Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole...that's actually GOOD

I grew up with candied yams with toasted marshmallow topping as a Thanksgiving side dish.  I never liked it.  Never.  I mostly just peeled the marshmallows off the top and choked down the little bit of yams that stuck to the white stuff.  Sweet potatoes and yams were simply a dish to be avoided once a year.  Not anymore.

Nine years ago I spent Thanksgiving on a NATO base in Italy.  I was a missionary there.  My companion and I  were invited to Thanksgiving dinner by an American family and we were over the moon about it.  When the sweet potatoes came around I politely took a helping.  To my great amazement I ended up with two more helpings before the meal was done.  Me, the devout sweet potato hater!  I made sure to get the recipe before I left that evening.  I have since converted my sweet potato hating aunt, as well.  It has since opened me up to the  wonderful world of baked sweet potatoes and sweet potato fries.

If you can't stand yams or sweet potatoes (or even if you love them) give this a try.  Really.  It's worth a shot, right?  I've changed it up just a little over the years, so I'll include those notes in italics.  The picture is not one I've made.  I'm not making it until Thanksgiving and by then it's too late to help anyone.  But it looks similar.

Sweet Potato Casserole--delicious style

9 small to medium or 5 large sweet potatoes (or yams; they're cheaper).  Peel and chop.  Place in a large pot, cover with water, boil until tender.  Because I can't be bothered with peeling and chopping I bake mine.  It takes longer to cook, but is less irritating to me.  Wrap three times in foil and bake at 400 for about an hour and a half.  Allow to cool enough to handle and scoop out the insides.

Mash (or use beaters) with:

1/2 stick butter
1/2 to 3/4 cup evaporated milk  I add this toward the end to check consistency.  It should be creamy, but not liquid-y or stiff.
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp butter flavoring     My husband doesn't like butter, so I leave this out.

Place in baking dish and spread with topping mixture.

Topping (sometimes I double this because I like it so much):

1 cup crushed corn flakes
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup melted butter  Again, my husband doesn't like butter, so I cut it down a bit.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

You can make the mashed part the day before and then make and add the topping right before you cook it. That helps free up the oven on the big day.  Give it a try and let me know if you can stomach it better than the non-tasty stuff.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Halloween 2011

This year is busy.  We're building a house and I'm pregnant, so there wasn't a huge heap of time for me to get costumes ready.  I can still let the girls know they'll be princesses (I love turning my princesses into princesses) and they won't argue.  Score!  I made Blue Eyes a Sleeping Beauty dress straight from the pattern, only adding shoulder covers as the difference.  I could have helped the dress stay up by using ribbon straps, but I prefer to cover my kids' skin a bit more than that.  The Pink Blur was supposed to be Snow White.  I just plain ran out of time and I'm pretty sad about that.  She'd have been an adorable Snow White.  Maybe next year.  Cross your fingers.  I did, however, luck out in the costume department because we already had a Cinderella dress from Halloween 2009.  I didn't figure she would mind a hand-me-down costume this year.

The Hubs went as Frodo.  He was able to use his Aragorn costume from 2007 and just change his hair and foot wear.  I put curlers in his hair the night before to make it nice and curly.  As for his feet...he made those hairier too.  He shaved his legs and then used spirit gum to glue extra hair to his feet.  I'm not kidding.  They were pretty horrified at the office.  But he WAS authentic in that part of his costume.

I was the fairy of PregnantLand.  My entire costume consisted of fairy makeup and false eyelashes with glittery tips.  It was comfy and quick.  Which was fabulous.  I wouldn't mind that every year.  Except for the pregnant part.