Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole, Redux-- and some of my Christmas menu to come

This year, I am a dismal failure about my Christmas Baking & Edible Gifts.  I had all kinds of plans, and had plenty of recipe ideas on my Pinterest boards. I bought the canning jars, plastic bags, fancy bows and strings. I stocked up King Arthur Flour, powdered sugar, dark and white chocolate, nuts, all kinds of sprinkles and fancy doo-dads.  But, the best of intentions fell flat.  I have a perfectly good excuse--

I work full-time, people!  I'm out the door at 6:15am, and home around 5-ish.  That is, if I don't stop for errands.  Then I get home closer to 6pm.  I cook dinner, read the mail, tidy up a little bit, and spend a little bit of time visiting food blogs. I rarely have time to watch TV programs that I've recorded.  By 8:30pm, I'm getting ready for bed and it's light's out!  Repeat cycle.

How do you food bloggers find time to create and post such beautiful Christmas recipes?  I want to know!  There. End of whining rant.

For our Thanksgiving Dinner, the star of the show was the Sweet Potato Casserole.  I made this recipe, last Thanksgiving, and it was well liked.   This year, my son asked if I would make sweet potatoes with marshmallows.  Well, I hadn't really planned on it, so I didn't have marshmallows.  It was the night before Thanksgiving, when he posed this question.  There was no way I was going to hit the grocery store battlegrounds of the Last Minute Thanksgiving Menu craziness.

Then, I remembered that I had a jar of Marshallow Creme.   I tweaked the original recipe a little bit. For one, I replaced the white sugar with all brown sugar-- and cut down on the amount a bit. It took a little bit of finesse, but I managed to spead the entire jar over the mixture of baked sweet potatoes, egg, milk, vanilla, and brown sugar.

   I also made the Pecan Streusel with a tad more flour, so that it didn't melt so much.  

VERDICT:   Suffice it to say that this is the new and improved version, and how I will make it this way from now on.  The marshmallow creme melted into a lovely gooey filling.  The pecan-streusel added a nice contrast with a nice crunch.  I really think that this "side dish" is a crustless sweet potato pie.  But, my family doesn't care.  I saw family members, who shall remain nameless, going back for more helpings.    I didn't get a final photo.  You know how it is, when the hungry guests are ready to eat. 

This Christmas Eve, the family has voted that I make a more traditional German-Style Dinner. So, our menu includes

 with Semmel Knoedel (bread dumplings).

I'll be making other traditional Bavarian dishes, like red cabbage (my husband and older brother loves this), and my son's request is homemade spaetzle.   We spend our Christmas Eve, honoring the memory of our Mutti.  My brother's play music, we sing Christmas Carols and we open our gifts-- in true European Christmas style.  You know,  I'm fine with that.  Because I'm working all the way until December 23rd, and I'm thankful that I can prepare a meal that is far less work than a Prime Rib Dinner.

As for the Christmas treats-- well, I'm T-6 days and sweating counting.   At the last stage, I think I'm looking more at making Peppermint Bark and some bar cookies.  That's a whole lot easier. In the meantime, I'll live vicariously through my fellow food bloggers. Y'all are making me wish I had the time to be as creative as so many of you are.

One day, I shall retire.  Unless, one of those weekly lottery tickets my husband buys hits the jackpot.  Dear Santa... are you listening?

I have lots of recipes to blog, though.  I have two weeks of vacation, starting this Friday. I'll get those uploaded-- and trust me...none of them have peppermint or pumpkin in them.  I'm going back to savory, simple, fast and good!

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bellini said...

I work 6 days a week and feel your pain for not being able to blog or read others blogs as much as we like. Here it is 4:30 AM which is when I like to find time for myself and visit blogs and write posts.Cooking is for Sundays. So that is how it's done...wink.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

4:30am, Val? I crawl out of bed at 5:15am. WRite a post in 45 minutes?! I wish! That's what vacations are for! Wink, wink.

Valerie said...

A crust less sweet potato pie sounds good to me! You've managed to make me ravenous for holiday feasting, and I haven't even had my morning coffee yet. :-)

teresa said...

I don't write a blog but I feel your pain about where the time goes. I work 40+ hours a week, come home to either fix dinner, do laundry, or other such things. Only then do I get the 'me' time. By then, I am too tired to even think of pulling out my sewing machine to finish some projects. I am lucky in one area, I share the cooking and house chores with my daughter and her boyfriend (I live with them), and my 16 year old son. But even then there isn't a lot of time left at the end of the day. I admire you and any other blogger who works outside the home and still manages to get a post in here and there.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

If you hear a little tap, tap, tapping on your front door this Christmas Eve it is probably me wanting to pull up a chair and have a plate of your goulash and dumplings. You make your goulash just the way we like it - lots of paprika and caraway. I feel for you, Debby. I don't know how you find the time to do everything that you do and then write amazing posts describing it all. I wish I lived close enough to share some cookies and a big piece of the kugelhopf that just came out of the oven.

Kristen said...

I definitely think that you could get away with serving that for dessert, but how fun that it's part of dinner instead. Eating it is like getting away with something :-)

Kathryn said...

Debby, I'm *astonished* at all you *do* accomplish, so you've no excuse to be hard on yourself for any plans that haven't yet been mobilized. I do agree that this particular dish looks like a perfect dessert to me, but I'm with the family members who'll happily eat it as a 'side' too. No reason not to "have your cake and eat it too" in this case, if you can get away with it!! What you have on your blog is exquisite and inspiring and you're clearly no slouch when it comes to doing a million things at once. If you stopped right now you'd still be a champion in my book--except that I sure hope you don't, for selfish reasons! :) Whatever you end up doing, I hope you'll have a fabulous Christmas, and I'll think just a little enviously of beautiful Austrian goulash and homemade spaetzle!!!

Roz said...

We are all so insanely busy aren't we? Love this casserole Debby! I am sure that your Christmas feast will certainly be one for the eyes! Merry Christmas season!

Joanne said...

How happy am I that I ALWAYS have fluff in the cabinet? Sweet potato casserole on a random Tuesday...totally happening. I think this is the PERFECT holiday post!

Kim said...

Debby - I understand what you mean about working full time and not having the time to do all the things you want. I'm on the opposite side of things where I'm a stay at home mom and while I have the time I don't always have the money. So is life I guess!

I love that you used the marshmallow fluff in your casserole. I can see how fluffy and thick the layer of marshmallow is and it looks great!

A Very Merry Christmas to you and your family! Enjoy your time away from work.

Lynn said...

I understand about working full time and not being able to cook/bake like you wish. I feel the same! Sometimes work just gets in the way of my life! LOL I do very much enjoy your blog and the great recipes you share. Merry Christmas!!

Chris and Amy said...

We feel the same way...wondering how some food bloggers have all this time on their hands to create, eat and write every day! Your blog is beatiful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing. Happy holidays!

Becki's Whole Life said...

This looks yummy and I love that you used fluff! Your German dinner sounds wonderful and comforting as well.

I work full-time too but I am at home for three of those days but with two small girls I blog at night if I don't fall asleep...or @ 6am. And I really only blog about the stuff I made for my family...I usually am not making stuff just for the blog. I also wonder how some bloggers eat all of the food that they create?

Loveforfood said...

It's not often that the three distinct worlds I seem to straddle--food, photography, and linguistics--happen ... i love your food styling! great photos!

Pam said...

I remember those days and feel your pain. I had about the same hours but those days are over and I do what I want to, when I feel like it. The problem is, I'm still busy and find there aren't enough hours in the day. Take a break and relax and enjoy your good food! It looks delicious!

Jackie said...

Hi Debby

Do you remember the weigh of those 4 medium sweet potatoes.