July is flying! After about 3 weeks since the big move from Boston to Austin, I can finally say I’m feeling settled in Texas. Getting here was quite the whirlwind, but so worth it – I’m loving every minute so far! Especially as a summer solstice baby, I can’t say I mind the blazing hot sunny days…
(Of course, finally getting to spend so much time with Michael is pretty nice too! Here are some local wild sunflowers we picked recently on the side of the road…)
If you didn’t guess, summer has always been my favorite season. It’s not just because I used to get 3 months off from school (although that was a nice perk, too). I do love the warm weather (who wouldn’t, really?). But I mostly just feel my best when I’m outdoors and/or hanging with my favorite peeps.
Ever since I can remember, I have spent my summers with family and friends somewhere by the water, whether we are local, up in Maine, down the Cape, or even at a beautiful lake in upstate New York (where we still go every year for an epic family reunion – such a great time!).
Although I did not used to be a foodie as a kid, cookouts have always been a special summer pastime for me. Believe it or not, up until the age of 16, I was so darn picky that one of the only things I ate at cookouts (dessert and grilled chicken aside) was my mom’s basic baked steak fries. Yes, people really do change. 😉
The infamous steak fries still make their appearance at our family cookouts – but since they were recently mastered by my sister Jaime, they have evolved! A bit more “doctored up”, but still very kid-friendly.
Jaime was nice enough to give me permission to share her secret seasonings for these steak fries with the world. Since cookout season is at its peak right now, I thought it would be fitting to to use these fries as my “recipe of the month!”
But first, I want to defend potatoes, because one might say they take a lot of heat (outside of the oven, that is). You know what I mean. 😀
Seriously though. Taters have a lot of haters! Okay, food puns…I know.
I don’t even want to repeat the things people share with me about what they think about potatoes, or what they have heard others say about potatoes, because I don’t want to give it energy and I don’t want to give anyone any new ideas! SO we won’t go there.
However, I affirm all of the following to be true:
- Potatoes are a starchy root vegetable that grow from the ground.
- Potatoes contain long-chain, complex carbohydrates in the form of starch. Half a cup of cooked potatoes of any kind equals one carbohydrate serving or diabetic “exchange”. This is just a general “rule of thumb”.
- From a carb-counting standpoint, one cup of French fries or chips would equal about half a cup of mashed potatoes.
- There are many types and many shades of potatoes (red, white, purple, and orange to name a few) – and they ALL have something special to offer!
- White potatoes, which I find take the most hits, are actually rich in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. They are also very easy to digest, and they contain a special type of resistant starch which serves as a prebiotic functional food: it feeds the “good” bacteria in our gut!
- Potatoes contain more nutritional value when the skin is left on. But even peeled potatoes are too high in potassium for people on dietary potassium restrictions, such as patients with kidney impairment. Generally speaking, potassium is a very, very good thing for blood pressure and heart health!
Potatoes on a personal level…
I eat potatoes literally almost every single day in some form or another. Mashed, roasted, boiled, baked, fried… white, red, purple, sweet – you name it! Potatoes feed my soul, and in my personal experience I also find them to be extremely grounding.
- It’s no coincidence that foods which grow from the ground seem to have a “grounding” effect on us, energetically speaking! But grounding is a whole other conversation for another time. Stay tuned.
Potatoes: a final word…
Potatoes (and carbohydrates in general) are NOT bad! We need carbohydrates to live. Literally, that is the only nutrient our brain can use for energy. Nothing else. The trick is learning how to consume carbohydrates “responsibly” by practicing balance, moderation, and mindful eating.
Don’t go on a low-carb diet. Holler at me if you want to chat more about this, but for the love of Mother Nature and real food, please don’t cut potatoes or carbs out of your life!
Rant over! Hopefully you’re still with me!
If so… whether you make this recipe at home for your family or bring it out to a local cookout, I promise you will be thanked and praised by your family & friends!
4 large Idaho potatoes, washed thoroughly (not peeled)
1/4 cup avocado oil (or olive oil), transferred into a clean, rinsed, empty cooking spray bottle (or regular spray bottle). **I often use avocado oil for high-temperature cooking, because of its very high smoke point.**
2-ish tablespoons of “Camp Mix” OR all of the following spices, combined in a small dish:
- 1 tablespoon fresh or dried rosemary
- 1 to 2 teaspoons unrefined salt (I use Real Salt)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 375 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (go with 375 if your oven runs hot).
- Slice potatoes in half the long way, then do it again, and keep slicing down the middle until you have wedges in the shape of steak fries. Make sure not to slice them too thick, since we want them to look like fries and also bake through & get crispy!
- Spray a light coat of oil onto two large baking sheets lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Place potato wedges onto baking sheets, making sure to leave enough space so they are not too crowded (we don’t want soggy steak fries!).
- Spray potatoes with a light coat of oil, then sprinkle them herbal seasoning to your liking. You may or may not have leftover seasoning depending on how much flavor you like!
- Bake uncovered for about 40-45 minutes, flipping with a spatula halfway through when they start to look golden brown on the edges.