Perfect Sweet Potato Casserole (and another squirrel themed lunch)

It is THAT time of year again! I adore Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. Not just for the food, although that’s a huge part of it. I love the tradition, the memories I have of Thanksgivings past, the new memories made with family, the way people become so introspective about thankfulness. I love the traditional food that I make each year, and the new recipes I come up with. I love the crafts. I love every part of it. It makes me happy.

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I always seem to make mini Thanksgiving meals in the weeks prior to the Big Day, in hungry anticipation. Last week, I made a turkey and cranberry meatloaf which I paired with my traditional macaroni and cheese casserole, green bean casserole, and sweet potato casserole (#casseroleallthethings). This week, I paired a new sweet potato casserole with a honey and dijon mustard glazed ham. And this SPC was SO dang good, that I just had to share the recipe with you. It also happens to be dairy and gluten free, which for my family, is a bonus!

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It’s creamy on the inside, studded with little jewels of dried fruit, and topped with two kinds of marshmallow, which have been toasted just the perfect amount.

**Caveat** This recipe has raisins in it. I know for a fact that many people do not like raisins. I don’t care for them in cookies. They ruin cookies for me. But in this? They added a chewy, lovely texture.

Perfect Sweet Potato Casserole

Recipe serves 2 adults and 2 kids, with leftovers

3 medium to large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 T melted coconut oil

splash of coconut milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

3/4 C dried cranberries

2/3 C golden raisins

1/2 small jar marshmallow fluff

1/2 bag of mini marshmallows

Boil the peeled and chopped sweet potatoes until they are tender. Using a hand mixer, blend together the next three ingredients, until creamy and smooth. Fold in the dried fruit. Pour into a greased pan (I used a 9×9) and bake in a 350F oven for about 25 minutes. Melt the marshmallow fluff in the microwave. Pull the casserole out and spread the fluff over the top. Sprinkle the mini marshmallows over that and place back in the oven, with the broiler on high. Make sure not to burn the marshmallows, but see that they get nice and brown!

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It is dang good. ENJOY!

Also. I made yet another squirrel themed lunch. This is my last week of fall and Thanksgiving themed lunches, so I am doing repeats allll day.

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I made squirrel shaped sunbutter and grape jelly sandwiches. I cut acorn shapes out of fruit leather for the little tree rats to snack on. I also packed goldfish crackers, dried cranberries, more dried fruit, colby jack cheese (Bigs), a mandarin orange (Bigs), green grapes (Smalls), and a Linzer cookie for each.

Peace ‘n’ Blessins’,

Kristin

Christmas Tree Brownies

As you may (or may not) know, I’ve been a baking fool this week (in my defense, a “fool” isn’t all bad! for you non-Anglophiles out there, it’s also an English dessert made from a mixture of pureed fruit that has been folded into whipped cream.). I’ve made something each day and I’m so excited about these next two (SUPER easy!) recipes that I’m going to be sharing with you all!

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Today’s recipe is not only stupidly easy, but adorable. It might be my favorite. It’s SO cute. I also love that this recipe can be changed around, so easily, for any kind of color scheme you want, or even just to use the decorating supplies you have on hand (I happen to be a decorating hoarder).

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Christmas Tree Brownies

1 box of brownie mix (or one batch of your favorite homemade recipe)

1 packet of green cookie decorating icing

1 packet of white Wilton Candy Melts (mine had sprinkles in them, a bonus for these!)

various sprinkles (I used multi colored nonpareils and star shaped sprinkles)

1 13×9 pan

Christmas tree shaped cookie cutter

Prepare your brownie mix as directed and pour into a greased 13×9 pan. Bake as directed. I baked for a little bit less time because my pan was very shallow. Let it cool completely, once baked.

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Place waxed paper on your counter top, under your cooling rack. Use your cookie cutter to cut out the desired amount of trees. Mine made 11 trees, with lots of scraps (you know, for snacking or whatever). Place on top of the cooling rack. Use your green cookie icing to make stripes on your trees. There is no wrong way to do this! Repeat with your Candy Melts (I melted mine in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl, using 30 second increments, until fully melted). The Candy Melts look like fresh-fallen snow on these beautiful trees. Add your sprinkles in any pattern (or none at all!) that you wish. When I added the star atop the tree, I first added a small dollop of the green icing, to act as glue.

Place in the fridge and package up, if desired.

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These came out SO cute and I think my Bigs’ classmates will really enjoy them.

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I hope you give these a try! Enjoy!

Kristin

Fluffy Speculoos Cookies with Fruit & Nuts

Have you started your Christmas cookie list yet? I haven’t either. But I made some cookies tonight that might end up on it! My sons’ school is having a Thanksgiving feast for the teachers tomorrow and my contribution is cookies. They don’t want anything I’d have to cook. It works out much better this way.

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I found a recipe on a food blog that I follow and tweaked it a little bit for the ingredients I had (incidentally, I didn’t have brown sugar on hand and had to make some from scratch), and also made some additions. These are so easy to whip together. They only use one bowl! Those are my favorite kinds of desserts. I hope you try them and love them.

Fluffy Speculoos Cookies with Fruit & Nuts

Recipe adapted from: Biscoff Cloud Cookies, Cookies and Cups

http://cookiesandcups.com/biscoff-cloud-cookies/

  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup creamy Speculoos Spread (Trader Joe’s answer to Biscoff)
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup mixed nuts and fruit (I used cranberries, raisins, pistachios, and almonds)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cream together the butter, Speculoos and both sugars for about 2 minutes with a stand or hand held mixer.
  4. Add in egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
  5. Add in salt, cornstarch and cinnamon and mix until combined.
  6. Add in flour and mix on low, until combined.
  7. Add in your nuts and dried fruit mixture. Only stir until incorporated.
  8. Use your cookie scoop (or spoons) to drop onto prepared sheet. These cookies won’t spread.
  9. Bake 8 – 10 minutes, or until golden. Cool on cookie rack.

These are SO easy, so festive, and even more importantly, delicious. You can customize them for any holiday, as well. The Speculoos spread (or Biscoff) is filled with a buttery, almost caramelized flavor, complementing chocolate, dried fruit, or nuts.

Give them a try!

Blessings,

Kristin