Nicole is one of those blogger friends that I know was meant to live a little closer. Though we’ve never met in real life, we’ve gotten to know each other over shared struggles, likes and dislikes, and of course, our mutual love of food. Nicole is an RD after my own heart – she pursues a healthy lifestyle and encourages others to do the same, but makes plenty of room for little indulgences. A visit to Nicole’s house might include treats like Lighter Buffalo Chicken Lasagna, Toasted Coconut Brussels Sprouts, or Sugar Free Peanut Butter Cups.

For more of Nicole’s recipes, visit PreventionRD, “Like” her page on Facebook, and follow @PreventionRD on Twitter.

This is the time of year many people are thinking, “How am I going to make it through the rest of the holiday season and New Years…without going up a pants size…or three?” You’re not alone. You’ve come to the right place. Breathe. Read.

When Cara asked me to be a part of her Clean Eating Cocktail Party that would be focused on foods rid of masses of sugar that contained only wholesome ingredients, I was all over it. Having recently fallen in love with sweet potatoes + cheese, I went that direction. I am trying to break the family tradition of cheese and crackers constituting “appetizers”. I can eat that combination any time, why waste stomach capacity (and way too many calories) on something so…ordinary?

Fall is a time of year that most people falsely concede that “produce isn’t in season”. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Brussels sprouts, pomegranates, pears, citrus, and sweet potatoes are bountiful right now, just to name a handful. Sweet potatoes are a staple at many holiday dinners and get-togethers and while it’s great that they are present, they are generally prepared in a not-so-healthy way. Starting with butter and sugar is no way to ruin a vegetable with so much nutrition, flavor, and versatility…really. I promise. Trust me.

This recipe for Herbed Sweet Potatoes with Feta can be served as an appetizer or side for your next holiday party or dinner event. Save the guilt with this simple recipe that is sure to please. Feel free to substitute in your favorite nut and cheese combination to this one!

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Herbed Sweet Potatoes with Feta and Pine Nuts

Yield: 4-6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Sliced sweet potatoes baked with feta and herbs and finished with tangy lemon and earthy pine nuts create a fabulous - and healthful - appetizer or side dish for fall and winter entertaining.

Ingredients:

4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into slices 1/2 inch thick
3 Tbs. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 1/2oz feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme
Juice of 1 lemon

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400ºF.

Place the sweet potatoes in a 2-quart gratin or baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Spread the potatoes in a single layer.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle evenly with the cheese, pine nuts, and thyme, and continue to bake, uncovered, until the cheese is golden and the sweet potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove from the oven, drizzle evenly with the lemon juice and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

PreventionRD for Cara's Cravings, adapted from Williams Sonoma