I had a helper in the kitchen when I was cooking my Thanksgiving feast.
Stanley loves to follow me around the kitchen while I cook. I thought he was looking for handouts, but I never gave in as to keep from encouraging it. However, I realized the other day that he follows me around the house in the kitchen or out. If I am working on the computer in the bedroom, he stands there next to me. He was not looking for handouts in the kitchen (I was making vegetables at the time, not exactly tasty to him), he just wanted to be with me. Nothing made my Elmyra side happier than this revelation. I knew he could never resist a cushy spot on the ground as long as it was in the same room so I put his bed in the doorway of the kitchen so we could hang out together, but he would not be in the way of my every step. I know he was happy to be there with me, but it made me really happy too to have the company. Such a sweet boy.
I did make something sweet for the Thanksgiving table this year, and I am not talking about the dessert. Sweet potato casserole has been one of my specialties growing up. From the time I was in college (and felt the need to contribute something of my own to the family feast), I would make a sweet potato casserole, garlic cheese biscuits and some sort of dessert. In the past, I have used canned sweet potato chunks for the base of this "recipe". I say "recipe" because I have never really followed any sort of instructions to make this. This year, I decided to keep with my make-from-scratch theme and bake the potatoes. Sweet potatoes are so creamy and delicious, I could have eaten them right out of the oven just the way they are. The natural sugar gives the skin a caramelized taste. I added a couple new things to my "recipe" this year that I think worked really well including bits of the skin (bonus fiber and some nice texture) and ground almonds for a nice smooth nutty flavor.
Stanley Is Sweet Potato Casserole
4 sweet potatoes
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 C half and half
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 ground almonds (plus a little to sprinkle for the topping)
1/2 C pecan pieces
1 C mini marshmallows
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Individually wrap each potato in foil, and bake for about an hour (until completely fork tender).
Turn oven down to 350 degrees F.
Scoop out flesh of baked sweet potatoes, and mash with a potato masher (you can use a fork if you like them to be chunkier)
Chop up the skin of one of the potatoes into small pieces and sprinkle into the mashed potatoes.
Add half and half, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground almonds and mix together until combined.
Fold in pecan pieces.
Transfer mixture to a square 8" casserole dish; spread evenly into the dish.
Sprinkle some ground almond on top of the mixture, and evenly sprinkle marshmallows on top (you can also sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on top of the marshmallows).
Put the casserole back in the oven for about 20 minutes (or until the marshmallows start to toast.