Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanksgiving Prep I: Sweet Potato Crunch

By default, I'm in charge of bringing the "Orange" food to the Thanksgiving table. One dish is a tradition and is required (and I'm told that my safety is not guaranteed if I don't); the other one is one I'm going to adapt from one of my favorite dishes. First, today, I will give you the tried and true recipe. It was my grandmother's. It's actually quite simple and not exactly unique to the Creole kitchen, but as I've gone beyond the Mason Dixon line, I've passed it along to people who just love it. I really don't know why people put up with gross sweet potato recipes.

Here it is:

Sweet Potato Crunch

(in memory of Virginia Eliser)

3 cups peeled, cooked, mashed sweet potatoes or yams
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup milk (or buttermilk for a slightly different flavor)
1/2 tsp vanilla

1-1/2 cups brown sugar
2/3 cups flour
2 cups pecans, finely chopped
1/2 stick butter, melted

Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, milk, and vanilla in a mixer and mix until smooth. Pour into 9"x13" greased casserole. Combine ingredients for topping and spread over potato batter. Bake in an oven preheated at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until topping has set. Serves 20.

What I really love about this recipe is that is states that it "serves 20" indicative of how big our portions have gotten over the years.

I rarely have leftovers.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nine Years Married

Let's face it, I was no blushing bride.

David and I were married at a beautiful old mansion in San Francisco on November 18, 2000. On that night, we felt so much love, it would make your average cynic sick to death. I was 35; nearly 36. Laid off from a dot com ad agency job.

I cradle-snatched David. He was just over 30. What a baby!

We went into this marriage with eyes wide open. We were beyond fairy tale notions and from the get go, we fostered an equal partnership. This was further solidified when I was laid off one week before the wedding. I had these firm ideas about keeping our money separate, about two careers. Losing my job right before we made our public vows, seems to pull us in together, as one.

And you know what? It worked. We really are a team. Nine years later, I still love my man and can't imagine life without us together, a solid corporation with our two little underlings clammoring for attention.

It's good. I'm happy to be here nine years later with this walk down the aisle being the smartest thing I ever did!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Lifestyle Changing

After a year in the doldrums, I think I am officially in the process of making some significant lifestyle changes. Some of the lifestyle changes have been foisted upon me these lovely times we live in: I've been pretty much unemployed with the occasional freelance project since may and other situations in our lives have me back to living as well as we can somewhat impoverishly. Some, I have to implement myself. The crazy circumstances we found ourselves in, caused me to send any kind of healthy living into the toilet. This means that my high hopes of losing weight this year, pretty much did not materialize. I didn't focus on it for anything after May. Until then, I had actually dropped 10 pounds.

It took awhile for us to figure out the shift in our economic lives. But, we've managed to stay afloat and at the 11th hour, it turned out I could get unemployment. That was nothing short of a miracle. But, now, we can make it. Miles is socked away at kindergarten half days and Audrey gets to attend her preschool once a week in exchange for odd jobs that I do for them. I also found a pretty cool mommy and me class in the 'hood where we sing songs, play, do crafts, and learn things. I like it.

I have hit a nice rhythm with domestic life. I clean the house, do the laundry, run the errands, prepare the healthy mom dinners. It's not so bad. I like it, even. I don't really WANT to work right now unless it's on my own terms. This last part is a bit difficult. I've had a few interviews but nothing has happened yet. I am getting freelance projects as it seems the economy improves. Truthfully, freelancing is the best thing for me right now. We'll see.

I got things in order enough, I was finally able to focus on what I always put last on the priority list: myself. I just can't ignore the weight I've gained and the utterly crappy way I feel toting this excess baggage around. This propelled me to begin going to the gym again and to walk sheepishly back to my Weight Watchers meeting.


As usual, I wasn't able to lose all my weight in one week. Damn that! But, I have to say, I'm slowly doing the things I'm supposed to be doing. Cutting out the stuff, watching portions, exercising. And, it's great. I love it. My hope is to cross this god-awful birthday I have coming at the end of January 20 pounds lighter than I was on October 27. We'll see. In the meantime, I'm finding some rather tasty healthy recipes. Who knew cauliflower with cumin and lemon zest roasted in the oven would be so delish.

It is.