Leftovers? What Leftovers?

Sweet Potato Bread- mashed sweet potatoes, wonderful warm spices, lots of flavor

My household is, in very many ways, a fairly typical American household. In most respects, I’m fine with that; proud of it as a matter of fact. One way I’m not so thrilled however is in the amount of food we tend to waste. Fruits and veggies that go bad before we get to them, meat that gets freezer burned, leftovers that everyone gets sick of and end up getting tossed. It annoys the poop out of me. Which is why, after a day like Thanksgiving, when there are enough leftovers in most families to feed a small country, I like to try to do something with what I can. Something other than serving Russ and the boys turkey and the fixings for yet. One.More.Meal.

Being me however, what really happens is that they get turkey and all the fixings for just one. more. meal. And they cry and gnash their teeth and threaten to move into the neighbors house (and if you’ve seen me talk about my psychotic neighbor, you know the desperation THAT entails). So I placate them. I take the good stuff and recycle it into…well… other good stuff.

There’s a lot you can do with leftover cranberry sauce. A lot you can do with leftover sweet potato casserole. Yep, even with the kind that has 36 cups of brown sugar in it, as well as 8 sticks of butter and 5 bags of mini marshmallows. Trust me. Being the mom of six kids, with the typical “omg, our monthly bills cost HOW much?!” life, I’ve learned to create some yummy stuff out of other stuff that was also yummy once upon a time but that now just causes people to cry when they see it. Mind you, we are also a “normal” American family in that we still spend too much on groceries and still waste too much, but I like to delude myself into thinking that I have a handle on it and am getting better at it. Delusion is also an American way of life hehe.

This bread is a good way to get rid of those last few scoops of sweet potatoes. Don’t bother trying to scrape off the marshmallows (or nuts if you use them) or whatever else is in there. Just use it all. You’ll get a nice moist flavorful bread and a “woohoo!” feeling when you know that you don’t have to nuke the stuff for yet another meal.

Sweet Potato Bread

A nice golden loaf of bread flecked with bits of sweet potato. This will fill your home with the smells of the holiday season as it bakes. Moist and tender, this is great spread with butter or some pumpkin butter if you have it.

  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups (give or take a 1/2 cup or so. I usually go over and it’s fine) mashed sweet potatoes or leftover sweet potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour (I use Bakers Joy) a large 9 (or even a 10 if you have it) inch bread pan and about 3 muffin cups. Yes, 3… this makes too much batter for one loaf, not enough for 2 8 inch loaves so I usually get the 9 inch loaf and a few muffins from it. The muffins become mine because I’m the cook… I think of it as a mom tax 😀
  3. In a large bowl, combine the oil, sugars,  eggs, vanilla extract and sweet potatoes. Mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Dump them into the large bowl and using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, combine just until mixed. Do NOT over beat.
  5. Pour/spoon into the loaf pan and muffin cups.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with no crumbs on it. This will take about 20 minutes for the muffins and about 65 to 75 minutes for the loaf.
  7. Let cool in the pan for ten minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Try not to cut this until it is completely cool, cause it can be a bit gummy when warm due to the sweet potatoes. When cool however, it is just moist and tender.

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Tradition! Tradition! (Insert “Tevya” from “Fiddler On The Roof” voice Here)

Chocolate Orange Muffins


Back when my older kids were little, I started a tradition that still goes on today. It will probably continue when I am too old to see the stove and burn everything and there is a more than even chance that it will continue after my death. No, not because they will take over the duties but because they will dig me up, put a wooden spoon in my hand and set me in front of the stove. What is said tradition? Making so many darn Christmas cookies that we all start to gag at the thought of eating yet one more cookie. I make the same 7 or  15 8 kinds each year then add about 7 or 15 8 new ones. Add to this an assortment of home made candies, scones, muffins and such and we spend the holidays in a haze of sugar induced illness. But it’s so darn fun!! Or something. It gives me an excuse to get out my fat girl pants and loose shirts cause Lord knows nothing else will fit anyway.

So I have started looking for some new recipes for all of the above things. I have a few boards up on Pinterest with a vast assortment of things to make for the Christmas season. Were I to actually make all of the things I have pinned, every person in my family would weigh about 600 pounds. But, moving on… or back… or sideways, not sure which… one of the recipes I found was one for Chocolate Orange Muffins because something about the combo of chocolate and orange just strikes me as Christmasy. The one I found came from food.com  but I have changed it up quite a bit. As I’ve mentioned before, I am genetically incapable of making a recipe the way it’s written. This could be why I mess up boxed mac and cheese and hamburger helper. I always want to “fix” them. But this recipe got “fixed” quite nicely if I do say so myself. They may just be on the Christmas buffet. Well, not this batch… that would be rather disgusting. 😛

These are quite good. Moist with a nice orange flavor that is complemented by soft gooey bits of chocolate. The ganache makes these almost cupcake like but yet they aren’t too sweet for breakfast or to have with a cup of coffee.

Chocolate Orange Muffins With A Chocolate Orange Ganache Drizzle

  • Zest from one large orange (about 2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • 10 ounce bag dark chocolate chips, 1/3 cup reserved
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract (or about 4 drops of orange oil)
  • 1/2 cup good quality orange marmalade
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional but it goes well with both the orange and the chocolate)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream (for the ganache and the amount can vary, thus the range)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line 16 muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and the sugar
  4. Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract and orange extract/oil. Add the sour cream & orange juice. Mix well.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and baking soda
  6. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula,  gently mix the flour mixture into the wet ones. Do NOT overbeat. Then fold in the chocolate, holding back that third cup. You’ll use that for the ganache.
  7. Spoon the muffin batter into the lined cups, getting each one almost full. Make a little dent in the top of each and spoon a bit of the orange marmalade on each muffin.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and the top no longer looks “wet”.
  9. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
  10. To make the ganache- in a small microwave safe bowl, mix together the reserved chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of the cream. Heat on 70% power for 45 seconds, then stir well. If it looks rather curdled and not shiny and smooth, ad more cream, a LITTLE bit at a time. It should get smooth and satiny looking. If it’s still too thick to drizzle though, continue adding cream a bit at a time until it’s thin enough to drizzle.
  11. Drizzle the ganache over the cooled muffins. Inhale one…or six. I won’t tell.


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