m quite certain I would’ve never braved it. But I’m so glad I did because my girl, Mina, and I will certainly never forget that water slide experience.

The Howling Tornado

As you can see, this recent summer fun escape of mine was certainly a case of me getting the opportunity to feel like a kid again. So whether drawing aliens and puppies, creating Barbie worlds, building Lego masterpieces, dancing around the living room after watching a super cool movie, making silly sounds with the Talking Hairy Ball app, having Wii game challenges or daring the “high thrill” rides at a water park, I have discovered that whenever possible, the best thing a parent can do is just join in on the fun! Not only will you totally treasure the time spent playing with your kids, they will absolutely love every minute. And as an adult, you will reap the benefits of allowing yourself to feel like a kid again. ☺

Water Slides get a Thumbs Up!

Turn Cupcakes into Something Company-Worthy!

By: Brady Evans

It is getting to be the time of year where summer barbecues and cookouts are ever present!  Here’s a fun way to turn simple cupcakes into something company-worthy.  If you are headed out on Lake Murray this weekend for the boat parade, be safe and enjoy yourself!


  • Supplies
  • Cupcakes
  • Chocolate Frosting
  • Orange Sprinkles
  • Dots
  • Mike ‘n Ike Candies
  • White writing icing
  • Toothpicks

For the hot dogs, use red Mike ‘n Ike candies and dot with chocolate frosting for the grill marks. For the kabobs, cut Dots candies into thirds and thread the slices onto toothpicks.  Use orange sprinkles to achieve the burning grill appearance and white writing icing for the grates of the grill.


10 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

Did you know that American families throw out approximately 25 percent of the food and beverages they buy? For a family of four, that adds up to a loss of between $1,365 to $2,275 each year. In addition to being bad for your pocketbook, there are many other negative implications to food waste: it pollutes our air, wastes valuable natural resources, creates public health concerns and costs a lot of money.

Food waste

If there is any good news about food waste, it is that as individuals, we can implement small changes that make a big difference in the amount of food we throw away each year. Here are ten easy ways you can reduce your food waste and perhaps even save some money in the process:

  1. Shop smart. Plan meals, use grocery lists and don’t shop when you are hungry. This way, you’re less likely to buy things you don’t need and that you’re unlikely to actually eat. Also, check your fridge/freezer/pantry for the things on your list to be sure you aren’t buying duplicates of items that you already have.
  2. Practice FIFO or First In, First Out. When unpacking groceries, move older products to the front of the fridge/freezer/pantry and put new products in the back. This way, you’re more likely to use up the older stuff before it expires.
  3. Designate one meal each week as a “use it up” meal. Look around in the cupboards and fridge for leftovers and other food that might otherwise get overlooked. Challenge yourself to create a meal using those items; there are actually televisions shows created around such challenges.
  4. Store better. If you regularly throw away stale chips/cereal/crackers, store them in airtight containers so they’ll last longer.
  5. Compost! Start a compost pile in the backyard or even under the sink, and convert food waste into a useful resource.
  6. Split the dish. If eating out, split a dish with a friend so you don’t waste half of the giant portion sizes found at many restaurants.
  7. Take home leftovers. If splitting meals isn’t your thing or your dining companion is getting something you don’t like, those portion sizes don’t have to be wasted. Just ask to take leftovers home, and you’ve got yourself a free lunch the next day.
  8. Understand expiration dates. Expiration dates don’t always have to do with food safety; rather, they’re usually manufacturers’ suggestions for peak quality. If stored properly, most foods stay fresh several days past the “use-by” date.
  9. Serve small amounts. Serve small amounts of food with the understanding that everybody can come back for more once they’ve cleared their plate. This is especially helpful for children, whose “eyes are usually bigger than their stomachs.” Any leftovers can be cooled, stored in the fridge and used another day.
  10. Freeze! If you only eat a small amount of bread, freeze it when you get home and take out a few slices a couple of hours before you need them. Likewise, batch cook foods so that you have meals ready for those evenings when you are too tired to cook.

Have you ever thought about the implications of food waste? Which of these tips are you willing to commit to? Do you have other suggestions? 

Positive Influence

By: Elizabeth Webber Akre

One thing I need to make a better effort at is planning and executing more “play dates” for my daughter.  My other mom-friends and I always say things like, “We should get together more often,” and “Let’s plan a day for the girls to play.”  Unfortunately, more often than not, we get busy with the daily components of our lives and all of those “we shoulds” tend to get lost in the shuffle. I’ve decided to become more proactive and I’m going to follow through this time!

This leads me to Monday afternoon. This week, my child is in ballet camp at the Dance Conservatory at USC with several girls from her ballet class. One odd thing about this school is that when they built this fairly new building, they only built one “lobby” area and it’s not very big.  So, during the year, I pretty much walked my daughter upstairs, dropped her off at class and then left.  As you can imagine, this makes it difficult, if not impossible, to meet other parents.

But, on Monday, as I waited in the hall for the camp to finish up for the day, a mom that I recognized came up to me.  We said hello and began to chat.  The next thing I know, she’s saying that since this camp only runs for half a day, she’s interested in finding some other parents who would be interested in taking turns this week for play dates after camp.  Yes!  She asked, “How about tomorrow?” I realized that my mind instantly began saying, “What? We have to plan. I have no plan for tomorrow yet.”  (This is how my brain convinces me that I can’t possibly work something in that quickly.)  Instead, my mouth said “Yes, I can take the girls tomorrow.  We would love that!”

The playdate was awesome. Our daughters are the same age and are a really great match-up.  First, the three of us went to lunch.  (The girls decided Groucho’s was in order.) Then, we came to our house and they played and played and played.  Barbies, grocery store, dancing, art, kiddie pool and sprinkler, movie, Zhu Zhu pet races, costume wearing and toasting marshmallows…just to name a few of their activities.  As the afternoon starting approaching dinner time, I decided to get a start on dinner that I would reheat later.  So, I got busy in the kitchen while they played their hearts out.

TacosI decided to put together a taco meat mixture, planning to use it for burritos along with some fresh tomato, sautéed bell peppers and onions, cheese, etc.  So, I browned my meat with onion and garlic and then added a little water and a can of Rotel.  I simmered it until I got it the consistency I wanted and cooked out most of the liquid. The next thing I knew, I had two little bathing suit clad ladies sniffing around my skillet.  Now, let me insert an aside here…

I love tacos.  They have always been my go-to busy night/feeling lazy/quick and easy dinner. So, imagine my surprise and dismay when I learned that my child does not share my love of all things taco. My burrito plan was definitely a gamble, hoping that maybe if it didn’t look like a taco, she’d eat it.

I looked at them both are said, “Would you like to try it?” and our guest quickly said yes.  She tried it, she liked it, and guess what happened next?  My daughter asked for a spoon so she could try it as well.  Lo and behold, she loved it.  Now, they each had a spoon and started snacking right out of the skillet.  When my new mom-friend arrived, we invited them to stay and eat with us.  The girls decided to dine on tacos by candlelight.  That’s right!  My child ate a proper taco and enjoyed it!  It was truly a success.  Despite all the times I tried to get her to try this dish with an open mind, it took the positive influence of another kid to finally get her to clear this hurdle.  And as all moms will surely agree, I’ll take all the positive influences that come our way.

Elizabeth Akre writes about food and cooking at Gastronomy (By a Wanna-be Chef).

Being Grateful

By: Crissie Miller Kirby

I’ve been absent the better part of the last fiive months from the Every Woman Blog, not really because I wanted to be absent, but because I have been fighting a pretty bad case of “writer’s block” and struggling with what to say that will matter to people. You see, when I first decided to enter the blog’s contest, I wanted my writings to be beneficial to someone. I wanted to “pay forward” the help that I received in words, thoughts, and prayers from some wonderfully special people who helped me make it when I thought I couldn’t and wouldn’t.

As I write this post, I’m sitting in one of my “happy places,” my in-law’s condo on Hilton Head Island. The boys are sleeping soundly and their angelic faces and even breaths make me smile, and I am grateful. I’m grateful for a pretty good night’s sleep and grateful for what looks like will be a beautiful day ahead for my little family. As I do many mornings, I have risen and have been reading the news online. There seems to be tragedy and heartbreak on every site; from WIS to CNN to MSNBC: death and killings and war and bombings and terrible tornadoes. My problems and my ability to cope or not cope seem so small and minor and trivial in comparison.

I read an article about a teen in Oklahoma who lost her mother in the recent tornadoes that struck the town of Moore. She laid her mother to rest one day and accepted her high school diploma just one day later. I cannot fathom; to me it is unimaginable.


This past Friday night, I attended my high school alma mater’s commencement services, where the commencement speaker was a young man in his early 20’s, a young man who, himself, had graduated from the same school about five years before. As Pierce and I entered the school, there he sat in the office talking to the school athletic director, sharply dressed in Marine Corps dress blues. Kyle Carpenter always seems to wear a smile and a personable, approachable nature. Outwardly, it is clear to see that this young man has faced something horrific and many already know his story. Carpenter was stationed in Afghanistan in November of 2010 when a grenade landed on top of a building where he and a buddy were taking part in a fire fight. In an effort to protect his best friend and the rest of his unit, Kyle threw himself on the grenade and sustained some pretty serious injuries that included losing an eye, many of his teeth, and extensive damage to his right arm.  After all that Kyle has been through over the last few years, I was anxious to hear what words of wisdom he might impart on the Senior class.

Kyle Carpenter

As the time came for Kyle’s speech, I listened closely. Part of Kyle’s message seemed so simple, yet so profound: be grateful. Be grateful that you can attend school and learn. Be grateful for clean drinking water. Be grateful for having the use of four good limbs. We sat quietly in our independent school setting where God is openly worshiped and praised, and listened to someone who has fought against the Taliban, has been severely wounded, and has not just survived, thrived and has used his injuries to better not only himself, but the world around him. Although he would certainly be entitled to be angry and/or depressed, Kyle, quite literally, “soldiers on.” Part of his message is to just be grateful for the little things in life we overlook every single day. How can something so simple be so difficult? I know that I struggle with it, and some days are easier than others.

Kyle and Pierce

In the days following the recent tragedies that have come with Hurricane Sandy, the shootings in Connecticut, the Boston Marathon bombings, and the most recent Oklahoma tornadoes, it is easy to be thankful and grateful for my life, my children, my job, my home, my extended family, my wonderful friends, and my faith. Thank you, Kyle Carpenter, for reminding us to be grateful not just when tragedy surrounds us, but every single day and for every single thing.

Dr. Webber Talks Summer Safety for Kids

From Sunburn to bug bites – Dr. Caroline Webber of Lexington Pediatric Practice, a physician practice at Lexington Medical Center, talks to Tony Tally on WACH FOX about summer safety for children. Click the link to watch the full video: WACH_06-13-2013_22.31.41

Click the link to watch the full video: WACH_06-13-2013_22.31.41

COLUMBIA (WACH) – Pools, playgrounds, sporting events, and a lot of outdoor activity will be on the to-do list for some as the summer begins. However, staying hydrated and beating the heat will also be at the top of the list as summer temperatures rise. Dr. Caroline Webber, a pediatrician with Lexington Pediatric Practice, says hydration is one of the most important things if children are going to be out in the heat and humidity. Additionally, bug bites and sun burns are two concerns during the summer season. Protective lotions such as sunscreen lotion are recommended. “The damaging rays are the ones that are the UV rays,” says Webber. “Those are the invisible ones. UVA and UVB.” Children are most exposed to sun during their childhood, which is why protecting children throughout the summer is really important. In addition to light clothing and sunscreen, staying out of the sun during peak times of 10 am to 4pm can also be extremely helpful in preventing sunburns. Dr. Webber’s office is located at 811 West Main Street in Lexington.

Celebrate the Little Victories

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

Last week was a tough one. My hip hurt. We very suddenly had to put our cat Pikachu Mantradown. A little leak turned into a flood in our bathroom. I came to work Friday utterly smileless and unmotivated. The best thing I could say was that I was there, but that was all. I even slipped out and had a fried bologna and cheese sandwich for lunch, hoping it would perk me up. No such luck.

When I came back from lunch, I saw a great tease on Twitter: “When you don’t lose a sock in the wash, and 10 other little victories to celebrate today.” I clicked the link, and I’m glad I did. The gist of the article was basically this: It’s easy to focus on what went wrong in the day, but making an effort to focus on your wins will pay off, and could eventually become second-nature. It goes on to give 11 great examples of little victories, including:

  • When you’re out of toilet paper — and there’s another roll hiding underneath the sink.
  • When you don’t lose a sock in the wash.
  • When the seat next you in the movie theater is empty, and you get full, uninhibited use of the arm rest.

And with a new frame of mind, I added a 12th, which actually happened as I was running lunch errands:

When you forget to feed the parking meter and see a meter reader beside your car, but return to find that somehow you didn’t get a parking ticket.

Check out the article and the accompanying “Morning Mantra” slide show. It may help turn your frown upside down. (It did mine!)

Fixing It With Fitness

By: Shannon Shull

In some of my past blog entries I have focused on the benefits of moving our bodies. Whether for our mental or physical health, it’s just a no-brainer that physical fitness is good for our bods, inside and out. To me, it has always been a given that when done correctly, any physical fitness can be beneficial. Until recently, though, I never understood just how beneficial it can really be.

For any of you who have read my blog entries or know me personally, you know that one of the things I do with my busy life is instruct Zumba. Being a Zumba and Aqua Zumba instructor is how I attempt to stay in shape and keep my heart healthy. Plus, my commitment to teaching helps to hold me accountable to moving my body in the first place! If I did not have to be at the gym to instruct a class, I would stay too busy to ever take the time to actually work out.

Fitness fixes!

What I did not consider when I started instructing these classes, was the incredible mental benefits that would come with the exercise. I am a true testament to the fact that moving your body on a regular basis can help you deal with stress. Over the past couple of years, my life has been overwhelmed with stress and change – mistakes, life lessons learned, enormous challenges, and a constant journey for strength, faith, hope and forgiveness. Heaven forbid life is ever easy or we make all the right decisions, eh? Let’s just say, I’m quite surprised I have any sanity left at all! But I can say with confidence that the physical activity I get through instructing Zumba is one of the main things in my personal life that has kept me from going off the deep end.

Fix it with Fitness article in Health MagazineAll that being said, I recently came across a fabulous article in Health Magazine, which focuses on the fact that a good workout can indeed be the best medicine for a whole lot of things! This particular article touches on challenges ranging from lower back pain, to hot flashes, to dealing with a racing mind, and then gives real fitness solutions to target each problem. Some workouts are better than others in fixing different problems. If you have a specific, or several ailments, I can almost guarantee that there is probably some sort of fitness exercise out there that can specifically target your problem. You just have to take the time to do the research and find your personal fitness fix-its.

As I’ve mentioned before in one of my blog entries, which I’m very proud of, it’s a great idea to add a mental health check-up to your “To-Do” list.  As a society, we tend to put such an enormous focus on our physical state instead of on our mental state. Let’s face it – looking healthy on the outside is no guarantee that you’re healthy or happy on the inside. And the truth is, they go hand and hand. Our physical and mental wellness partner together, whether we want them to or not! If we just remember to recognize how the two work together, we can see both day-to-day and long-term benefits.

Research proves that our self-esteem soars when we work out. I can certainly attest to that on many levels. I can walk into the gym dreading having to teach a Zumba class because I’m so stressed out, feeling hopeless and wonder how I’ll ever make it through the first song, much less a whole hour of leading a class. But, it never fails. I walk in to see the amazing, smiling faces of these precious people eager to move and have fun and I’m given the strength to step up to do my job. And then low and behold, the more I move, the more endorphins run through my body, resulting in a return to sanity. A sweet release occurs when you get a good workout. I walk out of each class with a renewed sense of self, physically and mentally.

I have even discovered that on those lovely days when I’m battling intense monthly period pains and the last thing I want to do is move, the workout I get while teaching a Zumba class ALWAYS makes me feel better. It never fails. I can walk into a class wondering if I will be able to move adequately due to the menstrual war raging within my body, and then I walk out refreshed and amazed that the cramps have subsided. It literally feels as if I danced a bit of peace into my insides. Crazy, but it works every time!

Fix period pains with fitness

I can certainly say that I have discovered how I can fix some things with fitness. It may not be a magical cure-all that will always keep stress away or keep me from having a period, but it darn well helps keep the stress and pain at bay, and contributes to helping me stay somewhat securely strapped into the roller coaster ride that is my life.

Don’t forget to add that mental check-up to your “To-Do” list! Check out the Health Magazine article and check out some of the fitness solutions to some everyday health problems. And by all means, do your own research and make an effort to discover what workouts can help fix your ailments!

Please add a comment to share any of your own personal experiences in which you have been able to ‘fix it with fitness.’

Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

By: Brady Evans

Do you ever feel like you’re on “Candid Camera” or the modern equivalent, “What Would You Do?” One day my husband and I were standing in the parking lot of a bog-box store, staring at each other in silence. You see, I was unloading the cart while he was analyzing the receipt and it didn’t take long for us to realize that there was a gap of nearly $70 between what we’d purchased and what we’d been charged for. The error, as the Monopoly saying goes, was in our favor.

I’ll just be honest here, there was a slight sense of thrill at the ‘great deal’ we had just fallen into. Then, we went through the same scenario we did when Lowe’s neglected to charge us for a $100 area rug a few years ago:

What if we had a child with us?  What message would we send our kid? But we don’t have a child with us. Lucky us! Bad thoughts, bad thoughts!  It shouldn’t take the pressure off an audience to do what’s right.

We marched back in the store with our ‘free’ stuff and our much too short receipt. My husband cut in line by going straight to the cashier instead of standing in the aisle, crammed between magazines and candies.

“You didn’t charge us for everything!” he whispered into her ear.  He probably wanted to let her correct the mistake without the manager hearing the ruckus.  She sort of looked down her line of people who were unloading their unnecessary plastic objects onto the conveyer belt. She sized up their annoyance at this sudden wrench in the quick-check-out system.

“Don’t worry about it – just go,” she said.


Yep.  At this point we were waiting on John Quinones to come waltzing out.  He didn’t.  My husband and I exchanged fleeting looks of “It must be our lucky day!” before we made our way to another cashier, stood in line again, and paid for the items that had been given to us – twice.

Then at work I had the same “this can’t be happening” thing happen.  No, no one gave me $70 worth of vitamins and lounge chair cushions, but I did feel like I was being set up on a reality TV show.  You see, I had the most delicious lunch waiting for me in the refrigerator. Just as I had done all week, I placed my tupperware into the refrigerator at 7:45am and returned for it at 11:30am.

I opened the fridge, shuffled around the containers and water bottles within it, thinking that the reason I couldn’t find my sweet potato was because it had been shoved to the side.  I asked my colleagues if they had been nice enough to heat my lunch for me, and they quite frankly said, “No.  We aren’t that nice.”  A search party ensued.  The tupperware was found with 90% of its contents absent. Just a few smidges of sweet potato and some wandering black beans revealed its former contents in the sink with some soap and water.

Sweet potato skins
At least the jerk who stole my lunch and ate it attempted to begin the cleaning process, right?

I thought stuff like that was a legend. I didn’t think people would actually eat my home-cooked meal out of my tupperware – a meal that no one would mistaken for his own – and then brazenly leave the evidence in front of me.

My feelings were really, really hurt. Honestly, I almost cried. Then I got angry. And, naturally, next I was sad. I suppose these are the stages of grief.

The person who left me hungry yesterday enjoyed a tender sweet potato stuffed with beans, corn, bright and sweet tomatoes, just a hint of cheese, and some flecks of cilantro. The person who chose my lunch over my coworker’s Jimmy Johns sandwich probably regrets it, though, because now she’s dreaming of a repeat performance of this meal just as I was dreaming of it all day yesterday, only to be let down when it came time for lunch.

Sweet Potato Skins

Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (adapted from Pinch of Yum)

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour


  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1.5 cups frozen corn
  • 1.5 cups rinsed black beans
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the sweet potatoes for 45-60 minutes. Alternatively, you could prick them a few times with a fork and cook them in the microwave for 12 minutes, rotating them halfway through, until tender.
  2. While sweet potatoes are baking, place corn in a heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with no butter or oil. Let corn roast for several minutes before stirring. Let it roast for a few more minutes before stirring again. Continue this for about 10 minutes, until corn is browned and roasted on the outside.
  3. Set aside in a small bowl with the black beans.
  4. Saute the onion in nonstick cooking spray over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and chopped tomato and cook 1 additional minute. Add to beans and corn mixture.
  5. Remove sweet potatoes from the oven when tender. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Cut the sweet potatoes in half. Scoop the flesh of the sweet potatoes out, leaving the skins intact. Leave 1/4 ” of sweet potato flesh in skin for sturdiness.
  7. Mash sweet potatoes pulp with the shredded cheese and seasonings. When well-mixed, gently stir in the black beans, roasted corn, sauteed onions, and cilantro.
  8. Stuff the skins and top with additional shredded cheese. If desired, broil for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.