Tag Archives: Pecans

Jellied Cranberry Sauce and Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Bananas and Honey


Just one day before Thanksgiving, and if you still need some ideas for your table that are easy, tasty and attractive, read on.  Both these recipes are for sides since I’m assuming you have the turkey, or main dish, covered.

I usually make a cranberry-orange relish for Thanksgiving, using the classic recipe found on the back of the Ocean Spray cranberry bags. But this year, I wanted to try something different; so when I found this Cranberry sauce recipe on the Kitchen Daily blog, I was delighted asI have never made a “cooked” sauce before. With an investment of only 20 minutes and a little stirring, you can have a bright and delicious side dish!

Cranberry Sauce with Fuji Apples


Diff: Easy Time: 20-25 min. Serves: 12


1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries

1 Fuji apple, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice

1 cup sugar

¾ cup water


  • In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries with the apple, sugar and water. Bring to a boil and cook over moderately high heat, stirring frequently until the cranberries are completely broken down and the sauce is very thick, about 15-20 minutes.



  • Scrape the cranberry sauce into a serving bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 3 – 4 hours.

  • Or, if you’re brave, put sauce into a 8 x 4 loaf pan lined with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with Pam. When chilled, invert onto a rectangular serving dish.

  • Before serving, garnish with fresh cranberries and rosemary sprigs, if desired.  (I just love having a big old rosemary plant in my front window so I can just cut off a sprig anytime!)


Whipped Sweet Potatoes and Bananas with Honey

This next recipe is also a departure from my usual routine. I have, for years, made my mother’s Sweet Potato Souffle, but this year, again, I wanted to try something different. When I saw this unusual combination of sweet potatoes and bananas created by Tyler Florence of the Food Network, I just had to try it. If pressed for time, (and who isn’t at this point?), this recipe can be made in three steps; the potatoes and bananas can be roasted ahead of time, then when you have a few minutes, puree these together in a food processor with the honey and one stick of butter. The topping also can be made ahead, put in a container and placed on top just before putting the potato mixture into the oven.

Note: I would recommend using only 2 bananas for a more subtle banana flavor.

Diff: Easy Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 1 hr 25 min Serves: 10


5 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed well

2-4 bananas, unpeeled

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

¼ c. honey

Kosher salt

½ c. all purpose flour

¾ c. dark brown sugar

1 ½ c. pecans, chopped


  • Preheat oven to 375 F.  Prick potatoes all over with a fork,  then put them in a roasting pan and roast for 45 min.


  • Add bananas to pan and continue roasting for 15-20 minutes, until both the bananas and the potatoes are very soft! (Very important: Make sure they’re soft and completely cooked!  Also, if you’ve never cooked bananas before, the skins will turn black!)


  • Remove pan from oven but leave oven on.

  • When potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into bowl of a food processor. Add the peeled bananas and one stick of butter and honey.


  • Season with salt and process until well-combined.


  • Spoon into a oven-proof serving bowl and smooth out the top.

  • In a separate mixing bowl, using your fingers or a flat wooden spoon, rub together the remaining stick of butter, brown sugar, flour and pecans until the mixture is consistency of coarse crumbs.


  • Sprinkle crumb mixture over the sweet potatoes and return to oven.


  • Cook for 20 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden.  (You can see I had a little extra just for me!)  Serve hot.


I hope that one of these recipes make it onto your holiday table, and are enjoyed by all!

Until next week, wishing you and all your family a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving full of the love and comforts that only family can bring, all of God’s blessings, good health, and happy eating!

Blessings and Smiles,


Vermont Sugarhouse Maple Muffins with Maple Buttercream Frosting


I recently returned from a road trip out east, part of which was spent in the beautiful state of Vermont. Since my destination was a small town, I spent a lot of time on twisting backroads that took me through lovely and heavily wooded hills. The official flavor of Vermont is Maple, a bounty they reap from the millions of maple trees that grow there. Maple Syrup is one of Vermont’s primary agricultural products; with over 1 millions gallons produced in 2011. Maple syrup is produced and sold at sugarhouses; which are often owned by generations of the same family. You can find many of these sugarhouses throughout the state, and visiting several was on my agenda. I especially made a point of stopping at Harlow’s Sugarhouse, a place in Putney, Vermont I had read about in Food Network magazine. It was a little out of my way, but well worth it. The sugarhouse was well stocked with their three varieties of maple syrup, Fancy, Medium and Dark Amber, as well as maple candies, jams, jellies, honey, mustards and Vermont cheeses. The Fancy is from the first run of the sap, and is lighter and milder in taste; the Ambers are from later in the sap run, with the Dark Amber from the end of the run. Some sugarhouses have Grade A and Grade B syrups. The Grade B is darker and more suited for cooking purposes.

These cakelike muffins are easy to make, and were a unique and tasty way to use up some of that Maple Syrup I brought back with me from Vermont. I used Grade B syrup for these. I am including a maple buttercream frosting recipe here, but these are so good they really don’t need frosting! I love their delicate oaty, maple flavor! Can you imagine anything more yummy than a warm Maple Muffin in the morning? Or with a glass of milk?

Vermont Sugarhouse Maple Muffins

This recipe makes 18 regular muffins, or multitudes of mini muffins!


2 ½ c. flour

2 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

½ t. salt

¾ t. ground ginger

½ c. unsalted butter, softened

½ c. light brown sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 ¼ c. maple syrup

2 t. pure vanilla extract

½ c. buttermilk

½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger together in a medium bowl. Set aside.


  • Beat softened butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy.



  • Add eggs, syrup and vanilla. Mix until blended.



  • Mix in flour mixture alternating with buttermilk mixture one-third at a time. You will notice that the batter will get progressively lighter as you add the mixtures, and that the batter will have a sheen on it from the maple syrup.



  • Lastly, using a large spoon, add the nuts in by hand, stir in briefly.


  • Grease or put liners in muffin tins, then fill tins 2/3 full. More than this, and the muffins will flatten out.


  • Bake for 20 minutes, test to see if done. I use the “touch to see if it springs back” method. You can use a toothpick if desired.  Remove from oven when done.


  • Cool for a few minutes, then remove cupcakes from tins.
  • DSC02817
  • Cool completely, then frost with maple buttercream frosting, if desired.


Maple Buttercream Frosting


1 c. butter, softened, unsalted

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

2/3 c. dark brown sugar

1/4 t. salt

3/4 c. maple syrup

3/4 t. pure vanilla extract

1 c. confectioners sugar


  • Beat softened butter, cream cheese, brown sugar and salt in medium bowl until fluffy.
  • While beating, add maple syrup and vanilla
  • Slowly add confectioners’ sugar and beat on medium speed.  Beat until frosting is fluffy.
  • Frost cupcakes as desired.  
  • If you choose to add maple syrup on top, refrigerate frosting for one hour. Frost cupcakes, but make an indentation on top of each one.  Pour a small amount of maple syrup to fill indentation.  

OK, I love the taste of maple, but the real affeciandos of this recipe not only frost the cupcakers, but then pour maple syrup in a little indentation on top of the frosting! For me, that’s sugar overload, but, hey, feel free to try it!

I hope you and your family will enjoy this wonderful, homey recipe inspired by the Sugarhouses of Vermont. I know that I will definitely make these again! (Darn, I wish I had bought more maple syrup!)

Until next week, wishing you and your family all of God’s blessings, good health and happy eating!

Smiles, Maria