A Thanksgiving Wish and Menu (Recipe:Sweet Potato Casserole)
The weeks and days prior to Thanksgiving are busy and somewhat stressful. Americans idea of a joyous celebration requires a tremendous amount of preparation and organization. While Thanksgiving doesn’t have the overwhelming commercial aspect of some of our other national holidays, it still brings a certain amount of stress into our lives. Unless we keep it in check and in perspective, the stress can overshadow the pure meaning of this wonderful, spiritual holiday.
Thanksgiving is a time for us to gather together as a family, a community and a nation to simply give thanks. It’s up to each of us individually to decide for what we are thankful. There’s neither a minimum nor maximum limit set for giving thanks. Thanks may be given publicly or silently and can include gratitude for anything which you decide is important and necessary. Only you can determine your priorities.
My life is abundantly blessed. Showing gratitude is something I do routinely and with much reverence. It’s the very least I can do. I’ve done nothing to deserve all the rich blessings I’ve received and continue to receive daily. When I reflect on my wonderful blessings, I find it overwhelming and emotional. My heart is so full I wonder how much more it can hold.
My Thanksgiving wish for you, my dear friends and family, is that you can find the grateful place in your heart. That’s where you find happiness and peace. That’s where you store love, forgiveness and goodness.
Whether we’ve met or not, I hold each one of close to my heart and certainly count you among my many blessings.
Much like the cherished memories I have of kitchen conversations with my grandmother, I long for the day that I can have similar conversations with my grandchildren. Along with talking about cooking and food, we’ll talk about life and goodness and family members who are no longer with us. I’ll tell them about the little blog I authored called Syrup and Biscuits where they can find written accounts of the stories that I’ve told them. I’ll let them know that I wanted to write the stories to teach them about all the wonderful people who came before them and helped shaped them into becoming good and decent people. Our conversation won’t end until I’ve told them about all the kind people who read Syrup and Biscuits and encouraged, motivated and inspired me. That day will be a glorious day. I will be grateful and clap my hands and sing “Glory, Glory, Glory”.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from the Garvin family!
Y’all come see us.
Sweet Potato Casserole
For me, a Thanksgiving without sweet potatoes is like a Thanksgiving that’s missing several letters from its name. It’s like turning Thanksgiving into Thaskgvng. Just not the same. Sweet Potato Casserole is a standard on my Thanksgiving menu. The creamy sweet potato filling has a sweet and crunchy topping . I prefer the sweet potatoes be creamy and smooth with a consistency much like mashed white potatoes. Therefore, I don’t add raw eggs to the filling that would give it a firmer consistency. Since we’re not concerned with striking a perfect ratio between sweet potatoes and eggs or leavening, you don’t need to worry about using a precise amount of sweet potatoes. I had three mediums and one large on hand so that’s what I used. It made enough filling for an 8×8 baking pan which is the size I wanted. Having a little more or a little less sweet potatoes wouldn’t present a problem. Taste the filling for sweetness and spices and adjust as needed.
I’m delighted that I was able to overcome my sweet potato aversion that I wrote about in An Unfortunate Sweet Potato Incident. Sweet potatoes one of my favorite foods now.
4 medium to large sweet potatoes, baked and peeled
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup milk (I used 1% cow’s milk, any type sweet milk may be substituted)
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cold and diced
1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal, uncooked
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
To prepare filling, start by creaming softened cream cheese and butter until flight and fluffy. Add brown sugar and cream until smooth. Throw in cooked, peeled sweet potatoes. My husband brought me home some locally grown sweet potatoes that he scored from one of his golfing buddies. Sweet!
Mix until smooth. Add milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and honey. Mix. Taste for sweetness and spices. If it’s just right, pour into a greased 8×8 baking pan. Smooth out the top. The stuff taste good enough to eat just like it is. But hold on to your hats. We’re going to make it even better!
To prepare topping, add pecans, brown sugar, oatmeal, butter, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt to a bowl.
Smoosh it all up until it resembles course cornmeal. I use my clean hands. They’re the best smooshers I own. Sprinkle it all over the top of the filling. If some happens to fall off on your counter as you’re sprinkling, you’re required to eat it. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until the top has browned and the filling is bubbly. Let sit for 5 minutes , if you can wait that long, before serving. If you can’t wait 5 minutes, be very careful that you don’t burn your tonsils. This stuff is piping hot!
Here’s our Southern Thanksgiving Menu. The items in blue are links to the recipes included in my recipe index.
Sweet Potato Casserole (recipe above)