Sweet Potatoes with Fluffy Meringue – A Healthy Thanksgiving Side

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday. To me, it means getting together with family and friends to spend quality time together. And of course, sharing some great food.

Growing up, I remember having sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. This Thanksgiving dish is ultra sweet with the sweet potatoes from a big can and mini marshmallows melted on top, delivering dessert during the dinner.

So, can you have your sweet potatoes with marshmallows with a fraction of the sugar and calories? Absolutely. I read a great recipe in Good Housekeeping a few years ago that reformed helped me reform my Thanksgiving sweet potato staple into something healthy and delicious.

These meringue topped sweet potatoes taste so much like toasted marshmallows to me — but rely on the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes for most of the sugar flavor but without the added calories.

Sweet Potatoes with Fluffy Meringue Recipe

Sweet Potatoes with Fluffy Meringue

Sweet Potatoes with Fluffy Meringue for Thanksgiving

5 large sweet potatoes (about five pounds)
2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (I use Trader Joe’s)
5 egg whites
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
Pinch of salt

Clean the sweet potatoes and pierce all over with a fork or knife. Microwave the sweet potatoes on a plate or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap until well cooked and soft — about 15-30 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave (it takes about 30 minutes in mine). Let the sweet potatoes cool until you can handle them without burning yourself. I like to slice them in half to let the insides cool a bit faster.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the peels from the sweet potatoes and mash them well. You can run them through a food processor but if they’re soft enough, the sweet potatoes can be mashed with a fork (less clean up!). Mix in pumpkin pie spice (I use 2 tbsp as I like the flavor but use less if it’s too strong or more if you like more flavor) and a pinch of salt. Taste this mixture* and if you like it, spread it evenly across a 9×13 pan (3 quart).

Put the egg whites, cream of tarter and maple syrup into a mixing bowl and beat until you have stiff peaks. Gently, remove the well beaten egg whites from the bowl and spread over the top of the sweet potato mixture. If you’re feeling fancy, put them in a piping bag and pipe onto the top of the potatoes.

Bake at 400 for 5-8 minutes – remove from the oven when the top is golden brown (and likely when you smell it).

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

* Some people might not find these sweet potatoes sweet enough. I swear that the sweetness will be there and but if you need more sweetness, add up to 2 tbsp of brown sugar or maple syrup to the mix after adding in the spice and the salt. I also really like using ginger maple syrup in this recipe because it adds a nice sweet spicy kick. The ginger maple syrup I use is from the Deep Mountain Maple stand at the Union Square Greenmarket but I’ve noticed they’re selling it online too. Have a great holiday everyone!

SweetPotatoes

Smokey Split Pea Soup (vegetarian, vegan)

I received a bounty of gorgeous split peas from my CSA (via Cayuga Pure Organics) and wasn’t feeling well last week so I made a lovely split pea soup. The original recipe is from Vegetarian Times but I didn’t have a lot of the ingredients (spinach, fennel) in house so I made my typical modifications to use what I had from my CSA  share and the results were utterly delicious and quite healthy.

Smokey Split Pea Soup topped with toasted fennel seeds

Smokey Split Pea Soup topped with toasted fennel seeds

Smokey Split Pea Soup

  • 2 cups dried green split peas – rinsed and picked over
  • Cooking spray (enough to coat the pan – about 5 seconds)
  • 2 cups chopped onions (one large or likely 2 medium)
  • 5 cloves minced garlic
  • 6 cups chopped cabbage (one small head or a portion of a larger one)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (plus 1 tsp more for optional toasting)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 6 cups baby kale
  • water

In a large pot coated with cooking spray, saute onion and cabbage until soft — about 7-10 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for another two minutes.

Deglaze the pot by adding in 1 cup of broth and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add in split peas, 1 tsp fennel seeds, dried thyme, smoked paprika, salt, 8 cups of water and remaining 2 cups of broth. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Simmer covered for about an hour or until the split peas are tender, checking it every 10 minutes or so to give it a nice stir.

Add in kale and cook about 4-5 minutes until kale is wilted and tender.

Puree soup with an immersion blender until smooth (and double check the blender for stray cooked kale — mine kept getting jammed). Season with salt/pepper as needed and add in 5-10 drops of the liquid smoke (depending on how smokey you wish it to be!). Stir well or run the immersion blender again.

If you wish, take 1 tsp of fennel seeds and toast them in a small skillet for two minutes or until they turn golden and smell yummy.

Serve soup and top with optional fennel seeds if you wish.

Enjoy!

I ran the recipe ingredients through the recipe calculator on MyFitnessPal to see what it netted out to be. If you portion this into six servings (mine were 2 cups each), here’s the breakdown:

  • Calories: 309
  • Fat: 1.8 grams (.1 polyunsaturated, .1 monounsaturated)
  • Cholesterol: 0
  • Sodium: 548.4 mg
  • Potassium: 1,142.1 mg (almost a quarter to a third of the recommended allowance depending on the measure!)
  • Carbs: 54.9 g
  • Fiber: 20 g (!!!!)
  • Sugars: 11.8 g
  • Vitamin A: 19.8%
  • Vitamin C: 113% (!!!!)
  • Calcium: 16.9%
  • Iron: 20.7 percent
Split peas - dried and ready to be used in another batch of smokey split pea soup!

Split peas – dried and ready to be used in another batch of smokey split pea soup!

Meyer Lemon Obsession: Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Pound Cake

Spring is a lovely time of year . The winter is trying hard to warm up and there are bits of budding flowers poking through on the trees and grass.

With the sun shyly hiding behind the spring time clouds, I find my bit of sunshine in the form of a majestic Meyer Lemon. I love love love love love Meyer Lemons. I heard about these magical lemons for years, mostly from Martha Stewart who grows them in her greenhouse (if only I had a greenhouse!), but only had a lovely Meyer Lemon for myself a few years ago when my local Costco stocked them about three years ago. I hauled home a large container of Meyer Lemons because they weighed a pound less than the regular lemons I’d usually buy but, alas, I was there sans granny cart and needed to hand carry my heavy haul to my home that is about a half mile away.

What a fortunate day! I’ve discovered heaven in a lemon. These Meyer Lemons are slightly sweet, lemony goodness with a light herbal note. Delicious. It’s the best way to spruce up a boring glass of water or to add more sparkle to your seltzer. Amazing as the lemon portion of the lemon/olive oil dressing in a shaved fennel salad. Gorgeous thin sliced and baked on a nice white fish.

Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Cake slathered with Meyer Lemon Curd

Meyer Lemon Cornmeal Pound Cake slathered with Meyer Lemon Curd

So how can you resist making Meyer Lemons into incredible edibles? You can’t. You need to make this poundcake and preserve the lemons in the form of curd for as long as you can.  Try not to eat it all in a sitting and make sure you set some aside for friends as this recipe is perfect for sharing.

Meyer Lemon-Cornmeal Pound Cake
(adapted from Cupcake Muffin and Bon Appetit)

1 cup half white bread flour or all purpose flour
1 cup plus two tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 T Meyer lemon zest
1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
1 T vanilla extract (less if yours is extraordinary)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Glaze:
1 cup (packed) powdered sugar, whisked or sifted if there are loads of lumps that won’t come out
3 T (or more) Meyer lemon juice

1. Make your own buttermilk.  Use 1 cup minus two tablespoons of lowfat milk –1% is fine– and add in 4 tablespoons of fresh Meyer lemon juice. Stir well and let sit for about five to ten minutes.

2. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk buttermilk, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla in small bowl. Fold buttermilk mixture and melted butter into flour mixture.  Then mix in the extra 4 tablespoons of meyer lemon juice.

3. Let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes (covered) on the counter. I’ve left it soaking overnight in the fridge too and it works just as beautifully.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour a loaf pan. Pour batter into greased and floured pan and spread evenly.

5. Bake at 350 about 40-45 minutes until the top is golden and the cake pulls away from sides of pan and a knife or other tester inserted in the center of the pound cake comes out clean. My oven runs a little cool so you might want to check it at 30-35 minutes if yours doesn’t.

4. Make glaze while the cake is baking. Whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice and a pinch of salt — adding more lemon juice until it’s pourable. I err on the side of using more lemon juice and less sugar but the original recipe called for 1/2 cup more sugar than I used and makes a thicker glaze.

4. Let cake cook for about 5 minutes and pour glaze over cake ensuring the the entire top gets coated. It will seep into the sides of the pan so you can –prior to pouring– poke holes in the top to let the glaze soak more into the middle of the cake.

Close up of the crumb with the glaze on the top

Close up of the crumb with the glaze on the top

5. Serve warm or fully cooled. It’s delicious either way. Since this cake isn’t super sweet, feel free to spread a little Meyer Lemon Curd on the slice to  achieved one of the ultimate forms of lemony deliciousness!

Enjoy!

 

Pound Cake with a giant pint and a half jar of curd lingering in the background

Pound Cake with a giant pint and a half jar of curd lingering in the background

 

Recipe: Baked Ginger Cranberry Sauce

I love fresh ginger. That spicy sharp flavor makes me happy. And when I saw a recipe for cranberry ginger sauce in Real Simple, I knew I had to make it for Thanksgiving — especially because it has only three ingredients.

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This sauce was a hit with the family too and I’ve made it every year since.

However, I lost the recipe and can’t seem to find it anywhere online so I’m sharing my own version of the recipe here.

Baked Cranberry Ginger Sauce

1 C minced fresh ginger
1/2 C. sugar (I prefer organic)
2 12 oz. bags of fresh cranberries – rinsed and picked over

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel and mince the ginger. I like to peel mine running a spoon along the piece. You’ll end up with a good pile of ginger.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Mix together all ingredients and spread out in the pan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the cranberries get soft and syrupy – as pictured below.

Cool and serve.

Makes about 2.5-3 cups. Fills a pint and a half Ball jar.

20131127-230552.jpgFresh ginger – minced and ready to be mixed with the cranberries.

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Baked sauce – fresh from the oven!

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Lightly mixed together to spoon into the jar.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Minorly Obsessed: Cold Brewed Iced Coffee

I have a problem. I adore cold brewed iced coffee. It’s addictive because there is no acidic taste like you get with hot coffee – just pure, ultra-caffeinated deliciousness.

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Plus, it’s simple to make. You just take a large scoop of coffee, cold water, stir (or shake), let sit for 12 hours, strain and — voila — cold brewed ice coffee concentrate.

Amazing.

Here’s my recipe for coffee perfection. And if you’re clever like me, order up some Community Coffee. They have a New Orleans style blend with Chicory in it, adding a hint if chocolate flavor. Mmmmmm.

Since I’m lazy about measuring, I use a one quart ball jar because the measurements are on the jar. Could it be easier? I think not!

Cold Brewed Iced Coffee Recipe:
1 Quart Ball Jar (or container of choice)
1 Cup Coffee
Cold Water (about 3 1/2 Cups)

Put coffee in the ball jar. Fill to top with cold water, leaving about a 1/2 inch of space.

Cover tightly.

Shake.

Leave the jar on the counter for 12 hours.

Strain.

Drink immediately or put into another jar for storage. This strained mixture fits really well into the pint and a half Ball jars.

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For the perfect cup of cold brewed iced coffee, fill a glass 2/3 with ice. Pour in coffee concentrate until about half full. Top with your choice of milk. Swirl and drink!

Repeat. Try not to repeat too many times or coffee jitters will follow.

Enjoy!!!

Loving Live Shows: Dave Matthews Band



P1010080, originally uploaded by MinorlyObsessed.

If you know me at all, you probably have heard me mention Dave Matthews Band. I love their music, go to a few of their shows each year and adore the Dave & Tim acoustic sets.

Last night, the bad kicked off their winter tour (ending with a stellar set of Two Step). I had GA so was able to get some pretty amazing pictures. Click through to the full set on Flickr.

Off to tonight’s show! Yeah Dave Matthews Band!

Get Pinned

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A few months ago, I joined Pinterest and have been pinning relatively regularly – on many completely random things I adore like:

I love being able to discover new recipes, get inspiration from my friends, track the things I love and generally organize my likes online in a place where I can find them again in six months, a year, etc. While I’ve never been a collage maker, Pinterest is totally my speed.

Are you pinning? Let me know where and let’s follow each other! Post your Pinterest link in the comments.

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