GF: Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Carrots and Fennel Bulbs

It’s the weekend before school starts and amidst the mix of planning, adoption classes, and babysitting my neighbor’s crazy cat, my love and I found time to go putz at the Farmer’s Market.

It’s actually one of my favorite weekend errands.

Today we found the most delectable golden beets, fresh gorgeous carrots, rainbow chard, fresh fennel bulbs, incredible yams and sweet potatoes, cucumbers, string beans, peaches, apples and the last of this season’s blueberries from our favorite farm. All organic. And all cheaper than we would pay for them at the grocer.

This summer we’ve found the most incredible things at our local market. In the past, we’ve stopped and eaten a few things at the taco stand (I order chicken tacos in corn tortillas… speaking Spanish is a bonus here as I can explain that they need to clean the grill, etc). A few weeks ago, however, I ventured to another vendor and found some incredible salads – all of which could be made gluten-free by a rather knowledgeable vendor who was quick to answer my query about the gluten-free status of her dressings (all GF) and salads (all made to order/easily made GF). We’ve enjoyed eating lunch in the sunshine while watching the world pass by.

Today we raced down to the market after working on at the gym. Wearing our gym clothes, we stopped and had a great lunch at the “salad lady” stand and I watched as the crowd ebbed and flowed around the different picnic tables, vendor stalls and fruit bins. Many of the crowd was gearing up for the start of school. I heard parents planning fruit purchases with kids for their lunches – figuring out if the kids wanted peaches or apples with their lunch. (Personally, I was voting for the peaches as apples seem to be available always and the fresh gorgeous peaches will disappear all too soon.)

After lunch, we strolled through the stands toward our favorite blueberry farm/vendor. I was sad to see her sign declaring that this was the last weekend for their blueberries. OH! They have been so good this summer. We’ve been down to pick up two quarts almost every weekend since the berries have been available. Today, lamenting the end of the season, we bought a half flat or blueberries. I was actually a little worried about how many we bought, but we’ve already eaten almost 1/3 of them! (OMG! We shall soon look like Violet Beauregard!)

To help balance our fruit bonanza, I led the way to our favorite organic farm stand. We saw the most gorgeous veg. It actually made us both stop and consume the stand with our eyes. The colors were beautiful. Between the heirloom zucchini, rainbow chard, golden and deep red beets, and patty pan squash, I didn’t know where to start. I ended up picking up a bag of gorgeous carrots, a few fennel bulbs, some sweet potatoes and yams, golden beets and heirloom zucchini. Oh yea. I love the farmer’s market!

This recipe celebrates my veg purchases. While I made it a week ago, it still celebrates what we’ve been buying locally lately. It’s a little cooler here than usual (for this time of year) which I think is pushing me toward the roasted root veggies. It satisfies my soul to taste the goodness of these veggies… not to mention nourishes my body. And, to be honest, it is a treat to cook the ingredients we pick up at the farmer’s market together. I love peeling the carrots while thinking about the day with my love, roaming through the Farmer’s Market greeting friends and spying great finds.

What do you buy at your Farmer’s Market?
Do you have a favorite vendor or two too?

Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Carrots and Fennel Bulbs
Serves 2, (with a few leftovers for 2 lunches)
-Can be easily doubled

2 large sweet potatoes (we used red garnet)
3 large carrots
2 fennel bulbs
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt/pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 425F
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and carrots. Clean and prep fennel bulbs.
  3. Slice sweet potatoes and carrots into long sticks (about 1/2″ thick by 3 inches).
  4. Slice fennel bulbs in half and then cut each half in to four sections.
  5. Toss bulb sections, sweet potatoes and carrots with olive oil and brown sugar. Season with salt/pepper.
  6. Cover a cookie sheet (with rims, to catch any dripping juices from the brown sugar and sweet potatoes) or a 9 by 13 baking dish with parchment paper (or a silicone baking mat) and spread the root vegetables in a single layer covering the pan.
  7. Roast for 45-60 minutes, turning and stirring every 15-20 minutes. Roast until all are tender and sweet potatoes/fennel begin to brown.
  8. Serve with your favorite fall meal. (We had homemade applesauce, grilled pork loin and these veggies. Well, okay… and a couple handfuls of blueberries for dessert.)

Happy Gluten-free Eating, All!

GF: Sweet Potato & Apple Coffee Cake

Who knew Costco sold sweet potatoes! OH! I’m in trouble now!

Actually, it’s just going to give me a chance to try Mary Frances’s sweet potato fries (OMG) and a few other sweet potato dishes. We make some to-die-for candied/brandied sweet potatoes around here, but I’m trying to branch out.

I’ve also been craving a great coffee cake. Every week for faculty and/or department meetings, we are served huge trays of some tasty-looking cinnamon rolls. They are huge! Thankfully, I’m not much of a breakfast eater, so for 7:30 AM meetings – I can easily ignore the cinnamon rolls by sitting as far away from them as possible. 🙂 However, my department has a grand total of 7 teachers. It’s harder to hide from the cinnamon rolls, donuts, coffee cakes, muffins, etc that come through the door into our meetings on those days. So I decided to make my own and come prepared to battle with the aromas.

I made this great coffee cake to have a sweet-bread taste beyond just a sweet topping to stop me from craving any of the sweet-looking dishes that my colleagues were munching on. This coffee cake was made on Monday night and lasted super well through the next few days. I kept it on the counter covered with foil. While it was still moist, I did put my piece(s) into the microwave to reheat before eating. NOT because of the bread/moisture, but because that’s how I prefer to eat my coffee cakes – warm!

Don’t worry if you are not a sweet potato fan. This coffee cake hides the mild flavor very well.

Sweet Potato & Apple Coffee Cake
For the coffee cake:
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 /3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup (HEAPING) mashed sweet potato (or pumpkin)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup your favorite GF flour mix with xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum IF your mix doesn’t have it
1/4 cup warm milk

For the apple topping:
3-4 Braeburn apples
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons “pumpkin pie spice” OR
1 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg + 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the icing:
1/2 cup powered sugar
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice


  1. Cream together butter and sugars.
  2. Add eggs (one at a time) until well incorporated.
  3. Add vanilla. Beat together and until fluffy (2-3 minutes)
  4. Add mashed sweet potato. Beat together again (2-3 minutes)
  5. In a small bowl, mix together dry ingredients (baking powder, salt, and GF flour). Add to wet ingredients until just blended – don’t over mix!
  6. Add 1/4 cup of warm milk until well-blended, but not over mixed.
  7. Spread onto silpat or parchment paper into a 1″ thick oblong (mine was about 12 inches wide and 9 inches long).
  8. Peel, core and slice the apples into 1/4″ wide slices.
  9. Sprinkle the apple slices with lemon juice and toss well.
  10. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and spices.
  11. Sprinkle over apple slices and toss to coat evenly.
  12. Evenly spread the apple slices on top of the coffee cake batter.
  13. Bake at 350F for 35 – 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick insert into the middle comes out clean.
  14. While the coffee cake bakes, stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice.
  15. Allow the coffee cake to cool for about 10-15 minutes before drizzling with icing (or the icing will just melt into the apple topping).

The next time I make this, I will reduce the amount of sugar in the coffee cake as it was too sweet for my love and much more cake-like (sweet-wise) than I really wanted. It hit the spot though and got a lot of queries fo r the recipe from my gluten-eating buddies!


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