Tag Archives: maple syrup

Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots

I’ve never been very crazy about raw carrots. But I do like them cooked or roasted. So when I found this recipe for Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots in my review copy of No Excuses Detox, I knew I wanted to make them! As the subtitle says, this book includes 100 recipes to help you eat healthy every day.

Written by Megan Gilmore, No Excuses Detox features recipes that are quick and easy, affordable, and yummy–not the kind of recipes you’d expect to find in a “detox” cookbook. In fact, I was surprised that there are recipes for lots of comfort food-type foods with a healthy twist–like Butternut Mac n’ Cheese, Skillet Breakfast Hash, Speedy Black Bean Burgers, and even Carrot Cake Cupcakes. Lots of great recipes to choose from! But the Cinnamon-Glazed Carrots recipe was calling my name and I had just bought some organic rainbow carrots at Whole Foods, so it was the perfect time for me to try this out.

I used large carrots when I made this, but you can slice your carrots or use baby carrots and if you do, your cooking time will only be about 10 minutes. Since I used large carrots I had to cook mine a little longer. So here’s the recipe–it’s a great way to eat your carrots!

CINNAMON-GLAZED CARROTS from No Excuses Detox

The addition of cinnamon and naturally sweet maple syrup makes these carrots taste like dessert, plus they can be ready in just 15 minutes!–Megan Gilmore

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 pound baby carrots, sliced carrot coins, or halved large carrots
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

In a Dutch oven, melt the coconut oil over medium heat and saute the carrots for 2 minutes. Add the water, which should start bubbling right away, and lower the heat to a simmer. Partially cover the pot and cook the carrots for about 10 minutes, until fork-tender (note: since I used larger carrots, my cooking time was more like 15 to 18 minutes). Check the pot periodically to make sure the water doesn’t completely evaporate so the carrots don’t burn.

Once the carrots are tender, raise the heat to cook off any excess water, then stir in the maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt (adjust seasonings to taste). Serve warm. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

There are other recipes I want to try in this book. It’s always nice when you can make great-tasting food that’s good for you, too. Do you have some favorite healthy recipes of your own?

Sharing this at Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday, Full Plate Thursday.

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Shirley’s Apple Cake

Shirleys Apple Cake@NancyC

Back in October, we had a potluck at work and one of the designers, Brady, brought this wonderful apple cake that everyone loved! He said it was his grandma’s recipe. And he had baked the cake himself! It really was one of the favorite things at that potluck and everyone wanted the recipe, of course. I asked Brady if I could share the recipe here, so you have Brady and his grandma Shirley to thank for this! 🙂

I followed the cake recipe just like Brady had made it, except for using light olive oil instead of vegetable oil. I also improvised on the icing a little and used light cream (Half & Half) instead of milk and pure maple syrup instead of maple flavoring. It’s a moist, dense cake filled with lots of fresh apple chunks and the creamy maple glaze tastes great with all this apple flavor!

SHIRLEY’S APPLE CAKE from Shirley E.

Makes one 10″ bundt cake

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I used light olive oil but you could also use canola oil)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups diced apples (peel before you dice)
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 10″ bundt pan; set aside.

In large bowl, mix together oil and sugar until combined, then mix in eggs and vanilla.

Add in the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Mix until everything is combined. The batter will be very thick.

Fold in diced apples and coarsely chopped walnuts (now the batter will be really thick! 🙂 ) Spoon batter into greased and floured bundt pan.

Bake for one hour, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove from pan to a serving plate (invert pan onto plate) and cool completely. Top cake with Creamy Maple Icing.

Creamy Maple Icing:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons  plus 1 teaspoon Half & Half (light cream)
  • 3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

Blend ingredients together until smooth (this makes a thick, creamy icing). Spoon and drizzle over completely cooled cake.

This cake is very dense and rich. It’s a great dessert for fall and winter, or for anytime of the year if you love apple-flavored treats! Do you have a favorite apple dessert you make often?

Linked to Fiesta Friday. Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Wow Me Wednesday, Whimsy WednesdayCreate it Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things.

Homemade Applesauce @ NancyC

Homemade Applesauce (Sweetened with Honey or Maple Syrup)

Homemade Applesauce @ NancyC

I’ve had homemade applesauce before, but this is the first time I’ve made my own. And let me tell you, it’s so much better than store-bought! It’s not as convenient as buying it, but I think it’s worth the extra effort to make homemade applesauce if you have the time. It’s really easy to make your own–the most time-consuming part is peeling the apples. After that, it’s just a matter of mixing the ingredients in a saucepan and letting it cook for 25 minutes until the apples are soft. If you like chunky applesauce like me, you can just use a potato masher to mash those apples into applesauce. If you like your applesauce smooth, you can puree the cooled apple chunks in a blender (you may have to do that in several batches).

I like sweetening my applesauce with honey or maple syrup. If you prefer using brown sugar, you can use that instead. The cinnamon and nutmeg also give this applesauce a great flavor.

HOMEMADE APPLESAUCE (Sweetened with Honey or Maple Syrup) by NancyC

Makes about 4 servings

  • 8 cups (3 pounds) apples, peeled, cored, and chopped or sliced (this would be about 8-9 medium-size apples; use your favorite variety)
  • 1/2 cup apple juice or cider
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup (or substitute 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a medium-size saucepan, combine apples, juice or cider, honey or maple syrup, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir ingredients together, then cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes, until apples are soft. Let apples cool, then mash them with a potato masher. Or you can puree them in a blender until smooth. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

You can serve this applesauce chilled as a side dish or snack. Or for dessert, heat it and use as a topping over ice cream. You can also serve it warm or cool at breakfast as a topping for pancakes, a bowl of oatmeal, or a cup of plain or vanilla yogurt.

Have you made homemade applesauce before?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Sunday Features, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, Inspire Me Monday, Making Memories Monday, Show and Share, Wonderful Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Wake Up Wednesday, Create It Thursday, Share Your Style, Full Plate Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Fabulous Foodie Friday, Feathered Nest Friday.

Maple Cinnamon Raisin Granola

Maple Cinnamon Raisin Granola @ NancyC

Homemade granola is so good–I started making it a few years ago and I guess you could say I’m hooked on homemade granola! I’ve made several granola recipes, including Vanilla Almond Granola, Pumpkin Spice Granola, and Dark Chocolate Granola Bars. I like experimenting with different variations and flavors, and I decided to try a version with some fall-inspired flavors like maple syrup, cinnamon, and raisins. There’s nothing fancy about this granola, but it has that great classic cinnamon-raisin goodness. And the maple syrup makes a wonderful natural sweetener. There’s no sugar in this, just the sweetness of the maple syrup. Which is great if you’re trying to cut back on sugar. And even if you’re not, it’s still a really good granola!

MAPLE CINNAMON RAISIN GRANOLA by NancyC

Makes about 9 cups

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (don’t use quick oats)
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 cup sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup raw shelled sunflower kernels (if you use roasted and salted kernels, add them to the mixture after baking)
  • 1/2 cup raw pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds–if you use roasted and salted pepitas, add them to the mixture after baking)
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons non-GMO canola oil or light olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a 10 x 15″ or 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

In a small bowl, blend the maple syrup, oil, salt, and ground cinnamon; set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the oats, walnuts, pecans, coconut, sunflower kernels, pepitas, and wheat germ (you’ll be adding the raisins after the granola is done baking). Mix in the maple syrup, oil, salt, and cinnamon mixture and toss again, combining and coating all ingredients well.

Spread this mixture on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 325˚F for 20 minutes; remove pan from oven to stir and toss the mixture for even baking. Return to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until mixture is golden.

Remove from oven and add the raisins to the mixture on the pan; toss to combine. Let mixture cool completely on pan, then store in a tightly-sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

This granola is great with milk or sprinkled over vanilla yogurt for breakfast. And it makes a great snack any time of the day. It’s not super-sweet, but everyone who tasted this for me said it was sweet enough for them.

Do you make you own granola and do you have a favorite recipe?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Sunday Features, Simply Sundays, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Wonderful Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday, Whimsy Wednesday, Wow Us Wednesdays, Wake Up Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, Create It Thursday, Inspiration Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Showcase Your Talent Thursday, Share Your Style, Fabulous Foodie Friday, Feathered Nest Friday.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

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After making a few pumpkin recipes that didn’t require much pumpkin, like the Pumpkin Pie Latte and the yummy Pumpkin Pie Magic Bars, I still had some pumpkin to use from the can. So I decided to continue with the Pumpkin theme and try using it in granola! This is a pretty basic recipe as granolas go, with oats, hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), chopped pecans, and dried cranberries. And it’s spiced up cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice. You can also add in other things like coconut flakes or sunflower seeds if you like. The hulled pumpkin seeds I used were already roasted and lightly salted, which worked really well in this granola. If you use raw hulled pumpkin seeds, you may want to add an extra 1/4 teaspoon salt to the recipe.

These dry ingredients are coated with a pumpkin-maple-honey-brown sugar coating. With those yummy fall flavors, it’s a great granola to make this time of year! Note: this is a lightly-sweet granola, so if you like yours really sweet, you may want to add an extra Tablespoon or two of brown sugar.

PUMPKIN SPICE GRANOLA by NancyC

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas–you can use roasted and lightly salted pepitas, but add them to the mixture after it is done baking)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil (or coconut oil, melted)
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a large 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet or two 10 x 15″ rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, mix the oats, pumpkin seeds, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together until combined; set aside.

In medium bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, honey, oil, and brown sugar until smooth and well blended. Pour over dry ingredients in large bowl and mix until everything is moistened and evenly coated.

Spread evenly onto lined baking sheet or sheets and bake at 325˚F 40 minutes total, stirring the granola after 20 minutes for even baking.

Remove from oven and let granola cool on baking sheets for 20 minutes (the granola will get crunchier as it cools). Transfer granola into a large bowl and stir in the dried cranberries.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Serve with yogurt, milk, or eat it plain as a healthy snack!

I really like making pumpkin flavored things this time of year! Have you made any unique pumpkin breakfast dishes this fall?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener, Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy, and Thursday Favorite Things at Katherine’s Corner.

Maple Oat Pecan Muffins

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Breakfast just seems more like breakfast when maple syrup is involved! And as fall approaches, I like to use maple syrup in my recipes. These muffins have pure maple syrup in them and oatmeal is also an ingredient, so I like to think they’re a little healthy, too! 🙂  Chopped pecans also give these muffins a hearty texture and flavor. They’re topped with a very thick maple glaze, but you can leave the glaze off if you want…if you make them without the glaze, I recommend serving them warm with butter! These are just the thing for a fall breakfast or brunch!

MAPLE OAT PECAN MUFFINS by NancyC

Makes 20 muffins

  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup  (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • Maple Syrup Glaze (recipe below)

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper baking cups. In medium bowl, combine oats and milk; let stand for 5 minutes.

In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.

Going back to the medium bowl, stir the maple syrup, melted butter, and egg into the oat-and-milk mixture. Then add all of this mixture to the flour mixture in the large bowl. Stir just until moistened, then fold the chopped pecans into the batter.

Spoon batter into the lined muffin cups, about 3/4 full. Bake for 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean or almost clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from pan onto a wire rack. Either serve muffins warm without adding the glaze, or let them cool completely and then top with the Maple Syrup Glaze.

MAPLE SYRUP GLAZE

  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • pecan halves for garnish (optional)

Mix all ingredients together, blending well. This is a thick glaze–almost a frosting–if you want a thinner glaze, you can add more milk and maple syrup. Use a small spoon to add the glaze over each muffin top, then add a pecan half on top, if desired. Let the glaze set and serve.

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You can serve these muffins with the glaze and a pecan on top, or with just the glaze, or no glaze at all…whatever way you like best!

The pure maple syrup gives these muffins a wonderful flavor and sweetness! Do you use maple syrup as a sweetener in any recipes?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Oatmeal Maple Bread from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day–and a Giveaway!

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You’ve probably heard about the bestselling book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, first published back in 2007. Because of its popularity, authors Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and NewArtisanBreadZoe Francois have completely revised and updated their original book that revolutionized bread-making. Their new book,  The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day was just released on October 22. The publisher, Thomas Dunne Books, sent me a review copy, and I’m happy to say they are providing a copy for me to give away! They will send the giveaway copy directly to the winner, so see the end of the post for details on how to win this book! First, I’ll tell you more about the book and the recipe I made from it.

The New Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day is completely revised and updated with forty new full-color images, one hundred black-and-white how-to photos, an expanded “Tips and Techniques” section, a gluten-free chapter, and more than 30 new recipes for homemade breads and sweets, including…

  • Gluten-free Cheesy Breadsticks, Pizza, Baguette and Sweeet Brioche
  • Beer-Cheese and Crock-Pot Bread
  • Pretzel Buns
  • Apple-Stuffed French Toast
  • Panini

I decided to try the recipe for Oatmeal Maple Bread–that just sounded so good and healthy! I definitely am a novice bread maker, so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I’m happy to say it turned out wonderfully! The bread has a great texture and rises nicely, and pure maple syrup gives it a delicious, slightly sweet taste. This recipe makes 2 loaves. I brought some of the bread in to work for my coworkers to sample and everyone loved it! I hope you get a chance to try the recipe out!

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OATMEAL MAPLE BREAD from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Makes two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2″ loaves

A note from the book: This high-fiber loaf is lightly sweetened with maple syrup and tastes great cut into thick slices and then slathered with butter (and marmalade)…. It also makes a great sandwich with smoked turkey and cheese.

  • 2 3/4 cups (625 grams) lukewarm water
  • 1 Tablespoon (10 grams) Granulated yeast
  • 1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons (17 to 25 grams) Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup, plus 1 Tablespoon (170 grams) Pure Maple Syrup (the 1 Tablespoon is for brushing on top of the loaf right before baking)
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) oil, plus more for greasing the loaf pans (I used olive oil)
  • 3/4 cup (55 grams) Wheat bran
  • 1 1/2 cups (140 grams) Old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup (130 grams) Whole wheat flour or White Whole wheat flour (I used White whole wheat)
  • 4 cups (570 grams) All-purpose flour (I used unbleached all-purpose flour)
  1. Mixing and storing the dough: Mix the yeast and salt with the water, the 3/4 cup maple syrup, and the oil in a 6-quart bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
  2. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). If you’re not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
  3. Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
  4. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate the container of dough and use over the next 7 days.
  5. On baking day, grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch nonstick loaf pans. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and divide dough in half. Dust each dough half with more flour and quickly shape each of them, one at a time, into a ball by stretching the surface of each piece of dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
  6. Elongate each ball of dough to form an oval loaf and place into the prepared pans. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 90 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. A baking stone is not required, and omitting it shortens the preheat.
  8. Using a pastry brush, brush the top crusts with the remaining 1 Tablespoon maple syrup (use 1/2 Tablespoon on the top of each loaf).
  9. Place the loaves on a rack near the center of the oven. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until browned and firm (my baking time was 50 minutes). Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in resting and baking time.
  10. Remove from the pans and allow to cool on a rack before slicing and eating.

I let my loaves cool before slicing one of them and put the other in the freezer for later. But you may not be able to resist eating this bread warm right out of the oven! 🙂

9781250018281GIVEAWY IS NOW CLOSED. The winning comment was #5, Barbara. Congratulations!

Now for the Giveaway…if you’d like to enter to win a copy of The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, leave a comment on this blog post between now and Saturday, November 9, at midnight (CST)–the random drawing will be made from the comments on this post only! The winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced on Sunday, November 10. Winner will be notified via email (if winner does not respond in 3 days, I’ll do another drawing). Giveaway limited to readers in the Continental U.S. and Canada.

First entry: Leave a comment on this post–it would be great to hear what your favorite kind of bread is or if you have ever made homemade bread!

Bonus entry: If you are a new or existing follower or subscriber, you can leave one extra comment telling me the way (or ways) you are following.

This is a great book for bread lovers, so if you’re one, be sure to enter the giveaway! 🙂

Sylvia’s Baked French Toast Casserole and a favorite poem

Sylvia brought a Baked French Toast Casserole to a department breakfast recently and it was a big hit! I’ve made lots of breakfast casseroles before, but none quite like this. The sweetness of the French toast with the eggs and optional bacon or ham make a great combination! Sylvia put chopped ham on half of her casserole and left half without for the non-meat-eaters. When I made my casserole, I used chopped turkey bacon and really liked that. I also made a few other small changes that I’ve noted in the recipe below.

This Baked French Toast Casserole is really good, so I hope you get a chance to try it out! It’s great for a weekend brunch, especially now that the weather is cooling off some! You can put the casserole ingredients together the night before in a 9×13″ pan and pop it in the oven the next morning, so it’s really convenient, too. Special thanks to Sylvia for sharing her recipe!

SYLVIA’S BAKED FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE slightly adapted by NancyCreative

Makes a 9×13″ casserole

  • 1 loaf French bread, cut in slices about 1″ thick (this should give you about 16 slices of bread; I also cut about 2″ off the ends of the loaf before slicing it)
  • 4 Tablespoons light Karo Syrup (I substituted 4 Tablespoons of honey)
  • 4 Tablespoons dark Karo Syrup (I substituted 4 Tablespoons of pure maple syrup)
  • 2 cups brown sugar (loosely packed)
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • dash of salt (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped ham or uncooked bacon slices, optional (I used turkey bacon)

Grease a 9×13″ pan; set aside.

In small pan over low to medium heat, blend light and dark syrups (or honey and maple syrup) with brown sugar and butter. Stir and heat until mixture bubbles and remove from heat. Take each slice of bread and dip both sides in this mixture, then layer slices in the greased pan. Here’s what mine looked like…

If you have any of the syrup-butter-sugar mixture left over–I had just a few Tablespoons extra–drizzle it over all the slices in the pan.

Next, in a medium bowl, beat eggs with milk until well-beaten, adding a dash of salt if desired; pour egg-milk mixture evenly over all the bread slices in the pan. Then top with chopped ham or uncooked bacon (I just put half the amount of the bacon on one side of the casserole and left the other side meatless). Cover pan and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, bake the casserole at 350 degrees F for 50 to 55 minutes (if your oven runs hot, check it at 45 minutes). The eggs should not be runny when you cut into the casserole; if they are, you need to bake it a little longer. You can cover the casserole with foil the last 15-20 minutes of baking if you notice the bread or meat getting too brown on the top edges.

My casserole got a little brown on top, but it was still very delicious! 🙂

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net by nuchylee

On another note, I recently came across a copy of a favorite old poem that I hadn’t seen for years, THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER’S HAND,  so I thought I’d share it. It was also recorded as a song by WayneWatson, and you can click here if you’d like to listen to it. In a nutshell, the  poem is about how God can take the mess of our lives and turn it into something wonderful.

I found out a little more about the author of the poem, too…Myra Brooks Welch wrote it in 1921, after hearing a speaker address a group of students. Inspired, she wrote The Touch of the Master’s Hand in 30 minutes. She told others the poem actually wrote itself and believed it was a gift from God. It has been translated into more than 100 languages.

 

THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER’S HAND

‘Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile.
 
“What am I bidden, good folks?” he cried.
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?
A dollar, a dollar; then two! Only two?
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?”
 
“Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three…” But no,
From the room far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow.
 
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.
 
The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, “What am I bid for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow.
 
“A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three thousand, once; three thousand, twice,
And going and gone.” said he.
 
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand,
What changed its worth.” Swift came the reply:
“The touch of a master’s hand.”
 
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd,
Much like the old violin.
 
A “mess of potage,” a glass of wine,
A game–and he travels on.
He is “going” once–and “going” twice–
He’s “going” and almost “gone.”
 
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.
–Myra Brooks Welch (1877-1959)

Hope you enjoy the casserole and the poem–and have a great day!

Linked to Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday.

Maple-Pecan Sweet Potatoes from Vegan Holiday Kitchen

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It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is coming up so soon! And who doesn’t look forward to eating all that special holiday food? It’s always great when you can find delicious and healthy holiday recipes, which is why I was so interested in reviewing the new cookbook, Vegan Holiday Kitchen.

I’m not a vegan myself, but I do like to eat healthy and enjoy making vegan dishes. Author Nava Atlas has put together a collection of more than 200 tasty-sounding recipes you can whip up for different holidays year-round: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Jewish Holidays, Easter, and Independence Day/Summer Entertaining. There’s also a chapter devoted to Brunches, Appetizers, and Potluck Dinners.

This hardcover book is beautifully designed and has lots of great photography. It would make a wonderful holiday gift–or you may want to add it to your own “wish” list! 🙂

There are so many unique, great-sounding recipes in Vegan Holiday Kitchen. Here’s a few to give you an idea:  Coconut Butternut Squash Soup, Sweet Potato Biscuits, Green Chili Cornbread, Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tortilla Casserole,  Smashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy, Cranberry-Carrot Cake with Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting…and these are just from the Thanksgiving recipe section! There’s so much more, you’ll have plenty of delicious recipes to choose from and make throughout the year!

I decided to try the Maple-Pecan Sweet Potatoes, because I love the flavor of pure maple syrup and the maple-sweet potato combination just sounded wonderful to me! You may want to try this yourself at Thanksgiving. It’s a great side dish, both yummy and healthy. I love the natural sweetness of the maple syrup baked into those tender sweet potatoes! The recipe says to make this in a shallow 2-quart casserole, but the closest thing I had on hand was my glass pie plate. That worked fine, although I couldn’t quite fit all the potato slices in.

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Here’s the recipe…hope you get a chance to try it over the holidays!

MAPLE-PECAN SWEET POTATOES (Gluten-Free, from Vegan Holiday Kitchen)

  • 4 large or 6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance or other non-hydrogenated margarine, melted
  • 1/4 cup orange juice, preferably fresh
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • Leaves from 2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Arrange the sweet potato slices in overlapping rows in an oiled shallow 2-quart casserole. In a small bowl, combine the syrup, margarine, juice, cinnamon, and salt. Pour evenly over the potatoes.

3. Cover with lid or foil and bake, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until readily pierced with a fork but still firm.

4. Scatter the pecans and rosemary leaves over the surface of the sweet potatoes. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer, uncovered, or until glazed and golden around the edges. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

What yummy side dishes are you making for Thanksgiving this year?