Thursday, November 24, 2011

Candied Sweet Potato Casserole

This was such a big hit today, I thought I'd better write it down before I forgot how it happened. Yum, nom, nom. 

Candied Sweet Potato Casserole 

Not a picture of mine. It's actually from My Italian Grandmother for a different recipe.
I chose it to show you how brown the marshmallows should be.
I think the site is worthy of a visit, a recipe, and a listen! That's Amore!


2 large cans sweet potatoes (drained) 
1 can pumpkin 
4 cups miniature marshmallows, divided 
1/2 cup butter 
1/2 sugar 2 
Tbs maple syrup 
2 Tbs pineapple (or orange) juice 
5 drops vanilla 
ground cinnamon to taste 
ground nutmeg to taste 
ground cloves to taste 
dash salt 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a deep pie dish or spray with cooking spray. 

In a large saucepan, combine butter, sugar, syrup, 2 cups marshmallows, spices (minus vanilla). Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the marshmallows disappear. Stir in pumpkin and return to simmer. 

Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Stir in potatoes. Chop larger pieces into bite-sized chunks. Transfer to prepared pie dish. 

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cover top evenly with remaining marshmallows. 

Return to oven and bake until marshmallows are browned (10 minutes or so).

The Awkward Pause: Witness like a pro!

For the competitive Christian spirit and true Thanksgiving one-up-manship, here's a real conversation stopper to help you through those awkward family holiday pauses. For the win!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tea Drink--London Fog

Real London Fog

I will be serving these simple teas tomorrow as a preliminary to Thanksgiving Dinner. I'm also going through quite a few during our Black Wednesday shenanigans--the pie crust and deviled egg marathon that presages Thanksgiving Thursday.

A Yummier Version of London Fog

London Fog (single serving)

6 oz boiling water
1 Earl Gray tea bag
2 Tbs cream (low fat milk works fine, too, especially if you scald it first)
1 Tbs sugar (or 6 drops of stevia for a sugar free alternative)
4 drops Vanilla extract
1 dash cinnamon

Steep the Earl Gray tea, add cream, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and stir. Simple, yummy, fog lifting!

If you need a decaff version, you can easily decaffeinate any tea. Steep a bag of tea for two minutes, then discard that caffeinated tea. Immediately steep the bag in another cup of boiling water. This second steeping will give you a tea that is caffeine free!

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Wardrobe Project--Why I'm Late!

My family is temporarily in my parents' house as we get out newly relocated farmhouse ready for occupancy on our little acre of paradise in the country. We are in a big push to get the floors, heat, and plumbing all move-in ready. We had a hidden fireplace make its presence known by crashing through the ceiling in two rooms during the move and reattaching the house to a foundation has taken a month longer than we had planned.

Meanwhile, computer time is at a premium when seven people are competing for two workable keyboards. I haven't had access to do the level of research I feel is needed to complete the entries for the banana and apple shapes, but they are in progress! I will keep you all updated. I'm so sorry to make you wait!

Meanwhile, I did find time to go shopping for these....
My husband found them actually. 60% off. My size. My color. Now all I have to do is relearn how to walk. I've never worn heels this high. Ever. I have to learn to dance in these!

Sure hope the explanation and the little fashion teaser helps ease the wait.

Friday, November 4, 2011

7 Quick Takes--Tah Dah!

Jennifer Fulwiler
Thanks to Jennifer Fulwiler, a fellow Texan, for hosting
7 Quick Takes Friday 

1 Friday is almost done, but I have just enough time to squeeze these in under the wire. It still counts if California and Hawaii are on Friday, right?

2 We are still living in temporary quarters, but I've been getting my kitchen and bedrooms together with the help of very good friends. Good friends help you move. Very good friends help you renovate.

3 We have celebrated two birthdays since we've moved in with my parents. My mother's birthday is next. For her present I'd like to give her her house back.

4 As I've started unpacking the boxes we packed up at the end of a brutal summer, I keep expecting to be hit with a hot blast of packaged air. It was such a miserable summer for us: record heat and no air conditioning in a metal trailer with the sun beating down on it. It is only two months since the last box was packed up, but now that fall weather is here, the memory has a surreal edge to it. Have you ever had  something very unpleasant to endure and you muddled along, then you look back and wonder how you managed? This summer was like that for us.

5 My oldest is loving his science program this year. The entire book is experiments. He runs one or two experiments each day. His latest discovery was that sound travels around corners but light does not. The other kids love helping him, especially when the experiment involves getting into a dark closet. 

6 This morning I forgot I was supposed to go to church. I was late. I'd also forgotten to turn off my phone. It rang. Today I'd also forgotten how bad I was at furniture assembly. I remember now. It took all afternoon to get everything wrong enough times to eliminate every other option except the correct one.

7 My 3 year old is at that stage where everything is a grand production. When she gets out of the van, she says, "Tah dah!" When she walks into the living room, she says, "Tah dah!" Lately, I'm so tired that any thing I manage to do feels like a grand production, so I am going to follow her good example and end this small production with a triumphal note. Hey, I worked on something other than the house today!

Tah Dah!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

5 Reasons We Are Unapologetically Celebrating Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow, Too!

I am among the first to yell, "Neopagan!" in a crowded sanctuary, so let me tell you I have looked at the myths surrounding Halloween. I have been sensitive to the ideas roaming around that roaming around at night in costume is somehow Satanic. I have come to the conclusion that taking three days to dress up, eat candy, carve pumpkins, and pretend to scare one another with spiders and "boo" noises is about as sinister as a Christmas tree in the living room. We won't touch the gore and ghouls, of course, unless you are talking martyrs, but it's official! The Martins are celebrating. Not only that, we are hitting Mass to pray and we're going to the cemetery to pray. We may even place flowers on our relatives' graves. How wicked! We will even pray for the repose of their souls. We are Catholic, after all!
Boo, ya'll!

Here are the 5 top reasons we are celebrating...

1 - The fact that people like you and me have achieved Heaven is reason to celebrate, indeed!

2 - We are Catholic. We celebrate holidays for weeks on end. Taking three days to celebrate the idea of people achieving Heaven seems understated.

3 - My kids dress up almost daily. They beg for candy even more often. Dressing up to ask for candy seems natural.

4 - Holidays garner silly rituals even faster than they develop serious ones. Carving a pumpkin is no less trivial and fun than decorating Easter eggs.

5 - It's my birthday and that's final.