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Sweet Potatoes with a Butter Pecan Crust

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Traditionally, my menu for Thanksgiving gets set this week. Here’s a little bit of the history of Thanksgiving in my family.

I always tell people it was my mom who taught me not to be intimidated by any holiday meal or the size of the crowd. As I analyze it, I realize my mom boiled Thanksgiving down to a minimalistic meal that anyone could enjoy. Our family was always taking in the “orphans” – people who didn’t have anywhere to go on Thanksgiving. That meant we might have a parish priest, or we might have a roommate from college, or even a neighbor. All were welcome at our table. Add seven kids to that, maybe a boyfriend or girlfriend or two and we had a crowd.

My mother always ordered a fresh turkey straight from the farm. It was huge every year, 20 pounds-plus. To get a 20-pound turkey in a regular oven in the 60s, you had to take out the bottom rack, and really pray that it would squish in. You couldn’t have it touching the top element, so it was touch-and-go sometimes.

The turkey contained homemade stuffing that my mother got up really early to mix up. The turkey took all day to roast. The rest of the things on the menu repeated every year with little or no change. Around the turkey my mother would manage to crowd in some sweet potatoes, some acorn squash cut in half and filled with a butter pat that would melt into goodness. We might have some baked potatoes or more likely those would be cooked on the stove and mashed. Beyond what was in the oven, we always had a fruit plate, but nothing fancy. We kids wanted un-fancy anyway. We delighted in the canned pear halves, the canned peach halves, the maraschino cherries, and more. Of course, we had gravy. My job as I got tall enough to reach the stove was to stir it. Our rolls and pumpkin pies came from the bakery. Anything else we had was probably made by me as I got older. I think I made a Waldorf salad once. I can’t remember much more. We all enjoyed our meal and the turkey provided enough extra to have a meal of leftovers. I never felt deprived.

This leads me to the story of my Thanksgiving menu. I have made over 30 years of Thanksgiving menus and no two menus look alike...



Sweet Potatoes with a Butter Pecan Crust

If your family is open to going beyond that marshmallow sweet potato concoction this will surely be a HIT!

Start this dish the day before to lower the glycemic uptake. If you do, it won’t jack up your blood sugar so much and you’ll be able to have seconds without fear! You'll lower the glycemic index from the resistant starches if you cool the potatoes completely in the fridge and then finalize the dish before baking.

Make this for holidays or anytime!


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