Sweet Potato Casserole

Well, I figured I’d better get this posted before another holiday comes and goes.  I’ve been promising my Grammy to send her this recipe since last Thanksgiving and again since this Easter.  What can I say?  Time flies when you’re having fun, cleaning out chicken coops, planting a garden, mowing the grass….  living life.

 

This is one of those recipes that can just as easily pass as a dessert as it can for a side dish.  No marshmallows necessary!

For a printable copy, click on the link below:)

Sweet Potato Casserole

Melt 4 Tbsp butter in a 9×13 baking dish.  Add 3 cups of mashed sweet potatoes, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup milk, and 1/2 tsp vanilla.  Mix well.  Lumps are just fine.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Combine 1/3 cup flour, 1/3 cup melted butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 cup chopped pecans in small bowl.  Sprinkle over the top of the sweet potatoes.

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Bake in a 350 degree oven for about an hour.  Real technical, I know.

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Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.  Trust me.  Burnt tongue during a holiday feast is no fun.  But you’ll want to make this for more than just holidays.  An easy way to get your daily dose of veggies.  And a great way to use up all those sweet potatoes that we canned!  MMMmmm!!

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins and a Batch of Really Bad Beans

Well, the holidays are in full swing now.  I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!  Ours wasn’t too bad.  Except for that about every dish I made turned out grubby!  Really, holidays are not the time to try out new recipes that you’ve never made before!  Luckily it was just the four of us and I didn’t embarrass myself in front of lots of family.  I tried to make homemade baked beans.  I figured I’d get creative and combine 2 different recipes that I had.  The first was for plain ol’ homemade baked beans, the second was for a four bean medley that calls for a big can of baked beans.  How can you possibly mess that up?  Leave it to me.  Not even Nik would eat those beans.  This kid eats EVERYTHING!!!  That was my first clue as to how bad they were.  At least we got some laughs out of it.  I took all the leftovers out for the chickens and ducks. They’re still out there.  Composting.  Chickens won’t touch them.  Ouch!

We also skipped the turkey and roasted a goose.  I’m sorry, but Thanksgiving needs turkey!  The goose wasn’t bad, just not the same.  The rice stuffing was a tad too wet or juicy or whatever you want to call it.  Sweet potato casserole is a no-fail dish so I was spared with that one!  So our feast was a semi-dud but at least we were together and everyone was happy and thankful and healthy!

Sorry, I had to break away and chase the chickens and ducks away from the road.  Trouble makers – the whole lot of them!! The weather is warm (for December anyway) and we let them out to forage for grass and any other goodies they can find.  I wish you could hear them chattering because they are so happy!  There’s a group of Pekins right outside my window making all kinds of happy racket!

I thought I would share a pumpkin recipe with you.  Since I have all this pumpkin to play with.  Don’t worry – this one has been tested and tried many times and it’s a keeper!  Trust me – if you make it and don’t like it, just ship it off to me and I’ll eat it.  No questions asked.

Here is a link to the original recipe.  I made it gluten free so that we could all enjoy it.  And I don’t bother with all that “bowl for wet, bowl for dry” stuff either.  I make things simple – the less dirty dishes, the better!  Dump it all in and mix it up.  They still turn out delicious!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tsp guar gum
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine wet ingredients in large bowl, mixing well.  Add dry ingredients, mixing well.  Fold in pecans.  Fill muffin cups three-fourths full.  Make topping in same bowl.

Crumble Topping

  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed

Combine sugar, pecans, and flour.  Cut in butter until crumbly.  Sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes before serving.  This will make 12 or 13 regular sized muffins or 6 jumbo.

 

So, anybody have any good recipes for homemade baked beans that are tomato free and low in sugar?  I know, what are baked beans without all the “good stuff” added?  Help!

Annual Pumpkin Canning Fiasco

We finished canning our pumpkin harvest just in time for “everything has to be pumpkin flavored” season.  Actually, we eat pumpkin all year long.  Why should I only enjoy it during the fall and winter months?  I make sure to have plenty stocked up so that we can nosh on pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bars… you get the idea!.. all year long!

Last year we bought all of our pie pumpkins from a local market.  This year we grew all but 10 of the pie pumpkins.  We canned 42 pumpkins and only spent $15.00.  Woohoo!  We’ll be eating extra pumpkin coffee cake, pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin lattes.. I can go on but I’ll spare you this time!  By growing our own, we know that we’re using heirloom seeds and growing these babies without any pesticides, insecticides, or any other “cides” that aren’t good for us.

Washed Sugar Pie Pumpkins

The first thing you do is wash your pumpkins really well.  You don’t want any dirt or grubbies getting into your hot liquid or pumpkin.

Clean out seeds from pie pumpkin

Cut your pumpkins in half with a sharp knife (cleaver, axe, whatever works – just be careful!) and clean out the seeds.  Save the seeds in a bowl to roast for later.

Cut Sugar Pie Pumpkin PiecesChop the pumpkin into manageable pieces. 

Boil Sugar Pie Pumpkin PiecesBoil the cut pieces in water for about 20 minutes until pumpkin is tender but not mushy.  It will be easier to peel the pumpkin rind.

Pumpkin LiquidRemove the pumpkin pieces and allow to cool a bit.  Save the water that you boiled your pumpkin in, you will use this as your “juice” for the canning.  I figure that it’s better than plain water, any of your vitamins and minerals that get cooked out from the pumpkin will be in this water.

Cooked Pumpkin PiecesWhen pieces are cool to the touch, remove the rind, and cut into cubes.  There’s all kinds of warnings about how you should never can pureed pumpkin, it should always be canned in cubes.  You can read what the National Center for Home Food Preservation has to say about it here.  They are funded by the USDA.  I feel much safer now.  (Can you feel the sarcasm?)  Wonder how anybody survived years ago?  I follow their advice for the most part.  Sometimes my pumpkin is a little “mushy” and the cubes fall apart and I really like to stuff that pumpkin in those jars.  Sort of like puree but I’ve never had a problem with any of my pumpkin.  Except for that one time that…. Just kidding!  The pumpkin turns out all good even if it is a little pureed.  Libby’s purees their pumpkin and expects everybody to eat it.  Maybe they don’t like the competition.  Just saying.

Pumpkin in Canning Jars

Fill hot, clean jars with your pumpkin cubes.

Hot liquid in Pumpkin JarsTake your hot pumpkin liquid and fill the jar almost to the top.

Air Bubbles in pumpkin canning jars

Slide a knife or plastic spatula along the sides of the jar to remove any air bubbles that may be hiding out in there.  Bubbles not good.

Headspace for pumpkin canningCheck to make sure that you leave 1 inch of headspace in your jars.  You need to leave this room due to expansion of the pumpkin while it is being pressure cooked.  Trust me, I’ve made this mistake before.  All your pumpkin juice from inside the jar makes its way out into the pressure cooker and you’ll get a little bit of dry pumpkin.  Leave the headspace.

Clean Jar rim before pressure cooking Wipe off the rim of the jar to remove any sticky liquid or pumpkin chunks that could interfere with getting a good seal on the lid.

Tighten lid on canning jarTighten the lid onto the canning jar (careful – it will be hot!)

Jars in Pressure CookerPlace a maximum of 7 quarts into your pressure cooker.  You have to use a pressure cooker, not a hot water bath canner.  The pumpkin doesn’t have enough acid in it to kill any little critters that might be in there.  Follow your directions for your pressure cooker.  Make sure that you check the vents to make sure they are clear (tee hee!  Chicken humor – check your vent!  I know, my joke was wearing thin on Lexie too.  She had to hear it every time I started a new batch.  Can’t take me anywhere.)

Process quarts for 90 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure and pints for 55 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.  You can fit 10 pints into the canner.  This is the long part.  Waiting for the canner to achieve correct pressure and then waiting and hoping nothing goes wrong.  I’ve heard pressure cookers can be quite dangerous.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds Since you have to stay close to your pressure cooker to keep an eye on it, might as well roast all those pumpkin seeds!  I just mix a little sunflower oil and sea salt and pop them into the oven at 250 degrees for about half an hour.  I think we got 2 gallon size bags of pumpkin seeds this year.  Pretty sure they won’t last too long.

Canned Pumpkin Quarts Now you have pumpkin to use for all those yummy treats all year long.  When you open a jar, drain out the water and mush the pumpkin up with a spoon.  Pumpkin puree!  We did pretty good this year.  There are 50 quarts and 27 pints in the pantry.  And it only cost us $15.00!  Hmm.  That would be about 19 cents a jar.  Plus I had a bowl of pumpkin that I just didn’t feel like canning anymore so we ate pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, … yeah, yeah, you get the idea!

Turkey Day Preparations

I must admit that country life agrees with me.  Usually by now I’m getting into a frenzy over all the things I need to get done for the holidays.  Not this year.  Simplify, remember?  I’m off to a pretty good start.

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After feeding and releasing the animals, I came in and baked up some Blueberry Cream Biscuits with Blueberry Sauce.  Yummy!  I was even nice enough to save Nik a big piece since he was out deer hunting.  Such a good mom! *cough*  I found the recipe in Better Homes and Gardens and threw it in a file where it sat for months (possibly years) before I finally tried it.  I just replaced all-purpose flour with a gluten free flour mix and “Tadaa”!  Definitely a keeper.

I finished the Jewel Fudge that I started last night.  Todd loves fudge.  Especially this fudge.  Me, not so much.  Never been a fudge junkie.  But this particular fudge he has to have every year around the holidays.   Thank goodness you can only find the fake cherries when the fruit cakes come out for the year.  Ok, thatJewel Fudge 001 doesn’t sound good… Otherwise I’d be making this stuff all year long.  He’s getting pretty smart though, since the cherries are all dried and preserved he said we could buy a bunch and save them for the rest of the year.  Yay!!  Thanks for the recipe Sandi!!

We had to stop and watch the guineas.  They were flying to the top of the barn.  Such big birds!!!  They still won’t wander away from the pasture though.  Once or twice a couple of them found their way over the fence but they just stood at the fence and screamed until somebody herded them back in.  They definitely don’t like to be separated!032 The boys are out in the pasture working.  We got a huge load of sand so that the ducks don’t make so much yuck when we get wet weather.  The ducks love the mud, the chickens not really.  The girls are going to start baking some pumpkin cookies and maybe a spiced pumpkin cheesecake if we get around to it.  I’m going to mix up an eggnog coffee cake to put in the refrigerator tonight so that I can just pop it in the oven for morning.  One less thing to do tomorrow.

We also get to use our homemade vanilla!  We started this project in the beginning of October so it should be good.  Get yourself a bottle of rum or brandy (any hard alcohol will work) and about a dozen vanilla beans.  Slice the beans and drop them in the bottle.  Allow to sit for 6 weeks or so, shaking the bottle every so often.  Not exactly a science, is it?!  Once we’ve actually used it, I’ll let you know what I think.  I’m definitely going to filter it, the beans have left little floaters that I’ not too sure about!

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Other than that, I am going to relax this evening and watch a movie.  The kids want it to be zombie night, we’ll see…