Slimmed-Down Sweet Potato Casserole

From Prevention magazine.  These were really good per the adults. The rest of the family’s response was: 2 “that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” and 1 gag-it-down-with-milk-so-he-can-have-dessert.

4 medium sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, and and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 c pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of nutmeg
1/4 c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat the potato pieces. Place mixture in 13″ x 9″ baking dish, covered with foil (otherwise they will dry out). Roast until fork-tender, about 40 minutes. Serves 4.

You’ll probably want to salt them a bit (I took the salt out of the recipe prep portion).

Approximately 235 calories/serving.


Oops. Forgot to take a pic of them while still in the roasting pan! Here are the leftovers.

New Year’s Day Dip

It’s tradition in some parts of the country to kick off a new year by eating black-eyed peas in some fashion, and for many years, we’ve tried to do this!

I know lots of people call this Texas Caviar, but I kind of think that’s a dumb name, so I call it New Year’s Day Dip. This particular recipe came from my parents!

1 can black-eyed peas
1 can red kidney beans
1 can shoepeg (sweet white) corn
1 jar diced pimentos

Put all ingredients in a colander and drain; transfer to a large bowl, and to that add:

1 cup finely chopped celery
3/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 bunch green onions, sliced thinly (I use the light green part, but not the stalk part)

In a small saucepan, combine:
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Pour liquid over the bowl of vegetables, and refrigerate for a couple of hours. STRAIN BEFORE SERVING (so your serving bowl should not be full of liquid).

this is what it looks like before it's strained.

Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos – Scoops work best!

Soul Sweet Taters

Or, that’s what The Pioneer Woman calls it! I would call it sweet potato casserole.  Either way, it got RAVE reviews at our Christmas dinner.

I followed her recipe to the T.

Recipe: Sweet Potatoes

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  • 4 whole Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 cup Pecans
  • ½ cups Flour
  • ¾ sticks Butter

Preparation Instructions

Wash 4 medium sweet potatoes and bake them in a 375-degree oven until fork tender, about 30-35 minutes. When they are finished cooking slice them open and scrape out the flesh into a large bowl.

Add 1 cup of (regular grandulated) sugar, 1 cup of milk, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon of salt. With a potato masher, mash them up just enough—you don’t want to be perfectly smooth.

Now, in a separate bowl, add 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup pecans, chopped (that means measure a cup of pecans, then chop them), ½ cup flour, and ¾ stick of butter. With a pastry cutter or fork, mash together until thoroughly combined.

Spread the sweet potato mixture into a regular baking dish and sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top.

Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

***I did use whole milk because somewhere in her long description she recommended it.  I also mashed the potatoes completely because I did it before I read the recipe.  Other than that, I followed it to a T 🙂

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

So, I was making my grocery list for hosting Christmas this weekend via this website.  I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted this much requested recipe.  Here it is!  Great for holiday gatherings, bridal/baby showers, etc.  So good!

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and diced
8 oz rasberries (I’ve used frozen)
1 pound strawberries
2 tbspn white sugar
1 tbspn brown sugar
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor (I’ve used all different, really whatever I have here at home)
10 10-inch tortillas
Butter flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar, and fruit preserves.  Cover and chill in fridge at least 15 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350.  Coat one side of each tortilla with cooking spray.  Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet.  Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar.  Spray again with cooking spray.  Bake in oven 8 – 10 minutes.  Serve with fruit salsa!

Hot Cocoa Mix & Homemade Marshmallows

This is a great, easy gift to give neighbors, friends, teachers…

I found a few different recipes online and tweaked them to make this one, which I think is pretty good! After it’s all mixed up, make yourself a cup of cocoa and then add to it if you think it needs to be sweeter or more chocolaty.

6 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 (5 oz) package NON-INSTANT chocolate pudding mix
1 1/4 cup powdered chocolate drink mix (I used Ovaltine)
1/2 cup powdered non-dairy creamer (you can use flavored ones, but I just used regular)
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix everything in a large bowl. Divide the mixture between 2 quart or 4 pint Mason jars. Seal and decorate (I just cut a square of some fabric I picked up, and used a sheer ribbon to attach the directions to the jar).

Attach a tag to the jar with these directions: Dissolve 1/3 cup cocoa mix in 1 cup boiling water.

I highly recommend making these homemade marshmallows to go with the cocoa, as they are a real treat! Seriously, they aren’t that much work (it’s an hour start to finish), clean up is really easy, and they’re much better than the packaged kind.

A couple of tips:

-When preparing the pan at the beginning, use a little melted butter in the bottom of the dish, put the parchment on top of that, and then brush a little more butter over the top of the parchment. THEN cover with sifted powdered sugar – I’d recommend using 1/4 cup or more, as the extra will just brush off.

-I wouldn’t try this without a Kitchenaid mixer.

-Cut the marshmallows with a kitchen scissors (see all of the implements in my picture? I tried everything, and a clean scissors was definitely the best. Not because I first used a dirty scissors 🙂 But after you cut a few of them and the scissors get gunky, they are harder to use.)

-After you cut the marshmallows up, dip all sides in powdered sugar so that they don’t stick to each other.

-Try not to eat 16 of them.

-Don’t worry if they’re really uneven looking…I think that’s the best part! You don’t want them to look like they came from a bag.

Caramel Bars

Really, these should be called Turtle Bars, but whatever. Make them.

1/3 cup evaporated milk
14 oz pkg caramels (50) – I wouldn’t recommend those little caramel balls; they don’t melt as well
1 pkg German Chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chopped pecans
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 13×9 pan. Combine milk and caramels and cook over low heat until melted, stirring constantly. Keep warm. Combine remaining ingredients except chocolate chips in a large bowl and stir by hand. Press ½ of the dough into the pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Then, sprinkle chocolate chips over baked portion and spread caramel over that. Scatter reserved dough over caramel and bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool, and cut into squares.

Cookie Dough Truffles

After I heard from a friend that these existed, I had to try them! And lucky for me, Kelli made them first! They were delicious…as in, I ate them as my dinner at small group. Kelli’s dough turned out a bit too sticky to roll the dough into balls, so she suggested more flour, which I used. Since then, she heard from a pastry-chef friend on Facebook that letting the dough sit for half an hour at room temperature allows the flour to fully hydrate. So, that might make it work better, too!

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (or, I think it’s ok to use an extra 1/4 to 1/2 a cup if you want to roll them into balls immediately)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate morsels
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (I omitted, but this would be good)
1 1/2 lb chocolate bark candy coating, melted (I like the chocolate bark from Walmart)

In a large bowl cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla. Gradually beat in flour and add milk. Add chocolate morsels and pecans, mixing well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on waxed paper; chill 2 hours or longer (I made them late at night and then dipped them the next afternoon).

*Cook’s Note: Since the dough is sticky, roll your fingers into flour. This will make it easier to roll. Or, just know that even if the dough is a little sticky, it will still form into balls.

Melt chocolate bark candy coating in the microwave. Dip dough into chocolate and remove with tongs or two forks. Place on waxed or parchment paper and chill to set. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

**IMPORTANT: keep the dough balls cold while you’re dipping them. Keep them in the fridge and remove a few at a time for dipping.

Makes approximately 50 truffles.

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