Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Candied Sweet Potatoes & My First Cooking Class


Thanksgiving is almost here!  9 more days to be exact ;)  I can't believe it's already around the corner.  It seems like just yesterday I was posting about Scarecrow Cupcakes and getting ready for Halloween!

To celebrate Thanksgiving, I thought it would be a fun idea to round up some friends and teach them how to make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner....turkey and all.  I have always wanted to conduct a cooking class and this past weekend, I did just that :)  Most of the women I know are Military Wives, so some of them were not only going to be away from home for the holidays, but also didn't even know where to begin when it came to cooking a turkey.  It was also my third time cooking a turkey that day, so not only were they learning, I was still learning as well :)

One of the dishes I taught them how to make was Candied Sweet Potatoes (or yams as some would say).  This dish is a tradition in my household every year, so I wanted to teach them how to make it.  I always make this recipe with canned potatoes but for this class, I decided to make it with fresh sweet potatoes. 

I am so glad I did!  They came out super yummy and so full of flavor!  And you can definitely tell there is a difference between canned and fresh.  I skinned, boiled, and then baked them for the class.  But this resulted in a mushy-like consistency.  So the next day, I made the dish again.  This time, I skinned, chopped, and then baked them....completely skipping the boiling step.  I have to say that the second time around was better ;)  No matter how you choose to make them (boiled, steamed, or baked raw) I am sure they will taste great!

Candied Sweet Potatoes (Yams)

(serves 4-6)

Ingredients:
4 or 5 fresh sweet potatoes, skinned and chopped (or 4 cups canned sweet potatoes/yams)
Half a stick of butter, chopped
2/4 cups of sugar
Ground Cinnamon
Half a bag of mini-marshmallows

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Mix the sugar with the chopped sweet potatoes and place in a greased casserole dish.  Take the chopped butter and place the pieces all around the casserole.  Take your ground cinnamon and sprinkle as much as you want (I usually just eyeball it). 

3.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Take the dish out of the oven and sprinkle the mini-marshmallows on top.  Bake the dish again and take it out when the marshmallows start to brown. 

Serve with the rest of the Thanksgiving dinner ;)
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Here are pictures from the class. 
We all had lots of fun and a plan to do a Christmas themed one is in the works soon ;)

The favors that I made for everyone.....complete with cooking utensils, Thanksgiving themed cookie cutters, fall/Thanksgiving recipe cards, and a pumpkin shaped pot scrubber ;)


The table all done up.  Each participant received a folder full of the recipes that I taught that day, plus a 3 page Thanksgiving Dinner Planner, and 2 cute little cookbooks. 


The lovely ladies...all aproned up and ready to learn how to cook a turkey ;)


That is me, behind the counter, preparing the butter for the turkey....


Brushing our "Tom" the turkey with butter (yes, we decided to name the turkey).....


The turkey, all finished........and ready to eat.


I didn't let the girls go home without making anything that day ;)  I had them make their own pecan pies to bring home to their hubby's ;)  Below are the ingredients for them.....


Their wonderful pecan pies waiting to be baked in the oven......


All in all...it was a wonderful afternoon :)  I can't wait to do it again for Christmas ;)

6 thoughtful comments around the table:

  1. Looks like yall had fun and that sweet potato casserole is one we do every year and it is SOOOOOOOOOOO yummy!

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  2. Libby you are just sweet as that pie on the counter. That is so great of you to do that for all the wives. Everyone just needs a little help and inspiration. That what being a military wife is all about, being there for each other. High five to you my friend. Everything looks so good.

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  3. Libby - what a phenomenal idea! I'm the wife of a retired military guy and would have SO enjoyed doing something like this while we were gone from our family. I'm blessed to tears and know those ladies will forever remember your fun day with them in the kitchen. Blessings!

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  4. how fun! the class looks like a blast, and those are some crazy yummy looking sweet potatoes.

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  5. Thank you everyone :) We all had an awesome time that afternoon! It was fun getting together in the kitchen and talking turkey with them :) We're hoping to do it again for Christmas ;)

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  6. This is such a great idea! I have often wanted to do a cooking class, but have never done it. Taking one OR teaching one, either would be fun. Love the little gifts you put together for your students. I'll bet they just loved them. What a thoughtful touch.

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