Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sweet potato dish with pretzels and cranberries.

So I’ve been holding onto a recipe for weeks now, just waiting for Thanksgiving to roll around and provide the perfect opportunity to make a new sweet potato casserole. I found original recipe here on the Taste of Home website, and I only tweaked it slightly {less sugar & butter} to make it a little less guilt-filled. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this recipe was SO good!


I even ate the leftovers for two extra days & loved it each time. The pretzels add a great salty contrast to the sweet potatoes, and the cranberries {on my word, the cranberries!} were the perfect ingredient to put this dish over the top. I used fresh cranberries, and I recommend using fresh. It was the first time I’ve cooked with fresh cranberries & it was a breeze {plus the whole bag was only $0.99 at Aldi…score!} I love this dish & it will definitely become an annual must at Thanksgiving for me.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pretzel & Cranberry Topping

  • 2 cups chopped pretzel rods {about 13}
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries {I think I’ll add more next year because I loved them so much!}
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar for the topping {and a small handful for the potatoes}
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted, {1/2 cup for topping, 1/4 cup for potatoes}
  • 2 1/2 lbs fresh sweet potatoes {recipe says you can use 1 can  sweet potatoes, drained, but fresh’s much better in my opinion}
  • 1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then, since I used fresh potatoes, we had to peel, dice & boil them until they were soft {fell off a fork inserted into the middle of them}. Thanks to my brother-in-law, Dale {aka BUD}, for chopping them for me!



Then, I enlisted my hubby to crush my pretzel rods. {I was in a delegating mood apparently.}


Just placed them in a zip lock baggie & used a rolling pin to smash them into small chunks.


Meanwhile, I diced the pecans & rinsed the cranberries.


Then, in a large bowl, I combined the pretzel pieces, brown sugar, cranberries, pecans & 1/2 cup of melted butter.



Stir until it’s mixed well.


Shortly after this, your potatoes should be soft, so you’ll want to drain them & mash them. {I prefer the ol’ fashioned method.}


Into my sweet potato pan, I added the evaporated milk, vanilla, and a small handful of brown sugar. {I didn’t do as much sugar as the original recipe called for because I prefer my sweet potatoes to taste more like a side, rather than a dessert….just my preference.}



See, just a bit of brown sugar to sweeten them…


Then you add your 1/4 cup of butter, and honestly, I bet you could skip this step and it’d still taste just as good.


Once you’ve whipped/smashed the mixture together, add it to your greased 2 quart baking dish, and smooth the top.


Now’s time to add the topping {if you can get your sister to stop picking out the brown sugar-covered cranberries…it was a challenge for me!}


Here’s a close-up of the topping. YUMMM.


Pop it in the oven at 350 uncovered, & bake it for 30 minutes {the edges will be bubbly when it’s done.}


The recipe says it makes 10-12 servings – perfect for a holiday dinner! 


Oh so delish!


Monday, November 29, 2010

The day after Thanksgiving.

We lucked out this year {and our families worked it out well for us} and got to have Thanksgiving dinner with his family on the day of and dinner with my family the day after Thanksgiving. Like I mentioned, my sister, brother-in-law, & niece came to the Buckeye state to visit for the holiday.  So here’s an abbreviated recap of Black Friday and, no, it doesn’t include shopping {although I did score a great deal online for a Christmas gift!}

Grandpa & Uncle Eugene gave baby Cate her bananas for breakfast that morning…


And baby Cate & Grandpa shared some bonding time together…


Then my dad enlisted the guys to help him cut & stack a ton of firewood to fuel his fireplace all winter. {What great guys my sister & I have!}


Meanwhile, Grandma Linny {being the English teacher she is} read Cate a book about Rudolph…


We baked & cooked for the big family diner later that evening. I tried a new recipe for a sweet potato casserole with cranberries & pretzels in it and let me tell you, it was SO GOOD! Definitely a keeper & I’ll post the details later this week for sure.


My dad stuffed the bird with the stuffing I made…

IMG_6569{Ew, pics of turkeys gross me out, but Dad asked me to take it!}

We had a full meal – turkey, ham, home made bread, you name it!


After dinner, Eugene got some QT with baby Cate… 


We really didn’t do much of anything, other than relaxing together & relishing our time just being in the same room together. 


I love my family {so much.}


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving day.

Thanksgiving day was filled with family…they best type of holiday there is. I got to see baby Cate on her first Thanksgiving, our cute little punkin!



She’s teething like crazy & her shoes are her top choice chew toy.


Our favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. I’ve loved & really cherished sharing Thanksgiving dinner with Eugene’s extended family since we started dating. It’s a huge family – 40 people – all seated at one large table.


All decorated for the occasion.


And the best part is that they take time every year, before any food is devoured, to read a passage out of the Bible,  take communion, thank the Lord for the countless blessings, and then they go around the table and gives each person the opportunity to pray aloud. His grandpa always mentions his two children that are no longer with them and thanks God for the time when they will someday meet again in Heaven.


Its such a moving experience to see such a large family gathered at one table, sharing their gratitude.


{I also knew I was special to Eugene the first year he invited me to be a part of his family’s Thanksgiving dinner.}

It was a wonderful start to the Thanksgiving holiday. We enjoyed another full Thanksgiving meal the next day with my family …details to come another day.


Thursday, November 25, 2010


What a wonderful Thanksgiving already! I’m making stuffing today, sweet potatoes tomorrow. I got to hug my sister this morning, see my brother-in-law, hold baby Cate, visit with my parents, & will soon enjoy a dinner with 30-40 people in Eugene’s family {all at one huge table}.


Thanksgiving is Eugene & my favorite holiday, and I’m so incredibly blessed to have another Thanksgiving to spend with my husband & family.

Psalm 100
A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
   come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
   It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
   we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
   and his courts with praise;
   give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
   his faithfulness continues through all generations.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

No longer rejected.

So, an update on the house situation…I got a call yesterday afternoon. It was our realtor telling me the the bank {the same one that had rejected our offer a month ago} decided to accept our offer on the house! {Wondrous thing!} But wait, it gets better…not only did God work this out in a big way for us, He allowed us to save $3,000 in a month of waiting. Yep, our second offer was lower than the first offer they rejected, but yet they accepted this one! {Double wondrous thing!} Isn’t God so cool? I mean, who would have even thought that the first rejected offer would result in a lower & accepted offer a month later?! Wow. Wow. Wow.

We’re not all the way there yet, still have plenty of inspections to pass, but we’re one big step closer to owning a home! I need to pray that inspections go well.

Oh, and since I’ve only posted the front of the house so far, here’s a sneak peak at one of the bedrooms…


Nothing crazy special, but it will fit us well!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another blue sky.

My day at work was a late one last night with meetings, but I finished in time to meet Eugene at our small group Bible study. We discussed the fourth chapter of Crazy Love on “lukewarm” Christians. It was pretty humbling, sobering to me. It brings me back to the realization that I’m on a daily journey in my attempt to grow closer to God, and it’s just that – a daily process. I’m so far from being perfect or anywhere near where I should be & want to be in my relationship with Christ, but thank Heavens for His grace & mercy that meets me where I am & walks me along the path. I want to make my Father proud of me so badly. I pray that He doesn’t find me lukewarm, but on fire for Him.

Here’s the chapter 4 video by the author, in case you’re interested.

While I was driving by a field today today, I couldn’t help but notice the bright blue skies.



It’s getting colder here, and the crisp air created such a beautiful backdrop for the puffy white clouds today.


{I love the sun.}


I’ve been struggling praying lately. I feel like there’s {so much} to be thankful for, and I’m really overwhelmed by all that God has blessed us with, specifically lately. I keep praying, “Thank you, Lord”, but those two words fall terribly short of offering the thanks I feel. How do I say thank you to the Provider, the Healer, the Lover, the Savior, the Perfect One other than a joyful heart and a simple, tiny, common phrase of “thank you.” I’m grateful that He hears my heart & knows the gratuities I feel yet fail so miserably to communicate with words.

He is {so} good.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Relaxing with family.

This weekend was a bit more relaxed than usual. Friday evening we went to another family birthday party & then relaxed at home the rest of the night. Saturday we spent the whole day at my parents’ place visiting with my mom & grandma. It was nice to just stay in one place for 12 hours, and I enjoyed visiting with my grandma Goldie. {Big surprise…she’s doing dishes & making sure everything’s all cleaned up.}


Then we had a first…Espn actually tried to catch the Frisbee.


Eugene’s a baseball player, so it’s been a slap in the face bit disappointing that our dog has an aversion to catching things. It used to be that he would let the ball hit him right between the eyes without even attempting to catch it first. But after lots of training, he’ll catch an occasional tossed ball. And on Saturday, he took a big leap forward and caught a Frisbee! Eugene was so happy! {Please note, we’re not really this obsessed with the dog & this paragraph is slightly sarcastic in excitement, lol!}


Saturday night we went from my parents’ to his parents’. His brother was home from college & so we hung out a while. Dillan bought a new game that was quite amusing…Play Station Move. Heard of it? Well it has a camera that shows an image of you and as you wave around a wand, it replaces the end with an object needed for the game (i.e. a racket for tennis, a hammer for a digging game, a ball for broche ball.) See the ball in Heidi’s hand, but the racket end on the TV screen?


Anyway, it’s pretty entertaining because you get to watch the players face while they play!


And to talk about real entertainment… watching America’s Funniest Home Videos with Dillan & his friend Kyle is the funniest thing ever. Seriously, I don’t even need to watch the show, just watching these two guys laugh hysterically at each clip gets tears running down my cheeks and stitches in my stomach from laughing at them!

{Blurry picture, but so stinkin’ funny!}

Sunday was a lazy day with church, cleaning the house, some Christmas shopping, and watching episodes of 24. One of my wondrous things this weekend was all the quality time I got to spend with Eugene for three days straight. :)


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