Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. Albert Camus
It has been a rough couple of weeks at Casa del KatKnits – stress has been on overdrive in all aspects of my life.
However, then there is Sherman. Who greets me each day as if it is the best moment of his life and he has not seen me for ages! Which is hilarious, because he sleeps in the bedroom with us! Yet, each morning it is the same. This festival of good morning wiggles, snuggles, and puppy kisses.
He is the one constant in my day – he sleeps under my feet when I am at my desk.
If I am knitting, he is next to me.
When I cook dinner, he is laying on the kitchen rug – vigilantly watching for any morsels that might drop!
In short, he is my constant companion and simply, the best thing ever! He even is there when I am cleaning the bathroom, as the photo above shares.
And, really – that friend that stays with you when you are doing that, is really the best friend of all!
This weeks Thing Write Thursday has us all thinking about our favorite Thanksgiving recipe.
Now, for me the Thanksgiving meal at my Nana’s house was the Christmas meal as well as the Easter meal. I loved it as a child, that continuity and comfort of those deliciously familiar foods lovingly made from scratch by my Nana. The one exception were the pies (yes plural – pumpkin, apple, and lemon meringue) that my Aunt Arlene made…she is quite simply the best pie maker I have ever known.
From the ham and turkey (yes, both!) to the insanely good mashed potatoes, to the stuffing, to the gravy – it was a feast fit for kings! And it was always at my Nana’s house – where there were two eating areas. The eat-in kitchen where the grand-kids and the aunts all sat and the living room where the uncles all watched football on TV. (Please note, my Nana never sat down to eat, until her daughters would make her! It became a great game – a battle of wills, as it were. However, my Nana explained to me that tasting all day did not leave much room for eating!)
There was much laughter, so much good cheer, and so much love. They are the fondest memories I have of my childhood.
And then you grow up, get married and holidays become more of a challenge. You have new families to be part of with new family traditions. It can feel not very holiday-like when you are missing all those familiar things.
There is one dish my Nana made that I carried with me – sweet potato casserole. The taste of those oven roasted sweet potatoes mashed with lots of butter, some brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg – baked until bubbly perfection and then topped with a billion marshmallows to brown quickly under the broiler. It was the most incredibly concoction ever and just filled me with my Nana’s love and care.
As a child, I loved the sweetness all by itself – it was the epitome of the perfect child’s dish, and as I grew into adulthood; I appreciated the sweet – savory combination of stuffing and sweet potatoes or sweet potatoes and gravy. However, anyway you have it is is simply delicious!
This dish is the one dish that ties me to my childhood and the memories I have of this dish are perhaps some of the oldest memories I have.
Nana’s Sweet Potato Casserole:
- 6-7 large sweet potatoes – washed and scrubbed
- 2-3 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup to 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. nutmeg (I use freshly grated)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ to ¾ cup whipping cream
- 1 bag of miniature marshmallows (or 1 bag of large marshmallows – your choice)
Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
Place the sweet potatoes on a foil lined baking sheet and put in the oven. Bake until soft – about an hour to an hour and a half depending on the size of your potatoes. You want them very soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before removing the skins.
Place skinned potatoes in a mixing bowl and begin adding butter. Mix on a medium-low speed, incorporating more butter. The goal here is a very buttery mixture – you might need 2 sticks – you might need 2 and a half sticks – you might need all three sticks, it really depends on the size of your potatoes.
Add in the brown sugar and spices and mix well.
Add in the egg and mix well until it is all incorporated into the potatoes.
Add in the cream in ¼ cup intervals – again, the larger your potatoes, the more cream you will need. I generally add a half a cup, but if all my potatoes were giant – I would add more cream in. Mix well to combine.
Spoon mixture into a baking dish. (Now is the best part – you can make this the day before. Just cover it and put it in the refrigerator. Be sure to bring it to room temperature before you bake it in the oven, otherwise the cooking time will be much longer)
Bake in the oven until the mixture is bubbly – and you can bake it at whatever temperature you are baking everything else at on Thanksgiving.
When it is done, remove from oven – cover top with marshmallows – and I mean cover. Really, be generous! More is always better!
Place under the broiler to toast them. Please note, you can do this while your turkey is resting and you are making gravy. You just want them under the broiler long enough to brown and melt into the top!
My family and I hope that this recipe brings you as much joy as it has for us over the years.
The first really hard frosts happened here over the weekend, which was the abrupt end to all that was green in the yard.
Other than that, it was a non-weekend – you know, the kind that was over before it began.
There was some football, but it was not great football – Michigan lost.
Up next were my gauge issues that hounded me Saturday and Sunday – talk about fun times at Casa del KatKnits!
But, my inquiring mind wants to know — do you knit a gauge swatch when knitting mitts?
Yeah, me either.
Which led to frogging my Squad Mitt – not once, but four times thus far.
Of course, not having a 2.75mm needle is perhaps part of my problem. I have a 3mm or a 2.5 mm, but no 2.75mm needles could be found in my house! 3mm – WAY too big (even knitting the small mitt!), 2.5 – way too small (knitting the small mitt) and 2.5 mm in the larger mitt – also too big! Gah!
Okay, next step – remove stitches. 2.5mm + 44 stitches and I am hoping this will be the right combination. Yeah. It is a fingerless mitt, for heaven’s sake! But, it felt at times like rocket science! Way beyond my abilities however, I knit on in hope!
I did get to Indie Knit and Spin on Saturday – and I got a skein of Vesper Sock Yarn! (And a mitten kit!) Perhaps I need to just put the mitts down and give them a bit of a time out and knit some socks! These colors sure make me happy!
And, here it is Monday, and I am hoping the weekend was not a preview of what the week is to be… (at least the ripping out and redoing portion – if it wants to be over and done with before I know it, that is fine by me!)
How was your weekend?
This has been a very rough week here at Casa del KatKnits. Really, it feels like the longest week ever, but perhaps that is just the way it is in particularly rough weeks.
However, I am going to try to focus on other things – anything other than the doom and gloom that feels like it is smothering me – I think we could all use more wool. Lots of it! Wool, and more wool! And, maybe even more wool!
To begin with, I think that Squad Mitts, the handspun version will be cast on this weekend. I am not sure how I will use the collection of yarns above, but I might add in some of these little skeins from Koigu and Miss Babs.
I need some instant gratification knitting to instantly gratify my spirit!
And, there will be links – it is Friday after all!
How about Knitting for Peace? I am so in – who will join me? This could be instant gratification knitting project #2 and we have time to seek out some yarn.
There were these beauties this week on Ravelry:
- Twisted Trails
- Fargo Pullover
- Purbeck Deux
- Gamaldags (I might have lopapeysas on the brain!)
- Tesselation Game (an Instagram KAL)
And, since it is that season – how about some International (??) Gift knitting ideas:
- Julros (Helleborus)
- Hay Bay Mittens
- Pierogi Slipper Socks
- Pay it forward Mittens (part of #knitterspayitforward on Instagram)
- Hansdatter Slippers (I have the yarn for these babies in my stash and if ever there was a sign to cast on asap – that is it!! Perhaps instant gratification project #3…)
And, finally – Charity Knitting. Yes, really – a percentage of the proceeds are being donated to Women of Tomorrow. You can donate the hat to a charity of your choice and increase your giving!! We all need something to feel good about this week, don’t we?
That is all I have for today, but it’s November and I will be back tomorrow! I hope your Friday is just what you need to end this week! Hug each other – the world could use more hugs right now.