When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Easter weekend recipes: Take a peep!


After a morning of laughter between the boys and I over some silly jokes and tricks celebrating the first day of April, I've turned my thoughts to Easter, and to what delicious foods we might enjoy together over the upcoming holiday weekend. The nice part about Easter being so late this year is that it might actually feel like spring here by then. I'm very happy about the likelihood of being able to hide eggs in the grass instead of the snow, as we've had to do some Easter weekends past. I'm also looking forward to an Easter holiday menu that highlights some of our favourite spring flavours!

Kelly over at The Spunky Coconut will be posting an exciting roundup of gluten-free Easter recipes on her site the week before the holiday arrives, and she has asked her readers to share their favourites for this purpose. I automatically thought of one of our family's best-loved holiday dishes: the sweet potato casserole. Some of you may remember me posting this recipe back at Thanksgiving, but I think it's worth repeating here now so it can be shared with others. The casserole contains one of nature's best sweet treats of springtime (maple syrup!) and it makes a lovely accompaniment to roast turkey or ham.


Sweet Potato Casserole

For years, my mom has been practically world famous for an amazing sweet potato casserole that she makes for most holiday dinners. Even the pickiest child at the table (usually one of my boys!) gobbles up his or her orange veggies when they are prepared this way. Because some of our family members need to avoid gluten, dairy, eggs, and/or cane sugar, I have modified the original recipe quite a bit, but I am happy to report that my version is still a favourite with old and young alike.

For the casserole:

3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Stir these four ingredients together until well combined and place in a casserole dish that has been lightly greased with canola oil.

For the topping:

1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice

In a small bowl, toss pecans with spices and then sprinkle them evenly on top of the sweet potato mixture. Bake sweet potato casserole in a 350 F oven for 30 minutes.


Note: You will want to double the recipe if you're having a large Easter gathering.


This dish can be made ahead and then reheated in time for Easter dinner, thus saving you from having too many things to do on the day of your big meal. (Warning: You may have to restrain yourself if you hope to have any sweet potato leftovers for the day after Easter!)

Over the next few weeks, I'll post other recipes that you might enjoy for your Easter weekend celebrations. If you're looking for something new to try, be sure to check out Kelly's roundup at The Spunky Coconut as Easter approaches -- she's certain to have an inspiring collection of dishes and desserts!

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