Tag Archives: sweet potato

Sweet Potato Casserole, with a Sunny Twist!

Shhhh...don’t tell the Santa. I’ve been a very naughty blogger.

I’ve been just terrible about taking photos lately, and it’s been an eternity since I’ve passed along a good recipe.

But I’d like to make it up to you with my favorite sweet potato casserole recipe!

As a kid, I love the toasted marshmallow casserole that came loaded with brown sugar. But now, I’m kind of over it. I’ve replaced the candy-fest with a casserole that’s just different enough to pique everyone’s interest at the holiday dinner table, and just traditional enough that everyone will welcome it as a familiar favorite. It has the warmth of autumn’s sweet potato harvest and the bright, sunny taste of orange, nestled under a sweet, tangy topping with just a little crunch.

Yom. :D

I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but it actually comes from Eating Well Magazine. (Brilliant folks, they are. Eating Well never lets me down!) To find the original recipe, click here.

Those familiar with my blog will know that I couldn’t just leave the recipe as is, untinkered with, so I made a few small changes to suit my tastes. (I cut the salt in half, substituted agave nectar for the honey, left out the eggs and butter, and used coconut oil rather than canola. I also added some dried cranberries for texture and a tangy kick of flavor.)

But I did leave ALL of the freshly grated orange zest. In fact, I may have gone a bit heavy on it. It’s my favorite part of this recipe, and one of my favorite ingredients in general because it adds SO much fresh flavor, eliminating (or cutting down) the need for less healthy ingredients like fat, sugar and salt.

And although I don’t have a recipe photo for you, I do have a photo of the very beginning of the taters we used to make this casserole for Thanksgiving. (A small reminder that colder weather will NOT last forever…the green will come back someday!)

Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe, with a Sunny Twist!

adapted from Eating Well Magazine

Sweet Potato Casserole:

  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2″ chunks
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk (may substitute coconut milk for a vegan recipe)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Topping

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons frozen orange juice concentrate (frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preparation:

  1. Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cover and cook over medium heat until tender, 10–15 minutes. Drain well and return to the pan. Mash with a potato masher. Measure out 3 cups. (Reserve any extra for another use.)
  2. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Coat an 8″ square (or similar 2-qt) baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Whisk oil and agave nectar in a medium bowl. Add mashed sweet potato and mix well. Stir in milk, orange zest, vanilla and salt. Add cranberries and stir to distribute evenly throughout mixture. Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish.*
  4. To prepare topping: Mix flour, brown sugar, orange juice concentrate and oil in a small bowl. Blend with a fork or your fingertips until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over the casserole.
  5. Bake casserole until heated through and the top is lightly browned, 35–45 minutes.

*A note to those with toddlers: I think this is a great toddler recipe, but there are many differing opinions on when to introduce nuts and/or tree nuts to your child. If you are concerned about reactions with the pecans in this recipe, reserve a small amount of sweet potato mixture for baby before adding the cranberries and pecan topping.

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Filed under Green Living, Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Sunshine Stack

I love to cook. I always have. But when it comes to making lunch just for me on my days at home, I often bypass the whole mess and just snack, or heat up some leftovers. There’s really nothing wrong with that, I guess, but today I felt like making myself a real meal. Maybe that’s because it’s rainy outside. We need the rain badly, though, so instead of sunshine outside, I thought I’d incorporate a few rays into my lunch.  

Sadly, I’m down to my last Southwestern Sunshine Burger. :( I found a single box in an out-of-the-way health food store, which I have a feeling I’ll be revisiting soon.

Sometimes, I put my Sunshine Burger on a bun. But the beef I have with buns is that they often seem like nothing more than a vehicle for the real star of the meal, and they contain a lot of empty carbs for something I don’t really enjoy. Don’t get me wrong…I like a good hunk of bread as much as the next guy, but a burger bun just doesn’t excite me too much.

But who needs a bun when you’ve got a fat sweet potato?!

So I rubbed the taters with a mere touch of coconut oil and salt, and set them a bakin’ in the oven (along with a few extras for baby’s dinner later): about 20 minutes at 350º, then another 15 or so at 400º, turning throughout for even browning. I baked the Sunshine Burger along with them until it was nice and crispy.

Hmmm….what jives with the burger’s Southwestern flair? Salsa! 

But I don’t have any salsa. :|

What I do have, and need to use up, is this array of goodies, which I ran through the food processor to create a little somethin’ somethin’ that sort of resembled a salsa.

  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/8 cup fresh onion
  • 1 clove of garlic from our garden
  • 4 yellow pear tomatoes from our garden
  • 1 pinch cumin
  • 1 pinch chili powder
  • several sprigs of cilantro Oops. Cilantro was just a little too far past its prime and is now in the compost.

Directions: Hit “pulse” a few times instead of “on” so as not to scare the baby. 


Once my burger and tater bun were baked to perfection, I simply stacked them up!

  1. sweet potato
  2. 1/2 Sunshine Burger
  3. veg “salsa”
  4. 1/2 Sunshine Burger
  5. more “salsa”
  6. the last of my cheddar cheese curds (insert teary-eyed emoticon here!)
  7. another hot round of sweet potato to top it off

It still could have benefited from a touch of real tomatoey salsa, but all in all this was a pretty fantastic lunch. I’m not sure why I don’t treat myself to a real lunch more often, especially considering this was made entirely of ingredients I had in the house, and it only took a few minutes to put together. From now on, I think making my own healthy lunch a priority is a new goal. 

Because I’m worth it!

And now that I’m feeling all inspired and self-esteemy, I’d like to take Chocolate-Covered Katie up on her challenge to post a no-makeup pic on my blog! OK, so this one is not a full face no-makeup pic, but it’s not exactly flattering. And there’s NO makeup, plus I think it was taken on a no-wash hair day, so it fits the bill.

I took it to document (just for my own use) the crazy hair loss that started about 3 1/2 months after I gave birth. Did you know that some lucky women’s hormones cause them to lose clump after clump of hair after childbirth? I knew this going in, because it happened when I lost my first pregnancy, but I didn’t expect to lose so much. This is during the period of regrowth, and trust me when I tell you this pic doesn’t do it justice! I have full-on bangs now that I never intended, and a full head of short hair underneath my long hair! 

Here it is….with no self-disparaging comment, although I’m tempted. I look at my weird hair as just another reminder of how lucky I am to be a healthy mommy to my healthy boy!

…and for the sake of comparison, the mascara and eyeliner version. 

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Do you eat your burger on a bun? If so, do you really want the bun, or do you just eat it because it’s there?

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Filed under Parenting & Family, Product & Service Reviews, Recipes & Food