|Merry Christmas from Belgium|
We have had our tree for a couple of weeks now. Last weekend, I managed to put on the lights but we were saving the actual tree decorating until a later date. A very good friend of ours, who lives near Antwerp, came down for the weekend and we wanted to show her some American Christmas traditions. Her one request…that we make a traditional Thanksgiving meal. So, we planned a bit of Thanksgiving and a bit of Christmas. Shortly after her arrival, we introduced her to Egg Nog and began the tree decorating party. While decorated trees are also part of the Belgian custom, it was still fun to share this experience with her. As you can tell, Dear Daughter also had a good time. Yes, it is a small tree but it is quite lovely.
Throughout the course of the evening, we learned that our traditional Thanksgiving meal is not so different than what our friend would have each Christmas. In her family, the turkey was stuffed. There were mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. But she was quite excited by the Sweet Potato Casserole. I have to admit, it was quite tasty. I also had to admit to her that it was the first one I had ever made. While Dear Husband loves sweet potatoes, Dear Daughter and I are not big fans. However, this dish was tasty enough to change my mind.
Now, it is Christmas Eve. The weather is incredibly blustery and the wind woke us up at various times last night. It is nearly 9am and the sky is still dark and grey. It feels that it should be evening instead of the beginning of the day. It does make sleeping late luxurious…and easy. There are no strong sunbeams shining through the windows. Dear Daughter is still asleep - enjoying a few days of nothing-ness. I asked her yesterday if she was bored. "Absolutely not!" She realizes that she will only have a few days of this and really, we all need a bit of downtime, right?
Last Saturday morning, Dear Husband and I were lounging lazily in bed trying to decide when to start the day. It was nearly 8am and still very dark outside. Suddenly, the doorbell rang and I popped quickly out of bed and ran downstairs. I threw a jacket over my pajamas and went out to meet the lumber guy who was delivering a load of firewood. He must have thought we were nuts…and quite possibly, very lazy. He dumped the large load in the driveway, collected his money and wished us a "bon weekend." It took Dear Husband nearly two hours to haul and stack the wood. Given the current weather, it sure is nice having a big load of firewood.
So more rambling... I received an email from Dear Daughter's best friend last night inviting herself over for a sleepover. She gave me the specific date as she said that was the only time she was available. I chuckled a bit when I read the message as I have not received one like that before. But unfortunately, her only available date doesn't work for our schedules so I quickly sent her off an email letting her know that we would have her over in January.
Anyway….we wish you all the best this holiday season. Have a wonderful 2014!
Best Ever Sweet Potato Casserole
(found somewhere on the Internet and tweaked)
Sweet Potato Casserole
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
(I ran out of cinnamon so I substituted 3/4tsp of pumpkin pie spice instead of the cinnamon and nutmeg and it worked out very well.)
Mix all of the ingredients and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
At this point, you can refrigerate until needed. I made mine the night before and warmed it up before serving.
However, what makes this the Best Ever is the topping. Crush 1 cup of cornflakes and mix with 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup light brown sugar and 1/4 cup melted butter. Cover the casserole with the topping and bake at 375 for 5-10 minutes.