Dec 31, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole

This sweet potato side dish is the kind of thing you could serve at Thanksgiving or Christmas, among other times, but instead of toasted miniature marshmallows on top, this has a brown sugar pecan topping. It is rich and yummy!

Sweet Potato Layer
8 cups sweet potato, cubed (3 or 4 sweet potatoes)
1/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup chopped pecans

Put sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash. In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, white sugar, eggs, salt, butter, evaporated milk, and vanilla extract. Add cinnamon, cloves, and ginger, and mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the topping over the sweet potato mixture. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 35 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

Note: Next time I will try baking the sweet potatoes instead of boiling them. I will bake them with the skin on and then scoop the contents out and mash the potato flesh. I think that would improve the flavor of this dish even more.

Dec 19, 2011


This simple recipe comes from and has very favorable ratings there. It's called Mom's Coleslaw.

1 small head cabbage, shredded
3 medium carrots, shredded
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar

In a large bowl, combine cabbage and carrots. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar. Pour over cabbage mixture and toss to coat. Serve with a slotted spoon. Makes 10 servings.

Dec 17, 2011

Updated: Homemade Food Gift Ideas for Christmas

Note: This is a a list I update every year for those who want to give homemade food to family or friends for Christmas, which I think many people appreciate. And given the state of our economy right now, if you’re like me, you may be looking for ways to show that you care without spending a lot of money.

The items below can all be made from recipes on my blog. I’ve chosen these because they are all delicious and can be made with relative ease. Also, once you’ve made one of these items, all you need to do to make it festive is to wrap it in a cellophane bag and tie it with a beautiful holiday ribbon. You can also include a copy of the recipes along with a personal card.

Easy Microwave Caramels
Cinnamon-Roasted Almonds
Caramel Popcorn
Uncle Antone and Aunt Gretta’s Easy Candy Popcorn

White Chocolate Popcorn
Lion House Taffy

Cookies/Cookie Dough
French Swiss Cookies
Aunt Joan’s Toffee Squares
Orange Oatmeal Cookies
Cut-Out Cookies
Frosted Lemon Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Oatmeal Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Ginger Snaps
Date-Filled Cookies
Caramel Pumpkin Cookies
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

With many of the recipes above, you could give a roll of cookie dough, along with the baking directions, so that the recipient could make these cookies at their leisure, perhaps after the flurry of holiday treats has passed.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Banana Bread
Applesauce Nut Bread
Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bread

Corn Bread
Dill Bread
No-Knead Bread
(you could include a small jar of honey or jam with a loaf of this bread)

Oatmeal Pancakes (You could give a container of the pancake mix)

Salad Dressing
I think many people would love a jar of homemade salad dressing for the holidays. It would certainly be a more unusual gift. Also, you could turn these into a larger gift by combining them with other items. For example, you could give the bleu cheese dressing with some beautiful pears. Or you could give a “salad basket” to a friend, including salad dressing, greens, fruit, pine nuts, etc)
Bleu Cheese Salad Dressing
Homespun German Salad Dressing

Granted, you can’t put soup in a cellophane bag very well, but a jar or other decorative container might work. It doesn’t have to be an entire pot of soup. Just enough for a serving or two. The idea is simply to show someone that you are thinking of them. And why not give something that isn’t sweet during the holidays, something that could help make a meal during the sometimes hectic Christmas season?
Butternut Squash Soup
Taco Soup
Carrot Chowder
Easy White Bean Soup
Chicken Chili

Happy Holiday Giving!